Iranian-Americans React to Nuclear Deal

Jul 30, 2015

This month, negotiators reached a deal to lift economic sanctions on Iran while limiting their nuclear ability. Most Republicans, including both of Iowa's senators, are against it. And while the political ramifications have been thoroughly hashed out, less attention has been paid to the perspective of Iranians and Iranian-Americans. 

Niloufar Talebi is an Iranian-American writer and translator, and the editor of Belonging: New Poetry by Iranians Around the World. She says this deal could signal a larger shift and opening of cultural relations.

"I am definitely in favor of any agreement that would materialize in having far more cultural exchanges between Iran, the US and Iran, and the rest of the world. So far because of the sanctions, the status of Iranian artists and artists of Iranian origin on the international stage has been [...] invisible."

Yashar Vasef, former executive director of the United Nations Association of Iowa, was born in Iran and moved to Iowa as a teenager. He says Iranians see this deal differently than those in the West.

"Over there, the deal has been viewed a bit differently. It's been viewed as Iran's opening to the world, not only on an economic level, but in terms of international relations. Whereas here in the West, we're looking at it in a narrower scope."

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Vasef and Talebi about the nuclear deal. Christopher Merrill, Director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, also joins the conversation.