Interviews

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…

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…

A Case for U.S.-Iran Diplomacy

July 5, 2011
Interview with Roberto ToscanoSemira N. Nikou   Roberto Toscano served as Italy’s ambassador to Iran between 2003 and 2008.   Along with five former European ambassadors to Iran, you wrote an open letter in June 2011 encouraging the United States and the European Union to engage Iran on its…

Iran’s Women Two Years after the Uprising

June 28, 2011
Interview with Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh Semira N. Nikou           Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, a women’s rights activist, is a founding member of the Stop Stoning to Death Campaign and the Iranian Women’s Charter. She was director of Entesharat-e Banoo (Banoo Publications) and Entesharat-e…

New U.N. Human Rights Rapporteur for Iran

June 20, 2011
Semira N. Nikou             On June 17, the U.N. Human Rights Council appointed Ahmed Shaheed, former Maldives foreign minister (2005-07), as the new special rapporteur to Iran. Shaheed had resigned from the foreign ministry in 2007 to protest the Maldives government’s…

Interview with Maziar Bahari

June 9, 2011
Semira N. Nikou          Maziar Bahari is an Iranian Canadian journalist and film maker who was imprisoned in Iran between June and October 2009. He is the co-author of a new book, "And then they Came for Me," which chronicles Bahari's 118-day long solitary confinement in Iran's notorious Evin…