16 Items

During a re-enactment in a park in southern Tehran, members of the Iranian Basij paramilitary force re-enact fighting in the 1980–88 war with Iraq.

AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi

Policy Brief - Quarterly Journal: International Security

Managing U.S.-Iran Relations: Critical Lessons from the Iran-Iraq War

| November 2017

The best way to address the various challenges associated with Iranian behavior—meaning the one most likely to succeed and to bolster long-term U.S. security interests—is to preserve and build on the nuclear deal. Doing so would enable Iran to reconsider the lessons of the Iran-Iraq War, which taught it that it cannot trust the international organizations and world powers that seek to isolate it and undermine its security.

Hassan Rouhani speaks in a session of parliament


Analysis & Opinions - Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Avoiding the Translation Trap

| Sep. 25, 2017

"Despite decades of journalism and scholarship on Iranian security matters, existing analyses continue to be hindered by a reliance on flawed and incomplete secondary sources on Tehran's intentions and behavior. The commentary on the Iran-Iraq War, one of the most significant events in contemporary Iranian history, and on the country’s nuclear program, perhaps the foremost security challenge tied to Iran, are important examples of these shortcomings. Ignoring primary sources in Persian leaves a major gap in the literature on Iranian security policies."

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Correcting misunderstandings of the IRGC’s position on nuclear negotiations

| Feb. 18, 2014

Annie Tracy Samuel argues that many Western analysts and news outlets are misstating the position of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on nuclear negotiations. The Guards, she writes, are "cautiously open" to an agreement, despite speculation that they are among the main agitators against the negotiations.

Blog Post - Iran Matters

Revolutionary Guard is cautiously open to nuclear deal

| Dec. 20, 2013

Based on their public statements, we can ascertain that the leaders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. (IRGC) have mixed feelings about the interim nuclear agreement concluded in Geneva on November 24 between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany). On one hand, the Guards have given conditional approval to the deal and the negotiating processes. On the other hand, they have warned the negotiating parties that they will continue to monitor the diplomatic developments, that Iran’s sovereign rights must be respected, and that the United States has not proven itself to be trustworthy.

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

Tehran Via Tel Aviv: Annie Tracy Samuel's Academic Journey

  • Ramiro Gonzalez Lorca
| Winter 2013-14

Research Fellow Annie Tracy Samuel's passion for the Middle East was born from a love of history. As a history major at Columbia, her coursework stoked a particular curiosity for the region. "Learning about the breakup of these multi-national, multi-ethnic empires that was going on during World War I got me very interested in other parts of the world," she said, "and particularly the period following the First World War in the Middle East." This nascent interest in the region steered her academic journey in new directions, leading to her expertise in the history and politics of the Middle East and Iran, and a fellowship with the Belfer Center.

U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Mohammad Reza Shah in Tehran, Iran, 1959.

Wikimedia Commons

Journal Article - Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective

Viewpoint Iran: The Past and Present of the U.S.-Iran Standoff

| October 2013

"While Americans understand relations with Iran in terms of its nuclear program and incendiary anti-Israel homilies, Iranians see the relationship as part of a long and troubling history of foreign intervention and exploitation that reaches back into the nineteenth century. Iranian leaders argue that if interactions between Iran and the United States are to improve, this history will have to be addressed and rectified."

Iranian Revolutionary Guards & volunteer tank hunters give victory signs on the southern front of the Iran-Iraq War, Dec. 1982. On motorcycles & armed with Soviet-made rocket-propelled grenades, they were a fast, highly-mobile force against Iraqi armor.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - Fair Observer

Attacking Iran: Lessons from the Iran-Iraq War — Part 2

| August 4, 2012

"Like the 1980 Iraqi invasion, an attack will be viewed in Iran as part of a pattern of Western subversion and aggression that links together British and Russian economic exploitation, occupation during World War II, the coup that overthrew Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953, and years of support for the Shah's repressive regime. For those in Iran who question the standard narrative of concerted and constant Western aggression, an attack on Iranian territory will dispel any doubt and engender the next generations of Iranians who subscribe to that view."

Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards during maneuvers depicting a military operation during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, near Tehran, Sep. 25, 2011. These maneuvers are part of various ceremonies marking the 31st anniversary of the war's onset.

AP Photo

Analysis & Opinions - Fair Observer

Attacking Iran: Lessons from the Iran-Iraq War — Part 1

| July 28, 2012

"While the regime may increase its strength in the wake of an attack, it may also be able to capitalize on an attack to eliminate its internal enemies. That is precisely what happened following the 1980 Iraqi invasion. Ayatollah Khomeini and his allies used the war to strengthen their control over the state along the war-making state-making nexus, following the pattern of revolutionary elites in other countries. Their main rival for power within the Islamic Republic was the secular leaning constituency led by President Abolhassan Banisadr, who had tried to gain the support of the regular armed forces and to steer the war effort in his role as commander in chief. To minimize Banisadr's power, Khomeini sent his own representatives to oversee the armed forces, which eroded their support for the president, and built up a competing powerbase in the IRGC."

In this photo released by Syria's official news agency, aid supplies are seen unloaded  in Damascus airport, Mar. 15, 2012. Arabic words on the boxes say: "Tribute of love and loyalty from the people of Iran to the dear Syrian people."

AP Photo

Journal Article - Tel Aviv Notes

The Syrian Uprising: The View from Tehran

| June 27, 2012

"Though the inconsistency of Iranian support for popular protest everywhere but Syria (and Iran itself) is apparent, it is hardly remarkable. Throughout the last 18 months of tumultuous events in the region, governments have struggled to calibrate their interests and align them with the values and beliefs used to justify their actions."