Even before the mass protests of 2017–2018, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has confronted an array of political, economic, and social issues that compelled the state to consider reform in order to avoid the possibility of another revolution. During the last four decades, the IRI's social welfare policies have helped explain its resilience and vulnerability, the agency and dynamics of its state-society relations, its changes and continuities vis-à-vis the former regime, and its inclusivity and exclusivity. According to various income and human development index (HDI) indicators, the IRI's economic and developmental performance is one of mediocrity rather than outright failure or success, compared to other middle-income countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and other regions in the global South.

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