The International Institute for Iranian Studies (Rasanah) has published its Annual Strategic Report for 2019 which reviews the most prominent events in Iranian affairs and provides readers, especially those interested in Iranian Affairs, a comprehensive insight and an in-depth analysis of Iran. The report is divided into three main parts: Internal Affairs, Arab Affairs, and International Affairs.
The Ideological File within the Internal Affairs part shows the efforts the Iranian ruling system exerted to improve its image at home through the dismissal of Friday prayer leaders accused of corruption and abuse of power. The Political File explains why Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for a popular referendum on the country’s relations with the West amidst the collapse of the nuclear deal, given the fact that Rouhani previously called for a referendum on the powers granted to him in a bid to mitigate the harsh criticism he faced. You read in The Economic File that the Iranian government had to make amendments to its national budget four months after its approval due to the deteriorating economic conditions as well as the implications of corruption for Iran at the ideological and political levels. The Military File unveils the moral support Iran received after it shot down an American drone and seized a UK oil tanker.
The Arab Affairs part reveals that the comprehensive peace process in Yemen was thwarted by the complexities of the Yemeni crisis along with its various political components and by creating a strategic vacuum that has entrenched the Houthi presence in Yemen with Iran’s support. In 2019, Iraq turned into a battlefield between the United States and Iran. This led the Iraqi people to launch massive protests over Iran’s sectarian and geopolitical project targeting their country. Faced with furious competition from Russia in Syria, Iran resorted to using economic and military tools to effect demographic change serving the interests of the Shiites and to make Syria a vassal state of Tehran. The protests in Lebanon starkly exposed the extent of corruption and the deteriorating economic and political conditions resulting from Iranian hegemony over Lebanon through its proxy group, Hezbollah.
The International Affairs section highlights how the United States advanced its maximum pressure campaign on Iran, affecting Iran’s domestic stability. Iran wagered on its policy of challenging Washington through circumventing US sanctions and uniting its domestic front.
In the context of Russian-Iranian relations, 2019 can be called the year of mutual agreements between the two countries. Iran attempted to compensate for its drop in trade volumes with America and Europe by boosting its relations with Russia. Despite the activation of INSTEX to enable trade between Europe and Iran, the Europeans in general aligned more with the US position. In the context of Iran-China relations, Beijing continued its economic cooperation with Tehran but partially stopped its imports of Iranian oil. The rising trade war between Washington and Beijing provoked further developments in its relations with Tehran. India, despite its growing relationship with Washington, sees that its relationship with Tehran is quite significant due to many thorny issues; most predominantly Iran’s vital role in creating a strategic alliance with India to confront the Chinese-Pakistan alliance.
Turkey and Iran prefer to deal with each other by dividing their bilateral relationship into separate issues — while direct confrontation and competition mark their relationship in Syria.
Through analyzing the previously mentioned interrelated files on Iranian affairs, Rasanah’s Annual Strategic Report provides research and analysis regarding Iranian affairs on three levels: the internal, Arab and international levels, forecasting possible scenarios for 2020.
The Annual Strategic Report 2019 can be viewed or downloaded Here