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The definitive history of the Iran-Iraq war, and revolutionary Iran, essential for understanding the country today For over 30 years the Islamic Republic has resisted widespread condemnation, sanctions, and sustained attacks by Iraq in an eight-year war. Many policy-makers today share a weary wish that Iran would somehow just disappear as a problem. But with Iran's continuing commitment to a nuclear programme and its reputation as a trouble-maker in... more...

Nader Shah, ruler of Persia from 1736 to 1747, took eighteenth-century Iran from political collapse to become the dominant power in the region, recovering Herat and Kandahar, conquering Moghul Delhi, plundering the enormous treasures of India, repeatedly defeating Ottoman Turkey, and overrunning most of what is now Iraq. But suspicion and avarice led him to persecute the Persian people as savagely as any foreign conqueror had done.... more...

Since the beginning of recorded history, Iran/Persia has been one of the most important world civilizations. Iran remains a distinct civilization today despite its status as a major Islamic state with broad regional influence and its deep integration into the global economy through its vast energy reserves. Yet the close attention paid to Iran in recent decades stems from the impact of the 1979 revolution, which unleashed ideological shock waves... more...

Iran is a land of contradictions. It is an Islamic republic, but one in which only 1.4 percent of the population attend Friday prayers. Iran's religious culture encompasses the most censorious and dogmatic Shi'a Muslim clerics in the world, yet its poetry insistently dwells on the joys of life: wine, beauty, sex. Iranian women are subject to one of the most restrictive dress codes in the Islamic world, but make up nearly 60 percent of... more...

In Revolutionary Iran, Michael Axworthy guides us through recent Iranian history from shortly before the 1979 Islamic revolution through the summer of 2009, when Iranians poured into the streets of Tehran by the hundreds of thousands, demanding free, democratic government. Axworthy explains how that outpouring of support for an end to tyranny in Iran paused and then moved on to other areas in the region like Egypt and Libya, leaving Iran's leadership... more...


Iran often appears in the media as a hostile and difficult country. But beneath the headlines there is a fascinating story of a nation of great intellectual variety and depth, and enormous cultural importance. A nation whose impact has been tremendous, not only on its neighbours in the Middle East but on the world as a whole - and through ideas and creativity rather than by the sword. From the time of the prophet Zoroaster, to the powerful ancient... more...

Although frequently vilified, Iran is a nation of great intellectual variety and depth, and one of the oldest continuing civilizations in the world. Its political impact has been tremendous, not only on its neighbors in the Middle East but also throughout the world. From the time of the prophet Zoroaster, to the powerful ancient Persian Empires, to the revolution of 1979, the hostage crisis, and the current standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions,... more...

Iran is a land of contradictions. It is an Islamic republic, but one in which only 1.4 percent of the population attend Friday prayers. Iran’s religious culture encompasses the most censorious and dogmatic Shi’a Muslim clerics in the world, and yet its poetry insistently dwells on the joys of life-wine, beauty, sex. Iranian women are subject to one of the most restrictive dress codes in the Islamic world, but make up nearly 60 percent of the... more...