“Riveting . . . a side of Iran that is often misrepresented by the world’s media—[an] insightful, captivating book.” — San Francisco Chronicle
Taking the reader inside Iran’s key institutions, Geneive Abdo and Jonathan Lyons argue that the 1979 Iranian revolution, long viewed in the West as the pursuit of an imagined medieval Utopia, was in fact a political movement designed to modernize Islam. Twenty years later, a power struggle between conservative and reform elements provoked a clash that has destabilized the country and limited Iran’s ability to integrate with the world community.
Answering Only to God challenges the prevailing Western belief that the Islamic world is an undifferentiated mass of disaffected and dangerous fanatics or that a Western-style democracy will soon transform this ancient land of Shi’ite and Sufi tradition. Instead, the authors explore the controversial view that beyond their quarrel with the West, stemming from decades of exploitive foreign policies, the real struggle in Iran is between reformers and conservative mullahs.
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Geneive Abdo reported from Islamic countries for The Guardian and The Economist for over a decade. She is the author of No God But God, a correspondent in the Washington bureau of The Boston Globe, and a commentator on NPR and the BBC. Abdo was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and a Guggenheim Fellow in 2001–2002. Jonathan Lyons served as the bureau chief of an international news agency in Iran and in Turkey. Before that, he covered the collapse of the Soviet Union. They both live in Washington, D.C.
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