• 2020-01-21

    Iran’s civil aviation agency has released its second preliminary investigative report on the accidental shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger plane near Tehran earlier this month. The report, published by the Civil Aviation Organization of Islamic Republic of Iran (CAO.IRI) on Monday, includes detailed technical information about the Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752. 

  • 2020-01-21

    Key Points: Ο The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Ground Forces are organized around headquarters that are meant to coordinate the operations of Iranian paramilitary forces and support the Quds Force’s use of proxy groups such as Iraqi Shi’a militias abroad. Ο Their basing in Iran indicates a primary focus on suppressing internal unrest and waging irregular warfare in the rear of an invader rather than on defending against an invasion conventionally. Ο Their organizational structure and the pattern of their operations in Syria suggest that they might be challenged to coordinate large-scale (multi-division) operations abroad and possibly at home. Ο The fact that the Iranian leadership has not yet had to use them on a large scale to suppress growing domestic unrest suggests that the regime still has a potent reserve force to ensure its survival even if the unrest grows considerably, as long as it does not also face a requirement for large-scale military operations abroad

  • 2020-01-20

    On January 14, Human Rights Watch released its annual summary of the state of human rights in Iran, reviewing Iran’s from brutal crackdowns on protests, arbitrary arrests, and execution; Iran’s continued discrimination based on religion, gender, and orientation; and the humanitarian impact of U.S. sanctions.

  • 2020-01-19

    Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the assassination of a top Iranian commander disgraced the US as it had to own up to the "terrorist" action and see its image dealt a blow by Iran's retaliation.

  • 2020-01-19

    This time, the unrest has been centered around Iranian universities, and the voices denouncing the Islamic Republic have been those of students and the middle class. For them, the cruel ending to the hopes of highly educated Iranians who were building lives overseas has resonated powerfully. What this means is that the Islamic Republic and its 80-year-old supreme leader must now contend with multiple sources of fierce public dissatisfaction at a time when external pressure is severe and leadership transitions—whether through upcoming elections or inevitable succession at the top—loom large. Revolutionary Iran has navigated perilous waters repeatedly over the past four decades, but the currents just became more unpredictable than ever.

  • 2020-01-17

    This is a two-part roundtable convened by Arash Davari, Naveed Mansoori, and Ziad Abu-Rish on the regional backdrop and (admittedly short-term) fallout from the US assassination of Soleimani. Part 1 features scholars of Iran reflecting on the place of Soleimani and the IRGC in the political and institutional dynamics of the Iranian state. They also address the reactions in Iran to the assassination and their intersection with various instances of popular mobilization, including the most recent one against the downing of Flight 752. Part 2 features scholars of regional states reflecting on the specific nature of Iranian policy and reaction to Soleimani’s assassination in those states. 

  • 2020-01-17

    Three years before the current crisis, when peaceful progress still seemed possible, civil society activists mounted an impromptu and self-organized push to get out the vote ahead of the 2016 parliamentary elections. They deployed an arsenal of memes, videos, and articles through social media platforms such as Telegram, aimed at holding the line against the worst elements of the regime. Voting, they argued, was neither poison nor treatment, but a palliative, a way to resist through acts of abeyance. “Prevention is better than a cure.” They approached their task with an air of resignation and pragmatism, an unembarrassed lowering of stakes. 

  • 2020-01-11

    The Iranian Armed Forces General Staff admitted that its air defenses inadvertently shot down the Ukrainian flight PS 752 shortly after it took off on January 8 in Tehran

  • 2020-01-10

    The attacks also bring to life the idea of new regional security architecture which could be created as the US military winds down its combat presence in the Gulf. Iran has suggested its Hormuz Peace Endeavour (HOPE), but there are other versions of the same idea, such as the Russian and Chinese versions.  This week, at a conference of diplomats arranged by the Iranian foreign ministry in Tehran, HOPE got a surprisingly enthusiastic reception from senior officials from Iraq, Qatar, Oman, Pakistan and China. Even western diplomats present did not write it off. As Zarif himself has repeatedly said in conferences like this in Doha and Rome over the last few months, no one state in the region should be fooled into thinking it can buy its own security. Security of one state can only be obtained by the security of its neighbour. 

  • 2020-01-08

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has opened an investigation into reports that scores of Iranian-Americans were stopped and questioned at US points of entry, possibly in violation of their constitutional rights.