U.S.-Iran Rapprochement; A Test for Islamic Ideology by Mehdi Khalaji

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 at 6pm - 9pm

Location: Sufi Mediterranean Cuisine

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AIAP lecture series proudly presents: 

The Islamic Ideological percieves America not only as a country but also a myth. The Manichean expression of America as the “Great Satan” reveals Islamists’ horrifying fascination with the United States. The Great Satan is at the same time evil and tempting: it can deceive Muslims and cause the fall from the heaven of Islamic utopia to the ground of reality.

U.S.–Iran rapprochement, therefore, is not only a political issue but also a test for the survival or failure of (1) Islamic utopia specifically and (2) Islamic ideology generally. Consider that while the Iranian regime managed to resume its relations with Saddam Hussein, a man who killed hundreds of thousands of Iranians during 8 years of devastating war, the Islamic regime has been unable to resume its relations with the US. 

In order to realize U.S.-Iran rapprochement, America must be demystified not
only by the Islamic Republic's regime, but also by leftist ideologies in Iran, which  proselyte  anti-American discourse since mid-20th century.

About the speaker:

Mehdi Khalaji is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on the politics of Iran and Shiite groups in the Middle East. A Shiite theologian by training, Mr. Khalaji has also served on the editorial boards of two prominent Iranian periodicals and produced for the BBC as well as the U.S. government's Persian news service.

From 1986 to 2000, Mr. Khalaji trained in the seminaries of Qom, the traditional center of Iran's clerical establishment. There he studied theology and jurisprudence, earning a doctorate and researching widely on modern intellectual and philosophical-political developments in Iran and the wider Islamic and Western worlds. In Qom, and later in Tehran, Mr. Khalaji launched a career in journalism, first serving on the editorial board of a theological journal, Naqd va Nazar, and then the daily Entekhab. In addition to his own writing, he has translated the works of the humanist Islamic scholar Muhammad Arkoun.

In 2000, Mr. Khalaji moved to Paris where he studied Shiite theology and exegesis in the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes. He also worked for BBC Persian as a political analyst on Iranian affairs, eventually becoming a broadcaster for the Prague-based Radio Farda, the Persian-language service of the U.S. government's Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. At Radio Farda, he produced news, features, and analysis on a range of Middle Eastern, Iranian, and Islamic issues.

Mr. Khalaji writes a bilingual English and Persian blog, MehdiKhalaji.com.


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm - Dinner and Networking

7:00 pm - 7:20 pm - Announcements and Community News

7:20 pm - 7:40 pm - Music Performance

7:40 pm - 8:00 pm - Break

8:00 pm - 9:30 pm - Lecture and Q&A

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