Results for Tag: Iran
In 2016, Barzani announced that once the Kurds had their own state he would step down. Riding high after the defeat of IS in Iraq’s cities, he made his move in 2017. Calling a referendum that he hoped would pave the way for an independent state, he ramped up pro-Kurdish rhetoric at home, incurring the wrath of nervous neighbours as well as long-term allies. While he went ahead with the vote and won a landslide victory at the polls, retribution soon followed. His ambition on behalf of the Kurdish people has ultimately led to his downfall, with the Kurdish project in its worst position for years.
At the root of the conflict between Iran and its Arab neighbours lies the Shia-Sunni divide, as the patrons of the two Muslim sects, Tehran and Riyadh respectively, are both prepared to promote and support their sectarian beliefs. Conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Bahrain can be viewed in this light. Yet it is also the result of an ordinary struggle between two regional powers.
Historically, Saudi Arabia and Iran have not stood head-to-head, and while several factors played into the historical deterioration of relations between the two regional powers, oil was the main cause. The consequences of the economic face off are felt by both nations, and, most importantly, their populations.
Indeed, the Trump factor is giving hardliners an ideal platform to enforce the anti-American views they have championed for four decades. Even if the current tensions between the two countries do not result in military confrontation, the shifting political dynamics and social attitudes brought about by Trump are likely to have consequences for years to come.
Although most of Rouhani’s second term still lies ahead of him, the first three months have been a mixed bag. While his cabinet choices have disappointed millions of his supporters, he has challenged the influence of the IRGC and the supreme leader and taken several bold steps to constitute a new balance of power. It is too early to predict where these steps will lead, but one thing is certain: Rouhani may have won the vote but he faces a tough road ahead.
Today, Shiites are divided into numerous sects, the largest being Twelver Shiism. Shiites make up the majority of the population in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Azerbaijan; and they constitute significant minorities in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Tanzania.
Under President Hassan Rouhani, cultural freedoms have continued to expand. Legal Persian pop music is now widespread and pop concerts are regularly held in various cities around the country. However, securing a permit for hip-hop concerts remains difficult. Although the state has taken some steps to release the pressure on rap music, normalization of hip-hop continues to be a challenge.