Deciphering Iran

Dr. Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow
at Council on Foreign Relations, discusses regime dynamics and
political developments in Iran. The March 2007 capture and then release
of 15 British sailors and Marines suggests that competition between
different centers of power in Iran is raging. The decisions to seize
and then free the sailors reflect the conflicting interests and
strategies of actors spanning from the radical wing led by President
Ahmadinejad to more pragmatic decisionmakers such as Ali Larijani of
the National Security Council and former President Rasfanjani. The
fractious politics of Iran often paralyze effective decisionmaking but
can also provide opportunities for engaging Tehran. Seen from the
outside, however, Iran has traditionally been viewed as a monolithic
enigma, controlled by a fundamentalist clerical oligarchy. This
perception of Iranian politics often prevents a more constructive
approach to the Iranian challenge. Today, Iran stands at the center of
two long-term US national security concerns
– Iran’s nuclear
capabilities and ambitions, and the ongoing war in Iraq. What effect
have recent events (including international diplomacy, UN sanctions and
the British sailors episode) had on Iranian politics? What is the state
of the Iranian economy and what does this affect the regime’s behavior?
How has Iran’s behavior toward the international community and its
immediate neighborhood evolved in recent times? And what does the
British sailors episode tell us about Iranian politics?

Choose Your Subscription Topics
* indicates required
I'm interested in...
38 North: News and Analysis on North Korea
South Asian Voices