Based on frequent, first-hand reporting in Iran and the United States, The Iran Agenda Today explores the turbulent recent history between the two countries and reveals how it has led to a misguided showdown over nuclear technology. Foreign correspondent Reese Erlich notes that all the major U.S. intelligence agencies agree Iran has not had a nuclear weapons program since at least 2003. He explores why Washington nonetheless continues with saber rattling and provides a detailed critique of mainstream media coverage of Iran. The book further details the popular protests that have rocked Tehran despite repression by the country’s Deep State.
In addition to covering the political story, Erlich offers insights on Iran’s domestic politics, popular culture, and diverse populations over this recent era. His analysis draws on past interviews with high-ranking Iranian officials, the former shah’s son, Reza Pahlavi, and Iranian exiles in Los Angeles, as well as the memory of his trip to Tehran with actor Sean Penn.
Written in skillful and riveting journalistic prose, The Iran Agenda Today provides inside information that academic researchers find hard to obtain.
Table of Contents
1. In Tehran with Sean Penn. 2. United States Tells Iran to become a Nuclear Power. 3. The U.S., Iran and the Nuclear Accord. 4. Iran, Hizbollah, and Israel: The Real Story. 5. A Brief History of U.S.-Iranian Relations. 6. Who Rules Iran. 7. Iran's Protest Movements - Part 1: 8. Iran's Protest Movements - Part 2: 9. The Shah, Monarchists and TV Pretenders. 10. Iran's Ethnic Minorities: Turmoil on the Borders. 11. What the U.S. Media Didn't Tell You. 12. Learn the Lessons of Iraq.
Reese Erlich has authored five books on foreign affairs, including the national bestseller Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You (co-authored with Norman Solomon). A freelance print and broadcast reporter, he has covered the Middle East since 1987 and reported from Iran since 2000.
Erlich began his journalism career in 1968 as a staff writer and research editor for Ramparts, an investigative reporting magazine based in San Francisco. He taught journalism for ten years at San Francisco State University and California State University, East Bay. His reporting appears in Foreign Policy, Vice News, and The Progressive. He writes the syndicated column "Foreign Correspondent." His radio work airs on CBC/Radio-Canada, Reveal, and National Public Radio, among others.
Erlich earned a Peabody Award in 2007 and "best depth reporting" awards in 2002 and 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists (Northern California). He has also received awards from Project Censored, the Chicago International Film Festival, and the Association for Women in Communication. He lives in Oakland, California.
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Reese Erlich masterfully tells the story of modern Iran through the seldom-heard voices of numerous Iranian citizens of enormous range—men and women, old and young, high government officials, university professors, shopkeepers, and semi-employed laborers. His vibrant reporting has both historical depth and contemporary immediacy, ranging from twentieth century neocolonial and revolutionary struggles, to the international controversy over Iran’s nuclear program, to the social protests of 2009 and late 2017. Neither exclusively a critique of nor an apologia for Iran, the balanced, comprehensive picture Erlich paints reveals the fascinating mix of deep patriotism, social struggle, optimism, and skepticism about the future that characterizes Iranian life at present. This book is required reading for anyone who truly wishes to understand Iranian society today.
—William O. Beeman, Professor of Anthropology, University of Minnesota and Stanford University
Ever since the 1979 Revolution Iran has been present in practically all debates and analyses regarding the Middle East. But, due to the hostage crisis of 1979–1981 and the scars that it left on the American conscience, the image of Iran that has been presented in the West, and in particular, the United States, has been greatly distorted, and is more like a cartoon of that nation, rather than anything that presents Iran with all of its strengths, shortcomings, and contradictions, as well as its historical and cultural heritage. In The Iran Agenda Today, Reese Erlich does a masterful job of presenting the real image of Iran: a proud and dynamic nation with a young, educated population that is connected to the rest of the world through social networks, has more blogger per capita than any other nation, and has been struggling, not only internally between the reformists, moderates, and seculars, on the one hand, and the Islamic hardliners, on the other hand, but also externally by being in perhaps the most turbulent region. Erlich tells us about the political structure of Iran; its warring; deep wounds due to its turbulent contemporary history; and all the wrongs that have been done to it by the global powers, but also a nation that has all the prerequisites for transition to a true democracy, and wants to find its rightful place regionally and globally.
—Muhummad Sahimi, N.I.O.C. Chair in Petroleum Engineering and Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Southern California
Reese Erlich is always in Iran at the historic moments, including nearly all elections of recent years. He has formed a network with all sides of the struggles in Iran and his high art of storytelling captures the details I have not seen from any other Western journalist reporting on the contemporary Iran scene.
Goudarz Eghtedari, PhD, Systems Scientist and Engineer by trade, Social-Political and Human Rights Activist