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The enigmas of Iran



Meanwhile, the resurgence of political radicalism in Iran has rippled across fault-lines from Lebanon to Afghanistan. Iran has defined and mobilized a transnational Shia movement, harasses Israel, and supports the radical left in Latin America, while its nuclear programme, even if peaceful, is the pride of a rising regional power.

Two days of cinema and debate organized jointly by the Madrid-based Foundation for International Relations and External Dialogue (FRIDE) and Barcelona's Centre of Contemporary Culture aim to shed light on the sources of misunderstanding between Iran and the West, as well as point towards possible ways to reduce tensions and build stronger ties.

30 June


7 pm
Iran: A Revolution Betrayed
, Ahsan Adib, 1984, 60', Original version with Spanish subtitles

Filmed clandestinely, this documentary chronicles the events that have marked the history of Iran over the last thirty years: the Shah's overthrow and expulsion in 1979, the return from exile of Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the revolution, and the subsequent advent of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The director reveals the United States' role in Iran's internal politics during the time of the Shah, the political strategies adopted by Khomeini, and the successive purges, torture and repression carried out by the revolutionary regime.

8 pm
Gilaneh, Mohsen Abdolvahab and Rakhshan Bani Etemad, Iran, 2005, 84', Original version with Spanish subtitles

The war between Iran and Iraq which caused over a million victims in the 1980s is the backdrop for this film, which centres around a family drama brought about by the conflict.

1 July


5.30 pm
Introduction: Fred Halliday

6 pm


Rosemary Hollis
Director of the Olive Tree Israeli-Palestinian Programme at City University in London. Ex-director of research at the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House, London.

Ali Ansari
Director of the Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews (United Kingdom). Author of the books Confronting Iran: The Failure of American Foreign Policy and the Roots of Mistrust (C Hurst and Co., 2006) and Iran, Islam and Democracy: The Politics of Managing Change (RIIA, London, 2006).

Johannes Reissner
Head of the Research Division on the Middle East and Africa at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin.

Mariano Aguirre
, Director of Peace, Security and Human Rights, Foundation for International Relations and External Dialogue (FRIDE).

7.30 pm


Baqer Moin
Iranian journalist. He has been the head of the BBC's Central Asian service. Author of the books The Story of the Iranian Revolution and the biography Khomeini: The Life of the Ayatollah (IB Tauris, 1999).

Haleh Afshar
Professor of Middle Eastern Politics at the University of York and visiting professor of Islamic Law at the Faculté Internationale de Droit Comparé, University of Strasbourg. Author of the book Islam and Feminisms: An Iranian Case-Study (Palgrave MacMillan, 1999).

Luciano Zaccara
Director of the Observatorio Electoral de los Países Árabe-Islámicos (Election Watch of the Arab and Islamic World) of the Autonomous University of Madrid and member of the Iranian International Studies Association in Tehran. Author of the book Los enigmas de Irán: sociedad y política en la República Islámica (Capital Intelectual, Buenos Aires, 2006).

Moderator: Fred Halliday, ICREA Professor of International Relations at the Barcelona Institute of International Studies (IBEI).


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