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By Hooman Majd

A Los Angeles Times and Economist top e-book of the YearWith a brand new PrefaceThe grandson of an eminent ayatollah and the son of an Iranian diplomat, journalist Hooman Majd is uniquely certified to provide an explanation for modern Iran's advanced and misunderstood tradition to Western readers.The Ayatollah Begs to Differ presents an intimate examine a paradoxical nation that's either deeply spiritual and hugely cosmopolitan, authoritarian but proficient through a historical past of democratic and reformist traditions. Majd bargains an insightful travel of Iranian tradition, introducing interesting characters from all walks of lifestyles, together with zealous govt officers, difficult girl cab drivers, and open-minded, reformist ayatollahs. it is an Iran that might shock readers and problem Western stereotypes.In his new preface, Majd discusses the Iranian temper in the course of and after the June 2009 presidential election which trigger the biggest highway protests because the revolution that introduced the ayatollahs to strength.

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Many folks, even people with shut connec­ tions to the top degrees of presidency, spoke within the inimitable consistent with­ sian means of treating virtually any rumor, no, each rumor, as truth till it HOOMAN MAJD is confirmed another way, and as i f Khamenei's approaching death i f now not his demise have been very genuine. not like Cuba, say, the place the president's future health is a nation mystery, Iran has no such prohibitions, however it is greatly assumed that these within the comprehend may preserve the ideally suited Leader's passing quiet, par­ ticularly now and then of delicate safeguard for the state, till a succession were finalized. What ended in the rumors have been the evidence that Khamenei hadn't been noticeable in public for a few weeks, hadn't seemed as he ordinarily does at celebrations for the $64000 Muslim hol­ iday of Eid al-Adha (marking the top of the hajj and falling at the final day of the yr in 2006), and had it appears been taken to the medical institution sooner or later in overdue December. it really is very unlikely to grasp if the rumor used to be begun in Iran or by way of hopeful exiles out of the country, yet Michael Ledeen of the yankee firm Institute, a infamous neocon, might be having picked up a few Persian tr�its of his personal via his obsession with al issues Iranian, or ac­ tually all issues Iranian having to do with regime swap, declared it as a truth on his site and seen it, as nearly each Iranian did, as one of many momentous events within the short historical past of Iran's Islamic Re­ public. 2 Ledeen, recognized for advocating regime switch in Iran bifore Iraq, and an archenemy of the Iranian clerics seeing that I 979, may well not often con­ tain his glee, maybe believing susceptible Iran quickly with no superb chief could be ripe for a few "shock and awe" courtesy of the Pentagon. For days in a while, bloggers, either in Iran and interna­ tionally, competed with one another to both verify or deny the ru­ mor, yet what appeared transparent, even to those that denied Khamenei's demise, was once that company used to be now not as traditional the place the valih-e-faqih was once involved. within Iran, the query quick stopped being no matter if he used to be lifeless or now not and have become who his typical successor used to be. It used to be assumed that Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, chairman of the Expe­ diency Council (a physique that's technicaly above the president and su­ pervises his work), newly reelected to the meeting of specialists alongside 55 T H E AYAT O L L A H B E G S T O D I F F E R with a lot of his allies, and the de facto quantity within the hierarchy of the Islamic Republic, could once more, as he did while Khomeini died in 1 989, play kingmaker instead of king. Rafsanjani, from the pistachio-producing city of R afsanjan, have been considered one of Khomeini's closest aides and advisers, ordinarily visible quietly by way of his part, yet his public profile had risen while he turned president in 1 989 and served phrases until eventually Khatami's election in 1 997. Ra fsanjani s wealth (an d his penchant for gathering extra of it), together with his sons' exten­ sive company dealings and his notoriety in a foreign country (an Argentine pass judgement on has issued an arrest warrant for him for his alleged position within the bomb­ ing of Buenos Aires's Jewish heart in 1 nine 94), many argued, could lead him to not search the superb Leader's workplace yet fairly to exploit his influ­ ence and gear to place another person, significantly weaker than himself, within the activity.

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