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Archive for the 'AP Iran' Category

Assignment: Iran Through Three Lenses

Monday, January 20th, 2020
  1. Watch Inside Iran from Sky Sky News (12 minutes). Come to class with notes summarizing the clip.
  2. Watch the first hour or so of Our Man in Tehran and come to class with content rich notes. Be prepared to discuss the following What is interesting? What supports, modifies, or refutes our studies of Iran thus far? What evidence of bias is there? What is omitted from the film? What is (over)emphasized?
  3. Explore Cara Parks’ 2012 “Once Upon a Time in Tehran photo essay from Foreign Policy Magazine. View it as a slideshow (otherwise you need to subscribe to FP). Be sure to read the captions. Come to class with your favorite photo or two and a willingness to share.
  4. Consider as an option, not an assignment, viewing other films (below)
Sky News on Iran


Our Man in Tehran – a revealing series on life inside Iran, with New York Times correspondent Thomas Erdbrink. In this two-night documentary special, Erdbrink shares a rare journey into a private Iran often at odds with its conservative clerics and leaders. The series offers surprising encounters inside the closed society of Iran, as Erdbrink gets Iranians to reveal the intricacies of their private worlds and the challenges of living under theocratic leaders.

Join Rick as he explores the most surprising and fascinating land he’s ever visited: Iran. In a one-hour, ground-breaking travel special on public television, you’ll discover the splendid monuments of Iran’s rich and glorious past, learn more about the 20th-century story of this perplexing nation, and experience Iranian life today in its historic capital and in a countryside village. Most important, you’ll meet the people of this nation whose government so exasperates our own.

Iran is opening its doors to foreigners and a train ride from the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea is a great way to get to know the country and its people. The travel restrictions that are now being lifted were in place for decades. Many Iranians are hoping they will now be able to lead a freer life – and we meet many of these hospitable and welcoming people on our journey through the Middle Eastern nation. The country’s most important rail link, the Trans-Iranian Railway, runs for approximately 1400 kilometers from the Persian Gulf via Teheran to the Caspian Sea. From DW Documentary.
National Geographic photographer, Alexandra Avakian, sets out to break this stereotype as she goes behind the veils of these women to discover a female community of strong women.She will also delve into Iran’s underground youth culture and travel to her ancestral village in search of the grave of her great-great grandmother.

Iran bans English from being taught in primary schools

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

The education ministry “envisages strengthening Persian language skills and Iranian Islamic culture of pupils at the primary school stage“, its secretary told state media.

This move is in line with the supreme leader’s anti-Western, isolationist view of the world. He has repeatedly said that teaching English to children from an early age could lead to “western cultural infiltration”.

He says the language of science is not necessarily English and that children should be taught other languages like Spanish, French, or eastern languages.

President Hassan Rouhani disagrees with him, and has said that knowing English will help young people join the job market. But he had little power to stop the ban.

Why Iranian women are wearing white on Wednesdays

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Using the hashtag #whitewednesdays, citizens have been posting pictures and videos of themselves wearing white headscarves or pieces of white clothing as symbols of protest.

The idea is the brainchild of Masih Alinejad, founder of My Stealthy Freedom, an online movement opposed to the mandatory dress code.

A campaign supporter discards her headscarf

How to get reelected if you are an Iranian MP

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Since 1980, less than 30 percent of politicians running again in Iranian parliamentary elections retained their seats. Compare that to more than 90 percent of incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.K. House of Commons who were reelected over the same period. How is this possible? How can it be harder to get reelected in an authoritarian state like Iran than in a developed democracy like the United States?

Not all incumbent members of parliament (MPs) in Iran are destined to be voted out. In fact, some MPs have stayed in office since they were elected in the early 1980s. The two factors that explain success are surprisingly similar to those that matter for elections in developed democracies.

The first is money — specifically how much MPs have been able to spend on their districts in the years preceding an election. The second is electoral law — specifically how visible incumbents are to their constituents and how much credit or blame voters can assign them for their performance in office. This is again fairly intuitive: rules that favor local accountability lead to personal connections between voters and politicians, helping these incumbents maintain their seats in parliament or congress.

In any democracy, these findings may not be surprising, but context here is key: The fact that money or electoral rules have anything to do with winning elections in Iran is notable

Iran’s likely next supreme leader is no friend of the West

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

“The position of the supreme leader was once thought to belong to an esteemed cleric known for his theological erudition. However, Khamenei’s lackluster religious credentials have paved the way for an even less impressive figure who has spent his professional life weaving conspiracies in the regime’s darkest corners….

For Khamenei and his praetorian guards, the most important question is not just the survival of the regime but also its revolutionary values. They are determined that Iran will not become another China, which they see as having relinquished its ideological inheritance for the sake of commerce.”

Read more from Ray Takeyh in the WaPo

Demystifying Iran’s parliamentary election process

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Here are the basics of the Iranian parliamentary election process.

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Iranian youth get app to dodge morality police

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

An anonymous team of Iranian app developers have come up with a solution to help young fashion conscious Iranians avoid the country’s notorious morality police known in Persian as “Ershad” or guidance.

The Majils Monitor

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

The first effort to monitor the performance of Iran’s parliament, often referred to as “Majlis”. It is currently the only tool of its kind available to Iranians, bringing the global trend of parliament monitoring to Iran.

“Based in Canada, We are a team of researchers who have taken on the task of monitoring from outside the country. While there are big benefits to monitoring from inside, such initiatives run very high risks in Iran.”

Here is a very useful tool for understanding Iran’s legislative branch

Influx of morality police to patrol the streets of Tehran

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Police in Tehran are deploying 7,000 undercover morality agents tasked with a fresh crackdown on women defying strict rules on the wearing of the hijab, among other offences deemed un-Islamic.

Every spring, as the temperature rises and with it the desire of people to go out, the authorities in Iran tighten their grip on social norms, increasing the number of the so-called morality police deployed in public places.

They target anything from loose-fitting headscarves, tight overcoats, shortened trousers for women and glamorous hairstyles to necklaces for men. Walking dogs has also been added to the long list of activities that upset the authorities.

It is not clear if the announcement is a response to the recent launch of the Android smartphone app Gershad, which enables users in Iran to circumvent the morality police vans based on information about their locations collected by other users.

Election, Monitored The tragic farce of voting in Iran

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Laura Secor is an independent journalist who has spent nearly a decade researching and writing about Iran. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, New Republic, and other publications. She studied philosophy at Brown University, and has been a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library; a staff editor of the New York Times op-ed page; a reporter for the Boston Globe; acting executive editor of the American Prospect; and a senior editor and writer for Lingua Franca.

Secor is currently a Ferris Professor of Journalism in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton.

This contribution, Election, Monitored The tragic farce of voting in Iran, to the New Yorker offers sharp insights into Iranian politics and political culture; it also demonstrates courageous journalism. Here are your reading responses.

 

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