Interviews

How Iran Feels About the U.S. Debate

September 1, 2015
Interview with Nasser Hadian How has the debate over the nuclear deal played out in Iran? There are four major reactions to the deal among Iran’s political elites.   First, there are those who support the deal unconditionally, because they are tired of the economic and political situation in…

American CEOs Eye Iran

May 6, 2015
Interview with Christopher Schroeder How often do you travel to Iran?   I have gone on two trips to Iran, in spring of 2014 and 2015. They were coordinated by a small group of members of the Young Presidents’ Organization and World Presidents’ Organization — a global network of some 22,000 CEOs…

Sagging Oil Prices and Iran

January 21, 2015
Matthew M. Reed What impact has the fall in global oil prices had on Iran?  The oil price collapse since June has had only a modest impact on Iran— so far. But lower revenues have already forced President Hassan Rouhani to significantly reduce budget projections and even decrease Iran’s…

Former US Congressman Visits Iran

January 21, 2015
Interview with Jim SlatteryJim Slattery, a former U.S. Congressman from Kansas, visited Iran in December 2014 to attend the “World Against Violence and Extremism” (WAVE) conference, an initiative led by President Hassan Rouhani. He was the first former congressman to visit Iran since the 1979…

Nasser Hadian: Iran’s Concerns about Iraq

June 18, 2014
Interview with Nasser Hadian The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a militant Sunni group, has taken control of much of eastern Syria and, most recently, northern Iraq. What are the implications for Iran?               Stabilizing Iraq is extremely important to Iran for a number of reasons…

US and Saudi Arabia: Differences on Iran

April 4, 2014
Interview with David Ottaway by Faris Al Sulayman What came out of President Obama’s trip to Saudi Arabia and discussions on pressing issues of mutual concern, especially on Iran nuclear talks?              Obama and King Abdullah agreed that their shared goal is to prevent Iran from gaining a…

Ominous Divide : Shiite Iran v Sunni Gulf

February 18, 2014
Frederic Wehrey What is the current state of Sunni-Shiite tension in the Gulf? How has it changed over the last 15 years?               Sectarian tensions have become a major part of political life in the Gulf Arab states, particularly in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait. Shiites in each state…

Rouhani’s Next Test: Empty Coffers

December 5, 2013
Kevan Harris What is the status of Iran’s economy three months after President Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration?      In a televised interview marking his first 100 days, President Rouhani acknowledged that the state coffers were virtually empty when he assumed the presidency. The government…

Nasser Hadian on Why Iran is Ready

September 23, 2013
Nasser Hadian      Iran’s entire socio-political landscape has changed since President Hassan Rouhani’s June election. There are a lot of hopes that things are going to get better, especially given what happened under the previous government. But this is a cautious hope or optimism, not the wild-…

Marriage and Divorce of Hamas and Hezbollah

August 29, 2013
Hanin Ghaddar             Iran has always been the element that tied Sunni Hamas and Shiite Hezbollah together. The Islamic Republic’s priority was to foster organizations that would be part of the “resistance” against Israel and the West. Hanin Ghaddar analyzes the split between the two…

Iran Sanctions: Which way out?

August 5, 2013
Ali Vaez       The United States has imposed several layers of sanctions against Iran—for widely diverse reasons—dating back to the 1979 revolution. Tehran now wants relief from sanctions as part of any diplomatic deal on its controversial nuclear program. But lifting sanctions is often harder…

Rouhani and the Revolutionary Guards

July 23, 2013
Will Fulton            Fulton is the author of “The IRGC Command Network: Formal Structures and Informal Influence,” which details the evolution of a powerful faction within the Revolutionary Guard’s core leadership and its influence on regime decision-making. How have the Revolutionary Guards…

What Iran’s Election Means for the Future

July 18, 2013
Fatemeh Haghighatjoo      Dr. Fatemeh Haghighatjoo was a member of Iran’s parliament between 2000 and 2004. Elected at the age of 30, she was the youngest woman member ever elected to the Majles and one of only 13 women — among 290 — in the sixth parliament. Haghighatjoo charged the Revolutionary…

Part I: Iran-Syria Religious Ties

June 3, 2013
Mehdi Khalaji            Iran and Syria are unlikely bedfellows. Iran has been an Islamic republic—and the world’s only modern theocracy—since the 1979 revolution. Syria has been a rigidly secular and socialist country since Hafez Assad took over in 1970. Ethnically, Iran is predominantly Persian,…

Latest on the Race: Rafsanjani Redux?

May 20, 2013
By Robin Wright and Garrett Nada            Among the 680-plus candidates who registered to run for president of Iran, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani stands alone as the most experienced and savviest politico — by far. He has almost done it all.      He was speaker of parliament for nine terms in the…

Latest on the Race: Jalili, Ideologue on Twitter

May 15, 2013
Garrett Nada             Saeed Jalili has never held elective office, yet he may have an important edge in the presidential race because of his close ties with Iran’s supreme leader. He is an insider’s insider. At the same time, Jalili is not a charismatic figure. He unsuccessfully ran for…

Latest on the Race: Heir Apparent Esfandiar Mashaei

May 13, 2013
Kourosh Rahimkhani       Although never elected to office, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei has become a major political figure as chief of staff to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is also one of Iran’s most controversial politicians. Ahmadinejad appointed him vice-president in 2009, but the political…

Sport I:Iran and US Wrestle--in a different way

May 13, 2013
Garrett Nada           Iran and the United States have at least one urgent interest in common: Their wrestling federations have teamed up to salvage wrestling for the 2020 Olympics after the Olympic Committee recommended dropping the sport in February 2013. The Iranian and American teams were…

Sport II: The Basketball Bridge

May 13, 2013
Garrett Nada      For more than a decade, Iran has looked to the United States to improve its caliber of basketball. In 2000, the national team even hired American coach Gary LeMoine. Since then, dozens of Americans ― reportedly 37 during one season ― have played on Iranian teams. Jonas Lalehzadeh…

How Deeply is Iran Enmeshed in Syria?

May 6, 2013
Will Fulton            Israel carried out two airstrikes on Syrian targets in early May that significantly expanded the regional dimensions of Syria’s internal conflict. In the first strike on May 3, Israeli warplanes reportedly hit a convoy of Iranian Fateh-110 missiles destined for Lebanon’s…

Al Qaeda and Iran: Enemies with Benefits

April 30, 2013
Matthew Duss             On April 22, Canadian authorities arrested two men who allegedly planned to derail a U.S.-bound passenger train. Officials said al Qaeda elements in Iran gave “direction and guidance” to Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, and Raed Jaser, 35. But police have not found evidence of…

Where Does Nuclear Diplomacy Stand Now?

April 9, 2013
Interview with Michael Adler by Garrett Nada What was the outcome of the talks in Kazakhstan and why?             The talks were basically a failure because the six world powers did not receive an answer to the proposal they made to Iran in February. In those talks, also in Kazakhstan, the…

Part II: What Would it Take to Build a Bomb?

April 9, 2013
Interview with Colin Kahl by Garrett NadaWhat steps would be necessary for Iran to build a nuclear weapon?             President Obama has estimated that it would take Iran “over a year or so” for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. But that device would likely be crude and too large to fit on a…

Part I: Is Iran Slowing its Nuclear Program?

April 9, 2013
Interview with Colin Kahl by Garrett NadaColin H. Kahl served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East from 2009 to 2011. He is currently an associate professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security…

Gulf III: Iran’s Power in the Sea Lanes

March 13, 2013
Michael Connell What is the record of interaction between the U.S. and Iranian navies in the Persian Gulf?               The United States and Iran have never officially been at war, but several recent incidents between the U.S. and Iranian navies have had the potential to escalate into…

Gulf I: Iran’s Power in the Air

March 11, 2013
Michael Elleman What are Iran’s missile assets?               Iran has the largest and most diverse inventory of long-range artillery rockets and ballistic missiles in the Middle East. It is estimated to have between 200 and 300 Scud-B and Scud–C missiles, which Iran has renamed the Shahab-…

Iran Talks: Is New Momentum Enough?

February 27, 2013
Patrick Clawson Diplomats from Iran and the world’s six major powers met in Almaty, Kazakhstan on February 26. What did the talks produce?                 The talks between Iran and the world’s six major powers — the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, also known as P5…

Nukes, Negotiations and “Argo”

February 20, 2013
John Limbert What is the lesson of “Argo” when it comes to dealing with Iran?               The historical thriller has swept the awards season. “Argo” probably has a better chance of winning an Oscar on February 24 than the negoti­ators have of breaking their long deadlock. The film’s real…

Iran’s Successes and Failures - 34 Years Later

February 10, 2013
Daniel Brumberg On February 11, Iran will mark the 34th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. What are Iran’s successes?               The Islamic Republic is now a regional power, thanks to three decades of social, economic, diplomatic, and military advancements. But not all of these…

What is Iran’s Strategy at New Talks?

February 7, 2013
Alireza Nader What is Iran's strategy on diplomacy today — now that a fourth round of talks is scheduled in Kazakhstan on February 26?               Iran is still willing to give diplomacy a chance after a seven-month hiatus, as demonstrated by the announcement of new talks. But Tehran wants…