• Iran communication ministry’s terrifying proposals for changing Iranian cyberspace

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    Published December 18, 2014 at 5:16 pm - No Comments Iranian Internet users could soon be forced to give up their online anonymity and restricted to content based on their professional identity, if proposals by Iran’s communication ministry is realised. However, these attempts by the Islamic Republic to master cyberspace and control what Iranian users do there may be doomed to failure in the long-term. Introduction At the sidelines of the National Gathering for Improving Administrative Health, which dealt with corruption in government, Ministry of Communication and Information Mahmoud Vaezi made remarks about changes Iranian Internet users could soon face in how they operate online. Vaezi intimated that Iranian users would no longer be able to go online anonymously, […]

    Iran communication ministry’s terrifying proposals for changing Iranian cyberspace
  • Hassan Rouhani all but accuses IRGC of accumulating power & corruption

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    Published December 11, 2014 at 11:11 pm - No Comments The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has always been a key center of power in the Islamic Republic of Iran, helping the young revolutionary regime consolidate power in 1979 as an Islamic militia and mobilising millions of people for the Iran-Iraq War as a military force from 1980-1988. In the post-war era it has continued to grow, and like the manticore of Persian mythology has become a multifaceted entity consisting of appendages that resemble a military, police force, intelligence agency, economic cartel, and media empire, to name just a few. While its growing power and centrality in the Iranian state is undeniable, the true extent of its power […]

    Hassan Rouhani all but accuses IRGC of accumulating power & corruption
  • Could “maverick” representative Ali Motahari be thrown out of parliament – or worse?

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    Published December 5, 2014 at 7:48 pm - No Comments On 29 November 2014, hardline conservative representative Javad Karimi Ghodoosi from the Persevering Front of the Islamic Revolution (PFIR) threatened that Iran’s parliament could consider reviewing the status of moderate conservative representative Ali Motahari and, if they found him unfit, to revoke his certificate (etebarname) to sit in parliament. It remains unclear how serious Ghodoosi’s proposal is and whether a conservative dominated parliament will be willing to carry out such an action. At the same time, Motahari has emerged as an iconoclastic figure of sorts by, among other things, being a strong supporter of President Hassan Rouhani among conservatives, seriously questioning the ongoing house arrest of Green Movement […]

    Could “maverick” representative Ali Motahari be thrown out of parliament – or worse?
  • How much leverage does Iran really have in nuclear negotiations?

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    Published November 29, 2014 at 1:54 am - No Comments Introduction In the wake of the extension of the Joint Plan of Action (JPoA) for another seven months by the P5+1 (the United Nations Security Council permanent five members plus Germany) and Iran in Vienna on 24 November, many have started to think about how the remaining time could play out and which side holds the greater leverage in talks in the months ahead. A number of distinguished former American officials, scholars, and pundits view Iran as holding the upper hand. Aaron David Miller over at Foreign Policy declared that “Washington would like to believe it has a lot more leverage over Tehran than it really does,” in […]

    How much leverage does Iran really have in nuclear negotiations?
  • Younesi downplay’s Rouhani administration’s authority to end house-arrest of Mousavi and Karroubi

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    Published November 12, 2014 at 11:22 pm - No Comments The continued house arrest of Mousavi and Karroubi highlight the “great divide” in Iranian politics, whereby President Hassan Rouhani is able to advance his non-confrontational foreign policy in nuclear negotiations but finds himself at pains to make advances in domestic politics. Iran’s less than stellar performance before the United Nations Human Rights Council, led by Supreme Council for Human Rights secretary Mohammad-Javad Larijani, during the periodical review this past 31 October 2014 highlights the country’s deteriorating human rights situation. This deterioration under President Hassan Rouhani, who made improvements in the area of human rights a key plank of his campaign, has been repeatedly noted on our website as […]

    Younesi downplay’s Rouhani administration’s authority to end house-arrest of Mousavi and Karroubi
  • Assembly of Experts leadership race may hint at power balance in Iran

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    Published October 23, 2014 at 8:27 pm - No Comments The race for the leadership of Iran’s Assembly of Experts is on. Who wins with what votes may tell us much about the current factional balance of power in Iran. On 21 October 2014, Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi-Kani passed away, leaving a vacuum at the top of one of Iran’s most influential but little known centers of power, the Assembly of Experts. The race to replace this body’s general secretory is on, and who wins with what votes could be very revealing about the balance of power between the various political currents in Iran. The Assembly in Iran’s political system is an elected body responsible for selecting, monitoring, […]

    Assembly of Experts leadership race may hint at power balance in Iran
  • Senior Rouhani admin official: We are no match for IRGC construction arm

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    Published September 23, 2014 at 10:35 pm - No Comments Recent comments by Akbar Torkan, a senior official in the Hassan Rouhani administration, may indicate underlying tensions between the government and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) construction and engineering unit and how over a year since the new president’s election, the organisation retains its strong position within the Iranian state. In a recent interview with ILNA, Akbar Torkan, Secretary of the Council of Cooperation of Special and Free Zones, made statements that may be indicative of tensions between the Hassan Rouhani administration and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), at least in the economic sphere. In his statements Torkan highlighted the Persian Gulf Bridge of Gheshm Island, […]

    Senior Rouhani admin official: We are no match for IRGC construction arm
  • Higher education minister Faraji-Dana faces impeachment efforts by parliament

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    Published August 13, 2014 at 10:48 pm - No Comments Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s domestic reform program looks set to take yet another blow from conservatives, this time in parliament where an effort to impeach Minister of Education, Research, and Technology Reza Faraji-Dana is gaining momentum. According to ISNA,  51 members of the Iranian parliament have signed a letter to the speaker of the parliament Ali Larijani asking Minister of Education, Research, and Technology Reza Faraji-Dana to be brought before the parliament for an impeachment vote. Their letter lists a number of grievances, including: Re-hiring professors who were fired: This likely refers to the reinstatement of prefers who were ousted from their positions for political reasons Changing the […]

    Higher education minister Faraji-Dana faces impeachment efforts by parliament
  • Interview – IranPolitik w/ IranWire on Iran-Syria relations

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    Published July 17, 2014 at 2:27 am - No Comments IranPolitik co-founder and managing editor Farzan Sabet recently conducted an interview with IranWire on Iran-Syria relations and Iran’s role in the Syrian civil war. The interview can be found on IranWire, with excerpts below: “When Arab Spring protests reached Syria in 2011, Iran took a similar approach to Syria. “Iranian elites took a wait and see position,” says Farzan Sabet, managing editor of the website IranPolitik and author of The Islamic Republic’s Political Elite & Syria. “One early position they took was to distinguish what was happening in Syria from the Arab Spring, which they labelled an “Islamic Awakening” inspired by Iran’s own Islamic Revolution.” Iranian press reports, he says, suggest there may […]

    Interview – IranPolitik w/ IranWire on Iran-Syria relations
  • New wave of “reforms” hitting political science in Iran causes uproar among scholars

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    Published July 6, 2014 at 6:30 pm - One Comment Recent planned reforms to Islamise political science in Iran has professors in an uproar and afraid that the discipline will be irrevocably damaged. In a recent interview with Tasnim News Agency Manouchehr Mohammadi, head of the political science group at the Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute, laid out the proposed plan for reforming the political science discipline in Iran. Mohammadi completed his graduate work at the University Wisconsin-Madison and the University of South Carolina in international relations (IR). the Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute which employs Mohammadi is headed by the arch-conservative Ayatollah Mohammad-Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, who is also the nominal head of the hardline principalist Persevering […]

    New wave of “reforms” hitting political science in Iran causes uproar among scholars

Iran communication ministry’s terrifying proposals for changing Iranian cyberspace

December 18, 2014 in Iran Cyber Front, News

Iranian Internet users could soon be forced to give up their online anonymity and restricted to content based on their professional identity, if proposals by Iran’s communication ministry is realised. However, these attempts by the Islamic Republic to master cyberspace and control what Iranian users do there may be doomed to failure in the long-term. Introduction At the sidelines of the National Gathering for Improving Administrative Health, which dealt with corruption in government, Ministry of Communication and Information Mahmoud Vaezi made remarks about changes Iranian Internet users could soon face in how they operate online. Vaezi intimated that Iranian users would no longer be able to go online anonymously, […]

Hassan Rouhani all but accuses IRGC of accumulating power & corruption

December 11, 2014 in Ayatollah's Praetorians, News

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has always been a key center of power in the Islamic Republic of Iran, helping the young revolutionary regime consolidate power in 1979 as an Islamic militia and mobilising millions of people for the Iran-Iraq War as a military force from 1980-1988. In the post-war era it has continued to grow, and like the manticore of Persian mythology has become a multifaceted entity consisting of appendages that resemble a military, police force, intelligence agency, economic cartel, and media empire, to name just a few. While its growing power and centrality in the Iranian state is undeniable, the true extent of its power […]

Could “maverick” representative Ali Motahari be thrown out of parliament – or worse?

December 5, 2014 in Analysis, News

On 29 November 2014, hardline conservative representative Javad Karimi Ghodoosi from the Persevering Front of the Islamic Revolution (PFIR) threatened that Iran’s parliament could consider reviewing the status of moderate conservative representative Ali Motahari and, if they found him unfit, to revoke his certificate (etebarname) to sit in parliament. It remains unclear how serious Ghodoosi’s proposal is and whether a conservative dominated parliament will be willing to carry out such an action. At the same time, Motahari has emerged as an iconoclastic figure of sorts by, among other things, being a strong supporter of President Hassan Rouhani among conservatives, seriously questioning the ongoing house arrest of Green Movement […]

How much leverage does Iran really have in nuclear negotiations?

November 29, 2014 in Analysis

Introduction In the wake of the extension of the Joint Plan of Action (JPoA) for another seven months by the P5+1 (the United Nations Security Council permanent five members plus Germany) and Iran in Vienna on 24 November, many have started to think about how the remaining time could play out and which side holds the greater leverage in talks in the months ahead. A number of distinguished former American officials, scholars, and pundits view Iran as holding the upper hand. Aaron David Miller over at Foreign Policy declared that “Washington would like to believe it has a lot more leverage over Tehran than it really does,” in […]

Younesi downplay’s Rouhani administration’s authority to end house-arrest of Mousavi and Karroubi

November 12, 2014 in Analysis, News

The continued house arrest of Mousavi and Karroubi highlight the “great divide” in Iranian politics, whereby President Hassan Rouhani is able to advance his non-confrontational foreign policy in nuclear negotiations but finds himself at pains to make advances in domestic politics. Iran’s less than stellar performance before the United Nations Human Rights Council, led by Supreme Council for Human Rights secretary Mohammad-Javad Larijani, during the periodical review this past 31 October 2014 highlights the country’s deteriorating human rights situation. This deterioration under President Hassan Rouhani, who made improvements in the area of human rights a key plank of his campaign, has been repeatedly noted on our website as […]

Ashura’s contested meaning in Iran

November 6, 2014 in Analysis, News

For Iranian Shi’a, Ashura has a diversity of meanings. Photo: Asr-e Ashura (“Eve of Ashura”), by Mahmoud Farchian. It is Muharram in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a time when Iranian Shi’a will be mourning the martyrdom of Imam Hossein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed and son of Imam Ali, and the third Imam of Shi’a Islam, at the Battle of Kerbala. The centrality of Ashu’ra to Iran’s Islamic political system is apparent not only from the role it plays in doctrine and the history of the Islamic Revolution, but also in the public discourse and spectacle of the regime. The regime leadership all the way down to ordinary […]

Iran human rights chief talks Internet, compares filter-evaders to thieves

October 29, 2014 in Iran Cyber Front, News

The secretary of the Islamic Republic’s judiciary human rights staff gives insight into regime views of the Internet and its future in Iran. Mohammad-Javad Larijani, the secretary of the judiciary human rights staff, recently gave an illuminating interview on the Internet in Iran which may be indicative of key aspects of the Islamic Republic’s approach to cyberspace. As the head of the Institute of Research in Fundamental Sciences (IPM), which was the first center in Iran to be connected to the Internet in the early 1990s, Larijani scoffed at accusations of “being against the Internet”, saying that it did not apply to him. However, he did raise two […]

Assembly of Experts leadership race may hint at power balance in Iran

October 23, 2014 in Analysis, News

The race for the leadership of Iran’s Assembly of Experts is on. Who wins with what votes may tell us much about the current factional balance of power in Iran. On 21 October 2014, Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi-Kani passed away, leaving a vacuum at the top of one of Iran’s most influential but little known centers of power, the Assembly of Experts. The race to replace this body’s general secretory is on, and who wins with what votes could be very revealing about the balance of power between the various political currents in Iran. The Assembly in Iran’s political system is an elected body responsible for selecting, monitoring, […]

Haddad-Adel, Soft War, and the Islamic Republic’s generational divide

October 18, 2014 in Analysis, News, Soft War

At the inauguration of the Toranjestan-e Behesht, a store selling Iranian and Islamic cultural products, senior parliamentarian Gholam-Hossein Haddad-Adel discussed the Islamic Republic’s growing generational divide, its implications for the regime, and how to address it. It is an understatement to say that the generation of Iranians who made the Iranian and later Islamic Revolution differ in outlook from their children, who are sometimes referred to as the “burnt-out generation” (nasl-e sookht-e). Broadly speaking, the former came of age during a period of rapidly rising material affluence under Shah Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi but were more interested in grand political ideologies and tended to be more idealistic in their outlook. […]

Sadegh Kharazi and Iranian Reformism 2.0

October 9, 2014 in Analysis, News

A group led by foreign policy establishment figure Sadegh Kharazi is trying to revive the fortunes of the reformist movement, albeit in a new form. Amidst all of the turmoil of Iranian domestic politics and foreign policy issues in the center of the international media spotlight today, an attempt by a group of reformists to revive their political current, which has largely fallen outside of the mainstream of Iranian politics since the end of the Green Movement demonstrations, has gone relatively unnoticed. This revival effort has been led by Sadegh Kharazi, among the few reformists in Iran’s senior foreign policy establishment. Kharazi, an accomplished diplomat, has served as […]