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The Forum presents expert on Iranian, Israeli and American relations

RELEASED: Oct. 14, 2009

Trita Parsi
Trita Parsi

EAU CLAIRE — Political analyst Trita Parsi — an authority on Iranian, Israeli and American relations and the balance of power in the Middle East — will speak Oct. 27 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The Forum will present his address, "Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the U.S.," at 7:30 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium.

Parsi is the founder and current president of the National Iranian American Council, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates normalization of relations between the United States and Iran. A frequent commentator on Middle Eastern affairs, Parsi consulted with White House officials on a daily basis following the disputed Iranian presidential elections this past June.

His 2007 book, "Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States," received the 2008 Arthur Ross Silver Medallion from the Council on Foreign Relations. It contains more than 130 interviews with senior Israeli, Iranian and American decision-makers, many of whom had not been spoken to previously about the relationship among the three nations.

"It is hard to grumble with Mr. Parsi's conclusion that detente between America and Iran, of the sort that might have come about in 2003, would in fact make both Israel and the Middle East as a whole very much safer," wrote The Economist.

Born in Iran, Parsi moved with his family at the age of 4 to Sweden in order to escape political repression. His father was an outspoken academic and non-Muslim who was jailed by the Shah and then by the Ayatollah. As an adult Parsi moved to the United States and received a doctorate from the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. He also holds master's degree from Uppsala University and the Stockholm School of Economics.

Parsi founded the National Iranian American Council to provide an organization through which Iranian-Americans could participate in American civic life. The organization is a vocal proponent of dialogue and engagement between the United States and Iran, which Parsi consistently has argued would enhance the security of the United States by helping stabilize the Middle East and bolster the moderates in Iran.

"Unlike diplomacy, sanctions have a clear, decades-long track record of failure," Parsi said earlier this month. "In 1995, before Iran had any enrichment plants, comprehensive trade and investment sanctions were imposed on Iran to curb its nuclear activities. Nearly 15 years later, Iran's nuclear program continues to advance. Few in the Obama administration have any confidence that the sanctions path will lead to a resolution to this nuclear stand-off. That is why diplomacy must be tried and exhausted, however difficult it may be."

Parsi, who has followed Middle East politics through work in the field and extensive experience on Capitol Hill and at the United Nations, is frequently consulted by Western and Asian governments on foreign policy matters. His articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Jane's Intelligence Review, The Nation, The American Conservative, the Jerusalem Post and other publications. Parsi also is a frequent guest on CNN, PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, NPR, the BBC and Al Jazeera.

The Forum program will be interpreted for the deaf and hard of hearing and will be followed by a question-and-answer session and an informal reception.

Tickets are $8 for the public, $6 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, and $4 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students. Student tickets are half-price ($2) until the day of the event; on the day of the event, students must pay the full student ticket price.

Tickets are available at the Service Center in the east lobby of Davies Center and will be sold at the door. Patrons also may charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call 715-836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, 800-949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

Wisconsin Public Radio, WHYS Radio and Community Television have contributed generous promotional support. The Forum is also funded in part by Visit Eau Claire ... The Unexpected Wisconsin. Best Western Trail Lodge Hotel & Suites (715-838-9989) at 3340 Mondovi Road is The Forum's exclusive accommodations partner.

The Forum is funded by the students of UW-Eau Claire and administered by the Activities and Programs office of the University Centers.

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JS/DW

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