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Ban on media coverage of ex-president Khatami highlights ongoing tensions in Iran

March 3, 2015 in Analysis, News

The judiciary’s ban on media coverage of Khatami, a former president of the Islamic Republic, is only the latest episode which highlights the ‘great divide’ in Iran. On 16 January 2015, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, the current prosecutor general and a former intelligence minister under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, stated in a press conference that Iran’s judiciary had issued an order to ban the publication of the name and image of the head of the reformist administration, by which he meant Mohammad Khatami: “And about those who the Supreme National Security Council has decided or the judiciary considers them to be among the leaders of the sedition [Iranian conservatives term for the […]

Hashemi-Rafsanjani tries to stir public interest in 2016 Assembly of Experts elections

February 22, 2015 in Analysis, News

The Assembly of Expert (AoE) has not historically been a majour center for political contestation in Iran. This may be changing as questions about the country’s next supreme leader emerge and some in the regime try to generate public interest in the upcoming 2016 AoE election. Introduction The Assembly of Experts in Iran’s political system is an elected body responsible for selecting, monitoring, and removing the supreme leader. It has 86 members, who serve for eight years (unlike the four year election cycles for the presidency, parliament, and city and village councils), all of whom are faghih or Shi’a jurists educated in religious seminaries and practicing Islamic jurisprudence. […]

Iran Expediency Council policy bans participation of security forces in elections

February 17, 2015 in Ayatollah's Praetorians, News

On Saturday 14 February the Expediency Discernment Council, an appointed body which has supervisory authority over the branches of Iran’s government and an advisory role to the supreme leader, met to discuss and approve general election policies. Those in attendance included the council’s head, Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, President Hassan Rouhani, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, Minister of the Interior Abdol-Reza Rahmani-Fazli, Minister of Intelligence Mahmoud Alavi, and Minister of Justice Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, among others. The outcome of the session included general points on improving elections which were largely unremarkable, except perhaps for the final article which called for the: “Banning Armed Forces personnel, including Army, IRGC, Police, and […]

Khamenei and Obama spar over sequencing of nuclear negotiations

February 10, 2015 in News, Nuclear File

Iran’s supreme leader has criticised the division of the final round of P5+1-Iran nuclear negotiations into a two phases, the first of which will seek a general political agreement (ending in March), and a second which will seek a technical and implementation agreement (ending in June). Does he smell a sanctions trap? Introduction During a speech to Army Air Force officers on 08 February 2015 on the occasion of Air Force Day, which celebrates the anniversary of the 1979 uprising of Air Force Homafaran officers who helped precipitate the collapse of the Iranian monarchy, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made interesting and rare detailed remarks on the progress of P5+1-Iran nuclear […]

The IRGC’s “Operation Spider” strikes at alleged cyber-criminals

February 4, 2015 in Analysis, News

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has cast a wide-net in its fight against cyber-crime, going after individuals with social media pages for alleged cultural misdeeds. Yet in the Islamic Republic’s war against what it sees as anti-Iranian-Islamic activities, the regime may be fighting a losing battle. On Saturday 30 January 2015, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Center for Investigation of Organised Cyber Crimes put out a press-release about a recent operation on social networks, namely Facebook. According to the press release, the IRGC was able to “identify and arrest some of the most important elements and active social networks on the Internet who have a mission to […]

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 […]