The danger of war between the U.S. and Iran is increasing. U.S. forces virtually surround Iran. And they are being ramped up. In classic gunboat diplomacy a U.S. aircraft carrier battle group is positioned off the coast of Iran. Imagine if Iran had a naval armada off of New York or had troops in Canada. Why would Iran risk an armed confrontation with Washington? U.S. firepower would obliterate it. The Secretary of State demands that Iran “behave like a normal nation.” By that does he mean like the U.S. with its bases everywhere and almost $ trillion military budget? Why did the U.S. abandon the Iran deal which according to the UN was working? Instead of sending warships, missiles and bombers to the Persian Gulf, Washington should send diplomats. We should have dialogue rather than hectoring and threatening war. Interviewed by David Barsamian. Recorded at the University of Denver.
The U.S. and Iran are on a collision course. The name-calling and saber rattling are ominous. The New York Times headline reads: “Iran Calls U.S. ‘Desperate and Confused.’ Trump vows ‘Obliteration.’” Is Iran going to commit suicide by attacking the world’s most lethal military? Washington is exerting what it calls “maximum pressure” on Iran and on anyone who wants to do business with that country. For most Iranians the punitive sanctions the U.S. has imposed are a form of warfare, albeit the economic kind. The Iran nuclear deal was working just fine according to the UN when Washington unilaterally abandoned it thus triggering the current crisis and the slide to war. The attitude emanating from Washington is more like that of a bully: You do what I tell you or else. Respectful dialogue is what is needed, not hectoring and badgering. Interviewed by David Barsamian. Recorded at KGNU.
Iran, a country of 80 million people, strategically straddles West and South Asia. Iran dramatically left the U.S. orbit in 1979 when the Shah was overthrown and the Islamic Republic was established. The “loss” of Iran was a major blow to Washington’s policy of dominating the Middle East and controlling its oil. Pretty much, ever since, the countries have been at loggerheads. The nuclear deal of 2015 was a breakthrough. However, there is a new sheriff in town and the rhetoric coming from the White House is belligerent. The President has tweeted, “Iran is playing with fire. They don't appreciate how 'kind' President Obama was to them. Not me!" Calling Iran, “the number one terror state,” he put it on the travel ban list. What’s going on inside Iran is largely unknown. Most media reports omit context and background. Interview by David Barsamian. Recorded at the University of Denver.
Ervand Abrahamian is distinguished professor emeritus of Iranian and Middle Eastern history and politics at the City University of New York. He is the author of Iran Between Two Revolutions, A History of Modern Iran and The Coup: 1953, the CIA, and the Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations.
Laura Secor has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Affairs and other publications. She is the author of Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul Iran.
Nader Hashemi is Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and teaches Middle East and Islamic politics at the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. He is the author of Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy and co-editor of The People Reloaded, The Syria Dilemma and Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East.