Will be on BRICTV to discuss Visa Waiver Legislation next week

I'll be discussing the visa waiver issue ("HR158") on Brooklyn's BRICTV on Tuesday January 12th. It's certainly complicated legislation and the effects of it, both directly in terms of travel rights and indirectly in terms of international relations, have yet to be seen. I hope to dissect it and provide a balanced, intellectually honest assessment of the complex law. I also hope to drop a few f-bombs on camera.


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Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

Moderating a discussion with Amb. Dennis Ross on Islamist Extremism

Moderating a discussion with Amb. Dennis Ross on Islamist Extremism

As part of my work for the American Iranian Council, I recently moderated a discussion with Ambassador Dennis Ross and Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi on the topic of countering ISIS and Islamist extremism. The event was hosted at Marymount Manhattan College and is part of a series of events we're co-organizing with the college. I'm looking forward to more thoughtful and fruitful events with them.

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Moderating a Panel Discussion on the Iran Nuclear Accord

I moderated a panel discussion on the Iran nuclear accord featuring Amb. William Luers, Prof. Patricia DeGennaro, and Mr. Jack Hayes. The event was co-organized by the American Iranian Council and Marymount Manhattan College.

Comment

Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

Discussing Senator Chuck Schumer's opposition to the Iran nuclear deal

Discussing Senator Chuck Schumer's opposition to the Iran nuclear deal

In this interview with HuffPost Live, AIC Director of Communications Kayvon Afshari discusses Senator Chuck Schumer's recent announcement that he will oppose the nuclear deal with Iran.

Afshari points out that Schumer makes maximalist demands of Iran, saying, "One of the demands that he makes is 'anytime, anywhere' access to any of Iran's non-nuclear, military facilities. Iran is not a defeated party here. Iran is not Imperial Japan, which had two atomic bombs dropped on it and is acceding to terms of surrender. Iran has been negotiating on this issue for a long time."

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Discussing the saddest thing ever: the end of Jon Stewart's tenure at The Daily Show

Kayvon Afshari sat down with Alyona Minkovski on HuffPost Live to chat about Jon Stewart's final days at The Daily Show, his "secretive" meetings with President Obama, and his recent interview with Tomorrow Cruise.

Comment

Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

Discussing US-Iran relations on HuffPost Live

I talked some more about the Iran nuclear deal with HuffPost Live’s Alyona Minkovski.

I argued that,
1. the deal needs to be used as an opportunity to pivot toward broader US-Iran relations
2. attitudes in Iran need to dramatically shift in order to prepare the country for these broader talks with the US— a government which the Islamic Republic’s leaders have viewed suspiciously as “the Great Satan” for 36 years.
3. while none of the Israeli political parties support the deal, many strategic thinkers and former intelligence officials in Israel (Ephraim Halevy, Meir Dagan, Ami Ayalon, Amos Yadlin) have basically supported the deal, and that
4. the Obama administration used the recent Camp David summit with Arab leaders as a giant arms sale bonanza for Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, etc.

Comment

Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

Discussion on HuffPost Live on Nuclear Negotiations

In this interview with HuffPost Live, AIC Director of Communications Kayvon Afshari underscores the significance of a potential nuclear deal to the Obama administration, as well as the importance of the P5+1 countries and Iran having the same understanding of any final deal. He says, "I think that it's more important that they take the time now to deal with these really technical issues and achieve perfect clarity in the negotiations phase rather than walk away from it and have somewhat different interpretations in the implementation phase."

Afshari emphasizes the progress made in the form of Iran's concessions concerning its nuclear program, which go beyond the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Additional Protocol. He says, "The Iranians have made major concessions here. Iran, as a non-weapons signatory to the NPT, has the right to produce nuclear power for peaceful purposes." He adds that this progress owes to the Obama administration's willingness to shift from a policy of zero enrichment to limited enrichment, which helped the parties find common ground. 

“What a successful nuclear deal would do is set a precedent whereby diplomatic engagement will have peacefully resolved such a thorny 15 year old international issue. This is not just a deal about centrifuges and uranium enrichment this is about mistrust between the US and IR. there are huge issues that have separated these countries for the past 36 years. An honest inspection of this relationship has to conclude that the mistrust runs both ways and that both sides have harmed each other," he said.

Comment

Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

Interview on HuffPost Live about Iran nuclear negotiations

Interview on HuffPost Live about Iran nuclear negotiations

In my interview with HuffPost Live, I stressed the importance of having an "intellectually honest" discussion on the nuclear negotiations and argued that Iran has made significant concessions. It got heated at a few points, but by sticking to the facts, I made my point more clearly than the detractors.

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Interview on Iran Nuclear Deal

Interview on Iran Nuclear Deal

Kayvon Afshari sits down with Another Thing's Larry Mendte, to discuss the Iran nuclear negotiations, which faces staunch opposition domestically both in the U.S. and Iran.

Despite harsh realities, Afshari remains optimistic that a nuclear agreement will be reached. Afshari stressed that, "The Obama administration has expended a great deal of political capital on the negotiations and along with the high stakes implications involved, the administration needs a win.

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Obama’s Strategy to Win Senate support for an Iran Nuclear Deal

Obama’s Strategy to Win Senate support for an Iran Nuclear Deal

Originally published by the American Iranian Council
By Kayvon Afshari and Michael Brooks

Now that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has passed a bill to give Congress oversight over a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration would be wise to devise a strategy to turn Congressional review to its political advantage. Despite the ‘anti-Iran-deal’ money generously provided by big name donors, there are key vulnerabilities that the administration can exploit to put the pressure on both Democratic and Republican Senators who will be struggling to decide whether to vote up or down on a deal. Here’s what the political landscape looks like, what the Obama administration is already doing, and how we think they should play it in the months to come

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Iran’s anti-American rhetoric is a good sign for nuclear negotiations

Iran’s anti-American rhetoric is a good sign for nuclear negotiations

Originally Published in The Middle East Eye

By Kayvon Afshari and Michael Brooks

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, anti-American rhetoric has appeared frequently in Iranian politics. That rhetoric flared up again at the Supreme Leader’s recent speech in his home city of Mashhad. With the deadline for a political framework for a nuclear deal fast approaching, some have argued that Iranian chants of “Death to America” at that speech and elsewhere should delegitimise the negotiations. 

While the rhetoric isn’t helpful from an American perspective, its presence is counterintuitively a good sign for a diplomatic resolution. Look forward to hearing more provocative language from Iran’s Supreme Leader, and possibly even from the generally soft-spoken President Rouhani, from now until the ink dries on a potential comprehensive deal.

This is due to the fact that for Iran to make pragmatic nuclear concessions to the US and its P5+1 partners, the Islamic Republic’s leaders must reconcile their revolutionary anti-Americanism with their unprecedented public diplomatic engagement with the US. In order to best understand this tension, one must consider the ideological foundations of the Islamic Republic, the history of US intervention in Iran, as well as the international and economic pressure empowering Iran’s pragmatic politics

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Can US-Israeli relations be repaired after Israel’s election?

Can US-Israeli relations be repaired after Israel’s election?

By Kayvon Afshari and Michael Brooks

The fallout from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress on the nuclear negotiations with Iran poses an important question: is there a long-term structural fissure between the US and Israel, or is this simply a personality conflict between Obama and Netanyahu?

With the Israeli elections coming up on 17 March, the answer is particularly important, as it indicates whether a change in leadership can resolve a potential structural fissure, or if it will simply mask over those deep policy differences with more welcoming handshakes and cosmetic smiles.

Obama and Netanyahu certainly do not get along well, indicating that, at the very least, there is a real conflict between leaders. However, this personality conflict has metastasised to the extent that it has laid bare the significant policy disagreements on Iran’s nuclear programme and, to a lesser extent, the Palestinian issue.

This public rift between the US and Israel likely cannot be resolved by a new Israeli prime minister, as Netanyahu’s opponents, if elected, are unlikely to implement significantly differing policies from those of the Likud leader

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'Iran Chat' with a former Iranian Nuclear Negotiator

Ambassador Hossein Mousavian, former spokesman for the Iranian nuclear negotiating team, discusses US-Iran relations and the nuclear issue in this exclusive Iran Chat interview. He says that he does not believe the nuclear issue is really about centrifuges, but rather about the hostility between the two countries. While he says that the mistrust is mutual, he argues that Iranians have more reasons to be mistrustful of the United States than vice versa.

Comment

Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

'Iran Chat' Interview with former US Nuclear Negotiator

Robert Einhorn, former senior advisor to the US nuclear negotiating team, discusses the Iranian nuclear issue in this exclusive interview with the AIC's Kayvon Afshari. Mr. Einhorn says that, while existing sanctions have played an "important role" in bringing Iran to negotiate very seriously, new sanctions are not necessary at this time.

Comment

Kayvon Afshari

Kayvon Afshari managed the campaign to elect Hooshang Amirahmadi as President of Iran. In this role, he directed the campaign’s event planning, publicity, online social media, web analytics, and delivered speeches. Mr. Afshari has also been working at the CBS News foreign desk for over five years. He has coordinated coverage of Iran’s 2009 post-election demonstrations, the Arab Spring, the earthquake in Haiti, and many other stories of international significance. He holds a Master in International Relations from New York University’s Department of Politics, and graduated with distinction from McGill University in 2007 with a double major in political science and Middle Eastern studies. At NYU, his research focused on quantitative analysis and the Middle East with an emphasis on US-Iran relations. In his 2012 Master’s thesis, he devised a formula to predict whether Israel would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, concluding that an overt strike would not materialize.

Interview about State of The Union

I was interviewed on The Majority Report about Obama's statements on Iran during his State of the Union Address, as well as Congress inviting Netanyahu to address them and Senator Bob Menendez's statements that the White House's talking points "sound like they're coming straight from Tehran."

The Mideast Show [CENSORED]

In light of the recent terrorist attacks against France's Charlie Hebdo magazine, The Mideast Show hired a Head of Censorship for the safety of TMS staff. And who better to take on the job than a former member of ISIS? Watch as Sa'id al-Baghdadi helps to improve the quality of our content by censoring content offensive to Islamic extremists.

Interview with Gary Sick

I interviewed Dr. Gary Sick, who served in President Jimmy Carter's National Security Council, on US-Iran relations. He says that the core issue separating the two countries isn't the nuclear issue, terrorism, or human rights. It's history. Watch the interview for more.