Iran: Influence or threat?
Empire debates if the country is a regional plus or an international minus.
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2009 13:10 GMT

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 Timeline: US-Iran relations
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The Islamic Revolution in 1979, headed by Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini introduced a theocracy in Iran that pledged to stand up to western dominance on the international stage.

Today, 30 years on, massive street demonstrations following a disputed election result are calling that authority into question.

A part of George Bush's original so-called axis of evil, Iran in recent times has been flexing its muscles and exerting its influence in the volatile Middle East region.

In the West has been viewed warily and as a potential international threat ever since the Shah’s overthrow of the Shah.

This month's guests

Professor Hamid Dabashi
Iranian Studies expert, Columbia University

Robert Malley
Programme Director, International Crisis Group

Flynt Leverett
Senior Fellow, New America Foundation

Professor Mansour Farhang
International relations expert, Bennington College

The subsequent US hostage crisis, and current support for groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, does little to suggest that attitude will change anytime soon.

Empire examines the roots of discontent in Iran and questions whether there has been a loss of legitimacy and if the escalation of protests will affect Iran's regional role, its alliances and influence.

Marwan Bishara and his guests debate if Iran can claim to be a role model for other countries to follow.
We discuss whether the current crisis is one of individual leaders or of a system of governance and ask what can be expected from the Ahmadinejad and Khamenei camp in the weeks ahead.

This edition of Empire can be seen from Wednesday June 24 at the following times GMT: Wednesday 1900; Thursday 0300 and 1400; Friday 0600

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