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 Iranian-American celebrity chef Ariana Bundy. Ariana is the award-winning author of two cookbooks, Pomegranates and Roses: My Persian Family Recipes and Sweet Alternative: More than 100 recipes without gluten, dairy and soy. She is also the writer, director and star of the 8-part television series Ariana's Persian Kitchen, which airs on NatGeo People. Ariana's work has been featured in a variety of magazines like Food & Travel, Harper's Bazaar and Food & Wine Magazine; she has also appeared on television programs like BBC's Good Food Live, Euronews and Top Billing. For more information about Ariana Bundy or to get some delicious recipe ideas, you can visit her website arianabundy.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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.
Our latest Iran Chat is with comedian and actor, Maz Jobrani. A founding member of the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, his comedy covers a wide-range of issues, but often focuses on race and the ways that Middle Easterners are misunderstood in the U.S. He performs stand-up live around the world, including in the Middle East. Recently he published a book about his experiences, I'm Not a Terrorist But I've Played One On TV. He also co-wrote, produced and starred as the title character in the award-winning indie comedy film, Jimmy Vestvood - Amerikan Hero. Maz Jobrani regularly guest stars on popular television shows and appears as a panelist on NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. You can find more about Maz, including upcoming tour dates, on his website mazjobrani.com, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter @Mazjobrani.
Navid Khonsari on 1979 Revolution Black Friday: “You have the ability not just to physically navigate the streets of Tehran, but also morally navigate how you want to be involved with the revolution.”
Our latest Iran Chat is with Navid Khonsari, video game creator and the founder of Ink Stories, the independent film and gaming studio responsible for the development of the fascinating video game 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, which puts players into the world of the revolution in Iran in 1979. While our conversation focused on this game about the Iranian revolution, Mr. Khonsari is also well known for his work developing the cinematic look and feel for video games like Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, The Warriors and others. For more information about 1979 Revolution: Black Friday, or to purchase it, you can visit inkstories.com.
The American Iranian Council (AIC) is pleased to announce that we are bringing our interview series, Iran Chat, to audio format with a new podcast.
Our first interview is with Sufi musician, Amir Vahab – one of New York’s most celebrated and distinguished composers and vocalists of Sufi and folk music. The interview includes a discussion of Mr. Vahab’s background, how he got interested in music, some advice for aspiring musicians, a description of Persian music, as well as a special demonstration of some traditional Persian instruments, which begins about halfway through our conversation.
In addition to speaking with us for this series, Mr. Vahab was also kind enough to provide the music for the podcast, which you will hear at the beginning and end of each episode. To learn more about Mr. Vahab and his music, or about the Persian instruments featured in this interview, please visit Mr. Vahab’s website www.tanbour.org.
In this 'Iran Chat' interview with former nuclear negotiator Richard Nephew, Kayvon Afshari discusses a host of issues concerning US-Iran relations, including the implementation of the nuclear accord, the recent changes to the visa waiver program, and how post-sanctions era Iran will affect global energy prices.
When asked about the visa waiver legislation passed by the US Congress late in 2015, Nephew said that while it does not violate the terms of the nuclear accord, it does make its implementation more difficult. He adds, "In my opinion, the original intent of the visa waiver changes was to deal with the issue of radicalized people coming back from Syria and from Iraq and I don't believe that we have the same risk of radicalized individuals coming from Iran to the United States as we do from Syria to the United States."
Ambassador Hossein Mousavian, a former spokesman for the Iranian nuclear negotiating team, discusses US-Iran relations and the nuclear issue in this exclusive Iran Chat interview. While he says that the mistrust is mutual, he argues that Iranians have more reasons to be mistrustful of the United States than vice versa.
Robert Einhorn, former senior advisor to the US nuclear negotiating team, discusses the Iranian nuclear issue in this exclusive interview with the AIC's Kayvon Afshari. Mr. Einhorn says that, while existing sanctions have played an "important role" in bringing Iran to negotiate "very seriously", new sanctions are not necessary at this time.
In this exclusive interview, Dr. Gary Sick, who served in President Carter's National Security Council during the hostage crisis, discusses US-Iran relations and the path forward. He says that the core issue standing in the way is history.