Turbulent Iran: Recollections, Revelations and a Proposal for Peace

By Eldon Griffiths | Go to book overview

THE REFORMER WHOSE LIGHT WENT OUT

Liberalism is corrosive in a revolutionary collective. It eats away
unity, undermines cohesion and creates dissension.

— Mao Tse Tung

Following our 1998 visit to the Islamic republic, Mohammad Khatami was re-elected to a second term as president of Iran with an even larger majority. Most of his support came from women and young people, and verbally he did not disappoint them. Addressing an audience at Teheran University, the president spoke to ten thousand students. “Freedom of choice and freedom of thought have been frustrated,” he said. “Liberty is suffocated in the name of salvation.” Speaking of women, Khatami went on, “The traditional outlook based on the erroneous notion of supremacy of men over women does injustice to men, women and humanity as a whole.” Younger women were delighted. But that was not what the mullahs were teaching in the mosques. There were mutterings that Khatami was challenging the Holy Writ of the Koran.

President Khatami himself was an ayatollah. But he railed against the mullahs’ resistance to change and the excesses of the religious police. “If the clergy distance themselves from the factual realities of present day, they won’t be able to fulfill their role,” he said in a radio broadcast. This was a courageous stand in a land where one person in twelve serves at one time or another in his life as a member of the clergy or assistant in the mosques. And the Council of Guardians took umbrage. Unlike Khatami, they rejected the notion that church and state can be separate. Iran is theocratic state. The word of God and his priest takes precedence over any elected president.

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Turbulent Iran: Recollections, Revelations and a Proposal for Peace
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Table of Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xvii
  • Part One 1
  • Discovering Persia as a Schoolboy 3
  • Brits and Persians 8
  • Mosaddegh Lifts His Nightgown 13
  • The Americans Move into Iran 19
  • The Shah's Dreams and Illusions 28
  • Ambassador Extraordinaire 34
  • Falling in Love with Iran 42
  • Bee-Pee and a Topless Beach 48
  • A Red-Haired Lady and a Blue Marchioness 55
  • Party at Persepolis 60
  • Radars and Trailers 65
  • Iranian Wheeler-Dealers 72
  • American's Iranian U-Turns 78
  • An Ambassador Poisoned, a Prime Minister Sacrificed 83
  • Black Friday 91
  • Could the Monarchy Have Been Saved? 95
  • Reaping the Whirlwind 101
  • The Flying Dutchman 106
  • Escape from Panama 115
  • The Corpses of Eagle Claw 125
  • Rescue at the London Embassy 129
  • Scuds and Chemical Weapons 133
  • Ollie North's Iranian Follies 140
  • Sanctions Have Failed 147
  • Reza Pah Lavi 154
  • They Came Not Empty-Handed 158
  • Orange County Opens a Dialogue 166
  • Histrionics at the Golden Mosque 174
  • The Reformer Whose Light Went out 182
  • Is Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad Bad or Mad? 188
  • Extracts from a Persian Letter 194
  • Part Two 197
  • Iranian Nuclear Turbulence 199
  • Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty 220
  • Part Three 223
  • Time to Talk 225
  • Engaging with Iran 236
  • Proposals for Peace 242
  • End Notes 251
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