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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Peabody Award winner speaks about US-Iran relationship

Reese Erlich speaks to UMass students his new book
Collegian File Photo

Reese Erlich, the best-selling author of books such as “What the News Media Didn’t Tell You,” spoke to about 20 students and guests at the University of Massachusetts in the Communications Hub of the Integrative Learning Commons Tuesday night about the relationship between the United States, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Erlich also discussed the negative media coverage associated with the relationships of these countries.

Erlich began his speech by discussing the recent developments about the death of Washington Post correspondent Jamal Khashoggi. Erlich also discussed how CIA director Gina Haspel briefed Senate members about the CIA’s findings, which concluded the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directed the murder.

Erlich continued on to say that he criticized the White House and the United States in this situation, saying that if Iran had committed the same act, there would have been a much harsher response instead of the one that Saudi Arabia received. Erlich has written about what he called the United States hypocrisy by saying, “Hmmmm. Once again, U.S. leaders label violence carried out by enemies as terrorism. The same violence carried out by allies is ignored or downplayed.”

Erlich spoke about his time visiting Iran and commented on how the people respected Americans and wanted to speak with him, but still did not agree with the politics of the United States. Erlich even offered a story about how he had visited Iran with Academy Award winner Sean Penn, who wanted to visit the country as a reporter to learn about the Iranians and their culture.

“First, you find the enemy. Then, you find the most effective way to get people scared,” said Erlich.

“In addition to covering the political story, Erlich offered insight on Iran’s domestic politics, popular culture and diverse population over this recent era. His analysis drew on past interviews with high-ranking Iranian officials, the former shah’s son, Reza Pahlavi and Iranian exiles in Los Angeles, as well as the memory of his trip to Tehran with actor Sean Penn, according to the UMass official website on Erlich’s latest book titled “The Iran Agenda Today.”

After his speech ended, Erlich offered time for questions and comments from the audience about what they wanted to know more about, or what else they may have been wondering about Iran and the United States relationship.

Nii Kotei, a UMass doctoral student, asked Erlich, “What are your thoughts about where the wars are headed next,” specifically asking, “Is war moving to Africa next?” Although Erlich responded that he did not know where United States troops would be headed next, he hoped that there would be no involvement by the United States in wars they’re not involved in. He also hoped that there would be no troops overseas.

Nicholas Ponzio can be reached at [email protected].

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    NITZAKHONDec 10, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    Iran – the government – is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism; they routinely and openly discuss destroying America (and Israel).

    The Persian people are, in my experiences including having been to Iran, warm and wonderful people. It’s a shame the amazing Zoroastrian spirit has been corrupted by Islam. Fortunately, it does look like the people there are attempting to throw out the Mullahs.