Category Archives: Iran

How We Got Here #29


New history podcast is up–long versions of my interviews this week with Haleh Esfandiari, author of My Prison, My Home and Peter Maass who wrote Crude World: The Violent Twilight of Oil.  There’s also an interview with the Canadian health care expert and former politician Roy Romanow on the origins of the Canadian system. Finally an excerpt that didn’t make it into the radio segment from my interview Tuesday with Anne-Marie Goetz of UNIFEM, The UN Development Fund for Women, about rape as a weapon of war.  I include it in the history podcast  because Goetz includes a great deal of historical perspective in answering the question of why it’s so urgent to address epidemic levels of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict zones around the world.  More info on HWGH#29 at as soon as I have time to post there.

Iran crisis continued

Here’s a link to my story yesterday on Ahmedinejad’s swearing-in with commentary from Gary Sick and Mansour Farhang.  Like me Sick is just back from vacation–for catch up Iran reading he recommends Roger Cohen in last Sunday’s NYT Magazine.  I would have to agree–and Cohen has a good piece in The New York Review of Books as well.

Britain and Iran’s fraught history

Here’s a BBC online piece tracing the history of bad blood between Britain and Iran–

How We Got Here #20


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.


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For more Iran history check out the radio series I did in 2004 on the troubled history of U.S. – Iranian relations.

History and Iran

This is a plea for help. I’m devoting this week’s episode (#20) of my history podcast How We Got Here to events in Iran. What are your history questions? Curious about past protests in Iran? Past reform movements? The history of democracy there? More on US-Iranian relations?  Bios of specific personalities?  I think the more specific the question the more interesting the show will be. Otherwise it might all get a bit vague and big. Anyway, send me your thoughts and suggestions and questions and I’ll work what I can into the podcast. The email address is

howwegothere at

It’ll be fun to track down some answers.  Many thanks.