Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Abrahamian: Mousavi would shun nuclear weapons

From Haaretz Online, an analysis by one of our top Iran scholars, Ervand Abrahamian, author of A History of Modern Iran.

Even if the Iranian authorities succeed in suppressing the large demonstrations, the opposition might adopt other forms of protest – such as manifestos, strikes and mass resignations by university professors. That is the assessment of Ervand Abrahamian, a professor of history at the City University of New York and author of several books about Iran, most recently A History of Modern Iran (Cambridge University Press, 2008). “There is talk about the opposition trying to encourage its supporters to go out into the market places and prevent commercial activity,” he told Haaretz last Wednesday in a phone conversation from New York. “That’s the question: How will the bazaars behave, will the strike reach commerce.”

One of the repressive steps taken this week, he said, was “having young people appear on television to ‘confess’ that the BBC et al had incited them to choose the wrong way, which was the reason why they had demonstrated.” Abrahamian believes they were tortured. This was the method used during the “ideological period” of the 1980s – torture of leftists considered opponents of the system, who were then told “to confess their crimes” on television broadcasts. Abrahamian, who in fact wrote a book on this subject (“Tortured Confessions: Prisons and Public Recantations in Modern Iran,” University of California Press, 1999), is fearful that “we’ll begin to see senior activists in [Mir Hossein] Mousavi’s office or journalists who support the opposition ‘confessing’ in public.”

Read the full article at Haaretz.com >>

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