Deciphering Tehran: Iranian Politics, Factions and Competition

Riccardo Redaelli, director of the Middle East Program at the Landau Network—Centro Volta, will join us for a discussion on isolation, engagement, and political factions and currents in Iran. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, William Burns is due to join international envoys who are meeting with senior Iranian officials on Saturday to discuss issues of concern. The meeting comes at a time of mixed signals from Iran, reflecting the complex factional politics in Tehran. Ehteshami argues Iran’s complex elite structure is divided between three distinct political camps: conservative, reformist, and neoconservative. These groupings are not just elite-based. Iran remains a deeply polarized society some quarter of a century after the revolution, with a significant part of the civilian populace supporting the slogans of the neoconservatives regarding the redistribution of wealth, elimination of poverty, rooting out of corruption, and protecting the Islamic nature of the state. What are the current political trends inside Iran’s leadership? What are Tehran’s interests? What implications does this have for US options towards Iran?

“Security for a New Century” is a bipartisan study group for Congress. We meet regularly with U.S. and international policy professionals to discuss the post-Cold War and post-9/11 security environment.This briefing is part of the US and Iran series in partnership with the US Institute of Peace. All discussions are off-the-record. It is not an advocacy venue. Please call (202) 223-5956 for more information.

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