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Foreign Affairs
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Episode 29
Featuring Hooman Majd
The story of the Iranian protests is about far more than just one nation. It's a story of powerful forces that stretch across the economic and political sectors of the Middle East. Here, Hooman Majd discusses the forces reshaping these nations.

The ongoing Iranian protests have delivered the worst scenes of unrest since millions took to the streets over a disputed presidential election in 2009. During the tensions that occurred a decade ago, protesters claimed that widespread election fraud resulted in the state erroneously reelecting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as president of Iran; however, the most recent protests are about far more than an election — and it is about far more than just Iran.

Although many reports have noted that the protests were triggered by growing anger stemming from economic hardships, such as increasing unemployment and income inequality, the root cause of the unrest goes far deeper. The unrest in Iran cannot be entirely separated from the larger forces moving through the Middle East. In order to understand the nature and scope of the present problem, we need to consider the socioeconomic and political forces operating in both Iran and the Middle East at large. Few are better equipped to discuss this topic than Hooman Majd.

Hooman Majd is an Iranian-American writer and political commentator. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Ayatollah Begs to Differ, as well as The Ayatollahs’ Democracy and The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay. He joins us today to discuss how we can interpret and locate the Iranian protests within the wider political, cultural, and financial dimensions of the Middle East.

Over the course of the conversation, Hooman Majd and host Demetri Kofinas discuss how the Iranian protests fit within the western-oriented framework of thinking about Iran, and how much of what Iran is experiencing is the result of forces that are reshaping the oil-reliant and politically volatile economies of the region.

Ultimately, the conversation investigates the source of the ongoing protests, and what these demonstrations express about the current state of Iranian society, its economy, and its politics, in order to provide a framework for understanding the larger forces operating across the Middle East.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation at @hiddenforcespod

Hooman Majd, born 1957 in Tehran, is an Iranian-American journalist, author, and commentator who writes on Iranian affairs. He is based in New York City and regularly travels to Iran.

He has published three non-fiction books, which have been translated into a number of other languages. these include, The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern IranThe Ayatollahs' Democracy: An Iranian Challenge, and The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran.

Homan has also published short fiction in collections and in The American Scholar and Guernica.

Majd has also served as an advisor and translator for President Mohammad Khatami and translator for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on their trips to the United States and the United Nations, and has written about those experiences.

@HMajd​​​​​​​

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