MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? Mansour Farhang, an expert in Middle Eastern affairs, will deliver a lecture titled “Iran’s Nuclear Program and United States-Iranian Relations” at Middlebury College on Tuesday, April 18, at 4:30 p.m. The talk, free and open to the public, will take place in the Conference Room of Robert A. Jones ‘59 House, located on Hillcrest Road off College Street (Route 125). Middlebury College Assistant Professor of Political Science Quinn Mecham, a Middle East specialist, and sophomore Nima Alidoust, from Iran, will provide commentary following Farhang’s talk.

In his talk, Farhang will address the upcoming United Nations Security Council hearing on Iran’s nuclear development program and the 26-year old estrangement between Iran and the U.S. He will discuss the problems and prospects for direct talks between the U.S. and Iranian officials, including the role Iran can play in the U.S. exit strategy from Iraq.

Farhang has a doctorate in political science from Claremont Graduate School in California, and he taught at California State University at Sacramento during the 1970s. Following Iran’s 1979 revolution, he served as Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations. He resigned his ambassadorship in protest when his efforts to negotiate the release of the American hostages in Tehran failed. In the early months of the Iran-Iraq war, he worked with international mediators to settle the war. During this period, he wrote and spoke about the threat of religious extremists who had come to dominate the course of the revolution. In June 1981, following the violent suppression of political dissidents, he was forced to leave Iran. That fall, he returned to the U.S. to become a research fellow and lecturer at Princeton University. Since 1983 he has been teaching international relations and Middle Eastern politics at Bennington College. He is the author of two books and dozens of articles, in English and Persian. His opinion pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and the Christian Science Monitor. His third book, “A Theology in Power: Reflections on the Iranian Revolution,” is near completion. Recently, Farhang spoke in Addison County to a capacity crowd at Middlebury’s Ilsley Library as part of the library’s lecture series.

Farhang has been a human rights activist since his undergraduate days in California. Currently, he serves on the advisory board of Human Rights Watch (HRW), with a focus on the Middle East, and as a designated speaker for the Vermont Council on the Humanities. He has lectured at universities and colleges across the country and is a member of the Columbia University Middle Eastern Seminar. He has been a participant in the seminars of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has appeared as a guest on numerous radio and television programs, including “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” ABC’s “NightLine,” “Bill Moyers’ Journal,” CBS’ “60 Minutes” and “Face the Nation,” and CNN. He is a regular commentator on both the BBC and Radio France International.

Farhang’s lecture is co-sponsored by the Middlebury College Political Science Department and the Rohatyn Center for International Affairs. For more information, contact Professor Murray Dry at dry@middlebury.edu or (802) 443-5305, or Professor David Rosenberg at rosenber@middlebury.edu or (802) 443-5612, both of the Middlebury College Political Science Department.