In early 2004, filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond (Salam Iran, a Persian Letter) and author Fred A. Reed (Persian Postcards: Iran after Khomeini) returned to Iran after a two-year absence?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imprisoned, and, argues Mohsen Kadivar, one of the regime’s sharpest critics, the shah’s crown has now merely been replaced by the mollah’s turban.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. Too many promises had gone unfulfilled; too many commitments neglected.
President Khatami’s Reform movement had failed to improve the people’s livelihood. Worse, it would not, or could not, defend its strongest supporters against assaults by those determined to stop a democratic restructuring of the modern world’s first religious state. It was, said Saïd Hajjarian, the Reform strategist semi-paralyzed in an assassination attempt, “too late”: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his radical cohorts were already lurking in the shadows.
About the authors
Jean-Daniel Lafond has written and directed more than a dozen films that embody his commitment to using creative filmmaking to document the political upheavals of our time, including Tropique Nord (Tropic North) (1994), La liberté en colère (1994), Haïti dans tous nos rêves (Haïti in All Our Dreams) (1995), L’Heure de Cuba (Last Call for Cuba) (1999), Le temps des barbares (The Barbarian Files) (1999), Salam Iran, une lettre persane (Salam Iran, a Persian Letter) (2002), Le faiseur de théâtre (2002) and Le cabinet du Docteur Ferron (The Cabinet of Dr. Ferron) (2003). His most recent work includes Le fugitif (American Fugitive), filmed in 2005 in Iran and the United States.
International journalist and award-winning literary translator Fred A. Reed is also a respected specialist on politics and religion in the Middle East. Anatolia Junction, his acclaimed work on the unacknowledged wars of the Ottoman succession, has been translated in Turkey, where it enjoys a wide following. Shattered Images, which explores the origins of contemporary fundamentalist movements in Islam, has also been translated into Turkish, and into French as Images brisées (VLB éditeur, Montréal).
After several years as a librarian and trade union activist at the Montreal Gazette, Reed began reporting from Islamic Iran in 1984, visiting the Islamic Republic thirty times since then. He has also reported extensively on Middle Eastern affairs for La Presse, CBC Radio-Canada and Le Devoir.
A three-time winner of the Governor General’s Award for translation, plus a nomination in 2009 for his translation of Thierry Hentsch’s Le temps aboli, Empire of Desire. Reed has translated works by many of Québec’s leading authors, several in collaboration with novelist David Homel, as well as by Nikos Kazantzakis and other modern Greek writers.
Reed worked with documentarist Jean-Daniel Lafond on two documentary films: Salam Iran, a Persian Letter and American Fugitive. The two later collaborated on Conversations in Tehran (Talonbooks, 2006). He is currently working on a memoir. Fred A. Reed resides in Montréal.
“A society like ours, which flirts almost unconsciously with the bullies of ‘political correctness’ … needs men, women, writers, journalists, intellectuals like Fred A. Reed.”
— CBC Radio-Canada
Other titles by Jean-Daniel Lafond
Other titles by Fred A. Reed
The Green Chamber
Zora, A Cruel Tale
Takeover in Tehran ebook
The Inside Story of the 1979 U.S. Embassy Capture
Shattered Images ebook
Then We Were One ebook
Then We Were One
Imperial Canada Inc.
Legal Haven of Choice for the World's Mining Industries
A Covenant of Salt e-book
Empire of Desire
The Abolition of Time