Exonerating US Policy

The Myth of "Good Intentions"

by Fred Halliday
published in MER98

Barry Rubin, Paved with Good Intentions: The American Experience in Iran (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980).

"The Clergy Have Confiscated the Revolution"

by
published in MER98

Abdulrahman Qassemlu is secretary-general of the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) in Iran. He is the author of Kurdistan and the Kurds (7965) and Problems of Economic Growth in the Developing Countries (1969). From 1960 to 1975 he taught at the Ecole Superieure d’Economie in Prague. He met with Fred Halliday in Europe in February 1981 for this interview.

The Islamic authorities now ruling Iran insist that they, and they alone, made the revolution which overthrew the Shah. What role, in your view, did the Kurdish people of Iran play in the revolution of 1978-1979?

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Economic Sanctions and Iranian Trade

by Philip Shehadi
published in MER98

Former President Jimmy Carter’s announcement of economic sanctions against Iran on April 7, 1980 aroused little enthusiasm except in Tehran, where crowds roared their approval of a formal break in ties with the “great Satan.” At home, hadn’t the freeze of Iranian assets, the longshoremen’s refusal to load Iran-bound goods, and the November ban on Iranian oil imports already reduced trade between the two countries to a trickle? In Europe, foreign ministers meeting in Lisbon on April 10 declined to heed Carter’s call. The Europeans, and the Japanese, had a stake in maintaining economic ties to the new regime. Western Europe as a whole was importing 650,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day.

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Iran's Economy

Between Crisis and Collapse

by Patrick Clawson
published in MER98

Workers, bazaar merchants and artisans, farmers, salaried officials and professionals -- all expected that the departure of the Shah would mean better economic conditions for themselves and the Iranian people. At the very least, funds that had been diverted into corruption or used to purchase expensive and extravagant weapons systems and showcase projects would be made available to meet real needs. As things now stand, the government of the Islamic Republic faces considerable popular dissatisfaction because these expectations have not been fulfilled, and the standard of living of many Iranians has, in fact, fallen since the revolution.

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"Signs of Civil War"

by
published in MER98

Shirin Tehrani is an independent Iranian socialist who has lived most of the post-revolutionary period inside Iran and spoke with Fred Halliday in Europe in late April 1981.

There has been much attention here on the dispute within the regime between the faction around President Bani-Sadr, and that around Prime Minister Raja’i and the Islamic Republican Party (IRP). lt is very difficult to gauge the course of this contest from the outside. How has it developed in recent months?

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The War and the Struggle for the State

by Eric Rouleau
published in MER98

“Was it not your KGB which indirectly passed on to us the secret plan for the Iraqi offensive?” President Bani-Sadr’s point-blank question clearly embarrassed the Soviet ambassador. Vladimir Vinogradov lapsed into an embarrassed silence but his face was lit by a smile which was as broad as it was enigmatic. The Iranian head of state had pointed out that the invasion of the Islamic Republic, which had begun more than 36 hours before his conversation with the diplomat, followed a scenario described in detail in a report given to him weeks previously. Who but the Kremlin, he wondered, could have access to the plans of Baghdad’s general staff?

Approaching the Islamic Revolution

by Michael Gilsenan
published in MER102

Shahrough Akhavi, Religion and Politics in Contemporary Iran: Clergy-State Relations in the Pahlavi Period (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1980).

Michael M. J. Fischer, Iran: From Religious Dispute to Revolution (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980).

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Ali Shariati: Ideologue of the Iranian Revolution

by Ervand Abrahamian
published in MER102

Westerners commonly perceive the Iranian Revolution as an atavistic and xenophobic movement that rejects all things modern and non-Muslim, a view reinforced by the present leaders of Iran. They claim that the revolution spearheads the resurgence of Islam, and that the revolutionary movement is an authentic phenomena uncorrupted by any alien ideas and inspired solely by the teachings of the Prophet and the Shi‘i imams. This conventional wisdom, however, ignores the contributions of ‘Ali Shari‘ati, the main ideologue of the Iranian Revolution.

Religious Ritual and Political Struggle in an Iranian Village

by Mary Hegland
published in MER102

The villagers of Aliabad do not presume political stability. They were not especially surprised at the fall of the Shah, nor at the demise of the most powerful person in the village, Seyyid Ibn Ali Askari, some months after the Iranian revolution. “One day the saddle is on the horse, the next day the horse is on the saddle,” they said. “Families become scattered. Families come and go. Ezzat va zellat. Honor and ruin.”

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Letter

by
published in MER104

To the Editors: I would like to give a correct version of the interview I had with Fred Halliday in March 1980, published in MERIP Reports 98 (July-August 1981). Our conversation was not recorded. Halliday occasionally took notes, and errors and inaccuracies have therefore crept into the interview as published.

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