By John Farndon
Iran’s President Ahmadinejad surprised the realm whilst he defined the Holocaust as a fantasy and referred to as for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” may Iran construct and use nuclear guns? How could we be affected if Iran bring to an end oil provides? Many see Iran as a part of the “axis of evil,” and the United States isn't really by myself in arguing that it offers a major threat. yet is Iran relatively the rabid Islamic puppy that a few paint it? Or is it in truth the main wealthy, refined, cultured state within the heart East, regardless of its president’s belligerence? This booklet offers the evidence and allows you to shape your individual opinion.
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Uthman began to indulge in an ever-more decadent lifestyle, enjoying the fruits of the plunder THE COMING OF ISL AM • 43 that the Arab armies had brought back from their conquests. Eventually, resentment among the poor exploded into a slaughterous uprising, and Ali was chosen as the fourth caliph. Five years later, Ali was assassinated, and Uthman’s son seized the caliphate and proclaimed his rule over the entire Muslim world. Shia and Sunni Since that time there has been an irreconcilable split between Sunni and Shia.
A famous stone relief at Naqs-i Rustam shows the Roman emperor Valerian in chains after he was captured by King Shapur’s troops in 260 AD. Yet, unlike the Parthians, the Sassanians were truly Iranian, and many of the things now associated with Iranian culture appeared in the Sassanian era. The distinctive Islamic domes and vaults are Sassanian ideas, for instance. Persian carpets too had their first great 32 • EVERY THING YOU NEED TO KNOW: IRAN flowering in the Sassanian period, and the first known Persian carpet, the glorious 90-foot square Spring of Khosrow was from a Sassanian palace.
Yet his great poetic work, the Shahnameh, focuses on the legends and history of pre-Islamic Persia. The Shahnameh is a key symbol of Iranian identity. It’s a gigantic work, three times as long as Homer’s Iliad, yet it means so much to many Iranians that they know great chunks of it by heart. It’s a stirring tale featuring many ideas central to the Iranian’s selfimage – heroism, justice, pride and a sense of inevitable tragedy. At its heart is a deep core of Persian patriotism, 56 • EVERY THING YOU NEED TO KNOW: IRAN and its aim seems to be to separate Persia from Arabia, to find a voice under Islam which means that Iranian culture isn’t swamped by Arab culture.