News from the Bush School

Bush School Professor Publishes Book on Religious Statecraft: The Politics of Islam in Iran

May 17, 2018

REligious Statecraft book cover


A new book, Religious Statecraft: The Politics of Islam in Iran, has been published by Dr. Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar, Texas A&M Bush School of Government and Public Service. It examines the politics of Islam, rather than political Islam, to better understand Iranian politics and its ideological contradictions.

In his book, Dr. Tabaar examines fifty years of shifting Islamist doctrines within the context of Iran’s domestic and international politics and demonstrates that religious narratives in Iran can change rapidly and frequently as the elites’ threat perceptions change. Additionally, Dr. Tabaar challenges readers to rethink the conventional wisdom regarding the 1979 revolution in Iran and the U.S. embassy hostage crisis among other pivotal events in Iranian history. Based on a micro-level analysis of post-revolutionary Iranian media and recently declassified documents as well as military and theological journals, Religious Statecraft constructs a new picture of Iranian politics in which power drives Islamist ideology.

Dr. Tabaar is an assistant professor in the International Affairs Department at the Bush School of Government and Public Service. His research areas include international security and Middle East politics. Dr. Tabaar has been a fellow or a visiting scholar at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, Harvard University’s Center for the Middle East, Cambridge University’s Centre of Islamic Studies, and George Washington University’s Institute for Middle East Studies. His articles have appeared in Security Studies, P.S. Politics and Political Science, and Journal of Strategic Studies. He has also written for Foreign Affairs’ Snapshot, Foreign Policy’s Middle East Channel, Washington Post’s Monkey Cage, and the New York Times Magazine.

More information about the book, published by Columbia University Press, is available here: