IPI HomeEventsSpeakers EventsColumnist Roger Cohen Gives Gripping Account of Protests in Iran

 

print print  |  share share back back

Speaker Events - Monday, August 03, 2009

Columnist Roger Cohen Gives Gripping Account of Protests in Iran

Roger Cohen, New York Times op-ed columnist, was one of the last international correspondents to leave Iran after spending days with Iranians who swarmed the avenues and alleys of Tehran in June to demonstrate against the outcome of the election that the government contended — to much public derision — was won by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mr. Cohen filed dramatic accounts of what he witnessed, and he said he was deeply affected by the experience of observing the initial euphoria of people believing they really had a chance to exercise their choice and then the disillusionment and despair when they realized they had been denied that chance and then found themselves being beaten by thuggish militias after taking to the streets to protest that denial.  

He was particularly undone by the beatings of women that he saw and was moved by a visit he paid the family of Neda Sultan, the young female bystander whose shooting death was captured in an affecting video that attracted the world’s attention and undermined the regime’s effort to suppress news of the public uprising.

Mr. Cohen wrote, “The Iran of yesterday is gone, the Iran of tomorrow not yet born.”

On July 19th, he came to IPI to talk about Iran today.

In his first dispatch on returning to New York, Mr. Cohen had written, “A chunk of me is back in Tehran,” and that was evident in the emotive eyewitness account that he delivered to a packed house in IPI’s Trygve Lie Center.

He concluded that the events of June make it more important than ever that the stand-off  between Iran and its chosen nemesis, the United States, end.

“It is a tragedy for the world and it is dangerous for the world, this thirty years of non-communication between the United States and Iran,” he said. “It is dangerous. It is past its time. It serves no real purpose. ’Death to America’, the nest of spies, all that vitriol – the Mad Mullahs – all these polarizing images, they really do not serve much purpose.”

“I think the significance of the US-Iranian breakthrough would seriously, in the age that we live in, be of the magnitude of the Shanghai Communiqué of 1972 that restored relations between the United States and China. And remember, that happened at the time of the Cultural Revolution, just as the restoration of relations with the Soviet Union occurred at the time of the Great Terror.”  

The talk was moderated by Warren Hoge, IPI’s Vice President and Director of External Relations.

read full transcript of event

The Global Observatory

CWhat Makes a Terrorist Stop Being a Terrorist?
A close look at terrorist de-radicalization programs shows that it is still unclear whether they work, and if so, how.

Key Global Events to Watch in November
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

November 25, 2014
Independent Commission on Multilateralism Launched in Vienna
The Independent Commission on Multilateralism (ICM) was launched officially in Vienna on November 25th. The event was held at the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and opened by Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz.

November 13, 2014
Experts Forum: Assessing Links Between Peacebuilding and Organized Crime
Organized crime and peacebuilding can be seen as separate issues, but recent research and practice suggest the two are deeply linked—conflict is increasingly fueling crime, and crime in turn makes peace harder to achieve.

November 05, 2014
Top-Down Governance Hurts Women, Youth Participation
Governments in the Sahel and Maghreb are still using top-down approaches to governance that make it hard for women and youth to have a say in public life, even though their participation can help their governments’ struggle against instability and extremism.

View More