The Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 is just such an example. Shrouded in mystery, Islam and the Near East have been difficult for Americans to grasp. Of course, 9/11 made it impossible to ignore.
That’s why Amir Taheri’s book, “The Persian Night: Iran Under the Khomeinist Revolution,” is so riveting and timely.
Taheri, who was the executive editor of the daily Kayhan (Iran’s largest paper) before radicals seized power from the Shah, now lives in Paris and London and writes about the real Iran.
Interestingly, Taheri identifies the Khomeini movement thusly: “Is it a natural offshoot of Islam – which itself was an alien faith imposed on Iranians by the sword fourteen centuries ago – or a strange beast in Islamic dress?”
One can see why the author lives abroad.
What “The Persian Night” provides us is the background and context of the beast we see operating today from Tehran, attempting to impose a new caliphate on the world.
It is important to note that, according to Taheri, rank-and-file Iranians had never heard of the Ayatollah Khomeini until he seized power. Much of the anti-government unrest was fomented by “leftist or Islamist-Marxist groups, some of whose leaders had trained in Cuba, China, North Korea, Communist South Yemen and in Palestine Liberation Organization camps in Lebanon.”
Against this backdrop, Khomeini dispatched his thugs to murder policemen, rob banks, firebomb public buildings and set up roadblocks on major highways. This lightning strike on the citizenry gave the mullahs a platform to then export terror around the globe.
Frankly, I didn’t know most of this history and context until I read “The Persian Night,” and I consider it one of the most important treatments we have of radical Islam.
As late as 2008 – a watershed political moment for the United States and its subsequent weak foreign policy – Taheri writes that a conference was held in Tehran, bringing together various Islamic sects. This confab of Islamist “Mafioso” had one common purpose: to further demonize the Great Satan, America. Taking a cue from the (now deceased) Khomeini, the participants put on display – unwittingly – their bizarre view of history.
Writing of Khomeini meeting with students a generation ago, the author reveals this prize nugget: “‘This matter does not belong to today or yesterday,’ he said. ‘It is 2,000 years that the United States has colonized us.’”
Who knew the U.S. was 10 times older than we’d been taught? Why, this sort of timeline would put George Washington in the same century as the Apostle Paul!
Taheri also points out fascinating geopolitical/global finance realities that factor in. Iran’s oil industry accounts for 40 percent of the country’s GDP and 90 percent of the country’s export earnings.
And notice how Taheri reveals the corrosive, economy killing effects of a failed ideology: “In 2008, Iran’s maximum oil-producing capacity was estimated at 3.8 million barrels a day, compared with almost 8 million in 1978.”
Folks, that is shocking! It tells us though that eventually, the Iranian “Republic” will go the way of the Soviet Union and the dinosaurs.
There have been quite a few excellent books exposing Islam in general, but “The Persian Night” delves deeply into the nerve-center of that religion’s terror goals.
Notice how just a few sentences in “The Persian Night” reveal a discerning worldview that is sadly not on display in the current Oval Office: “Foreign policy, of course, is a continuation and reflection of domestic policy. A regime that oppresses and terrorizes its own people, in fact is at war against them, cannot offer peace and understanding to other nations.”
This single line of thought, if adopted within the halls of the State Department and executive wing, could have a profound shift in a positive direction. Alas, however, we are left with educating the general public, who can effect change by voting. Amir Taheri has provided us with a rich resource for uncovering the truth behind the regime that Barack Obama advocates dialoguing with.
A big thumb’s up for “The Persian Night” and its courageous author. Fascinating, fascinating book.