Hooman Majd was born in Tehran, Iran in 1957, and lived abroad from infancy with his family who were in the diplomatic service. He attended boarding school in England and college in the United States, and stayed in the U.S. after the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Majd had a long career in the entertainment business before devoting himself to writing and journalism full-time. He worked at Island Records and Polygram Records for many years, with a diverse group of artists, and was head of film and music at Palm Pictures, where he produced The Cup and James Toback's Black and White.
He has written for GQ, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New York Observer, Interview, and Salon, and has been a regular contributor to The Huffington Post from its inception. A contributing editor at Interview magazine, he lives in New York City and travels regularly back to Iran.
Question: Does Iran aid and abet terrorists?
Majd: Well, as far as the Iranians are concerned, it’s not. And when I say that, I don’t mean just the government of Iran, I think most of the Iranian people, most of them, including those who are very against Ahmandinejad in particular or even the Islamic republic as a system would not agree with that characterization, Iran specifically supports 2 organizations that in the United States we have deemed terrorist organizations, one is Hezbollah, the other is Hamas, those are the 2 specific organizations that Iran has actively supported. They claimed not militarily, the United States militarily but certainly morally and certainly financially they support it. And they make no bones about it, they say that they do not characterize either of those groups as a terrorist organization. Hamas, eventhough the Isrealis and the United States consider a terrorist organization, the Western Europeans consider it terrorist organization, most of the Muslim world do not, they consider them a resistant group, they consider them democratically elective political party in the Palestinian territories that is also a resistance group that is fighting the Israeli occupation. That’s an argument that we could have for hours, if I would take one position and you would take the other. Hezbollah is very… is actually a even simpler thing because as far as the Iranians are concerned, it’s a group that was formed to get rid the Israeli occupation of Lebanon and was successful in getting rid of the Israeli occupation of Lebanon and has actually really not really attacked Israel and doesn’t even have as its charter, for example, as Hamas does, the destruction of Israel. It’s a Lebanese group, it’s a political party, it’s going to be in parliament, it’s going to be… have politicians in government and it’s there to protect the Lebanese people and that includes a very large population of Shiites who Iran has very close relations with and in fact, Iran created Hezbollah so they don’t consider that a terrorist group. I mean, by large, it’s not just the Iranian people who don’t consider it a terrorist group, the vast majority of the Muslim world don’t. So we’re… I’m not going to say that we’re on a different side than the Muslim world or even the 3rd world to a large degree on the issue of whether Hamas or Hezbollah are terrorist organizations. The fact of the matter is that even Hamas and Hezbollah, Iran support of Hamas and Hezbollah is up for debate and up for negotiations, they made that clear once before that they would be willing to bring that to the table, if the United States wants to talk about it. So far, we haven’t taken them up on that but we’ll see.