New Articles

Parliament’s Evolving Role

September 28, 2011
Interview with Ali Reza Eshraghi       Ali Reza Eshraghi was a senior editor at several of Iran’s reformist dailies. He is currently editor of Iran programs at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting and a Rotary World Peace fellow in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of…

Youth Game-Changers in Elections

September 26, 2011
Kevan Harris         This is the eighth in a series on parliamentary elections due in March 2012:   What role does Iran’s youth play in elections? After the 1979 revolution, the voting age was lowered to 15 which automatically made youth important in elections. But since the mid-1990s, Iranian…

Obama on Release of American Hikers

September 21, 2011
Statement from the President on the Release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal     I welcome the release of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal from detention in Iran and am very pleased that they are being reunited with their loved ones.  The tireless advocacy of their families over these two years has…

Women Struggle in Parliament

September 20, 2011
Interview with Fatemeh HaghighatjooBy Semira N. Nikou          Dr. Fatemeh Haghighatjoo is a former member of Iran’s parliament (2000-2004). She is currently a visiting professor at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.        This is the seventh in a series on parliamentary elections due…

Revolutionary Guards Soar in Parliament

September 19, 2011
Mehrzad Boroujerdi and Kourosh Rahimkhani         This is the sixth in a series on parliamentary elections due in March 2012:          The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) was established to protect domestic security, but the elite military wing has always had an implicit political…

Intelligence on Iran: Reliable?

September 15, 2011
     The following report about intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program was published on Sept. 15 by the Atlantic Council. The link to the full report is at the bottom:       For a country that has been accumulating nuclear know-how since the Eisenhower administration, Iran has hardly been…

Clerics Plummet in Parliament

September 14, 2011
Interview with Yasmin Alem       Yasmin Alem is an international development specialist. She is the author of Duality by Design: The Iranian Electoral System published by the International Foundation of Electoral Systems.        This is the fifth in a series on parliamentary elections due in…

Iran's Conservatives: The Headstrong New Bloc

September 12, 2011
Shaul Bakhash       This is the fourth in a series on parliamentary elections due in March 2012:       In preparation for the 2012 parliamentary election, Iran's diverse conservative parties are already forging a strategy to marginalize or even exclude their principal opponents, especially…

Iran’s Growing State of Civil Disobedience

September 8, 2011
Alireza Nader        The Iranian regime faces a threat even more daunting than the 2009 Green Movement protests: a disparate yet potentially powerful civil disobedience movement motivated not just by politics, but by environmental, economic, and social issues. From demonstrations over the drying…

Factoids on Parliamentary Election

September 6, 2011
Semira N. Nikou          This is the third in a series on parliamentary elections due in March 2012: Iran’s first parliament was formed after the Constitutional Revolution in 1906. Its current parliament was created by a new constitution written after the 1979 revolution ousted the…

History of Iran’s Parliaments

September 6, 2011
      This is the second in a series on parliamentary elections due in March 2012: First parliament (1980-1984)Speaker: Yadollah Sahabi (for one month in mid-1980); Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (1980 to 1984)  Political trends: The first parliament was the most eclectic. It included deputies from…

Iran’s Pivotal Election

September 6, 2011
      The Iran Primer today begins a series on parliamentary elections now scheduled for March 2012. The following is an excerpt from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) report on the Iranian electoral system—its origins, framework, and elected bodies:        The Islamic…

New IAEA Report on Iran

September 2, 2011
     A new International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran was released on Sept. 2, 2011. Its summary points include:       While the Agency continues to conduct verification activities under Iran’s Safeguards Agreement, Iran is not implementing a number of its obligations, including:…

Iraq Adopts Iran's Backing of Assad

August 24, 2011
Juan ColeWhat impact will the call by the United States and major European powers for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down--followed by heightened U.S. and EU sanctions--have on Syria-Iran relations?They will push Syria even more into the arms of Iran. Syria is being gradually cut off from…

U.S. Terrorism Report: State Sponsors

August 23, 2011
       The State Department’s recently released Country Reports on Terrorism cites Iran as the most active state sponsor of terrorism. An excerpt:        Overview: Designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1984, Iran remained the most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2010.…

U.S. Terrorism Report: MEK and Jundallah

August 23, 2011
      The State Department’s recently released Country Reports on Terrorism cites the Mujahadin-E Khalq and Jundallah as two groups that have carried out terrorist operations against the Iranian regime. Excerpts on the two groups: The Mujahadin-E Khalq Organization (MEK)       …

U.S. Terrorism Report: Iran and Hizballah, Hamas

August 23, 2011
     The State Department’s recently released 2010 Country Reports on Terrorism says Iran continues to provide aid to Hizballah (or Hezbollah) and Hamas. Excerpts on the two groups: Hizballah      Description: Hizballah was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October…

U.S. Terrorism Report: Iran in Iraq

August 23, 2011
     The State Department’s recently released Country Reports on Terrorism list says Iran is supporting Shiite militias inside Iraq. An excerpt outlining Iran’s influence in Iraq:      Overview: Sunni leaders in Iraq have overwhelmingly rejected AQI and its extremist ideology. The…

The Coming Turkish-Iranian Competition in Iraq

August 18, 2011
     The following excerpt is from a report published by the U.S. Institute of Peace written by Sean Kane, a program officer working with USIP’s Iraq Program:      The center of attention in the Middle East has over the past decade swung from Egypt and Saudi Arabia eastward toward Iran and…

Obama on Syria—And Iran

August 18, 2011
         On August 18, 2011, President Barack Obama strongly condemned the Syrian government’s crackdown on protestors and called for heightened sanctions against the country. Obama singled out Iran as the only country that Syria can now turn to. Here is the official White House statement:        …

Hossein Mousavian: Iran is Ready to Negotiate--If

August 15, 2011
Interview with Seyed Hossein Mousavian By Semira N. Nikou   Seyed Hossein Mousavian was foreign policy adviser to former nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani (2005-07), former spokesperson of Iran’s nuclear negotiation team (2003-05), former head of the Foreign Relations Committee of…

Prospects for U.S.-Iran Diplomacy

August 15, 2011
Geoffrey KempWhat are the prospects for progress this year in diplomatic efforts?There is little chance for a major breakthrough in negotiations with Iran in 2011, or for that matter 2012.  Three major obstacles will prevent this. First, the political crisis in Iran itself, which suggests a…

90 Senators: Sanction Iran's Central Bank

August 11, 2011
Dear Mr. President:         Following the latest report of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran's nuclear program and recent Iranian missile tests, we remain seriously concerned that Iran continues to accelerate its uranium enrichment and ballistic missile programs. Meanwhile, the regime…

Iran’s Ties to the Taliban

August 10, 2011
Mohsen Milani What is the status of Iran's relations with the Taliban today? Have there been significant changes since 2001?The Islamic Republic of Iran has no official relation with the Taliban. Nor do the Taliban have an office or a representative in Tehran, as do many non-state actors,…

Part II: Iran’s Controversial Textbooks

August 9, 2011
Interview with Shervin Malekzadeh      Shervin Malekzadeh recently received his Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown University. His dissertation, based on nearly two years of research in Iran, deals with the politics of education in Iran and the ways in which efforts to produce the New Islamic…

Part I: Iran's Education Overhaul

August 8, 2011
Interview with Shervin Malekzadeh        Shervin Malekzadeh recently received his Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown University. His dissertation, based on nearly two years of research in Iran, deals with the politics of education in Iran and the ways in which efforts to produce the New…

Analysis of Iran-al Qaeda “Secret Deal”

July 28, 2011
Patrick Clawson The Treasury department sanctioned a prominent Iran-based al Qaeda facilitator and five other members of his network. How important is this new development?The Treasury Department is effectively accusing Iran of being an important link in al Qaeda’s financing and recruitment…

U.S. Charges Iran has “Secret Deal” with al Qaeda

July 28, 2011
       The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designation of six members of an al-Qa’ida network headed by Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, a prominent Iran-based al-Qa’ida facilitator, operating under an agreement between al-Qa’ida and the Iranian government. Today’s action, taken…

Arab Attitudes Toward Iran, 2011

July 28, 2011
       2011 poll conducted by the Arab American Institute found that Iran’s popularity among the five Arab countries surveyed—Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates—has declined in recent years. The United States ranked the lowest among the six, except in Saudi…

Russia’s New Diplomatic Idea for Iran

July 26, 2011
Mark N. Katz  During a visit to the United States in mid-July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov presented the Obama administration with a plan for "step by step" nuclear talks with Iran. What is new about the Russian initiative?Foreign Minister SergeiLavrov’s “step by step” approach to…