To understand the Islamic Republic we need to not look not at its consistencies but at its 'adjustments'. Iran has now placed a premium on maximising both influence and soft power, constantly renegotiating its margins of maneuver and seeking situations of strength where possible. Whatever hard power it still holds, it has repurposed into tools of deterrence in order to hold its enemies hostage against the threat of regime decapitation and war.
Iran seen from Beijing
China views Iran as a central element in its much-touted Silk Road Economic Belt, which aims to extend Beijing's influence overland through Central Asia to the Persian Gulf and Europe. This article for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Open Briefing analyst Kevjn Lim discusses Iran's importance to China, including the geostrategic Iran plays as China's most convenient non-Russian access route to open waters and the only east-west/north-south intersection for Central Asian trade.
National security decision-making in Iran
In this journal article for Comparative Strategy, Open Briefing analyst Kevjn Lim reviews national security decision-making in the Iranian context by focusing on institutions, formal process and individuals. He specifically examines the Supreme National Security Council, which formalises and embodies the decision-making process, as well as the Revolutionary Guards, which epitomise both the influence of institutions as well as the centrality of the agent-individual.
The monthly briefing, May 2015: Increasing pressure from United States risks China hastening land reclamation projects, Hungary’s far-right party on the rise, Syrian rebels make significant gains in government territory
Political and security risk updates from Open Briefing and Bradburys Global Risk Partners. This month: increasing pressure from United States risks China hastening land reclamation projects to cement territorial claims in South China Sea; Hungary’s far-right party on the rise; Syrian rebels make significant gains in government territory but Islamic State poses looming threat; and more.
The monthly briefing, April 2015: Summit of the Americas will test US relations with Cuba and Venezuela, relations between China and Myanmar sour, Iran and P5+1 reach outline agreement
Political and security risk updates from Open Briefing and Bradburys Global Risk Partners. This month: summit of the Americas will test US relations with Cuba and Venezuela; relations between China and Myanmar sour as conflict with Kokang rebels continues; Iran and P5+1 reach outline agreement on Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme; and more.
The weekly briefing, 27 October 2014: Gunman attacks Canadian parliament, pro-European parties look to have won Ukrainian election, Russia developing underwater combat robots
Political and security risk updates from Open Briefing and Bradburys Global Risk Partners. Gunman attacks Canadian parliament after shooting dead soldier at National War Memorial in Ottawa, pro-European parties look to have won Ukrainian parliamentary election, Russia developing underwater combat robots for use in Arctic, and more.
Iran: The Ayatollah succession question
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, recently underwent prostate surgery, following recurrent rumours that he suffers from some form of cancer. The looming succession in Iran is far from straightforward. In this article, Open Briefing contributing analyst Kevjn Lim considers the pool of candidates from which the Supreme Leader's successor may emerge, as well as the possibility of a temporary leadership council or even a Revolutionary Guards-led military takeover.
Gaming the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty
In this article, Open Briefing analyst Kevjn Lim reviews the strengths of the existing Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and its executive arm, the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as the flaws that have attended the pageant of past proliferation crises. Beyond this, in order to strengthen the NPT and the IAEA in the longer run, Lim argues for seven areas that the non-proliferation regime needs to take into account.