Monday, September 23, 2013


Mahmoud Rouhani
I've been writing for quite a while about the need for some attitude adjustment about Iran. I never imagined how easy it would be for one grandfatherly mullah to break the ice.  
They're calling it "Rouhanimania" - the hope and curiosity and enthusiasm surrounding the visit of the new Iranian president, Mahmoud Rouhani, to the U.S. for the UN General Assembly meeting.

It seems like a perfect time to reflect: we all know something about Iran -- something, that is, besides the negative stereotypes and fears that have fed the conflict between the U.S. and Iran in the last half century -- so isn't now a time to do some remembering . . . ?

About films from Iran that show us how much we have in common?

. . . including certain graphic novels that have been turned into a film?

What about the poetry of Iran that has captured the Western imagination in decades past?

 . . . or about our own personal connections to Iran?

There's a lot more to Iran than we've been exposed to by the U.S. foreign policy narrative.

Traditional Iranian tile

Rouhanimania . . . and maybe even Iranmania? . . . an idea whose time has come . . . .

Mahmoud Rouhani, president of Iran, meets the press

Related post

Hillary Clinton signaled the beginning of her 2016 presidential campaign with a spread in People magazine in June . . . not to mention the publication of a memoir, Hard Choices. It's a campaign full of "get tough" posturing.

(See One Little Word That Will Sink the Hillary Clinton Presidential Run ("Obliterate") )

A list of resources that might be used during Feb 4 "No Iran War!" actions and teach-ins scheduled around the U.S. and around the world.

(See Feb 4 - Resources About Iran)

Women Without Men is a recent movie by the artist Shirin Neshat, based on the novel by Shahrnush Parsipur.. The first time I saw it, at the end I walked straight to the ticket window and bought another ticket and walked right back in and watched it again. The film contains haunting scene after haunting scene, and it makes it clear that Iran is a place where people are able to ask questions about patriarchy and about what it is going to take to overcome it.

(See Women Without Men as a US-Iran Cultural Bridge)

As the Obama administration prepares in the days ahead to pivot from its focus on Syria to something truly startling -- talking to Iran! -- it is important that the American public devotes some time and energy to learning and thinking about Iran, the history of the U.S.-Iran relationship, and what the U.S.-Iran relationship means in the larger context of the effort to reduce the risk of war and violence in the world.

(See IRAN: 3 Reality Checks on the Emerging U.S. Narrative)

If we are going to stave off a U.S. war against Iran, we are going to have to have some very difficult conversations with other Americans. Some people are extremely hostile. It's confusing and a bit frightening, but we're going to have to confront it.

(See Why Does Iran Arouse So Much Hostility?)