Bakhash, Reign of the Ayatollahs

by Annabelle Sreberny
published in MER138

Shaul Bakhash, The Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the Islamic Revolution (New York: Basic Books, 1984).

After the plethora of books seeking to account for the Iranian revolution, it is refreshing to find a volume which dares to tackle the complexities of the immediate post-revolutionary years and the new institutions and policies of the Islamic Republic.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Political Roles of Iranian Village Women

by Mary Hegland
published in MER138

Masses of Iranian women, many of them “traditional,” relatively uneducated and from the lower classes, were politically quite active in the Iranian revolution. Many observers assume this to be without precedent. There is, however, a tradition of political participation and struggle in community politics by women, as the case of the village of Aliabad illustrates. Women’s activities, roles and characteristics in local politics were similar to those they exhibited in the Iranian revolution. These village women were not radically departing from their usual behavior by supporting the revolution and joining marches in the nearby city of Shiraz.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Iran and the Reagan Doctrine

by Fred Halliday
published in MER140

Gary Sick, All Fall Down: America’s Tragic Encounter with Iran (New York: Random House, 1985).

Warren Christopher et al, American Hostages in Iran: The Conduct of a Crisis (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985).

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Books on Women in Iran

by Mary Hegland
published in MER142

Guity Nashat, ed., Women and Revolution in Iran (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1983).

Farah Azari, ed., Women of Iran: The Conflict with Fundamentalist Islam (London: Ithaca Press, 1983).

Azar Tabari and Nahid Yeganeh, eds., In the Shadow of Islam: The Women’s Movement in Iran (London: Zed Books, 1982).

A unique aspect of the Iranian Revolution was the dramatic presence of women. Masses of Iranian women participated in national level politics. Ironically, most women were emboldened in this new political role by the teachings of Shi‘i thinkers and leaders, those same religious figures who supposedly believe the Muslim woman’s place is at home with her children.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Cover-up and Blowback

What Congress Left Out of the Iran-Contra Report

by Jonathan Marshall
published in MER151

The House Select Committee to Investigate Covert Arms Transactions with Iran and Senate Select Committee on Secret Military Assistance to Iran and the Nicaraguan Opposition. Report of the Congressional Committees Investigating the Iran-Contra Affair. (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1987.)

Of the millions of Americans who watched some or all of the televised hearings on the Iran-Contra scandal during the summer of 1987, only a handful will slog through the 690 pages of fine print that make up the final report of the congressional investigating committees. That’s a shame, because the report succeeds in many areas where the hearings failed dismally.

Reagan's Iran

Factions Behind US Policy in the Gulf

by Eric Hooglund
published in MER151

Despite its reputation for having inflexible ideological positions on all foreign policy issues, the Reagan administration actually came to office in January 1981 without a coherent policy for dealing with Iran. At first the new administration was content to let Iran fade from the spotlight of national media attention that it had held during the last 14 months of the Carter administration. The hostage crisis had been resolved, fatefully on the very day Reagan was inaugurated. The administration contributed rhetorically to the Iran-bashing mood of the country, but since Iraq still seemed to have the upper hand in the war that it had begun a few months earlier in September 1980, there was a general perception that Iran was contained and could be ignored.

Iran's New Grand Strategy

by Fred Halliday
published in MER144

The controversy over US-Iranian relations has implications as drastic for the government in Tehran as for that in Washington. The disputed character of the opening to Washington forced Majlis Speaker Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani to go public about the talks in early November. Even Ayatollah Khomeini himself has come under attack from Islamic radicals after his explicit support for talks with the US. Khomeini, although using the title "imam" or religious leader, has never claimed to be infallible, as the 12 imams of Shi&‘i Islam are supposed to be. But when a congress of radicals in December proclaimed that the imam was “not infallible,” this was designed to challenge Khomeini’s overall authority within the revolutionary regime.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

The Search for Iran's "Moderates"

by Eric Hooglund
published in MER144

Revelations about secret talks and arms deals between the United States and Iran have focused attention on the internal politics of the Islamic Republic. The Reagan administration justifies its policy as an 18-month effort to reach out to “moderate elements” in the Iranian government.

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).