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The Iranian Labyrinth: Journeys Through Theocratic Iran and Its Furies Paperback – June 1, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
This book, written by one of those who have been "on the ground" in the Middle East, attempts to give an overview of the history of Iran in the twentieth century. The accounting that he gives sounds plausible, and as a whole the book seems to be free of any extreme bias or hidden political agendas. However, it should be remembered that the author has viewed the Middle East through finite time windows, and therefore his appraisal of the events he has observed may not reflect the true situation.Read more ›
Hiro reminds us of Iran's special position in the world. It's not just another "Middle East" nation. Its history stretches back many millennia, even before it was the heart of the Persian Empire. That Empire's strength came largely from the area being a crossroads for trade and cultural exchange. Although the Persian Empire faded, the region was a factor in later imperial ventures, with the Ottomans in the 17th Century. Parcelled out by the European Allies during World War I, "Iran" was literally the creation of the British Foreign Office. The discovery of oil ensured Iran was rarely free of foreign influence thereafter. Whenever Iran attempted to shake off the oil-thirsty West, first the British, then the Americans, took steps to quell nationalism and restore "stability" and the free flow of petroleum. The most glaring of these intrusions was the overthrow of the Mossadegh government by the CIA, replacing a democratically elected government with a royal figure, the Shah.
The central theme of the book is Iran's Revolution of 1979.Read more ›
"When it comes to interpreting the Sharia - that is practicing ijtihad (interpretive reasoning) [concerning what is morally required, allowed, indifferent, undesirable, or forbidden] - there is often no difference between jurisprudents on the obligatory and prohibited subjects. Differences usually arise in the gray area of "allowed, unspecified, and undesirable". Whether a woman is entitled to become President of Iran or a member of the Assembly of Experts falls into this category. As stated earlier, at least one senior theologian, Grand Ayatollah Yusuf Saanei said "Yes" to both. In general, though, older jurisprudents are conservative, sticking to traditional interpretations, whereas younger ones are flexible and progressive." (p. 355)
--author of Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story