Originally posted January 2009
It is only fitting that “The Iranian Revolution at 30” begin with an introductory essay by R.K. Ramazani and that this project be dedicated to him. For 55 years, Professor Ramazani has been a teacher and mentor to many scholars and practitioners of the Middle East. His body of work on Iran is unrivalled in its scope and originality. Many of his articles and books on Iranian foreign policy are standard works.
For over a quarter century, Dr. Ramazani also has written with eloquence and conviction of the need for the United States and Iran to end their estrangement and begin direct diplomatic talks. Ramazani has no illusions about overcoming three decades of animosity, but he believes that reconciling US-Iran differences is vital to resolving America’s other strategic challenges in the Middle East — including in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — and to bringing sustainable peace and security to the region.
Professor Ramazani’s service to both the Middle East Institute and to the University of Virginia has been recognized time and again. As one of Dr. Ramazani’s former students, and as a former director of programs at MEI, I can personally attest to his deep commitment to both institutions. His life-long contribution to the Middle East Institute was recognized at MEI’s Annual Conference in October 1997, when he was presented with the Middle East Institute Award. Currently, Dr. Ramazani serves with distinction on The Middle East Journal’s Board of Advisory Editors. At the University of Virginia, his teaching and scholarship embodied Thomas Jefferson’s precept for the University that “Here we are not afraid to follow truth, wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it.”
It is in that spirit that this volume is dedicated to R. K. Ramazani.