FROM PERSIAN EMPIRE TO ISLAMIC IRAN: A History of Nationalism in the Middle East

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This book examines the relationship between Iranian nationalism and Islam, especially Shi ‘ism as the adopted official religion of the country by the founder of the Safavid Dynasty in 1501 A.D. The study covers selected periods in fourteen centuries of Iranian history with greatest emphasis on the last two centuries where secular Western reformist ideas overlap with progressive religious thinking.


“Towfighi’s direct engagement of highly contested aspects of the contemporary global environment, including the ‘target status’ of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a harbinger of “Islamo-Fascism,” gives this book added appeal. The work is built upon and synthesizes a sizeable group of published Persian-language sources and a good variety of academic literatures written in English. The Glossary adds a mark of distinction to an already distinguished effort.” – Prof. Shah Mahmoud Hanifi, James Madison University

“. . . may inspire readers to rethink American and some expatriate Iranian views about contemporary Iran.” – Prof. Michael Craig Hillmann, The University of Texas at Austin

“These considerations lead me to say that Dr. Towfighi introduces something for future scholarly debate, namely the important notion that the Iranians—and this, in my judgment, is what the world may not be familiar with—made a political decision when they accepted Islam.” – Prof. Christopher Nouryeh, SUNY-Canton University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. Shah Mahmoud Hanifi
1. Conceptual Reflections
2. Early Nationalist Movements
3. Resurgence of Iranian Nationalism under the banner of Shi’i Islam
4. Secular and Religious Reformist Movements during the Qajar Period
5. Imperial Nationalism of the Pahlavi Period
6. Secular Nationalist Government of Mossadeq
7. Revival of Islamic Nationalism: The Iranian Revolution of 1979
8. Islamic Government

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