Hi, I'm Suzanne Maloney and I'm an expert on Iran at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution, and editor of the blog www.IranAtSaban.com. Today, Iranians are voting for their new president, so please ask your questions about policy towards Iran, or politics in Iran, or Iran in general, and I'll try to answer them all.

Here is my proof: https://twitter.com/StephanieDahle/status/337660394279669760/photo/1

Here is a link to my Brookings bio: http://www.brookings.edu/experts/maloneys

[EDIT #1] Here is a tweet from Brookings as proof #2: https://twitter.com/BrookingsInst/status/345572808698499073

[EDIT #2] Thanks for all your great questions - I've got to run and do more election monitoring now. I'll plan to come back later today and answer as many more questions as I can. In the meantime, keep an eye on http://www.IranAtSaban.com for more on Iran and the election! Thanks!

[EDIT #3] Another thanks for all the questions and comments, this has been a lot of fun. The election appears to be moving slowly to a surprise victory for the moderate candidate Hassan Rouhani. Good news all around! I've been responding over the course of the night and morning of 6/15 but will wrap things up now!

Comments: 287 • Responses: 41  • Date: 

Jmunnny60 karma

After the votes are tallied, will the people get the man who won or the man the government already wants to when?

maloney_suzanne36 karma

No one really knows. And as @FTZ notes the elections are heavily managed - the government already had a say in who could run, slashing the initial list of applicants from 686 to 8. Two have since withdrawn, and there are likely only three real contenders today. Most expect that the government will take measures to ensure its preferred candidate will win, but the interesting aspect is that it's no longer clear who is the preferred candidate. Saeed Jalili, the nuclear negotiator, has underperformed. Mohammad Baqr Qalibaf, the mayor of Tehran, is unreliable ideologically and just a little too ambitious. So the real question is not so much will the election be rigged, but who will it be rigged for?

Here's what I wrote last night: http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/iran-at-saban/posts/2013/06/12-campaign-end, and here's an earlier piece questioning the conventional wisdom on Jalili: http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/iran-at-saban/posts/2013/05/24-iran-also-rans

blaugranaa36 karma

What realistic chance does the guy that did all the ama's on reddit (i forget his name) have of actually winning this thing?

maloney_suzanne106 karma

Zero. He actually never registered and surely never stood a chance. Don't know why he was flogging his psuedo candidacy so much!

Hyemp20 karma

As an Iranian, I am curious to know what makes you an expert? Aside from reading about Iran and its current political state, what else makes you an expert? Have you been to Iran and if so, when did you visit last? (I don't mean for this to sound like I am attacking, its hard to convey curiosity through text)

maloney_suzanne26 karma

I think that I answered this previously but I did my doctoral work on Iran, studied Persian for years, conducted research in Iran and studied Persian there as well. My doctorate focused on the Bonyad-e Mostazafan and other parastatal organizations in Iran. The rub is that I haven't been able to return in about a decade. The last time I tried my visa never came through despite an invitation from a well-connected former official. And as a former State Dept staffer currently employed at an organization tagged by the Ministry of Intelligence as "banned" I've not seriously considered returning since 2009. I'd be thrilled if this election creates new opportunities for greater academic and cultural exchanges with Iran, and I'd be on the first plane if I could.

mRWafflesFTW19 karma

I read "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran" by Hooman Majd, and he makes it seem like the Iranian home life is infinitely different than their outside public life. Is this true? Do they really smoke as much opium as Majd implies?

maloney_suzanne25 karma

Life is different behind closed doors, just as it is anywhere. Iranians are incredibly hospitable which is cliche but true. The life of middle and upper class Iranians would seem incredibly familiar to most Westerners, including plenty of booze and drug abuse. I've seen a bit of opium during my travels there and heard plenty of rumors about it, including rumors associated with one of the candidates originally in the presidential race.

el_gringo_exotico19 karma

How aware is the average Iranian of British/American involvement in the overthrow of Mossedgh?

maloney_suzanne30 karma

Deeply profoundly and passionately aware, despite the fact that the theocratic regime has largely sought to downplay the legacy of Mohammad Mossadeq. The name of the main street in Tehran was initially renamed in his honor after the revolution, but once the clergy consolidated control, it was changed to honor the 12th Imam (Vali-ye Asr.) Still, many Iranians remain deeply suspicious of US and especially the British as a result of the 1953 coup.

TheLurkerSpeaks15 karma

Do you expect any candidates in this election to make any impact on the situation of members of the Baha'i Faith in Iran, positive or negative?

maloney_suzanne6 karma

Good question and I'm sorry to say that I'm not optimistic for big steps forward. The IRI treatment of the Bahai is scandalous. I think any Iranian president will be focused on dealing with the economy and will be careful about tackling issues that arouse the opposition of the traditional clergy. The only silver lining is that we are not coasting to a Jalili victory and it's really hard to imagine that he will come out ahead in this vote. He would have been manifestly worse than either Rouhani or Qalibaf for the Bahai.

Antarius-of-Smeg14 karma

Given that the President has less power than the Ayatollah, if a "sane" President is elected, is there a chance that the people of Iran could become a progressive society again?

maloney_suzanne34 karma

The president has distinctly less authority than Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. However whoever wins will have an enormous amount of influence of Iran's foreign policy as well as its domestic political climate and economic framework. Just consider the difference between Iran during the presidency of Mohammad Khatami and the past 8 years during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's tenture. Night and day. I'm not overly optimistic for dramatic immediate change, but the amazing thing about Iran is that even during a period of hard-line control, social and cultural change has continued ... which is why all the candidates are on twitter!

JB52313 karma

Ms. Maloney, thank you for taking time out of your day to do this AMA. I just want to say that I've read a few of your works. My question to you is not about foreign policy, but it is about your job. Would you please answer these questions : 1.) Would you please tell us what you do at the Brookings Institution(some redditers may be confused as to what you actually do). 2.) Please describe your education background. 3.) How did you get to the Brookings Institution? 4.) Do you have any advice/suggestions for people (like me) who would like to get into a field/career that is similar to yours?

Thank you for being on this AMA, and answering our quesitons. Thanks for all your work too.

maloney_suzanne26 karma

1) We write books, speak on panels, do research, engage with policymakers and other experts in DC and around the world. 2) I have a PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University; studied undergrad at University of Pennsylvania, studied languages in Cairo, London and Tehran. 3) I came to Brookings first as a pre and post-doctoral fellow in the 1990s; left to work in the private sector and then for the State Department; returned in 2007 to the Saban Center; 4) I wish I could provide an easy path to this kind of a career. The best advice I can give is to work on an issue that you are deeply passionately interested in, and it will often produce unexpected opportunities.

skrilledcheese13 karma

Since this is an election year, it must have been debated recently: What is/are the majority opinion(s) of the Iranian people on the ongoing civil war in Syria?

Thanks for doing this by the way.

maloney_suzanne17 karma

@_flac is right- there wasn't much talk on Syria; during the foreign policy debate televised on TV, there were simply some placeholder remarks about how important Syria is to Iran. @skrilledcheese - I think the majority of Iranians vote on what matters most to their daily life, just as most other voters do around the world, and even for Iranians (and especially now given the economy) Syria is somewhat distant psychologically.

homerule12 karma

What will Mahmoud Ahmadinejad do next?

maloney_suzanne25 karma

That's the $64,000 question! I think it's probably every bit as important as the outcome of today's election. Ahmadinejad has been uncharacteristically quiet during the campaign. However in the months preceding he made clear that he has no intention of going quietly into retirement. Another DC analyst has described him as the most dangerous man in Iran... he knows where all the bodies are buried and he has demonstrated on repeated occasions that he is ready and even eager to use that information to his own advantage. There are even reports that he may have hidden intelligence files outside Iran about his opponents to be revealed in the event of his death. The real question is whether Ahmadinejad can be successfully "persuaded" (through incentives or pressure) to move to the backdrop. He is relatively young by Iranian leadership standards, intensely ambitious and deeply resentful of his treatment by a system that elevated him and then isolated him.

eurotrashshow8 karma

Hi Dr. Maloney, thank you for taking your time to answer our questions.

1) I was in Egypt during the last presidential election and the 2010 parliamentary election, and I thought that the prevalence of ballot stuffing, vote buying, and intentional ballot spoiling were fascinating, yet nobody really talked about outside of Egypt. Is there any indication that this has been occurring in Iran, or will during this election?

2) do the reformist candidates have a chance? As Khatami and Rafsanjani were both banned, I would guess maybe someone in Iran thinks they might...

3) if a reformist candidate did win, would they be in a position to make any meaningful reform? Is improved relations with the west even a remotely possible outcome?

Thanks again!

Edit- clarification

maloney_suzanne8 karma

1) There was a lot of concern about ballot stuffing and vote tampering in the 2009 presidential election, and in fact the reformists were anticipating this and had assembled a sizeable network of informal observers and other mechanisms to watch for ballot irregularities. It was one of the reasons that the election fraud was so quickly recognized at that time. 2) Rafsanjani was not allowed to run; still not sure I understand all the dynamics around that decision. But he is 80 and he wasn't always terribly popular, and I don't know if he was an inherently more persuasive reformist candidate than Rouhani. Here's a take on that: http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/iran-at-saban/posts/2013/05/21-waiting-for-the-names Khatami chose not to submit his name for the ballot, wisely I think - he is actually much more effective as an emeritus politician, using his revived popularity to advance his agenda, than a day-to-day decisionmaker. 2) There seems to be a lot of late game excitement around Rouhani, but who knows where that will lead. I'm not confident that even if Rouhani were to win in a landslide, that they wouldn't rig the outcome to suggest otherwise. 3) That's the difficulty of the system, as experienced from 1997 to 2005. Still, Khatami did a lot of good that wasn't fully appreciated - a huge flowering of the press, opening Iran to the world through dialogue of civilizations and regional rapprochement, really important economic reforms, etc. But he couldn't get beyond the ability of the hardliners to block his domestic reforms and use violence to terrorize the population.

plumbob8 karma

Where can I find the best fesenjoon in Los Angeles.

maloney_suzanne2 karma

Good question! We were just debating the best kebabs in DC and the answer was anywhere in LA (or in any Iranian home.) I've made some half decent fesenjoon with recipes from a cookbook by Najmieh Batmanglij.

TheLittleWinstonBaby7 karma

One of the presidential candidates, Hassan Rowhani, has discussed re-engaging with the West, freeing political prisoners and reforming the media.

Assuming he gets elected, how likely would it be that he could/would actually carry out these intentions?

Also: regardless of who is elected, how much does their viewpoint affect the direction and development of the Iranian nuclear programme? Who is making the decisions - is it Khamenei's level, the president's level or simply at the behest of the bureaucracy: i.e., the military want it because it makes them powerful and scientists want it because it makes them prestigious?


maloney_suzanne5 karma

As I said in the response to @eurotrashshow, I'm not confident that Rouhani will win. It's easy to get sucked into the excitement via twitter; the Youtube videos and still images of his rallies convey the same electricity that the mobilization around the reformists in 2009 did. But we just don't have any sense of how far that permeates around the country. And even many reformists harbor enough skepticism about Rouhani or the system that they may not vote for him. So it's hardly a done deal that he would win even if the regime doesn't put the fix in for another candidate. And I strongly suspect that they would or will do just that. Still, I'm not giving up entirely. I have followed Rouhani's career for years. He's a guy who is very direct and very strategic. He was one of the earliest critics of Ahmadinejad. And he's had a long relationship with the Supreme Leader (albeit one that has been damaged by his role in negotiating compromises on Iran's nuclear program). This is Iran, anything is possible.

Hammythepirate6 karma

Who do you think is best for the job?

Prahasaurus6 karma

Do you speak fluent (or at least passable) Farsi? Have you actually lived in Iran among regular people for an extended period of time? I read your bio, but this isn't mentioned. Nothing personal, just trying to better understand your background, and what unique insights you can bring to the discussion. Thanks.

maloney_suzanne2 karma

Not fluently at all. I studied Persian (as my instructors called it, they used to say using the word Farsi was like calling Spanish language 'Espanol') at Harvard and SOAS in London. Nearly all of my work in both universities was written; I did little speaking until spending two summers at the Dehkhoda Institute affiliated with the University of Tehran. I try to keep up reading via the internet.

thombudsman5 karma

Who do you think will win the election?

maloney_suzanne9 karma

Wish I knew. We've all been surprised by the dynamics of the campaign, and the early media meme that nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili would be a shoe-in has proven way premature. The three main men to watch today are Jalili, Qalibaf, and Rouhani. Here's my take on the odds of the various candidates last night: http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/iran-at-saban/posts/2013/06/12-campaign-end

drtmii5 karma

News all day for Rouhani has been pretty positive...lets make a huge assumption that the only malfeasance will be the Aref-on-ballot "mistake" (any idea how widespread that was, by the way?) Looks like he should at least make runoff...if nothing else, he may make runoff to boost turnout next Friday. What about outright win?

maloney_suzanne2 karma

I've seen a few people referencing difficulties voting, and Rouhani's campaign has put the word out for voters to document and share evidence of vote tampering. I talked a little bit in another response about some of the factors working against Rouhani in terms of turnout. I think it's so incredibly difficult to predict how the regime will play this...my guess is that even if he places high, they will be very nervous about giving the reformists another week to mobilize on his behalf - the parallels with 2009 are beginning to be a little bit eery. @damonlds is right, Rouhani has been close to Khamenei, but Khamenei has absolutely villified the nuclear deal that Rouhani spearheaded in 2004.

three_eyed_fish4 karma

Israel and Iran - will we ever return to our golden days?? (and yes, we had golden days!)

maloney_suzanne3 karma

Yes, you did, and lots of Iranians whom I met on my visits there remember those days fondly. I don't think things will ever revert to the monarchical model of two non-Arab states on the peripheries of the Middle East with a close alignment, if only because the world has changed so dramatically since then. The rise of Asia has reoriented Iran's foreign and economic policy, and that will remain consistent no matter who is in office. And I do think that the effect of three decades of propaganda on the Palestinian issue has given young Iranians a different orientation toward the Levant; not necessarily one that is terribly hostile toward Israel, but also not one that dismisses an identification with Islamic causes in the Arab world.

RadioactiveNewt4 karma

How useful is the election for pointing Iran towards true "democracy"?

maloney_suzanne5 karma

Elections are opportunities. When is the last time you heard Iranians gathered in large numbers shouting for the release of political prisoners? That has been happening all around the country for the past week under the cover of the campaign. The election provided an opportunity for the first-ever public debate of the nuclear issue, where establishment politicians slammed the leadership's failure to get a deal and get sanctions removed. Again this is unthinkable outside an election period. Change happens in Iran - slowly, fitfully, but elections have always been a key ingredient in the process.

drtmii3 karma

Busy week? Or desk always that cluttered?

maloney_suzanne6 karma

Both, sadly. Post election goal is to decorate!

Brad_Wesley3 karma

Have you ever been to Iran?

maloney_suzanne3 karma

Yes, multiple occasions. Studied and did research there over the course of about 6 months in two stints in 1998 and 1999, returned whenever I could for the ensuing years. I've travelled through most of the rest of the Middle East and Iran is by far the best experience for a solo American woman.

iwanttofork3 karma

What is the voter turnout like in Iran? Do people vote because they believe in their political system or do they vote because of other reasons?

maloney_suzanne6 karma

Voter turnout is reportedly high, although we don't know how it compares to previous elections and it is widely presumed that the government will release bonanza numbers irrespective of the real turnout simply to bolster its credibility. Still, from the twitter feeds I've been reading all day, there is solid reason to believe that turnout isn't dramatically lower than it has been over most of the history of the Islamic Republic. There have been more than two dozen elections in Iran since the revolution, and turnout for national posts (president/parliament) has generally been more than 50 percent; as high as 75-80 percent at times. Fewer people tend to vote when it's a reelection campaign; or for the lesser profile positions such as city councils; as well as during periods of political repression and retrenchment. Iranians vote for any number of reasons - some because their identity cards will be checked at their jobs or schools, but many because it is a normal part of political life in Iran, or even because they have experienced the impact of election outcomes on their own lives.

AuhsojSivart2 karma

Who is your favorite Iranian film director?

maloney_suzanne2 karma

Jafar Panahi

lobal_warming2 karma

Do you think radical change is possible in Iran? My mother was sent away when she was very young, and I hope to one day visit Tehran with her.

maloney_suzanne4 karma

I wish it was. I'm not optimistic. But the beauty of Iran is that none of us on the outside ever foresee change, even when it has been just over the horizon. So I'm hoping to be surprised, soon.

TonyTheTerrible2 karma

Do you have a divan of Hafez?

maloney_suzanne2 karma

Sadly my Persian recitation skills have atrophied somewhat. But I've visited Hafez's tomb in Shiraz, if that helps.

flex0r1 karma

As a person from Saudi Arabia who recently found out a lot about how Iran and Saudi Arabia aren't really on good terms I was wondering if you could explain the conflict between Iran and my country. Do you think the hate is justified?

maloney_suzanne2 karma

KSA and Iran are rivals for religious as well as regional primacy, and were in some ways even during the time of the Iran monarchy. Today, Syria has infinitely complicated the historic frictions. The founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Khomeini reserved his deepest animosities for the Al Saud family. The monarchical system, the close relationship with Washington, and the sectarian identification make it difficult to imagine the two countries as close allies; but they have cooperated episodically, especially on oil policy in OPEC.

repsieximo1 karma

Do you have any detailed voting stat analysis from previous elections available for us?

maloney_suzanne3 karma

There's a website associated with a couple of great Iran scholars that reproduces all the past election data from Iran: http://www.princeton.edu/irandataportal/ and click on elections

[deleted]1 karma


maloney_suzanne2 karma

You're wrong, to a degree - this is not revolutionary change, but it is a very big deal that the most moderate candidate, whose supporters have been chanting to free political prisoners, appears to have won in a big upset. Change won't come quickly, but a more responsible leadership in Iran, even if only by modest degrees, is better for Iran and better for the region and better for international security.

ewest1 karma

Why didn't the Smiling Cleric run again? I love that man and wanted to see him in power again.

maloney_suzanne3 karma

Khatami? He's still a major player, just better suited for a post-presidential life. I think he made the right call to stay out this time.

ggolemg1 karma

Why don't they just elect their supreme leader? Isn't that basically what's happening anyway by proxy?

maloney_suzanne4 karma

Not exactly. The Supreme Leader is selected for life by a body called the Assembly of Experts. The Assembly of Experts itself is elected, but the candidates are extremely heavily vetted and as a result it is composed almost entirely of regime power brokers and elderly clerics who are barely capable of staying awake. There has been only one succession in the history of the Islamic Republic, in 1989 when Ayatollah Khomeini (revolutionary founder) died. The Assembly of Experts met, but ultimately the selection of his successor was really a joint decision of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjni (then speaker of the parliament who went on to become 2 term president) and Khomeini's then powerful son Ahmad (now dead.) So no one really knows what will happen next time.

MeNoHaveTV1 karma

1) Who or what does the average Iranian blame the economic sanctions, along with the subsequent economic and lifestyle effects, on? 2) How would you characterize how much these sanctions are felt by the country?

maloney_suzanne5 karma

1) It really depends who asks the question, and who answers. The Obama administration is obviously hoping that Iranians blame their own government, and that they (or at least the influential types around the regime) will put pressure on the government to alter the nuclear policy and other issues of concern. We hear a lot now that Iranians are beginning to deeply resent the international community and especially Washington for the economic hardships they face. My gut instinct is that they can resent us and blame their own government at the same time. 2) The sanction have had an enormous impact - cratering the currency, creating product shortages, making every aspect of doing business in and with Iran infinitely more difficult. But it's a diverse economy with substantial wealth, and there is a pretty good chance the regime can endure even these measures for the foreseeable future.

incompetentlawyer1 karma


maloney_suzanne4 karma

Not likely. Those are all important countries for Iran, particularly China and India which are key trade partners. I wouldn't expect that to change irrespective of whomever is elected to the presidency.

idigyourpast1 karma

Please correct me if I'm mistaken, but it seems like I'm always hearing how the youth in Iran want dramatic social and political change. Well, if that's the case, and the youth grow to be the new leaders of the country, why hasn't that change come about yet? Are they becoming jaded as the grow older, or is the power held by such a small minority that the will of their people doesn't account for much?

maloney_suzanne4 karma

All of the above... some with reformist or opposition political perspectives have become disaffected from politics. They don't see a path forward that offers meaningful change, so they simply disengage. Others have been forced to leave the country, either by government repression or lack of economic opportunity. And we forget that not all young Iranians are inherently moderate or liberal; Ahmadinejad and Saeed Jalili are both examples of younger generation Iranians (not youth, but not the revolutionary generation either) who instead of rejecting the ideological strictures of the regime, in fact would like to se them strengthened. The war had a major impact on Iran's upcoming leaders - all of the candidates in the race had some direct role in the war.

Rapistsmurf1 karma

I read somewhere that every Iranian citizen can write a letter and have it answered by the president.

Can every Iranian citizen write a letter to the Ayatollah and also have it answered?

maloney_suzanne2 karma

Ahmadinejad encouraged this and got hundreds of thousands of letters. He loved the populist aspect of government. I don't expect that any of the candidates who might succeed him are likely to continue this tradition, but what's interesting is to see what a prominent role social media has played in the campaign (despite the massive filtering of the internet in Iran.) Both Jalili and Rouhani campaigns have been tweeting 24/7, and Jalili had an instragram account, FB page, Google+ etc. It will be interesting to see if they are pressed on the absurd hypocrisy of this position even as the regime continues to prevent the rest of its citizens from engaging with the world via the internet.

gab_and_loitering1 karma

Where is Hooshang Amirahmadi in this election? He did this popular AMA, and I don't remember ever hearing he was rejected. Can you comment on that, even though it isn't directly related to today's election?

maloney_suzanne6 karma

see my answer to @blaugranna above

Papie1 karma

Rohani is known as the reformer and wants to improve relations with the US. He is also polled to win this round.

Would the Revolutionary Guard and the Ayatollah allow him to reform?

maloney_suzanne2 karma

Within firm boundaries, perhaps. You're not going to see him do away with hijab (women's modest dress) or disavow the nuclear program. But his presidency (if it is indeed confirmed) would mean a meaningful shift in Iran's domestic policies and even more importantly its approach to the world.

U-S-A1 karma

Was Ali Khamenei somewhat pro United States? (because there was a time he was okay with the US using Iran as a base to attack Afghanistan) The main question: might he be asking for mending of US-Iran relations this time around?

maloney_suzanne3 karma

Khamenei has always been very hardline on Washington. He was often described as a moderate simply because he was presumed to be less powerful than his predecessor Khomeini and because he tended not to be quite as quotable as his predecessor. This was a widespread misconception. But as you note, Khamenei has demonstrated the capacity for pragmatism on multiple occasions and it's entirely possible that under the right conditions, he could be persuaded to do a deal with Washington, but probably one of a limited nature. I think the return of American diplomats and business to Iran would be Khamenei's worst nightmare.

underdabridge1 karma

Suzanne, in the last election the dominant narrative was that Ahmedinejad was running in a sham election with a pre-ordained corrupt outcome.

But there was interesting counter-commentary that said that the election was fair and that the west just didn't understand that Ahmedinejad had broad rural support. There was no reason to screw with the vote since all the candidates allowed to run were already vetted as acceptable choices by the ruling mullahs.

What do you see as the truth?

maloney_suzanne7 karma

There were no serious people arguing that 2009 was a fully free or fair election. A few fringe voices tried to make that case, but the evidence against them is overwhelming. If you're not certain, consider this: why have the two candidates who protested the outcome been under house arrest for more than two years, barred from any outside contact and subjected to horrific conditions. Can you imagine any civilized state that would do this to political figures over an election that was conducted honestly?

Heraclitus941 karma

What is the voter turn out for Iran, percentage wise?

maloney_suzanne1 karma

The same hard-line news outlet that published the voter turnout and outcome in the 2009 election prior to the ballot itself has predicted 74 percent turnout. And they are usually right (at least they usually know what the fix is likely to be.) Still, there is no reason to believe that voter turnout is unusually low. This time around there is a ton of Twitter traffic in / on Iran today - I recommended a few good people to follow in this post here: http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/iran-at-saban/posts/2013/06/14-iran-elections-facts

The_Sultan_of_Agraba-8 karma

What is the capital of Iran?

maloney_suzanne8 karma


cuzzard-9 karma

how do you become an "Expert on Iran" with a last name of Maloney? Proof seems a little weak.

maloney_suzanne11 karma

Alas one doesn't need an ethnic or national connection to develop expertise. I wrote my doctoral thesis on Iran's post revolutionary political economy, focusing on institutions including the Bonyad-e Mostazafan. I did research for my thesis in Iran and studied Persian in Tehran as well as at Harvard and University of London (SOAS.) Plus Iranians and Irish have tons in common as a former professor once pointed out, politics, poetry and passion. Hope that helps the proof!