Lost in the furor over what Moscow did or did not do, and what effects it did or did not have, is the broader question of what this incident says about Russian intentions and aims. Just how unusual was it for great powers to interfere in a democracy’s electoral processes, and just how outraged should Americans be by the alleged activities?
The Iran Project is dedicated to promoting the study of contemporary Iranian politics, particularly on issues that pertain to important challenges of international security, such as the Iranian nuclear program, US-Iran relations, and Iran’s role in the Middle East.
The mission of the Iran Project is threefold: 1) to produce advanced, policy-relevant knowledge on salient issues of Iranian affairs; 2) to serve as a hub in a network that synergizes scholarly collaborations and intellectual discussions among Iran experts and analysts across the world; and 3) to become a diplomatic bridge to advance dialogue between students and scholars in Iran and the United States, particularly for the Harvard University community. The Iran Project also hopes to support the efforts of Iranian students and those involved in Iranian studies at Harvard University across disciplines.
The research focus of the Iran Project consists of three focus areas:
- The Iranian nuclear program: the Iran Project contributes to debates on the nuclear program, the implementation challenges for the nuclear agreement, and its implications for regional order.
- Iranian domestic and foreign politics: the Iran Project analyzes decision-making within the Iranian political system, elite factional dynamics, Iran’s role in the Middle East, sectarian conflict in the region, and Iranian soft power and ideology.
- The Iranian economy: the Iran Project promotes the study of Iran’s business environment, its economic policymaking process, sanctions,and the country’s energy sector.
From its nuclear program and sponsorship of hostile state and non-state actors to its soft-power influence in the region, Iran has outsized abilities to shape events beyond its borders in a dramatic fashion. The Iran Project seeks to bring greater knowledge and analytic clarity to policy discussions on Iran as an important power in the Middle East region.
Dr. Payam Mohseni, the Director of the Iran Project, frequently travels to Iran to conduct research and is fluent in Persian. His work focuses on the internal policymaking process of the Iranian state, the dynamics of factional politics in post-revolutionary Iran, the political economy of development, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. Mohseni also teaches Iranian and Middle East politics at Harvard’s Department of Government.
The Iran Working Group was created to serve as a channel for internal discussions on the fundamental issues of the Iranian nuclear challenge. The project, which since summer 2013 has grown dramatically in size and scope, is co-chaired by Professor and Belfer Center Director Graham Allison and Belfer Center Iran Project Director and Fellow for Iran Studies Payam Mohseni. Working Group participants come from the Belfer Center, Harvard University, Brandeis University and MIT, and the group draws upon local expertise that spans nuclear physics and nuclear policy, negotiation strategy, economics, and Iranian politics.
Members of the Iran Working Group met regularly to dissect the latest developments from the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West and the economic impacts of international sanctions. The Working Group regularly hosts private, off-the-record discussions on Iran with distinguished scholars and practitioners in the field.