From the first days of the Islamic Revolution, the ruling clerical elite was riven by strong conflicts over ideology and policy. The linkage between revolutionary Islam and the independence of the nation is now rooted in the consciousness of the numerous veterans of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the pasdaran, basijis, and regular army (artesh) that are the core of the new ruling elite. Security problems in various provinces during the 1980s and subsequent governmental neglect threatened the survival of provincial or ethnic cultural heritage. The prolonged exclusion from broader economic globalization and international dynamics has weakened Iran to some extent. Turkey, the Arab emirates of the Persian Gulf, and also Brazil and South Korea have stronger economic or political power. After three decades of confrontations inside Iran and vis-à-vis the West, religious sectarianism and ideology as well as radical nationalism/isolationism need to open to the outside world for economic, security and cultural reasons.