• 2020-10-14

    The leak of a document attributed to the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made waves on social media in June 2020. The document outlined a statement of intent to pursue a strategic partnership between China and Iran that would enhance political, military, cultural, and economic cooperation between the two nations. Called a "deal," a "pact," and even an "alliance" as it filtered into the mainstream media, this news has been received in the United States with predictable panic. Foreign policy commentators proclaimed it was the beginning of an "Iran-China axis" between "totalitarian twins" that plans to "dominate the Middle East" through "defying the U.S," a plan that would be "bad news for the West" and make China "the Middle East arbiter." Despite the document's nebulous nature, commentators asserted that the agreement would fundamentally alter geostrategic calculations in the Middle East. Comments on social media were similarly outraged, with some comparing the alleged deal to Iran's past exploitation by imperial Britain and Russia. These alarmist predictions stand in contrast to analysts like Jacopo Scita, Lucille Greer, Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Julia Gurol, Maysam Behravesh, and Jonathan Fulton. Through careful quantitative analysis, they have pointed out several inconsistencies between the reality of the proposed agreement and the response it has generated

  • 2020-10-09

    In this interview, Malihe Razazan spoke to Human Rights Watch (HRW) Iran Researcher Tara Sepehri Far about Nasrin Sotoudeh's hunger strike and the criminalization of peaceful protests in Iran. Sotoudeh is an Iranian human rights lawyer, who was arrested in 2010 and started her second hunger strike this year in August to protest the inhumane treatment of Iranian political prisoners during the COVID pandemic. Courtesy of Voices of the Middle East and North Africa (VOMENA).

  • 2020-10-08

    India is seeking to remain involved in the development projects at Iran's ports, especially since Chabahar Port helps India gain access to an important geopolitical region. […] Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar both visited Tehran last month, on separate occasions but within the same week. Though the purpose of the meetings — according to official statements — was aimed at “strengthening bilateral cooperation” and discussing some “important regional issues,” the agenda likely included the handling of Chabahar Port in Iran.

  • 2020-10-08

    Iran has released prominent rights activist Narges Mohammadi, according to a report by an Iranian news agency, which said her 10-year sentence had been reduced.

  • 2020-10-07

    Prominent members of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) have begun serving prison sentences for the peaceful expression dissent and their opposition to censorship. “On September 26, 2020, IWA board members Reza Khandan Mahabadi and Baktash Abtin, as well as former board member Keyvan Bajan, were transferred to Evin Prison [to begin serving their] sentences… The three IWA members must be freed unconditionally,” said a statement from the writers’ association on September 27.

  • 2020-10-07

    The Iranian public is more concerned about the government’s mismanagement of the economy, failure to protect them in the face of the disastrous coronavirus pandemic, and incapacity to neutralize the impact of the U.S.-imposed sanctions. Accordingly, those who may have leadership aspirations, including Rouhani, Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi, Hassan Khomeini (grandson of Ruhollah Khomeini), and Mojtaba Khamenei (son of Ali Khamenei), alternate between aligning themselves with or blaming each other and the IRGC for Iran’s chronic problems. But none of the leadership hopefuls can seize power in Iran without IRGC support, and any future leader of the Islamic Republic will, for all practical purposes, be beholden to the IRGC. The IRGC will also most likely decide the fundamental tenet of Iran’s behavior toward the United States. Regardless of the outcome of the November U.S. presidential election, Washington and Tehran will remain at odds over the IRGC’s vision for the Islamic Republic as a regional hegemon. In this regard, there will most likely be a greater degree of continuity than change in Iran’s behavior. Notwithstanding the pandemic, those engaged in formulating U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic should look beyond Khamenei, shift the focus away from potential individual leadership candidates, and pay more attention to the likely transformation of the Islamic Republic into a military-style dictatorship, albeit one with a clerical figurehead.

  • 2020-10-06

    US intelligence officials have concluded that Iran prefers a Joe Biden win come November. And why wouldn’t it? Biden has vowed to return to the Iran deal, the nuclear agreement that was forged when he served as vice president to Barack Obama. […] Even before Trump won in 2016 and began steps to pull the US out of the JCPOA in 2018, Tehran was grumbling that Washington wasn’t holding up its end of the bargain and was continuing to block trade with the Islamic Republic. No matter who wins on November 3, there may be more continuity than change in US-Iran relations.

  • 2020-10-01

    Congratulating China on its National Day, Iran has hailed strategic ties between the two countries, saying the partnership agreement that Tehran and Beijing are working to finalize will open a new chapter in bilateral relations.

  • 2020-10-01

    Imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been awarded the Right Livelihood Award in recognition of her 'unrelenting commitment to justice’. The prize, which is awarded by the Right Livelihood Foundation based in Stockholm, is known as the ‘alternative Nobel prize’ and celebrates those ‘offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today’.

  • 2020-09-30

    Prince Reza Pahlavi presented his “new covenant” in a live broadcast. He said his speech was a “response to the innumerable messages of those of you who are rightly worried about Iran and its future.” He said his motivation was “to establish a system in which power is never monopolized by one individual or one group. Every Iranian across the country, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, religion, ideology, lifestyle, must accept responsibility and share equally in decision making in their future and that of the country. One-man rule and pyramidal power structures, in today’s world, are not sufficient to meet the needs of a pioneering and dynamic society.”

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