As the U.S. campaign season wears on, both Republicans and Democrats are pledging to stay tough on Iran. Such promises aren’t new. Last summer, as the Barack Obama administration unveiled its nuclear agreement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry assured skeptics that the United States would sustain essential sanctions that punish Tehran for its aid to terrorists, regional aggression, and human rights abuses.
When Iran makes headlines, it is usually as a result of its conflicts with other countries. Far less attention is paid to Iran’s conflicts with itself, which are still raging nearly 40 years after the revolution that brought forth the Islamic Republic.
The Revolutionary Guards are involved in maintaining domestic order, projecting Iranian influence in the Mideast, and presiding over major business interests. They are poised to take on a bigger role, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh.
Authors: Eliot A. Cohen, Eric S. Edelman, and Ray Takeyh
The nuclear deal that the United States and five other great powers signed with Iran in July 2015 is the final product of a decadelong effort at arms control. That effort included sanctions in an attempt to impede Iran’s quest for a nuclear weapons capability.
The Islamic Republic of Iran held another Holocaust cartoon festival this month, inviting the usual despicable cast of characters. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarifassured the New Yorker that although the event would proceed, Iran would ensure that the “people who have preached racial hatred and violence will not be invited.” Evidently, Zarif believes there are Holocaust deniers who do not harbor “racial hatred.”
Hope springs eternal when it comes to human rights in Iran. The election in 2013 of President Hassan Rouhani, who replaced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was supposed to bring improvement. The purported victory of moderates in the recent legislative and Islamic clerics’ Assembly of Experts elections was believed to be a positive development.
The control of Iran’s clerical hardliners over electoral processes has guaranteed the demise of the country’s left-wing movement, writes CFR’s Ray Tayekh with Reuel Marc Gerecht. The country has moved so far to the right that die-hard reactionaries are presented as reasonable conservatives.
The Islamic Republic is about to hold its first elections since an international agreement was reached over its nuclear program. At stake, in theory at least, is control of parliament and the Assembly of Experts.
Despite heavy vetting of candidates, Iran’s elections for parliament and Assembly of Experts will offer insights into whether hardline or more moderate factions gain influence, says expert Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar.
Authors: Ray Takeyh and Reuel Marc Gerecht Weekly Standard
The recent hostages-for-criminals exchange with Iran is the latest example of the Obama administration’s willingness to concede American red lines, argues CFR’s Ray Takeyh with Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. A permissive and passive diplomatic doctrine only serves to weaken American values and strengthen the resolve of its enemies.
Vali R. Nasr, dean of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, discusses rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the subsequent escalation of sectarian conflict throughout the region.
Authors: Max Boot and Michael Pregent Washington Post
President Obama, fresh off the implementation of the nuclear accord and a prisoner swap, may want to believe that Iran is, as he suggested to NPR a year ago while discussing what it would take to get a deal done, now on its way to becoming “a very successful regional power” that will abide “by international norms and international rules.”
The confirmation by UN monitors that Iran has complied with the deal to dismantle large parts of its nuclear program lifts major sanctions and ushers in a new era for the Middle East. This issue guide offers analysis and background.
In Politico, Philip Gordon and Richard Nephew argue that the implementation of the Iran nuclear agreement makes the world safer and buys valuable time. Now the United States must ensure its enforcement; prevent Iran from destabilizing actions in the region; and cautiously explore the possibility of a new and more constructive relationship.
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