By Jalal Heirannia

Iran experts in U.S. mostly are collection of ‘hired guns’: professor

November 4, 2016

TEHRAN – Professor Nader Entessar from South Alabama University tells the Tehran Times that Iran experts in the United States are mostly a collection of "hired guns" who work in various think tanks to promote “the ideological and political agendas of their employers.”

“Many of these ‘experts’ lack adequate and rigorous academic training and are not conversant in Persian,” Entessar says.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: What is the main reasons behind opposition to the U.S. foreign policy?

A: After the end of World War II and the emergence of the Cold War, anti-Communism became the overriding concern for American foreign policy establishment.  As a result, they lent support to every dictator who claimed to be fighting the so-called "communist threat" while committing atrocities against their own people.  In the same vein, various U.S. administrations supported military coups against or forceful removal of several nationalist governments.  The examples are too numerous to cite here but many of them are well known to even casual observers of American foreign policy.  As a result, U.S. foreign policy became associated with coups, military interventions, and support for authoritarian dictatorship worldwide.  What we are witnessing today is the lingering legacy of the Cold War misadventures of American foreign policy elite.

Q: Why do the Iranian people do not trust the U.S.?

A: This dates back to American intervention in Iran and the CIA-supported coup against the popular nationalist government of Dr. Mosadeq.  Of course, most recent encounters between Iran and the United States after the Iranian revolution of 1979, U.S. support for Iraq in its war against Iran, and undermining of Iran's national security in the Persian Gulf region and the adjacent areas are but a few contributing factors to the perpetuation of the lack of trust that exists between Iran and the United States today.

Q: Some believe the U.S. is looking at Iran from Israeli or Arab eyes? What is your view? 

A: It wasn't that long ago that the United States had a critical mass of Iran experts who had spent years in academic institutions learning about Iranian culture, history, society and history.  Unfortunately, those days are long gone.  What passes today for "Iran experts" in Washington consists mostly of a collection of "hired guns" who work in various "think tanks" and promote the ideological and political agendas of their employers.  Many of these "experts" lack adequate and rigorous academic training and are not conversant in Persian.  They all look alike, sound alike and use the same vacuous vernacular.  At the same time, the number of genuine academic Iran experts is dwindling fast in the United States.  It is sad to say that real American experts on contemporary Iranian politics can be counted in one hand while the number of "think tank" anti-Iran propagandists is growing by leaps and bounds.

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