Penn State Law panel to discuss the state of Iran on Feb. 15

Penn State Law's International Law Society and School of International Affairs' Student Government Association will present "Beyond Rhetoric: The State of Iran -- Its Policies, Politics and Global Impact," from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 15, in the Greg Sutliff Auditorium in the Lewis Katz Building on Penn State's University Park campus. A reception will be held prior to the event, beginning at 5 p.m.

Designed to facilitate discourse on the subject of Iran and its impact on the international legal arena, the panel includes experts in energy policy, international affairs, Shiite faith and culture, Persian history, U.S./Iran relations and security issues.

"We are interested in pulling back the two dimensional layer of political rhetoric to focus on a country in transition," said Michelle Boldon, third-year student and president of the International Law Society at Penn State Law. "We hope to reveal a greater depth to the foreign policy discussion of Iran's nuclear ambition than is found in mainstream media."

Moderated by professor Larry Catá Backer, the roundtable discussion includes the following panelists:

-- Mehdi Khalaji is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, focusing on Iranian politics and the politics of Shiite groups in the Middle East. Born in Qom, Iran, as the son of an ayatollah, he is a Shiite theologian by training. In Qom, and later in Tehran, Khalaji launched a career in journalism, first serving on the editorial boards of two prominent Iranian periodicals and later working for the BBC as well as the U.S. government's Persian news service.

-- Abbas Milani is the Hamid and Christina Moghadam director of Iranian studies at Stanford University and a visiting professor in Penn State's Department of Political Science. Additionally, Milani is a research fellow and co-director of the Iran Democracy Project at the Hoover Institution.

-- Barbara Slavin is the former assistant managing editor for world and national security of the Washington Times and author of the 2007 book on Iran titled "Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S. and the Twisted Path to Confrontation." Slavin previously served as a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and senior fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where she researched and wrote a report on Iranian regional influence titled “Mullahs, Money and Militias: How Iran Exerts Its Influence in the Middle East.”

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Last Updated February 03, 2010