The Islamic revolution of 1979 in Iran was motivated by intense moral indigna-tion against Western-inspired modernization and its degradation of the Islamic tra-dition. It led to the creation of a theocratic republic and a decade of intolerant he-gemony of an Islamic revolutionary ideology. As this ideology eroded in the 1990s, a reform movement gathered momentum, advocating pluralism as against totalitarianism and a historical and hermeneutic as against an ideological reading of Islam. This reform movement has revived the debate on tradition and modernity with the intention of modernizing the Islamic tradition radically, and thereby, re-infusing modernity with normative value. Political modernization looms large among the goals of the movement since the election of President Khatami in 1997. The short-term impact of the reform movement on the constitutional politics of the Islamic republic can be debated, but there can be no doubt about its long-term si-gnificance as it has resulted in an irreversible erosion of the legitimacy of theocra-tic government.