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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

Posters, Postage Stamps, and the Politics of Persuasion Selling the Iran-Iraq War in Iran

This report examines how governments employ tools of propaganda and persuasion during crisis periods. The Islamic Republic of Iran and its use of posters and postage stamps during the Iran-Iraq War was presented as a case-study. Governments, it is argued, selectively choose the information they wish to present in order to elicit favorable reactions. They draw on historical myths as well as the values, ideas, and beliefs of their respective audiences.

By presenting the war in a historical and mythical frame and drawing on commonly held values and concepts, Iranian leaders attempted to garner support and mobilize the population. For the Iranians, these included the Battle of Karbala in 680 AD and the idea of martyrdom.

The use of posters and postage stamps by the Islamic Republic was important as it sought to reach the emotions rather than the intellects of its intended audiences. Images were a means of doing this. By eliciting emotional responses, critical thought was neither needed nor desired. Emotional tactics included the demonization of the enemy and the necessity for everyone to participate.

--Author's foreword.


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