Since Iran’s presidential election in 2009, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has evolved into a micromanager of Iranian politics. He curtailed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his allies. He turned the lights off on Iran’s reformists. He emasculated all other major institutions, including parliament, the judiciary, the Experts Assembly and the 12-man Guardian Council. And he subdued the religious seminaries as the citadel of clerical power.
Mehrzad Boroujerdi is a Professor of Political Science at Syracuse University. He has compiled a database with detailed information on nearly 2,000 people in the political elite of Iran--from cabinet and parliament members to religious authorities, military officer, members of the judiciary and presidential advisers.
On June 7, the United States and Iran both weighed in on the deteriorating situation in Syria. The following are officials states from the White House and the Iranian mission to the United Nations.
Ted Wynne is a researcher at USIP in the Center for Conflict Management.
On June 1, a U.S. District Appeals Court ruled that the Obama administration must finally decide within four months whether or not to remove the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist groups. The decision was a partial victory for the controversial Iranian opposition movement. It has long pressured Washington through both a court petition and a high-profile public relations campaign to be taken off the list.
On May 29, the United States charged that Iran played a role in the weekend massacre of more than 100 Syrians, including dozens of children, in the northern city of Houla. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said a commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force was “bragging” about its support of the Shabiha militia that allegedly carried out the attack.
Iranian officials countered that the Syrian opposition was behind the deaths of civilians generally—and that Iran's presence and influence in Syria had helped contain the scope of carnage. The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said the attack had been carried out “to create chaos and instability” in Syria “to block the way to a peaceful resolution." The following are recent quotes from U.S. and Iranian officials.
Any crime committed [in Syria] can be traced back to the regime's hirelings.
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.