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Loyola hosts expert panel discussion on tensions in Iran and Iranian-US relations

Loyola press release - February 8, 2010

The ongoing volatile political scene in Iran and relations between the United States and Iran will be the topic at an upcoming panel discussion at Loyola University New Orleans featuring four experts on Iran, Misagh Parsa, Ph.D., Mehran Kamrava, Ph.D., Mark Gasiorowski, Ph.D, and Jack Goldstone, Ph.D.

The event, in solidarity with the Iranian people, takes place Thursday, Feb. 18 at 6:30 p.m., in Nunemaker Auditorium, Monroe Hall. The forum, which will be followed by a reception, is free and open to the public.

According to Behrooz Moazami, Ph.D., assistant professor of history at Loyola 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.

“The Iranian opposition movement has been severely suppressed by the government, and a large number of Iranians, particularly youth, have been injured, imprisoned, tortured and even killed or executed,” said Moazami. “Political dissidents and leaders of reformist movements have been arrested and forced to confess to alleged crimes in a collective ‘show trial.’ Also, Iranian universities have been attacked by the state militia, and many prominent academics have been arrested or forced into early retirement.”

The tension is heightening between the Iranian regime and the western world, particularly the United States, according to Moazami. The Obama administration is currently weighing another round of international sanctions, while the Iranian regime threatens to accelerate building its uranium enrichment facilities.

For the discussion, Parsa, professor of sociology at Dartmouth College and a foremost expert of third world revolutions, will present “Origins of the Post-election Conflicts and Unrest in Iran.” He is the author of numerous articles and two books, “States, Ideologies, and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of Iran, Nicaragua, and the Philippines,” and “Social Origins of the Iranian Revolution.”

Kamrava, interim dean of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in Qatar and director of the Center for International and Regional Studies, will present “The Unfolding of Iran's Second Spontaneous Revolution.” Kamrava is the author of “Revolution in Iran: The Roots of Turmoil,” “Revolutionary Politics” and “Politics and Society in the Developing World,” among other books. He also edited “The New Voices of Islam: Rethinking Politics and Modernity” and is the co-editor of “Iran Today: Life in the Islamic Republic."

Gasiorowski, professor of politics and international relations at Louisiana State University, will present “U.S. Policy toward Iran under the Obama Administration.” In addition to numerous articles, Gasiorowski has authored or co-edited many books including "U.S. Foreign Policy and the Shah: Building a Client State in Iran," and "Government and Politics of the Middle East and North Africa, fifth edition," "Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran," and "Neither East Nor West: Iran, the Soviet Union, and the United States." He has received many awards for his publications. He was formerly a visiting fellow at St. Antony's College, Oxford University and a visiting professor at Tehran University. He has served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of State and, in 2003, testified before the 9-11 Commission.

Goldstone, a panel discussant, is 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. His work on social movements, revolutions, democratization and economic growth has won the Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award of the American Sociological Association, and Fellowships from the U.S. Institute for Peace, the MacArthur Foundation and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He is a senior member of the Political Instability Task Force and is director of the Center for Global Policy at George Mason University. Goldstone is author or editor of nine books and nearly 100 research articles. He is also a consultant to several federal agencies including the U.S. State Department.

The panel discussion coincides with the International Studies Association convention in New Orleans, taking place Feb. 17-20, which regional and international scholars, including the scholars of Iran, will attend. The panel is 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.