BLACKSBURG, Va. – Iran and the U.S. spent the first days of 2020 in a tense conflict, but Virginia Tech professor Mehrzad Boroujedi has reason to believe both sides are now standing down.
“It is a period of calm right now," Boroujedi said. "There are chances that things can flare up depending on the circumstances.”
Boroujedi left Iran for America shortly before the Iranian Revolution of 1979, and has spent most of his time in the United States studying the politics and diplomacy of the Middle East. He says there is hope American and Iranian leaders can find common ground in their shared hatred of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
“Remember: when the United States invaded Afghanistan after 9/11 to fight the Taliban, Iran collaborated with America,” Boroujedi said.
Moreover, Boroujedi believes President Trump’s calls for peace with Iran are also due to the financial and human costs of war. Boroujedi said Iran could be too large of an enemy to handle while the U.S. is still occupying other countries.
“The United States has been in Afghanistan for 19 years. It has been in Iraq for 16 years," Boroujedi said. “Here is the rude awakening call: by population, Iran is larger than Afghanistan and Iraq combined.”
Additionally, there could be fears that American allies such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia may be damaged if war breaks out in Iran.
“Dubai is only a half-hour flight away from Tehran," Boroujedi said. "Imagine what would happen there if two bombs go off.”
Boroujedi says he has used the past week of aggression between the United States and Iran as a teaching moment with his students at Virginia Tech. He tells them to look at the conflict from both sides, which Boroujedi already does as a dual citizen of both countries.
“I cried when 9/11 happened and I cry when I see and Iranian airplane go down,” Boroujedi said. “Both sides realize that a war is going to be so troublesome.”