May 7, 2014
Sharia, Constitutionalism and Public Reason: A Critical Assessment of Iran’s Post-Revolutionary Constitution
"In this speech I develop a liberal assessment of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s constitution based on John Rawls and Abdullahi An-Na‘im’s ideas of constitutionalism and public reason. After providing a historical background about the constitution, it is argued that the main type of discrimination embedded in Iran’s post-revolutionary constitution is ‘fuqaha non-fuqaha inequality’. In addition, it is argued that the unequal status between fuqaha and non-fuqaha in Iran’s constitution is problematic from both political-philosophical (in the Rawlsian sense) and legal-Islamic (in the An-Na‘imian sense) perspectives. The speech concludes by claiming that, in order to respect the ideals of political liberalism in Iran, there should be an agenda for democratic constitutional amendment."