Archive for February, 2012

Iran in Maps

bkyser on Feb 23rd 2012

Here is a link to a BBC interactive webpage featuring maps of Iran. These maps show you where nuclear sites are located, where different ethnic groups within Iran live, and the size of the population in Iran’s major cities.

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Iran-Iraq War

jfurnary on Feb 22nd 2012

Here is an excellent website that breaks up the Iran- Iraq War into 6 phases. The phases are as follows: Original Iraqi Invasion; Iranian Mobilization and Resistance; The Iranian Counteroffensive; The War of Attrition; Internationalization of the War; Gradual Superpower Involvement; The Tanker War.


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Iran-Iraq War: The Fueds, Tragedy, and Spoils- Mansour Farhang

jfurnary on Feb 22nd 2012

I found an article from the World Policy Journal written by Mansour Farhang.It was written five years into the eight year long war between Iran and Iraq from 1980-1988. Mansour touches on the severity of the conflict, citing human wave tactics, poison gas, suicide bombing, attacks on oil tankers, and air raids on civilian targets. He refers to the ongoing war at the time as the “longest and most destructive war in the Middle East since the onslaught of the Mongols in the 13th century.”

The tensions for the war were discussed in length to describe the high tensions between Hussein (Iraq) and prime minister Khomeini (Iran). Khomeini in 1979 was responsible for enticing Shi’i Muslims in Iraq to try to over throw the Baathist Party in control headed by Saddam Hussein. Meanwhile, Hussein felt much of the land under Iran’s control was rightfully Iraqs all along. Therefor, when Iran was militarily weak from the Iranian Revolution, Saddam took the window of opportunity to attack Iran and take back oil rich land.

The fighting that ensued resulted in hundreds of thousands killed in extremely bloody and harsh fighting.


The Iran-Iraq War: The Feud, the Tragedy, the Spoils
Mansour Farhang
World Policy Journal , Vol. 2, No. 4 (Fall, 1985), pp. 659-680
link to Article

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Chemical Warfare

tobin on Feb 22nd 2012

Here is an intersting write up about chamical warfare being wrongfully used throughout the Iran Iraq war. Both Iran and Iraq had been prohibited by the UN to use chemical warfare. Iran made allegations that Iraq had been using chemical warfare in certain instances. Iraq had disputed the claims and said they had not been using chemical warfare. However, the UN had verified that Iraq had been using illegal chemical warfare throughout the war.

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Nuclear Visits

tobin on Feb 21st 2012

Here is a short video on YouTube which follows the discussion of the Nuclear issue in Iran.

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Iran Military

tobin on Feb 21st 2012

Iranian missile fired during military exercise. 2 Jan 2012


Here are two articles posted by the BBC about the Iranian Military. The first article entitled Iran Says it Could Attack First, goes into some detail about how if Iran does feel other countries are threatening them or if Iran feels its national interests are endangered they are able and willing to attack.

The second article entitled Iran to hold military drills ‘to protect nuclear sites’ goes into detail about how Iran is willing to protect and defend their right to hold nuclear weapons.

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Iran Through Pictures

bkyser on Feb 20th 2012

Here is yet another great photo essay of Iran, featuring pictures from today’s Iran. The pictures provide an interesting mix of tradition and modernity and even feature pictures from Iran’s small Jewish community. Enjoy!

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Evin Prison: Iran’s Most Notorious Jail

bkyser on Feb 20th 2012

Here is an article from BBC about Evin Prison, the most notorious jail in Iran. This jail is most famous for housing opponents against the Shah and the SAVAK before the 1979 Revolution. However, after the revolution, the categories of the prisoners changed from opponents of the Shah to supporters of the Shah who were viewed as anti-revolutionary. This article looks at the women’s section of the jail, where there are currently about 375 women in jail and 2,575 men. This is the same jail where Shirin Ebadi, Human Rights Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was housed. Evin Prison is famous for its use of torture and other harsh methods towards its prisoners. This article, however, looks at the daily struggles that the women are currently facing, including suffering from HIV/AIDS and raising their children from jail. Evin Prison allows for children under the age of three to stay with their mothers.

Frances Harrison, “Inside Iran’s Most Nortorious Jail,” British Broadcasting Company, June 14, 2006, (accessed February 20, 2012).


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Salman Rushdie Fatwa

bkyser on Feb 20th 2012

Here is a documentary about the fatwa that was issued by Ayatollah Khomeini to Salman Rushdie on February 14, 1989 because of his book The Satanic Verses, which was published in 1988. Salman Rushdie is a native of Bombay, India and grew up in a liberal Muslim family, however he grew up in Britain. He studied Islamic History at Cambridge University where he first came in contact with the satanic verses associated with the Prophet Muhammad. According to these satanic verses, Muhammad was tricked by the devil into a compromise. Muhammad agreed that the people of Mecca could continue to worship their pagan gods and goddesses since they were having a hard time grasping the concept of a religion with only one god. Muhammad told these stories to Gabriel, who dismissed them, and decided that they should not be included in the Qu’ran. Many Muslims, however, do not believe that these stories actually took place.

In The Satanic Verses, Rushdie’s main character is named Mahound, which is a derogatory termed used for the Prophet Muhammad. This name has origins from the Crusades when the Crusaders referred to Muhammad with this name. The meaning of Mahound is “false prophet.” Rushdie renames the city of Mecca to Jahilia, which comes from the Arabic word “jahiliyya” which means the “age of ignorance,” or rather pre-Islam. In this book Rushdie also write about a brother where all of the twelve women share the same names as the twelve wives of the Prophet Muhammad. There is also a character named Salman, who may be an autobiographical character on behalf of Salman Rushdie, who doubts Muhammad’s revelations.

Immediately after publishing this book, Rushdie received criticism and warnings from his friends. One commentator in the documentary who is also a friend of Rushdie’s said, “say anything you want about God, but be aware of saying anything about the Prophet Muhammad.” Protests starting occurring all over South Asia after the publication, including in Islamabad, Pakistan, where five protestors were killed outside of the American Cultural Center. In response to the international protests and outrage, Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a fatwa on February 14, 1989, against Salman Rushdie calling for his death as well as for the death of the publishers of the book and anyone involved with it. In response to this, Britain provided Rushdie with his own personal bodyguard. Britain feared that the British Muslim community would heed the call of Ayatollah Khomeini. This idea came from the fact that Muslims the world over supported the fatwa and were united in their acceptance and respect of Khomeini’s decision. There were two Muslim leaders, however, in Belgium, who spoke out against the fatwa and were later found dead. Iran declared a “Day of Mourning” for the people who had died in the protests over The Satanic Verses and more than 10,000 Iranians took to the streets. The British Embassy in Iran was surrounded and trash was thrown at the building, however, nobody was hurt. Nine days after the fatwa was issued all European diplomats withdrew from Iran.

The fatwa greatly impacted Rushdie’s life. He and his family never stayed in one house for more than one night. Translators of The Satanic Verses were also being attacked throughout the world. The Japanese translator was found stabbed and the Italian translator was also found seriously wounded. However, after the death of Ayatollah Khomeini on June 3, 1989, Rushdie believed that his life might gain some normalcy back. One of the major problems with Khomeini’s death was that the only person who had the authority to change the fatwa was dead. He had taken the fatwa with him to the grave. Khomeini’s successor, Ayatollah Khamenei, renewed the fatwa. In order to ease the burden that was now placed on his life, Rushdie agreed to convert to Islam. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was one of many people who helped Rushdie with this matter. Over time, Iranian and British negotiations ensued and Iran eventually released a statement declaring that the Iranian Government would not take any actions against the life of Salman Rushdie. In 2007, Salman Rushdie was offered Knighthood in Britain. This decision once again led to more protests against his new status as a Knight.


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A Photo Essay from Pre-Revolutionary Iran

bkyser on Feb 17th 2012

Here is a link to a great photo essay picturing photos from Iran before 1979. With each picture the photographer provides you with information about the photo. Among the photos are pictures of Iranian women, wearing clothes and hairstyles similar to those in the West at the time. There is also a picture of the construction of the Shahyad landmark of Tehran, which the photographer refers to as “the Eiffel Tower of Tehran.”

Cara Parks, “Once Upon a Time in Tehran,” Foreign Policy, February 15, 2012, (accessed February 17, 2012).

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