Iran's presidential elections will take place in June against a background of crisis. The ruling elite is deeply divided, reformist leaders remain under house arrest, economic problems are mounting and the stand-off with the West over Iran's nuclear program remains unresolved. Shaul Bakhash discusses the potential candidates, the major issues and vexed question of electoral freedom that are likely to dominate the election campaign.
Iran meets with the US and five other nations in Moscow this week over its nuclear program. It is their third session in three months in the latest round of an almost decade-old attempt to answer fears that Iran seeks the bomb. Yet the two sides still have irreconcilable positions, and it is hard to see an ice-breaker towards a deal, writes Iran nuclear expert Michael Adler.
The June 26 meeting presented a reversal of the overarching conclusion of last year's conference that the election of President Ahmadinejad would not significantly affect Iran's path of reform. This underestimation was addressed with a discussion of the recent developments and trends in Iran. The first panel featured a discussion of the national political and socio-economic situation as well as a presentation on the power of the local democratic establishment in Iran. Speakers addressed the real versus perceived command capacity of President Ahmadinejad, the fruition or failure of his socio-economic policies, and the seeming reversal of local democratic reform under his administration. The second panel focused on Iran's foreign policy drivers, options, and goals. Speakers touched on Iran's historical and strategic ambitions in the Caspian region as well as its relations with Europe and the United States. They discussed Iran's attempt to secure itself economically and the strategic determinants steering the country's actions and overtures.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2013, the Middle East Program at the Wilson Center invited a cross-section of women activists, politicians, academics, and entrepreneurs to give us their views on the challenges women face to their security. This publication, “Challenges to Women’s Security in the MENA Region” includes pieces from 42 women from 20 countries including the United States, Malaysia, Indonesia, and countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region shared with us their concerns, disappointments, and hopes for women.
Iraq’s Kurdistan has signed multiple energy agreements with neighboring Turkey and is about to become an independent oil and gas exporter in defiance of Baghdad and Washington. This will provide Kurdistan, already an autonomous region within Iraq, with the financial and economic basis for its possible eventual independence. Turkey strongly opposes this and even limited autonomy for its own Kurds but has succumbed to its voracious appetite for new energy sources.
The 2000 peace talks at Camp David offer three key lessons on how not to solve the world's most intractable conflict, writes Distinguished Scholar Aaron David Miller in Foreign Policy magazine.