What To Read On Iran This Week

May 24, 2013

In case you haven’t had enough Iran from the media coverage of the election vetting process, here are a few items to add to your weekend reading list.  

Let’s start with pieces by two Brookings colleagues. Virginia Tech Professor Djavad Salehi Isfahani (who also serves as a non-resident Senior Fellow in our Global Economy and Development Program) answers the question “Who Are Iran’s Voters?”, examining the demographic breakdown of the Iranian electorate and the issues that most concern different constituencies. And Bruce Riedel, a colleague in the Saban Center as well as the director of the new Brookings Intelligence Project, dissects an important and previously little-understood episode in the bilateral relationship between the United States and Iran. “Lessons from America’s First War with Iran” is just hitting the newsstands in The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs.

Over at the Council on Foreign Relations, Steven Cook offers a much-needed perspective of drivers behind cooperation between Tehran and Cairo in “Egypt: From Tehran With Love”

For all those Washington types who are suffering Powerpoint withdrawal over the long weekend, take a look at this fascinating set of charts on Iran and the Greater Middle East by 2020 (scroll to the bottom of the page linked to access the PDF). Produced by Regina Joseph of the Clingendael Institute on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense of the Netherlands, the charts detail several alternative scenarios for Iran’s future evolution and the implications for the broader Middle East.

Don’t miss New York Times columnist Roger Cohen’s critique of a new book, Going to Tehran, in the New York Review of Books, which can now be read in its entirety on the NYRB site as linked. The review, entitled “Ruthless Iran: Can A Deal Be Made?” offers a biting assessment of the tome by Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett, as well as analysis on U.S. policy and the dilemmas of dealing with Iran.

Amidst all the talk this week of numbers— 686 aspiring candidates in Iran’s presidential election, 8 approved to run, 2 prominent disqualifications— it’s worth spending a few moments pondering another number: 870. That is the number of individual Iranian prisoners of conscience identified as part of a project by Tehran Bureau, many of them arrested after the election upheaval in 2009. Learn more details of their cases in this moving interactive feature here.

And finally, here is a piece that is not about Iran directly, but what Iran might have become. ‘This Place Should Have Been Iran’: Iranian Imaginings In/Of Dubai, written by Behzad Sarmadi and posted on the Ajam Media Collective, evokes the connections between Iranians and Dubai.