Earlier this summer, Ali Abootalebi left for Iran with the goal of getting back in touch with what's going on in his homeland. After making new contacts, and doing almost a dozen television interviews, Abootalebi is back to apply his findings to a new course he'll teach on U.S. Foreign Policy in the Middle East.
In his three-plus months in Iran, Abootalebi saw how heated the debate over nuclear technology really is. Iran's leadership wants to advance it, but the United States feels they're in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. American leaders are pushing for Iran to answer to the United Nations Security Council.
Still, Abootalebi thinks there's hope for a nuclear-free Middle East.
"That can work, provided the Israelis are persuaded to come to the table," he said, "but the Israelis are not ready to do so."
With cooperation on all sides, Abootalebi believes long-term solutions to just about any problem in the Middle East can be solved through Iran. However, Iran's government must be convinced to cooperate in a global forum.