Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Reader 1



From the Green Revolution to the thousands of protesters that flooded the streets of Iran in over 100 cities in 2019, Iranians, especially those in more liberal regions such as Tehran, have expressed their discontent with the Iranian regime and its inability to provide not only civil liberties but more importantly, economic stability. My thesis seeks to answer the following question: considering how repeatedly unpopular the Iranian regime has been since its inception in 1979, how is it still stable? I first explore the ideology, repression, coercion, and the political economy of corruption that maintain autocratic regimes and present Gersechewski’s theoretical framework for the three pillars of autocratic stability. I then discuss how the theoretical maintenance of autocratic regimes operates in Iran by exploring the legitimation, repression, and co-optation pillars of regime stability. Lastly, I seek to determine whether the regime is still legitimate from an ideational perspective, and if it is not, why the regime’s perceived legitimacy has not translated into political change in Iran.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.