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ExodusFebruary 2021

In the context of Middle East leaders, “Western educated” has often been invoked by American policy makers to signal a potentially reliable, responsible politician, respectful of human rights, diplomacy, and other cherished liberal ideals. Reality, however, sometimes reveals otherwise. The Egyptian writer Sayyid Qutb came to study in America in the 1950s, and in the words of the Smithsonian, “left determined to wage holy war.” His writing on the Muslim Brotherhood, which he founded, was an inspiration to many, including Ali Khamenei, who translated two volumes of Qutb’s magnum opus into Farsi. We’ve compiled a list of US-educated Iranian politicians who may similarly fall far from expectations.