David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
from the world's big
Start Learning

Vali Nasr: Should the U.S. talk to Iran?

Question: Should the U.S. talk to Iran?

Vali Nasr: I would. I think there is no harm in talks. There is plenty of evidence historically that you may get much more from talks than not talking. 

You have two options. You either let Iran go nuclear, or you have to get into a war with Iran which can open the gates of hell in the Middle East, essentially.

Now if those are your only options, I think talking should be given its chance, even if that chance is very little. I think direct talking with Iran can change the context of every issue that’s on the table.

Well you have to let the Iranians decide who their ____ is. But the reality is that it’s not a very good idea for the United States to try to choose factions in Iran it wants to talk to. This is as bad an idea as foreign governments trying to decide they only want to talk to [U.S.] Democrats, or only want to talk to [U.S.] Republicans.

I think in the past, I think during the [Bill] Clinton administration, one reason things didn’t move forward was because Washington basically made it clear it only wanted to talk to reformists. So you talk to the Iranian state, and at the level.

Initially the talks do not need to be at the highest levels. Just having serious talks by people who are representatives of the states is all that matters. I think the personality of talks are not as important right now as a decision in America by President [George W.] Bush, and in Iran by the Supreme Leader, not by the Iranian president. Because the head of state in Iran is a Supreme Leader. The decision by these two men – the Supreme Leader and the President of the United States – that they want a different U.S.-Iran relationship, and they want constructive talks, that’s all that is required for talks.

Who actually sits at the table is much less important than getting that level of commitment. That’s what happened with China. The opening came when two men – Mao and [Richard] Nixon – decided. They didn’t know where they were heading. They didn’t know who was going to say what and what the talks would be. But they made the fundamental decision that they’re going to give engagement a serious chance.

Recorded on: Dec 3, 2007

"I think there is no harm in talks."

Live on Tuesday | Personal finance in the COVID-19 era

Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.

Bubonic plague case reported in China

Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.

(Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Getty Images)
  • The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
  • Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
  • Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Keep reading Show less

Education vs. learning: How semantics can trigger a mind shift

The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.

Future of Learning
  • The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
  • Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
  • Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Keep reading Show less

How DNA revealed the woolly mammoth's fate – and what it teaches us today

Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.

Keep reading Show less

Why is everyone so selfish? Science explains

The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.

Credit: Adobe Stock, Olivier Le Moal.
Personal Growth
  • Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
  • New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
  • Times of crisis tend to increase self-centered acts.
Keep reading Show less