The Kurdish Experience

by Amir Hassanpour
published in MER189

Numbering over 22 million, the Kurds are one of the largest non-state nations in the world. Their homeland, Kurdistan, has been forcibly divided and lies mostly within the present-day borders of Turkey, Iraq and Iran, with smaller parts in Syria, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The greatest number of Kurds today still live in Kurdistan, though a large Kurdish diaspora has developed in this century, especially in the main cities of Turkey and Iran and more recently in Europe as well. Between 10 and 12 million Kurds live in Turkey, where they comprise about 20 percent of the population. Between 5 and 6 million live in Iran, accounting for close to 10 percent of the population. Kurds in Iraq number more than 4 million, and comprise about 23 percent of the population.

Devices and Desires

Population Policy and Gender Roles in the Islamic Republic

by Homa Hoodfar
published in MER190

The development of population policy in the Islamic Republic of Iran provides fertile ground for reexamining the widely held assumption that Islamist ideology is the antithesis of modernity and surely incompatible with any form of feminism. Recent strategies that the Islamic Republic has adopted to build a public consensus on the necessity of birth control and family planning indicate the flexibility and adaptability of that ideology in response to political and economic realities.

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"Tilt but Don't Spill"

Iran's Development and Reconstruction Dilemma

by Kaveh Ehsani
published in MER191

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Squatters and the State

Back Street Politics in the Islamic Republic

by Asef Bayat
published in MER191

The early 1990s saw a period of renewed urban popular uprisings in Iran, unprecedented since the 1979 revolution. From August 1991 to August 1994, six major upheavals took place in Tehran, Shiraz, Arak, Mashhad, Ghazvin and Tabriz, and there were frequent minor clashes in many other urban centers. Most of these incidents involved urban squatters concerned with the destruction in their communities. This was the case in Tehran, Shiraz, Arak, Mashhad and Khorramabad.

An Open Letter to a Jailed Iranian Writer

by Andrew Whitley
published in MER191

Dear Dr. Saidi Sirjani:

For almost 20 years now, I have known and admired you and your writings. Whatever your detractors may say, Ali Akbar Saidi Sirjani cannot justly be accused of partisanship. I have known you as a fierce critic of Mohammad Reza Shah’s insufferable pretensions and intolerance of dissent, and later as an equally sharp thorn in the side of the Islamic government. May the nib of your pen never be blunted!

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Iran's Revolutionary Impasse

by Ali Banuazizi
published in MER191

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From the Editors

published in MER191

This issue looks at the economic and social crises that beset Iran more than 15 years after the Islamic Revolution. While the articles presented here share a critical perspective toward the present government, the authors allow us to see aspects of a society that both endures and challenges the inept, contradictory and impoverishing policies of the state. As was the case on the eve of the anti-Shah revolution, the most salient issues are corruption, legitimacy and competence.

Ideology and Revolution in Iran

by Misagh Parsa
published in MER196

Ervand Abrahamian, Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republic (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1993).

Hamid Dabashi, Theology of Discontent: The Ideological Foundations of the Islamic Revolution in Iran (New York: New York University Press, 1993).

John Foran, Fragile Resistance: Social Transformation in Iran from 1500 to the Revolution (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993).

Middle East Watch, Guardians of Thought: Limits on Freedom of Expression in Iran (New York, 1993).

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Iran and the Virtual Reality of US War Games

by William M. Arkin
published in MER197

The year is 2002. Saddam Hussein has been assassinated, and Shi‘i forces in Basra have declared their independence from Baghdad. Iran, the dominant regional power, invades Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to gain regional hegemony, control the price of oil, finance its military buildup “and ameliorate its social problem.” Tehran threatens to use nuclear weapons if the United States intervenes to defend its Gulf allies.

Women and Personal Status Law in Iran

An Interview with Mehranguiz Kar

by Homa Hoodfar
published in MER198

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