Perhaps more than any other country, Iran holds the world in suspense. The country's conflicting messages in recent months have run the gamut: Iran has both rebuffed and warmed to President Obama's overtures, conceded the release of journalist Roxana Saberi, and brazenly test-fired a missile with potential nuclear capacities.
Hooman Majd, author of "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ," talks with Nisid Hajari, Foreign Editor of Newsweek, about Iran and the role of its people in influencing its politics.
Nisid Hajari was named Foreign Editor of Newsweek in October 2006. In that position he edits and directs coverage of international news for the magazine, including Al Qaeda as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Previous to that he served as Managing Editor of Newsweek International for four years, overseeing the overseas edition of the magazine. He joined the magazine in February 2001 as Asia Editor. During his tenure, the overseas edition won several editorial, photo, and design awards, including one for General Excellence for the 2001 Asia Special Issue, "East Meets West" which he top-edited.
Before coming to Newsweek, Hajari had worked for a variety of publications. As associate editor for Time Asia in Hong Kong, Hajari received his first two General Excellence Awards for the "Time 100: Asians of the Century" special issue and for "An Asian Journey: From Sapporo to Surabaya." Prior to that position, Hajari was a staff writer for Time Asia and Time International in New York. Hajari also worked as a staff writer for Entertainment Weekly and an editorial assistant for the Village Voice.
Hajari holds a B.A. in English from Princeton University and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Columbia University. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Hooman Majd was born in Tehran, Iran in 1957, and lived abroad from infancy with his family who were in the diplomatic service. He attended boarding school in England and college in the United States, and stayed in the U.S. after the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Majd had a long career in the entertainment business before devoting himself to writing and journalism full-time. He worked at Island Records and Polygram Records for many years, with a diverse group of artists, and was head of film and music at Palm Pictures, where he produced The Cup and James Toback's Black and White.
He has written for GQ, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New York Observer, Interview, and Salon, and has been a regular contributor to The Huffington Post from its inception. A contributing editor at Interview magazine, he lives in New York City and travels regularly back to Iran.
Hooman Majd, author of The Ayatollah Begs to Differ talks with Newsweek's Nisid Hajari about the growing "wave" of young voters in Iran. He describes the atmosphere of excitement in Tehran, explaining that in previous elections, "there was a real sense of apathy" whereas now, "people sense that there could be a change, a real change."
Hooman Majd discusses the effect Obama is having on the elections in Iran. He explains that in addition to improving America's image in general, many candidates are beginning to espouse messages of reconciliation.
Hooman Majd argues that despite America's wishes to the contrary, Iran will never give up its uranium enrichment program. He explains that while they may be willing to compromise on the details, "Iranians don't believe they should give up uranium enrichment on their soil."