Over the past months, Big Think has talked to several of the leading experts on the Middle East about the potential political implications of Iran going nuclear: Iranian insiders, veteran journalists, and leading academics alike shared their opinions, which ranged from unconcerned to dire.
In light of the recent headline-grabbing news that Iran does indeed have a covert nuclear weapons program, we took a moment to look back and reconsider the words of our experts. As it turns out, some have been proven wrong, and some may unfortunately be right.
Vali Nasr, Professor of International Politics at Tufts University and adviser to the Obama Administration on US-Iran relations, predicted in 2007 that our lack of serious engagement with Iran would lead us to "go down the path of escalating tensions."
Journalist Ronen Bergman author of "The Secret War With Iran", provided his unique perspective on the Israeli mindset when speculating about the implications for Middle East conflict given a nuclear Iran.
Hooman Majd, one of the few Western journalists to have served under the employ of the Iranian government, insisted that Iran was very far away from having a nuclear weapon--but he also insisted Iran didn't have a secret nuclear facility.
American Enterprise institute fellow and "Infidel" author Ayaan Hirsi Ali told Big Think that if people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gain nuclear powers, "we are facing terrible times."
Nina Hachigian of the Center for American progress said last year that the key to getting Iran to scale back nuclear ambitions is to "get the other big powers to be on the same side as we are."
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The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.
- Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
- The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
- The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
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