FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — University of Arkansas Political Science Assistant Professor Dr. Shirin Saeidi is familiar with the Middle East government and politics.
Saeidi was born in Iran and raised in the United States. She has a B.A. in government and politics from the University of Maryland and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, U.K., in politics and international studies.
Saeidi offered her perspective of the current tension between Iran and the United States, considered by many the possible start of a war.
On Tuesday, January 7, Iran fired on two military bases in Iraq where U.S. troops are stationed. The Pentagon said it was retaliatory as a result of the U.S. killing Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) top general — Qassem Suleimani. He commanded the Quds Force from 1998 to 2020. He was killed on January 3 by a U.S. drone strike.
Iranian supporters of Suleimani considered him a selfless hero. The United Nations and the European Union declared him a terrorist.
“Suleimani was an enemy for the United States in many ways. His large project was for the United States to leave the Middle East,” said Saeidi.
The professor believes there is a chance for a bilateral understanding to be reached because Iran has not pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA.
“The little bit of hope that I have is because Iran has not formally withdrawn from the JCPOA, the negotiation over the nuclear energy program. Iran is still in that agreement, even though the United States has pulled out.”
A better understanding could have been accomplished had more dialogue happened between the White House administration and veterans/soldiers who have served in the area, Middle East scholars or experts, or spoken with people who have experience in that part of the world, according to Saeidi.
“They [U.S. officials] would have known that Suleimani is [would be] more powerful in his death than he was when he was alive. That’s because this branch of Iran, which is 99% Shi’a Muslim, believes in dying for just cause.”
Saeidi said there is still a chance to prevent another war in the Middle East and to bring the troops home. “We can stop this, there is still time.”
Dr. Shirin Saeidi University of Arkansas bio, click here.