This detailed examination of contemporary Iran addresses the most important current social, political and economic issues facing the nation and the way it is perceived by the outside world. The volume brings together some of the most important scholars and researchers in the field, working in such diverse disciplines as anthropology, economics, history, international relations, philosophy, political science and sociology, to offer a broad range of perspectives on the significance of three decades of changes for Iran’s current and near-term future domestic and international politics. Drawing upon a wealth of original field research, the authors challenge conventional wisdom and simplistic media stereotypes about the Islamic republic. The chapters reach beyond traditional images of the country to show that, as a consequence of 30 years of economic and social changes, the reality, or ‘essence’, of contemporary Iran is more complex and nuanced than is often portrayed in the international media. Offering valuable insights into Iran’s economic and social policies, as well as its politics, since the Islamic Revolution, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars of political science, sociology and Iranian studies.