Former Iranian Presidential Candidate Discusses Relationship Between U.S., Iran

Tensions have been high between the United States and Iran. Word came out today that leaders of the two countries won’t be meeting during the United Nations General Assembly. Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi, a Rutgers professor and former candidate to become president of Iran, discussed the relationship between his home country and the U.S. with NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider.

Amirahmadi saw President Obama’s speech at the UN General Assembly today and called it “both realistic and forward looking.”

According to Amirahmadi, there are two levels in Iran — the regime or system level of the revolution and the government level. “What really is different from the previous time is that somehow for a lot of reasons, including pressure on Iran, the revolution level is also speaking as if it is the government level, which is a good sign,” he said. “However, the revolution is a revolution. That is to say that they will come up to a point of compromise and then there is a wall beyond which they will not go. And this is very important for the American side to understand. And that is to say I think this process can go up to a point but if the Americans in the beginning put their maximum demand on the table for the Iranians, then everything will fall apart.”

Amirahmadi said the Iranian-American community is divided with some wanting more sanctions and war because they’ve been harmed and others who think the new leadership is doing what’s right for the country. “And then there are people in the middle. People like myself who are trying to be realistic, pragmatic and trying to distinguish between the relationship with the U.S. from the domestic issues,” he said.