Video: A Conversation with Nazila Fathi

by    /  July 16, 2012  / No comments

Nazila Fathi and Steven Sokol. Photo: Laura Mustio.

On May 5 City of Asylum/Pittsburgh hosted Exiled Iranian Voices, a continuation of COAP’s Reading of the World series. One of the speakers at the event was Nazila Fathi, a journalist, translator and commentator on Iran. Joining her on the stage was Steven Sokol, President and Chief Executive Officer of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh.

Fathi reported out of Iran for nearly two decades until 2009 when she was forced to leave the country because of government threats against her. She was based in Tehran from 2001 for The New York Times until she was exiled, and she wrote over 2,000 articles for them. Prior to that, she wrote for Time magazine and Agence France-Presse. She translated a book, History and Documentation of Human Rights in Iran, by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Shirin Ebadi, into English in 2001. She has written for The New York Review of Books, Foreign Policy, Nieman Reports, and the online publication, openDemocracy. Fathi has been a guest speaker on CNN, BBC, CBC, NPR, and at several academic institutions including Stanford University and Harvard University.

Steven Sokol was appointed President of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh in 2010. The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh is a part of the World Affairs Councils of America, the largest grassroots foreign policy organization in the United States. Sokol has also served as Vice President and Director of Programs at The American Council on Germany.

Due to the length of the video, below is the list of the questions we asked as well as the time that they appear.


1. Who are some of the main political actors in Iran? How did they get there and how much power do they have? (0:00)

2. As a follow-up to that, you’ve been talking about the Supreme Leader. You have not really talked about Ahmadinejad. What is the power dynamic between them? (9:14)

3. Is there any indication of who might be coming after Ahmadinejad? Who makes up the next generation of leaders in Iran? (11:34)

4. Where is the Green Movement today? (13:00)

5. The protests in 2009 can be considered a forerunner of the Arab Spring. In some sense what happened in Iran may have served as a model for other countries. Is there an option for a Persian Awakening? (14:05)

6. Can you talk a little about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and where things really are? (16:45)

7. How do average citizens in Iran feel about the nuclear ambitions? (20:37)

8. Largely because of the nuclear issue, Iran has been subjected to trade embargoes and sanctions. What sort of effects are those embargoes and sanctions having in Iran? (22:54)

9. There’s been a lot of discussion about the potential of armed conflict involving Israel, Iran, and the United States. How likely do you think that is? (24:00)

10. What kind of things can be done to avoid conflict? (25:10)

11. Can you tell us about Iran’s relationships with other countries that it perceives to be allies? (26:39)

12. Can you talk a little about the role of women in contemporary Iran? (28:33)

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.