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Arts & Culture

Getting to Know Our Iranian-American Neighbors

America and Iran have not had an easy relationship since 1979, when 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days by students supporting the Iranian Revolution. The resulting rise of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini further weakened the relationship.

Decades later, Iran is still seen by much of the democratic world through the lens of political tension, war and mistrust of political leaders who for decades have called for death to America and the destruction of Israel.

Yet over those decades, the people and culture of Iran have been quietly changing at the grassroots level, unnoticed amid the amplified political rhetoric that has kept Iran divided from much of the world.

Connecticut is home for many Iranians who make our state a more diverse and desirable place to live and work. Yet, we don't mingle with one another enough, sticking instead to those with whom we feel most comfortable.

Now, Iran and a group of six nations led by America are on the cusp of a historic bargain that will limit Iran's ability to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for relief from the economic sanctions. Is this the dawning of a new age in relations between Iran and the West?

Maybe it's time we take another look at Iran.


  • Abbas Amanat - professor of History at Yale University
  • Narges Erami - professor of Anthropology at Yale University
  • Mercedeh Pourmoghadam - scientist and the co-owner of Lighthouse Bakery in Stonington
  • Afarin Rahmanifar - artist and a professor of Fine Arts at Eastern Connecticut State University
  • Jason Noushin - Anglo-Iranian artist

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Colin McEnroe, Chion Wolf and Greg Hill contributed to this show. 

Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. She served as the Senior Producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show' for several years before stepping down in 2021 and returning to her previous career as a registered nurse. She still produces shows with Colin and the team when her schedule allows.

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