middle east politics | October 18, 2012

Beyond The Sanctions: Hooman Majd On The Future of Iranian-Western Relations

As a leading voice on Iranian life and foreign relations, Hooman Majd offers a fresh perspective on Middle Eastern and Iranian issues. When he visited Lavin's New York office last week, he shared points from his two new talks where he gives insight into how Western sanctions on the country have affected day-to-day life in Iran and why it's important to have a greater understanding of what is happening overseas. With military conflict becoming an increasingly real threat, Majd told us that seeing things through an Iranian perspective—not just a Western one—is the key to avoiding a potentially disasterous conflict. A stable Middle East, he says, is closely tied to Iran's position on Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel. Whether the nuclear issue heats up to the point of a full-on war or not, understanding the motivations from both Iran and their opposition will help predict how this part of the world will change—and what to expect when it does. 

Once sanctions are lifted or a political solution to the nuclear issue has been achieved, Majd says the West should be ready to embrace the country's emergence into the global economic community. With the tremendous wealth that exists in Iran, and the enormous economic potential it holds, the Western world must take the steps to understand how this shift will affect their policies in the future. Born in Iran and educated in America, Majd's unique background gives him the ability to assess Western-Iranian relations from both perspectives. His books, The New York Times bestseller The Ayatollah Begs to Differ and The Ayatollahs' Democracy, details the social, political and historical roots of the country in a manner accessible even to those with a limited background on Iran. Whether in his work with The New Yorker and Time Magazine, or in his enlightening talks, Majd is both captivating and informative—helping us to make sense of a culture few of us truly understand.

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education | October 17, 2012