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Two trains, I would say, which have already left the terminal. One train is carrying the message of a nuclear Iran; the other train is carrying the message of socio-political change in Iran. I think the West can do a lot — in the interplay — between the two trains. You mentioned that any revolution needs two sides or two elements — social and economic — and you indicated that the green movement had a social aspect. Do you anticipate that rising poverty and food prices will trigger more of an economic element to a future revolution? Let me first correct the gentleman, I think I was misunderstood.

Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran

These are the two sides, in Islam; justice is one of the most important principles. But it has social and political. But I think the movement was mainly about social. When you say that Iran has the worse human rights record in the area and because of that any struggle for freedom in Iran has been put down with suppression and violence — therefore it takes great courage for people to come to the streets, like in the streets of Egypt and Tunisia and other places.

As you quite rightly said, the Iranian young people came out in hundreds of thousands in June , they were brutally suppressed, many were killed on the streets, arrested, tortured and hundreds have been executed since that time. Because of that, very little was done during , but with all that suppression they came out on the streets on 14 February , 20 February and 1 March , and all that was shown was about 10 seconds on 14 February. Do you have any insight why so much has been shown about Syria, Egypt and so little has been shown about the enormous struggle of the people of Iran for their freedom?

Even it took them a long time to show what is going on in Syria recently, in the last few weeks, and I was looking on the internet on Syria and I compared BBC and CNN to see how it was reflected there and it was absent. It started with the issue of Iran — I have a theory that I can prove that whenever you have a Democrat President in the White House, chances there is going to be a revolution in Iran.

They used to say Obama-us. The name Obama reads in Persian — he is with us — and they change it to Obama is not with us after he did not respond. For 10 days that the young people of Iran were in the streets in June , Obama did not say a word. I think that American tends to interfere against weaker partners rather than stronger partners. I think that the world should say more about the issue of human rights. Being in Britain for some time, I see the criticism in Israel — we have our share in creating this criticism but I think we get too much of the criticism while the other side get too little.

So take some of the blame off Israel and honestly send it to whichever is the most crucial issue. He coined a new term to describe the parliament it was so new to them. It was the early nineteenth century, it was a student who came to study in oxford — the first memoir of an Iranian student — I think they were impressed by freedom and ultimately I would say so important to the Muslim countries of the Middle East, and I think that what we owe to them is to support their claim and their struggle for freedom.

I learned to appreciate freedom when I was in Iran. It was strange because it was not a democratic country. It seems strange that the copious relationship with Iran — not just ignoring it and not by putting anything in the press are actively helping the tyranny that is going on there, they are not supporting the Iranian opposition. One difference between Iran and other countries is that Iran has very large opposition in exile which is trying to support the changes in Iran and Iran has been doing everything it can to not only destroy opposition inside Iran but also to destroy this opposition outside Iran.

They are doing it with illegal means; they persuaded Britain and all European countries to disguise as terrorist organisation.

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The British government had to be taken to court to remove that tag, and eventually it came off in Europe but it is still on in America. Although they did it to appease the Iranians, and if only they would take it off it would be a big help, many high-level parliamentarians and lawyers are trying to make them do what is legally correct and they are holding back. I welcome that you said in Israel there is no Iran hate basically but are you really in the majority view or a minority view on that?

The Soul of Iran : Afshin Molavi :

I tell you, you can solve the disputes with Iran and Israel in a day. There are strategic shared interests between them. This regime, its ideology, pushed it to be against Israel.


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Israel is what in Persian they say, we are a low worm that is easy to jump on. We have certain interests. Every leader of the Middle East who wants to be the leader of the Arab world will raise the flag of Jerusalem. Saddam Hussein attacking Iran in — his army was going in the opposite direction but his slogan was the way to Jerusalem was through Tehran. What did he think that his army would circle the globe to come to Israel from the other side? It became a symbol for many people — if you want to be the leader of the Islamic world Arab or Middle Eastern world — you need to speak in the name of Jerusalem.

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My view is that — also about the United States — do you think the people of Iran hate America so much? They go to the streets and chant death to America, death to America and when they are thirsty they want a Pepsi Cola. They teach English in their schools as a foreign language.


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If you ask yourself which is the country which has made the greatest services to Iranian national interests; you will have to admit it is the United States with the help of Britain and others. The Iranians have a peculiar way to thank you for this good service. It shows that there are some common shared interests between the two. Of course the Israelis are concern with the issue of Iran going nuclear. I must admit my views are different; I was against the term used in Israel that Iran was an existential threat.


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I opposed this publically. And I said that even if this is true the leaders should not say this. They make Iran more powerful than they are and they send a signal to my children that the day that Iran has nuclear they should leave the country. Iran cannot destroy the Jewish state of Israel, period. I was also against equating Ahmadinejad with Hitler. Not that I think that Ahmadinejad is nice, what he has done with his cartoons and pictures about the holocaust, but I think that for our own sake.

They supported Saddam Hussein in the war between Iraq and Iranian is nationalist, and this is something they cannot forgive and forget, and ideology is so difficult for Iranian to digest. I think that the exile opposition in Iran, and here the Iranian regime was smart and saw the danger, whoever is against they let them out.

They allow people to go out because out of the country there is less than you can do. The solution to Iran, the change of Iranian policy would be by Iranians in Iran and not the exile opposition. I spent some time thirty years ago speaking to Iranian opposition in Britain and France, and it seemed to me that they hated each other more than they hated the regime in Tehran.

I told one of them that they had been corrupted by French culture. Everyone think that they are Charles de Gaul, who single-handedly solved the problem. The major issue is the struggle in Tehran should be in Tehran. I can tell you that the next leader of Tehran will not come as Khomeini did with Air France from Paris. He will come from inside the country.

Iran is becoming more; my concluding remarks at the end of the session, I think that Iran has benefited also from changes in the Middle East. Feb 02, Minutes Buy. Feb 07, ISBN Feb 02, ISBN Feb 02, Minutes. In , seemingly overnight—moving at a clip some thirty years faster than the rest of the world—Iran became the first revolutionary theocracy in modern times. Since then, the country has been largely a black box to the West, a sinister presence looming over the horizon.

But inside Iran, a breathtaking drama has unfolded since then, as religious thinkers, political operatives, poets, journalists, and activists have imagined and reimagined what Iran should be. They have drawn as deeply on the traditions of the West as of the East and have acted upon their beliefs with urgency and passion, frequently staking their lives for them.

Essential reading at this moment when the fates of our countries have never been more entwined, Children of Paradise will stand as a classic of political reporting; an indelible portrait of a nation and its people striving for change. Today that revolution has gone astray, a popular democracy movement boldly challenges authority, and young Iranians are more interested in moving to America than in chanting "Death to America.

Like a master Persian carpet maker, Molavi weaves together threads of rich historical insight, political analysis, cultural observation, and the daily realities of life in the Islamic republic to produce a colorful, intricate, and mesmerizing narrative. Originally published in hardcover under the title Persian Pilgrimages, this paperback edition is revised, with a new introduction and epilogue. Seller Inventory APC Norton, Seller Inventory M Delivered from our UK warehouse in 4 to 14 business days. Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is working days from our warehouse.

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Seller Inventory ING Afshin Molavi Ph. Publisher: W. Norton , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title The truths about Iran; quite different truths from versions put forward by Washington, Tehran, and the media. Originally published in hardcover under the title Persian Pilgrimages , this paperback edition is revised, with a new introduction and epilogue.