General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds (Jerusalem) Force,has played an active role in many conflicts in the Middle East, especially in the Levant, while generally trying to maintain a low profile. His methods have been a blend of military intervention through ideological proxies and hard-nosed strategic diplomacy.
Isa Saharkhiz, Iranian journalist and political activist, was arrested several times for his open criticism of the Islamic Republic. There are now serious concerns for his health. Although he suffers from several ailments, prison authorities refuse him access to the medical treatment required to improve his poor physical state. Saharkhiz is an outspoken critic of the policies of the Islamic Republic. Dubbed a reformist, he is now caught up in the escalating factional in-fighting that has the hardliners targeting all political and intellectual leaders
The judiciary under Larijani’s leadership has been found to be fraught with widespread corruption, which the supreme leader has acknowledged, resulting in the dismissals of judges and lawyers, and which marks the continued battle for power between the various political branches and alliances.
During his campaign, Rouhani promised to open up the political space and adopt a rational foreign policy. Raisi primarily focused on pro-poor economic programmes. In many ways, his visions and ideas echoed those of the supreme leader: anti-Western sentiment, social conservatism and a ‘revolutionary’ approach to both the economy and foreign policy.
One of the first regionally significant missions was to help to establish Hezbollah in Lebanon in 1982 after Israeli invasion. The Quds Force provided essential assistance for the creation Hezbollah which developed into the most powerful organization in Lebanon and a powerful ally of Iran. In recent years, the Quds Force has operated in many other countries like Syria and worked with other sub-state actors such Houthis in Yemen and Hamas in Palestine.
Asghar Farhadi is a master at portraying ordinary human stories in a country that is often viewed through the narrow lens of politics. He delicately shifts the attention away from politics to powerful and universal emotions and experiences.
His public position on these issues has had consequences for him. In recent years, he has been a victim of attacks by hardliners. Most notably, he was physically assaulted in the city of Shiraz in 2015. Although he has become the voice of moderation, when it comes to the cultural and social sphere, his views are conservative.
Her clients were women who protested the obligatory dress code by taking off their hijab in public in 2018, an act that the authorities equate with treason. Sotoudeh was already well-known for having represented jailed opposition activists and politicians following the disputed June 2009 presidential elections as well as prisoners sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were minors.
Zarif will undoubtedly go down as the most controversial foreign minister in Iran’s history, criticized and even accused of treason by opponents while praised and regarded as a national hero by supporters.
Salami will also oversee the activities of the Quds Force, an IRGC unit responsible for extraterritorial operations, giving him a significant say in the way Iran’s network of regional alliances work. However, as organizations under new management usually take time to stabilize, it is too early to say how the change at the top will ultimately affect Iran’s strategy, particularly towards its foreign enemies.
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