Interviews

What are Prospects for Progress at New Talks?

February 5, 2013
Bruce Riedel   The world’s six major powers and Iran are due to hold the fourth round of talks in Kazakhstan on February 26. What has to happen to make these talks a success—even if it just means enough to hold a fifth round?               Iran would need to announce a tangible reversal of its…

Part IV - Pivotal Election: The Issues

February 1, 2013
Shaul Bakhash             Three major issues will dominate Iran’s presidential election in June: ·    A deteriorating economy due to both chronic mismanagement and tough international sanctions, ·    The nuclear stand-off with the West, the flashpoint undermining Iran’s broader foreign…

Part III - Pivotal Election: The Reformists

January 31, 2013
Shaul Bakhash             Iran’s reformers transformed revolutionary politics between 1997 and 2005 under former President Mohammed Khatami. But today, the reformists’ ability to contest the presidential elections in any meaningful way appears slim. Conservatives have even taken to labeling them…

Part II - Pivotal Election: The Ahmadinejad Camp

January 29, 2013
Shaul Bakhash             Despite their current political dominance, Iran’s conservatives appear inordinately fearful of challenges looming in the June presidential election. Perhaps the most surprising is their concern that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may field a member of his inner circle…

Part I - Pivotal Election: The Conservatives

January 28, 2013
Shaul Bakhash             Iran’s presidential elections, slated for mid-June, will take place against a background of domestic uncertainty. The economy has been battered by sanctions from abroad and mismanagement at home. Oil sales and foreign exchange earnings have plummeted, while inflation…

Profile: Revolutionary Guards Chief Gen. Jafari

January 21, 2013
Alireza Nader             As commander of the Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari is one of the dozen most powerful men in Iran. He is a hard-line ideologue loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He rose to power through a combination of ideological commitment and military…

Iran’s Influence in Afghanistan After U.S. Pullout

January 17, 2013
Omar Samad Has Iran's influence in Afghanistan changed since the U.S. troop surge in 2010? What steps has it taken in anticipation of the U.S. withdrawal planned for 2014?             The Islamic Republic considers the U.S. presence in Afghanistan a major security concern along its 600-mile…

Iran-Egypt: Prospects of a New Alliance?

January 11, 2013
Interview with Joshua Stacher By Garrett Nada   What is the state of relations between the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, especially in light of Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi’s third visit to Egypt since President Mohamed Morsi took office in June 2012…

State of Diplomacy: What will it take?

January 9, 2013
Michael AdlerWhat is Iran’s standing in the world in 2013 compared to the beginning of 2012?              Iran was resilient in 2012. It managed to survive increasing diplomatic, economic and military pressures:   ·    Tehran did not yield to new sanctions, despite the fact that oil and gas…

Iran’s Economy Faces Grim 2013

January 7, 2013
Kevan Harris What is the state of Iran’s economy in 2013 compared to a year ago?             Iran's economy enters 2013 significantly worse than a year ago, particularly with higher inflation and unemployment than at the beginning of 2012. The rial also plunged from around 11,000 to the dollar…

Iran: A Rough Year in 2013

January 2, 2013
 Alireza Nader             For Iran, 2013 could be one of the most challenging years—both at home and in relations with the outside world—since the 1979 revolution. The Islamic Republic faces the potential of stronger economic sanctions and even an Israeli and/or U.S. military strike because of its…

The U.S.-Iran Covert War

December 20, 2012
Ari Ratner What is the U.S.-Iran covert war? What is the United States doing? What is Iran doing? And why?              During both the Bush and Obama administrations, Iran and the United States have engaged in a shadow war that relies more on technology and human intelligence than…

Iran’s Post-U.S. Influence in Iraq

November 15, 2012
Interview with Ambassador Jim Jeffrey By Garrett Nada               Jim Jeffrey was U.S. Ambassador to Iraq from 2010-2012. He was also ambassador to Turkey, and deputy national security advisor under the George W. Bush administration. He is now a visiting fellow at The Washington…

Will Obama Win Jumpstart Diplomacy?

November 8, 2012
Patrick ClawsonDiplomacy has been on hold since the last round of talks in June between Iran and the world’s six major powers in Moscow. What are the diplomatic options after the U.S. presidential election?            The talks have stalled since June. The Iranians may have been waiting to see if…

Sanctions Bite, Iran Scrambles

October 17, 2012
Gary Clyde Hufbauer The European Union imposed new sanctions on Iran’s financial, energy, trade, and transport sectors on October 15. What impact will these measures have on Iran’s economy?             Oil and gas account for close to 90 percent of Iran’s exports. Anything that interrupts the…

What’s Behind New Iran and North Korea Pact

September 7, 2012
John S. Park What does this agreement mean?   On September 1, Iran and North Korea signed a scientific and technological cooperation agreement. According to the Iranian Labour News Agency, the agreement calls for the two countries to          ·set up joint laboratories and exchange…

Iran Curtails Female Education

August 20, 2012
Haleh Esfandiari  Why are 36 Iranian universities now barring women from 77 academic fields, including engineering, accounting, education, counseling, and chemistry?   Rather than announcing across the board restrictions on women in higher education, the government has cleverly left it to…

The Drama of Iran’s Erratic Rial

August 16, 2012
Kevan HarrisWhat are the primary reasons that the Iranian rial has lost half of its value against the U.S. dollar in just one year? Iran’s currency was valued at about 10,000 rials to the dollar in the summer of 2011. It plummeted to more than 20,000 to the dollar in the summer of 2012.  Inflation…

China’s Oil Cutbacks may be only temporary

July 3, 2012
Erica Downs On June 28, the United States reported that China cut its imports of Iranian oil by 25 percent to avoid U.S. sanctions. What impact will the cutback have on China-Iran relations, both economically and politically?  Politically, the exemption from the Obama administration is…

Gulf Considers Political Union to Handle Iran and Arab Spring

May 1, 2012
Caroline CrouchInterview with F. Gregory GauseThe six oil-rich sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf are now considering political federation to unify their foreign and defense policies. The move, originally proposed last December by Saudi King Abdullah, is a response to growing regional challenges over…

Can Iran Replicate U.S. Drones?

May 1, 2012
Ted WynneInterview with Michael Elleman and John Pike  Iran claims it is reproducing U.S. stealth technology less than five months after capturing an RQ-170 Sentinel drone, the most advanced unmanned surveillance aircraft.  On April 22, Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh told Iranian state television, “…

Election Watch #3: Election Crackdown on Media

May 1, 2012
Interview with Yasmin Alem This is the first election since the controversial 2009 election and reports of a clampdown on media are increasing. What is the situation for social media and internet usage in the lead-up to the parliamentary elections?  With less than three weeks to parliamentary…

Election Watch #2: Iran Starts Slashing Candidates

May 1, 2012
Interview with Yasmin Alem   How do the numbers of registered candidates compare to previous elections?   The number of candidates who registered for the 2012 parliamentary elections is at its lowest since the 1996 elections. Only 5,395 individuals registered to run for parliament, a 33…

Regime Isolates Entire Rafsanjani Family

May 1, 2012
Interview with Yasmin Alem The daughter of the former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been sentenced to six months in prison on charges of "spreading propaganda against the ruling system." The trial of Faezeh Hashemi took place behind closed doors in December 2011. Hashemi is a…

Will Iran Dare Close the Strait of Hormuz?

May 1, 2012
Interview with Michael Singh  Iranian officials grabbed global headlines in recent days by threatening to close the vital Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world’s traded oil passes. Iran sought to back up its threats by holding a 10-day military exercise in the Persian Gulf…

Iran Election Watch #1

May 1, 2012
Interview with Yasmin Alem   What is Iran’s parliamentary election schedule until the March poll?   Election activities began in December as Iran’s Election Commission announced that the Ministry of Interior established election headquarters in all 31 provinces. The key…

Challenging the Balance of Power: Ahmadinejad vs. Parliament

October 5, 2011
 Interview with Hosein Ghazian      Hosein Ghazian is an Iranian sociologist and former pollster who is currently a visiting scholar at Syracuse University.      This is the eleventh in a series on parliamentary elections due in March 2012: How has parliament’s political role—and authority--been…

Women Struggle in Parliament

September 21, 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…

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…

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…