Iranian Policies

Explosions in Iranian Military Sites: Accused Parties and Extent of Tehran’s Response

EPC | 28 Jul 2020

In June 2020, Iran experienced a series of explosions and fires that extended to military sites (including an explosion that shook the Parchin military complex, an explosion at the Natanz nuclear facility, and news of a series of explosions that extended to military sites east of the capital Tehran) and industrial zones (including an explosion in a power plant in Ahwaz in southwest Iran, a petrochemical company near Mashhad in northeast Iran, and a fire that broke out in a factory south of the capital Tehran), thereby raising serious questions about the nature of those incidents, their consequences, and the causes behind each one of them.

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The Growing Relationship between Iran and al-Shabab Movement in Somalia: Motives and Potential Consequences

​Ahmed Askar | 28 Jul 2020

In recent years, there have been increasing signs that Iran and Al-Shabaab have been growing closer. Iran is aspiring to expand its influence and its activities throughout the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea region by strengthening its ties to emerging movements and organizations, such as the Houthis in Yemen and Al-Shabaab in Somalia, and using these groups to achieve its strategic goals and create a new balance between the regional and international powers active in the region. This poses a clear threat to security and stability in the region and to these powers’ strategic interests; they have therefore been forced to work together to attempt to sever the ties between Tehran and Al-Shabaab and prevent further instability in the region.

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National Development Fund of Iran: Savings Estimation and Expected Scenarios

EPC | 27 May 2020

There is a significant disagreement in the estimation of the savings size of the National Development Fund of Iran (NDFI). The gap of this disagreement gets even wider between internal and external sources. According to reports released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2018, the Fund’s savings stand at 91 billion dollars. However, according to other reports released by the same institution in 2019, the size of the NDFI’s savings is 85.5 billion dollars. Estimates of internal sources appear to be completely different. While sources in the NDFI have announced that the government paid it 170 billion dollars as of 2013, the Research Centre of the Iranian Parliament underlined in a 2014 report that the former government sweeped the NDFI’s savings which, in that year, did not exceed 17 billion dollars. This is supported by figures released by the NDFI. On the other hand, official sources have indicated that the NDFI’s savings fell to nearly 22 billion dollars in September 2013, and subsequently to 12 billion dollars in October 2017.

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Iran’s Budget between Discrepancy in Official Figures and the Reality of Collapse

EPC | 17 May 2020

On 20 March 2020, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced the start of the implementation of the Iranian general budget for the current Iranian year (March 2020/March 2021). Thus, it became the first general budget in the history of the new Iranian regime to be implemented without being debated in Parliament. After the Iranian Parliament had rejected the draft general budget in January 2020, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei dropped the role of Parliament in debating the budget owing to the suspension of Parliament’s activity as a result of the spread of coronavirus. The Guardian Council of the Constitution was tasked with debating the general budget and presenting it to the government for implementation. As a result, on the last day of the last Iranian year, Rouhani informed the ministries of the draft general budget and of its effect.

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Rings of the Embargo Imposed on the Iranian Economy: Effects, Gaps and Scenarios

EPC | 20 Apr 2020

The US sanctions, placing Iran on the blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the corona pandemic could be viewed as three separate, but integrated, rings that tighten controls on the Iranian economy and subject it to some kind of comprehensive embargo that isolates Iran from the international economic system. Each one of those rings serves to deepen the impact of the other two, despite the difference in the extent of the impact of each one. This paper seeks to examine the three rings of the embargo on the Iranian economy and shed light on the gaps created by each of the embargo rings, and shows how the other levels have greatly contributed to bridging those gaps and blocking the outlets through which the Iranian economy used to breathe. Finally, the paper determines the remaining outlets before the Iranian economy until now, and indicates whether those gaps could ensure the resilience of the Iranian economy for a longer period.

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Coronavirus and Iran’s Health Sector: Multiple Strategies and Possible Scenarios

EPC | 07 Apr 2020

Iran has been suffering from the spread of coronavirus for two months, during which the country has become one of the major global epicentres of the epidemic and an important stop for its regional spread. After 10 days of its spread, the virus became the main focus of the activity of the Iranian government and state institutions, particularly the health sector that, after the spread of the disease, has become the main centre of the work of the government and official institutions. The Iranian president underlined that combating the epidemic occupies all the government’s energy and constitutes the only focus of its meetings. Iranian official institutions have sought to take several steps to counter the epidemic and prevent its spread based on the capacity of the health sector and crisis management strategies. These steps have witnessed several developments during the last few weeks, all of which demonstrate the attempt at finalizing the crisis management strategy and its maturation. They also demonstrate the existence of discrepancies between the various official institutions that have prevented the performance of a decisive role in controlling the disease and preventing its spread.

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Iran’s Parliamentary Elections: Political Actors Strategies & Potential Fallout of Conservative Victory

EPC | 17 Feb 2020

Iran's political scene continues to heat up as the country gears up for the next parliamentary elections. On the official level, there have been verbal clashes between the conservative wing-held Guardian Council of the Constitution, which is charged with qualifying parliamentary candidates, and the government, which accused the Council of not being neutral and excluding all candidates who belong to political groups outside the conservative line. On the political groups’ level, the reformists keep mum on the elections after hundreds of reformist candidates have been disqualified from running in the forthcoming polls. On the other side, cracks have started to appear among the conservatives, otherwise known as the principlists. In the meantime, the grassroots remain relatively apathetic towards the electoral warm-up with no indications that there are above-average preparations for the next vote, sparking fear among regime's circles that the turnout might sink to unprecedented levels.

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Iranian Scene Expectations for 2020

EPC | 03 Feb 2020

Over the next two years, Iran is likely to see harsh political and economic conditions; it is awaiting a parliamentary election station in 2020, punctuated by the prospect of a return to protests. The country will undergo a political transition from Rouhani to another president in 2021, and the likelihoods of a having a political transition at the level of the supreme leader are increasing. Iran is reeling under tough US sanctions and a deepening economic crisis, which spurs internal conflicts over power and resources. Given the peculiarity of Iranian-American relations, the remainder of President Trump's term is a period of labor and awaiting that leaves its impact on shaping the main features of any future political process in Iran.

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Iranian presence in East Africa: Goals, Tools and Prospects

EPC | 01 Feb 2020

ran attaches special importance to eastern African countries. It conceives in this region a wide and fertile field for political, military and economic activities, particularly the countries bordering the Red Sea coast. Iranian interest in Africa magnified during the tenure of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who placed the African continent on his foreign policy priorities, and put forward political, military and cultural goals for this issue. Due to the Western and American pressure on Iran over its nuclear program, Iranian foreign policy adopted a new strategy, through which it seeks to enhance relations with the countries of the African continent, with the aim of rallying African diplomatic support in the corridors of the United Nations and the Security Council to break the international economic sanctions imposed at the time.

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