Panelists: Rethinking Iran
Read about the guests participating in Weekend Edition's "On The Couch" chat about U.S. relations with Iran.
Patrick Clawson is deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He has written or edited 25 books, including The Last Resort: Consequences of Preventive Military Action Against Iran, and written more than 70 articles about the Middle East and international economics in major publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.
Rudi Bakhtiar is the director of public relations for the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans. Formerly an international correspondent for Fox News and CNN, she covered the 2006 Iran-Iraq summit, as well as conflicts in Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Israel and Palestine. She also was the lead news anchor for CNN's Headline News Tonight. Bakhtiar is a member of a well-known Iranian family and was a teenager at the time of the revolution before coming to the United States.
Joseph Cirincione is the president of the Ploughshares Fund, a nonprofit foundation that supports nuclear disarmament. He was formerly the senior vice president for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress and the director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He was also a staff member for the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Government Operations. The author of Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons, Cirincione teaches at the Georgetown University Graduate School of Foreign Service and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Azar Nafisi wrote the award-winning book Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, which has been translated in 32 languages, and the newly published book Things I've Been Silent About: Memories. Nafisi is a visiting professor and the director of the Dialogue Project at the Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University. She has taught Western literature at the University of Tehran, the Free Islamic University and the University of Allameh Tabatabai. She was expelled from the University of Tehran in 1981 for refusing to wear a veil. She and her family left Iran for the U.S. in 1997.
Kevin Hermening served as a Marine guard at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and was the youngest of the 52 Americans held hostage there for 444 days from 1979 to 1981. He has spoken to more than 3,000 audiences about his experience. Hermening spent 13 years in the Marines and Marine Corps Reserve and is now the managing partner of Hermening Financial Group LLC, a financial planning firm.
Niloufar Talebi is an award-winning translator who founded The Translation Project in 2003 to make Iranian literature accessible to global audiences. Born in London to Iranian parents, she is the editor and translator of Belonging: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World. She also created ICARUS/RISE, a multimedia poetry-based theatrical piece inspired by Iranian spoken-word tradition that tells the story of Iranian migrants.