A trio of experts expressed support for the United States' controversial deal with Iran during a UCLA forum titled "Understanding the Iran Nuclear Deal" on Sept. 16. The three panelists were Dalia Dassa Kaye,director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy at the Rand Corp. ;Albert Carnesale, chancellor emeritus at UCLA; and Asli Bali, a UCLA law professor.
The agreement lifts sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear development for a period of 10 to 15 years.
Steven Spiegel, director of the Center for Middle East Development at UCLA, who spoke out in support of the deal during a previous public discussion panel at Valley Beth Shalom, moderated the UCLA afternoon discussion, which was held in the Westwood campus' Bunche Hall.
The event, which was organized by the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations, drew an estimated 150 people.
The UCLA Center for Middle East Development, the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies and the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies co-sponsored the event.
In an interview that followed the discussion, Alexandra Lieben, deputy director of the Burkle Center, said the event was organized as a way to educate people about the controversial agreement, UCLA students included — although few were in the crowd as the school year had not started yet at the time of the event.
"It's important to get a dispassionate perspective on the deal to counter the screaming talking heads," she said.
Sara Meric, an attendee and self-described "agnostic, secular, super-supporter of Israel," was critical of the panel for exclusively featuring supporters of the agreement. She said the deal makes her worried about Israel's safety.
"The panel implies if we make nice to Iran they'll make nice to us," she told the Journal. "Mullahs have all the power, and I don't see a way to deal with that. I wish the panel would have told us how."