New Articles

State Department Testimony: Iran’s Growing Human Rights Abuses

May 11, 2011
         The following is an excerpt on Iran’s human rights violations from a joint statement by Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, and Philo L. Dibble, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, in testimony…

2011 Report: U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

May 11, 2011
The following are excerpts from the annual report released April 28, 2011:         The government of Iran continues to engage in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, including prolonged detention, torture, and executions based primarily or entirely upon the…

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…

Rand Survey: Iran on the U.S., Nukes and the Economy

May 4, 2011
Alireza Nader         The RAND Corporation conducted a phone survey of Iranian public opinion in order to gauge Iranian attitudes on critical issues affecting U.S. interests. Respondents constituted a nationally representative sample of 1,002 members of the Iranian public, age 18 and older, who…

Report on Internet Freedom in Iran 2011

May 3, 2011
Freedom House         Since the protests that followed the disputed presidential election of June 12, 2009, the Iranian authorities have waged an active campaign against internet freedom, employing extensive and sophisticated methods of control that go well beyond simple content filtering.…

Iranian and Saudi Competition in the Gulf

April 27, 2011
Anthony H. Cordesman        Saudi Arabia and the United States may not share the same political system and culture, but they do share broad strategic interests. Both countries must now deal with Iran in context of the arc of political instability that extends from Pakistan to Morocco—and is of…

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…

A New Channel for U.S.-Iran Communication

April 21, 2011
Ellen Laipson        The State Department's recent naming of a Persian-speaking press spokesman, Alan Eyre, opens a potentially important channel in the long-stagnant U.S.-Iran relationship. The absence of contact or inability to communicate at official levels means that American diplomats are…

Department of State’s Human Rights Report on Iran

April 12, 2011
The following is from the executive summary of the State Department issued its Human Rights Report for 2010:        The government severely limited citizens' right to peacefully change their government through free and fair elections, and it continued a campaign of postelection violence and…

War of Words over Bahrain Rattles Region

April 11, 2011
Afshin Molavi       A war of words has erupted between Iran and its Persian Gulf neighbors over the fate of Bahrain, catapulting unrest in the tiny island nation into a regional crisis with both political and sectarian overtones.         In a reflection of the tensions, a Gulf Arab foreign…

New Claims on Iran Nuclear Program Questionable

April 8, 2011
David Albright and Andrea Stricker        The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a longstanding opposition group, claimed on April 7 that the Iranian regime has a secret facility producing centrifuge components for uranium enrichment, a process that can be used for both peaceful…

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.…

Esfandiar Mashaei: Iran’s Next President?

March 30, 2011
Kourosh RahimkhaniAlthough never elected to office, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei is a major political figure, with speculating mounting that he may be a presidential candidate in 2013. Who is Mashaei, besides chief of staff for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Mashaei was issued a visa to participate in…

Growing World Pressure Over Iran’s Human Rights Record

March 28, 2011
Robin Wright            The U.N. decision to appoint an investigator to track Iran’s human rights violations is the latest move by the international community to increase pressure on Tehran. The resolution follows a report by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in which he said he was “deeply…

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,…

The Limits of Iran’s Soft Power

March 22, 2011
Michael Eisenstadt        Political change sweeping the Middle East has heightened concerns about a shifting balance of power in Iran’s favor. But Tehran’s experience in Iraq provides critical insights into the limits of the Islamic Republic’s regional influence, and its propensity to be its…

Russia Balks at New Pressure on Iran

March 16, 2011
Mark N. Katz        After a year of cooperation on Iran, Russia now opposes new sanctions or other tough measures to pressure Tehran on its controversial nuclear program. The failure of recent diplomacy to get Iran to comply with U.N. resolutions, and reassure the world that it is not secretly…

Rafsanjani Dislodged From a Top Job

March 9, 2011
Farideh Farhi Iran’s Assembly of Experts voted March 8 to replace former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani from the chairmanship. What happened and why is the outcome significant?On March 8, the Assembly of Experts, effectively pushed former President Rafsanjani from the leadership of a top…

Rising Oil Prices Create Political Cushion for Iran

March 7, 2011
Fareed Mohamedi  Oil prices have risen worldwide because of political unrest and upheavals in the Middle East. How has Iran been affected by the turmoil in oil sales?The sudden rise in oil prices amid uncertainty and upheavals in the Middle East could create a political cushion for…

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…

Iran’s Economy in the Shadow of Regional Upheaval

February 28, 2011
Suzanne Maloney        Iran’s stability is once again in question, as historic protests sweep the Middle East and revive the flagging fortunes of its own opposition movement. Expectations of the Islamic Republic’s inevitable demise are further fueled by the revolutionary state’s own…

U.N. reports new information on Iran’s nuclear program

February 25, 2011
Michael Adler          The United Nations has obtained new information that Iran may have worked on making nuclear weapons, according to a report distributed in Vienna February 25. Its nuclear watchdog agency also said Iran appears to have overcome setbacks from the Stuxnet cyber-virus that set…

Iran on Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood

February 25, 2011
Mehdi Khalaji For decades, the Muslim Brotherhood was the largest organized opposition party in Egypt. It is Islamist. What are its similarities and differences with Iran’s Islamic revolution?The current revolt in Iran is against Islamism, but the recent uprising in Egypt is neither Islamist…

New U.S. Sanctions on Iran for human rights abuses

February 24, 2011
Robin Wright       The United States imposed new sanctions on two top Iranian officials for engaging in “serious human rights abuses” since the disputed 2009 election. In a striking run of statements on February 23, the White House, State Department and Treasury Department issued three separate…

The Mujahedeen-e Khalq Controversy

February 22, 2011
Omid Memarian What is the Mujahedeen-e Khalq organization?The Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), or the People’s Mujahedeen Organization, was founded in 1965 as an urban guerilla group opposed to the monarchy of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. It participated in the 1979 Revolution but later broke with…

Iran’s labor flashpoint

February 17, 2011
Kevan Harris       Iran’s labor movement and working class have been pivotal political actors for more than a century, with one of the longest records in the Middle East.  Iran has witnessed hundreds of strikes in major industries over the past two decades.  And thousands of workers participated…

U.S. Gets Tougher on Iran

February 15, 2011
Robin Wright        The Obama administration has become increasingly outspoken about Iran since the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings. The main focus has notably shifted from Iran’s controversial nuclear program to issues of democracy and human rights abuses.          For the first time, the…

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…