Learning from the Past in the Iranian Nuclear Dispute

by Tytti Erästö | published April 16, 2014

The controversy over the Iranian nuclear program is in many ways a product of the US-Iranian conflict. The United States and Iran are in the grip of mutual negative perceptions that, in turn, have been reinforced by the escalatory dynamics of the nuclear dispute. After years of seeming diplomatic deadlock, these dynamics suddenly changed for the better in the autumn of 2013. The positive trends culminated in November, when Iran agreed with the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany, the so-called P5+1, on a confidence-building deal known as the Joint Plan of Action (JPA). Given the record of diplomatic non-achievement, the deal is a historic development.

In-Laws and Outlaws

by Darryl Li | published March 26, 2014 - 1:38pm

A jury today convicted on all counts Sulayman Abu Ghayth, a Kuwaiti preacher who made televised statements in support of al-Qaeda shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001. As expected, war-on-terror liberals are seizing upon the outcome as proof that civilian courts are a superior alternative to military tribunals at Guantánamo. On Friday I blogged about some of the legal issues raised by the case and how it fits into broader US detention policies. Civilian trials are undoubtedly preferable to kangaroo courts at Guantánamo in principle and one hopes that the administration uses this verdict to finally close the prison in Cuba.

The Diplomatic Dance with Iran

by Chris Toensing | published March 26, 2014

A six-month diplomatic dance with Iran is underway—each step as dainty as a minuet because any misstep is weighted with danger.

The issue is Iran’s nuclear research program and the UN inspections that are taking place as a result. And while each side has its own agenda, they’re suspicious of the other’s motives.

Nowruz Mobarak

by The Editors | published March 20, 2014 - 3:04pm

It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter across much of the globe, so we thought we’d do something to celebrate spring.

Nowruz is the traditional Persian new year’s holiday, observed in Iran, Afghanistan, Kurdish lands and beyond where Persian culture has had an influence. A pre-Islamic holiday, Nowruz marks the vernal equinox, the moment at which the day and night are exactly equal in length, and when subsequent days in the northern hemisphere will be longer than nights. Iranians celebrate Nowruz with visits to close friends and family, as well as a haft-sen (seven S), a table laid with items symbolizing spring and beginning with the letter S.

The Battle Over Higher Education in Iran

by Mohammad Ali Kadivar | published February 20, 2014

The educated middle class that played an influential role in electing Hassan Rouhani to the Iranian presidency in June 2013 is anxious to see his promises of “prudence and hope” fulfilled. One area that Rouhani’s administration is expected to reform is higher education, which was targeted for political and intellectual purges under the hardline conservative administrations of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Handshakes in Geneva

by The Editors | published November 30, 2013

Everyone is happy with the interim agreement reached with Iran in Geneva on November 23 -- that is, everyone who really wants to defuse the tensions over Iran’s nuclear research program.

Keddie, Religion and Politics in Iran

by Eric Hooglund
published in MER125

Nikki Keddie, Religion and Politics in Iran: Shiism from Quietism to Revolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1983).

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Rafsanjani Discusses Timing of Next Iranian Offensive

published in MER125

Excerpts from the Friday prayer speech of Hojjat-ol-Islam Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, the Imam’s representative to the Supreme Defense Council, and Speaker of the Majles, broadcast on Tehran radio, July 6, 1984.

Chronicle of the Gulf War

published in MER125

The war between Iran and Iraq is approaching its fourth anniversary. In its duration, large numbers of casualties and physical damage, this war already ranks as one of the most serious armed conflicts since World War II. Several Iranian cities and numerous towns have been destroyed, and the city of Basra, Iraq’s second largest, has been under serious threat for a year or more. Both countries have extensive industrial and oil exporting facilities in the war zone which have been heavily damaged in the fighting. Economic losses in both countries are calculated in many tens of billions of dollars. Iran claimed in May 1983 that it had suffered $90 billion in economic damages.

Kapuscinski, Shah of Shahs

by Fred Halliday
published in MER141

 

Ryszard Kapuscinski, Shah of Shahs (San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1985).