Mark Bowden

Islamic RevolutionThree decades after Iranian college students overran and occupied the American Embassy in Tehran, Bowden considers how we continue to deal with that country’s revolution. America’s reductionistic way of remembering the “hostage crisis” ignores its larger significance in Iran and impedes our understanding of the political drama unfolding there today. The movement to oust the Shah was primarily a nationalist one. Many of those in the streets in 1978 and 1979 desired the establishment of a theocracy in order to cast off authoritarianism and found a democracy. Bowden explains how the Islamists schemed to take power. However, 30 years after seizing control, the mullahs of Qom find themselves in a difficult spot. Younger Iranians want real democracy and the revolutionary rhetoric of change is no longer anti-American and Islamist.

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