Honoring Our Warriors

Reese Erlich: The Iran Agenda Today

Reese Erlich, foreign correspondent, radical reporter and frequent guest on the KPFA airwaves, passed away in April 2021. We honor Reese on KPFA’s birthday for his many years of reporting and for generously sharing his knowledge with the KPFA community. His life made our lives richer.

Reese wrote about his illness in his last column for The Progressive here and his obituary from the same magazine is here. Tim Redmond, former Bay Guardian editor and now head of 48 Hills wrote a piece on Reese which you can find here.

This audio is from November of 2018 when Reese did an event for KPFA about his latest book, The Iran Agenda Today, The Real Story Inside Iran and What’s Wrong With U.S. Policy. Based on frequent, first-hand reporting in Iran and the United States, The Iran Agenda Today explores the turbulent recent history between the two countries and reveals how it has led to a misguided showdown over nuclear technology. Foreign correspondent Reese Erlich notes that all the major U.S. intelligence agencies agree Iran has not had a nuclear weapons program since at least 2003. He explores why Washington nonetheless continues saber-rattling, and he provides a detailed critique of mainstream media coverage of Iran. The book further details the popular protests that have rocked Tehran despite repression by the country’s own Deep State. Erlich offers insights on Iran’s domestic politics, popular culture, and diverse populations over this recent era. His analysis draws on past interviews with high-ranking Iranian officials, the former shah’s son, Reza Pahlavi, and Iranian exiles in Los Angeles, as well as his trip to Tehran with actor Sean Penn. Erlich’s book Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You, co-authored with Norman Solomon was a best seller in 2003. His fifth book, Inside Syria: the Backstory of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect (foreword by Noam Chomsky) was published in 2014. In a starred review of Inside SyriaPublisher’s Weekly wrote that Erlich’s “insights and conclusions are objective and valuable… essential reading for understanding the current turmoil in the Middle East.

Reese Erlich has authored five books on foreign affairs, including the national bestseller Target Iraq: What the News Media Didn’t Tell You (co-authored with Norman Solomon). A freelance print and broadcast reporter, he has covered the Middle East since 1987 and reported from Iran since 2000.

Erlich began his journalism career in 1968 as a staff writer and research editor for Ramparts, an investigative reporting magazine based in San Francisco. He taught journalism for ten years at San Francisco State University and California State University, East Bay. His reporting appears in Foreign Policy, Vice News, and The Progressive. He writes the syndicated column “Foreign Correspondent.” His radio work airs on CBC/Radio-Canada, Reveal, and National Public Radio, among others.

Erlich earned a Peabody Award in 2007 and “best depth reporting” awards in 2002 and 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists (Northern California). He has also received awards from Project Censored, the Chicago International Film Festival, and the Association for Women in Communication.

Norman Solomon is the author of a dozen books including “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He is also the Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he coordinates the ExposeFacts.org program for whistleblowers and press freedom, and co-founder of RootsAction.org