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On this episode, Kumars and Roqayah speak with Maryam Jamshidi, founder and editor-in-chief of Muftah, a digital magazine focused on going beyond the narrow parameters of current media coverage of the Middle East and North Africa. She is also an assistant professor at NYU Law School. In addition to her work at Muftah, you can find her writing in outlets including Truthout and Al Jazeera English, as well as an assortment of academic publications. We wanted to have Maryam on to discuss some of the foreign policy implications of Trump’s election, particularly rising tensions between the US and Iran.
We learn about what led Maryam to get involved in writing and political advocacy focused on the Middle East and North Africa, and we also find out more about the founding and mission of Muftah. We get into some of the history of the US-Iran relationship, from the 1953 CIA-backed coup, the Islamic revolution, the Iran-Iraq war, all the way through to Obama's Nuclear deal with Iran. Maryam gives her thoughts on what factors led to the successful implementation of that deal and a relative, if possibly only temporary, thawing of the US-Iran relationship. We then get into recent developments in the Trump era, including effects of the travel ban, Iran's recent ballistic missile test and the US sanctions that followed, the positioning of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen, and the recently introduced House of Representatives bill that would authorize the use military force against Iran. We talk about several Trump cabinet appointments and how the stars seem to be aligning for war with Iran. Despite these warning signs, Maryam gives a strong argument for why war with Iran is still unlikely, but encourages everyone to remain vigilant to make sure we stop the march to war before it gains too much momentum. We discuss what the anti-war movement will look like under Trump and brainstorm ways to make the movement more resilient and effective than it was under Bush and Obama.
The anti-war movement needs its own preemptive strike, we can't just wait for war to start to begin opposing it.