New Book: A Window Into Modern Iran

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Hoover Institution, Stanford University

The world-renowned Hoover Institution Library & Archives presents A Window into Modern Iran, The Ardeshir Zahedi Papers at the Hoover Institution Library & ArchivesThe never-before-published records of Ardeshir Zahedi, Iran’s ambassador to the United States and minister of foreign affairs during the 1960s and 1970s, reveal the inner workings of the shah’s government before the Iranian Revolution. The Zahedi Papers form the richest collection relating to modern Iranian politics and diplomacy anywhere in the world outside of Iran.

During the two turbulent decades preceding regime change in Iran, Ardeshir Zahedi was at the center of Iranian politics as ambassador to the United States and the United Kingdom and minister of foreign affairs under the shah. In exile for forty years after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Zahedi meticulously preserved thousands of records, letters, documents, and photographs pertaining to his career and that of his father, general Fazlollah Zahedi, prime minister of Iran from1953 to 1955. These archives, transferred to the Hoover Institution in 2009, provide a rare and unmediated view of a century of social and political history in Iran.

Profoundly relevant to understanding the current geopolitical environment, A Window into Modern Iran brings modern Iranian history vividly to life. It also illuminates the life of a remarkable personality, a figure of public fascination for decades who exerted considerable influence as a diplomat and trusted advisor to the shah. He personally knew eight American presidents and was a figure of great social interest. His lavish parties and his many reported romantic links to celebrity women were often reported in the media of the time.

Published for the very first time, the papers and photos included here are connected to many of the twentieth century’s most eminent public figures, from heads of state such as King Faisal and Ronald Reagan to cultural emissaries including Katherine Graham and Kirk Douglas. The primary sources represented in A Window into Modern Iran are indispensable for scholarship on modern Iranian history and are critical for understanding society, politics, and international relations both in Iran and abroad.

Edited by Abbas Milani, who is the Hamid & Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies and adjunct professor at the Center on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law at Stanford University. He is a research fellow and codirector of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution. His expertise is in US-Iran relations as well as Iranian cultural, political, and security issues. He is the author of many books, including The Shah (2012); The Myth of the Great Satan: A New Look at America's Relations with Iran (Hoover Institution Press, 2010); Eminent Persians: Men and Women Who Made Modern Iran, 1941–1979, 2 vols.(2008); and The Persian Sphinx: Amir Abbas Hoveyda and the Riddle of the Iranian Revolution (2000).