Biden’s vowed US-Iran detente won’t come easy

My quotes at Asia Times: “’Iran is incredibly demonized in the US. Take the statement from Senator Susan Collins who initially thought the siege on the Capitol building was being orchestrated by the Iranians. She’s a prime example of how so many Americans have internalized an anti-Iran worldview,’ said Pouya Alimagham, a lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s department of history.

‘As such, Biden will have to expend political capital to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal. He will have to expend even more if a hardline Iranian leader wins the presidency in 2021. Thus, time is of the essence, but it can be done if both have the will to do it,’ he added.”

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MIT’s Center for International Studies Starr Forum Book Talk

View it here.

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Podcast on my book at the Iranian Studies Collective

Podcast on my book at the Iranian Studies Collective.

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Biden Easing U.S. Role in Yemen War Raises Prospects of Iran Diplomacy

My quotes in Newsweek: “Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Pouya Alimagham, an author and Middle East historian, joined the global calls for action on Yemen. He argued that Washington should press Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to halt the conflict, regardless of the pace of JCPOA dealings.

‘The Saudi-Emirate war has not yielded any political results, and has instead only fostered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in the region’s poorest nation,’ Alimagham told Newsweek. ‘In that vein, there is simply no reason as to why the war should continue. Every indicator suggests that it should not have commenced in the first place, and should have ended long ago at the least.’

When it comes to the nuclear deal, he feels it is the U.S. side that needs to soften its ‘hardline’ stance, as it would enable a return by both parties.

‘I think a phased return in which the U.S. initiates a nominal step, such as removing some sanctions, could very well set in motion a series of events that leads to both returning to full compliance,’ Alimagham said.

‘To save face, the Biden administration can lift some sanctions in the name of humanitarian aid; the Trump administration had tightened sanctions on #Iran at the height of the pandemic, for which Iran was the region’s epicenter,” he said. “Should that happen, Iran would likely respond by taking nominal steps in the direction of returning to compliance.'”

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Judge a book by its cover, but look closely before you do

Cover story–literally the story behind why I chose this cover image for my book, Contesting the Iranian Revolution: The Green Uprisings (published at The Iranian under the title: “Judge a book by its cover, but look closely before you do”).
Excerpt: “The faceless woman that graces the book’s cover indeed epitomizes the wider participation of activist women in every stage of this history, from campaigning in the run-up to the election and mobilizing against its results, to throwing themselves into melees to protect attackers caught by angry demonstrators, and providing the posterboy of the movement, who was not Mousavi but a ‘postergirl’—Neda Agha Soltan (d. June 20, 2009)…Mousavi is featured on the cover but he is not its central focus. While the opposition gathered under the cover of his presidential campaign and then morphed into a protest movement after the disputed election results, the uprising was about much more than him.”
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Quick Thoughts: Pouya Alimagham on the Assassination of Iranian Nuclear Physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

My “Quick Thoughts” for Jadaliyya on the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Excerpt: “…if the entire premise of the sanctions regime was to pressure Iran to renegotiate the JCPOA, and no negotiations are to be had now that Trump is on his way out, why is he continuing to impose more sanctions on Iran? The explanation is that the purpose of the sanctions is the same as that of the assassination of Fakhrizadeh; it was never about Iran’s civilian nuclear program, but about ensuring that the US and Iran remain enemies.”

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Book Review: Contesting the Iranian Revolution: The Green Uprisings

Book Review: “Even more remarkable, and as the title of Alimagham’s work clearly reflects, the author aims at understanding how the legacy of the 1978-1979 Iranian Revolution affected the popular protests that emerged three decades later. He convincingly defends the thesis that rather than directly contesting the Islamic Republic, the Green Movement sought to appropriate and reprogram the revolutionary symbols and history. In other words, the protesters challenged the Islamic government on its own terms…Professor Pouya Alimagham has written a book that challenges many received wisdoms about the Islamic Republic of Iran and will prove to be of great value to scholars of modern Iran. At the same time, and because of its grounding on more general social protest and revolution theory, ‘Contesting the Iranian Revolution’ has the potential to contribute to broader debates in social sciences.”
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