In this first-ever insider account of the American Embassy takeover in 1979, Massoumeh Ebtekar sets out to correct 20 years of misrepresentation by the Western media of what the aims of the Iranian students and the populist revolution they personified were, and have since remained.
She also explains, in considerable detail, how one faction of the Shi’a clerical establishment came to see (with the eager complicity of the international media and its own pro-Western political agenda) these students as a vanguard of its own theocratic goals, rather than of the much broader cultural upheaval which had ousted the regime of Shah Mohammad-Reza Pahlevi, installed through a United States-sponsored coup in 1953.
In February 2000, a month before U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s admission of active CIA involvement in the 1953 coup, Iranians flocked to the polls to elect the Islamic Republic’s sixth parliament: To date, 70% of the candidates elected have been characterized by the Western media as “moderates,” among them, like Ebtekar, the students who took over the American Embassy in 1979. These moderates, followers of President Mohammad Khatami—himself a Shi’a clergyman—are now attempting to break the stranglehold the conservative religious faction have on Iranian politics since 1979, and to establish a civil society within an Islamic framework.
This book is essential reading for anyone interested in the rapidly proliferating international phenomenon of peoples attempting to preserve their independence and culture from the overwhelming hegemony of the United States in the community of nations, and in how the “independent” American media continues to play an active role as an instrument of American foreign policy.
Masoumeh Ebtekar is an Iranian scientist and politician. Ebtekar first achieved fame as the spokeswoman of the students who had occupied the U.S. Embassy in 1979. Later she became the first female vice-president of Iran. She wrote an account of the embassy takeover with Fred A. Reed entitled Takeover in Tehran: The Inside Story of the 1979 U.S. Embassy Capture, which is available from Talonbooks.
Fred A. Reed
International journalist and award-winning literary translator Fred A. Reed is also a respected specialist on politics and religion in the Middle East. After several years as a librarian and trade union activist at the Montreal Gazette, Reed began reporting from Islamic Iran in 1984, visiting the Islamic Republic thirty times since then. He has also reported extensively on Middle Eastern affairs for La Presse, CBC Radio-Canada and Le Devoir. Reed is a three-time winner of the Governor General’s Award for translation.