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
In the research on revolutions, the Islamic Revolution of Iran seems to be the most successful, if by its ideological-revolutionary nature and if by its survival for 40 years. In a “healthy” revolutionary process, many of the revolutionary movements promise hope to their followers in order to harness their despair and desire for change and
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”,
Tension between Iran and the United States has been escalating since the Trump administration began pushing for regime change in Tehran using a strategy of generating nationwide protests and domestic pressure in Iran by squeezing its economy – in order to force Iran to acquiesce to its demands about revising the nuclear agreement they have.
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