Alys Zaerin

Iran's Influence

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Elaheh Rostami-Povey, Zed Books, £18.99

This is the latest addition to Elaheh Rostami-Povey's body of research on political and social movements in the Middle East. This book's main focus is modern, post-revolutionary Iran, her native country, and its people's historical and political movements. Today the Iranian state is often misunderstood and demonised, especially in the interest of imperialist international politics. In reality, Iran is a complex country and the subject of many dynamic struggles, shaped in the main by its own people.

Dreaming of Baghdad

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Haifa Zangana, Feminist Press, £11.99

Dreaming of Baghdad collates literary work originally serialised in English and Arabic in the early 1990s. It is based on Haifa Zangana's personal recollections of incarceration, torture, exile and relentless political activism both inside and outside Iraq.

Knowing too well the cruel irony of George W Bush's "occupation for liberation" and its continued use of torture has a hard-hitting impact.

Tariq Ali - change of mood

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I would like to disagree with Tariq Ali's assertion (Interview, Socialist Review, September 2009) that the "mood in Europe is very right wing" and draw attention to a recent development in Germany.

You could barely shove a cigarette paper between Germany's mainstream political parties. This was particularly highlighted in their responses to an incident on 4 September. When a German military commander in Afghanistan ordered the murder of countless innocent civilians, the political elite rushed to defend Germany's role in the country.

However, Die Linke, Germany's left wing party, has positioned itself at the head of the call for the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and is a party to be counted on in German politics.

Persepolis

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Directors: Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi; Release date: out now

Persepolis is an animated adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's graphic novels which trails the writer's life growing up in Iran during the revolutionary 1970s and the war-torn 1980s. This ambitious film version pulls together all the complexities of adolescence with huge political clashes and changes, and devastating personal loss. Seeing the revolutionary period through the naive eyes of a middle class child put against harrowing images of repression and torture is at times difficult and powerful.

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