What is going on these days in Iran?
It is difficult, from outside the country, to gain a clear picture of the relative positions of various groups inside and outside of the the establishment and the government which are contending for influence and power.
For an excellent description of the general situation, see
Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim, “Iran is far from united behind Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Los Angeles Times, September 23, 2010.
The article contains an intriguing reference to Khamenei’s health, noting, “Khamenei, 71, who has tried to halt the squabbling factions from public disagreements, apparently has health problems and will eventually pass away.”
Recent developments include the imposition of U.N. sanctions, and additional unilateral sanctions imposed by the U.S. the Eurpean Union, and other countries. The aggressive implementation of the sanctions is beginning to seriously inconvenience Iran. For example, recent reports indicate Iran is having difficulty refueling its civilian airliners on trips to Europe.
The response of Iran’s neighbors to Iran’s nuclear ambitions is reflected in a new $60 billion arms deal between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
There are reports that Iran may be ready to resume negotiations with the Group of Five Plus One (the U.S., the U.K., France, China, Russia, and Germany) over resolution of the uranium enrichment issue and other proliferation concerns.
Iran recently attended a conference in Rome on the future of Aghanistan, with U.S. approval, and is also exercising influence over negotiations and political developments in Iraq related to attempts by Prime Minister Maiki to form a new government, some seven months after the elections for a new parliament were held.
It is a complicated mosaic, and one which requires our continued and close attention.
The Trenchant Observer
Comments are invited.