Iranian graduate students across the state held an all-day seminar at the Emory School of Law Saturday, hosting six speakers including Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi, Southern Regional Director of Amnesty International USA Jared Feuer and Harvard Iranian Studies professor Hamid Dabashi to discuss Iran's political state in the wake of its disputed election.
The "Iran Election 2009: Precursors, Observations, and Consequences" seminar began with a presentation session that aimed to expose the current crisis from political, historical, sociological, legal and human rights perspectives according to the seminar's event proposal.
There was a discussion about the controversial June 2009 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and an analysis of the results and whether or not the current election laws in Iran were violated.
The event was funded by organizations and private individuals, and donations from those with political or religious agendas were not accepted because the organizing committee wished to maintain an objective position, according to the proposal pamphlet.
Topics during the discussion panel included the possibility of reform in the current Iranian administration. Dabashi said, "The new generation of Iranians are in a historically unique position to rescue their parental generation from its vindictiveness," and indicated that it is the new generation that will most influence Iran's future.
Ahmad Sadri, a professor of sociology and Islamic world studies at Lake Forest College, discussed the view of torture in American culture and said popular movies and television shows such as "Body of Lies" and "24," respectively, depict torture frequently, sometimes as necessary national security measures. "Anger needs to be exercised," Sadri said.
Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan, responded that the U.S. Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment and that the public is not demanding enough in passing anti-torture laws. Dabashi said that "Ahmadinejad has exploited the backlash" that comes with this ignorance when faced with the issue of torture.
According to Melody Moezzi ('06L), attorney, activist and award-winning writer, the Journalist and Young Activists panel that concluded the program was meant to represent the voice of Iranian-Americans on the current state in Iran.
Many Iranian-Americans like herself were expelled from the country in 1980 at the start of the Iranian Revolution, which established the current Iranian Republic, and have grown up in communities across America.