Perhaps more than any other country, Iran holds the world in suspense. The country's conflicting messages in recent months have run the gamut: Iran has both rebuffed and warmed to President Obama's overtures, conceded the release of journalist Roxana Saberi, and brazenly test-fired a missile with potential nuclear capacities.
Hooman Majd, author of "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ," talks with Nisid Hajari, Foreign Editor of Newsweek, about Iran and the role of its people in influencing its politics.
Nisid Hajari was named Foreign Editor of Newsweek in October 2006. In that position he edits and directs coverage of international news for the magazine, including Al Qaeda as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Previous to that he served as Managing Editor of Newsweek International for four years, overseeing the overseas edition of the magazine. He joined the magazine in February 2001 as Asia Editor. During his tenure, the overseas edition won several editorial, photo, and design awards, including one for General Excellence for the 2001 Asia Special Issue, "East Meets West" which he top-edited.
Before coming to Newsweek, Hajari had worked for a variety of publications. As associate editor for Time Asia in Hong Kong, Hajari received his first two General Excellence Awards for the "Time 100: Asians of the Century" special issue and for "An Asian Journey: From Sapporo to Surabaya." Prior to that position, Hajari was a staff writer for Time Asia and Time International in New York. Hajari also worked as a staff writer for Entertainment Weekly and an editorial assistant for the Village Voice.
Hajari holds a B.A. in English from Princeton University and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Hooman Majd was born in Tehran, Iran in 1957, and lived abroad from infancy with his family who were in the diplomatic service. He attended boarding school in England and college in the United States, and stayed in the U.S. after the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Majd had a long career in the entertainment business before devoting himself to writing and journalism full-time. He worked at Island Records and Polygram Records for many years, with a diverse group of artists, and was head of film and music at Palm Pictures, where he produced The Cup and James Toback's Black and White.
He has written for GQ, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New York Observer, Interview, and Salon, and has been a regular contributor to The Huffington Post from its inception. A contributing editor at Interview magazine, he lives in New York City and travels regularly back to Iran.
Hooman Majd, author of The Ayatollah Begs to Differ talks with Newsweek's Nisid Hajari about the growing "wave" of young voters in Iran. He describes the atmosphere of excitement in Tehran, explaining that in previous elections, "there was a real sense of apathy" whereas now, "people sense that there could be a change, a real change."
Hooman Majd discusses the effect Obama is having on the elections in Iran. He explains that in addition to improving America's image in general, many candidates are beginning to espouse messages of reconciliation.
Hooman Majd argues that despite America's wishes to the contrary, Iran will never give up its uranium enrichment program. He explains that while they may be willing to compromise on the details, "Iranians don't believe they should give up uranium enrichment on their soil."
Country, Middle East, southwestern Asia. Area: 636,374 sq mi (1,648,200 sq km). Population (2009 est.): 74,196,000. Capital: Tehran. Persians constitute the largest ethnic group; other ethnic groups include Azerbaijanians, Kurds, Lurs, Bakhtyari, and Baloch. Languages: Persian (Farsi; official), numerous others. Religions: Islam (official; predominantly Shi'ite); also Zoroastrianism. Currency: rial. Iran occupies a high plateau, rising higher than 1,500 feet (460 metres) above sea level, and is surrounded largely by mountains. More than half of its surface area consists of salt deserts and other wasteland. About one-tenth of its land is arable, and another one-fourth is suitable for grazing. Iran's rich petroleum reserves account for about one-tenth of world reserves and are the basis of its economy. It is a unitary Islamic republic with one legislative house and several oversight bodies dominated by clergy. The head of state and government is the president, but supreme authority rests with the rahbar (leader), a ranking cleric. Human habitation in Iran dates to some 100,000 years ago, but recorded history began with the Elamites c. 3000 BCE. The Medes flourished from c. 728 but were overthrown in 550 by the Persians, who were in turn conquered by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE. The Parthians (seeParthia) created an empire that lasted from 247 BCE to 226 CE, when control passed to the Sasanian dynasty. Various Muslim dynasties ruled from the 7th century. In 1501 the Safavid dynasty was established and lasted until 1736. The Qajar dynasty ruled from 1796, but in the 19th century the country was economically controlled by the Russian and British empires. Reza Khan (seeReza Shah Pahlavi) seized power in a coup (1921). His son Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi alienated religious leaders with a program of modernization and Westernization and was overthrown in 1979; Shi'ite cleric Ruhollah Khomeini then set up an Islamic republic, and Western influence was suppressed. The destructive Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s ended in a stalemate. Since the 1990s the government has gradually moved to a more liberal conduct of state affairs.
You are correct! To say Twitter caused the uprising is an Insult to all those brave Iranians who had their vote stolen and have had to live under a horrible regime for decades...Seriously, I have no idea what samtheman point is but I think it is either ignorance or political.
Twitter did not "cause" the uprising...A stolen election and decades of anger caused the uprising! Twitter simply help in communicating.
I think that is an insult to the Iranian People! Twitter was used by the Iranian People like the Chinese students used the FAX Machine to communicate and organize the Chinese uprising in Tiananmen square.
I think you are incorrect about the Iran Election...Even the IGC admitted to 3 million votes that were wrong. Of course, your comment was made before much of the evidence came out showing the election was in fact stolen.
Great series, it is strange to watch now after the fact but still informative. As of now clerics in Qom are beginning to align themselves with the reformist movement against the dictates of the Supreme Leader. See this for more: http://www.newsy.com/videos/iran_s_power_struggle
The press is saying that this symbolizes the beginning of a break down within the government. It is hard to tell if this will lead to change, or violent suppression of opposition but judging by how things have gone thus far, sadly the latter is more likely.
What's interesting is that Majd predicted that the election results would be accurate within around 100k votes, which makes me think that Ahmadinejad may've legitimately won. However, some of the inconsistencies like Ahmadinejad winning Mousavi's hometown is suspicious.
As for Twitter, I recommend you follow PersianKiwi. His/her updates are terrifying.
Well, I think Twitter users were the initial cause behind all of it but if anything, they were at least the main cause. Here some links to explain the movement: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_wl396 , http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/...249108131.html and http://www.newser.com/story/61891/cn...an-burned.html .
It's difficult to argue what exactly triggered extended news coverage of Iranian protests which was previously restricted by Tehran authorities. However, Twitter has been great in generating the buzz around elections followed by protests. Looks like the delay of the Twitter's upgrade, mentioned by Samtheman, was requested by US State Department directly http://www.reuters.com/article/inter...0090616?rpc=28
Do you know for sure it was Twitter users that prompted it specifically? To me, that sounds like an amazing victory in general, but it sounds too good to be true. I'd like to quote that piece of information, but yeah... Samtheman is not an acceptable source. :P
"Think Intelligently, Beyond All Imagination." Tyrone Lamoureux
Thanks to Twitter users after having loudly protested about lack of news coverage, we are now getting CNN news reports on the Tehran protests and Twitter is doing their part in the Iran elections by postponing their maintenance check til tomorrow.
Thanks to technology, we will be able to be a more informed world.