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Conversations in Tehran

In early 2004, filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond and author Fred A. Reed went to Iran on the eve of the parliamentary elections that were to seal the political defeat of the Reform movement. They had come to interview several of the men and women who had propelled Mohammad Khatami to the presidency in 1997, with a mission to rebuild a civil society in Iran under the banner of human rights, democracy, free speech and a renewed dialogue of civilizations. This is their report: Iran’s once lively press has been all but silenced, the country’s most outspoken journalists imprisoned, and, argues Mohsen Kadivar, one of the regime’s sharpest critics, the shah’s crown has now merely been replaced by the mollah’s turban. Most surprising of all, however, was the populist bitterness expressed against the now beleaguered Reform movement.

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