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BAB. In the middle of the nineteenth century, Iranian Shiism underwent radical changes. Among these was a marked improvement in the status and power of the clerical leadership-a development which began in the late eighteenth century and culminated in recent times with the Islamic Revolution, which placed full political authority in the hands of the clergy. Shi'i Islam has always emphasized the superiority of individual, "inspired" leadership over political power or consensus and has, througho ...more

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