The curriculum Iran Through the Looking Glass: History, Reform, and Revolution traces the history of Iran and helps students understand the political and cultural conditions that led to the 1979 Revolution and its aftermath. (See detailed description and ordering information.)

Videos for Readings: The videos below follow the outline of the printed curriculum unit. The headings correspond to the headings in the student readings.

Videos for Lessons accompany lessons in the teacher's guide of the printed curriculum unit.

Scholars Online: Videos for Readings

Iran Through the Looking Glass: History, Reform, and Revolution


Joanne Hart
Jo-Anne Hart
Lesley University

Shala Haeri
Boston University

Farzaneh Milani
University of Virginia

Mariam Habibi
Mariam Habibi
NYU Paris

Joseph Cirincione
Center for American Progress

Linda Miller
Brown University

Part I. From Cyrus to Reza Shah

Early Iran

Islam and the Safavids

The Qajar Dynasty (1794-1925)

What roles did Britain and Russia play in Iran? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:18]

The Constitutional Revolution of 1906-1911

What was the Constitutional Revolution? [Jo-Anne Hart - 2:20]

Why did oil become important in World War I? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:11]

Reza Shah (1925-1941) Pahlavi Dynasty

How did Reza Khan become the shah? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:25]

How did Reza Shah change the role of the government? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:40]

How did Reza Shah try to modernize Iran? [Jo-Anne Hart - 3:02]

Why did Reza Shah order an end to veiling? [Shahla Haeri - 1:35]

How did unveiling affect women during the Pahlavi dynasty? [Shahla Haeri - 1:11]

How did Reza Shah's son Mohammad Reza Pahlavi come to power? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:15]

Part II: Mossadegh to Khomeini

Mohammad Mossadegh and Oil Nationalization

To nationalize means to bring under government control. How did Iran nationalize its oil? [Jo-Anne Hart - 2:49]

How did the United States intervene in Iran in 1953? [Jo-Anne Hart - 2:37]

Why is the 1953 coup important to Iranians? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:34]

Royal Dictatorship

The White Revolution: "Plagued by the West"

How did Mohammad Reza Shah change the legal status of women? [Shahla Haeri - 2:22]

What did you learn when you visited the U.S. Embassy in Iran in 1977? [Linda Miller - 2:16]

What was the Iranian Revolution? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:42]

Why was the 1979 revolution widely supported? [Shahla Haeri - 1:20]

What role did women play in the revolution of 1979? [Shahla Haeri - 1:39]

Why did women start veiling themselves again during the revolution? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:16]

Why were mosques important in protests against the government? [Jo-Anne Hart - 0:54]

1979: Iranians Debate Their Future

How did people in Tehran respond to the departure of the shah? [Mariam Habibi - 1:45]

Why was Ayatollah Khomeini such an appealing figure to Iranians? [Mariam Habibi - 2:08]

What was the atmosphere in Tehran in early 1979? [Mariam Habibi - 1:16]

Epilogue: The Islamic Republic

Iran's New Constitution

Why is the revolution of 1979 such a significant event? [Mariam Habibi - 1:12]

What was the hostage crisis? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:35]

How did Iranians respond to the taking of U.S. hostages? [Mariam Habibi - 2:09]

What was the Iranian reaction to the hostage crisis? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:59]

How did the hostage crisis affect U.S. perceptions of Iran? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:31]

How did the United States try to rescue the hostages? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:60]

How did the hostage crisis end? [Jo-Anne Hart - 0:53]

What was the new government's policy on veiling? [Shahla Haeri - 1:56]

War with Iraq

Iran after Khomeini

What is Iran's role in the Middle East? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:29]

What are the U.S. and Iranian perspectives on Iran's nuclear program? [Jo-Anne Hart - 2:28]

The Iranian government says that it is producing nuclear fuel for energy, not weapons. What is the difference between producing nuclear energy and producing nuclear weapons? [Joe Cirincione - 3:53]

Why would countries like North Korea and Iran want nuclear weapons? [Joe Cirincione - 1:56]

Why might Iran want nuclear weapons? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:49]

Why is Iran concerned about U.S. policy? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:14]

What do Iranians think about the United States? [Jo-Anne Hart - 1:28]


Why do women in Iran wear the hijab or chador? [Shahla Haeri - 1:55]

Does Islam require veiling? [Farzaneh Milani - 2:28]

What are common misconceptions of Muslim women? [Shahla Haeri - 1:35]

How did increased access to education affect women after the revolution? [Shahla Haeri - 1:59]

What role do women play in politics in Iran? [Shahla Haeri - 0:56]

How much political influence do women have in Iran? [Farzaneh Milani - 1:55]

Do women and men have the same opportunities in Iran? [Shahla Haeri - 1:28]

How could Iran's young population affect relations with the United States? [Linda Miller - 1:13]

Women in Iran

Women in Iran is an online lesson in which students explore their perceptions of women in Iran, gather information from scholarly videos about women in Iran and consider the possible effects of perceptions on international relations. This is a supplement to Iran Through the Looking Glass. This lesson includes Scholars Online resources specific to this topic.

The United States and the Iranian Nuclear Program

The United States and the Iranian Nuclear Program is an interactive lesson plan that engages students in consideration of divergent policy alternatives concerning current U.S. policy on Iran. Students who have worked with Iran Through the Looking Glass are well prepared for this lesson on current policy. This lesson includes Scholars Onine resources specific to this topic. It is available from Teaching with the News.