Alum Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's Foreign Minister, Speaks in New York

Thursday, April 30, 2015
THE NEW YORKER -- Seeing Zarif in person, you really do get the sense that he is in a precarious position. For one thing, he comes off as practically American: he went to college in the United States, at San Francisco State University, and to graduate school at the University of Denver. As ambassador to the United Nations, he lived in New York for five years. His English is perfect. And yet he is the foreign minister of a state that has killed hundreds of Americans (in Iraq, in Lebanon), and is possibly the world’s most active sponsor of terrorism. He doesn’t apologize for, or even acknowledge, any of that. You get the sense, watching Zarif, that his most difficult job is not haggling over the details of a nuclear agreement with the West as much as keeping the darker forces in his own government at bay. Zarif could never actually say such a thing, of course.