China’s Response to the Killing of Soleimani (BESA Center)

China and Iran have a close relationship, but Beijing’s influence over Tehran is questionable. Its response to the killing of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani  offers clues to its view of its own role in the Middle East.

https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/china-soleimani-killing/

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Reformists are dispirited and hard-liners resurgent ahead of Iran’s election (ECFR)

Some elected officials in Tehran are concerned that the security forces are gaining too much control over the political decision-making process. But reformists have been stymied by missteps of their own, as well as by US policy.

https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_reformists_are_dispirited_and_hard_liners_resurgent_ahead_of_ira

Ellie Geranmayeh

Iran and Muqtada al-Sadr’s alliance against the revolution in Iraq (openDemocracy)

Iraq’s uprising is unmasking all the sectarian leaders attempting to ride the revolutionary wave.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/north-africa-west-asia/iran-and-muqtada-al-sadrs-alliance-against-the-revolution-in-iraq/

Zeidon Alkinani

Limits of the US-Iran Conflict (Valdai Discussion Club)

The US-Iran relationship seems more contradictory than any other in the modern world. Over the past few years, Washington and Tehran have moved from the settlement of a basic conflict, the lifting of sanctions and the first steps towards the resumption of diplomatic relations back to the brink of war and military attacks on each other’s vital assets. This confrontation has lasted for 40 years, which makes it one of the longest-running in modern history. For Iran, it is a birthmark of its statehood, which has a formative influence on both its foreign policy and government strategy as a whole.

https://valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/limits-of-the-us-iran-conflict/

Andrey Sushentsov

Iran’s Strategic Mistake: Too Many Enemies (BESA Center)

A photo showing an Iranian general surrounded by flags of the Islamic Republic’s proxies in Arab states illustrates that it has accumulated too many enemies—a condition that has caused many regimes throughout history to disappear. ISIS is a recent example. If the Islamic Republic persists in accumulating enemies, it might share the same fate.

https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/iran-enemies/

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A Storm in January: Implications of the Recent U.S.-Iran Crisis for the Global Order (Carnegie Moscow Center)

The U.S.-Iran crisis of January 2020 did not lead to a major war in the Middle East, but it did reveal a number of new trends reshaping the world order.

https://carnegie.ru/commentary/80963

Dmitri Trenin

Trump and Iran (Valdai Discussion Club)

President Trump’s decision to assassinate Iranian general Qassem Soleimani brought the two countries to the brink of war. Fortunately, at least for now, both pulled back. Iran’s face-saving retaliation was planned (with the probable assistance of Iraq) to hit parts of US bases that had long been abandoned, insuring no American casualties. Then both Trump and the Iranian government announced that they would take no further armed actions, although American sanctions on Iran continue an Iran still is arming and guiding proxies throughout the Middle East. 

https://valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/trump-and-iran/

Richard Lachmann

Could Chernobyl Syndrome Take Hold in Iran? (BESA Center)

The display of fundamental incompetence, followed by denial and a cover-up, that accompanied the recent shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger airliner by Iran are reminiscent of the Soviet Union’s reaction to the explosion and fire at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in 1986—a response that marked the beginning of the end of the USSR. The Tehran regime’s combination of ineptness and self-protective lying similarly triggered an unprecedented voicing of criticism by Iranian citizens, suggesting that popular rage is overcoming fear of regime violence and repression.

https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/iran-chernobyl-syndrome/

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What We Learned from the House Vote to Limit Trump’s Power to Fight Iran (Defense One)

Democrats, and some Trump allies, challenged the White House’s latest interpretation of presidential warmaking powers.

https://www.defenseone.com/politics/2020/01/what-we-learned-house-vote-limit-trumps-power-fight-iran/162782/?oref=d-river

BY KATIE BO WILLIAMS