12 Items

Iran demonstrations 22 Bahman Iranian Revolution

Tasnim

Analysis & Opinions - Project Syndicate

The Islamic Revolution at 40

| Feb. 12, 2019

US President Donald Trump’s administration seems to hope that, with a nudge from sanctions, ordinary Iranians will rise up and overthrow the Islamic Republic. But the economic data do not support the view that the Iranian public has been driven into abject poverty since 1979, let alone that it is on the brink of revolting.

Iran Syria missiles

Associated Press

Journal Article - International Affairs

Iran's Syria Strategy: The Evolution of Deterrence

| Feb. 04, 2019

Iran has been a critical player in the Syrian war since 2011, crafting a complex foreign policy and military strategy to preserve its Syrian ally. What have been the drivers of Iranian decision-making in this conflict? And how has Iranian strategy evolved over the course of the war? This article argues that the logic of deterrence has been fundamental not just for shaping the contours of Iran–Syria relations since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, but also for determining the overall trajectory of Iranian strategy in the Syrian war. The authors outline Iran's decision-making calculus and divide the country's strategy on Syria after the Arab Spring into four primary phases: 1) a ‘Basij’ strategy to establish local militias in Syria; 2) a regionalization strategy to incorporate transnational fighters and militias in the war effort; 3) an internationalization strategy to incorporate Russia and balance the United States; and 4) a post-ISIS deterrence strategy to balance against the United States, Turkey and Israel. Iran's Syria strategy progressively escalated in response to the possible defeat of its ally and the deterioration of its forward deterrence capacities against the United States and Israel. Today, the potential for direct inter-state conflict is rising as proxy warfare declines and Iran attempts to maintain the credibility of its forward deterrence.

Hassan Ahmadian

IIP

Broadcast Appearance

IIP Interview with Hassan Ahmadian on the Middle East

| Jan. 22, 2019

Interview with Hassan Ahmadian, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Iran Project, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, to discuss topics such as the role of the U.S. in Syria and broadly in the MENA region; identity issues; and the role of Iran and the future of the nuclear deal.

teaser image

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Affairs

Does the U.S. Have the Wrong Middle East Strategy?

| Dec. 11, 2018

Events in the Middle East tend to have serious policy implications for the United States given the range of important U.S. economic, political, counterterrorism, and broader military interests in the region. Although there is a healthy debate to be had about where the Middle East might fit into a potential recalibration or rebalancing of U.S. global priorities, at this juncture I don’t believe it would be in U.S. interests to turn its back on the region’s crises and just hope for the best. 

Secretary Pompeo Meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

U.S. Department of State

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Affairs

Saudi Arabia’s Empty Oil Threats

| Nov. 01, 2018

The brazen murder of Washington Post journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi has elicited that rarest of reactions in contemporary U.S. politics: bipartisan consensus. President Trump’s administration, however, has adopted a notably restrained response thus far. US administration officials reportedly worry that by applying too much pressure on the kingdom, they could inadvertently “jeopardize plans to enlist Saudi help to avoid disrupting the oil market.” The Trump administration has been counting on Saudi Arabia, as the world’s swing producer, to increase its oil production to help offset the anticipated loss of Iranian supply come November 5, when sanctions lifted under the Iran nuclear deal are re-imposed. While Saudi Arabia does have the ability to impose costs on the United States if it is displeased by forceful action on the Khashoggi affair, Saudi threats to sabotage President Trump’s Iran policy through manipulating the oil market do not appear credible

Analysis & Opinions - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Iran in Syria: Securing Regional Deterrence

| Oct. 23, 2018

Iran is primarily concerned with preserving Syria’s prominent role in the Axis of Resistance and its overarching goal of securing its regional deterrence. Accordingly, the collapse of Damascus was intolerable because it would have negatively affected Iran and its allies in the region. This includes securing supply routes to Lebanon; enhancing the deterrence capabilities and operational experience of the Axis of Resistance against Israel and the United States, especially with Trump’s renewed hostility; and balancing Turkey in northern Syria. In addition, preserving Syria’s significant position within the Axis of Resistance serves to showcase Iran’s effectiveness in supporting allies and in its leadership role in the axis.

Rouhani and Erdogan Iran Turkey

Tasnim News

Analysis & Opinions - Al-Monitor

Will Iran, Turkey jointly confront US influence east of the Euphrates?

| Oct. 02, 2018

Turkey is facing a new conundrum in Syria. While its main concern is the areas held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), due to the latter’s links with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Turkey has had to prioritize Idlib because of the looming attack on the province, which could jeopardize Ankara's presence in northern Syria. Iran, on the other hand, is prioritizing pushback against the United States east of the Euphrates. Tehran’s objective is to restore the status quo in Idlib — under Turkey’s influence — as well as northeastern Syria, where US forces are based. Against this backdrop, a strategic overhaul of Iranian-Turkish cooperation in Syria is not unprecedented.

Iran Tehran Bazaar

Wikicommons

Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Affairs

Yes, Iran’s Economy Is Suffering—But It’s Not All About the U.S.

| Sep. 25, 2018

Although U.S. President Donald Trump has hurt the Iranian economy, the unexpected depth of the rial’s decline owes less to U.S. policy than to poor decision-making in Tehran and structural weaknesses in Iran’s economy. A proper understanding of the factors that deepened the crisis suggests that the country’s acute hardships may ease or disappear as Iran adjusts to the new situation. Iran’s foreign exchange market needs to be understood on its own terms in order to avoid the common mistake of equating the fall of the rial in the free market with economic collapse, rising poverty, and increasing protests that can weaken the regime.

Rouhani Erdogan Putin turkey iran russia sochi

Wikicommons

Analysis & Opinions - Aljazeera

What does Iran want in northern Syria?

| Sep. 23, 2018

Although there are a number of major disagreements between Iran, Russia and Turkey, what is important in the end is that they are all opposing the current US policies in Syria. All three countries have suffered from US sanctions and all have serious trust issues with the Trump administration. Emphasising this common ground, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier in September that "the US is containable" and that Iran and Russia should continue close cooperation towards this goal. Whichever strategy Iran chooses to pursue, the US will likely feel the pressure on the ground soon enough. That could end up being an effective deterrent against US plans of opening additional fronts against Iran in the Middle East.

Trump Salman White House Meeting

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Analysis & Opinions - Al-Monitor

Why Iran isn't Concerned Over US plans for ‘Arab NATO’

| Aug. 09, 2018

Having been targeted indirectly by the “leading from behind” policy under President Obama, Iran is now faced with a more organized US effort under Trump to establish a regional setting — an "Arab NATO," the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) — that is supposed to “push back” against Iran. Against this backdrop, however, Iran does not seem worried about US efforts to create MESA. In fact, Washington’s new anti-Iran campaign in the Middle East and beyond is interpreted as falling within the “milking logic” of the Trump administration.