Interviews with human rights activist, Hadi Ghaemi, legendary writer and activist Shahrnush Parsipur, and screenwriter and director Cyrus Nowrasteh. On the week of the execution of star wrestler Navid Afkari in Iran - and the resulting global outcry - Jian convenes three different perspectives and voices from the diaspora for feature interviews that deal with ongoing atrocities in Iran. As Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, Hadi Ghaemi gives his thoughts on the recent uptick in political executions in Iran. Shahrnush Parsipur engages in a wide-ranging conversation with Jian on everything from writer’s block, to years in prison, to resilience, and not fearing Khomeini. And Cyrus Nowrasteh joins us on his latest feature film, “Infidel,” his journey as an Iranian-American storyteller, and his powerful and controversial film, “The Stoning of Soraya M.” Plus, the Roqe Thursday team convenes for option and Letters of the Week.
An in-depth interview with legendary songwriter/composer Farid Zoland about compensation, copyright, and hoping to finally be paid what he deserves. The man behind dozens and dozens of hit songs in Persian music by icons like Googoosh, Dariush, Ebi and Hayedeh, joins Jian to talk about how he has received little to no significant compensation and recognition for a catalogue of melodies that most Iranians know by heart. The interview is conducted in both English and Farsi (with English subtitles).
An interview with Iranian-American communications strategist, radio host, and national chair of Iranians Count, Bita Milanian, about the campaign to have people of Iranian descent in the United States sign up for the 2020 census. Plus classical guitar virtuoso Lily Afshar joins Jian to recount her journey from a kid in Tehran to the top stages of the world as a master classical guitarist. And the Roqe Team convenes with banter about squirrels, chicken wing mehmoonies, and the Letters of the Week.
An interview with popular Iranian-American politician, Jimmy Delshad, the former two-term Mayor of Beverly Hills, California. Jimmy joins Jian for a funny and touching interview to share his story of being a Jewish kid from Shiraz who arrived in America in 1959, his pioneering campaign to become Mayor, his recent bout with Covid-19, and his reflections on the diaspora and community divisions in 2020. There are jokes along the way and insights from his eight decades of life.
An interview with Behdad Esfahbod, widely regarded to be a tech genius, the creator of Persian text on the internet, and a former employee at Google, about his recent harrowing trip to Iran and detention at the hands of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. Also, Iranian-American comedian Melissa Shoshahi joins Jian on her Travel Ban comedy show. Plus the Roqe Roundtable with special guest psychotherapist and author Alireza Taheri, and the Letters of the Week with the Roqe team.
An interview with legendary Iranian-American journalist, Homa Sarshar. Homa joins Jian to reflect on her 55 years as a writer, reporter, producer and broadcaster. She details her early years growing up as a Jewish girl in Tehran, the heartbreaking tale of her firing from Kayhan newspaper in 1978, her drive to rebuild in the U.S., her pioneering role as a female Iranian journalist, and reflections on the Iranian community in the era of Trump.
Part two of the Roqe Series marking the 40th anniversary of the death of the Shah of Iran. Historians Andrew Scott Cooper (“The Fall of Heaven”) and Mohammad Amini (“The Time and Life of Ahmad Kasravi”) join Jian for separate feature interviews to discuss the Pahlavi Dynasty, historical revisionism, and assessing the Shah through the lens of 2020. Plus, the Roqe team convenes for Letters of the Week.
On the summer marking the 40th anniversary of Shah of Iran’s passing, a feature interview with historian Dr. Abbas Milani on the evolving legacy of the Pahlavi Dynasty. The acclaimed author of “The Shah” joins Jian to discuss revolution, revisionism and revelations, as well as recounting pivotal moments from his personal story of activism, imprisonment, and academia.
Interviews with Fariborz Mokhtari (“In the Lion’s Shadow”) on the remarkable story of the ‘Iranian Schindler’ in Paris during World War 2, and Sepideh Nasiri on becoming a Silicon Valley leader and addressing a lack of diversity in the tech sector, specifically for Iranian woman and women of colour. Plus, the Roqe team reconvenes with some prickly Letters of the Week.
A feature interview with “Mother Miracle” herself, Shahla Ettefagh. Shahla tells Jian of her indulgent early adult life, a momentous decision to abandon her lush California lifestyle for India and build a school for children in need, making peace with her father before his death, and her spiritual evolution into Mother Miracle.
An interview with renowned Iranian-American scientist and leading figure at NASA, Dr. Firouz Naderi. Firouz joins Jian to discuss the latest Mars mission, the importance of space exploration, the “blessing and curse” of a dual national identity, speaking out about Trump and the regime in Iran, and the emotional toll of dealing with detractors in social media.
A feature interview with prolific Iranian-American actor, Navid Negahban. Navid recounts his journey from living in a car when he first came to America, to being one of the most busy actors in Hollywood. He joins Jian to talk representation, roles, and responsibility when it comes to portraying Middle Eastern characters on screen.