Arash Azizi, author of “Shadow Commander”, and Cameron Khansarinia, policy director at the National Union for Democracy in Iran, sit down for a podcast with Newlines’ Rasha Elass to discuss what the election of the “hanging judge” means for Iran.
In the dusty farms and villages of Sinjar, the interests of Iran and Turkey collide. Here in northern Iraq, Tehran is allying with non-state actors in order to further its own interests — this time with the controversial PKK group, which will bring it into conflict with Ankara.
The first decade of Iran’s revolution was its most brutal, and much violence was meted out by the Judiciary. Ebrahim Raisi, the new system’s ultimate loyalist, was just the right man for enforcing such brutalities and rising through the ranks.
One man showed up dressed as the blue Genie from “Aladdin” and declared his presidential candidacy. Another one, donning a face mask made from the Iranian flag, created massive chaos in the registration hall, then promised the bemused bureaucrats that he was running to “save Iran from the current chaos.”
Whoever becomes the next president of the Islamic Republic will face many challenges. There are renewed nuclear talks and a restless nation licking its wounds from two bloody protests. And there will probably be a death and a succession to the position of supreme leader.
Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif is, in a sense, more of a true believer than many in the Revolutionary Guard. He genuinely appears to be under the illusion that the ideals of the Islamic Republic still have popular support and that Iran should rely on them instead of brute force. Few in the IRGC seem to harbor such illusions.
The U.S. and Iran are set on a course for renegotiating the 2015 nuclear deal. While reporting, I found that Israelis see a lot of room to maneuver, particularly in light of Arab countries’ normalization with Israel.