Release Homa Hoodfar

by The Editors | published June 10, 2016 - 11:20am

We are deeply concerned by the arrest and ongoing detention of Homa Hoodfar, an eminent anthropologist and contributor to Middle East Report, by the Revolutionary Guard Corps of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Day Tehran Shook

by Farideh Farhi | published March 17, 2016

Speaking to a journalist days after the February 26 elections in Iran, leading reformist Mohammad Reza Aref stated, “When I saw the results for Tehran coming in, I was shocked.” Aref had expected the top of the list he headed to do well in the contest for Tehran’s 30 seats in the Tenth Majles, or Parliament, of the Islamic Republic. Most pre-election polls, in fact, had predicted that Aref’s slate would come out ahead in the capital. But its first-round sweep of all 30 seats, including many wins by unknown candidates, was a stunner for all involved.

Karimi, Domesticity and Consumer Culture in Iran

by Norma Claire Moruzzi
published in MER277

Pamela Karimi, Domesticity and Consumer Culture in Iran: Interior Revolutions of the Modern Era (New York: Routledge, 2013).

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Class Reshuffling Among Afghan Refugees in Iran

by Zuzanna Olszewska
published in MER277

When I was interviewing Afghan refugee writers and intellectuals in Iran in the mid-2000s, I soon realized that there was a gulf between their occupations and their aspirations. [1] The young poets who were the subjects of my research in the northeastern city of Mashhad often earned a living as manual laborers, construction or factory workers, or small-time street vendors. Some had woven rugs or made handicrafts as children, or engaged in other piecework in small workshops. They came together to read their poetry and short stories to each other on Fridays, their one precious day off. Most of them—both men and women—had benefited from at least a secondary education in Iranian state schools, and most hoped to continue on to university.

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Whither Iranian Petrochemical Labor?

by Mohammad Maljoo
published in MER277

On November 4, 2012, there were two snapshots of a deeply unequal struggle between labor and capital in Iran—a struggle that had begun two years earlier with a strike of temporary workers at the Mahshahr Petrochemical Complex. In Mahshahr, at the head of the Persian Gulf, Faraveresh, one of the five public-sector companies at the Complex, reached an agreement with the strikers, committing to remove the private middleman who had hired the workers and to sign direct contracts with them as soon as possible.

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The Politics of Recognition

The Barefoot of the Revolution and Elusive Memories

by Fatemeh Sadeghi
published in MER277

The victory of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the presidential election of 2005 came as a shock to many segments of Iranian society, particularly the reformists within the Islamic Republic who believed they had pushed aside such arch-conservatives for good. Ahmadinejad prevailed thanks to the massive participation of the urban poor in the election, along with the decision of the majority of the middle and upper classes to boycott the vote with no thought that their abstention would have such a consequence. Whereas conservatives boasted that Ahmadinejad’s triumph proved the allegiance of “the people” to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the reformists explained their failure in an entirely apolitical way.

The Iran Deal as Social Contract

by Arang Keshavarzian
published in MER277

For years discussion of Iran’s nuclear program and how best to address the surrounding impasse focused on international relations—chiefly, the extent to which the United States and the Islamic Republic could and should trust each other to reach a negotiated settlement. Amidst all the conjecture, the domestic Iranian politics of the nuclear issue were often reduced to Kremlinology-style questions about the motives and capacities of hardliners in the Islamic Republic and the unknowable mind of the Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Talking Class in Tehroon

by Rasmus Christian Elling , Khodadad Rezakhani
published in MER277

Persian, like any other language, is laced with references to class, both blatant and subtle. With idioms and metaphors, Iranians can identify and situate others, and thus themselves, within hierarchies of social status and privilege, both real and imagined. Some class-related terms can be traced back to medieval times, whereas others are of modern vintage, the linguistic legacy of television shows, pop songs, social media memes or street vernacular. Every day, it seems, an infectious set of phrases appears that make yesterday’s seem embarrassingly antiquated.

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Class and Politics in Post-Revolutionary Iran: A Brief Introduction

by Kevan Harris
published in MER277

The dominant narrative of the 1979 Iranian revolution granted a pivotal role to a new political actor—the downtrodden masses. Over the past two decades in Iran, a different protagonist gradually replaced them, equally captivating and elusive—the middle class. While neither category fully represented the reality of Iranian society, each idea was deployed as a weapon to reshape the political order.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER277

January 16 was implementation day for the summer 2015 agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and six world powers known as the P5+1 regarding Iran’s nuclear research program. By the terms of this accord, Iran is to curtail its nuclear activities, soothing Western fears that it aims to acquire an atomic bomb, and the West is to lift the sanctions that have isolated Iran from the global economy. The deal is a major diplomatic achievement that nonetheless throws the sheer scale of the Middle Eastern conflagration into sharp relief.