After a long break, Iran Chat is back and we felt this year’s series should begin with a deep dive into the current state of US-Iran relations, focusing on the very real and growing possibility of war with Iran.
To help sort through all the recent news and issues concerning US-Iran relations, we spoke with journalist Jim Lobe. He served as chief of the Washington DC bureau of Inter Press Service from 1980 to 1985 and again from 1989 to 2016. Currently he is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs LobeLog, an award-winning web blog focused on foreign policy, featuring posts by expert contributors on a variety of global issues, with an emphasis on US policy towards the Middle East.
Recently, he co-wrote an article for Lobelog entitled War Against Iran Becoming Ever More Likely. We discuss his rationale for this assessment during our conversation.
Listen here or on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/americaniranians-podcast/id1152417924
Our latest Iran Chat is with Dr. James Miller, Managing Director of the Oxford International Development Group, a health research and project management consulting company in Oxford, Mississippi.
Dr. Miller began working in the area of health diplomacy in 2004 while seeking ways to improve health outcomes and access to medical care for people in the impoverished rural Mississippi Delta region. For this, he turned to Iran’s primary health care model, which is known for its system of health houses staffed by citizen health workers who provide health education and preventative health services to their local communities. Recognized by the World Health Organization for its success in improving medical outcomes for rural communities in Iran, Dr. James Miller began working with the architects of this system to develop and adapt the Iranian model in ways that could address the health disparity challenges in the impoverished Delta regions.
Our latest Iran Chat is with Swedish ultra-runner, coach and motivator, Kristina Paltén, who holds the World Record in 48 hour treadmill running, covering a distance of 322.93 kilometers. She is also the first woman to have run across Iran, and the star of a film that covers that journey called Alone Through Iran - 1144 Miles of Trust.
We spoke with Paltén about her experience running across Iran, from Turkey to Turkmenistan, and how that experience, and now her film, are helping to challenge prejudices and misconceptions about the country and its people. To download Alone Through Iran - 1144 Miles of Trust, you can visit the the film website www.alonethroughiran.com and request a private screening. For more information about Kristina Paltén, or to hire her for motivational coaching, you can visit her website www.palten.se.
Our latest Iran Chat is with Dr. David Collier, author of the new book, Democracy and the Nature of American Influence in Iran 1941-1979. Dr. Collier is also a research consultant in Washington DC and teaches democracy and democratization in Boston University's Washington DC program.
The first half of our conversation focuses on Dr. Collier's usage of linkage and leverage to analyze and better understand the history of the period; the second half addresses how his analysis of the history applies to current issues in US-Iran relations and US foreign policy more generally. Dr. Collier's book is being published this month; you can purchase a copy on Amazon or Syracuse University Press.
Less than one week after President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, our latest Iran Chat is with Ian Samuel, Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. Ian previously served in the United States Department of Justice in the Office of the Solicitor General and on the appellate staff of the Civil Division. Following his government service, Ian joined the appellate litigation practice at the law firm Jones Day.
Our conversation covers the legal issues surrounding President Trump's executive order as well as Ian’s offer to personally provide legal services to any government employee who refuses to help implement this ban. You can follow Ian on Twitter at @isamuel, and subscribe to his podcast about the Supreme Court at firstmondays.fm/subscribe.
As part of AIC's goal to help remedy misconceptions about Iran and separate truth from fiction, we are pleased to announce an educational partnership with IMVBox.com in their work relating to Iranian cinema and theatre.
As part of this partnership, we are able to offer our members one free month of unlimited access to IMVBox.com. Just click here and use promo code R51E.
With over one thousand streaming films, IMVBox.com is the largest "online cinematheque," and the only legal platform for digital content from Iran. They showcase a large selection of recent award-winning Persian-language visual material, including features, documentaries, shorts and plays.
AIC applauds IMVBox's mission to "paint a true picture" of Iran, and shares in the hope that film can "unlock the spellbinding, often misunderstood, complexities of Iran's proud culture and raise awareness about realities of life in the Middle East."
AIC President Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi discussed the lifting of sanctions and the need for the US and Iran to improve relations, in an interview with Russia Today.
"Unfortunately, the 'honeymoon' between the US and Iran is going to end unless they move swiftly to normalize the relationship and discuss every other issue," Amirahmadi said. "The nuclear accord within the context of an abnormal relationship cannot be sustained much longer. Moreover, President Rouhani and Supreme Leader Khamenei have put all their eggs in Obama's basket, but he is only going to be around for another 11 months. The next president, whoever it is, is going to be very tough on Iran."
AIC Executive Director Emad Kiyaei was interviewed about Implementation Day, the recent release of American sailors, and the prisoner swap between the US and Iran on PBS Newshour.
"This is a major breakthrough. It's a very good day for the Iranians and for the international community," Kiyaei said. "I hope that this nuclear deal, the prisoner exchange, and the swift release of the sailors is just one step toward opening up the relationship between the two countries on issues where they see eye-to-eye.
AIC Director of Communications Kayvon Afshari discussed the visa waiver issue ("HR158") on Brooklyn's BRIC TV, a newly-launched community television station in Brooklyn. He argued that the addition of Iran in the law is both discriminatory and fails to improve national security.
He elaborated on the reason that he is personally opposed to the law.
"Sometimes people say that this law just produces a small inconvenience, and that you should just apply for a visa. However, to me it's not about the inconvenience. I'm affronted by the implication of the law." he said. "And the implication is this: that I, because I am an Iranian-American dual citizen and have traveled to Iran, just may perhaps be a terrorist."
AIC Executive Director Emad Kiyaei speaks to Al Jazeera America on Iran's inclusion in talks over resolving the Syrian crisis taking place in Vienna