Elaheh Rostami-Povey

Taxi Tehran

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Jafar Panahi, the Iranian director, has made many films, challenging class, gender and ethnicity inequalities in Iran. He has been threatened with imprisonment and has been banned from travelling abroad and making films.

But he has continued his work unofficially. His latest film, Taxi Tehran, won the Golden Bear at last year’s Berlin Festival. He also acts in this film, playing an unofficial communal taxi driver in Tehran. These taxi drivers are one example of a large informal workforce.

Tehran Noir

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In this collection of stories the interlinked narratives are set in Iran’s capital city, Tehran. The victims experience different forms of violence and crime and in the process become corrupt, violent, cynical and alienated. The writers are famous for publishing many novels in Iran. But the noir stories in this book, published in the US, will be blocked by the censorship in Iran.

The Yezidis

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For centuries the Yezidis (most scholars use the Yazidis spelling) have lived in today’s Kurdish regions of Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Armenia. Throughout history this ancient community has suffered repression and massacre and since the 19th century many have migrated to escape persecution.

They came to international attention after suffering harsh persecution by the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq who denounced them as “devil worshippers”.

The Yezidis speak a Kurdish dialect as well as the Arabic, Turkish and Armenian languages, depending on where they live.

A window onto the new Iran

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Political and social changes are reflected in the work of a new wave of young Iranian artists. We look at the art and its relationship to the country's turbulent history.

As was reported in Socialist Review's May issue, Somerset House hosted The Burnt Generation, an exhibition of contemporary Iranian photography. This exhibition is the work of nine young women and men. The subjects of their art are all caught in the web of the political history of Iran.

The Islamic Republic and the World

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Maryam Panah, Pluto Press, £35

Within the academic world it has become respectable and fashionable to use Marxist language to justify neoliberalism. This book does just that. It is certainly very well written and researched. Marxist and Weberian theories of state, revolution and development have been used to analyse the socioeconomic developments in pre and post 1979 revolution in Iran.


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Hamid Dabashi, The New Press, £13.99

This book with the intriguing subtitle of A People Interrupted, is interesting in a number of ways. It is written with a biographical edge. The criticisms of the US neoconservatives and their imperial expansion in the region is timely, in particular the way they have hijacked women's rights and human rights issues to justify war and attacks on Iran, as they have done in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iran: Next in Line for Regime Change?

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The student protests in Iran in June were part of the pro-democracy movement, involving secular and religious women, workers, student and the youth, which has been evolving since the early 1990s.

The media attempts to show the protestors as sympathetic to Bush, but Israel and the US's policy of Middle East domination is extremely unpopular in Iran. People in Iran, as in the rest of the region, are fully aware of the repercussions of the US and British war in Iraq through the Al Jazeera television coverage. Moreover, 1 million Iranians died and 1 million were disabled in the war with Iraq (1980-88), and people have not forgotten that the US armed Iraq and turned a blind eye to the gassing of Kurdish people.

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