Deciphering Iranian Decision Making and Strategy Today

Deciphering Iranian Decision Making and Strategy Today

Michael Rubin

Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 4:00 – 5:15 p.m.

Iran is one of America’s leading foes and a top exporter of terrorism. Yet decision-making within the regime is poorly understood. Power is divided between the presidency and the supreme leader, but the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has also become a significant player. Iran has renewed its drive to export its revolutionary ideology abroad, utilizing not only terrorism but also soft power and charity work to further its expansionist aims. Claiming defense of Shi’ism as its excuse, Iran seeks to propagate its radical influence as far away as Venezuela both directly and through proxy groups such as Hezbollah. To counter Iranian aims, the United States must better understand the regime’s informal networks and the sources of power that shape Iranian strategy.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School. A former Iran desk officer at the Pentagon, Rubin holds a Ph.D. in Iranian history from Yale University and has lived and studied in post-revolutionary Iran. Rubin regularly instructs senior military officers deploying to the Middle East on regional politics, and teaches Iranian history, culture, and politics onboard U.S. aircraft carriers. Rubin is the author of two books about Iran. Dancing with the Devil: The Promise and Perils of Engagement, a history of U.S. diplomacy with rogue regimes and terrorist groups, will be published by Encounter Books in 2014.