Alireza Nader's Blog
In a new Rand report, Alireza Nader examines the implications of the election, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's objectives, the regime's electoral strategy, the competing factions and personalities, and the potential implications for the United States, especially concerning Iran's nuclear program. Among the key findings of “Iran's 2013 Presidential Election: Its Meaning and Implications”:
Iranian politics are personal. Indeed, the theocrats are decidedly earthly in their rivalries. But the 2013 election is particularly telling. It may be settling a score dating back a quarter century between the revolution’s two most enduring politicos—Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Nuclear arms would be unlikely to change Iran’s fundamental interests and strategy in the Middle East, according to a new report by the Rand Corporation’s Alireza Nader. Tehran is primarily concerned with survival. So it probably would not attack Israel or U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf if it were to attain nuclear weapons, according to the report. The Islamic Republic would not likely use them against its Muslim neighbors either. Iran “does not seek to invade, conquer, or occupy other nations,” argues Nader. The following are excerpts, with a link to the full text at the end.
be the American-dominated order in the Middle East. However, it does not have
territorial ambitions and does not seek to invade, conquer, or occupy other nations.
including deterring a U.S. or Israeli attack.
view of its diminishing influence and deteriorating economy; it is unlikely to use them
against Israel given Israel's overwhelming military superiority.
support for terrorism is motivated by cost and benefit calculations, with the aims of
maintaining deterrence and preserving or expanding its influence in the Middle East.
An inadvertent or accidental nuclear exchange between Israel and Iran is a dangerous
possibility. However, there is not much evidence to suggest that rogue elements could
have easy access to Iranian nuclear weapons, even if the Islamic Republic were to
Mahdists or millenarians, but their beliefs are not directly related to nuclear weapons
and will not shape Iran's nuclear decision making.
The Islamists Are Coming
The Islamists Are Coming, edited by Robin Wright, surveys the rise of Islamist groups in the wake of the Arab Spring. Often lumped together, the more than 50 Islamist parties with millions of followers now constitute a whole new spectrum—separate from either militants or secular parties. They will shape the new order in the world’s most volatile region more than any other political bloc. Yet they have diverse goals and different constituencies. Sometimes they are even rivals.
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