Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated, Iranian-American political scientist. He is a leading expert on Iran and US foreign policy, a businessman and president of the International American Council. He serves on the boards of the Harvard International Review, the Harvard International Relations Council and the US-Middle East Chamber for Commerce and Business. Twitter: @Dr_Rafizadeh
Iran’s politicians and state-owned news outlets will dedicate significant coverage this week to the commemoration of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who died on June 3, 1989
Some policy analysts and governments are calling on the US to pursue the negotiations path with the Iranian regime, while President Donald Trump has offered to open talks with the regime’s leaders on several occasions.
It is a common misconception that since Iran’s theocratic establishment is Shiite, it will not cooperate with non-Shiite terrorist groups and militias. For example, some policy analysts, scholars and politicians continue to promote the argument that Tehran and Al-Qaeda are not natural allies due to their religious differences. Analyses that view the Iranian regime solely through the prism of religion are extremely simplistic.
When it comes to the Trump administration’s policies on Iran, one of the core objectives is to reduce Tehran’s oil exports. In fact, the White House is planning to drive Iran’s crude exports to zero. This idea was first publicly announced last month by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who emphasized that the US had “made clear our seriousness of purpose: We are going to zero"
Only two weeks after designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization, the Trump administration also announced that it would no longer allow waivers for the purchase of Iranian oil after the current ones expire in May.
Sanctions leveled by the US on the Iranian government’s military institution — the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its affiliates — as well as the banking system and the oil sector are placing significant pressure on the Islamic Republic.
The official death toll from recent massive flooding in Iran stands at around 77, but it is more likely that well over 250 people have been killed by the disaster and as a result of bungled relief efforts.
One important indicator that can show whether a political establishment is competent and efficient in governing a country is to examine the way it responds to, manages and controls domestic emergencies and crises.