This is an independent, non-partisan podcast for discussing Iran-related topics, hosted by Saman Askari, an Iranian-American professional from the San Francisco Bay Area.
Another Conversation with Amir Afkhami - COVID-19 Edition
In this episode, I speak again with a previous guest, Dr. Amir Afkhami, a health policy expert, historian and trained physician. This episode is all about COVID-19! Early in the episode, we discuss the nature of this coronavirus and how it affects the body. Then, we get into the subject of Iran and how the country became one of the epicenters of the disease, its government’s response, the historical parallels with Iran’s past health crises, why the city of Qom was where the virus got its foothold in Iran, the role of religion, reported versus actual numbers of infections, testing failures, the role of US sanctions in Iran’s ability to fight the pandemic, if the curve has flattened in Iran, the effect of the pandemic on geopolitics and Iran’s internal politics, the balancing act between the economic and health impacts of the crisis, achieving herd immunity quickly versus flattening the curve, the psychological impact of being quarantined and many other topics.
A Conversation with Afshon Ostovar
In this episode, I speak with Afshon Ostovar, a historian, author and a foremost expert on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Afshon and I cover a lot of ground. We start by talking about the historical context around the IRGC, when and how it was started, its role in the Iran-Iraq war, how the organization evolved through the years, how it is different than Iran’s regular military, its Quds Force and the Islamic Republic’s foreign involvements, where Qasem Soleimani fit into the picture, his relationships with various Shia militia groups and other groups such as the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the mythology surrounding Soleimani and his role in ISIS’s rise and fall. We also discuss the recent events surrounding Trump’s decision to kill Soleimani, the legality of and the logic behind the killing, the downing of the Ukrainian jetliner and its implications on the survival of the Islamic Republic as a system, whether the system would have been strengthened as a result of Soleimani’s killing if the downing of the jetliner hadn’t happened, protests in Iran and their frequency, the possibility of an all-out collapse of the Islamic Republic and other topics.
A Conversation with Naz Deravian
In this episode, I speak with Naz Deravian, a cookbook author and Persian food expert. Naz and I discuss her background, her transition into the culinary world, the magic of tahdig and Iranian rice, regional varieties and diversity of Iranian cuisine, spiciness of Persian food or rather the lack thereof and of course kabab! As a warning, you’re going to get really really hungry if you already aren’t!
A Coversation with Amir Afkhami
In this episode, I speak with Amir Akhami, a psychiatrist and a historian of medicine, about the history of cholera in Iran. We talk about his multi-disciplinary career and how his various areas of knowledge converge in his work. We discuss what Cholera is, its history starting in the 19th century and its role in the history of Iran in particular, from a medical, social and political perspective. He takes us through a historical journey all the way from the Qajar era to today’s Iran and its current public health challenges. We touch a lot of different subjects such the role of global trade, imperialism, the role of religion, history of medicine and many other topics.
A Conversation with Narges Bajoghli
In this episode, I speak with Narges Bajoghli, an award-winning anthropologist, filmmaker, writer and an Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. We mostly talk about the topics in her upcoming book titled 'Iran Reframed,' which is about the state-controlled media in the Islamic Republic of Iran. We discuss what it means to be pro-regime in Iran and the debates around the future of the Islamic Republic taking place in that country. We also discuss the prospects of war between Iran and the US and many other topics.
A Conversation with Reza Zia-Ebrahimi
In this episode, I speak with Reza Zia-Ebrahimi, a historian and a Senior Lecturer at King's College London. We talk about what he calls 'dislocative nationalism', a sort of Iranian nationalism that was deliberately devised and disseminated, starting in the 19th century. He outlines the founding of dislocative nationalism and how it aimed to cast Iran’s pre-Islamic period as the nation’s golden age, interpreting Islam as an alien religion. He explains the otherization of Arabs in Iran and how the country was dislodged from its empirical reality and tied to Europe and the Aryan race by transforming and using European racial ideas of the time.
Excellent series! Engaging, thoughtful topics and informative conversations that keep your interest all episode long. Sheds light on cultural, political and socioeconomic complexities of the Iranian-American people all across the globe. Nothing else out there like this!
Suggestion: I want more!!
I really wish y’all could come out with a new episode every week but I know and appreciate how much time and research is put into every one of your episodes. Truly this is quality material that is not being put out there as much as it should! Y’all synthesize exactly everything what I’ve been trying to find. Thank you for helping me understand my new Iranian husband’s background more. (Also if you enjoy new music checkout the rising Iranian punk band: The Finches)
I like the way interviewer ask questions: simple, candid and without common exaggerations common between Iranians when speaking to high profile people.