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Iran

The Shah of Iran speaking at Washington National Airport during ceremonies welcoming him to the United States as President Harry S Truman looks on, November 16, 1949
Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum

“Democracy” probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind when talking about Iran.

But during the first half of the 20th century, the United States was heavily involved with democratization efforts in Iran as part of a strategy of building a buffer against Soviet influence in the Middle East.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot talk about the first woman to win math’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, and North Korea’s missile test this week as Pope Francis visits South Korea.

Later, a conversation with classical Persian scholar Austin O’Malley. He says the language’s stability drew him to study centuries-old Near Eastern poetry.

International Mathematical Union (IMU)

An Iranian-born Stanford University professor is the first woman to win math's highest honor, the Fields Medal.

The International Mathematics Union awarded the prize Wednesday to Maryam Mirzakhani and three others.

Wikimedia Commons

When Austin O’Malley decided to take a Persian class during his last year of college, he had no idea it would become his life-long passion.

“I got a taste for it,” O’Malley says. “And that was very exciting on a personal level, and also sort of enlightening when you start seeing how language or literature works.”

Joshua Landis joins Suzette Grillot for a conversation about the situation in Iraq and the U.S. response to the escalating violence by Sunni militants.

And Rebecca Cruise and University of Oklahoma Iranian Studies professor Afshin Marashi speak with Mohamad Tavakoli, a professor of history and Near and Middle Eastern civilizations at the University of Toronto. He studies Persianate society – arguing that in the pre-modern world, Iranians, the Ottoman Empire, the South Asian Indian Mogul empire, and even Central Asians all spoke a common language.

Nina Aldin Thune

Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, nationalism and colonialism created fixed borders between societies that otherwise shared common ethnic backgrounds, language, and culture.

If you separate the world by regions, India and Iran don’t initially appear to have much in common. But in the 1960s, University of Chicago historian Marshall Hodgson introduced the concept of Persianate society – arguing that in the pre-modern world, Iranians, the Ottoman Empire, the South Asian Indian Mogul empire, and even Central Asians all spoke Persian.

In the summer of 2009, three young Americans went for a hike. Shane Bauer and Sarah Shourd were living together in Syria, teaching and writing. Their friend Josh Fattal was visiting from the U.S. The three took a tour to a waterfall in the Kurdish highlands of Iraq, and as they hiked along a road that turned out to be the border with Iran, an armed man in uniform waved them over.

The next thing they knew, they had embarked on a two-year ordeal in the infamous Evin prison in Tehran. They join NPR's Renee Montagne to talk about their new memoir, A Sliver of Light.

Suzette Grillot and Joshua Landis discuss the ongoing conflict in Central African Republic, and why it seems reminiscent of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Later, a conversation with Iranian-American filmmaker Farzin Rezaeian. His documentary Iran: Seven Faces of a Civilization explores 7,000 years of history in his home country.

The Cyrus Cylinder maintains a record of Cyrus the Great's religious and political tolerance.
Pleia2 / Flickr Creative Commons

Iranian documentary filmmaker Farzin Rezaeian says Greek, Roman, and European history have overshadowed ancient Iranian history, yet there are valuable lessons from Iran’s past for today’s world.

“The idea of international law, the beginning of human rights as it’s first mentioned in the Cyrus Cylinder… this goes back to some 2,500 years ago, five hundred years before Jesus Christ was even born” Rezaeian says. “Unfortunately, we don’t hear about it.”

Joshua Landis and Suzette Grillot discuss the 2014 State of the Union address and some of the foreign policy objectives President Obama outlined in Tuesday night’s speech.

Later, a conversation about migration and identity with Iranian-American novelist Laleh Khadivi, and Palestinian-American poet and physician Fady Joudah.

President Obama delivers his 2014 State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress Tuesday, January 28, 2014.
The White House / YouTube

President Obama’s international outlook remains heavily oriented toward decreasing the U.S. military presence in the Middle East. In his State of the Union address, the president promised to declare an end to the 12-year war in Afghanistan.

Joshua Landis, the author of Syria Comment and the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says President Obama’s address “claimed big successes” in a September Syria chemical weapons deal and a November interim agreement with Iran halting uranium enrichment programs in exchange for lifted sanctions.

Joshua Landis provides an update on this week's Syrian peace talks in Switzerland, and Rebecca Cruise discusses the escalation of violence in Ukraine.

Later, a conversation about mother tongue-based bilingual instruction in West Africa with Alice Iddi-Gubbels, the founder and executive director of PAMBE Ghana.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, flanked by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, gavels open the Geneva II conference in Montreux, Switzerland, on January 22, 2014.
U.S. Department of State / Flickr Creative Commons

A United Nations mediator announced Friday a Syrian government delegation and the Western-backed opposition will meet Saturday “in the same room.”

Joshua Landis, the author of the widely-read blog Syria Comment and the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says this week’s peace conference in Switzerland shows both sides understand there has to be a political solution.

This post was updated at 11:40 a.m. ET.

The United States and European Union say they will lift some sanctions against Iran after reports from international inspectors that Tehran has suspended high-level enrichment of uranium under an interim pact to scale back its nuclear program.

The Associated Press reports:

World Views host Suzette Grillot and contributor Rebecca Cruise continue producing the program from the road, and spent this week in the United Arab Emirates.

Later, a conversation with Ambassador John Limbert to mark the 33rd anniversary of the end of the Iran hostage crisis. Limbert and 51 diplomatic and military colleagues were taken prisoner in the former U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979. They were released 444 days later as Ronald Reagan was sworn into office on January 20, 1981.

A group photograph of the former Iranian hostages shortly after their release. The 52 Americans spent a few days in the hospital prior to their departure for the United States.
Johnson Babela / U.S. Department of Defense

Ambassador John Limbert and 51 diplomatic and military colleagues were taken prisoner in the former U.S. embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979. They were released 444 days later as Ronald Reagan was sworn into office on January 20, 1981.

Limbert has never been back to Iran in the 33 years after he boarded the plane for Algeria, even though he married an Iranian woman and his children were born there. He’s now a private citizen, no longer works for the State Department, and has no prohibition on his travel to Iran. But he says he’s not welcome by the Islamic Republic.

Earlier this week a six-month deal was reached to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lighter economic sanctions. Rebecca Cruise joins Suzette Grillot to talk about the reaction among Saudis, Israelis, Americans, and Europeans.

Later, a conversation with LaNelma Johnson, whose Bahá’í faith led her and her family to India in 1971, where they taught children ages five to 18 at a small, rural school in Panchgani. Johnson told the story of her family’s 12 years in India in her memoir Okie in a Saree.

Deal Reached To Limit Iran's Nuclear Program

Nov 23, 2013

Updated at 5:01 a.m. ET Sunday

Iran and six world powers have reached a preliminary agreement in Geneva on curbing Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief.

In a late-night statement from the White House, President Obama called the breakthrough "the most significant and tangible progress" with Iran since he took office. It calls for specific actions over the next six months, while negotiations continue on a longer-term deal.

Obama said:

If you've ignored the countless rounds of fruitless talks on Iran's nuclear program for the past decade, you haven't missed much. But today would be a good day to start paying attention.

Iran and six world powers are meeting in Geneva on Wednesday in an attempt to reach an interim agreement that would, at minimum, freeze Iran's nuclear program.

Twin explosions Tuesday near the Iranian embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, killed more than 20 people, including Iran's cultural attaché, according to reports from The Associated Press and other news outlets. Dozens more people were injured.

From Beirut, producer Rima Marrouch tells our Newscast Desk that the blasts happened around 10 a.m. local time (3 a.m. ET).

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