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
The Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, whose administration is characterized as a moderate one, has frequently called for improving ties with the West, as well as encouraging skilled Iranians abroad to return to Iran.
Many Iranian politicians, state-controlled TV outlets and Persian newspapers dedicated a significant amount of time to covering or commentating on the recent Middle Eastern tour by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which included visits to Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman.
The 40th anniversary of the departure of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi from Iran is marked on Wednesday. When the last king of Iran, his family and loyalists fled the country on Jan. 16, 1979, it not only marked the end of the Pahlavi dynasty.
While some politicians continue to advocate in favor of the Islamic Republic, it has become clear that the Iranian regime has in recent years been putting significant efforts into plotting assassinations and attacks on foreign soil.
Iran’s current efforts to increase its influence in Lebanon have not been adequately addressed by the international community and some media outlets. For almost seven months, Lebanon has been struggling to form a government. The political deadlock forced Lebanese President Michel Aoun to intervene.
Iran’s expansionist policies have attracted significant attention from some media outlets, politicians and scholars. The regime’s military adventurism in the region has been mainly carried out by the senior cadre of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), its elite branch the Quds Force and Tehran’s proxies, militias and terrors groups across the Middle East.
When Iran’s mullahs set up the Islamic Republic in 1979, the pillars of its foreign policy were opposition to the West (particularly the US), anti-Semitism, and asymmetrical warfare by funding, training and arming terrorist groups and militias to act as proxies.
For whatever reason, or however unreasonably, there are apparently some circles that are still prepared to close their eyes to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s human rights abuses, aggressive military expansionism, sponsorship of terrorism and cyber warfare in favor of “constructive dialogue.”
The human rights situation has been deteriorating to an unprecedented level in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This highlights the empowerment of the hard-line judiciary system and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) under the so-called moderate administration of President Hassan Rouhani.
UN experts have recently shared a report with the organization’s Security Council that describes in detail how the Iranian regime has been cooperating with and assisting an Al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group.
Iran is turning Syria into another Iraq. This means that, even after Bashar Assad regains control of the remaining territories, and even after the Syrian civil war comes to an end, the senior cadre of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its elite group, the Quds Force, which carries out covert and overt operations beyond Iran’s borders, will continue to have a decisive role in Syria’s military operations.
When it comes to Iran’s opposition and dissidents, the regime has long been investing significant political and financial capital in running covert disinformation campaigns, propagating fake news, and misleading the public, both domestically and globally.
Last week, two Iranians were arrested and indicted in the US for allegedly spying for the Iranian regime. The United States Federal Court charged Ahmadreza Mohammadi Doostdar, 38, in Chicago and, Majid Ghorbani, 59, in California.