July 2, 2012 |
This post has been corrected. Please see bottom for details. EXCLUSIVE: When we saw Gerard Butler on the big screen in the fall, he was flying off to a world trouble spot in"Machine Gun Preacher," in which he played a real-life missionary-cum-mercenary in the Sudan. Get ready for another fact-based period story, also set in a far-flung international hotspot, from Butler, who this time around will be involved as a producer. Butler is gaining momentum in Hollywood for "The Septembers of Shiraz," the movie version of Dalia Sofer's well-regarded debut novel from a few years back.
June 27, 2012 |
Imagine where the U.S. economy would be today if John Jacob Astor, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie or any of the magnates who helped turn America into an industrialized society had been gunned down by a revolutionary firing squad. In 1979, that is what happened in Iran to my grandfather, Habib Elghanian, Iran's most prominent Jewish industrialist and philanthropist. My grandfather's execution was not only a personal loss but a turning point for Iran. His execution and the subsequent fleeing of businessmen from Iran contributed to derailing the country's chances of building a modern, diversified, export-based economy, and foreshadowed Iran's neglect of its most valuable resource: its people.
April 1, 2012 |
Not long ago, an astute reader noted that it has been nearly two years since I wrote in a column that "most experts now estimate that Iran needs about 18 months to complete a nuclear device and a missile to carry it. " His point - that those estimates were way off - was a good one, especially since experts are still estimating that Iran is 18 months away from being able to build a nuclear weapon. So what gives? Why does Iran always seem to be about 18 months away from a nuclear bomb, at least in the eyes of U.S. officials?
March 18, 2012 |
With the possibility of a confrontation looming with Iran, one historical example that should command American attention in its hour of decision - but is being neglected - is the bloody conflict that Iran fought against Iraq from 1980 to 1988. It is worth recalling the fierceness of that struggle to gain some appreciation of the enormity of any decision by Washington to go to war with Iran, for it may foretell what Tehran is capable of doing when it feels its Islamic Revolution is at stake.
January 9, 2012 |
A court in Tehran has sentenced to death a former U.S. Marine of Iranian descent who was convicted of spying for the Central Intelligence Agency, Iranian media reported Monday. The sentencing of Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, 28, is likely to add to the tension between the United States and Iran, which has been escalating over the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear program. Prosecutors accused Hekmati of "cooperation with an enemy government, membership in the CIA and attempts to accuse Iran of supporting terrorism," the semiofficial Fars news agency reported.
December 26, 2011 |
It is approaching five years since my father, Robert "Bob" Levinson, disappeared on Kish Island off the coast of Iran in March 2007. Earlier this year, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that my family had received proof my father is alive and is believed to be held somewhere in southwest Asia. Earlier this month, my family released that proof, a video we received in November 2010 of my father pleading for help. We had kept it private in order not to jeopardize the FBI's continuing investigation into his disappearance.
November 7, 2011 |
It's not the first time Israel has hinted it might strike Iran's nuclear facilities. Whisper campaigns about a possible surprise attack have leaked out before and sometimes appear timed to help U.S. efforts to rally international support for sanctions against Tehran. But the current round of speculation about an airstrike - fueled by recent statements by anonymous Israeli officials and some high-profile missile and military flight tests last week - sparked an unusually public debate here about whether Israel should take such a step at this time.
October 2, 2011 |
The world has grown accustomed to Iranian bluster. But even by the standards of the Islamic Republic, Adm. Habibollah Sayari's call last week to deploy the Iranian navy near the U.S. coast is stunning. The Pentagon knows, of course, that Iranian war vessels won't come near America's shores any time soon. As White House spokesman Jay Carney said, "We don't take these statements seriously, given that they do not reflect at all Iran's naval capabilities. " The Iranian admiral may bark, but he doesn't have much of a bite.
August 5, 2011 |
A deal between beleaguered Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his opponents has given control of Iran's crucial Oil Ministry to a commander of the Revolutionary Guard who is under international sanctions, according to analysts and a former industry official in Tehran. Ahmadinejad, his rivals in parliament and leaders of the Revolutionary Guard put aside months of differences this week and appointed four new Cabinet members, including the controversial Brig. Gen. Rostam Ghassemi as overseer of the country's vast oil and natural gas riches.