Bayat, Workers and Revolution in Iran

by Val Moghadam
published in MER153

Asef Bayat, Workers and Revolution in Iran: A Third World Experience of Workers’ Control (London: Zed Press, 1987.)

 

The participation of workers in the anti-shah struggle, the rise of factory councils in 1979 and 1980, and their battles with the new Islamic state over workers’ control and other aspects of industrial relations has sparked interest in the structure and consciousness of the Iranian laboring classes.

The particular strength of this book is the extensive fieldwork which Bayat undertook in 1980 and 1981, prior to the regime’s crackdown on the left and liberals. The material he collected includes interviews with workers and council activists, and observation of factory conditions.

Dorman and Farhang, The US Press and Iran

by Ervand Abrahamian
published in MER153

William Dorman and Mansour Farhang, The US Press and Iran: Foreign Policy and the Journalism of Deference (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1987).

 

Hiro, Iran Under the Ayatollahs

by Eric Hooglund
published in MER148

Dilip Hiro, Iran Under the Ayatollahs (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985).

Although this book is thin on analysis, it is filled with valuable details about political and economic developments during the first five years of the Islamic Republic. It is thus a good source book for information about the drafting of the constitution, the Mojahedin struggle against the regime, the cultural revolution, the impact of the war on the domestic economy and relations with the West.

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Beck, The Qashqa'i of Iran

by Bahman Abdollahi
published in MER148

Lois Beck, The Qashqa’i of Iran (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1986).

The Qashqa’is are a confederation of Turkic-speaking tribes dispersed in the three southwestern Iranian provinces of Fars, Isfahan, and Bushehr. Historically, they have been one of the most important tribal groups in the country. Nevertheless, little is known about them due to the lack of critical research. Lois Beck’s pioneering work successfully familiarizes the reader with the political dynamics of the Qashqa’is.

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Ladjevardi, Labor Unions and Autocracy in Iran

by Afsaneh Najmabadi
published in MER148

Habib Ladjevardi, Labor Unions and Autocracy in Iran (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1985).

Over the past few years we have witnessed a welcome development in new books on Iran. Instead of general histories, spanning centuries and big events, a number of books attempt to reconstruct smaller chunks of history but in much richer detail. Ladjevardi’s work is one valuable instance, as it takes up a much ignored and little documented slice of Iranian history -- that of the labor movement. Ladjevardi makes extensive use, for perhaps the first time, of the US National Archives (in addition to other more commonly used sources, such as the British Public Records).

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An Islamic State?

The Case of Iran

by Sami Zubaida
published in MER153

How applicable are the classic concepts of “state” and “politics” to the world of Islam? The current prominence of Islamic politics and the establishment of an Islamic Republic in Iran poses this question anew.

Iran and the Gulf War

by Eric Hooglund
published in MER148

September marks the seventh anniversary of the war between Iran and Iraq. It now ranks as the longest inter-state military conflict in the Middle East in this century. It has also been the most costly in terms of human lives lost, property destroyed and numbers of people uprooted from their homes. Although there are few accurate statistics on the destructive effects of the war, estimated deaths include some 300,000 Iranians and about 100,000 Iraqis, and at least an equal number wounded. The destruction of homes, factories and critical infrastructure in southeastern Iraq and southwestern Iran exceeds $400 billion. At least 1.5 million persons have fled their homes since 1980, mostly Iranians from the cities of Khuzestan. More recently, thousands of Iraqis have left the Basra area.

Argo and the Roots of US-Iranian Tensions

by Narges Bajoghli | published December 26, 2012

The box-office hit Argo brings back long-faded memories of the Iran hostage crisis for many Americans.

News in November 1979 that US diplomats had been taken hostage in Tehran shocked the United States. Students stormed the US embassy, blindfolding 52 Americans and threatening them at gunpoint. The hostages, held captive for 444 days, immediately became the nation’s top news story and dogged President Jimmy Carter’s unsuccessful reelection campaign.

International Law and the Iran Impasse

by Aslı Bâli | published December 16, 2012

On any given day, provided her paper of choice still features international coverage, the average American newspaper reader can expect to be treated to one or two articles on attempts to halt advances in Iran’s nuclear program. These articles might cover efforts to levy fresh sanctions against the Islamic Republic; they might relay news of discussions among Iran’s primary interlocutors on the nuclear question, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (the so-called P5+1), about diplomatic overtures. Or the stories might echo the mounting calls for airstrikes or other military action to delay and disrupt the progress of Iranian nuclear research.

Human Rights Watch

by Ömer Karasapan
published in MER159

Perhaps the saddest commentary on the situation in Iran is Amnesty International’s recent statement that “some former prisoners of conscience held during the 1970s when the late Shah was in power, for whose unconditional release [Amnesty] then worked, now figure among those with responsibility for the incarceration of prisoners of conscience and for other human rights violations in Iran. Others who were imprisoned in the 1970s for the non-violent expression of their conscientiously held beliefs are once more in prison, and many have been executed.”