The International Institute for Iranian Studies (Rasanah) has released its monthly report, Iran Case File (ICF) for January 2021, providing readers in general and researchers in particular an in-depth review and analysis of Iran’s dynamics, developments and interactions within this month.
The ICF is divided mainly into three main parts: Internal Affairs, Arab Affairs and International Affairs and each part is divided into subfiles.
At the ideological level, the religious seminary continues to legitimize its intervention in Iraq’s internal affairs, exploiting all conditions and circumstances to eliminate the sovereignty of the Iraqi state and to strengthen cross-border sectarian affiliations. At the political level, the limited conflicts among the different political currents within the Iranian Parliament have continued, amid the conservatives attempting to outline government policy. As for the economic file, the report touches on the future of Iran’s s economic crises considering forecasts that the US economic sanctions will not be lifted soon. As for the military level, which always seems to be the source of Ian’s accomplishments amid a series of setbacks in other spheres, Iran announced that it had carried out two naval drills.
The second part of the file discusses Iran’s interactions with the Arab states. When it comes to Gulf-Iran interactions, the outset of 2021 witnessed the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) 41st summit convened in Saudi Arabia’s city of al-Ula. A statement was issued following the summit, which significantly advanced cohesion among the GCC states amid the threats and challenges that they face.
Regarding Iran-Yemen interactions, the Yemeni landscape saw unprecedented changes, which will likely impact the Yemeni crisis, such as the legitimate government returning to Aden under the Riyadh Agreement and the varying US steps to resolve the Yemeni crisis which ranged between designating the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization by the former US administration and then this move being reversed by the new US administration.
As for Iran-Iraq interactions, January 2021 witnessed Iran urging its loyal armed militias to launch attacks against US forces deployed there. This coincided with Iran modifying its strategy in Iraq via carrying out structural changes. As for Iran’s existence in Syria, Iran attempted to strengthen its military presence in Syria despite facing relentless Israeli air attacks. Iran’s efforts to strengthen its military presence in Syria included redeploying its allied militias in Deir Ezzor, transferring heavy weapons and ammunition to Al-Bukamal and Al-Mayadeen, and continuing to provide its loyal militias with ground-to-ground medium and short-range missiles.
As for international affairs, Iranian interactions focused on the future of the nuclear file and the US sanctions imposed on Iran. A new US administration led by Joe Biden was elected. It seems to be intent on reassessing Washington’s relationship with Iran and building an integrated and reliable strategy to deal with Iran. This comes against the backdrop of the new administration’s inclinations toward diplomacy and coordination with the parties concerned with the Iranian file. However, the United States started to set its conditions to rejoin the nuclear deal and emphasized Iran’s need to honor its nuclear obligations before Washington rejoined the deal. It also announced it will hold extensive deliberations with its European and regional allies as well as the US Congress to come up with an integrated approach prior to resuming negotiations with Iran.
When it comes to the course of Iran-Europe interactions which are impacted by the course of Iran-US interactions, the most significant developments in 2021 between the Iranian and European sides revolved around Tehran’s decision to enrich uranium and the implications of this to uphold the nuclear deal. There has also been political wrangling between the two sides over why INSTEX failed and on the anniversary of the shooting down of the Ukrainian plane.