As Iran and the West resume their diplomatic dance, questions about Iran's internal stability loom large.
To many, it appears that Iran has achieved an autocratic stability, with the mullahs having vanquished the once-popular Green Movement. The recent parliamentary elections are acclaimed by the theocracy and curiously welcomed by many in the international community who hope that a resurrected Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, will now focus on mending ties with his global detractors.
Such a reading of Iran's politics belies an understanding of its turbulent history. The postwar history of Iran reveals a perennial struggle between successive social movements seeking emancipation and accountability, and despotic governments uneasily resting their power on repression.