Excerpts from Johanna Sterbin interview with Professor David N. Rahni:
Johanna Sterbin: I thank you for sitting with me for this forum. The Iran-U.S. impasse seems to be entering a critical stage. The current situation places a heavy burden on the shoulders of the influential patriotic Iranian-Americans by advocating for what is the interest of the American people in the context of our constitution, while helping to safeguard the historical integrity and sovereignty of their mother country, Iran. It is in that spirit that I ask you to first provide a synopsis of your personal life and then share your perspectives about the U.S. attitude towards Iran?
David Rahni: First I wanted to thank you for providing the opportunity to share my perspectives, on Iran, the U.S. and the Iranian-Americans, with your readers. Although aspiring to remain an independent global scholar with broad science and education acumen, I should hasten to emphasize that I am neither a political scientist nor am I politically inclined toward any ulterior motives, except to yearn for a more just and peaceful world. What I share herein is, therefore, perspectives as a humble world citizen. In particular, I envisage the long-term aspirations American and Iranian peoples as complementary and not contradictory.
Born in Dezashib Shemiran north of Tehran in the late 50’s, I grew up in Evin. My parents, who still live there, are of Natanzi heritage, the same township in central Iran that has recently been the epicenter of much heated discussions and political rhetoric about its alleged nuclear enrichment infrastructure. Sleepy Natanz, stretching from the foothills of its 4200 meter high Karkas Mountain to the Great Desert with moving sand dunes, its most unique large sumptuous mouth watering pears called Shah-miveh aka Tohfeh Natanz, and other fruit orchards of pomegranates, figs, grapes, quince, apricots, almonds and walnuts, its many natural Kaisers, springs and Qanats, its still standing Zoroastrian temples alongside Islamic mosques such as the one in Abyaneh, and its multiple Middle Pahlavi Persian dialects, is regarded as one of the oldest cradles of the Iranian civilization. How could such a unique place with authentic original pre-Islamic names of its seventy historical villages and hamlets, like Oushteh, afoushteh, sereshk, rahan, jazan, arjeh, telepaal, saraban, dar-hole’, bagheba’, tameh, kandes, oureh, bidhand, barz, khafr, badyoun, moughar, veshveshad, tar, targh, yarand, badroud, abyazan, zavareh, delavan, kashk-khaneh, kesheh and henjen and its many Zoroastrian temple mounds such as Gonbez-e Baz, go so wrong to become vulnerable for annihilation as an irrational prelude to an apocalyptic Armageddon?! It concerns me gravely to witness its current terms of endearments by all sides where only the local inhabitants and its most unique oasis ecosystem are to be the major victims in the aftermath. Anyhow, I am pleased to inform you of my forthcoming memoir titled, “FROM NATANZ TO NEW YORK: The Odyssey of an Ordinary Persian Wanderer!” This life story, a life reflection of many Iranians my age who emigrated to the West, is narrated in the cultural and socio-political contexts of the past half-century in Iran and the Middle East, then in Europe and the Americas.
After emigrating to the U.S. a few months after the 1979 Iranian revolution to complete my (post-) doctoral studies in chemistry at the University of New Orleans, I have served as a chemistry professor in New York since the mid 80’s. Like most immigrants, especially the Iranian-Americans who have found themselves between a rock and a hard place, tangled with the dichotomy of political web between the two governments of Iran and the U.S., I have striven to have a humble positive impact toward our and the broader American communities in the past nearly thirty years (hundreds of writing essays and prose are among the outcomes), while serving in additional professional affiliations. Although not a lawyer, dermatologist or neuro-psycho-pharmacologist, I have, nonetheless, served in adjunct professorships in all, yielding a recent book on Bioimaging in Neurodegeneration anchored on over a rather prolific publication list. Both my spouse and I are therefore educators for life with three children, two sons in college majoring in medicine and psychology-management, and a daughter in middle school. Although our families are by and large in Iran, we now have relatives scattered in every continent. My portfolio can be reviewed at www.DrRahni.com
I love the U.S. with its many opportunities and the can-do, pioneering and optimistic attitude to life and remain a staunch advocate for the integration of many of the good aspects of western culture with selective reformed a