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Behzad Yaghmaian

Professor of Political Economy at Ramapo College

Behzad Yaghmaian is an Iranian-born author living in the United States. He is a professor of political economy at Ramapo College in New Jersey. He has taught in the United States, Iran, and Turkey.

In 2007, he traveled to China to live among the growing population of internal migrants working in the country’s sprawling factories. His most recent book, The Accidental Capitalist: A People’s Story of the New China (Pluto Press, 2012), is a narrative of China’s economic and social transformation told through personal biographies of migrants.

Mr. Yaghmaian is also the author of Embracing the Infidel: Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West (Delacorte Press, 2005), Social Change in Iran: An Eyewitness Account of Dissent, Defiance, and Movements for Rights (SUNY Press, 2002), as well as a number of articles and opinion pieces about globalization and development studies.

He has appeared on CNN, CNN International, Democracy Now!, NPR’s Morning Edition, WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, many NPR and local radio stations around the United States, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and various radio programs in England and Italy.

Articles by Behzad Yaghmaian

The Iranian People and Their Many Wars

Iranians have endured 40 years of war with their own government, eight years of war with Iraq and an ongoing economic war with U.S.

January 13, 2020

Iran, Trump and Bannon’s War in the Middle East?

For the first time, migration policy is used as an instrument of foreign policy. Delinking migration from foreign policy must be a priority for Trump’s opponents

March 14, 2017

Trump’s Muslim Ban: Memoir of an Iranian American

An Iranian immigrant’s reflections on President Trump’s muslim ban and war threats.

February 4, 2017

The Golden Dawn and the Stranded Refugee Children in Greece

Looking into the lives of refugees who left Turkey for the Greek Islands seeking safety and security.

November 26, 2016

Escaping the Prison Island: Forgotten Refugees of Chios

The refugees trying to escape Chios shows the world’s failure to protect victims of one of the worst humanitarian disasters.

September 24, 2016

Assault on Atatürk

Turkey is hit by more human tragedies.

June 30, 2016

World Humanitarian Summit: Syrian Child Refugees in Turkey

The summit is a timely opportunity to turn the world’s gaze to the protection needs of the displaced Syrian children.

May 23, 2016

A Love Letter to 339 Lafayette: NYC Then and Now

Memories of student activism in a changing New York neighborhood.

May 7, 2016

The Thorniest Question for Bernie Sanders

Under what conditions should Bernie Sanders endorse Hillary Clinton?

April 3, 2016

Letter to my Baby Daughter Zoe

Explaining Bernie Sanders policies to my daughter.

February 20, 2016

Love Letter to a Troubled Turkey

Reflections on the occasion of the car bomb in Ankara.

February 18, 2016

A Progressive Foreign Policy Platform for Bernie Sanders

How the Vermont Senator can distinguish himself from other candidates with a global vision.

February 15, 2016

Getting to Greece: Nur and Leyla

A refugee’s desperate bid to be reunited with her husband and daughter.

December 25, 2015

Sudanese in Istanbul: Nur’s Story

Behzad Yaghmaian recalls the experience of a Sudanese refugee family trying to cross into Europe illegally to seek asylum.

December 24, 2015

Fleeing Sudan: One Refugee’s Story

Behzad Yaghmaian recounts the tale of Nur’s journey to Istanbul.

December 23, 2015

Migration Crisis: How to Break the Cycle of Death and Amnesia

Europe alone cannot be asked to single-handedly shoulder the migration/refugee crisis facing the world.

October 5, 2015

The Inevitable Emergence of Assad as a U.S. Ally

The only option for the United States to defeat the Islamic State and end the refugee crisis.

October 4, 2014

Syria’s Civil War and the World’s Oldest Refugee

A reflection on our collective failures as human societies.

February 11, 2014

Syrian Refugees: A Need for Global Burden Sharing

The world is on notice: We are facing a looming humanitarian crisis.

October 31, 2013

Selective Morality and Syria

A case against a U.S. attack in Syria -- and a path forward.

August 30, 2013

The Schizophrenic U.S.-Mexican Wall

What is the human cost of militarizing the U.S.-Mexican border?

July 7, 2013

What Unites Turkey’s and Iran’s Youth

How are the young reformers in Turkey and Iran united by their actions in June 2013? What does their future path look like?

July 2, 2013

Election 2013: Expectations of the Iranian People

What are Iranian voters expecting from the June 2013 presidential election compared with the 2009 election and Green uprising?

June 12, 2013

China: Empire Building in the Age of Globalization

How has China systematically taken advantage of U.S. mistakes and policies?

April 17, 2013

Iran Sanctions: The Cat and Mouse Game Continues

Are U.S. sanctions against Iran strengthening the economic and financial position of its competitors, including China, India and Turkey?

February 21, 2013

Time for an Iranian Spring?

Will the recent protests in Tehran give birth to an Iranian Spring?

October 20, 2012

Foxconn’s Reform Riot

Is the Chinese government slowly abandoning its zero-tolerance approach towards labor strikes?

September 26, 2012