Archival on Demand Original Series

Iran The Third Path: From Empire to Ruin to Empire

“IN 1979, THE CHOICE WAS CLEAR. NO TO THE EAST , i.e. THE SOVIET UNION, NO TO THE WEST, i.e. THE UNITED STATES, AND LET’S CHOOSE THIS THIRD PATH.“

Alex Vatanka
Middle East Institute, Washington, DC

As Asia and the Middle East continue to inspire breaking news, this series takes you back in time to the history of major transformations in the region that have culminated in today’s problem filled environment. Featuring interviews with scholars across many disciplines and animated reenactments of historic events, international audiences can understand the history beyond current events.

Ervand Abrahamian

“YOU REALLY NEED A DOCUMENTARY, REALLY LONG DOCUMENTARY TO GET INTO THE COMPLEXITIES OF THE COUNTRY”

Dr. Ervand Abrahamian
Baruch College, New York

“I MUST SAY I WAS IMPRESSED. THE PRODUCTION QUALITY IS EXCELLENT AND THE SCHOLARSHIP IS SOLID. THE ARCHIVE FOOTAGE IS ALSO GREAT, MANY PARTS OF WHICH I HADN’T SEEN BEFORE. OVERALL, ITS A SUPERB DOCUMENTARY, AND I’M EAGERLY AWAITING THE UPCOMING EPISODES.”

Mohammad Ashkanani, Kuwait

Persian Voices, the Words of Historical Figures from Iran

Rated 5 Stars on Amazon

“A VERY FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON A HISTORY THAT NEVER TAUGHT INSIDE OR OUTSIDE OF THE US OR EVEN IN IRAN. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!”

Customer Review by Arash

Related Film Shorts: Path to Freedom

Beginning in December of 2017 and persisting in 2019, protests in Iran combat the powers of the Supreme Leader and Revolutionary Guards for control over Persia, but the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to use force against Iranian citizens and belligerence in the countries of the Middle East and beyond.

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Extras from Archival on Demand

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Experience the poetic observations of Persian history’s most memorable discussions throughout Iran’s modern history as a compilation of over 60 videos that provide a different entertaining experience with each session.

Oral History

Popular Topics

Iran Nuclear Program

…it’s also the era of sort of economic development and there’s a lot of sort of building dams and the first small nuclear reactor is built then under the “Atoms for Peace” program that the Eisenhower administration has. But there is a sense that sort of things are returning to some semblance of normality in Iran.

Iran Protests 

This year’s demonstrations concerning “the price of eggs” reflects not only a deep and widespread economic outcry of the students and intellectuals, but also the ordinary people, tired of the financial autocracy of the few against the economic hardship of the mass. Official figures indicate a pronounced economic impact from the demonstrations. According to Mohammed Javad Azari, Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology, within two weeks of unrest, bank transactions fell by 40 percent and the national postal services income fell by 18 percent.

Iran-West Relations

So it’s a period where a lot of people are looking around for a solution to these kinds of problems. And by this time the old Qajar dynasty, the Qajar monarchy has become somewhat discredited. Partly because it’s failed so obviously to resist this foreign pressure over such a long time. And this is really the context for the rise of Reza Khan, who becomes Reza Shah later in the 1920’s.

1953 Coup of Mossadegh

Mosaddegh, once in power, progressively created a wedge between himself and his opponents.  He had a very unique style of political organization. His oil – the oil issue was being conducted in a single-handed way by him and this started to create divisions within Iranian politics.  The Shah in particular and the royal household were very apprehensive about the possible collapse of Iran’s alignment with America and Great Britain.

1979 Revolution in Iran

The [1979 revolution] obviously had many different currents in it.  On one had you had conservative clerics, some of them to the notion of velayat-e faqih, some not subsrcibing to it but still thinking in terms of a clerical republic.  Then, you had much more liberal, secular thinkers who thought they would have much more of a democratic western oriented state. And as long as there was the war, there was external crisis, these differences were, in a way, muted, but with the end of the Iraqi war and the death of Khomeini, what you find is that in Iranian politics, you get eventually a division, what you could call — one could call on one hand, conservative clerical.  On the other hand, much more liberal, but they don’t like to use the word liberal.  It sounds western, so terms of either progressive or reformist.

American Embassy Hostage Crisis

And within a couple days, I think Khomeini and his advisors realized how popular this was and they decided to make it their issue and they approved it and encouraged, in effect, the hostage takers to continue. So this went on.  And while they were holding people and questioning them, they also went through the burn bags, because the embassy tried to burn everything.  There was so much paper, you couldn’t possibly do it, lesson learned, from this – embassy taking, don’t keep too much paper or keep yourself to a burn time, as they say, of five minutes or less.

Iran-Iraq War

You can basically divide the Iran-Iraq war into two sort of phases, two larger phases.  There are other sub-phases, of course.  Two larger phases, and that is the time where the Iranian strategic defensive, i.e., when they were trying to eject Iraqis from Iranian territory, that’s from 1980 to 1982 – and from 1982 to 1988, you then get the Iranians turning the tables on Iraq and seeking much broader war aims – the overthrow of the Iraqi regime, something incidentally that the Americans did some years later, some would say in cahoots with the Iranians, but that’s a conspiracy theory too far.

Archival Institute’s Top 10 Books About Iran

Nomadism in Iran from Antiquity to the Modern Era-  The classic images of Iranian nomads in circulation today and in years past suggest that Western awareness of nomadism is a phenomenon of considerable antiquity. Though nomadism has certainly been a key feature of Iranian history, it has not been in the way most modern archaeologists have envisaged it. Nomadism in Iran recasts our understanding of this “timeless” tradition.