Sep 3, 2021
Interviewer: MATTHEW BERKMAN. There are some countries which, by dint of geography or incompatible national interests, seem destined for perpetual conflict and antagonism. This is not true, however, in the case of Iran and the United States, insists Iranian-American journalist and historian JOHN GHAZVINIAN. His book, America and Iran: A History, 1720 to the Present, outlines the series of bad choices – often made for short-term goals without clear regard for long-term consequences – that have formed the basis for a politics of mutual grievance. In his discussion with political scientist Matthew Berkman, Ghazvinian argues that there are strong reasons for the two nations to cooperate, as Ronald Reagan recognized, but that hardliners on both sides, as well as regional interests, are able to exploit a troubled history to maintain a disastrous status quo. John Ghazvinian is also the Executive Director of The Middle East Center at Penn, The Mitchell Center’s partner in this year’s “Social Change and the Global Middle East” series of panels.