• 2020-12-17

    Filmed in secret, Jeff Kaufman’s portrait of the Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh captures her ongoing battles for the rights of women, children and minorities.

  • 2020-12-16

    Recent Western reporting and analyses of Iran depict dire circumstances and make natural assumptions about how the population must be reacting to an economy battered by sanctions from the United States and ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. A public opinion survey conducted in September and early October by the University of Maryland’s Center on International and Security Studies and IranPoll provides data to compare with these assumptions. The telephone survey included a national probability sample of 1,004 respondents. Some results are surprising, and some are remarkably similar to public attitudes about the pandemic in the United States and European countries. The survey finds that Iran’s public is more pessimistic about the economy than they were earlier in the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign. But domestic mismanagement and rising inflation appear to be bigger factors in this shift than the sanctions per se. Those most directly affected by COVID-19 are more negative about the economy. Yet, the Iranian public is generally satisfied by the government’s response to the pandemic and support public health efforts, even when they make a bad economic situation worse.

  • 2020-12-13

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced plans to boost ties between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and countries such as Iran, saying negotiations have begun with Tehran on a free trade agreement. […] On Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed that Moscow and Tehran would be looking for “new methods of ignoring the sanctions’ negative economic effect." Russia and Iran are taking measures not to allow bilateral trade and economic cooperation "to shrink,” he told Iran's IRIB broadcaster in an interview. "On the contrary, it is growing, in particular, thanks to the refusal to use the US dollar, the shift of the gravity center towards national currencies in settlements and new creative schemes of economic interaction. It works.” 

  • 2020-12-06

    Based on the draft of the national budget bill, the government expects to sell 2.3 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil and gas condensate in the next Iranian calendar year, with oil at $40 per barrel. This has raised criticism among the country’s experts and officials, saying that the upcoming year’s budget bill has been drafted based on unrealistic expectations and is not the expected recipe for an oil-free economy. In this regard, the Tehran Times held talks with Economic and Energy Expert Hamidreza Salehi, who is the Head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA)’s Energy Committee, to see how much the oil revenues envisaged in the mentioned bill are practical and achievable, and what solutions can be applied to compensate for the potential deficits in the future.

  • 2020-12-01

    On June 18, 2021, Iran will hold its presidential election at a significant moment in the history of the Islamic Republic, as the regime confronts mounting domestic and international pressure. Internationally, the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign and deterioration of relations between Iran and its Arab neighbors has increased external political and economic pressure on Tehran. This has been compounded by recent agreements to normalize diplomatic relations between Israel and two Gulf Arab states through the Abraham Accords. Domestically, as economic conditions deteriorate in Iran, the rift between the state and its citizens has been visibly widening.

  • 2020-11-29

    Nostalgia is both temporal and geographical; like young Iranians’ sentimental contemplations of their parents’ era, mobility and migrations generate reevaluation from afar. Edward Said describes the formulation of his Palestinian identity at a New England boarding school: “The fact that I was never at home or at least at Mount Hermon, out of place in nearly every way, gave me the incentive to find my territory, not socially but intellectually” (Out of Place, 1999). Writing about Shahin Armin and Sohrab Daryabandari’s film, “Iran’s Arrow: the Rise and Fall of the Paykan” (2017), from my vantage point as an Iranian-American who has never been to Iran, elicits a similar experience of removal from the “original.” It also provokes self-recognition elsewhere. Absorbed with Iran’s iconic car, the Paykan, I am revisited by my mother’s experiences of working as a child in the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, a chapter of her life recounted in slivers so minute that I was never able to form a picture of the whole. Iranians’ attachment to the Paykan feeds my own cultural yearning.

  • 2020-11-23

    Joe Biden's victory in America may herald a measure of de-escalation with Iran, but the Supreme Leader is unlikely to be moved. Ayatollah Khamenei does not really distinguish between Democratic and Republican intentions—after all, he agreed to a nuclear deal with the Obama administration only to see President Trump tear it up, impose unrelenting sanctions, and kill Iran’s most revered general. Meanwhile, the regime has its own election to worry about: a June 2021 vote that will give Khamenei an opportunity to seat a more pliable replacement for President Hassan Rouhani and cement his legacy as a totalitarian. In this Policy Note, Iran expert Mehdi Khalaji analyzes the domestic and foreign implications of the coming election in Iran, including its potential impact on future nuclear talks with the United States. He also suggests ways the Biden administration can support Iranian civil society, such as removing barriers to intellectual content and honoring the dignity of Iranian citizens.

  • 2020-11-19

    The privatization of education is hotly debated across the world. It hardly represents a uniform set of policies with experts, economists, civil society organizers, and state officials weighing potential gains and losses. Iran has been no exception to this pattern. As most theoretical literature predicts, the privatization of education in Iran has caused harm. According to experts, it exacerbates class divisions, consolidates social gaps, and leads to serious detrimental consequences in the classroom. With over a century of experience with institutions of modern education, Iran has its own unique history of debate and struggle over privatization and its implementation. This article provides an overview of that history and an assessment of the current state of education in Iran.

  • 2020-11-16

    This article is part of a roundtable on the relationship between engineering, technopolitics, and the environment in the Middle East and North Africa.  […] My research is concerned with the technopolitics of water infrastructures and the constitution and expansion of state power in Cold War Iran. I focus on projects of dam construction, rural development, and agricultural transformation in the province of Khuzestan from the 1950s through the 1970s. Khuzestan is widely known for its rich oil reserves. But it also contains one-third of Iran’s surface water resources, fed by five main rivers in northern Khuzestan. Iranian officials often consider it the “breadbasket” of the nation due to its large agricultural production. One of Khuzestan’s major infrastructural projects during this time period was the Dez Dam, christened the Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi Dam at its inauguration ceremony.

  • 2020-11-12

    A group of German lawmakers released a signed statement on Thursday demanding the "unconditional" permanent release of Iranian human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh, who was named a Right Livelihood Laureate last month. The 38 signatories included Bundestag Vice-President Claudia Roth, Dr Anton Hofreiter (Chairperson of the Green Parliamentary group), Gyde Jensen (FDP), Bärbel Kofler (SPD), Gysi Gregor (Die Linke) and Michael Brand (CDU).