"Thirty Portraits is a collection of my experiences and memories with thirty of my friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. I made the selection of these individuals not only based on the roles they have played in my life, but their invaluable role in the developments in Iran over the past half century. The catalyst for historical events has, on the one hand, been a result of political and economic structures and the will of leaders, and on the other hand, the consequence of active resistance or silent complacency of people—this book is my account of thirty of such people. I wrote about each of the individuals as an independent account. However, when I placed them together, they appeared to represent a continuous chronology of what has occurred in our collective history. One should not search for the reasons behind the developments of the past forty years in Iran in the hands of the Devil or at Mount Qaf, in similar fashion to Attar's mythological Simourgh. Rather, to understand our modern history, we must seek nowhere else but in ourselves—as it is from us that is upon us."