news | Wednesday September 25, 2013

Ms. Massoumeh Ebtekar Appointed to Iranian Political Office

Ms. Massoumeh Ebtekar, author of Takeover in Tehran (an account of the US Embassy capture in 1979), was appointed on Tuesday, September 10th, 2013, by Iran’s new president, Mr. Hassan Rohani, as Vice-President and Head of the Department of the Environment. These are the same positions Ebtekar held with distinction during the presidency of Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, from 1998 to 2008. They make her the highest-ranking woman currently holding political office in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In Takeover in Tehran, Ebtekar sets out to correct twenty years of misrepresentation by the Western media of the aims of the Iranian students and the populist revolution they personified during and since the revolution. She did so with the help of Fred A. Reed, respected scholar of Middle Eastern studies, who compiled and translated interviews with Ebtekar for the book.

Ebtekar also explains, in considerable detail, how one faction of the Shia clerical establishment came to see (with the eager complicity of the international media and its own pro-Western political agenda) these students as a vanguard of its own theocratic goals rather than of the much broader cultural upheaval, which had ousted the regime of Shah Mohammad-Reza Pahlevi.

Ebetkar is also prominently featured in Conversations in Tehran, a book of essays compiled, researched, and translated by Reed and co-author Jean-Daniel Lafond.

As recent news reports of brutal civil strife in Syria focus our attention yet again on the Middle East (arguably, it never wavered), we may also return to Reed’s Shattered Images: The Rise of Militant Iconoclasm in Syria a book published in 2003 that retains its relevance, shedding light on the Syrian milieu and the current crises there.

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