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A Letter From The Publisher, Jan. 15, 1979

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As they reported on the revolution in Iran for this week’s cover stories, three veteran TIME correspondents found themselves drawing analogies and making contrasts with what they had seen in other countries undergoing conflict and change. For Rome Correspondent Roland Flamini, the turmoil at Tehran’s Inter-Continental Hotel vividly recalled for him two weeks in 1970, when he was trapped in the Inter-Continental in Amman while Jordanian troops fought with Palestinian guerrillas. Says Flamini: “The first two people I met in the [Tehran] hotel lobby had also been in Amman. We talked about whether or not we should fill our bathtubs in preparation for another siege that would cut off our water. We concluded such a move was premature but could not be ruled out later on.”

Dean Brelis, who will soon become Cairo bureau chief, compares Iran’s current troubles with what occurred in Egypt during the ’50s. Says he: “What’s happening in Iran will be as profound for its development as was the takeover in Egypt by Nasser and the abdication of Farouk in 1952. For the first time in the 20th century, the Egyptians felt that they could make their own destiny—the feeling the Iranians have now.”

The situation struck Bureau Chief Bill McWhirter, whose regular post is Johannesburg, in a different fashion. A man who has covered rebellions that have erupted from Northern Ireland to the Philippines, McWhirter says that the Iranian uprising was unique for him. His explanation: “Other revolts I’ve written about have been movements with defined goals and tactics. Here I think we are witnessing the absolute birth of a movement, a spontaneous outpouring of united resentment without any direction agreed upon, except for an Iran without a Shah.”

To give perspective to the stories, TIME’s Wilton Wynn drew on his 30 years of experience in the Middle East, mainly in Cairo. Meanwhile, Hong Kong Correspondent David DeVoss and Photographer David Burnett spent two weeks in Baluchistan for the accompanying story on that troubled Pakistani province. In Washington, State Department Correspondent Chris Ogden obtained an exclusive interview with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and talked at length privately with National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. The result is a comprehensive survey of the movements and currents that are roiling a vital and fascinating part of the world.

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