Inside Iran: Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies with panelists Abbas Milani and Barbara Slavin. Jamal Dajani of Link TV moderates.
The heat is rising and it's time to take a fresh look at our frenemy, Iran. Is Iran the new Iraq in U.S. foreign policy? Are the people of Iran anti-U.S., or is only the current regime? Is there an effective difference?
An American journalist, an Iranian journalist and a professor of Iranian culture, politics and history will help demystify Iran and lead us to a new understanding of the future of our relationship with our neighbors in the Middle East- The Commonwealth Club of California
Jamal Dajani is an award winning producer and Senior Director of Middle Eastern Programming at Link TV. Born and raised in Jerusalem, Dajani completed his early studies at College des Freres and attended Columbia University in New York City, where he received a B.A. degree in Political Science.
Since 2001 he has produced more than 1,600 installments of Mosaic: World News from the Middle East, winner of the prestigious Peabody Award. In 2006, Dajani launched The Mosaic Intelligence Report monthly newsletter and MIR weekly videos, adding more in-depth and below the radar Middle East news analysis to Mosaic.
Dajani has worked on several television productions, including Occupied Minds, a documentary shedding light on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and Who Speaks for Islam?, both of which aired on Link TV and PBS stations. Recently he was a consultant for PBS Frontline World War of Ideas and author of The Arab Media Revolution.
Dajani is a frequent guest on several national and international media broadcast networks and has published numerous articles on the Middle East in many print and electronic media outlets. He is the co-host of Arab Talk on KPOO radio, a contributor to the Listening Post on Al Jazeera English and serves on the board of New America Media, the largest collaboration of ethnic news organizations in the U.S.
Dajani served for two years (2003-2004) as President of the Arab Cultural & Community Center in San Francisco. In 2005, he was appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom to the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission where he serves as Acting Chair.
Abbas Milani is a research fellow and co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution. In addition, Dr. Milani is Director of the Iranian Studies Program at Stanford University and a visiting professor in the department of political science.
His expertise is U.S.-Iran relations, Iranian cultural, political, and security issues. Milani was a professor of history and political science and chair of the department at Notre Dame de Namur University and a research fellow at the Institute of International Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.
Milani was an assistant professor in the faculty of law and political science at Tehran University and a member of the board of directors of Tehran University's Center for International Studies from 1979 to 1987.
He was a research fellow at the Iranian Center for Social Research from 1977 to 1978 and an assistant professor at the National University of Iran from 1975 to 1977.
Barbara Slavin is Assistant Managing Editor for World and National Security of The Washington Times and the author of a 2007 book on Iran entitled "Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S. and the Twisted Path to Confrontation." Prior to joining The Times in July 2008, she was senior diplomatic reporter for USA TODAY, responsible for analyzing foreign news and U.S. foreign policy.
USA Today Senior Diplomatic Reporter Barbara Slavin and Stanford Iranian Studies Program Director Abbas Milani state that the next President will have to rethink and develop a well-thought out plan for relations with Ahmadinejad and Iran.
Country, Middle East, southwestern Asia. Area: 636,374 sq mi (1,648,200 sq km). Population (2009 est.): 74,196,000. Capital: Tehran. Persians constitute the largest ethnic group; other ethnic groups include Azerbaijanians, Kurds, Lurs, Bakhtyari, and Baloch. Languages: Persian (Farsi; official), numerous others. Religions: Islam (official; predominantly Shi'ite); also Zoroastrianism. Currency: rial. Iran occupies a high plateau, rising higher than 1,500 feet (460 metres) above sea level, and is surrounded largely by mountains. More than half of its surface area consists of salt deserts and other wasteland. About one-tenth of its land is arable, and another one-fourth is suitable for grazing. Iran's rich petroleum reserves account for about one-tenth of world reserves and are the basis of its economy. It is a unitary Islamic republic with one legislative house and several oversight bodies dominated by clergy. The head of state and government is the president, but supreme authority rests with the rahbar (leader), a ranking cleric. Human habitation in Iran dates to some 100,000 years ago, but recorded history began with the Elamites c. 3000 BCE. The Medes flourished from c. 728 but were overthrown in 550 by the Persians, who were in turn conquered by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE. The Parthians (seeParthia) created an empire that lasted from 247 BCE to 226 CE, when control passed to the Sasanian dynasty. Various Muslim dynasties ruled from the 7th century. In 1501 the Safavid dynasty was established and lasted until 1736. The Qajar dynasty ruled from 1796, but in the 19th century the country was economically controlled by the Russian and British empires. Reza Khan (seeReza Shah Pahlavi) seized power in a coup (1921). His son Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi alienated religious leaders with a program of modernization and Westernization and was overthrown in 1979; Shi'ite cleric Ruhollah Khomeini then set up an Islamic republic, and Western influence was suppressed. The destructive Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s ended in a stalemate. Since the 1990s the government has gradually moved to a more liberal conduct of state affairs.
If the purpose of these "forums" are NOT just to bash Iranian's government and if you people are truly trying to have an OPEN and UNBIASED discussion about Iran; then, you need to have the other side present. Otherwise, what we just heard is a NOT very clever PROPAGANDA against Islamic Republic of Iran. For instance, on Crosstalk RT by: Peter Lavelle; we see he gets the two sides together (through satellite) and we hear BOTH SIDES. Perhaps commonwealth could have asked Dr.Seyed Mohammad Marandi to participate in this ESCAPADE, so Dr.Milani could not get away with ALL SORT OF RUBBISH (and statement such as "Iranians have racist attitude towards Arabs" would have been challenged). These "FORUMS" in their present forms are INSULT TO IRANIAN PEOPLE, and NATION. Dr,Milani is ONLY representing a very small group of Iranians over seas; and he is a mouth piece for the reactionaries and Zionists.