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Iranian political opposition literature collection
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  • Access
  • Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Related Materials

  • Title: Iranian political opposition literature collection
    Date (inclusive): 1961-2003
    Collection Number: 2006C15
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: Persian
    Physical Description: 86 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize box (36.2 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: Serial issues, pamphlets, leaflets, bulletins, and newsletters issued by Iranian political groups in exile relating to political conditions in Iran.
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives


    Box 41 may not be used without permission of the Archivist. The remainder of the collection is open for research; materials must be requested in advance via our reservation system. If there are audiovisual or digital media material in the collection, they must be reformatted before providing access.


    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired by the Hoover Institution Library & Archives in 2006.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Iranian political opposition literature collection, [Box no., Folder no. or title], Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Historical Note

    Beginning in 1983, Edward A. Jajko, at the time the Middle East curator of the Hoover Institution Library & Archives, set about the task of "gathering materials issued by or related to individuals and groups classifiable as belonging to an Iranian opposition, whether anti-Shah, anti-Khomeini, or otherwise in some form of political opposition" (Jajko, 1986). Between 1983 and 2006, the archives accumulated a wide variety of printed resources from the Hoover Library, University of Texas Library, and individual private donors. An initial inventory of the Middle East Collection in the Library and Archives was written and published by Jajko in 1986. The following finding aid reflects the collection as whole and does not make distinctions between the original accession and later additions.
    Source: Jajko, E.A. (1986). Iranian Opposition Literature in the Middle East Collection of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace. Updated January 5, 1987.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection contains printed matter published by Iranian political opposition groups in exile relating to the social, political, and economic conditions in Iran, Kurdistan, and among Iranian students abroad from just before the Iranian revolution to the years following the Iran-Iraq war, represented in the form of monographs, booklets, pamphlets, journals, newsletters, and other circulars.
    Under the Pahlavi dynasty, followed quickly by the Islamic regime, Iranian dissidents faced the hurdles of exile, censorship, torture, imprisonment, and even death for holding political convictions contrary to the party in power. Unable to organize within Iran's borders for fear of retribution, Iranian political opposition groups (hereafter referred to as the IPO) of all persuasions rebanded abroad between the 1960s and 1970s.
    From a broad view, the beliefs of the IPO can be classified as Monarchist, Marxist, Islamist, or Democratic (Metz, 1987). From each of these ideologies sprung a number of organizations motivated by a strong theoretical conviction, be it anti-capitalist, anti-socialist, or even more simply, anti-torture. As with all modern political struggles, the members of each organization actively engaged in the spread of propaganda and distributed printed materials locally and internationally.
    Although the major IPO groups hold distinctive ideologies, the contents of the collection highlight some of the connective strains of thought and experience that unite these groups. For example, the 1971 raid of police headquarters in Siyahkal (a small town in the Gilan province of Iran) by members of the People's Sacrifice Guerrillas of Iran marked a change in the narrative of the IPO movement, inspiring the more violent factions of each group away from peaceful resistance and toward armed struggle. This event sparked Persian translations of works by Che Guevara and Leon Trotsky, as well as original writings by IPO "martyrs" A.P. Pouyan, Bijan Jazani, and Khosrow Golsorkhi, which are all included in the collection.
    Besides highlighting the ideologies of each group, materials in the collection also describe how IPO groups were able to train their followers and operate covertly. Some of these unique materials include an instructional manual for cryptic writing ( ramz nivisī), a first aid manual for guerrilla fighters, an assortment of lyrical ballads, and a memorial calendar marking important dates and events.
    Other topics covered include political prisoners; human rights; Kurdish independence; martyrs and martyrdom; Iran-Iraq relations; Iranian students in the United States and Europe; the Iran hostage crisis; Iranian nationalism; and the spread of Marxist-Leninist thought in Iran.
    The order in which each series appears reflects the original order of the collection as defined by Edward Jajko. Each series is comprised of printed matter published by a particular Iranian political opposition group or by its supporters. Because the materials are described for the most part at item level, the titles are grouped into subseries by physical format, for example as serials or monographs, then in alphabetical order by title with serial issues listed in chronological order. Printed matter that is not related to any specific political opposition is arranged at the end of the collection in the Other Printed Matter series.
    In describing this collection, the solar Hijri calendar is used to more accurately reflect the original language of the materials, alongside the Gregorian calendar date.
    Source: Metz, H.C. ed. (1987). Iran: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress. Accessed from http://countrystudies.us/iran/

    Related Materials

    Hamid Shawkat collection, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
    Iranian subject collection, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
    Iran Freedom Foundation records, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
    James F. Hitselberger collection, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
    Sazman-i Mujahidin-i Khalq issuances, Hoover Institution Library & Archives

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Iran -- Politics and government -- 1941-1979
    Iran -- Politics and government -- 1979-1997
    Communism -- Iran