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Loyola hosts panel discussion on the tense Iranian political scene

February 19, 2010

On Thursday, Feb. 18, Loyola University New Orleans hosted a panel discussion in solidarity with the Iranian people that focused on the ongoing volatile political scene in Iran and current relations between the United States and Iran. The panel featured four expert guest speakers, Misagh Parsa, Ph.D., Mehran Kamrava, Ph.D., Mark Gasiorowski, Ph.D, and Jack Goldstone, Ph.D.

“Having these speakers at this point in time was beneficial to those students and guests in attendance because of the current situation in Iran,” said Behrooz Moazami, professor of history and acting director of Loyola's Middle East Peace Studies program. “The Iranian political climate has entered into a new phase since the disputed June 2009 presidential election.”

For the discussion, Parsa, professor of sociology at Dartmouth College and a foremost expert of third world revolutions, focused on the Iranian revolution of 1979 and how it progressed to the movement currently taking place in Iran. Parsa also discussed effective revolutionary slogans adopted by protesters and their significance in the conflict.

Kamrava, interim dean of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar and director of the Center for International and Regional Studies, presented his theories on how Iran’s 2009 presidential election sparked Iran's second spontaneous revolution and differentiated it from the Iran’s first spontaneous revolution in 1979. Kamrava followed up his talk with uncertainty of Iran’s political future.

Gasiorowski, professor of politics and international relations at Louisiana State University, highlighted the foreign policy strategies of the Bush and Obama administrations towards Iran. He commented that even though the Obama administration has taken a different approach to the Bush administration’s hostile “axis of evil” stance on Iran, it too has failed at making significant strides to a common agreement on nuclear initiatives. He characterized the U.S. policy towards Iran as one of containment.

Goldstone, the Virginia E. and John T. Hazel Jr. Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University and a senior research scholar at the Mercatus Institute, followed up the previous panelists with insights on failed U.S. policy toward Iran and speculated on the uncertain future of the country.

The panel discussion coincided with the International Studies Association convention in New Orleans, taking place Feb. 17-20, which regional and international scholars, including the panelists, are attending. The panel was organized by Loyola’s Middle East Peace Studies program and is sponsored by Loyola’s College of Humanities and Natural Sciences, Loyola’s Department of History, the World Affairs Council of New Orleans and the Biever Lecture Series.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Sean Snyder in Loyola’s Office of Public Affairs at smsnyder@loyno.edu or call 504-861-5882.

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