Iran | Wilson Center


US-Iran Relations: The Scowcroft Transcripts

The Shah of Iran was once memorably described by Henry Kissinger as “that rarest of leaders, an unconditional ally, and one whose understanding of the world enhanced our own.”[1] After he left office, Kissinger aggressively promoted the view that US-Iran relations had been trouble-free and mutually beneficial until the 1979 revolution, which he blamed on the Carter administration.

The Contours of Global Security: Border Lines, Critical Regions

As debate rages in Washington over President Trump’s characterization of the situation at the southern U.S. border as a national security emergency, the risks and stakes in several hot-spot regions around the world are far less open to question.

Leading Wilson Center experts surveyed the state of affairs at North America’s borders and in areas experiencing acute security crises, from Venezuela to North Korea to Syria.

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Nasrin Sotoudeh: The Pride of Iran

Nasrin Sotoudeh, the fearless Iranian human rights lawyer, was sentenced in March to a lengthy prison term, based on multiple charges, including propaganda against the state, advocating against the death sentence, membership in a human rights organization, appearing in public without the hijab, disturbing public order, and “encouraging corruption and prostitution.” Sotudeh was already serving a five year prison sentence probably for representing a group of women who, in protest against the forced wearing of the hijab, removed their head covering in public.

Iran: A Contested International Women's Day

Every year, on March 8 women in most of the world celebrate International Women’s Day—but not in Iran. Since the inception of the Islamic Republic, as part of its policy of de-westernization, it is the Birthday of the daughter of the prophet Mohammad, Fatima, that is celebrated as Mother’s Day and Women’s Day.  Fatima is revered in Shi’ite Islam and especially in Iran. I remember that on the occasion of Fatima’s birthday in 2007 when I was still incarcerated in the political wing of Evin prison, the female guards distributed sweets and cakes to the women prisoners.

Does the U.S.-Iran Relationship Have a Future?

Forty years on, relations between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran remain a very fraught affair. The past tells a story characterized far more by confrontation and competition than cooperation, but that is certainly not the whole story. What of prospects for the future?

Three veteran analysts and policy practitioners discussed the evolution of the relationship and where it’s headed.

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Robin Wright

Trump Is Achieving His Goal of Being the un-Obama, except on Middle East Wars

How ironic that, halfway through President Donald Trump’s term and as Trump himself has done many times, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted former president Barack Obama as weak and vacillating in his recent speech in Cairo.
Why? Because while Trump is Mars and Obama is Venus, they’re alike in one important respect: when it comes to the use of force, especially in the Middle East, both believe the United States should avoid starting new wars and try to get out of old ones.