Thursday, April 18, 2013

Iran's Nuclear Program, the Shah, & Seraji's Rooftops of Tehran

From last month’s BBC article “The man who turned Iran nuclear:”
In a rare interview, the man dubbed "the father of Iran's nuclear programme" tells how the project began under the Shah, who wanted to leave the option for a bomb open.
Now in his 80s, Akbar Etemad remembers all too clearly the pressure the Americans tried to apply to him when he was head of Iran's nuclear programme between 1974 and 1978.
Mr Etemad was the president of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation and it was under him that the country's nuclear project began and flourished. The Shah of Iran had announced that he wanted to build nuclear power plants in the country, a plan supported by the United States. The goal was for Iran to produce 23,000 megawatts of electrical power...
For a novel about Iran under the Shah, try Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji:
Set in 1970s Iran during the shah's regime, this earnest, semiautobiographical debut novel is told from the perspective of bookish 17-year-old Pasha Shahed, who, along with his best friend Ahmed, plays soccer, goofs off and thinks about girls.
But Pasha pines for one girl in particular—his neighbor Zari, betrothed since birth to Pasha's mentor, the neighborhood radical, Ramin Sobhi, whom everyone calls Doctor. Over a summer Ahmed orchestrates daily meetups with his own beloved, Faheemeh, and includes Pasha and Zari. Despite knowing he shouldn't, Pasha falls in love with Zari.
The idyllic summer comes to an end when Doctor is abducted and killed by SAVAK, the not-so-secret police. The effects of Doctor's death on Pasha and Zari are traumatic and lead each to acts of transgression with tragic results.

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