What is the difference between a democracy imposed by foreign powers and one developed locally, albeit within a political system dominated by religion? Tawfiq al-Saif explores Iran's ever-bumpy road to democracy, by analysing the political ideologies of both the conservative and reformist trends in Iranian politics and their distance from the traditional model of liberal democracy. The religion versus democracy debate has been remarkably enriched in Iran by new approaches of reformist thinkers to questions of rationality, secularism, constitutional rights and the state-religion relation. Iran's experiences provide readers with a better understanding of the potentials, difficulties, motives and limits pertaining to the process of democratisation in the modern Middle East.
Tawfiq Alsaif studied religion in Iraq, Kuwait and Iran. He has published books on Islam and politics in Arabic.