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Iran on TV, QU campus
Quinnipiac University hosts several students and professors from Iran, a country highlighted in the media for the past few months.
Zahra Mehvar, from Ahvaz, Iran, is currently a graduate student in the MBA program. She also completed her undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences at Quinnipiac.
During her years at Quinnipiac, she recalled “being frustrated by the lack of diversity at Quinnipiac” and always felt like she didn’t “fit in.”
“I always felt different at Quinnipiac. Being a commuter, having a different accent, wearing a head scarf – these things separated me from the rest of the crowd. It bothered me that many students felt like it wasn’t easy to talk to me. They would prefer starting conversations with people who were perfect strangers, but were American,” Mehvar said.
Her interactions with faculty were riddled with a variety of responses geared towards her ethnicity.
“Some teachers were very helpful and gave me extra time to complete my assignments when I was having trouble adjusting to the language, but with others I had a sense that they didn’t like foreigners specifically,” Mehvar said.
Mahmood Monshipouri, a professor of Political Science is also from Ahvaz, Iran.
“We don’t have a large group of Iranians here, so Iranians don’t work as a group,” Monshipouri said.
Farid Sadrieh, Associate Professor of International Business, from Yazd, Iran believes that the diversity issue is a concern mostly for the student body.
“At the faculty level, the business department especially is very diverse. Most of the faculty is very accepting and welcoming,” Sadrieh said.
Sadrieh commented on the need for students to be more aware of the world and global issues.
“Most students surprisingly don’t ask that many questions about Iran. Perhaps they are concerned about offending us, because of the tense relations between Iran and the U.S.,” he said.
Monshipouri added another dimension to the Iranian experience.
“In American eyes we feel like we have to rationalize what the government back home is doing. Iranians, like many Middle Eastern students experience a certain pressure to justify their government’s foreign policy,” Monshipouri said.
Iran has acquired a considerable amount of attention by the U.S government and American media, especially concerning Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
“There are two elements to it: The legal and the political. Legally, as a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has the right to pursue nuclear energy and enrich Uranium,” Monshipouri said. “Politically, Iran is living in a tough neighborhood: India, Pakistan, Russia and Israel all possess nuclear weapons. The ability to create weapons could give Iran a degree of assurance and security. ”
According to Monshipouri, Iran is five to 10 years away from producing nuclear weapons.
“If Iran does produce, it is largely due to the fact that they don’t feel secure,” he said.