The Persian Version

Ask most people in the West what images they associate with the words “Middle East” and you’ll likely get descriptions of oil wells, desert dunes, and men in flowing robes and Bedouin headgear. More recently, you might hear of crowds filling public squares demanding the downfall of autocratic leaders. But while such images might suit the reality of Saudi Arabia or Egypt, they do not at all fit another regional colossus—Iran.

Iran has oil aplenty and a reform movement, but that’s where...

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About the Author

Christopher Thornton teaches at Zayed University in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.