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Book Cover for: What Iranians Want: Women, Life, Freedom, Arash Azizi

What Iranians Want: Women, Life, Freedom

Arash Azizi

The first major book on the new Iranian revolution

'A document of real optimism.' Guardian

On Tuesday 13 September 2022, all Mahsa Amini has planned is a day shopping in Tehran. Her birthday is next week. But she is arrested as she comes out of the subway - the Guidance Patrol deem her hijab inadequate. On Friday she is pronounced dead. By Sunday, women have taken to the streets across Iran, setting their headscarves on fire and cursing the Supreme Leader. Months later, workers down their tools and businesses close. The battle cry everywhere: Women, Life, Freedom.

This isn't a passing protest wave; something has changed irrevocably. Arash Azizi guides us through Iran ablaze, history being made in real time. From an International Women's Day celebrated inside Iran's most notorious prison to mass strikes in Kurdistan, ordinary Iranians are taking risks to fight for a better future. Even as the regime spills blood in retaliation, Iranians have not given up. Today one thing's clear: no Supreme Leader can turn the clock back. A different Iran is within sight; Azizi shows us what it might look like.

Book Details

  • Publisher: ONEWorld Publications
  • Publish Date: Oct 7th, 2025
  • Pages: 288
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.44lb
  • EAN: 9780861549146
  • Categories: World - Middle EasternHuman RightsReligion, Politics & State

About the Author

Azizi, Arash: - Arash Azizi is a historian at New York University where he researches the transnational links that tied Iran and the Arab world during the Cold War. He has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Daily Beast, Toronto Star and Jacobin, and several of his book-length translations have appeared in Iran and elsewhere. He lives in New York City.

Praise for this book

'A document of real optimism, and a thoughtful examination of the layers of work on which political change is built.' Guardian
'The question on many policymakers' lips at the moment is: "What does Iran want?" In the past few weeks the regime has launched missile strikes on Iraq, Syria and Pakistan ... But this book by the Iranian-American historian Arash Azizi seeks to answer a different question -- what do Iranians want?' The Times
'Moving beyond the traditional approach of reviewing the past rounds of protests -- the 1999 student movement, 2009 Green Movement, and 2017 and 2019 economic protests -- Azizi's thematic lens provides the reader with an accessible and comprehensive overlay of popular activism led by everyday heroes who languish in Iran's jails or fill its cemeteries.' Financial Times
'In What Iranians Want, Arash Azizi achieves what has eluded many historians and journalists. His retelling of historical events is precise, illuminating, while his narrative style stays informal and accessible. What Iranians Want is an important achievement and a great addition to the rich library on modern Iran.' Maziar Bahari, author of Then They Came For Me
'Deeply moving, thoughtful and thought-provoking, What Iranians Want is a homage to the Iranian people, especially women, and their struggles for life and freedom.' Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran
'Iran is an enigma for many people, not least because the Western media usually only scratches the surface of this multi-layered society. Arash Azizi's book is a guide for the perplexed. Not only does he deliver on the promise that the book's title suggests, but he also goes beyond that by trying to explain "why" Iranians are fighting for women's rights, freedom of expression, peace...and a "normal life". A truly absorbing and enlightening book for general readers and scholars alike!' Erfan Sabeti, editorial board member, Aasoo.org
'This passionate book... the author lays out the situation in a cleareyed manner, and readers will leave with a deeper understanding of Iran's historical and current circumstances... In a brave, disturbing book, Azizi exposes the nature of the Iranian regime and applauds the courage of its opponents.' Kirkus Reviews
'We're told history is written by the victors - if that's the case, the Iranian people will win out. Arash Azizi's new book is a passionate and urgent examination of the Women, Life, Freedom movement. Azizi lays out how this movement is a culmination of events - years of the Iranian people beating back and rising above their oppressors. Not only does Azizi study the root causes of the movement, but he shows people who are yearning to be who they are, who are standing firm in their ancient history, determined to save their country, even as they retain and celebrate their diversity. This is required reading.' Neda Toloui-Semnani, author of They Said They Wanted Revolution: A Memoir of My Parents
'An Iranian in exile, Azizi reveals his love for home and country in this exposé that supports the protest movement as much as it takes a critical stance... With insider insights into the Iranian protests for freedom and dignity, What Iranians Want declares love for people who refuse to cower.' Foreword Reviews
'A popular book that addresses an authoritarian, possibly totalitarian regime, in the Middle East is a welcome addition to the field... this book decentralised the story of Iran away from the West.' History With Jackson