A Letter From the Publisher: Aug. 17, 1987

For TIME correspondents, reporting some cover stories involves weeks, even months, of legwork, grueling sojourns to far-flung places and often tense encounters with figures in the news. So it was with this week's report on the Ayatullah Khomeini's revolutionary Iran and the mounting tensions in the Persian Gulf that Iran has precipitated. TIME's reporting team fanned out to the far corners of the Middle East and the major capitals of Europe and to Washington to talk with various government officials, diplomats and academic experts about the ominous confrontation between Iran and the U.S. -- and indeed the world.

Since this spring,...