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Iran at the Millennium

In this excerpt from The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran (2000), the American foreign correspondent Robin Wright returns to Iran in late 1999 to witness the social and political changes taking place on the eve of the historic 2000 parliamentary elections. "Iran launched the new millennium with an election," she writes. "The timing was appropriate, since the stakes were nothing short of the country's identity in the twenty-first century."
Martyrs Never Die

An excerpt from Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran (2000), by New York Times reporter Elaine Sciolino, describing an encounter with the director of the martyrs' section of Tehran's Behesht-e Zahra, the biggest cemetary in Iran. "Hamid cursed the authorities in Tehran," Sciolino writes, "for building cultural centers and high-rise apartment complexes instead of better graves for the martyrs and more museums in their honor. He cursed society for forgetting the sacrifices of his generation."
  U.S.-Iran Relations 
On to Iran! Checkmating the clerics, by Reuel Marc Gerecht

"President George W. Bush's stunningly forceful State of the Union address has probably forever altered U.S.-Iranian relations. It may provoke a redrawing of the intellectual map of the Middle East, giving liberal democracy its best chance in the region since the end of World War II. In following through on his promise to counter and preempt hostile Iranian actions, the president will likely accelerate the collapse of the clerical regime." (The Weekly Standard, Feb. 18, 2002)
A Risky Message to Iran, by Abbas Amanat

"Demonizing Iran may play well with the American audience, but it has already caused discomfort among America's European allies. Actual military action against Iran would be disastrous. But after the United States' success in Afghanistan, there may well be willingness in certain quarters within the Bush administration to entertain that idea, given its statements that Iran supports terrorism and wants to develop weapons of mass destruction." (The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2002)
Iranians for Bush, by S. Rob Sobhani

"'President Bush has spoken to our hearts, which yearn for freedom. He will be remembered as another Abraham Lincoln by the freedom-loving people of Iran.' These are words of support from within Iran, in reaction to last week's State of the Union address, uttered by an Iranian calling the Voice of America's Persian service. As a guest at the station that night, I witnessed hundreds of calls, faxes and e-mails from inside Iran praising Mr. Bush. For the first time since the establishment of the theocracy, a U.S. president had chosen to speak to, and for, Iran's downtrodden." (The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 6, 2002)
State of the Union Address, Jan. 29, 2002

The full transcript of President George W. Bush's 2002 State of the Union address, in which he stated that Iran, Iraq, and North Korea "constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world."
Prospects for Progress: America and Iran After 9-11

Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Dela.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, gave a speech at the American Iranian Council on March 13, 2002. In it, Biden spells out specific proposals for improving U.S.-Iran relations and invites members of the Iranian Parliament to meet with members of the United States Congress. The full text of Sen. Biden's speech is available on this page, beneath a summary of his remarks.
Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions

"Iran has attempted to use its civilian nuclear energy program, which is quite modest in scope, to justify its efforts to establish domestically or otherwise acquire assorted nuclear fuel-cycle capabilities. Such capabilities, however, can support fissile material production for a weapons program, and we believe it is this objective that drives Iran's efforts to acquire relevant facilities." (CIA report to Congress, Jan. 30, 2002)
FBI press release on Khobar Towers indictments

"The indictment handed down by the grand jury gives a detailed chronology of events leading up to the deadly attack and provides a snapshot of the Saudi Hizballah and its relationship with then-members of the Iranian government. No Iranian is named or charged in the indictment." Includes a link to the actual indictment (PDF). (June 2001)
Patterns of Global Terrorism, 2001

This annual report from the U.S. State Department designates Iran "the most active state sponsor of terrorism," and says that the hardliners in power continue to thwart efforts to moderate Iran's policies. The report also says that Iran's support for Palestinian groups that use violence against Israel has intensified, but that it has reduced its involvement in other forms of terrorist activity. (U.S. State Department, May 21, 2002)
Hizbollah (in English)

The official website of Hezbollah, the Shiite Muslim group that the U.S. State Department has accused of sponsoring terrorism. Includes the group's political declarations and background on its issues.
  Inside Iran 
Iran: Who Holds the Power?

The BBC's interactive flowchart of the power structure in Iran, with articles for further reading.
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran

From the Iranian embassay in Ottawa.
The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran: An Assessment

A March 2001 article detailing the strength and structure of Iran's complex military establishment. (Middle East Review of International Affairs, March 2001)
Iran: A Country Study

The Library of Congress's in-depth history of Iran, up to the mid-1980s. It covers some of the major developments in U.S.-Iran relations, including the CIA's involvement in the overthrow of nationalist Prime Minister Mossadeq and the U.S. Embassy takeover a quarter-century later. (Library of Congress, 1987)
Reports & Commentary:
Iran: The Reformers Are Showing Signs of Life

"Just after Bush's speech, most reformists joined the mullahs and President Mohammed Khatami in denouncing the U.S. Now, though, the tough Bush line seems to be spurring a new debate about Iran's politics and its relations with the U.S." (Business Week, March 25, 2002)
Shadow Land, by Joe Klein

"In Iran it is practically impossible to get a clear answer to the simplest of questions: Who is running this country? Quite often, the response is nervous laughter. Academics, when asked, will draw inconclusive flow charts of the government's structure: there are shadow institutions everywhere ... regular courts and clerical courts, a regular army and a revolutionary army, an elected parliament and a clerical Council of Guardians. At the top of these charts sits the Supreme Leader." (The New Yorker, Feb. 18-25, 2002)
Successor Story, by Franklin Foer

A profile of Reza Pahlavi, the late shah's son who now lives in the U.S. and espouses reformist ideas. "When Khatami took office in 1997, [Pahlavi] laid low while the reformists challenged the conservative establishment. ... But as Khatami's challenge from within the system has stalled in the face of intransigence of conservative mullahs, Pahlavi has grown more vociferous. To counter fears about his family's authoritarian legacy, he has become aggressively candid, the John McCain of Middle Eastern monarchs." (The New Republic, Jan. 14, 2002)
Shah's Son Enlists Exiles in U.S. in Push to Change Iran

"This year, Reza Pahlavi, the son of the former shah of Iran, seized what seemed a propitious moment to start campaigning to replace the ayatollahs in Tehran with a democratic government. From his base near Washington, Mr. Pahlavi has been denouncing the Islamic fundamentalists, a message that has gained a new urgency since Sept. 11." (The New York Times, Dec. 3, 2001)
Time Europe: Iran's Elections

Time magazine's excellent compendium of articles and other features on the 2001 presidential election in Iran, including an interview about the future of the reform movement with presidential adviser Saeed Hajjarian, who was recovering from an assassination attempt at the time of the interview.
Iranian Election Results

Suzanne Maloney, a foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution, answers questions about the 2001 presidential election and what it means for the reform movement in Iran. (washingtonpost.com, June 11, 2001)
Political Paralysis: Iran's 2001 Election and the Future of Reform

"On June 8 [2001], Iran will hold its eighth presidential election. Although reformist President Mohammad Khatami is expected to win a second term, the uncertainty and confusion that have marred this election reflect a growing political stalemate in Tehran that threatens not only the future of reform but perhaps the future of the Islamic Republic itself." (Asia Society Update, May 2001)
The Struggle for Iran

A one-hour radio documentary from The Iran Project and KQED, the public radio station in San Francisco, hosted by Walter Cronkite. The documentary is divided into six sections, including a segment dealing with U.S. media coverage of Iran that examines whether American media have distorted events in Iran in order to further U.S. foreign policy goals. (KQED, Jan. 17, 2001)
Revolutionary Islam

A radio documentary produced by public radio station WBUR in Boston as part of its Inside Out series. "For a quarter of a century, a revolutionary movement has been spreading around the planet. While America's leaders were focused on Marxist revolutions and the Soviet Union, a radical new vision of Islam was surging through the Muslim world. ... In Iran, where the revolution started, and Egypt, where Islamic radicals are brutally suppressed, where does revolutionary Islam draw its strength?" (Inside Out, WBUR, 2001)
Human Rights:
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Iran

The U.S. State Department's 18,000-word report condemning the Islamic Republic's human-rights abuses. "The government's human rights record remained poor; although efforts within society to make the government accountable for its human rights policies continued, serious problems remain. The government significantly restricts citizens' right to change their government." (U.S. State Department, March 4, 2002)
Amnesty International Report 2001: Iran

"Scores of political prisoners continued to be held; among them were prisoners of conscience and others sentenced in previous years after unfair trials. A clamp-down on freedom of expression resulted in the arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of scores of journalists. Reports of torture and ill-treatment continued. At least 75 people were executed during 2000; the true number may have been considerably higher."
Human Rights Watch World Report 2002: Iran

"The conservative backlash set in motion by the sweeping reformist victory in parliamentary elections in February 2000 showed no signs of abating. By the end of November 2000, more than fifty daily and weekly newspapers had been issued with closure orders, and more than twenty leading independent and reform-minded journalists, editors, and publishers remained in prison."
Stifling Dissent: The Human Rights Consequences of Inter-Factional Struggle in Iran

"Perhaps stung by Khatami's supporters' victory in the February 2000 election and threatened by an increasingly inquisitive and combative press, the conservatives have mounted an increasingly effective counteroffensive against the proponents of reform. In particular, they have used their dominance within the judiciary and the Council of Guardians to rein in and smother what had emerged as the engine of reform, the new, independent newspapers and journals. In little more than a year, the courts, under the control of the conservatives, have closed down more than thirty independent newspapers and journals, and sentenced at least twenty leading journalists, editors and publishers to prison terms." (Human Rights Watch, May 2001)
General Resources:
The Washington Post: Iran

Current and archived stories on the Islamic Republic from The Washington Post, with links to further reading.
Iran in Time

From Time magazine's European edition, a collection of reporting on Iran, including interviews with leading reformers and cultural figures.
Iranian Media:
Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting
Islamic Republic News Agency
Iranian Student News Agency
IranMania: Independent News

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