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Authors

Syd Dillard

Abstract

The West has been conditioned to perceive Iran as hostile, suspect, and promoting terrorism. The conventional wisdom is that Iran is not an “open society”, but one where dissent is repressed. However, the literature, as in the quote above, paints a picture of diverse peoples and political thought. Yet diversity in popular attitudes does not preclude Iran from a troubling human rights record. The more reformers demand and speak out, the more repressive the regime becomes. In defense of these activities, Iran appeals to cultural and religious tradition. Outside its borders, Iran has also been either a sponsor or supporter of terrorism for a long time, including in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There is also evidence connecting the Iranian regime with Hamas, Hizbolleh, and even Al-Qaeda.

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