Iran: Opposing Viewpoints (revisited)

About a year ago I posted my review of Greenhaven Press’s Iran: Opposing Viewpoints and happened to call the book a “fine collection of viewpoints” but since it was published in 2006 I found the anthology a bit dated. Noting in my post that “events seem to be moving quickly in Iran”, I hoped that someday soon Greenhaven Press would publish an updated version. Well, not only has Greenhaven Press recently published an updated edition but as luck would have it I was able to secure a copy during one my frequent library trips. Published in 2011, this latest edition is a collection of essays and other opinion pieces which address a few of the major controversial issues pertinent to the Middle Eastern nation of Iran. After finishing it the other evening, I’m happy to report that once again, Greenhaven Press has provided readers with an excellent collection of intelligent and well-written opinion pieces. And for that special icing on the cake, unlike the previous anthology, this one contains recently written material. As a result, the 2011 edition is timely and relevant.

Just like other books in this series, it is divided into four chapters  with each chapter devoted to controversial question associated with the overall subject of discussion. The four chapters of the newest edition of Iran: Opposing Viewpoints are:

  • Is Iran a Threat to the United States and Its Allies ?
  • How Should U.S. Foreign Policy Address Iran ?
  • What Was the Impact of the 2009 Iranian Presidential Election ?
  • What Are the Current Problems in Iran ?

This particular edition contains a number of very good pieces selected from a wide gamut of sources ranging from periodicals such as The New Republic, US News and World Report and National Review as well as journals such as Foreign Policy and Middle East Quarterly. Also included are opinion pieces from think tank/policy institutes including The American Enterprise Institute, The Heritage Foundation and The Brookings Institute. Lastly, some of the material selected for this edition came from sources I’d never heard of such as the Ayn Rand-oriented online publication Capitalist Magazine, Catholic New Times and somewhat hawkish Family Security Matters.

While I was unfamiliar with most of the included authors, a few of them are familiar names. I was glad series editors David Haugen and Susan Musser included Hooman Majd’s essay on the future influence of the 2009 Iranian presidential election on the nation’s political opposition, since his 2008 book The Ayatollah Begs to Differ I enjoyed so much it made my “Best of 2009” list. After recently reading George Friedman’s The Next Decade I was pleased to see his essay on the divisions within Iran’s ruling government. Amir Taheri ,author of The Persian Nightmare is also included with a brief sidebar on the Iranian economy taken from a piece which originally appeared in The Economist magazine. Lastly, there’s even a surprisingly good essay by former UN embassador and neoconservative John Bolton.

Maybe with the possible exception of Simin Royanian’s article on the history of the rights of Iranian women, this is a very good collection of opinion pieces. I would highly recommend it to any readers who are interested in learning more about Iran and the Middle East.



Filed under Area Studies/International Relations, Iran

10 responses to “Iran: Opposing Viewpoints (revisited)

  1. I saw someone else post about Greenhaven’s volume on Islam. I do think Greenhaven does a good job, but the chapter titles make me a bit nervous: they seem negative. Did the book feel that way?

    • Based on the ones I’ve read, actually I’m happy to say Greenhaven does a very commendable job selecting a balanced array of opinion pieces for their books. While the chapters might seem at first negative or inflammatory, the corresponding essays cover a wide spectrum of opinion. Don’t be scared, the books are quite good !

  2. Fantastic that they’ve put out an updated edition! I hope they do that with more of the collection. As of yet I still haven’t tracked any down to read myself.

  3. JoV

    You have mentioned a few interesting read on Iran and the opposing views series is so cool! The sad thing is I had trouble finding most of the books you read in my local libraries in the UK (both in and outside my borough). Oh well.

    Thanks for the review.

    • You are very welcome. That’s too bad those kind of books aren’t stocked in your local library. Could they be requested through some sort of inter-library loan system ? In the States many of our public libraries have the ability to borrow books from other public libraries. Do your libraries in the UK have a similar kind of system ? If so, it might allow you to borrow some these books that I’ve featured on my blog.
      Glad you dropped by to comment ! I haven’t seen your comments in a while and as a result I’ve missed you !

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