Document Type : Original Article


1 , Associate Professor of Political Geography, University of Tehran

2 Assistant Professor, Imam Hussein University

3 PhD Student of Political Geography, University of Tehran


Entering upon the 21st century, oil as a vital source and strategic energy is still playing important role in the life of oil-rich countries. Acquisition of this valuable energy led to a profound change and transition in the socio-political structure of these nations. It was these transformations that led theorists such as Mahdavi, Beblavi and Lavisyani to present their views about rentier states. Based on these theories, the countries where income from underground resources (preferably oil) forms 42% of their total revenues are called rentier states. Iran, too, is one of the principal petroleum producing and exporting countries that according to available figures and data has accounted over 42% of its entire income from oil until the last few years. Some of the Iranian researchers believethat the oil revenues to the state treasury have largely caused centralization and the emergence of modern government particularly absolutism.
Studying oil revenues as an independent variable, the current piece of research aims to highlight and deliberate their impacts on the centralization of political powers. Consequently, with historical-descriptive research methodology, it tries to find answers to the queries such as: Whether the present Iranian state can be considered a rentier one? Whether or not spatial distribution of political powers in Iran has been affected by oil revenues over the last hundred years?
The paper concludes that although oil incomes especially during the second Pehlavi era have been key factor in strengthening political powers. But in the first Pehlavi era or presently, despite the fact that the state is not dependent on oil revenues, even then we are witness to the process of centralization of political powers. Therefore, it can be said that oil incomes though laterally have been effective in the absence of spatial political power but that cannot be the actual reason.