Iran Forum: Myths and Facts

Saturday May 19, 2012,

1:00 pm - 4:30 pm

First Unitarian Church

1211 SW Main St., Portland, OR

Threats of military strikes against Iran have many of us concerned. We know peace is possible, but is another Middle East war probable?

Information @ 503-235-6136 or by email

Three round table discussions:

  • Iran-Myths & Realities

This discussion will provide background on the current crisis and the geopolitics of sanctions on and war with Iran.

  • Friendships-Americans and Iranians

Travelers to Iran will share their experiences.

  • The War at Home-Here and There

This discussion features people who know first hand the toll that a war takes on societies here and there.

Panelists will include:

  • Farideh Farhi, Professor of Political Science at University of Hawaii and a public commentator on US-Iran relations
  • Muhammad Sahimi, Professor of Engineering, USC and a columnist for PBS Frontline Tehran Bureau
  • Robin Hahnel, Professor of Economics at Portland State University
  • Kelly Campbell of Physicians for Social Responsibility
  • Ahjamu Umi of Occupy Portland
  • Ian LaVallee of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW)
  • Parisa Ghafoori graduate student at Portland State University

Farideh Farhi is an Independent Scholar and Affiliate Graduate Faculty at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. She has taught comparative politics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, University of Hawai'i, University of Tehran, and Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran. Her publications include States and Urban-Based Revolutions in Iran and Nicaragua (University of Illinois Press) and numerous articles and book chapters on comparative analyses of revolutions and Iranian politics. She has been a recipient of grants from the United States Institute of Peace and the Rockefeller Foundation and was most recently a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. She has also worked as a consultant for the World Bank and the International Crisis Group. 

Muhammad Sahimi is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, and holds the NIOC Chair in petroleum engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. Sahimi received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tehran and after briefly working for the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), he received a scholarship from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and travelled to the USA, where he has since remained, completing his PhD at the University of Minnesota in 1984.  Since 2003, Dr. Sahimi has frequently written on the subject of Iranian politics, particularly the Iranian nuclear program.  His writings have been published in Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, the Harvard International Review, and The Progressive.

Robin Hahnel is Professor Emeritus at American University in Washington DC.  He has taught at the University of Maryland, the Catholic Universities in Panama and Peru, and Lewis and Clark College.  He is currently Visiting Professor in the Department of Economics at Portland State University. He is the author of Green Economics, Economic Justice and Democracy, The ABCs of Political Economy, Panic Rules!, and The Political Economy of Participatory Economics (with Michael Albert). He has been active in many progressive movements and organizations over the past 40 years, beginning with the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s.

Kelly Campbell is the Executive Director of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility. She was previously the Portland Area Peace Program Director for the American Friends Service Committee, and was a founding member of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, an organization that was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize. In January 2002, Kelly traveled along with three other 9/11 family members to Kabul, Afghanistan to meet with Afghan families affected by the US bombing and returned to the US to advocate on behalf of civilian victims of war. She has served on the steering committee of the national coalition United for Peace and Justice.

Ian J. LaVallee is a recent transplant to Portland from Boston, MA. Ian was an Airborne Infantryman 2-325 AIR, 82nd Airborne Division, deployed to Tal Afar, Iraq in 2005. He worked as an organizer with Iraq Veterans Against the War in Boston and nationally in 2007-2009. Ian is now working with other recent Veterans on a non-profit that facilitates the holistic reintegration from military to civilian life (

Ahjamu Umi was born and raised in San Francisco, California.  He has a masters degree in Economics from Sacramento State University.  He has been an active organizer for the All African People's Revolutionary Party since 1984 and he has worked for that organization while living and traveling in several countries in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and throughout the U.S.  Currently, he lives in Portland and serves as the chair for Occupy Northeast - The Black Working Group - a community group dedicated to active foreclosure resistance and community defense against police terrorism.  He is a published author - having published "Find the Flower that Blossoms" in December of 2010.

Sponsored By: American Iranian Friendship Council, Occupy Portland, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Veterans for Peace, Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, PJW-Iraq Affinity Group, Peace Action Committee of First Unitarian Church and with financial support by the Middle East Studies Center @ PSU and through a PARSA Community Foundation grant to Persian/Iranian Studies at PSU

 If you are interested in helping us with this event you can pledge your financial support at:

Submitted by AIFC on Tue, 05/08/2012 - 4:45pm.