On this edition of Parallax Views, Dr. Assal Rad, research director for NIAC (National Iranian-American Council) returns to the program to discuss the wave of “Death to the Dictator” protests that have swept through Iran in recent months. The protest began after the death of 22 year old Mahsa Amini. Amini was arrested for wearing her hijab in a manner deemed the Guidance Patrol (or what’s been called morality police) deemed improper. According to eyewitnesses Amini was beaten by the police. Protests began after Amini’s death and the Islamic Republic has sought to crackdown on the dissent.
Dr. Rad discusses the nature of the protests, how they started, the involvement of women and youths in the protests, and much, much more. Additionally, we delve into the themes and ideas of Dr. Rad’s new book The State of Resistance: Politics, Culture, and Identity in Modern Iran. Said book investigates the history of Iranian national identity and nationalist sentiments from the Pahlavi dynasty to the Islamic Republic and the bottom-up Iranian people’s resistance to having a narrowly-defined identity imposed upon them by either Iranian authorities or outside forces.
Among the topics covered:
– The Pahlavi dynasty’s focus on pre-Islamic Persian culture as a national identity and the Islamic Republic’s focus on Shi’ite Islam as a national identity
– Iran, oil, and the West
– The cinema and music of Iran and what it says about Iranian national identity
– Nationalism, the problems with nationalism, and liberation struggles
– The Iranian diaspora
– Human rights abuses in Iran
– The possibility of a broader, more inclusive, even cosmopolitan national identity for Iran
– The concept of vatan, a love of the homeland
– How those of us in the U.S. and other countries miss nuances of Iranian culture and politics that we otherwise would recognize in our own culture
– The Iranian protests and BLM (Black Lives Matter)
– Understanding Iran’s elections, their significance, and the dual powers in Iran (the elected officials on one hand and the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
– And much, much more!