• 2020-06-22

    In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Rabbi Yehuda Garami, chief rabbi of the Jewish community in Iran, explains about their daily lives and why he paid a condolence visit to the family of assassinated Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

  • 2020-06-15

    How does the weakening of the moderate establishment impact Iranian foreign policy, particularly relations with Washington? It’s tempting to presume that the rise of Iranian hardliners will intensify U.S.-Iran tensions, as “voices against the deal in Iran will strengthen, and those who favor a more confrontational policy toward Washington will once again have the wind in their sails.” However, this assumes that the nuclear deal — a major diplomatic breakthrough that pulled the relationship back from the brink of war — was driven to a significant degree by Iran’s moderates. That’s a superficial read of Iranian internal dynamics; in fact, in many instances Tehran’s factional differences serve a utilitarian purpose in foreign policy. As an outgoing moderate member of parliament recently acknowledged, hardliners’ harsh protests against Rouhani’s détente policy were deployed to assist Tehran in obtaining greater concessions under the deal. And it should not be forgotten that Iran and the U.S. started secret negotiations in Oman in November 2011, precisely when hardliners controlled both the presidency and parliament. The bottom line is that the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy is not determined by its president, particularly in the context of U.S.-Iran relations. Echoing this point, Ali Motahari, a self-described nonpartisan and longtime member of parliament who was not permitted to run in the recent election, admitted that “Iran is under unprecedented pressure” and argued that “hardliners, by taking power, probably will agree with relations with the United States.” 

  • 2020-06-15

    For those seeking pathways to stable economic growth in the Middle East, developments in Iran may serve as a model – Iran represents the first major oil producer in the Middle East to transition to overall dependence on non-oil exports.

  • 2020-06-01

    The head of an Iranian parliamentary committee has said 230 people were killed during the November protests triggered by a spike in petrol prices - the first time an official has given an overall death toll for the unrest. "During these events 230 people were killed, six of whom were official agents and security forces," Mojtaba Zolnour, head of the parliament's national security and foreign affairs committee, was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA on Monday. "Twenty percent of them were forces keeping order and peace," he said, adding that they included "the police, security and intelligence forces, and the Basij" militia, some of which are not under government control and considered unofficial.

  • 2020-05-28

    Given that China’s oil demand has now recovered from the COVID-19 outbreak to even higher levels than before, Iran is operating at full tilt to optimise the oil available to key ally Beijing from any and all of its fields. Principally this involves optimising output from the cluster of supergiant fields in the West Karoun oil region, attempting to increase the average recovery rate from older fields, and pushing forward on production increases from fields shared with Iraq and Kuwait. All of this is geared to twin objectives: increasing Iran’s crude oil production to 5.7 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of the sixth development plan (ending in 2021/22), and ensuring that it is able to provide China with the steady flow of oil that it requires.

  • 2020-05-14

    The history and historiography of Iranian socialism and communism are myriad, plurivocal, and inevitably contentious. Like almost all national histories of socialism, they abound in emancipatory horizons, tales of unstinting bravery, and the unflappable conviction that things might have been otherwise. The first stirrings of social democracy in cities such as Tabriz during the Constitutional Revolution (1905–11), the Soviet Republic of Gilan (1920–21), the creation of the Communist Party of Iran, the activities of the group of fifty-three, the establishment of the Tudeh (Masses) Party in the course of the Allied occupation (1941-1946), and the revolutionary guerrilla campaigns of the 1970s, stand among a multitude of examples. The scholarship collectively attests to the immense importance of socialist intellectuals, parties, organizations, and movements, as well as the role they played throughout twentieth-century Iran’s politics and history. These histories feature various casts of heroes, villains, and renegades. They are imbued with tragic pathos, sectarian polemics, and lost futures. They have been characterized by unparalleled courage, commitment, and sacrifice in the struggle for revolutionary transformation, democracy, and radical equality. Yet they have also fallen foul of dubious trade-offs, miscalculations, intra-organizational violence, and blunders, as well as the perennial challenge of survival in the face of implacable and brutal state repression—first under the Pahlavis and subsequently in the shadow of the Islamic Republic. 

  • 2020-04-22

    Iran reported its first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections on 19 February 2020 in the city of Qom, probably brought to the country by merchants who had travelled to China, and in the following days became a center of the spread of the virus in the region, as well as the second-worst affected country in the world. In the first week of March, Iran reported dozens of dead and hundreds infected each day, next only to China as the pandemic’s epicenter. At the same time, the government closed schools, universities, shopping centers, bazaars, holy shrines, and cancelled public events and festival celebrations. As confirmed cases mounted, health ministry announced that checkpoints would be placed between cities to limit travel. The unprecedented situation has left Iran in need of masks, respirators and other medical equipment, but imports are virtually impossible due to unilateral U.S. trade sanctions. 

  • 2020-04-17

    „In the recent days, the Iranian regime mouthpiece Kayhan has devoted several editorials to explaining to the Iranian public why the coronavirus pandemic has befallen the world and the lessons that the world should derive from it. In an April 6, 2020 editorial the daily postulated that the coronavirus is a product of the godless Western civilization, which takes pride in science for its own sake and which also created the atom bomb and chemical weapons. 

  • 2020-04-07

    Mohsen Rezaee, secretary of the Iranian regime's Expediency Council whose members are appointed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and whose role it is to advise him, published an article on April 2, 2020 via the Fars news agency. In the article, Rezaee, who is also a former commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), discussed the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic for the world. He stated that the pandemic had exposed the malady infecting humankind – the sick world order based, according to him, on the liberal, capitalist West and on the American values of freedom and democracy. He said that in the wake of the pandemic, the Western order will make way for a new world order whose center of gravity will be Asia. Revolutionary Iran, he added, will play a unique role in leading the new world, and to this end it must advance the values of the Islamic revolution in order to cure all humanity's ills. ...

  • 2020-03-29

    As the proportion of patients infected with COVID-19 continues to rise in Iran, Masih Daneshvari Hospital in Tehran is facilitating access to COVID-19 convalescent plasma for use in patients with COVID-19 infections. This is while a number of the medical staff in the hospital are among the plasma donors who have been infected and have recovered recently.