Iran: Guarding The Revolution

ARTS CHANNEL – Saturdays from 2 January, 3.30pm

New to BBC World News, a three part series looking at Iran. The first two episodes tell how the 1979 Revolution sowed the seeds of discord that led to the post-election bloodshed of June 2009, and the third, the inside story of the international effort to stem Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Ep1: The Seeds of Discord: With the Islamic Republic facing the biggest political crisis in its 30-year history, this film tells how the 1979 Revolution sowed the seeds of discord that led to the post-election bloodshed of June 2009. Through first-hand accounts, rare archive footage and dramatic reconstruction, we tell the inside story of the creation of the Islamic Republic and the struggle to control it: how the revolutionary movement was made up of religious and secular groups whose competing agendas continue to resonate in today’s battle between Moussavi and Ahmadinejad. When he announced the coming revolution from Paris in 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini promised a tolerant, democratic Iran. But on returning to Tehran, he set about destroying his former leftist allies and setting up a religious dictatorship.
Ep2: Iran’s Torment: This programme chronicles the struggle for democratic freedoms in the Islamic Republic since the death of its founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, and shows how the current reform movement was born. In 1988, Iran stood at the crossroads: the war with Iraq over, no longer could the ayatollahs use the threat of invasion to unite the country behind their rule. They had an answer: brutal repression. Thousands of people were executed. Many more were tortured, often for years on end. Soon, ordinary Iranians had had enough. In 1997 they elected a reformist president and parliament to clean up their country. But the new era was stillborn. The ayatollahs ignored the wishes of the people and their elected representatives. They set up a ‘parallel government’ and instigated a period of repression that continues to this day.
Ep3: Chain Reaction: In 2005 President George W Bush called Iran’s nuclear programme ‘the greatest threat facing the world today’. Benjamin Netanyahu warns that Israel will never tolerate a nuclear-armed Tehran, and stopping the nuclear threat is at the top of President Obama’s foreign policy agenda. As the world waits, still Iran continues on its nuclear path. Who will back down first? This film tells the inside story of the international effort to stem Iran’s nuclear ambitions since they were revealed in 2002. Those at the heart of negotiations talk of their battles with Iran – and with each other.