In the Islamic Republic of Iran — unlike any other country in the Persian Gulf region — sex reassignment is not only allowed, but also subsidised by the government. Unfortunately, it's not as rosy as it sounds.
While not being an outright example of a clash of civilizations in the Huntingtonian sense, elements of cultural misunderstanding and fears about the system-challenging tendencies of Iran do aﬀect Western perceptions and inﬂuence Western behavior toward Iran. Furthermore, these kinds of reciprocal identity-based fears and projections of the other side’s presumed malevolent intentions tend to be mutually reinforcing. The risk is that they eventually become self-fulﬁlling prophecies.Iran and the West - Regional Interests and Global Controversies [PDF]. [more inside]
'BP And The Axis of Evil': Adam Curtis provides some historic information on the Anglo-Perisan Oil Company, later the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, later BP. [more inside]
Six days ago, Seyed Ali Mousavi, nephew of Iranian opposition leader and figurehead of the Green Movement Mir Hossein Mousavi [wikipedia | facebook] was shot dead during the latest round of protests in Tehran; Seyed Ali had apparently been threatened by the police, and had recently lost his position at the Iran Academy of Arts and Sciences. After burying his nephew amidst government-sponsored protests on Wednesday, Mir Hossein Mousavi showed renewed resolve in a statement on his website which read in part: "I’m not afraid to be one of the people’s martyrs in their struggle for their just demands... My blood is no redder than theirs," and quoted the words of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the republic: "Kill us; we will only become stronger." [New York Times | Times Onlines (UK) | Al-Jazeera | Payvan Iran | Iran Focus News | Reuters | BBC] [more inside]
The Great Satan Myth. We have discussed the US supported coup of 1953 on MeFi before. Now, Abbas Milani, provides some more context to the complex relationship of the two countries.
As the world watches the conflict in Iran unfold, many commentators have tried to make a connection between the current protests and either the coup of 1953 or the revolution of 1979. But what do we know of the history of that country and how well do we know its leaders? Some of the major political players who have dominated the trajectory of the recent history of Iran include Mohammed Mossadegh, Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, and Mir-Hossein Mousavi. All links above are to Wikipedia pages. For more extensive articles and information, check below the fold. [more inside]
Khomeini and the revolution A photo-essay. "I have a 30-year-old book of photographs of the revolution by a photographer named Hatami. I thought it would be interesting to reproduce them for the 30th anniversary of the revolution. I paid my nephew Nico $20 to scan the entire book."
Order 17--sovereignty sure, but... The Bush administration has decided to take the unusual step of bestowing on its own troops and personnel immunity from prosecution by Iraqi courts for killing Iraqis or destroying local property after the occupation ends and political power is transferred to an interim Iraqi government, U.S. officials said. (including contractors, btw.) Apparently US immunity was used by Khomeini in Iran as a rallying cry in the 60s. Are Sadr and Sistani listening?