Friday, October 30, 2009
Electric Politics: "George Kenney Interviews former Iranian President Abolhassan Banisadr"
You have to be of a certain age to remember Abolhassan Banisadr, the first President of Iran following the 1979 revolution. After a falling out with the clerics in 1981 -- in large part over the hostage crisis -- Banisadr fled for his life, taking political asylum in France. Part of the deal with French authorities, of course, is that he not mess around in Iranian politics. But he's been a little bit more public recently, probably with tacit French blessings, and as it turns out he's got a lot to say. I should note, nevertheless, that he gives interviews only rarely (if you search the web you'll see that this is so), making today's podcast somewhat newsworthy in and of itself.
I talk with President Banisadr through an interpreter, Dr. Mahmood Delkhasteh, a recent Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and a close Banisadr confidant. Although I'm sure that Mahmood gave the best possible translation, on balance I decided that it's best to leave in all the Persian so that Persian speakers can hear Mr. Banisadr for themselves. And although I don't understand a word of it I also think that Mr. Banisadr's voice has sufficiently luminous qualities that listening should not be an undue burden to non-Persian speakers. Hopefully the half that's in English will make it all worthwhile.
As always, if you like the podcast please feel free to redistribute the link.