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  • Author: Keir Giles
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College
  • Abstract: This monograph, completed ahead of the November 2014 deadline, examines some of the underlying factors which will be constant in dealing with a nuclear capable Iran under President Hassan Rouhani, and which will help determine the success or failure of talks in 2015. It analyzes Rouhani's eventful first year in office in order to provide pointers to what may be possible—and to some key limiting factors—for Iran under his leadership. During that time, Rouhani has been forced to balance his own progressive instincts with the instinctual caution of more conservative elements of the Iranian ruling elite. As a result, foreign hopes for his influence on Iran’s place in the world have moved from initial optimism to a more sober assessment of the options available to him. This monograph provides an essential backdrop to the forthcoming renewed negotiations with Iran by providing an introduction to the complex interplay of issues and interests which constrain the Iranian leadership
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Treaties and Agreements, Nuclear Power, Geopolitics
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Frederick W. Kagan
  • Publication Date: 07-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: Iran's national security decision-making process is not remotely as opaque as it sometimes appears. The recent crisis in Iraq and the nuclear negotiations in Geneva have opened a fascinating window into the efforts of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to bring rival groups within his government together behind a single set of policies. He appears to have been remarkably successful in mediating tensions between President Hassan Rouhani and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps senior leaders. They have come together, at least for the moment, behind a coherent set of strategies for dealing with a number of thorny problems in Iraq, the nuclear negotiations, and even economic reforms. It remains to be seen if these accommodations will survive the current crisis, of course, but the success of Khamenei's efforts so far is impressive.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Governance, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Iran
  • Author: Rouzbeh Parsi
  • Publication Date: 04-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In the past two years the Iranian domestic political scene has undergone a major upheaval where many established norms and institutional frame-works have been abandoned or seriously weakened. A new baseline and sense of normalcy has yet to be established.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, Politics, Insurgency, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Judith S. Yaphe
  • Publication Date: 05-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for National Strategic Studies
  • Abstract: This collection of analyses on the unintended consequences of Iran's nuclear policy for its domestic and international relations is the first in a series of papers that will examine the impact of critical issues and developments on key countries in the Greater Middle East and on U.S. security interests. Succeeding papers will identify similar emerging issues in Turkey, Iraq, Yemen, and the Persian Gulf region. For the most part, the papers will represent the independent research and opinions of academic scholars and regional experts prepared for and presented at the National Defense University.
  • Topic: Nuclear Weapons, Politics, Weapons of Mass Destruction, International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Central Asia, Turkey, Middle East, Yemen
  • Author: Karim Sadjadpour
  • Publication Date: 06-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Karim Sadjadpour, a leading Iranian analyst who worked for four years in Iran for the International Crisis Group, says that given the "unprecedented" scale of protests in Iran over the presidential election results, "it's very difficult to see how the status quo ante could prevail no matter what happens." However, he believes the United States should continue trying to stay out of the political infighting in Iran. "This is extremely delicate and the situation is so dynamic," Sadjadpour says. "We clearly have to be on the right side of history here, but if we try to insert ourselves into the momentous internal Iranian drama that's unfolding we may unwittingly undermine those whom we're trying to strengthen."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Political Violence, Islam, Politics, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: America, Iran
  • Author: Nermeen Shaikh
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: Ambassador Javad Zarif presented his credentials as the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran on 5 August 2002 to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Dr. Zarif is a career diplomat and has served in different senior positions in the Iranian Foreign Ministry and at various international organizations. His responsibility from 1992 until his appointment as Permanent Represetative was Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Daniel Flemes
  • Publication Date: 06-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Since March 2006 Brazil has been the ninth country to control the full nuclear fuel cycle. While the U.S. government bashes the uranium enrichment activities in Iran, it has come to an arrangement with the uranium enrichment in its backyard after transitional diplomatic tensions. As signer of the Non-Proliferation Treaty Brazil has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful use. This article focuses on the political motives and objectives connected with the domination of this key technology. Brasilia has been striving for regional leadership and participation in international decision making processes. In historical perspective the Brazilian enrichment procedure marks the liberation from the technological U.S. dependence. Brazil seems to be on the way to establish itself as a civil nuclear power in international relations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Energy Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Brazil, South America
  • Author: Luke Patey
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Since its revolutionary birth in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran has had a turbulent existence in international relations. From the US hostage crisis to the Iran-Iraq War to the current provocative development of its nuclear program, the short history of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been characterized by its volatile foreign politics. In fact, this is a feature very much resemblant of the country's tumultuous past, born from both its immense energy resources and its geo-strategic location. Regardless if Iran was under the rule of a Shah or the ultimate power of an Ayatollah, since the discovery of oil in the early 1900s, Iran's generous natural endowments have created an intimate link between itself and geopolitical competition.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran
  • Author: Robert M. Gates, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Susan Maloney
  • Publication Date: 07-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Twenty-five years after its Islamic revolution, Iran represents a challenge and an opportunity for the United States. The issues at stake reflect the urgent and multifaceted dilemmas of U.S. security in the post–9/11 era: nuclear proliferation, state support of terrorism, the relationship between religion and politics, and the imperative of political and economic reform in the Middle East. At this time, as Iraq—Iran's neighbor and historic adversary—embarks on a difficult transition to post-conflict sovereignty, and as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) extends its scrutiny of Iranian nuclear activities, Iran looms large on the U.S. policy agenda. Recognizing this relevance to vital U.S. interests, the Task Force advocates selectively engaging with Iran to address critical U.S. concerns.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 05-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Oil-rich Azerbaijan, which borders Iran, Turkey and Russia and is still scarred from its defeat by Armenia ten years ago, gives cause for both hope and concern. The October 2003 election of Ilham Aliyev to the presidency that his late-father, Heydar, had held almost from independence, highlighted the stark choices which now face the country. Its government is a carefully designed autocratic system, which the father and former Soviet-era politburo member began to construct in the late 1960 s, with heavy reliance on family and clan members, oil revenues and patronage.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Turkey, Eastern Europe, Armenia, Azerbaijan
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Shirin Ebadi, a courageous human rights lawyer, has focused renewed attention on the deep divisions and tensions within Iran. How these work out, and how Iran defines its role in the world, will have a critical impact on a range of wider security issues, from Iraq and Afghanistan to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the future of nuclear non-proliferation.
  • Topic: Security, Demographics, Development, Economics, Politics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, Arabia
  • Publication Date: 10-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The announcement on 21 October 2003 of an agreement between Iran on the one hand and Britain, France and Germany on the other, is an important and welcome step in resolving the controversy surrounding Tehran's nuclear program. But it would be wrong to assume that it ends it. The challenge now is to use the breathing space provided by the agreement to tackle the questions – about its implementation, the future of Iran's uranium enrichment activities and Iran's own security concerns – that, for the time being, it has deferred.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Arms Control and Proliferation, Government, Nuclear Weapons, Politics
  • Political Geography: Britain, Iran, France, Arabia, Germany
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Tucked away in a handful of villages in a remote pocket of Iraqi Kurdistan, a small group of radical Islamist fighters has been accused of being the Kurdish offspring of the al-Qaeda network, and thus has become a fresh target in the international war on terrorism. To compensate for its limited reach and popularity, this group, called Ansar al-Islam (Partisans of Islam), has built on tenuous regional alliances to survive in the harsh mountainous environment above the town of Halabja in northwestern Iraq, just shy of the border with Iran. These alliances have enhanced its role as a minor spoiler in predominantly secular Kurdish politics in the Suleimaniyeh governorate.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Arabia, Kurdistan
  • Author: Slobodan Pajovic
  • Publication Date: 02-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas
  • Abstract: This working paper deals with the complex, turbulent and contradictory history of the Balkans region. It is argued that the tragic realities confronting the region derive mainly from its asymmetric geopolitical, economic and cultural position, and its high degree of vulnerability and dependence on Western Europe and the Near East. It suggests that it is possible to study the history of the region by examining processes of both internal fragmentation and external subordination. While the paper cannot constitute a complete or systematic study of the Balkans, it presents and overview of the most salient features in the region's historical, politico-economic and cultural development. Two case studies, Yugoslavia and Kosovo, help to highlight the broader trends.
  • Topic: Economics, Human Welfare, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 10-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: This background report reviews the mechanics of Saddam Hussein's rule, looks at the political dynamics that govern relations between religious and ethnic entities, and describes the various opposition groups and their potential role. It does not seek to predict the course of events in Iraq or to argue for any particular course of action. This is the first in a series of reports and briefing papers that ICG intends to issue on the challenges posed by Iraq, including the state of the country more than a decade after the Gulf War; regional attitudes toward a possible U.S. military offensive; the status of Iraqi Kurdistan; and Iran's posture toward a U.S.-led war and Iraq after Saddam Hussein.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Iran, Arab Countries, Kurdistan
  • Publication Date: 08-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Iran is at a crossroads. More than two decades after the revolution that swept Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini into power, its people and leaders are deeply torn about the country's future. The outcome of the struggle for the revolution's soul will resonate across the Middle East and have major implications both strategically and for ongoing efforts to curb violence, including terrorism, in the region. The internal struggle is fluid and unstable. While the notion of a clear-cut battle pitting conservatives against reformers is appealing, it does not do justice to the reality. There are divisions within both camps and connections between them; indeed, some actors may be “conservative” on certain issues and “reformers” on others. Likewise, the idea that Iran's rulers can be dismissed en bloc as obstacles to reform overlooks the genuine differences that exist regarding the proper role of religion, democracy, social norms, economics and foreign policy. The complexity of Iran's domestic situation makes it all the more difficult – but also imperative – for the international community to exercise caution, properly fine-tune its actions and anticipate their impact.
  • Topic: Security, Economics, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, Arab Countries
  • Author: Dr. Magnus Ranstorp
  • Publication Date: 06-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence, St. Andrews University, Scotland
  • Abstract: This article contains a careful description and analysis of the transformation of' Hizballah from a small rag-tag militia, skillfully combining terrorist and guerrilla warfare techniques with effective social action on the local level during the chaos of Lebanon's civil war, to a formidable, legitimate political, military and social force on the Lebanese scene in the 1990's, in what has been described as its 'Lebanonization' process. This so-called 'Lebanonization' process of Hizballah has become a trademark of the movement. It is visible in the close interrelationship between its political, social, and military activity which has extended its opportunities. It shows an ability to exercise pragmatic judgement within the conditions and limitations imposed on it by Syria's agenda and within the confessional nature of Lebanon's political make-up. It also demonstrates the limits of Hizballah's manoeuvring within the framework of the wider Iranian- Syrian relationship and the limits to its ability in presenting itself as an alternative oppositional force amidst sectarian politics and Syrian hegemony. Hizballah strongly emphasizes that it is entirely Lebanese in character rather than a foreign entity directed by Iran in order to reinforce its internal legitimacy within Lebanon.
  • Topic: Human Welfare, Politics, Terrorism, War
  • Political Geography: Iran, Lebanon, Syria