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Amir Taheri (born 9 June 1942, Ahvazmarker) is an Iranianmarker-born conservative journalist and author based in Europe. His writings focus on the Middle East affairs and topics related to Islamist terrorism.


Taheri's biography at Benador Associates stated that he was educated in Tehranmarker, Londonmarker, and Parismarker. He was executive editor-in-chief of Kayhan, Iran's main daily newspaper, from 1972 to 1979, and a member of the board of trustees of the Iranian Institute for International Political and Economic Studies in Tehranmarker from 1973 to 1979. Taheri has also been editor-in-chief of Jeune Afrique (1985-1987), Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Times (1980-1984), and has written for the Pakistanmarker Daily Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Daily Mail. He was a member of the executive board of the International Press Institute from 1984 to 1992.

He has been a columnist for the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat and its sister publication Arab News, International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and The Washington Post. He has also written for Die Welt, Der Spiegel, in Germany, La Repubblica in Italy, L'Express, Politique internationale (where he is part of the Consulting Committee) and Le Nouvel Observateur in France, El Mundo in Spain, and The Times in the UK. He is currently a contributor to the German weekly Focus magazine, the National Review and the New York Post.

Taheri is a commentator for CNN and is frequently interviewed by other media including the BBC and the RFI. He has written several TV documentaries dealing with various issues of the Muslim world. He has interviewed many world leaders including Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, King Faisal, Mikhail Gorbachev, President Anwar Sadat, Zhou Enlai, Indira Gandhi and Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Taheri has published several books, some of which have been translated into 20 languages. In 1988 Publishers Weekly in New Yorkmarker chose his study of Islamist terrorism, Holy Terror: Inside the World of Islamic Terrorism, as one of the best books of the year. Another of his books, The Cauldron: The Middle East Behind The Headlines (1988) was used as a textbook in colleges in the United Kingdommarker and Canadamarker. His most recent book, Persian Night: Iran under the Khomeinist Revolution, (2009) discusses the Islamic Republics history, current political landscape, and geopolitical ambitions.


Iranian sumptuary law

On May 19, 2006, the National Post of Canada published two pieces, one by Taheri, claiming that the Iranian parliament passed a law that "envisages separate dress codes for religious minorities, Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, who will have to adopt distinct colour schemes to make them identifiable in public."Numerous other sources, including Maurice Motamed, the Jewish member of the Iranian parliament, refuted the report as untrue. The Associated Press later refuted the report as well, saying that "a draft law moving through parliament encourages Iranians to wear Islamic clothing to protect the country's Muslim identity but does not mention special attire for religious minorities, according to a copy obtained Saturday by The Associated Press." Reuters also reported that "A copy of the bill obtained by Reuters contained no such references. Reuters correspondents who followed the dress code session in parliament as it was broadcast on state radio heard no discussion of proscriptions for religious minorities."

Taheri insisted that his report was correct and that "the dress code law has been passed by the Islamic Majlis and will now be submitted to the Council of Guardians", claiming that that "special markers for followers of Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism are under discussion as a means to implement the law".

The National Post retracted the story several hours after it was posted online. The newspaper blamed Taheri for the falsehood in the article, and published a full apology on May 24. Taheri stood by his article.

Javad Zarif accusations

Dwight Simpson of San Francisco State Universitymarker and Kaveh Afrasiabi accuse Taheri and his publisher Eleana Benador of fabricating false stories in the New York Post in 2005 where Taheri identified Iran's UN ambassador Javad Zarif as one of the students involved in the 1979 seizure of hostages at the US Embassy in Tehran. Zarif was Simpson's teaching assistant and a graduate student in the Department of International Relations of San Francisco State Universitymarker at the time.

Kaveh Afrasiabi exposes Taheri Khatami-Bashing

Kaveh L. Afrasiabi is a writer and activist with a PhD in political science, has accused Taheri of a being intentionally inaccurate on several accounts as well as being biased against the Khatami reform movement: [96428]

Nest of Spies

Shaul Bakhash of George Mason Universitymarker has accused Amir Taheri of concocting nonexistent conspiracies in his writings, and states that he "repeatedly refers us to books where the information he cites simply does not exist. Often the documents cannot be found in the volumes to which he attributes them.... [He] repeatedly reads things into the documents that are simply not there." Bakhash has stated that Taheri's 1988 Nest of Spies is "the sort of book that gives contemporary history a bad name."

Jesse Jackson article

On October 14, 2008, Taheri wrote an article stating that at the first World Policy Forum, Rev Jesse Jackson told participants that Barack Obama would implement fundamental changes in US foreign policy towards Israel. It was later noted that the name of the conference is the World Policy Conference. Additionally, Jesse Jackson was not a speaker at the event, and denounced Taheri for "selectively imposing his own point of view and distorting mine." Jackson said he "stands forthrightly for the security and stability of Israel, its protection from any form of hostility and a peaceful, nonviolent resolution to coexisting with its Palestinian neighbors".

Partial bibliography

  • 1986. The Spirit of Allah: Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution.
  • : Bethesdamarker: Adler & Adler. ISBN 0-917-56104-X, ISBN 978-0-91756-104-7. .
  • 1987. Holy Terror: Inside the World of Islamic Terrorism.
  • : Bethesdamarker: Adler & Adler. ISBN 0-917-56145-7, ISBN 978-0-91756-145-0. .
  • 1988. The Cauldron: The Middle East Behind the Headlines.
  • : Londonmarker: Hutchinson. ISBN 0-091-73729-X, ISBN 978-0-09173-729-0. .
  • 1989. Nest of Spies: America's Journey to Disaster in Iran.
  • : New Yorkmarker: Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-394-57566-0, ISBN 978-0-39457-566-7. .
  • 1989. Crescent in a Red Sky: The Future of Islam in the Soviet Union.
  • : Londonmarker: Hutchinson. ISBN 0-091-73463-0, ISBN 978-0-09173-463-3.
  • 1991. The Unknown Life of the Shah.
  • : Londonmarker: Hutchinson. ISBN 0-091-74860-7, ISBN 978-0-09174-860-9. .
  • The Persian Night: Iran under the Khomeinist Revolution (2009) ISBN 1594032408


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