Iran

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.

The portrait of Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, the recently deceased Shia cleric in al-Awamiyah, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia.
Abbas Goudarzi / Wikimedia Commons

Since the January 2 assassination of popular Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, Iranians have continued to rally against Saudi Arabia, leading to a severing of diplomatic ties between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic.

Rebecca Cruise talks with University of Oklahoma sociocultural anthropologist Noah Theriault about the Paris climate agreement, and its effect on some of the small island countries of Southeast Asia.

Then, we'll hear Joshua Landis' conversation with Nazila Fathi, a journalist and author who grew up in Iran, and was nine years old when the Islamic Revolution changed her entire life. She left Iran 20 years later, and then returned to cover the 2009 election protests as a correspondent for The New York Times.

Women in various states of dress on the streets of Iran.
Amir Farshad Ebrahimi / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Nazila Fathi’s childhood bookended the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. She was nine years old when supporters of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ousted the Shah and established the current theocratic regime. Before the revolution, her father had been a high-level civil servant in the Ministry of Energy. After the Shah was overthrown, he became a farmer.

Historian Beeta Baghoolizadeh says 19th century Iranian slavery can appear softer alongside its American counterpart, but that’s not a fair comparison. She'll trace the country's history of slavery and its erasure from the national consciousness.

But first, Joshua Landis joins the show again for a discussion of the Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt and what may have caused it, and Turkey’s recent parliamentary elections.

"...a thoroughly modern sculpture by the Scandinavian artist Clara Sörnäs.   It shows five slave figures, slightly larger than life, chained together in a pit.
missy & the universe / Flickr

Iran only abolished slavery in 1928, but since then, it’s been largely erased from the national consciousness. Historian Beeta Baghoolizadeh, who studies Iranian slavery, says the taboo surrounding slavery and Iran’s effort to distance itself from its past is due to its precarious position on the world stage 87 years later.

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