Iranian and Shi’a Affairs

Row of Iran Flags in Front of Tehran Skyline

When the Safavid ruler decided to convert Iran’s religion from Sunna Islam to Shia Islam Iran, then Persia, became a Shi’i empire with a stable and ongoing political system. Unlike the situation in other Shi’i countries in the Middle East, the Shi’a religion in Persia became more and more identified with the political system and was therefore influenced by the country’s politics. Iran, immediately after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, saw itself, and still sees itself, as the messenger and defender of the Shiites, As time has passed, however, and there is more distance from the Islamic Revolution, more and more Shiite communities in the MENA have become increasingly independent and in some places, like Iraq and Bahrain, the local Shiites have been expressing the desire to segregate themselves from any Iranian or Shi’a Iranian influences. 


The aim of this unit is to promote significant research into the Iranian involvement in the region side by side with studies of its particular form of Shia. It will strive to closely investigate the core issues that are the disturbing concerns of the Iranian people, ranging from the state of Iran’s economic and national resilience and security to issues involving the self-esteem and social problems of the Iranians; and we will publish research and up-to-date reports that shed new light on these issues. We shall also continue to develop and promote more research projects on the Shi’a form of Islam not only in Iran and the Arab states but also in Europe, Africa and the “-Stan” states.

Dr. Ronen A. Cohen


Iranian Jewry - History, Culture and Traditions

Research Team

The research unit for Iran, Shia affairs, and for Iranian Jewry, is welcoming researchers from all academic fields who find these topics interesting, to share knowledge and to search for new horizons and academic development in these areas. The research team’s main aim is to discuss old and new trends in the research fields, and to give young scholars the opportunity to share and promote their works. Aside from that, we would like to enable our team members to write and publish position papers regarding regional issues that are attached to their research.

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Between Development and Destruction: Musa al-Sadr and Hassan Nasrallah

On August 31, Lebanon commemorated the disappearance of Musa al-Sadr, the Shi’ite cleric who had a prominent role in the awakening of the Lebanese Shia community. Al-Sadr disappeared in Libya in 1978, after visiting the Libyan leader Muammar Qadhaffi.[1] Al-Sadr’s name was mentioned in connection with the last clash between Israel and the Shi’ite group

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The Iranian Gamble over the Head of Nasrallah

The regional conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been well-characterized as having been based on a zero-sum-game situation in which one player wins at the expense of the other player. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has made a number of strategic mistakes that fall well within the framework of this game theory and which

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The Islamic Revolution of Iran – 40 Years of Fundamental Failures

Forty years ago today, January 16th, the Iranian Shah, King Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, left Iran and never returned. His departure was an admission of his great failure to stabilize the political upheavals and his blindness to the revolutionary flames orchestrated by the Ayatollah Khomeini. However, the Shah’s escape did not come “out of the blue”,

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