Let’s Talk Iran (and stuff)

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Yasmin Khan is Cooking Up Something Marvelous to Make Your Mouth Water

October 6th, 2016

One of the many great things about Yasmin Khan is that she feeds you both knowledge and tasty treats. Yasmin is a writer, cook and campaigner who loves to share people’s stories through food. She's also a regular media commentator and runs cooking classes, pop-up supper clubs and writing retreats around the world. Prior to immersing herself in the fragrances and flavors of the Persian kitchen, Yasmin worked as a human rights campaigner, running national and international campaigns for NGOs and grassroots groups, with special focus on the Middle East. Visit her website at www.thesaffrontales.com, and check her out on Instagram: @thesaffrontales, and on Twitter: @yasmin_khan. And buy her book here! https://www.amazon.com/Saffron-Tales-Recipes-Persian-Kitchen/dp/1408868733 Yasmin and I talked about her new book, The Saffron Tales; how a project like hers opens new eyes to our cuisine, our culture, and our people; why it's important for her to give people a taste of the real Iran; and how a modern take on a classical Gilaki folk song symbolizes what she's trying to do with her own work.
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Narges Bajoghli Does Research in Iran So You Don’t Have To.

July 28th, 2016

After listening to Narges Bajoghli speak, you might just reconsider your preconceived notions about Iran. She’s a post-doctoral research associate in international affairs at the Watson Institute at Brown University, and recently received her PhD socio-cultural anthropology from New York University. Her research focuses on pro-regime cultural producers in Iran, and is based on fieldwork conducted with Basij, Ansar-e Hezbollah, and Revolutionary Guard media producers in Iran, from 2009 to 2015. Narges is also the co-founder of the non-profit organization Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB), and she’s been featured in media outlets such as the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour, and NPR, among many others. Narges and I talked about the Iran-Iraq war playing a key role in contemporary Iranian politics; the biggest misconceptions about the IRGC and Basij; the relationship between Iran’s government and people; survivors of chemical warfare in Iran; and how a 24-year old 2Pac song speaks to a lot of what’s going on in America today. She tweets at @nargesbajoghli

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Fatima Ayub Would Like to Have a Word with You

July 22nd, 2016

The world is going to hell in hand basket, and Fatima Ayub wants to talk to you about it. She’s a political scientist currently based in Jordan, with 15 years’ background in conflict, security and human rights issues in the Middle East and South Asia. She currently works with the global consulting firm Adam Smith International seeking solutions to Jordan’s economic challenges and is an associate policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. She is also a professional contrarian and peddles insight and absurdity on Twitter as @thecynicist. Fatima and I talked about similarities between the problems facing Jordan and other Middle Eastern countries; the failure of politics in the Middle East and in the West; the challenge of parsing through human rights and sectarianism; what the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war tells us about our own failures; and our shared love of Radiohead.
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Tim Kaldas Gives Knowledge to the Habibis and Habibtis!

July 14th, 2016

You won't find a better Egypt analyst in the business than Tim Kaldas. He's a fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East policy in Cairo, a visiting professor at Nile University in Cairo, and a professional wedding photographer that you should hire for all of your matrimonial needs. Tim's research focuses on transitional politics in Egypt, regime survival strategies, U.S.-Egypt relations, and much more. His commentary and analysis has been featured on CNN, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and many other media outlets. Tim and I talked about what caused the Egyptian uprisings in 2011, what's happened since then, what potentially lies ahead, the many ways in which regional security is a total mess, and how a late-90's rock and roll song sheds light on the problems in present-day Egypt. 

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Maryam Jamshidi Rocks the Mic!

July 5th, 2016

Maryam Jamshidi is one of the sharpest people I know, and I'm not just saying that because she's on this podcast! She's a lawyer and writer with over ten years of experience working on issues relating to the Middle East and North Africa. She's an acting assistant professor of law at NYU Law School. And she is the founder and editor-in-chief of Muftah.org, a digital magazine providing diverse perspectives on the Middle East and North Africa. Maryam and I talked about national security, terrorism, the Arab Spring, and her ongoing field research on gangsta rap. 
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Shervin Malekzadeh Gives Knowledge to the People!

June 8th, 2016

Shervin Malekzadeh is one of the most thoughtful guys writing about Iran-related issues today. He’s a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s Middle East Center. Prior to that, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor in Political Science at Swarthmore College. He received his PhD in Government from Georgetown University, and his research focuses on the politics of schooling, culture and identity in post-revolutionary Iran. Shervin and I talked about the interplay between state and society in Iran, his fieldwork in Iran during the past three elections, and female lead singers in rock bands.

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Erich Ferrari, Sanctions, and You.

May 5th, 2016


When it comes to sanctions law, Erich Ferrari is one of the best in the business.  From DC to Dubai and everywhere in between, he helps his clients appeal U.S. government decisions to freeze their assets and cut them off from America’s financial system. He is also a man of the people, sharing his expertise with Iranian Americans across the U.S. in an effort to help them make informed decisions. Erich talks with Reza about sanctions after the nuclear deal, pros and cons of sanctions as a foreign policy tool, and his top five emcees in hip hop.

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Iranican Promotes Unity through Dialogue and Tolerance

September 20th, 2012

We had the wonderful opportunity to interview the hosts behind Iranican, a non-profit, volunteer-based organization based in the Silicon Valley whose mission is to explore issues affecting “Generation Iranian-American". This is done via radio and video interviews and shows as well as via an online blog. The Iranican team uses entertainment in order to educate and discuss communal issues.

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Ronny & the “Israel Loves Iran” Campaign

September 6th, 2012

In this episode, we chat with Ronny Edry, an Israeli graphic designer, teacher, father, husband, and, most recently, known world-wide as the founder of the “Israel Loves Iran” campaign which later grew to become the “We Love You” community. The “We Love You” movement began on March 14 of this year when Ronny uploaded a poster of him and his daughter holding an Israeli flag. The poster said: “Iranians, we will never bomb your country. We love you.” Attached to the poster was also a letter that Ronny penned to the people of Iran. In it, he expressed his desire to prevent war and better understand his Iranian counterparts. Within hours, the poster and letter became viral and return messages started pouring in from Iran. The “We Love You” movement now has a loyal following all over 63 countries and its presence on the web and on Facebook is growing daily, with millions having viewed its videos and heard its message.

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Congressman Kucinich Urges Obama to Suspend Sanctions

August 22nd, 2012

Last week, NIAC worked closely with Congressman Dennis Kucinich and 13 of his colleagues to advance a letter urging President Obama to suspend sanctions that prevent aid organizations from working in Iran and prevent Americans from sending charitable donations to earthquake victims -- a step that was taken in 2003 when an earthquake struck the Iranian city Bam. Yesterday (August 21), we have the extraordinary opportunity to talk with Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) after the Obama Administration announced a general license effectively suspending sanctions to allow humanitarian relief for 45 days.

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