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The Iran Deal is Good. An Iranian-American Take

Iran Deal

by Iman Sohrabi, 13 August 2015

Iman Sohrabi is a graduate of the MIS program (MIS'15). He has been advocating the Reform Movement of Iran, U.S. - Iran relations and the Nuclear Deal through activism, TV appearances and his Tourism project.

As an Iranian-American student at American University, attending President Obama's address on the Iran deal, commemorating President Kennedy's historic "strategy of peace" speech, was one of the most meaningful events of my life. Not only because it was a live televised event with the President of the United States, but because the "Iran Deal" is the most important act of Obama's presidency for me.

U.S.-Iran relations have always been the focus of my study, work and activism, and the rift over Iran's nuclear program has been the center of attention since I started at American University. Being able to interact closely with individuals and organizations that worked on this issue and knowing the obstacles and oppositions to the deal make me celebrate this landmark achievement.

Yet, what is important is the content and consequences of the deal. For Iranians, this deal is a game changer as it affects many aspects of their lives beyond the country's nuclear program. This deal decided what kind of country Iran will be in coming years: a thriving country with improved human rights conditions that opens itself to the world instead of a pariah state on the verge of a catastrophic conflict.  

The current Iranian negotiating team was a key part of President Rouhani's agenda. During the 2013 presidential campaign in Iran, Rouhani ran a fierce campaign against the former head of the negotiating team who would have continued Ahmadinejad's policies of defiance and noncooperation. Rouhani criticized the direction Ahmadinejad was taking the country and promised a more open society and cooperation with the world. Rouhani's administration has created major legislative overhauls targeted to improve the civil society and human rights. As Iran's Parliament is still occupied by Ahmadinejad supporters, these legislative overhauls will not pass. This deal will significantly boost the resurgence of the reformers and pragmatists, guaranteeing a sweeping win of Parliament in the approaching elections. The Iranians' quest for democracy and human rights will not be achieved overnight and still has a long journey ahead, but this deal is a major step in the right direction. Obama cannot be vocal about this aspect of the deal as it would cause the hardliners to retaliate against Rouhani's administration, forcing them to lose their small grip of power. Nonetheless, Obama's role in the improvement of the livelihood of Iranians will not be forgotten by the young Iranian generation awaiting this deal. 

This deal is also a game changer for the United States. America's foreign policy approach towards the Middle East region during the Bush administration resulted in a negative view of America around the world. Time and time again, the U.S. has resorted to military force, turning a bad situation into a disaster that causes death and destruction. This approach has proved to be damaging for the pro-democracy movement inside Iran and did not help the international effort to resolve Iran's nuclear file. Between 2003 and 2005, the reformers and the same negotiators agreed to a similar deal when Iran's nuclear program was much smaller. Iranian reformers in charge also offered cooperation in the initial war on terror. But the Bush administration did not believe in negotiating with Iran, and instead placed Iran in the "Axis of Evil", threatened to invade Iran as the next step in the War on Terror, and scrapped the deal. This led to the defeat of the reformers and the rise of Ahmadinejad and the security atmosphere that placed the nuclear program in overdrive by increasing the number of centrifuges by hundreds. One of the main reasons Obama was elected was due to his opposition to Bush's approach, and promised an alternative in which he would sit down and talk to our enemies. 

It is amazing to see an American solution leading people to dance in the streets and wear American flag T-shirts instead of running for shelter and burning the American flag. To achieve this deal, America used its greatest and most influential assets, soft power and international partners. As practitioners of international relations, we work to resolve international crises and improve the livelihood of people around the world. Obama's Iran deal achieves both goals simultaneously, and will be a keystone of his legacy.

American University Launches Online Master of International Service (MIS) Offering

MIS Online

/PRNewswire/, 21 January 2015

New executive degree is designed for professionals with nine or more years of experience in the field.

American University's School of International Service (SIS), the largest school of international relations in the United States, today announced a new online executive degree track, Master of International Service (MIS), designed for skilled professionals working in international relations fields around the world. Offered online in partnership with 2U Inc. (NASDAQ: TWOU), a leading provider of online education solutions for top-tier nonprofit colleges and universities, the executive track provides international relations professionals with the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and skills in areas that are immediately applicable to their careers without the need to relocate.

The condensed 30-credit MIS program is designed exclusively for students with at least nine years of professional experience in the field of international relations. The online program complements the school's existing on-campus executive program and existing Master of Arts in International Relations online graduate degree program. The course curriculum builds upon fundamental theories of international relations in areas including research methods, economics, and leadership. Students will have the opportunity to specialize in the following areas of study: Global Security, International Development, International Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, and United States Foreign Policy and National Security."

American University's School of International Service's new Master of International Service option addresses the demand from deeply experienced international relations professionals who are seeking to further their existing careers, but require the flexibility of an online program with a full range of concentrations," said James Goldgeier, Dean of the School of International Service. "As a top-10 ranked school of international relations with demonstrated excellence in online graduate education, SIS is uniquely qualified to enhance its existing online offerings with this new track that is available to qualified students around the globe."

Students in the online executive MIS program will complete an intensive immersion experience held on the university's Washington, D.C. campus. The program concludes with a capstone project, taken in the student's final semester, that blends professional skills training with an applied policy or research project bridging theory and practice.

American University's School of International Service is the only top-10 ranked school of international relations to currently offer a fully online graduate degree. The school's existing program, IR Online, offered in partnership with 2U Inc., features collaborative, live classes during which students build meaningful relationships with peers and faculty in a face-to-face online setting. It also includes high-quality, interactive coursework designed by expert faculty at American University. The new online executive program now expands the school's online offerings to experienced professionals.

For more information about the MIS Executive degree online, please visit our site.

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