Faramarz Farbod Views Iranian Crisis with Hope and Concern

Faramarz Farbod’s views on the turmoil in Iran since its election can be found on Facebook, Common Dreams, ZNet, and local television. People in the Lehigh Valley and beyond are interested in his opinion regarding recent events, not only as a professor of political science, but also as a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran, and as the son of parents who still reside in Tehran while opposing its ruling regime. As a public intellectual, Farbod feels compelled to speak out; as a son, he fears for the safety of his parents should he say too much.

"It's nightmarish," he says. "Although I anticipated this kind of development, it is no longer an intellectual exercise. Now lives have been lost, hopes have been dashed, people have been imprisoned-- it has become very emotional. I watch on TV and say, 'I know that street. I grew up in that city.'"

Farbod spoke with his mother yesterday, and she assured him she and his father were safe. But knowing that their line is tapped, she intentionally avoided speaking of politics, and Farbod knows not to ask. "Now I constantly ask myself whether I should publish what I have written," he says. "I published pieces before and after the election, but I have just written a new piece and I cannot decide whether to go online with it. It is an analysis of what is happening now, but I worry about my father." Farbod is an adjunct instructor of political science at Moravian. His father, Nasser Farbod, was elected to one of five positions on the leadership council of the National Front in the 1990s. The spokesman for the group was recently arrested. Nasser Farbod has avoided writing and speaking publicly in recent weeks, hoping the storm will pass.

A friendship between Nasser Farbod and Shapour Samii, Moravian emeritus professor of economics and business, first brought Fara Farbod and his brother to the United States. The elder Farbod and Professor Samii, also Iranian, served together as army officers for Iran. Samii came to the U.S., eventually becoming a professor at Moravian, while Nasser Farbod raised his family in Iran. When Nasser inquired about educating his sons in the U.S., Samii suggested Moravian Academy. Later, Fara went on to attend Moravian College, graduating in 1981 with a degree in economics, math minor. He plans to complete his Ph.D. year.

Faramarz Farbod's hope now is that rationality will prevail in Iran—that the ruling part of the regime views their recent actions only as a temporary crackdown to preserve security, and that after order has been restored, the government will act rationally, not reactively. "My hope is that the actions of millions of people will persuade the government to open up to allow more personal and social rights, more freedom, and to the process of party politics." Until he sees evidence of such changes, he may not return to his native land.