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Three Last Things About Iran: Shia Pres, Taliban, Nuclear Power

I have finished the book:

Curtis, G. E., & Hooglund, E. J. (2008). Iran: A country study. Area handbook series. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Federal Research Division.

And I have three last factoids about Iran that I didn’t know:

  • p. 221 – The Iranian constitution specifies that the President MUST be a Shia Muslim.
  • p. 247 – In August 1998, in response to the execution of several Iranian diplomats by the Taliban, Iran mobilized 250,000 troups on the Iran-Afghanistan border and comtemplated an invasion to topple the Taliban. The book is silent on why the Iranians went home. I wonder what bin Laden would have done if the Iranians had come calling with tanks and bombs.
  • p. 285 – Iran’s interest in nuclear power for electrical generation began in the days of the Shah. He was the one who originally contracted with Siemans for the Bushehr reactor.

Those are all the factoids I have for you. Obviously, there is still a lot I don’t know about Iran. But this book has been very informative and really brings out the complexity of Iranian state and society. We treat “The Iranians” as a monolith at the peril of both our nation and Iran’s. I hope my little tidbits over the last few weeks have encouraged you to learn more. It’d be great if you’d start with the book above because I like pushing government documents on people. The end of the book has extensive bibliographies of books, articles and websites about Iran for further exploration. But read something. Move past the headlines and rhetoric of our foreign policy elite in both parties.

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