KGOU

Iran

In the early 1900s, opponents of the Shah wrote a constitution and established a parliament in Iran. 
Suzette Grillot talks with Boston University historian Houchang Chehabi about Iran’s brief 20th century experiment with democracy.

But first, Rebecca Cruise joins the show to talk about some of the positive and negative moments of sportsmanship in the Olympics.

A female supporter of the Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi flashes a victory sign during a July 17, 2009 rally.
Unknown / Obtained By AP

Iran flirted with democracy during the early part of the 20th century, but it didn’t quite stick.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise discuss the terrorist attack in Istanbul, and some of the security issues these types of attacks continue.

Later, a conversation with Ambassador John Limbert He and 51 diplomatic and military colleagues were taken prisoner in the former U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979. Many were released 444 days later as Ronald Reagan was sworn into office on January 20, 1981.

A group photograph of the former Iranian hostages shortly after their release. The 52 Americans spent a few days in the hospital prior to their departure for the United States.
Johnson Babela / U.S. Department of Defense

Editor's Note: This interview was originally broadcast January 14, 2014

Ambassador John Limbert and 51 diplomatic and military colleagues were taken prisoner in the former U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979. They were released 444 days later as Ronald Reagan was sworn into office on January 20, 1981.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meet in the  Palais Coburg Blue Salon on July 1, 2015 during nuclear deal negotiations.
U.S. Department of State

Financial advisor Hamid Biglari left Iran for the United States in 1977 – two years before the 1979 Islamic Revolution – when his native country produced nearly 6 million barrels of oil per day. In the following decades, Iran’s economy collapsed due to sanctions by the west, and more recently, falling oil prices.

“It turns out that Iran has lost about $135 billion just from the fact that it wasn’t able to produce as much as it did post-sanctions,” Biglari told KGOU’s World Views. But it’s going to lose, over the next five years, about $180 billion. It will lose even more than what it lost during sanctions. So it’s a double-whammy deal.”

Cyrus Copeland, his mother Shahin, sister, and father Max Copeland in a family photo.
Provided / Cyrus Copeland

Four years ago, Cyrus Copeland sat in the living room with his mother when she asked him to fetch his father’s will from the library to answer a question about land rights.

He returned with a box he thought held the document, but he found something even more interesting – 35-year-old papers from the family’s time in Iran in 1979.

Mateo Mohammad Farzaneh studies and teaches Iranian history at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. He's just written a book about the country’s early 20th century constitutional revolution.

But first, Rebecca Cruise and University of Oklahoma Latin American Studies professor Alan McPherson discuss President Obama’s historic trip to Cuba and Argentina.

Iran's parliament in Tehran, 1906.
Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Russia and the West are sparring over oil and jockeying for position to gain an upper hand in the Middle East. That sounds like it could’ve come straight from Sunday’s edition of The New York Times, but it actually describes the dynamic more than 100 years ago.  Caught in the middle was Iran, fighting to preserve its young, fledgling democracy.

Yes, that Iran.

Two riverine command boats like this one were taken into custody by Iran, along with 10 U.S. sailors.
MC2 Ecklund / U.S. Navy

Earlier this week Turkey attacked Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria after a suicide bombing in Istanbul that killed 10 tourists. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the tank and artillery attack killed nearly 200 militants.

The letter below calling for the release of Jason Rezaian was sent January 8, 2016.

Dear Secretary Kerry:

Journalism is not a crime. Yet Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian has been imprisoned by Iran since July 2014 for doing his job. Iran has never offered any evidence that even makes a pretense of justifying this imprisonment. We know you agree that Iran should release Jason and on behalf of our organizations and journalists around the world, we are writing to urge you to maintain your efforts to forge a path to that release.

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