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08/04/09

Book: Returning to Iran

Sima Nahan, 2009

Thirty years after its revolution Iran continues to baffle the world. As changes within Iran and improved relations with the west become distinct possibilities, the experiences of the years since the revolution gain in relevance and significance. Returning to Iran, published on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Iranian revolution, reflects on these years while placing them in a greater historical context.


Returning to Iran by Sima Nahan
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The articles in Returning to Iran give insider accounts of three decades of life under the Islamic Republic. They offer glimpses into many facets of Iranian society with its complexities and contradictions:

  • War, terror, change, and secular culture forced underground.

  • Dissent and Iran's irrepressible women.

  • Misrepresentations of Iran in the west and the world context in which Iran's intelligentsia views itself.

  • Disruption and continuity in the lives of Iranians inside and outside the country.

  • The ongoing perils of intellectual pursuit.

  • And, ultimately, the independent spirit, seasoned eye, and sharp wit of Iranians in their continuing struggle for autonomy and freedom.

What distinguishes this book is that it addresses both Iranian and American readers. Most books about Iran are either written for Iranians or for non-Iranians-a point often noted by reviewers in Iran. The best-selling books in the U.S. are usually intended for an American audience and are consequently of little relevance to Iranians. Returning to Iran avoids the tendency to fit its narrative to this divide in readership. It is a timely contribution toward an informed point of departure for exchanges between thinking people of both countries.

"Sima Nahan" is the pen name of an Iranian writer based in California. Returning to Iran records her travels home from 1986 to 2008 and gives accounts of different periods within this time. As she points out in the Preface, the final piece in this collection, "Kashf-e Hejab," is a "premature account of the end of another period." It is everyone's hope that a new period will usher in more freedom of expression for all Iranian writers.

Read excerpts at the book's web site

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