Today Brookings published the latest in a newly inaugurated series, The Brookings Essay. The latest essay, “Iran Surprises Itself And The World,” focuses on the June 2013 election of Hassan Rouhani to the Iranian presidency, tracing the evolution of Iranian politics since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and offering some thoughts about what the Rouhani era may mean for the future of Iran and its relationship with the world. The text of the Essay is only a small piece of the project, which includes an array of photos, graphics, interactive material and video interviews with individuals who have been directly engaged in trying to address the tough issues surrounding Iran.
Iran is frequently in the news, and as an analyst, much of what I do here at Brookings involves interpreting and responding to those headlines: on Syria, on the nuclear crisis, on the frustrating and fascinating internal politics of Iran’s Islamic Republic. But anyone who knows Iran knows that it is a country of epic stories, beginning with the Shahnameh and continuing to this day. As a student of Iran, I read what seems like every book ever published on its politics and economics, but I didn’t understand a thing until I had the opportunity to visit Iran and hear its stories first-hand. The Brookings Essay is one of those rare opportunities for a Washington wonk: a chance to tell a story and dive deep into an important issue. “Iran Surprises Itself” is a story of Iran, of a revolution and political evolution that remains unfinished and unpredictable and influential in shaping the future of the Middle East and the world.
The Essay is the product of months of intense work by a very talented team of Brookings editors, artists, web gurus and others whose technical skills simply exceed my ability to describe. I hope you’ll take the opportunity to visit the Essay page, read the story of Iran’s election, and experience the visuals and videos. Even more, I hope that you will take a moment to send us your thoughts, questions, comments and ideas about the Essay and Iran, via our blog email IranAtSaban@brookings.edu and via my Twitter account, @maloneysuzanne.