If you only have limited time to learn about the Iranian quagmire, these 10 pieces will get you up to speed in no time:
(1) Crisis Guide: Iran by The Council on Foreign Relations: The CFR has put together a great set of videos and interactive maps and graphs that explain the basics of the issue with just the right amount of detail to bring anyone up to speed.
(2) The Iran Primer by The U.S. Institute of Peace: An extensive set of topics by over 50 different Iran scholars from the West and Iran. This is a great in-depth source.
(3) Iran’s Nuclear Program: Tehran’s Compliance with International Obligations by The Congressional Research Service: A quick read that provides a breakdown of Iran’s relationship with the UN Security Council, IAEA, and whether or not Iran has legally broken the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
(4) The Rise of the Pasdaran by RAND: Investigates all aspects of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, their economic, military, and covert operations capabilities, and their increasing takeover of government institutions. A must read for those who want to understand a key aspect of how Iranian politics work.
(5) The Strategic Culture of the Islamic Republic of Iran: Operational and Policy Implications by Michael Eisenstadt: Outlines the many fallacies surrounding Iran, including Iran’s political thought process and regime desires.
(6) Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Development Facilities by The Center for Strategic and International Studies: A long, but thorough study detailing logistics of an Israeli strike being effective, the necessary hardware, planning, etc. Very important for anyone wondering how prudent a strike might be and its implications.
(7) The latest IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear program by The International Atomic Energy Agency: Important if you want to understand the harshness of the latest sanctions and why Israel and the U.S. are increasingly concerned about Iran’s nuclear program.
(8) Reading Khamenei: The World View of Iran's Most Powerful Leader by Karim Sadjadpour: Many think that Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is the one steering the Iranian ship. This is not the case, as the Ayatollah has the final say in everything the country does. Read this to learn more about the Persian state’s shadowy leader.
(9) Iran’s Economic Conditions: U.S. Policy Issues by Shayerah Ilias A thorough account of Iran’s economy, from its trading partners, revenue sources, and approaches the U.S. can take in sanctioning the regime.
(10) Iran’s Strategic Competition with the US and Arab States – Conventional, Asymmetric, and Missile Capabilities by Center for Strategic and International Studies: For anyone who doesn’t think Iran can defend itself from an attack. Also includes Iranian strategy for the region.
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