Roy Mottahadeh, Gurney Professor of Islamic History at Harvard University, highlights a previously little understood dynamic: the importance of Shia religious leaders in influencing the religious, political, and social views of their followers. In The Quandaries of Emulation, Professor Roy Mottahedeh traces the development of Shia religious leaders, specifically marja al-taqlids, or "sources of emulation," and the bases of their influence within the Shia community. Read more about Quandaries of Emulation
Henry Rome shows how the Iranian press marked the anniversary of Ayatollah Khomeini’s return to Iran, as the country begins ten days of celebration leading up to the formal anniversary of the 1979 revolution.
President Hassan Rouhani accused hardliners of trying to “sabotage” the national interest, “as if they are cheering on the rival team,” leader of Friday prayers in Tehran said Iranians should be able to endure eating one meal per day in the name of a “resistance economy,” and more in this week’s edition of the Belfer Iran Brief, covering January 24 to February 2, 2015. Read more about Belfer Iran Brief — Rouhani accuses hardliners of “sabotage” and other news
On Tuesday, January 27th, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Banking held hearings on the prospects for the continued negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and efficacy of additional sanctions, respectively. Read more about Congressional Commentary and Testimony
Henry Rome analyzes the newly drafted Kirk-Menendez legislation and finds the key differences between the current bill and its prior incarnation in the 113th Congress. He notes that the new bill contains significant differences specifically in regards to the suspension of sanctions, staggered implementation of new sanctions in the event of a failure of negotiations, and in the sense of Congress section. Read more about Assessing the new Kirk-Menendez sanctions legislation (Updated)
A nuclear deal will not lead to rapprochement between Iran and the U.S., according to senior Iranian security official, Iranian newspapers see renewed U.S.-Cuba relation as evidence that sanctions fail, and more in this week’s Belfer Iran Brief, covering December 16-22. Note: Belfer Iran Brief will return in January 2015.