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Supplemental Materials

Supplemental Materials includes online resources to accompany the printed unit, links to resources on other sites, and a list of recommended print resources.


Choices produces videos featuring top experts—professors, policymakers, journalists, activists, and artists—answering questions that complement the readings and lessons.

Iranian Revolution

Iran Through the Looking Glass: History, Reform, and Revolution

Third edition. May 2012.


In 1978, millions of Iranians risked their lives to protest against the shah. Marching in the streets, Iranians sought to end repressive rule, bring justice and opportunity to Iranians, and rid Iran of the influence of foreign powers - particularly the United States. But Iranians were not unified about how to achieve these goals. Nor were they sure what kind of government they wanted. With the departure of the shah in January 1979, a tremendous struggle began for the future of Iran.

Iran Through the Looking Glass: History, Reform, and Revolution traces the history of Iran and then engages students in the choices considered during this period debate and uncertainty. Students explore Iran's cultural history, its efforts to establish a representative democracy in the twentieth century, and the role the great powers played in shaping events in Iran.


Three readings trace the history of Iran from its early dynasties to the present. Part I explores the origins of the values of social and economic justice that shaped Iranian political life. Part II examines the period from the end of World War II to the 1979 revolution. Students consider the origins of upheaval and change in Iran during this period. A final reading surveys the Islamic Republic of Iran since 1979, and helps students to understand the significance of the Iranian Revolution.

The Choices Role Play

Iran Through the Looking Glass: History, Reform, and Revolution helps students consider the issues facing Iranians at a time of social and political upheaval. The period of political ferment after the departure of the shah in early 1979 revolution provides the turning point that is the focus of the unit. Students recreate the debate among the Iranian people as they pondered their future after the departure of the shah. The options included 1) creating a social democracy, 2) building a socialist state, 3) and building a government and legal system based on the Shi'i cleric Ayatollah Khomeini's principles.


Iran's Constitutional Revolution: 1906-1911
Students examine documents and sources surrounding the Constitutional Revolution.

Iranian Oil Nationalization
Students explore the points of view of the parties involved in the Oil Nationalization Movement led by Mohammad Mossadegh.

U.S. Documents of the 1953 Coup
Students analyze classified U.S. documents and newspaper articles on the 1953 coup.

Role Playing the Three Options
Students participate in a simulation in which they assume the roles of Iranians at Tehran University debating their future.

Charting Iran's Political Climate
Students chart Iran's swings between representative and authoritarian politics during the twentieth century.

Human Rights in Iran
Students consider human rights in Iran under the shah and today.