Contemporary Islam

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 215–235 | Cite as

Clerical militia and securitization of seminary schools in Iran

  • Saeid GolkarEmail author


The Clerical Basij Militia is an institution created and used by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) to exert strict control over seminary students (tollab), silence dissident clergy, and nullify threats from seminarian scholars. The expansion of Clerical Basij in seminaries has led to regime control over clerics and the securitization of seminary schools. It has also resulted in the emergence of a new group among the clergy with a hybrid identity: part clergy, part security. The expansion and strengthening of this group could lead to the transformation of the Islamic Republic into a “theological security state.”


Iran Seminary schools Clerical establishment Securitization of seminary schools Basij Militia 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Middle East and North Africa ProgramNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.Chicago council on Global AffairsChicagoUSA
  3. 3.The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS)LondonUK

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