Extraordinary scenes have unfolded in Iran over the past week as demonstrators have taken to the streets to protest the results of the June 12th election. On this week’s history podcast I turn to Shaul Bakhash, professor of Middle East history at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and the author of The Reign of the Ayatollahs: Iran and the Islamic Revolution. Bakhash was educated both in the U.S. and Iran. During the Islamic Revolution he was a reporter in Tehran. He talks about the history of protest movements in Iran and the different kinds of governments it has experienced in the past century or so.
Thanks to all of you who sent in questions for this week’s podcast. I need to keep thinking about how best to do shows with listener input–this one was good in one sense–many of the questions were of a similar theme, what sort of government existed before the 1953 coup, do Iranians see the Supreme Leader as representative of the will of the people and how has that changed in recent times, what’s the post-Revolution structure and the balance of power between elected and unelected officials. But then there were questions that were just too large to tackle in one episode or too contemporary to answer without some serious on-the-ground reporting. I’ll try to narrow the request a bit more next time. Anyway, enjoy the interview with Shaul Bakhash; he has a wise and measured tone and a lifetime of experience and scholarship to bring to bear on events in Iran. I’m glad for once to have the opportunity to let him speak in full instead of soundbites.
HERE’S HOW TO LISTEN:
or listen here:
For more Iran history check out the radio series I did in 2004 on the troubled history of U.S. – Iranian relations.