As a nine-year-old Tehrani schoolgirl during the Iranian Revolution, Nazila Fathi watched her country change before her eyes. The revolutionaries—most of them poor, uneducated, and radicalized—seized jobs, housing, and positions of power, transforming Iranian society practically overnight. But this socioeconomic revolution had an unintended effect. As Fathi shows, the forces unleashed in 1979 inadvertently created a robust Iranian middle class, one that today hungers for more personal freedoms and a renewed relationship with the outside world. And unless an international confrontation allows Iranian leaders to justify an internal crackdown, this internal pressure for reform will soon set the country on a more stable track.
In The Lonely War, Fathi describes Iran's awakening alongside her own, revealing how moderates are retaking the country—and how foreign powers can aid their progress.