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Iran: a Revolutionary State
Sun 1.30pm 17/24 Sept and 1 Oct (rpt Fri 11.00am)

Montage of Iran flag and Ayotollah Khomeini and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
John Tusa takes a close look at the making of modern Iran. Journeying through a turbulent century, John Tusa explores the origins of Iran and the paradox at the heart of the nation.

The image of Iran - through the prism of the western media - gives a somewhat one-sided view of a fanatical yet repressed population railing against the Great Satan.

 Listen to programme 1

 Listen to programme 2

 Listen to programme 3

The fact that British and Iranian modern history is inextricably linked, that Iran had the Middle East's first democratically elected government which in turn was toppled by Western powers and also has a century old women's movement is less known.

Programme 1
1.30pm Sunday 17 Sept 2006 (rpt Fri 11.00am)

In the British Museum there is the Cyrus Cylinder, hailed as the first charter of human rights. The 2,500 year old cuneiform cylinder with the revered words of the ancient King of Iran, Cyrus the Great, is testiment to the glorious past of Iran. A distant past which many Iranians hold dear.

So what are the main strands that go into being Iranian and how easily do they sit side by side? The pre-Islamic Persian soul, Shi'ite Islamic culture, modernity, westernisation and the fact that the Iranians are not Arabs, all set the country quite apart from its neighbours in the Middle East and gives them a strong - if complex - self identity.

Programme 2
Sunday 1.30pm 24 Sept 2006 (rpt Fri 11.00am)

Following on from the 1953 coup which installed the Western backed Mohammed Reza Shah - the last Shah of Iran - through to his overthrow during the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

How much did he modernise? And how much did he try and 'westernise' the country, and how did that sit with the nation's Islamic soul?

Parallel to his downfall we see the rise and rise of the clergy, an emerging power embodied in the black robes of Ayatollah Khomeini, resulting in the explosive 1979 Revolution which brought to an end 2500 years of dynastical rule. People caught up in these momentous events and close to those in power help tell the story.

Programme 3
Sunday 1.30pm 1 Oct 2006 (rpt Fri 11.00am)

The democratic hopes for the revolution die out as the country turns into the first ever Islamic Republic. The clergy were in power, but what did that mean? A new way of life was imposed, civil liberties were curtailed dramatically, an exodus of Iranians abroad took place and many felt betrayed by the Revolution.

In this final programme John Tusa examines the huge cultural shifts that have taken place in Iran under a theocracy, how its war with Iraq and the US hostage crisis have affected Iranians and their dealings with the outside world, and how, with 70% of the population under 25 years old, do they identify with modern revolutionary Iran and express themselves within the constraints of the Islamic Republic?
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Audio Help
Iran - A Revolutionary   State
Book of the Week -   Awakenings
Darius, King of Kings
Iran and her   Neighbours
The Afternoon Play -   The Interview
From Tehran with   Laughter
Profile - Ahmadinejad
Sunday Programme
Food Programme
Afternoon Reading -   Stories from Iran
Beyond Belief
Mixed Messages and Secret Diplomacy
Ancient and Modern
Film Programme
Country profile
Postcards from Iran
Inside Iran
Ancient Persia
Persia's Crowning
Document - A Very
  British Coup
In Our Time -
In Our Time -
  Battle of Thermopylae
WW2 People's War
Profile - Wikipedia
Tehran Times
Iran Daily
CIA The World   Factbook
Iran Republic News   Agency
Ancient Persian   Empire
British Museum

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