Mahmoud Ahmadinejad studies the Cyrus Cylinder, named after 'Cyrus the Great' of the Achaemenid Empire and widely considered to be the world's first charter of human rights. The cylinder was recently loaned to Iran's National Museum in Tehran from the British Museum in London, where it has been on display since prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Ironically, while the historical artifact dates back to 539 B.C. at the height of the Persian Empire, Iran had one of the worst human rights records worldwide more than 2,500 years later in Freedom House's 2010 "Freedom in the World" report.
Masoud Shafaee is an attorney and freelance Middle East analyst based in Washington, D.C. He holds a Juris Doctor from American University's Washington College of Law and a master's degree in international affairs from the School of International Service. He was born in Tehran and hails from California.