While I was at the library the other day grabbing Pakistan: Opposing Viewpoints I grabbed another book from the series, namely Iran: Opposing Viewpoints. I must have enjoyed it because I burned through the book in no time, finishing it today on my lunch break. Being published in 2006, it’s not as up to date as its more recent companion volume on Pakistan, but for whatever reason I enjoyed it a bit more. It’s another collection of light yet informative pieces, this time on the nation of Iran.
As the lone reviewer on Amazon so astutely pointed out, the strength of this book lies in its “organizational structure”. Iran: Opposing Viewpoints is divided into four chapters namely “Is Iran a Threat to Global Security ?”, “What Is the State of Human Rights in Iran ?”, “How Should the United States Respond to Iran ?” and lastly “What Is the Future of Iran ?” Addressing those questions are numerous articles, essays, etc from a variety of sources. Many are from the mainstream such as the New York Times, the LA Times, Time and the Washington Post. Some such as In These Times and Z Magazine represent the Left and those taken from the Weekly Standard, American Spectator and the Wall Street Journal represent the Right. Contributions from several notable Iranians are featured in the collection such as Noble Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, Lipstick Jihad author Azedah Moaveni and as well as Reza Pahlevi, son of the last Shah. There’s also a panel discussion among eight scholars and political analysts on the faltering of Iran’s political reform movement, which together with Moaveni’s piece on youthful rebellion end up being my two favorite viewpoints featured in the book.
This is a fine collection of viewpoints, but since it was published in 2006, alas it is a dated one. Events seem to be moving quickly in Iran. All the more reason we need an updated version of this book.