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  • Iran and the West


    by Sid (Faisal)
    15th February, 2009 at 8:41 pm    

    The BBC’s “landmark” 3 part documentary series, ‘Iran and the West‘ began last week, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

    With interviews and first hand commentary from key players from the events, who include two ex-presidents of Iran, Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammed Khatami and leading westerners including ex-US President Jimmy Carter as well as Secretaries of State George Schultz, Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright.

    1. The Man who Changed the World
    2. The Pariah State
    3. Nuclear Confrontation

    Another BBC documentary, not part of this series, but a good place to start is ‘Iran and Britain‘ which charts the history of Iran prior to the Revolution and serves as an excellent introduction.

    Unmissable stuff. Documenatries of this quality don’t come around very often, so catch them on iPlayer while they’re still available.


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    Filed in: History






    14 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs


    1. blah — on 15th February, 2009 at 10:17 pm  

      Khomeini make mistakes. But he was the best Muslim leader of the 20th century and a hero to anyone who doesnt want to lead their life as a slave to a nation that wants to enslave the world, America.

    2. platinum786 — on 15th February, 2009 at 10:19 pm  

      Kudos to Iran. Within 4-5 years they will go nuclear and nobody will be in a position to do anything about it. On top of that I forsee trade with the resuming, the west may think they can ignore the market, but the Chinese have no issues if someone else has nuclear weapons, neither will the Russians, as well as Pakistan, India, the middle east etc.

    3. Riz Din — on 15th February, 2009 at 10:39 pm  

      I’ve just blogged about Iran, watched a news piece on the Iranian exhibition at the British Museum, and now I come here and there is more on Iran…it’s all for the good though as I knew zilch about this place and it’s politics until I started watching the Beeb documentary (I’ll second your comments about it’s high quality!). In the second episode of the series, did anyone catch the pretty explicit accusation that the French government (Chirac) delayed the release of their own hostages for political reasons? That’s scary stuff.

      On the plus side, it was great seeing Khatami being interviewed, especially learning that he will be campaigning for presidency again this year. I have high hopes.

      PS - Check out Ahmadinajd’s blog at http://www.ahmadinejad.ir (a shame it isn’t updated anymore, but you got to love the design).

    4. Sid — on 15th February, 2009 at 11:15 pm  

      Riz,

      yeah I noticed that. It was the time when Mitterand was negotiating to get Hizbollah hostages returned and Chirac, who was the opposition, sent reps to stop the release before the French elections! Next thing you know, Chirac has won the elections and he is scooping up all the kudos for the freeing of the hostages. The 3 BBC documentaries I’ve seen so far have been full of insights like that.

    5. platinum786 — on 16th February, 2009 at 9:51 am  

      The one done by Rageh Omar last week was good too.

      Iran and Britain was boring, i couldn’t sit through it.

    6. AsifB — on 16th February, 2009 at 9:54 am  

      An excellent series - the first epsiode was the most interesting explaining how and why the Shah fell; and featuring the poignant footage of Carter and mondale on the phone without sleep in their last hours in the white house desperately hoping Iran would release the embassy hostages before Reagan was sworn in - they waited till 20 seconds after.

      Although not overlooking the Iranian regimes violence , the series has been revealing in both how various elements in the Revolution competed with each other and why (given the country’s frozen assets and invasion by Iraq) the state’s implacable negotiating stance made sense to them. I think Blah is somehwta overoptimistic in thinking Khomeni was a great Muslim leader though - the very fact that the regime had to deal with Oliver North and various Saudi and Israeli middleman to get weapons knowing the profits would go to support the contras against Nicaragua, shows that reality did not match the rhetoric.

      Even more fascinating I found was the Rageh Omar travelogue Rageh in Theran on BBC4 last week which I would sincerely hope Barrak Obama gets to see - a fast growing city of extremes like any other in the developing world with plenty of wealth and modernity (including a gleaming new Metro, filmakers and pop stars) and plenty of non-celerical shaven faces. What good could he possibly do by bombing such a place?

    7. Riz Din — on 16th February, 2009 at 10:06 am  

      I thought Rageh’s prog was okay as a guide to real life in Tehran, but nothing special. The best bit was when Mahmoud attended the opening of a grand tunnel and invited Rageh to join him in prayer…quite surreal.

      The Beeb also has several radio programmes ‘Iran Uncovered’ - but it does remind me of the vast amount of output they produced when the Hadron Collider was launched (it’s all gone a bit quite now on that front, eh?)…perhaps it might be more productive to take less of a scatter gun approach and focus more on a few high quality outputs along the lines of the Iran & the West programme.

      PS - Sid, surely that’s Watergate level scandal material…if the Beeb have any more evidence on this they need to put a case together!

    8. Riz Din — on 16th February, 2009 at 10:10 am  

      Oh, have to add the key tidbit fact from Rageh’s programm: Tehran has a higher level of cosmetic plastic surgery than Los Angeles (not sure if it’s per capita, but interesting nonetheless).

    9. platinum786 — on 16th February, 2009 at 11:24 am  

      I wonder why operaiton praying Mantis and the downing of Iran air flight 655 was not mentioned in the second episode.

      The episode focused on reasons for Iranian aggression towards the US, but neglected the US and it’s brutal actions. Do you not think they may have shaped opinion in Iran, the fact the US attacked Iran and it’s oild platforms, as well as the fact they shot down an Iranian airline carrier killing 290 people.

    10. Jai — on 16th February, 2009 at 5:35 pm  

      Tehran has a higher level of cosmetic plastic surgery than Los Angeles

      Apparently Iran has the highest rate of rhinoplasty (nose jobs) in the world.

      Bloody hot women, though. Whenever there’s a programme on Iran — especially Tehran — you see all these girls walking down the streets (and occasionally being interviewed) who are literally stunning enough to be supermodels.

    11. blah — on 16th February, 2009 at 8:28 pm  

      AsifB

      “I think Blah is somehwta overoptimistic in thinking Khomeni was a great Muslim leader though - the very fact that the regime had to deal with Oliver North and various Saudi and Israeli middleman to get weapons knowing the profits would go to support the contras against Nicaragua, shows that reality did not match the rhetoric.”

      Not quite sure how this act of necessity in an imposed war, involving trade, negates what an extraordinary man Khomeini was.

      The way he lead his life is extremely admirable and an emulation of the Prophet. This was the leader of a nation state and an oil rich one at that, who slept on the floor and lived an extremely simple basic life without material riches. How many Muslim (or other) leaders do you know like that?

      The Iranian regime is probably the only Muslim regime which stands up for Muslims (it isnt perfect on this but no one else comes close) worldwide
      Can you name a better Muslim leader ?.

      Many Iranians who violently disagree with the regime have the uptmost respcet for him since he restored dignity to Iran after the humiliation of the Shahs puppet rule and his person deep honesty and lack of corruption.

      The scenes when he arrived in Tehran and when he died are a testament to the love Iranians had for him.

      ——————————————-

      Riz Din
      ” The best bit was when Mahmoud attended the opening of a grand tunnel and invited Rageh to join him in prayer…quite surreal.”

      Not sure why - its standard Muslim practice if youre praying alone to ask someone to join since its more blessed. There arent different rules for Presidents.

    12. Nyrone — on 16th February, 2009 at 10:23 pm  

      and also look out for 1) An Iranian Odyssey - Mossadegh, Oil and the 1953 CIA Coup and 2) The Fall of Shah on the BBC Mid-March.

      Ok, that’s a big plug cos I worked on both of them;)
      ..but they are excellent!

    13. Riz Din — on 17th February, 2009 at 1:49 am  

      Blah - but from what I saw, it was only the President and Rageh…the hordes of other journalists seemed not to have been invited to pray alongside. Probably more than meets the eye but that’s what met my eye.

    14. blah — on 18th February, 2009 at 10:31 pm  

      Just watched the first part of the series.
      Truly magnificent documentary making.
      Can you imagine anyone but the Beeb making something this good?
      Well worth the licence fee.

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