Professor describes the complicated relationship between the U.S. and Iran.
By Cynthia Alexis Martinez
Associate Professor Asslan Khaligh points to the hypocrisy of the American government being able to destroy the world in a matter of seconds but feeds Americans propaganda that Iran is a bigger threat because of nuclear weapons.
“All governments are corrupt including the United States of America,” Khaligh said.
At 12:15 p.m. Feb. 18, Hot Potato Issues, hosted by the Wesley Foundation of San Antonio, featured political science professor and 30-year Wesley Foundation contributor Khaligh on U.S.-Iranian relations.
In a large, dimly lit room in the United Methodist Campus Ministry building, at the corner of Belknap and West Dewey places, students trickled in with air-pods blaring.
Wearing a beige suit and a slicked-back low ponytail, Khaligh inhales and exhales sharply.
“One of the reasons I come here is for the potatoes,” he said.
And the entire room instantly went from white noise to chuckles.
This professor, who has been teaching for 38 years, shared his insight on the U.S. and Iran. The Iranian-born Muslim moved to the U.S. as a young boy.
On a TV screen behind Khaligh is a projected map of the Middle East that is primarily zoomed in on Iran and the surrounding areas, including Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“There is not going to be war,” Khaligh said, holding a yellow pad of notes. “We went to Afghanistan for 17 years. Did that solve anything?”
For many years, one of the closest allies of the U.S. was Iran, the 17th largest country on earth.
The Shah came to power in an attempt to “modernize” with the rest of the world by having the women wear western clothing and the Ayatollah fought for change.
“But one mistake that the Shah did was that he never ever created a foundation to deal with the problems of the country.” Khaligh said.
Khaligh said because of this, there was never a democratic foundation in Iran.
He said that in 1979, the Ayatollah with the help of the military took over the monarchy to form the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“So, one of the major problems for the U.S. government is that they have yet to understand that the Iranian government is not for Iran, but for the Muslim religion and want to promote Islam to the world,” Khaligh said.
The Islamic fundamentalists were the religious people, he said. In politics, people who win are those who are organized.
“And they decided that they were going to run the government,” Khaligh said.
And since then, Khaligh said, the two countries have been “head butting.”
Iran has been trying to attain nuclear weapons.
“You know that only one country on Earth that had an atomic bomb and used it,” Professor Khaligh said, as chuckles emerged from students. “That was good-ole U.S.A.”
Iran wants to protect itself from bigger countries that have larger military powers like the U.S. and Russia.
No more bullying smaller nations into building bombs for insurance and being hypocrite “role models,” Khaligh said.
Although, the weapons themselves represent security from countries like the U.S., it will be used as insurance.
“We aren’t talking about killing. We are talking about compromising,” Khaligh said. “Diplomacy, negotiations and talking, that is the way we could resolve these problems.”
For more information, contact the Wesley Foundation of San Antonio at (210)- 733-1441.