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The Islamic Republic of Iran ranks as one of the world's great exporters of conspiracy theories, vitriol, and intimidation. So, it's admittedly refreshing to find a polemic (perhaps the best one in English) directed against, rather than from, the mullahs of Iran. Omid openly sympathizes with the leftist elements who had intended to inherit the Revolution of '79 -- but who found that the wily old ayatollah had cut them out before they could exclude him. Although her account clearly reflects the lingering resentment of what she terms "the revolution betrayed," it is also sufficiently balanced and documented to convince an outsider that her criticism is justified.

And Omid is relentlessly negative about the Islamic Republic, deeming it "theocratic fascism" 101 and presenting Khomeini's creation of the "devout, fanatical" revolutionary guards as an action "not unlike that of the formation of Hitler's SS." Moreover, the author holds that the Islamic Republic even failed to achieve its own goals. Most spectacularly, it did not advance the cause of Islam; rather, its actions went "against the very core of Shiism" and its policies rendered Islam "more of a posture than a reality." For example, even the "pretence of Islamification of the economy has been abandoned" as the country again turns to the West for relief from its miseries. In all, Omid concludes, the Islamic Republic has been an "abysmal failure".