Nasir al-Molk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran by Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji
Hooman Majd explains how the “Death to America” slogan in Iran is outdated yet hardliners resist retiring the sentiment:
Even among those who demonstrate, whenever a reporter has been there or a foreign reporter has asked them, they say, “Well we don’t mean the American people, we don’t mean America; we mean the American government.” And so it is outdated and it is a minority.
I mean, most people — and including this current, new president — believe that the slogan “Death to America” should be retired and they’ve said so publically. There are hardliners in Iran who say, “No, no, that’s the essence of the revolution. Our anti-imperialist, anti-American hegemony stance is what makes us unique in the world.” So there’s that argument going on right now in Iran.
You can hear more of the interview with Majd and read an excerpt from his book “The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay” about his year in Tehran.
image via reuters
[The Iran sanctions have] very much affected things like medical supplies because although medicine is supposed to be exempt from sanctions there’s no way for the Iranians to pay for the medicine because they can’t transfer funds back and forth because of the banking sanctions. I actually know someone who had cancer and unfortunately she’s passed away because she couldn’t get medicine anymore in Iran… But that’s true of other cancer patients in Iran who have not been able to get medicine, medical supplies and the kinds of drugs that they need.
Iranian-American journalist Hooman Majd explains on today’s Fresh Air how the Iran sanctions have affected the lives of citizens
34 years ago today Iranian militants took 66 hostages and held them for more than a year. Argo is the mostly true story of the CIA operative who helmed the rescue of six U.S. diplomats who managed to escape at the outset of the 1979 Iran-US hostage crisis. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture and a Golden Globe for Best Director (Ben Affleck).
Fresh Air’s Terry Gross spoke to director and star Ben Affleck earlier this year about the film and how to adapt history for the big screen:
It’s that struggle between … the bookkeeper’s reality and … the poet’s reality, and you make judgments as a director. And my judgment falls really cleanly on the line of, ‘It’s OK to embellish, it’s OK to compress, as long as you don’t fundamentally change the nature of the story and what happened.’
MONDAY: Iranian-American journalist Hooman Majd talks about a culture infused with both modernity and religion and what he learned from his year in Tehran:
The city of Tehran is a very modern metropolis, and there’s an emphasis in the Islamic Republic on science and advancement and technology, we see that with the nuclear issue. So you do see there’s industry, there’s heavy industry, they make everything from cars to refrigerators to electronic goods. So it’s a very modern place and very European-looking in a lot of ways. That emphasis is something you don’t see in a lot of other Islamic countries as much as you do in Iran.
Majd is the author of The Ministry of Guidance Invites You Not to Stay : An American Family in Iran
Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Dexter Filkins explains on today’s Fresh Air how the Iranian Quds Force has been propping up the Assad regime in Syria:
If you stand back a little bit, if you remember say, December/January of this year, Assad was on the ropes, he was teetering, it looked like he was going to collapse. His government was steadily losing ground to the rebels and I think what happened — it’s pretty clear by the evidence that the Iranian regime, which values their friendship with Assad very greatly, for many reasons, woke up and hit the alarm bell.
You can sort of watch the number of [Iranian] supply flights that were going in with troops, with ammunition, with money, with everything, just started increasing greatly. So instead of a couple days a week it became every day, all the time, and that has been the decisive factor in solidifying and probably preventing the collapse of the Assad regime. So the Iranians and the Quds Force are doing a whole array of things. They’re down on the ground, so they have military advisers that are getting killed in the fight.
image via NYT
This is the Middle East, you think you know something and it just spins off into infinity, or it just dissolves into the shadows. So what you think you knew is suddenly something else a few seconds later.
Dexter Filkins, reporter for The New Yorker is on the show today
Filkins is an expert of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and he explains to Terry Gross that even he gets confused by the “always-turning” stories behind the wars and political operations.
Today he talks about Iran's involvement in Syria, especially the Quds Force led by Qassem Suleimani.
Tomorrow: Dexter Filkins, reporter for The New Yorker talks about Iran’s involvement in Syria and Iran’s possible motives and objectives. He speaks about Iran’s Quds Force and what they’re doing on the ground in Syria.
His 2008 book “The Forever War" was a National Bestseller. It explores the wars following 9/11 and the human cost of America’s conflict with Islamic fundamentalism.
photo of Syria via the Washington Post
Any attack on Iran would probably have the effect of unifying a very divided country. It would bring up a nationalistic surge. It could force opposition politicians to side with the Mullahs. It could make a battle with Israel or the United States an issue in the streets of Tehran rather than seeing those protestors out, as they were in 2009, protesting against their own government.
— New York Times correspondent David Sanger, on what could happen if Israel or the U.S. attacked facilities in Iran.
The Obama administration has taken the position that if regime change is really Israel’s goal in Iran, then the bombing of the [nuclear] facilities would probably be the single most counterproductive step that they could take.
— On today’s Fresh Air, David Sanger, the chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, talks about the ongoing nuclear standoff and details what could potentially happen if Israel decided to mount a military strike against uranium enrichment sites in Iran.
Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari was arrested in Tehran in 2009 while covering Iran’s election protests. He explains how he endured 118 days in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, where he was repeatedly interrogated and tortured — and how he now views his homeland.
Tomorrow: Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari, who was arrested in Tehran in 2009 while covering the protests and accused of being a spy. The evidence against him included this clip from The Daily Show. Bahari’s now written a memoir about his three month imprisonment, in which he was interrogated by a man he called Rosewater.