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Vail: Investigating Iran with Dr. Reza Aslan

Vail Daily staff report
newsroom@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyDr. Reza Aslan, who speaks in Vail Friday, is the author of "No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam" and "How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror."
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VAIL, Colorado – Dr. Reza Aslan, author of “No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam” and “How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror,” will discuss the relationship between Islam and politics in Iran at the Vail Symposium’s “Rethinking Iran” seminar Friday night at the Lodge at Vail.

Aslan also will explore the relationship between the U.S. and Iran.

Since 1979 the U.S. and Iran have had strained relations both economically and politically. The overthrow of the pro-U.S. government in 1979 caused relations to worsen. The new regime took an immediate stance against the U.S. and other Western nations.

In October 1987, as a result of Iran’s continued support of international terrorism and anti-U.S. rhetoric, President Reagan issued an import embargo on all Iranian-origin goods and services. In the past 22 years sanctions directed at Iran have only become more stringent.

“What’s happening with the green movement in Iran today has a lot of parallels to the Iranian revolution,” Aslan says. “There is a broad-based coalition of people who only have one thing in common. This diverse group of people has brought together the young and the old, the secular and the mullah with one view that any attempt of compromise is a sign of weakness.”

During the campaign and in his first months in office, President Obama hoped to engage Iran in constructive diplomacy. Now with the prospects of nuclear development in Iran – and agreement from many countries, including both Russia and China, that U.N. sanctions must be issued – diplomacy seems to have fallen from the table.

“A suite of new sanctions will be put in place within the next month to target Iran’s business and financial assets,” Aslan says. “2010 will change what Iran looks like with two very different potential outcomes … most likely being more liberal, free and better international relations but political power held by an oligarchical few.”

Aslan’s books explore the evolution of Islam from its origins to the current day. In his New York Times Bestseller, “No god but God” he explores how Islam initially evolved after the prophet Mohammed’s 22 years of revelation, kings and scholars manipulated the tenets to better serve their own interests.

Aslan is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the board of directors of the Ploughshares Fund, Abraham’s Vision, and PEN USA. He founded BOOMGEN Studios, the first-ever motion picture company to focus on entertainment about the Greater Middle East. Born in Iran, he currently lives in Los Angeles where he is a professor at the University of California, Riverside.

This program will conclude the Symposium’s two week look at the Middle East and current United States foreign policy. Next up for the Symposium is its annual Unlimited Adventure Series, which begins Feb. 4.


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