INU - Friday marked exactly two years since the arrest of Iranian Christian convert and pastor Saeed Abedini. In those two years, he has been subject to lengthy solitary confinement, repeat beatings by prison officials, denial of medical treatment, and death threats from Muslim militant co-prisoners, all stemming from his arrest on charges of proselytizing for Christianity.
INU- Can Iran be viewed as an ally in the battle against ISIS? In an editorial that appeared in the Washington Post last Friday, three prominent foreign policy experts argued that even in spite of the rise of ISIS, the Iranian regime remains the most serious threat to long-term stability in the Middle East. The editorial by Dennis Ross, Eric Edelman, and Ray Tayekh anticipated and discounted Iranian attempts to work with the US against Sunni militants. The authors remind us that in the past Iran has participated in attacks against US forces and Western interests whenever it was confident that it was not in danger of direct retribution.
INU - While it is possible that Iranian willingness to participate in a US-led coalition against IS might signify an overall softening of the Iranian position on the issue, Iranian officials’ recent comments seem to paint a different picture. The offer of help against IS in exchange for flexibility on the nuclear issue may be said to indicate Iranian overconfidence about its importance to US strategy in the region.