On Wednesday February 19, Trinity Diversity Connection (TDC) held an open discussion panel that featured political science professor Sussan Siavoshi, religion professor Sajida Jalalzai and communications professor Sarah Erickson. One TDC representative, acting as moderator, asked a series of questions for each panelist for about an hour before the panel was opened up to the audience to ask questions.
Siavoshi began with a little bit of background about the situation of the U.S. killing of Iranian General Soleimani. She said that Iran considered the killing of Soleimani an act of terrorism. Jalalzai noted the international ambiguity about the framing of Soleimani’s killing. “We must look at how we and Iran differ in what the killing was called,” she said. “Was it a murder? An assassination?”
Additionally, Jalalzai discussed how religion plays a role in the international relations of Iran, noting that Iran is predominantly Shia Muslim, which affects whom they support across the region. Erickson talked about the biases of the American media, and how it damages the images of Iranians and Muslims in America.
One student asked if killing Soleimani was justified. “Well, it depends on who you ask,” Siavoshi answered. “This is less about whether or not it was justified, and more about whether or not it was morally right.” Siavoshi argued that it was not morally right or justified, claiming it went against the grain of certain laws and doctrines of international relations and that it created more unnecessary tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
“It creates tension at home too because there are Iran-Americans, Muslim-Americans,” Erickson said. “People who have never met, or had close relations with an Iranian or a Muslim tend to have very stereotypical views on them. They have negative views because of the media.”
The panelists all agreed that war with Iran would hurt the Iranian people more than anything.
Siavoshi argued for an approach of “humanizing” people instead of viewing them as a target, weapon, or object.