Semira N. Nikou's Blog

Is the Political Crisis Over?—Part III

May 10, 2011
Semira N. Nikou            Iran’s political crisis over Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi may be over, but the drama over presidential chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei is not.               President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has now accepted the supreme leader’s instructions to keep the…

Widely Diverse Iranian Views on bin Laden’s Death

May 6, 2011
Semira N. Nikou         In widely diverse responses, Iran discounted Osama bin Laden’s death while at the same time calling for a faster U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan since the pretext for going to war was eliminated. But officials and media generally did not mourn bin Laden’s passing. Iran’s…

Iran Media Splits over Intelligence Chief--Part II

April 26, 2011
Semira N. Nikou         The Iranian leadership split over intelligence chief Heidar Moslehi has spilled over into the media, which has offered widely diverse accounts of his reported resignation—and the political repercussions. The scandal became public on April 17 when President…

Iran Splits over Intelligence Chief--Part I

April 25, 2011
Semira N. Nikou            In an unusual public spat, Iran’s top two leaders have split over the future of intelligence chief Heider Moslehi. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly wanted him sacked and accepted Moslehi’s resignation on April 17. But Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei…

Iran Backs Libyan Rebels, Chastises West Over Oil, Bahrain

April 5, 2011
Semira N. Nikou       Libya’s rebellion has put Iran in an awkward position. Tehran has tried to balance support for the Libyan opposition, which it views as part of a region-wide “Islamic awakening,” with rejection of the NATO-led military strikes.        Iranian officials charged that the U.…

Iran Warns Gulf on Bahrain

March 24, 2011
Semira N. Nikou       After weeks of relative silence, Iran has become increasingly outspoken about Bahrain’s political crisis since Saudi Arabia deployed troops to back up the beleaguered monarchy on March 14.        Iran has long had political, strategic and religious interests in Bahrain,…

Where are Iran's Opposition Leaders? Officials Speak Out

March 3, 2011
Semira N. Nikou      Iran has tightened the squeeze on Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi amid opposition attempts to mobilize new protests. The regime has dodged persistent questions about whether the two leaders—both prominent figures in the 1979 revolution—and their…

Iranian quotes on Egypt's revolution

February 14, 2011
Semira N. Nikou        Iranian leaders have welcomed the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Tehran and Cairo have had tense and difficult relations. The two predominantly Muslim countries had rival forms of rule: Egypt is secular and Iran is an Islamic…

Iranians split on Egypt’s turmoil

February 3, 2011
Semira N. Nikou        Iranian leaders, from both the regime and the opposition, are increasingly speaking out about the turmoil in Egypt, Tunisia, and elsewhere. The two sides view the protests from starkly different perspectives, however. The theocracy likes to take credit for inspiring the…

Iran’s trade with major powers increasing, despite sanctions

December 12, 2010
Semira N. Nikou     Trade between Iran and the world’s six major powers increased well into 2010, despite international sanctions and tough financial restrictions, according to International Monetary Fund figures and individual foreign ministries. Countries now negotiating with Iran include the…