Tortured Confessions

Author: Ervand Abrahamian
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520922907
Format: PDF, ePub
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The role of torture in recent Iranian politics is the subject of Ervand Abrahamian's important and disturbing book. Although Iran officially banned torture in the early twentieth century, Abrahamian provides documentation of its use under the Shahs and of the widespread utilization of torture and public confession under the Islamic Republican governments. His study is based on an extensive body of material, including Amnesty International reports, prison literature, and victims' accounts that together give the book a chilling immediacy. According to human rights organizations, Iran has been at the forefront of countries using systematic physical torture in recent years, especially for political prisoners. Is the government's goal to ensure social discipline? To obtain information? Neither seem likely, because torture is kept secret and victims are brutalized until something other than information is obtained: a public confession and ideological recantation. For the victim, whose honor, reputation, and self-respect are destroyed, the act is a form of suicide. In Iran a subject's "voluntary confession" reaches a huge audience via television. The accessibility of television and use of videotape have made such confessions a primary propaganda tool, says Abrahamian, and because torture is hidden from the public, the victim's confession appears to be self-motivated, increasing its value to the authorities. Abrahamian compares Iran's public recantations to campaigns in Maoist China, Stalinist Russia, and the religious inquisitions of early modern Europe, citing the eerie resemblance in format, language, and imagery. Designed to win the hearts and minds of the masses, such public confessions—now enhanced by technology—continue as a means to legitimize those in power and to demonize "the enemy."

Tortured Confessions

Author: Ervand Abrahamian
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520216235
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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3 The Islamic Republic

The Life and Times of the Shah

Author: Gholam Reza Afkhami
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520942165
Format: PDF, ePub
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This epic biography, a gripping insider's account, is a long-overdue chronicle of the life and times of Mohammad Reza Shah, who ruled from 1941 to 1979 as the last Iranian monarch. Gholam Reza Afkhami uses his unparalleled access to a large number of individuals—including high-ranking figures in the shah's regime, members of his family, and members of the opposition—to depict the unfolding of the shah's life against the forces and events that shaped the development of modern Iran. The first major biography of the Shah in twenty-five years, this richly detailed account provides a radically new perspective on key events in Iranian history, including the 1979 revolution, U.S.-Iran relations, and Iran's nuclear program. It also sheds new light on what now drives political and cultural currents in a country at the heart of today's most perplexing geopolitical dilemmas.

Khomeinism

Author: Ervand Abrahamian
Publisher: I.B.Tauris
ISBN: 9781850437796
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Fanatic, dogmatic, fundamentalist - these are the words most commonly used to describe the Ayatollah Khomeini. Ervand Abrahamian's book challenges that view, arguing that Khomeini and his Islamic movement should be seen as a form of Third World political populism - a radical but pragmatic middle-class movement that strives to enter, rather than reject, the modern age.

Social Change in Iran

Author: Behzad Yaghmaian
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 0791489418
Format: PDF, Docs
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A multi-level insider's look at the changes transforming contemporary Iran.

The Iranian Mojahedin

Author: Ervand Abrahamian
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 9780300052671
Format: PDF, ePub
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'A first-rate study that not only goes far in explaining the key events of the last decade but also implicitly substantiates the classic Crane Brinton analysis.'Bernard Weiss, History: Review of New Books

Imagining Iran

Author: Majid Sharifi
Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 0739179454
Format: PDF
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The thematic focus of this book is the tragic yet inevitable effects of subaltern nationalism. The book covers the systemic challenges that all modern Iranian regimes have faced in establishing a sovereign, developed, democratic, and constitutional nation-state.

The Coup

Author: Ervand Abrahamian
Publisher: The New Press
ISBN: 1595588620
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In August 1953, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency orchestrated the swift overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected leader and installed Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in his place. Over the next twenty-six years, the United States backed the unpopular, authoritarian shah and his secret police; in exchange, it reaped a share of Iran’s oil wealth and became a key player in this volatile region. The blowback was almost inevitable, as this new and revealing history of the coup and its consequences shows. When the 1979 Iranian Revolution deposed the shah and replaced his puppet government with a radical Islamic republic under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the shift reverberated throughout the Middle East and the world, casting a long, dark shadow over U.S.-Iran relations that extends to the present day. In this authoritative new history of the coup and its aftermath, noted Iran scholar Ervand Abrahamian uncovers little-known documents that challenge conventional interpretations and also sheds new light on how the American role in the coup influenced U.S.-Iranian relations, both past and present. Drawing from the hitherto closed archives of British Petroleum, the Foreign Office, and the U.S. State Department, as well as from Iranian memoirs and published interviews, Abrahamian’s riveting account of this key historical event will change America’s understanding of a crucial turning point in modern U.S.-Iranian relations.

Human Rights in Iran

Author: Reza Afshari
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812221397
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title Are the principles set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights truly universal? Or, as some have argued, are they derived exclusively from Western philosophic traditions and therefore irrelevant to many non-Western cultures? Should a state's claims to indigenous traditions, and not international covenants, determine the scope of rights granted to its citizens? In his strong defense of the Declaration, Reza Afshari contends that the moral vision embodied in this and other agreements is a proper response to the abuses of the modern state. Asserting that the most serious violations of human rights by state rulers are motivated by political and economic factors rather than the purported concern for cultural authenticity, Afshari examines one particular state that has claimed cultural exception to the universality of human rights, the Islamic Republic of Iran. In his revealing case study, Afshari investigates how Islamic culture and Iranian politics since the fall of the Shah have affected human rights policy in that state. He exposes the human rights violations committed by ruling clerics in Iran since the Revolution, showing that Iran has behaved remarkably like other authoritarian governments in its human rights abuses. For more than two decades, Iran has systematically jailed, tortured, and executed dissidents without due process of law and assassinated political opponents outside state borders. Furthermore, like other oppressive states, Iran has regularly denied and countered the charges made by United Nations human rights monitors, defending its acts as authentic cultural practices. Throughout his study, Afshari addresses Iran's claims of cultural relativism, a controversial thesis in the intense ongoing debate over the universality of human rights. In prison memoirs he uncovers the actual human rights abuses committed by the Islamic Republic and the sociopolitical conditions that cause or permit them. Finally, Afshari turns to little-read UN reports that reveal that the dynamics of power between UN human rights monitors and Iranian leaders have proven ineffective at enforcing human rights policy in Iran. Critically analyzing the state's responses, Afshari shows that the Islamic Republic, like other oppressive states, has regularly denied and countered the charges made by UN human rights monitors, and when denials were patently implausible, it defended its acts as authentic cultural practices. This defense is equally unconvincing, since it lacked domestic cultural consensus.