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Shoigu in Tehran: Prospects for Russia-Iran Defense Cooperation in 2015

January 24, 2015 in Analysis, News

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s recent visit to Tehran was carefully observed by leaders in Washington and E.U. capitals. The mutual challenges of the Syrian civil war, Western economic sanctions, and a precipitous drop in oil prices have brought Russia and Iran closer together than at nearly any point in recent memory. Yet will potential translate to an actual improvement in relations and expansion of cooperation, especially in the defense field? The IranPolitik editorial team join with guest contributor Anton Evstratov to discuss Shoigu’s visit to Tehran and the prospects for greater Russia-Iran defense cooperation in 2015. On 12 January 2014, guest contributor Anton Evstratov discussed the possibility […]

Oil price crash: A “second sanction” on Iran

January 17, 2015 in Analysis, News

Senior Iranian leaders are increasingly pessimistic about their country’s immediate economic future, and have lashed out against Persian Gulf crude oil producers like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait for an alleged price conspiracy against Iran. But will economic pain be enough to convince Iran to make the necessary nuclear concessions to move negotiations with the P5+1 toward a successful conclusion? Grim economic outlook For Iran’s usually defiant leaders, recent economic news has injected a harsh dose of reality about the country’s economic situation and raised questions about how well Iran will fare if negotiations with the P5+1 – the five permanent members of the United […]

The Ukraine crisis & Russia-Iran relations: Could Iran soon get the S-300?

January 12, 2015 in Analysis, News

By Anton Evstratov The previously frozen Russian contract to supply the Islamic Republic of Iran with S-300 air defence systems may now be able to advance, thanks in part to the West’s conflict with Russia over Ukraine and Western-backed economic sanctions. If Russia was ready for constructive cooperation with the United States and its allies under President Dmitri Medvedev, who conceded to Washington and Tel Aviv’s request to abandon weapons sales to Iran, President Vladimir Putin, pressed to the wall by Western economic sanctions, may now reconsider the decision of his predecessor. The renewal of the frozen contract was first mentioned after the election of Vladimir Putin as […]

Rouhani calls for end to economy subsidising Iran’s adventurous foreign policy

January 5, 2015 in Analysis, News

In one of his most important speeches to date, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for a reversal of the current situation in which the economy subsidises politics, critiquing hardline conservative approaches to Iranian foreign policy and possibly hinting at a referendum on his policies in this regard. He also declared that state and quasi-state economic foundations close to the country’s conservative establishment should be taxed and more transparent. Following in the wake of his 9 Dey speech, in which he appeared to distance himself from the Green Movement, this speech may be yet another sign that the Rouhani administration is, at least for the time being, continuing […]

Mir-Hossein Mousavi Speaks

December 31, 2014 in Analysis, News

Recent statements by former Iranian prime minister and Green Movement leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi and President Hassan Rouhani have raised questions about whether the president will be able to fulfill campaign promise of ending the Green Movement leaders’ house arrest, and whether he is moving in a direction that may alienate his reformist supporters. Mousavi’s words from house arrest On 27 December 2014 Kalame, the website associated with former prime minister and Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Mousavi who has been under house arrest since 2010, released a letter which is said to have been written by him. In the letter Mousavi stood firmly by his actions in leading […]

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 […]

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 […]