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Alex Vatanka - Mahsa Amini and a New Iranian Revolution
On September 16th of this year, Mahsa Amini, a 22 year old Iranian woman died in Tehran after being arrested by the Guidance Patrol, effectively the morality police, for bad hijab – which means that she wasn’t wearing the hijab, or veil, correctly. The official government line is that Mahsa suffered a heart attack in custody and subsequently died. However, eyewitnesses to the arrest, coupled with official autopsy findings, suggest otherwise – that Mahsa was beaten to death. This story, as horrific as it is, is not unique. These things happen in Iran regularly, as the Ayatollah and his theocracy has absolute control over social, political, and cultural life in Iran – and their interpretation of Islam is oppressive, violent, and inelastic. So, the mass protests that have materialized and swept the country following Amini’s death aren’t necessarily reflective of anger at this one situation. But, it is an inflection point for a movement, particularly among young people, that has grown legs of its own and has paralyzed Iran and threatened the existing regime, exposing a vulnerability that has maybe not existed since the toppling of the Shah and the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The government’s response, under the direction of Ayatollah Khamenei, is not surprising, but it has been devastating. Law enforcement has responded with extreme force – arresting people, beating people, and shooting to kill (often indiscriminately). And, it has not been limited to the protests or the protestors. Law enforcement has stormed children’s schools and fired on places of worship – attacking their citizens while they are at their most vulnerable. The most recent estimates by human rights organizations puts citizen deaths at the hands of Iranian authorities in response to the protests at 233 – 32 of which, were children. The Iranian regime has also employed other well-worn, familiar strongman tactics to quell the protests – limiting Internet access, fully disconnecting the internet for long periods of time each day, disappearing people from the streets and their homes, and committing protesters to psychiatric institutions. But, what happens when the arsenal runs dry and fails, and the people you cut down are replaced by another front line, more angry and more determined– when nothing works to silence, placate, and subordinate a people wielding the only weapon that cannot be exhausted – a collective and communal voice agitating and demanding liberty, dignity, and freedom. A month later, in the face of a belligerent and violent response, the protesters keep coming and the protests keep growing. Today I’m talking to Alex Vatanka, the founding director of the Iran program at the Middle East Institute, Senior Fellow at Frontier Europe Initiative, and the author of the book The Battle of the Ayatollahs in Iran. I’ve asked Alex to Deep Dive to talk not just about the protests, but also to put this all into some historical context – to help us understand how Iran got here and where Iran might be going. Recommended: The Battle of the Ayatollahs in Iran: The United States, Foreign Powers, and Political Rivalry Since 1979 - Alexander Vatanka ------------------------- Follow Deep Dive: Instagram Twitter YouTube Email: email@example.com **Artwork: Dovi Design **Music: Joystock
What is triggering Iran-Azerbaijan tensions? TOPTALK with Alex Vatanka (fragment)
As Iran-Azerbaijan relations have entered into the phase of tensions, we wonder what was the trigger(s). Alex Vatanka, the founding Director of the Iran Program at the Middle East Institute, shares his thoughts on the topic. #toptalk #iran #alexvatanka The interview full version: https://youtu.be/0gyUDhpXPWI
Why did Alex Vatanka write The Battle of the Ayatollahs in Iran?
Alex Vatanka discusses the inspirations and implications for his newest book with Elise Labott and Kenneth Pollack. -Get The Battle of the Ayatollahs in Iran: https://www.amazon.com/Battle-Ayatollahs-Iran-Foreign-Political/dp/1838601554/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=vatanka&qid=1621338616&sr=8-1 -Stay informed @ https://www.vatanka.com/ - https://www.mei.edu/
Nuclear Diplomacy: Biden's Middle East Aspirations
Nuclear nonproliferation in the Middle East is a major policy challenge for President Joe Biden, who is eager to return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Meanwhile, other states in the region—notably Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt—have either initiated or advanced their nuclear programs during the past few years. This may constitute a security challenge, given the reality of ongoing regional polarization. Will the new administration's Iran policy have an impact on nonproliferation in the Middle East? How will it address nuclear proliferation is other states in the region? Join us on Thursday, February 4 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. EST (5:00-6:00 p.m. Beirut) for a public panel discussion with George Perkovich, Laura Rockwood, and Alex Vatanka, chaired by Maha Yahya. The event will be held in English and livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook.
A Deal is a Deal?
A state sponsor of terror; a destabilizing force in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain and Yemen; and a menace to America’s Navy and global commerce in the Gulf, Iran is, no doubt, a bad actor. The question, though, is whether backing out of the nuclear deal is cutting off the nose to spite the face. As the State Department threatens Iran, while, at the same time certifying that it is complying with the terms of the deal, this panel will weigh and debate the strategic pros and cons of reneging on it. Featuring: Antony Blinken, Former Deputy Secretary of State Joseph Cirincione, President, Ploughshares Fund Kori Schake, Research Fellow, Stanford University Hoover Institution Alex Vatanka, Senior Fellow, Middle East Institute Moderator: Elise Labott, Global Affairs Correspondent, CNN
US-Iran: War of words and the risk of escalation
MEI Senior Vice President Gerald Feierstein and Senior Fellow Alex Vatanka join host Alistair Taylor to discuss the rapid rise of tensions between the US and Iran this week, the political calculations being made by each side, and where things could go from here.
Iran Frustrated With India Playing Safe, May Reluctantly Offer Chabahar To China: Alex Vatanka
NEW DELHI: “China's ties with Pakistan go back decades. If I'm sitting in New Delhi, a Beijing-Tehran strategic deal is a big geopolitical win and certainly not good news for India,” Alex Vatanka, the Director and Senior Fellow, Iran Programme, Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. tells StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi. Though India's involvement in Iran's economy gives Tehran "more options", there has been "little commercial progress" which is "frustrating" Iran, he adds. The author points out that he "wouldn't be surprised if Tehran reluctantly offers the Chabahar port to China in the near future" to add to its development of Gwadar in Pakistan, which is less than 200 kilometres away. Alex also addresses reports of internal opposition and public anger in Iran with Chinese goods taking away livelihoods, saying there are questions over the "desperation" for the deal and over the reported "lucrative package being offered at discounts." The reported $ 400 billion, 25-year agreement which still has to be formalised, he adds, is an "economic lifeline for Iran and is linked to the system's survival." Posting a reminder of "big Iranian strategic projects having had a bad history," Vatanka, says the Iran-China deal's purpose is to "poke a finger in America's eye" and hasn't taken into account the "long-term consequences." The Kish Island lease report was so "humiliating" that Iran had to quickly "denounce" it. China will also have a "challenge to balance" its good relations with all other regional countries, Vatanka says, warning if there is a military dimension, it will "bring in a new bad competition cycle with a zero-sum game." Also, Russia, despite its closeness to China, he points out is "aware it won't come out stronger." President Donald Trump's maximum pressure strategy has failed, he concludes, saying "American strategy needs to be more focused and pursued consistently, in terms of the key priorities, irrespective of who sits in the White House." #iran #China #India
Alex Vatanka on the Iranian Nuclear Negotiations
March 24, 2015 - Alex Vatanka, senior fellow at The Middle East Institute, discusses the mood in Tehran as the deadline for negotiations approaches, the state of U.S.-Iranian relations, and what reaching a deal could mean to that relationship and the Arab world, in a brief interview.
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