In the weeks following the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iranian newspapers chronicled the summary execution of political prisoners with before-and-after photos. According to Ayatollah Khomeini's former deputy, in a single week in 1988, the Islamic Republic killed 3,000 political prisoners. A July 2000 report by Tehran's director of cultural affairs found that prostitution increased 635 percent between 1998 and 1999. According to the Iranian judiciary's own figures, 600,000 Iranians languish in prison.
Don't expect to find any of these unpleasant facts in Hooglund's irrelevant and apologetic collection of articles. Sociologist Farhad Khosrokhavar, for example, reports that after the bloodshed of the early 1980s, "Iranian society exhibited strong abhorrence of violence and prevented it from becoming widespread." What about the 1988 slaughter of prisoners, the intelligence ministry's 1998 "serial killings" of leading intellectuals and dissidents, and the subsequent attack by government-financed gangs upon unarmed students? Hooglund himself argues that the participation of women in sports "starkly contradicts the dire predictions about the regression of women's rights and status that many secular scholars assumed would be the fate of Iranian women in the immediate aftermath of the 1979 revolution." Oddly enough, many Iranian women do not find that the freedom to play volleyball counterbalances the street harassment they encounter and a lack of marriage or divorce rights. When anthropologist Ziba Mir-Hosseini analyzes the treatment of gender in the speeches of Islamic philosopher Abdolkarim Soroush, she inexplicably fails to mention that Soroush led the purge of the country's school system that decimated Iranian academe and fostered a crippling brain drain.
Jalil Roshandel's analysis of Tehran's decision-making trumpets Khatami's call for an end to war and intolerance in a speech before the Italian parliament but ignores Khatami's later televised declaration that, "If we abide by the Koran, all of us should mobilize to kill." Hooglund insinuates that the dispute between the United Arab Emirates and Iran over the sovereignty of the Tonb Islands is actually a U.S. plot, while maintaining that Tehran's support for terrorism and nuclear ambitions are at best mere "suspicions." He peremptorily dismisses Iran's role in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing. Eric Rouleau's essay on the European Union's view of the Islamic Republic is a useful survey (making it also the highlight of this collection), although his assertion that Europe's dialogue has changed Iran's behavior does not convince. Readers would be much better served by more careful and candid surveys of the Islamic Republic, such as David Menashri's Post-Revolutionary Politics in Iran.
 London: Frank Cass, 2001.