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Faraji-Dana’s impeachment and the ‘great divide’ in Iranian politics

August 21, 2014 in Analysis, News

Minister of Science, Research, and Technology Reza Faraji-Dana, seen as being among the most reformist figures in President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet, has been impeached by the Iranian parliament over his efforts to reform the higher education system in Iran. While this is by no means the end of Rouhani’s domestic reform project, the president and Faraji-Dana’s handling of the affair does not bode well for the future of this project. This episode highlights the “great divide” in Iranian politics in which there is a tentative regime consensus on moderating foreign policy, especially in nuclear negotiations with the West, no consensus exists on introducing domestic reforms on the pressing […]

Higher education minister Faraji-Dana faces impeachment efforts by parliament

August 13, 2014 in Analysis, News

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 […]

Ghalibaf’s segregation plan and Rouhani’s isolation on the domestic front

August 11, 2014 in Analysis, News

A recent controversy involving Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf and his municipality’s plans to segregate male and female work-places has created a new battle for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The latter was elected on a platform of resolving the nuclear crisis, improving Iran’s economy, and expanding domestic social, political, and cultural freedoms, and while he has had successes on the first two issues, the conflict with Ghalibaf shows that success on the third eludes him yet. In July 2014 it was revealed that the municipality of Tehran, run by the conservative leaning Mayor Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf, had decided to segregate male and female offices. Supporters and detractors of President Hassan […]

Iranian Deputy FM denies military involvement in Iraq, lashes out against Kurdish secession

July 8, 2014 in News

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, speaking with the Arabic language Al-Alam news network, denied any Iranian military involvement in Iraq or cooperation with the United States there, came out strong against Kurdish succession, and criticized the Saudi role the conflict. In a recent interview with the Arabic language Al-Alam news network, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian laid out the Islamic Republic of Iran’s official position on the ongoing crisis in Iraq. He strongly refuted claims suggesting that Iran had military advisers in Iraq, saying that rumours about Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Jerusalem Force (JC) commander Majour General […]

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

July 6, 2014 in News, Soft War

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 […]

Ali Motahari casts doubt on prospect for Green Movement leaders’ release

July 2, 2014 in Analysis, News

According to maverick parliamentarian Ali Motahari we should not expect Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavar to be released from house arrest anytime soon. Motahari, in an interview with Khabar Online, said that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told him in a recent meeting that the leaders of the Green Movement have been treated gently given the gravity of their actions and, if taken before a court, could expect a severe sentence. Recent comments by maverick Iranian parliamentarian Ali Motahari may dash hopes that Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard will be released from house arrest anytime soon. […]

Three snapshots of how Rouhani’s domestic reform agenda is being stopped in its tracks

June 27, 2014 in Analysis, News

Even as EU3+3-Iran nuclear negotiations advance and some progress is made on the core issues, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s domestic reform agendas continues to face obstacles, even from conservatives who ostensibly support his handling of nuclear talks. This past week three snapshots of contemporary politics in Iran help show that while President Hassan Rouhani has been able to advance his foreign policy initiative of resolving the nuclear crisis in the framework of the EU3+-Iran nuclear negotiations with broad support from across the Iranian political spectrum, he is facing persistent obstacles on his domestic reform agenda. Sadegh Zibakalam sentenced to 18 months in prison University of Tehran Professor Sadegh […]

IRGC dep-com Salami: Our management must be rejuvenated

June 24, 2014 in Analysis, Ayatollah's Praetorians, News

In recent comments, IRGC Deputy Commander Majour-General Hossein Salami discussed the need for his organization to rejuvenate its management to better meet future challenges. As the Islamic Republic of Iran’s premier national security body, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) derives much of its effectiveness as an organization from its strong corporate identity and cohesiveness. This is in large part derived from the joys and agonies of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). This is especially true in the senior ranks of the IRGC officer corps today, where many current leaders served in field commands side-by-side in the trenches. Over the course of eight bloody […]

Ali Saeedi on the media attacks on Rouhani and IRGC’s role in the economy

June 12, 2014 in Analysis, Ayatollah's Praetorians, News

In recent comments Ali Saeedi, representative of the supreme leader to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), appeared to acknowledge Islamic Republic of Iran Armed Forces Chief of Staff Majour-General Hassan Firouzabadi’s statements admonishing IRGC-linked media for their attacks on President Hassan Rouhani. However, this should not necessarily be seen as reflecting warming ties between Rouhani and the IRGC. At a press conference at the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) public relations center, Ali Saeedi, representative of the supreme leader to the IRGC, acknowledged comments by Islamic Republic of Iran Armed Forces Chief of Staff Majour-General Hassan Firouzabad, who recently admonished IRGC-linked media for their attacks on President […]

Rouhani’s running battle with conservatives over heaven and the afterlife

June 10, 2014 in Analysis, News

Rouhani has been engaged in a running battle with Iranian conservatives over heaven and the afterlife, just one piece of his larger conflict with them over a number of contentious domestic policy issues. The last few weeks have seen Iranian President Hassan Rouhani engage in a running battle with Iranian conservatives over heaven and the afterlife, the subtext of the whole discussion being the state’s role in enforcing religiously based laws and norms regulating people’s social and cultural lives. While Rouhani has, at least in his public rhetoric, opted for a less restrictive approach which gives greater choice to Iranian citizens, conservatives see this as the road to […]