204 Items

Karbala Iraq Shia

David Stanley/Flickr

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Affairs

Iran's Axis of Resistance Rises: How It's Forging a New Middle East

| Jan. 24, 2017

In 2006, in the midst of a fierce war between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice famously stated that the world was witnessing the “birth pangs of a new Middle East.” She was right—but not in the sense she had hoped. Instead of disempowering Hezbollah and its sponsor, Iran, the war only augmented the strength and prestige of what is known as the “axis of resistance,” a power bloc that includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas in Palestine.

Rouhani

Russia President

Blog Post - Iran Matters

A Possible Trump Administration’s Iran Policy: Constraints and Options

    Author:
  • Ephraim Kam
| Jan. 20, 2017

A key foreign affairs issue for the Trump administration will be its policy on Iran, as was the case also for the Obama administration. But we have no idea what approach it will take, an uncertainty amplified by the fact that Trump has no experience whatsoever in foreign policy, and no idea whose input he will accept in shaping it. It’s not as if we have no information about his attitude – during the election campaign, Trump made his intention on Iran very clear – but, as with other topics, it is unclear how he will act when once he is forced to translate his intentions into action and realizes that reality is far more complicated than he imagined.

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Journal Article - Global Discourse

The struggle for the Islamic supremacy

| January 2017

In the 5 years following the Arab Uprisings, it is apparent that the Middle East and Islamic world are undergoing a profound sociopolitical reconfiguration. The rise of armed resistance groups and the clash of nationalisms between secular and religious movements have only served to undermine regional stability and deepened the fragmentation of the social cohesion. As a consequence, many Arab countries are immersed in a process of counterrevolution and experience deep cleavages. A number of these have been categorized as sectarian in nature, between Sunni and Shi’a, yet this article seeks to show that the term requires broader intellectual development to understand contemporary events. To this end, it engages with the term by looking at the rise of Islamist groups and their evolution across the twentieth century, to stress that socioeconomic contexts are also important in shaping the emergence of groups that are described as sectarian in nature. From this position, we are better placed to understand the fluid nature of domestic and geopolitical change across the Middle East and Islamic world.

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The 2016 Iranian Parliamentary Elections and the Future of Domestic Politics under the JCPOA

| December 2016

As President-elect Donald Drumpf prepares to take office, the status of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers is increasingly coming under question.  Since the nuclear agreement was the product of a realignment of Iranian elites toward moderate forces, the unravelling of the agreement holds the potential to disrupt Iranian politics once again. This report, The 2016 Iranian Parliamentary Elections and the Future of Domestic Politics under the JCPOA, by Iran Project Director Payam Mohseni, provides an in-depth analysis of Iran's factional political scene and assesses the impact of the agreement on the 2016 Iranian parliamentary elections and the future of Iranian politics.

Tehran Iran

Wikimedia Commons

Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Iran and the US elections: Observations from a trip to Iran

| Dec. 13, 2016

Iran has entered uncharted territory following the landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers. I recently came back from a six-week trip to Iran where I had the opportunity to observe first-hand the changes, developments, and uncertainty in the country. The widespread optimism that initially surrounded the deal, and the expectations that it would bring an economic windfall, have been significantly diminished since, and there were many questions: Should Iran integrate into the global economy? How much will the economy improve with the lifting of sanctions? What will the policies of the next US president be, and what will this mean for Iran? With the recent victory of Donald Trump, these questions have become all the more important to Iranians.

Ali Khamenei Military Parade

Khamenei.ir

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Is Iran Getting a Pass at the Financial Action Task Force?

| Aug. 01, 2016

Aaron Arnold, Associate with the Project on Managing the Atom, analyzes whether or not Iran has made sufficient progress with regards to financial reform in order to see restrictions on banking lifted. He notes that while the Financial Action Task Force did not call for members to exercise countermeasures when dealing with Iranian financial institutions, he questions whether or not Iran has made moves towards to financial reform, and notes that it has not undertaken the mutual analysis efforts that other nations with financial concerns, such as Pakistan, have undertaken for more positive assessments from the FATF.

Ahmadinejad Iran

Wikimedia Commons

Book Chapter - Indiana University Press

Factionalism, Privatization, and the Political Economy of Regime Transformation

| March 2016

This chapter explores the complexity of political processes in Iran and assesses the degree of change and continuity in the Iranian political system in light of the tumultuous events unfolding since 2009. Why have elite power relations in Iran been unsettled, and what is the impact of these factional fluctuations of power and processes of change on the institutional structure of the Iranian regime itself? It is critical to ask whether the manner by which institutional alteration occurs within the regime was conducive to the long-term monopolization of power by a single political faction. If so, has the multifactional and competitive nature of the regime been replaced by one of dictatorship, as may have appeared to be the case? Or, is the regime’s system of elite conflict management and institutional restraint a durable feature that will persist in the foreseeable future?

iran central bank

Flickr

Blog Post - Iran Matters

The Real Threat to the Iran Deal: Tehran's Banking System

| Mar. 23, 2016

Aaron Arnold, Associate of the Project on Managing the Atom at the Belfer Center, writes in The Diplomat that a key threat to the ongoing implementation of the Iran nuclear deal is the risky nature of the Iranian financial sector. While Iran is banking on receiving greater foreign investment, continued problems with the Iranian financial sector, including lack of sufficient regulatory controls and the potential ties to terrorist financing, have made companies cautious about investing in Iran. He suggests that the United States work with Iran to bring its banking system up to the same standard as the global economy, and to consider closer integration of Iran into the world economy in order to preserve the effects of the nuclear agreement.

nateq nouri voting 2016 elections iran

Tasnim News

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Belfer Iran Brief – Moderate-reformist coalition achieved major gains in Iranian elections and other news

| Mar. 10, 2016

A coalition of moderates and reformers achieved major gains in both the Majles (parliament) and Assembly of Experts elections held on Feb. 26, and more in this week’s Belfer Iran Brief, covering February 22-March 4, 2016.