How Iran Thinks

With a new nuclear deal on the way, attention is again turning to Iran. Four recent books, plus the deal itself, suggest that America and Europe are blind to the regime’s motivating spirit.

A portrait of the late Ayatollah Khomeini projected on the Azadi (Freedom) Monument in western Tehran on the 43rd anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution in February 2022. Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

A portrait of the late Ayatollah Khomeini projected on the Azadi (Freedom) Monument in western Tehran on the 43rd anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution in February 2022. Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Essay
March 7 2022
About the author

Ze’ev Maghen is chair of the department of Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University. His latest book on the Middle East, Reading the Ayatollahs: The Worldview of Iran’s Religio-Political Elite, is nearing completion. He is also the author of John Lennon and the Jews: A Philosophical Rampage.

There is a well-known Persian children’s game in which a parent recites limerick-like poems while engaging in horseplay. One version, popular in the mid-20th century, had the father of the household seat himself on a carpet in the living room with one of his progeny standing to his right and the other to his left. The father would declaim:

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More about: History & Ideas, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, Middle East, Politics & Current Affairs