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Penn State Professor Ghadar Testifies Before Congress

Dr. Fariborz Ghadar, a Distinguished Scholar and Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a Professor of Global Business at the Smeal College of Business here at Penn State testified before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia last Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Ghadar, an Iranian-born citizen, spoke to Congress regarding U.S. policies on Iran. In his testimony, “America and the Iranian Political Reform Movement: First Do No Harm,” which is available in full on Smeal’s website, ushered in some sobering truths regarding the U.S. current policies towards Iran and offered up some now strategies in how to best deal with this nation that is now in turmoil.

Some sobering truths:

  • Revolutionary Guards and the paramilitary Basij have been responsible for a significant amount of casualties because they have been resorting to extreme shows of force to put down demonstrations.
  • Demonstrators have frequently been prosecuted, fired from their job, imprisoned, or even in some cases killed.
  • Iranian economy has deteriorated thanks in part to the rising cost of oil.
  • The majority of the Iranian public, 15-30-year-olds, have demonstrated a widespread need for independence and even show sympathy towards American democratic ideals.
  • U.S. sanctions have worked only in constricting Iran’s private sector, while paramilitary groups continue to wreak havoc in Iran’s economy and pilfer from its citizens.
  • Any military action against Iran would likely prove to unite the Iranian people against the U.S., who, according to polls, are pro-America.

Some new strategies offered up by Ghadar:

  • Global media outlets should continue to focus on the restriction of civil liberties and brute tactics used against protesters.
  • Expose Revolutionary Guard leaders that have stolen from the economy and find out where they are hiding their funds.
  • Remove sanctions that target the public; instead, focus more on restricting nuclear technology and the power of the revolutionary guards.
  • Open up the borders for students to let more Iranians study in the U.S. and allow for a consulate to be opened.

Ghadar emphasizes that current sanctions have not worked in restricting the parts of the government that they are intended to restrict. Instead, they have restricted the private sector, and there are even instances of air traffic accidents because sanctions restrict civilian aircrafts from being repaired.

Ghadar’s message to the U.S. government: The Iranian people are not the enemy; the rampant corruption exacerbated by revolutionary guards, paramilitary groups, and corrupt government officials are to blame, and U.S. policy should be adapted to reflect this point.

This all comes in amid new reports that Iran has decided to further enrich a portion of their uranium.

To see how this all plays out, watch the news, or “24.” They’re doing a story line this year inspired by Iranian politics and anyone that watches the show knows that Jack Bauer often has the power to predict the future.


About the Author

Tom Kent

I was born in Virginia Beach, raised in Westfield, NJ, went to college at Penn State, moved to Miami, FL. Peruvian on mom's side and English on my Dad's. I'm a Journalism major and Political Science minor. I do not currently own any reptiles.


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