"The Americans Played a Disgusting Role"

published in MER104

Shahpour Bakhtiar served as prime minister in the last weeks of the Shah’s regime. Since escaping from Iran after February 1979 he has been living in exile. Fred Halliday spoke with him in Paris in August 1981.

Mr. Bakhtiar, what is your estimation of the current strength of the Iranian regime?

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"We Are the Only Real Threat to Khomeini"

published in MER104

Masoud Rajavi was the only one of the original leadership of the Mojahedin-e Khalq to escape execution by the Shah. Imprisoned from 1971 until December 1978, he emerged to reorganize the Mojahedin. He ran for president in the election of January 1980 but Khomeini declared him ineligible. He escaped from Iran with former president Bani-Sadr on July 28, 1971. He is the prime minister in Bani-Sadr’s government in exile, and is active in the Council of National Resistance. Fred Halliday interviewed him outside Paris in August 1981.

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"I Defeated the Ideology of the Regime"

published in MER104

Abol-Hassan Bani-Sadr was elected president of the Islamic Republic of Iran in January 1980, but was subsequently impeached in June 1981. Fred Halliday interviewed him in France in August 1981, several weeks after he escaped from Iran. He has formed a government in exile, and is part of the Council of National Resistance.

You are living here in France to organize opposition to the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini. But Khomeini still has some popular support, and he is prepared to be more repressive than the Shah ever was. Won’t these differences make it very difficult to oust him?

Year Three of the Iranian Revolution

by Fred Halliday
published in MER104

The third year of the Iranian revolution saw the final breakup of the political coalition that initially brought Khomeini to power, and the emergence in exile of an opposition that groups together many of those who played a part in the overthrow of the monarchical dictatorship. On the basis of evidence available, it would seem that the Khomeini regime has been able, through massive repression already greater than that of the Shah, to contain the opposition forces for the time being. The Islamic forces now in power have apparently gained a second breath after the crises of mid-1981. Appearances may, however, be deceptive and the Iranian revolution could be preparing another one of those sudden convulsions which has marked its agonized course to date.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER104

When the history of the Iranian revolution is compiled, the third year of the Islamic Republic may stand out as particularly decisive. The alliance of left-leaning lay political elements with the Islamic Republican Party ruptured completely. Iranian forces scored important gains on the battlefield with Iraq. The regime secured its grip on the state apparatus and dominated the political arena through massive repression and widespread executions.

Losing Hope in Iran and Egypt

by Parastou Hassouri | published November 10, 2014 - 1:31pm

The decision to leave your country, especially when you leave for political or ideological reasons, can be gut-wrenching. My parents made that decision for me when they left Iran in my early adolescence. Unlike some Iranians forced to flee, my parents were not members of a persecuted religious minority. Nor were they high-profile political activists at immediate risk of arrest. But as people who had demonstrated against the Shah’s dictatorship, and had hoped that the 1979 revolution would bring democracy and social justice to Iran, witnessing their country plunge into authoritarianism and turn into a theocracy was more than they could bear. It was like the country they knew and hoped for no longer existed.

Burying the Hatchet with Iran

by Chris Toensing | published November 5, 2014

Don’t tell anyone, but the United States and Iran are getting closer -- perhaps closer than ever -- to letting go of 35 years of enmity.

No, Washington and Tehran aren’t going to be BFFs or anything.

But they do share a common interest in rolling back the so-called Islamic State, whose well-armed militants have declared an extremist Sunni caliphate stretching across Syria and Iraq.

The United States is anxious to restore the Iraqi government’s authority in oil-rich Iraq, while Iran is eager to defeat a murderously anti-Shiite militia on its western flank.

Debating the Iran-Iraq War on Film

by Narges Bajoghli
published in MER271

For supporters of the Islamic Republic, it is the Iran-Iraq war, and not the 1979 revolution, that evokes the true spirit of the Islamic Republic. In 1979, the plethora of political groups that poured into the streets was united in the desire to get rid of the US-backed Shah, but divided as to the shape of post-revolutionary society. Only after the outbreak of the “imposed war” with Iraq (1980-1988) were Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his fellow clerics able to consolidate the Islamic Republic as a state. The war allowed the regime to imprison the opposition for reasons of “national security” and to mobilize the population in defense of the revolution as the regime defined it.

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The Latest Iranian Distractions

by Norma Claire Moruzzi | published June 9, 2014 - 10:22am

While senior Iranian and US officials are planning bilateral talks over Iran’s nuclear research program, the Iranian and world media are distracted by other issues: young women who post images of themselves without hejab on Facebook, and a video of six well-heeled youths dancing to Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy.” The gyrating youngsters were arrested and compelled to issue an apology on state television for what authorities said was a “vulgar clip” th

China's New Silk Road Strategy

by Haiyun Ma , I-wei Jennifer Chang | published May 20, 2014 - 3:14pm

In the current issue of Middle East Report, we write about the strategic logic of China’s increasing investment in teaching Middle Eastern languages, particularly Arabic, Persian and Turkish. A key goal of the push for Middle Eastern language competency is to help rebuild the Silk Road that China stood astride in centuries past.