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Esteemed Members of Our Community: Mohammad Amini

        Mohammad Amini, is a well-known and accomplished Iranian author and historian with over 150 articles and publications in his name. He is also recognized by millions of Iranian through many years of weekly radio interviews with renowned journalist, Hossein Mohri, and revision interviews with me on Andisheh. He has recently started his own weekly TV program on Andisheh, dubbed, Yek-kalam-e or one-word, after name of a book written by one of the forefathers of modernity in Iran 1n 1869.

His fame though, is due to his unique historical research on subjects varied from modernity, constitutional revolution, tribal and ethnic discourses in Iran, Islamic movement and formation of nation state in Iran. He is also one of the foremost authorities on life and works of late historian, Ahmad Kasravi Tabrizi. 

 

In fact, he critiqued and edited, Shi’ism, one of the most controversial and famous works of Kasravi and the resultant work was published last year, adding over 260 pages of comments and preface to Kasravi’s famed work.

As reluctant as he is to talk about himself, I found out that his enthusiasm about reading in general and history in particular, began when he was a first grader. “My father instilled the love of reading and history in me, initially by encouraging me to insert corrections that usually accompanied older books, in the appropriate pages.” It is worth nothing that even to this date most books in Farsi are not without typo errors, including works of historian Amini!

Series of articles about Fedayian-Eslam, he has written in the last 6 years, has brought a rash of condemnation by some Islamic Fundamentalists, together with praise and admiration by many scholars and those interested in the subject.  Amini is rewiring those articles with significant additions and reviews in a soon to be 

published book.   

That brings us to his most recent book, which promises to be historically riveting as well as igniting a very serious political debate. It is entitled The Deception with History, in two volumes. The firs 700-page volume, which should be in bookstores at time this magazine is published, responds to some of revisionist account of history regarding the 28-month premiership of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, the nationalization of oil industry in Iran and the CIA led coup of 1953. 

Amini’s method of reviewing Iranian history and writing about it is unique and unbiased. He is saddened that the culture of 

accurate reporting of history among Iranian elite and intellectuals is lacking or weak. “It is not difficult to comprehend the limitations of those who wrote historical books or biographies 1000, 500 or 200 years ago, during the reign of depots and murderous kings and rulers.  The fact that in modern day Iran, we are still confronted by selective and biased memoires, distorted or dishonest account of history and books infested with inaccuracy and manipulation of facts.”

Amini shared with me that his most comprehensive work or his “legacy” is a four-volume historical assessment of state and religion discourse is the last 500 years in Iran. “I have read and dissected just about every book, print or manuscript, that provides some information about the relationship between the institutions of religion and government in the years starting from ascendance of Safavid to the fall of the Shah. I have one year left in finalizing evaluation of events during of the Pahlavi dynasty. I will be then ready to publish all 4 volumes together”.

It is the pleasure of Jaam-va-Jaan to recognize Mr. Amini as this month’s esteemed member of our community. His contributions to the Iranian community have been endless and we are happy to have had the chance to shed light on some of them.

Reza Goharzad

 

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