Category Archives: Iran

Summary of the presentation on….

Iran’s Shia Expansionism in the Greater

Middle East

By Dr. Eliot Assoudeh

Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has been a political riddle. Its charismatic leader, Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini – rejecting liberal democracy, communism, and theocracy alike – introduced the Islamic Republic as a ‘third way.’ The populist, authoritarian regime marked the departure of mass politics in modern Iran; not only unnerving both East and West with challenges to international norms, but unsettling regional neighbors with the export of its revolutionary ideology.

As with right-wing revolutionary movements of the 20th century, the Islamic Revolution ran counter to the legacy of the French Revolution and modernity; yet in a reactionary way it was revolutionary and modern, developing into a complex Shia nationalism that diverges from traditional interpretations of Islam and resetting the political stage. The Islamic Republic is guided by a political religion that holds various myths (Islamic justice, sacralization of politics, anti-imperialism, and rule of the jurist), which constitute its canon (the Imam’s Path) along with a charismatic leader (Ayatollah Khomeini), a messenger (Shia-Iranians), and sacred texts (Khomeini’s writings).

According to Ayatollah Khamenei, the current and second Supreme Leader, there are five goals of the Islamic Revolution aimed toward Shia cultural and geographical expansion: the revolution, the formation of the Islamic system, the Islamic state, the Islamic nation, and Islamic civilization. Stemming from Manichean philosophy, revolutionary elites of Iran generally believe there are only two political parties: the Party of God and the Party of Satan. With this in mind, the Islamic Republic’s initiation of the international movement of Hezbollah (which means Party of God), with its headquarter in Tehran, takes on new meaning.

To establish ideological and cultural strengths to fuel post-revolution expansion, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) established the “Office of Liberation Movements” to support oppressed Shia minority groups. Lebanese Hezbollah was the first militia group Tehran established in the wake of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. The rise of a Shia government to power in Iraq after the US-led toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003 resulted in a Shia awakening across the region. Iran’s support for Shia militias in Iraq strengthened after the US surge in 2006, and again following the outbreak of Syrian civil war.

Iranian elites identify Syria as a new front for opposition to the US-led West. The IRGC recruits Shia fighters for Syria from Hezbollah branches in Afghanistan and Pakistan, rewarding mercenaries with Iranian citizenship and social welfare. Mullahs also work to redefine Syrian demographics, repopulating formerly Sunni-dominated lands with Shia settlers. In 2015, Tehran added Yemen to its sights, an area hardliners believe is crucial to the return of the Mahdi—the Shia savior.

Identifying new Islamic civilization as the final product of the revolution, Khamenei emphasizes that the Shia-Iranian way of life is an epilogue to it, centered on a culture of sacrifice, martyrdom and loyalty to rule of the jurist. To achieve this goal, the regime has developed discourse centered on increasing awareness of Islamic principle, and confronting hegemonic forces that may arise to contend with the plan.

Iran’s clearly expansionist ambitions gave rise to sectarian violence and tit-for-tat Islamism between Shia militias and their Sunni rivals – Wahhabis and Salafists. As Secretary of Defense James Mattis has emphasized, unless its containment is given greater priority in our foreign policy, the Islamic Republic remains a major impediment to long-term stability for the Middle East.

Iranian-born Eliot Assoudeh was born in Iran and recently completed his PhD degree from the University of Nevada-Reno.

The link to Dr. Assoudeh’s presentation is below:

NSF_CultEng_May 2017 (Final)

Please join us for this timely presentation on….

ROUHANI, THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS,

AND

A NEW SHIA REGIONAL ORDER

with

Dr. Eliot Assoudeh

The Ramada, Thursday, June 29, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

Iran’s population is one of the best educated in the world, and certainly in the Middle East. No wonder then that the ruling elite continues to struggle in its desire to impose an Islamic political culture and system following strict Shia dictates. And that the Mullahs face more serious confrontations outside of Iran, especially against the Sunni Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Persian Gulf Emirates.

Dr. Eliot Assoudeh will discuss internal Iranian political conflicts, with a focus on Ayatollah Khamenei’s dictate to impose a “Cultural Revolution” in Iran. Assoudeh, who just received his doctorate from UNR, will discuss Khamenei’s vision of “Cultural Engineering” in Iran, and compare that to President Rouhani’s role in this attempt to impose more religious discipline. And, what is the stance of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), as well as the Basij?

Dr. Assoudeh was born in Iran and speaks Farsi fluently. He has written and spoken extensively on Iran’s regional policies and what he describes as “Shia expansionism”.

Please join us for what will be a very interesting discussion. A full breakfast will be served ($15 Members, $25 Non-Members, and $10 for students with ID and military personnel in uniform; free for WWII Veterans). We recommend that you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some breakfast, coffee and conversation.

Please RSVP by clicking HERE For your convenience, we accept cash, check and credit card payments for both the breakfast and membership fees.

THE IRANIAN “ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS CORPS”

The National Security Forum presents

THE IRANIAN “ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS CORPS” (IRGC)

 Power and Violence in Iran, Syria & Beyond

 

With Eliot Assoudeh

PhD Candidate, University of Nevada, Reno

The Ramada, Thursday, January 9, at 9:00 am

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) maintains a major role not only in Iran’s politico-military areas, but is a dominant factor in the economy as well. The Revolutionary Guards oversee the Quds force and its activities in neighboring countries, directs the Basij in domestic oppression, conducts religious indoctrination internally, and owns a significant part of the Iranian economy—including the agro, industrial and military sectors.

How powerful is the IRGC in Iranian politics? Can they sabotage the temporary agreement with the West halting the Iranian nuclear weapons program?  It would seem that while the Guards are enormously powerful, and indeed oppose the nuclear agreement, President Rouhani seems to have the overwhelming support of the populace who want relief from the impact of sanctions, from the incessant propaganda, and from the “national fatigue” after eight years of rule by Mahmoud Ahmandinejad. Can the IRGC and its allies continue to hold the “commanding heights”? Can the U.S. influence events in Iran?

Iranian born Eliot Assoudeh is focusing his research as a PhD candidate on the structures of Iranian political, religious and military elites.

Assoudeh will analyze the current role of the IRGC in Iranian society, the economy, intelligence agencies and the politico-military sectors. A key question will also revolve around the relationships between the IRGC and President Rouhani, and more importantly with the Supreme Ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Please join us for what will be a very interesting discussion. A full breakfast will be served ($15 Members, $25 Non-Members, and $5 for students with ID; free for WWII veterans), so recommend you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some coffee and conversation.

Kindly RSVP on our website by clicking here or you may RSVP by phone (775) 746-3222 or email twcobb@aol.com. We are also now accepting credit cards at the door for your convenience.

 

Colonel Pick’s Presentation on “Iran Under Rouhani”

IRAN UNDER ROUHANI:

IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S. POLICY

 

Colonel Dino Pick gave one of the most insightful and riveting talks to our National Security Forum last Friday, entitled, “Iran Under Rouhani: Implications of the Election of the new Iranian President for U.S. Policy Toward Iran”.

The election of a relative moderate to succeed Ahmadinejad as President of Iran has created a torrent of advice for American and Western policy makers. Does Rouhani’s impressive victory signify that Iran may demonstrate more flexibility on the nuclear weapons issue and on supporting global terrorism? Or will this veteran of Tehran’s political establishment serve only as eye wash for a regime dominated by the Mullahs and the Military, one that won’t adopt any significant policy changes?

COL Pick noted that US-Iranian relations are at a crossroads. Some experts believe that the election of Rouhani will bring fundamental change within Iran and consequently with respect to its foreign relations. Certainly what we have seen come out of the President’s office recently is encouraging. At the same time, we know that the power of the ruling Mullahs, along with the military and the Revolutionary Guards, remains very entrenched. Should the US and the West seek a secret channel with Rouhani? Should the US/West be prepared to relax sanctions in exchange for tangible changes in Iranian nuclear and domestic policies?

COL Pick’s presentation is attached. I am sure you will find it both insightful and informative.

Ty

Click here:  Colonel Pick on Iran Under Rouhani


September 13 Meeting Announcement

 

 The National Security Forum presents

 

IRAN AFTER ROUHANI:

 IMPLICATIONS OF THE ELECTION

FOR U.S. POLICY TOWARD IRAN

With

 COLONEL DINO PICK

COMMANDANT, THE DEFENSE LANGUAGE INSTITUTE

 The Ramada, Friday, September 13 at 9:00 am

The election of a relative moderate to succeed Ahmadinejad as President of Iran has created a torrent of advice for American and Western policy makers. Does Rouhani’s impressive victory signify that Iran may demonstrate more flexibility on the nuclear weapons issue and on supporting global terrorism? Or will this veteran of Tehran’s political establishment serve only as eye wash for a regime dominated by the Mullahs and the Military, one that won’t adopt any significant policy changes?

COL Dino Pick was a national security affairs fellow for 2009–2010 at the Hoover Institution. Before arriving at Hoover, he served as a special adviser to General Stanley McChrystal, commander of NATO and US Forces in Afghanistan. Pick’s military experience includes service with the 3/66 Armor Battalion in Desert Storm and the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He holds a BA from the University of Washington and an MA from Princeton in Near Eastern Studies, and has served on the OSD policy staff.

Please join us for what will be a very interesting discussion. A full breakfast will be served ($15 Members, $25 Non-Members, and $5 for students with ID; free for WWII veterans), so recommend you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some coffee and conversation.

Kindly RSVP by clicking here or you may RSVP by phone (775) 746-3222 or email twcobb@aol.comWe are also now accepting credit cards at the door for your convenience.