KGOU

Iran

Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian
Chatham House / flickr

Ambassador Hossein Mousavian has been a key diplomat for Iran for the past quarter century. He represented the Islamic Republic in Germany from 1990 to 1997, and then took a post as the head of the Iranian National Security Council’s Foreign Relations Committee until 2005, where he served as the country’s chief spokesman during nuclear negotiations with the European Union a decade ago.

Joshua Landis provides an update on two stories he's following in the Middle East: the different reactions to the nuclear deal with Iran, and news that Syrian soldiers trained and equipped by the U.S. in Turkey were captured and killed as they crossed the border into Syria.

Then Suzette talks with Joe Masco, an anthropologist at the University of Chicago who studies the evolution of the national security state. His latest book traces surveillance and privacy issues from the start of the Cold War to what he now calls the “post-privacy era.”

President Barack Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office with Secretary of State John Kerry to thank him for his work with the negotiations on the nuclear agreement with Iran, July 13, 2015.
Pete Souza / The White House

After years of negotiation designed to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and keep the balance of power from shifting in the Middle East, Congress will vote on a nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic next month.

The memorial in Nagasaki, Japan marking the location of ground zero of the August 9, 1945 nuclear attack.
Dean S. Pemberton / Wikimedia Commons

Seventy years ago Thursday, the United States dropped the first of two atomic bombs on the Empire of Japan – the opening salvo to the final days of World War II. The attack on Hiroshima, and Nagasaki three days later, killed as many as 200,000 people, and remain the only times nuclear weapons have ever been used against another nation.

This post was updated at 2:46 p.m. ET

President Obama delivered a foreign policy speech today aimed at bolstering public support for the Iran nuclear deal. He also attempted to discredit criticism from those who claim the agreement was a mistake.

"I've had to make a lot of tough calls as president. But whether or not this deal is good for American security is not one of those calls," Obama said during his remarks at American University, located about 10 miles from Capitol Hill.

In light of this week’s nuclear agreement with Iran, Asia-Pacific trade talks and renewed diplomatic relations with Cuba, Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot talk about why 2015 has been arguably President Obama’s most successful year in foreign policy.

Then I’ll talk with Nigerian filmmaker Kenneth Gyang about bringing attention to issues facing his country through narrative storytelling.

The United States and five world powers have reached a historic agreement with Iran over its nuclear program.

As we've reported, the deal puts restrictions on Iran's nuclear program and also sets up an inspections regime that aims to make sure Iran is meeting its obligations. In exchange, the U.S. and its European partners have agreed to drop tough sanctions, allowing Iran to sell more oil and rejoin international financial systems.

World Views: July 10, 2015

Jul 10, 2015

Saturday marks 20 years since Serbian forces systematically killed 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in the town of Srebrenica. Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise discuss what has (and hasn't) changed about how the international community responds to genocide in the two decades since the atrocity.

Then Suzette speaks with author and journalist Stephen Kinzer about how easing hostility between the U.S. and Iran might be the best way to advance the interests of the United States in the Middle East.

A painting on the walls of the former U.S. embassy in Tehran
David Holt London / Flickr

In 1980, the United States broke diplomatic relations with Iran after 52 American citizens were taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Since then, the relationship between the United States and Iran has been hostile.

It's been 70 years since a nuclear bomb was used in war, but in spite of that passage of time, it still has a great deal of relevance as a strategic construct even if they are unlikely to ever be used. Countries that possess nuclear weapons can pursue a more aggressive projection of power and a more aggressive foreign policy than they might be able to do otherwise.

University of Oklahoma political scientist Paul Goode joins Rebecca Cruise to discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Italy this week.

Then we’ll hear Suzette’s conversation with journalist Barbara Slavin. They’ll discuss what the ongoing nuclear talks mean for U.S.-Iranian relations and the possibility for diplomacy.

Anti-American street art in Tehran
toomuchtrotsky / Flickr

The June 30 deadline on Iranian nuclear talks is fast approaching, but disagreement over nuclear inspections continues to stall negotiations. Although a deal has not been reached, Barbara Slavin, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, says the fact that negotiations are occurring is important for easing the relationship between the U.S. and Iran.

Rebecca Cruise joins Suzette Grillot to discuss an expansion of government surveillance in France that critics compare to the PATRIOT Act here in the United States, and they talk about African child migrants and draw comparisons to similar issues at the U.S./Mexican border.

Then Rebecca talks with Trinity University political scientist Sussan Siavoshi She's spent her career studying an Iranian cleric who almost became the country's Supreme Leader. They'll also talk about gender issues in the Islamic Republic.

Iran's now-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left) with Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, 1978.
Wikimedia Commons

The only two heads of state in Iran’s history are familiar, albeit mysterious, figures to the West. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile to become the face of the Islamic Revolution, with his image adorning posters outside the captured U.S. embassy in Iran throughout the 1979-1981 Hostage Crisis. His successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, never travels overseas, grants interviews, or meets with Western leaders.

Joshua Landis and Suzette Grillot discuss this week’s nuclear negotiations with Iran, and the release of al-Qaeda prisoners in Yemen and air strikes led by a Saudi coalition.

Later, a conversation with the former director of the National Clandestine Service Michael Sulick. The 30-year CIA veteran argues information leaks by people like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden can cause far more problems than traditional spying ever did.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise are in Washington, D.C. this week, and discuss some of the comments they've been hearing about U.S-Iranian nuclear talks, and the implications of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's reelection.

Then, a conversation with Texas A&M University political scientist Mohammad Tabaar about international sources of Iran's domestic politics. He argues Iran is actually one of the most pro-American countries in the Muslim World.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, flanked deputies, sits across from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and other advisers on March 17, 2015, in Lausanne, Switzerland, before resuming negotiations about the future of Iran's nuclear program.
U.S. Department of State / Flickr

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met on Monday in the latest round of nuclear talks. Iran and Western governments have been working on negotiations with the goal of reducing the size of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting sanctions imposed on the country.

Joshua Landis discusses Tuesday night’s State of the Union address and President Obama’s proposal to combat the self-proclaimed Islamic State, and Rebecca Cruise provides an update on anti-Islam protests in Leipzig, Germany.

Then Joshua and Suzette Grillot talk with University of Oklahoma sociologist Loretta Bass about first- and second-generation immigrant populations in France, and revisit issues of race and identity.

President Obama delivers his annual State of the Union address Tuesday night before a joint session of Congress.
The White House / Twitter

President Obama spent very little time on foreign policy and foreign affairs during Tuesday night's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.

But he did call on lawmakers to pass a resolution authorizing the use of force against self-proclaimed Islamic State militants.

University of Oklahoma Latin America historian Alan McPherson joins Suzette Grillot for a conversation about what the lifting of trade and travel restrictions could mean for U.S.-Cuban relations.

Then a conversation with Boston University scholar David Collier. Sixty-five years ago Iran unsuccessfully experimented with democracy, and he argues the Islamic Republic can build on this legacy. 

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