• 2021-11-22

    Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, has spent his first 100 days in office touring the country in order to meet with communities and to hear their grievances. A steady tempo of protests, including major protests in Esfahan over water shortages, make clear that Raisi faces significant pressure to respond to deep public pessimism about Iran’s economic circumstances. This pessimism and doubts over the ability of the Iranian government to safeguard the welfare of ordinary Iranians overshadowed the Iranian presidential election, which took place in July. Official turnout reported by Iran’s Ministry of Interior was 48 percent, a historic low. A new nationally representative survey fielded by the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland (CISSM), sheds light on public mood in Iran and makes clear the role that economic malaise is playing in strained state-society relations. In CISSM’s September 2021 survey, 53 percent of respondents claimed they “voted on the day of the election,” slightly higher than the official turnout (the difference between the two figures is slightly greater than the survey’s margin of error).

  • 2021-11-20

    A translation of a news report on the Turkish foreign minister’s recent visit to Tehran, during which plans for a joint comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement between Iran and Turkey was discussed.

  • 2021-11-15

    Russia has managed to secure the largest share in Iran’s huge Chalous gas discovery, a move that could have huge economic and geopolitical consequences. A senior Russian official believes this was the final act in securing control over the European energy market.

  • 2021-11-10

    Head of Iran-Armenia Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said the two countries plan to establish a joint industrial park in the near future, the portal of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) reported on Wednesday. […] Noting that currently there is no particular challenge to the development of Iran-Armenia trade, he said: "The problem with Iran-Armenia trade in recent years was that the two countries have relied heavily on energy exchange; That is, the Islamic Republic of Iran received electricity from Armenia in exchange for gas exports. But given that the Armenian government has banned the import of more than 1,000 commodity items of goods from Turkey, the conditions are now quite favorable for the development of trade between the two countries and the increase of Iran's exports to Armenia."

  • 2021-11-10

    A team of Iranian archaeologists has discovered stone tools such as ax and machete believed to be created by Homo erectus, an extinct species of archaic human, in the outskirts of Kermanshah in western Iran. […] "This is the first time in 60 years that tools from the Paleolithic period have been discovered in Kermanshah," the archaeologist said. "In the 1960s, an archaeological mission from the University of Chicago, headed by Robert Braidwood, discovered a stone ax near Gakiyeh village and since then there has been no report of the discovery of such tools in Kermanshah."

  • 2021-10-29

    Feeding Iran is for anyone interested in the interstices of kinship, religion, and the nation-state. It draws heavily from new research on kinship and relatedness and reveals kin-making to be an embodied, sacred, and ethical process—as well as a social form that can provide emotional resonance, moral legitimacy, and literal substance to the nation. This is also a text for those interested in religion and Islam, particularly Shi‘i  Islam. Feeding Iran explores how acts of piety and religious ideologies shape the family, and it addresses such topics as the meaning of the family of the Prophet in contemporary Iran, pilgrimage, votive meals, fasting, and the rites of Muharram. At the same time, the book is about food, and it endeavors to make a significant contribution to food studies. I show how food in Iran is more than a means of providing nutrition. Rather, it is an agent of transformation and a vehicle for channeling divine blessing, whether directed inward to the pure family core, which is materialized by the cloth upon which the family meal is spread (sofreh), or directed outward, for the spiritual nourishment of extended kin. But beyond the household, I explore how state elites and their supporters employ food to articulate, shape, and contest the making of an Islamic nation.

  • 2021-10-26

    Iran is on the verge of being accepted into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a full member. The SCO was formed in 2001 as a political, economic, and security alliance that to some extent functions like a Eurasian NATO.  […] There are related benefits for Iran in joining the SCO. It will help to open the sputtering Iranian economy, especially to the central Asian members of the organization. Iran can also use this platform to strengthen its security posture, particularly in Asia. […] The border between Iran and Afghanistan is also one of the land lines between China and Iran (the other one traverses Pakistan). In theory, Iran and China will be able to use it, subject to infrastructure construction and geopolitical stability, for an overland trade route, with transit times much shorter than for sea routes. Such a route could prove particularly useful to Iran if tensions with the United States and international community continue.

  • 2021-10-25

    Over the past two years, I have been researching the Iranian rock and heavy metal scene as part of a larger project on post-revolution cultural politics. I have joined metalhead groups on Instagram, Telegram, and Clubhouse, listened to hours of rock and metal music in every genre popular in Iran, and conducted in-depth interviews with musicians and fans (including members of over a dozen bands). What I have found is a complex landscape of experimentation and exchange that complicates dominant accounts of opposition between official “Islamic” culture and underground “Western” music. Just as official cultural productions like The Calendar of History bear the imprint of Western rock music, homegrown Iranian rock and metal works contain subtle and not-so-subtle traces of Islamic and Persianate traditions that make their identification as simply “Western” problematic. 

  • 2021-10-25

    Following weeks of speculations, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Peyman Jebelli late last month as the new CEO of the country’s largest media organization, known as the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). […] Jebelli's tenure at Press TV was marked with deep controversy, particularly with the channel’s contentious coverage of the talks over the restoration of the Iran nuclear deal, which were held in six rounds in Vienna during moderate President Hassan Rouhani's term.

  • 2021-10-18

    The Iranian public has grown increasingly disillusioned with the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden and the United States more generally and supports its new government’s emphasis on turning more to the East in its international political and economic relations, according to a new survey released Monday by the Iran Poll and the University of Maryland’s Center for International and Security Studies.