Seyedamir Hossein Mahdavi

Former member of the Central Council of Mujahedin Inqilab, a reformist party in Iran, and on the editorial board of several reformist newspapers. He is currently a researcher at the Crown Center and a graduate student at Harvard University.



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Can the Vienna Agreement Solve Iran's Problems?

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Seyedamir Hossein Mahdavi
Middle East Brief 96, January 2016


Since the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran and the P5+1 in 2015, several contradictory messages have been coming out of Tehran. On one hand, the Rouhani government and many among the Iranian people hope that sanctions relief will alleviate the Islamic Republic’s many economic ills. On the other, Iranian hardliners and the Supreme Leader himself have warned against "Western infiltration" as a result of a potential economic opening. In this Brief, Seyedamir Hossein Mahdavi steps back from the headlines to assess the validity of the various expectations regarding the impact of the Vienna Agreement on Iran by examining some of the most trenchant obstacles the Rouhani government faces today. Specifically, he identifies three inter-related economic and political crises that arose independently of the sanctions and thus cannot be resolved merely through the lifting of sanctions and the unfreezing of Iran’s assets abroad: the legacy of former president Mahmood Ahmadinejad’s economic mismanagement, the unprecedented number of job seekers entering Iran’s economy, and the expanded role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the Iranian political arena. The Brief concludes by examining three probable scenarios concerning the effects of the agreement on the future of Iran in the short and medium terms, including the agreement's possible impact on the February 2016 parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections.

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