The Back Story in Iran

If you’re look­ing to get more con­text for what’s hap­pen­ing right now in Iran, let me direct you to two pieces of media. First, you’ll find above a talk by Abbas Milani, the direc­tor of the Iran­ian Stud­ies Pro­gram at Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty. It was giv­en last August at Google’s HQ in Moun­tain View, CA, and it overviews how pow­er is struc­tured in Iran and what dri­ves Pres­i­dent Ahmadine­jad and the rul­ing cler­ics. Then, about 15 min­utes into the talk, Milani address­es the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and under­scores Ahmadine­jad’s declin­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty and poor elec­toral chances. Milani also reflects on the emerg­ing demo­c­ra­t­ic move­ment and its abil­i­ty to get trac­tion. As you’ll see, many of his com­ments (democ­ra­cy will come on its own — if we don’t start a war over nukes) are start­ing to look rather prophet­ic. But let’s not get too far ahead of our­selves.

Next, you can lis­ten to a talk record­ed this morn­ing, which brings togeth­er Milani, Juan Cole (the his­to­ri­an of the Mid­dle East who writes the Informed Com­ment blog) and Scott Peter­son (Istan­bul bureau chief for The Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor). This hour long con­ver­sa­tion (MP3iTunes) delves into the elec­tion and its after­math and exam­ines what’s at stake for Iran, the Mid­dle East and the US.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.