You should read this blog even though it may be defunct now

No, I don't mean this blog. A Saudi woman named Sara Masry decided a couple of years ago to pursue a master's degree in Iranian studies in Tehran. More importantly for us, after a few months in Iran she decided to blog about her experiences. The result is the blog A Saudi in Iran, which … Continue reading You should read this blog even though it may be defunct now

Today in Middle Eastern history: Khomeini returns from exile (1979)

One of the ironies of the modern Middle East is that Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became the most popular person in Iran during a time when he wasn't living there. After a career spent mostly as a non-political religious scholar (albeit one who was known within academic circles to be skeptical about anything that smacked of … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Khomeini returns from exile (1979)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Republic of Mahabad is born (1946)

Really though, the Republic of Mahabad was an experiment in Iranian Kurdish self-rule that survived all the way from January (January 22, to be precise) 1946 until December, um, 1946, when the Iranians decided that they weren't really all that keen on the idea of Iranian Kurdish self-rule. It involved Kurdish nationalism, the overthrow of … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Republic of Mahabad is born (1946)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iran Hostage Crisis ends (1981)

On this date in 1981 the Iranian government finally released the last 52 of the 66 hostages it took when Iranian students/paramilitaries seized the US embassy in Tehran in November 1979. The Carter administration, when it wasn't busy planning botched rescue operations, spent most of the 444 days those hostages were held captive trying to … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iran Hostage Crisis ends (1981)

Today in Middle Eastern history: Reza Pahlavi is crowned Shah of Iran (1925)

A couple of decades before Britain sat Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi on the Iranian throne and several decades before they helped engineer the coup that kept him in power, the British were also responsible for the Iranian coup that enthroned his father, Reza Shah Pahlavi (d. 1944), and instituted the Pahlavi "Dynasty." I put "dynasty" … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: Reza Pahlavi is crowned Shah of Iran (1925)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iran Hostage Crisis begins (1979)

When a group of Iranian students from an organization called "Muslim Student Followers of the Imam's Line," on their own volition though possibly with the approval of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, stormed the American embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, and took 66 US citizens hostage, I doubt anybody involved realized what was about to … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iran Hostage Crisis begins (1979)

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iran-Iraq War begins (1980)

Apart from the Israel-Palestine conflict and possibly the US invasion of Iraq, it would be difficult to find anything that has defined the course of recent Middle Eastern history as much as the Iran-Iraq War. I suppose you could add the 1979 Iranian Revolution to that list, but since this war followed almost immediately on … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Iran-Iraq War begins (1980)