Report on Public Education Forum on Iran

Some 75 people attended a public education forum organized by Chicago Media Action and held on July 13, 2005. The forum, entitled "The Threat of U.S. Intervention in Iran: A Chicago Media Action Forum" took place at Chicago Temple in downtown Chicago.

The panel and discussion regarding the U.S. / Iran relations and policy, and U.S. media coverage of such issues, featured: Stephen Kinzer, New York Times foreign correspondent; Hamid Akbari, Northeastern Illinois University professor; Danny Postel, journalist, critic, and contributor to; Saman Sepehri, writer with the International Socialist Review; the host for the evening, Cliff Kelley, Chicago-area radio talk show host, WVON-1450 AM & V103-FM

STEPHEN KINZER is an award-winning correspondent who has reported from more than 50 countries on four continents. In 1997, while serving as the first New York Times bureau chief in Istanbul, Mr. Kinzer traveled to Iran to cover the election in which the reform-minded Mohammad Khatami was chosen president. His continued interest in Iran led him to write his best-selling book, "All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror." It tells the story of how the CIA overthrew the Iranian government in 1953, and traces the long-term effects of that operation. Mr. Kinzer's next book, to be published in April, is entitled "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq."

HAMID AKBARI is Chairperson of the Department of Management and Marketing and Associate Professor of Management at Northeastern Illinois University. He received his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University with a major in Management and a minor in Political Theory. He is a co-founder of About Iran, a non-profit group dedicated to the defense and promotion of human rights and democracy in Iran. He is presently the Executive Director of International Society for Iranian Studies. He is co-author/co-editor of two books on Iran-related topics and author of several articles on Iran. The views expressed by him tonight, do not represent views of any organizations he is affiliated, except for About Iran.

DANNY POSTEL is a writer and editor for, a global online magazine of politics and culture based in London, and is a member of the International Society for Iranian Studies Committee for Academic and Intellectual Freedom. He is a contributing editor to D?dalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and a member of the editorial board of The Common Review, the magazine of Chicago's Great Books Foundation. His work has appeared in The Nation, In These Times, The Progressive, Z Magazine, The American Prospect, Alternative Press Review, Left History, Radical Society, New Politics, Philosophy & Social Criticism, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and Exquisite Corpse.

SAMAN SEPEHRI is an Iranian activist who has been politically involved in supporting left alternatives in Iran since the Iranian revolution of 1979. He has been a veteran of solidarity movements with the people of El Salvador and Nicaragua in the 1980's, involved in Anti-Apartheid struggles, and the divestment campaigns from South Africa before the fall of Apartheid regime. More recently he has been involved in organizing the Chicago Social Forum and has been a regular contributor to the International Socialist Review, with articles on the Iranian revolution, the Iran reform movement, and the Geopolitics of Oil.

CLIFF KELLEY of radio station WVON (AM 1450) is a popular talk-show host who brings a wealth of knowledge on local, national and international affairs to his audience. A native Chicagoan and attorney, Kelley has been active in Chicago's political arena for more than 30 years, including 16 years in the Chicago City Council. Kelley has been the host of WVON's popular morning-drive talk show "The Cliff Kelley Show" for more than seven years, and also hosts V103FM Sunday mornings from 6AM to 8AM. He makes many guest appearances on issue-oriented programs on both local and national television, and is a frequent contributor to WTTW's "Chicago Tonight." He has traveled extensively, including trips to the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Africa.

Download the complete audio of the forum. (MP3 format; 69.9 MB; two hours, two minutes, 16 seconds)