Interviews

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…

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…