The sovereign can no longer say, "You shall think as I do on pain of death;" but he says, "You are free to think differently from me, and to retain your life, your property, and all that you possess; but if such be your determination, you are henceforth an alien among your people."

(Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Iran & The West

If you are interested in learning about Iranian history, I recommend you the BBC documentary 'Iran & The West: The Man Who Changed The World'. It is a three part series, featuring interviews with most of the relevant actors.

First part: the revolution and hostage crisis

interesting points:

  • Ahmadinejad, the current President of Iran, was the only one out of four student leaders who opposed the occupation of the US embassy
  • The occupation of the US embassy started without Khomeini being informed. When he learned the news, he was first against the occupation and ordered the Foreign Minister to get the students out of the US embassy. But then flipped and gave his blessing to the occupation. This move, which forced the entire Iranian government to resign, pushed the moderates out of the revolution. Khomeini became supreme leader.
  • The hostage taking was initially undertaken to force the US to send the Shah, who was at the time in the US, back to Iran. But it continued after the Shah left the US. For the release of the hostages, the US returned assets to Iran that President Carter had frozen before.

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