Reading the Islamic Republic of Iran

I recently attended an international conference in South Africa on re-evaluating civil society in the Middle East following the 2010-2011 Arab uprisings that failed to bring about lasting changes in the region. There were progressive academics, politicians and leaders of non-governmental organisations in attendance. I had prepared a paper based on my research of welfare and social services in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which I knew was quite radical. However, my presentation created controversy for different reasons than I expected.