Iran Takes a Conservative Turn


Posted by the University of Pittsburgh:

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed in 2015, in hopes of moving Iran's domestic and foreign policies in a moderate and reformist direction. However, while Iran completed its commitments, the United States failed to lift sanctions, actually imposing new sanctions under different pretexts. This further emboldened JCPOA oppositionists to further undermine the JCPOA.

In 2018, Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA and adopted a policy of maximum pressure. While Iran continued to observe the JCPOA, the country's economy suffered, as did Iranian reformists. As a result, hardliners took control of the legislative and executive branches in the 2021 Elections. While the Biden Administration has been severely critical of Trump's Iran policy, they have essentially followed the same policies.

Now a more intractable conservative government in Iran is unwilling to accept American demands without getting significant and verifiable sanctions relief. Iran’s future and regional outlook have become more clouded than ever before.


Dr. Shireen T. Hunter is an honorary fellow at Georgetown University’s Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU). She has held the position of Visiting Fellow (2005-2007), Visiting Professor (2007-2014), and Research Professor (2014-2019) at ACMCU. Prior to joining ACMCU, She was at the Center for Strategic and International Studies as the Director of the Islam Program (1998-2005), Senior Associate (1993-98), and Deputy Director of the Middle East Program (1983-92).

She has taught at Georgetown, George Mason, and Washington College and was an Academic Fellow at Carnegie Corporation. She has also held the role of Academic Fellow at the Carnegie Corporation, Visiting Senior Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) where she directed the Mediterranean Program, Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institute, and Research Fellow at the Harvard University Center for International Affairs. From 1966-1978, she was a member of the Iranian Foreign Service, serving abroad in London and Geneva as Counselor and in the Charge d'Affaires of Iran’s UN Mission in Geneva.

Her most recent books are: Relations: Arab- Iranian Dynamics of Conflict and Cooperation (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), The New Geopolitics of the South Caucasus: Prospects for Regional Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (Lexington Books, 2017), God On Our Side: Religion in International Affairs (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017), Iran Divided: Historic Roots of Iranian Debates in Identity, Culture and Governance in the 21st Century (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014), Iran’s Foreign Policy in the Post-Soviet Era, Resisting the New International Order (Praeger, 2010), and Reformist Voices of Islam: Mediating Religion and Modernity (M.E. Sharpe, June 2008). She has published more than 8 monographs, 19 books, 100 book chapters, 100 Journal articles, and 500 opinion pieces. She has lectured widely at home and abroad at universities, research institutes, world affairs councils, the State Department, and military commands and has extensive media experience.

Dr. Hunter was educated at Tehran University (BA and all-but-thesis for a doctorate in International Law), the London School of Economics (MSc in International Relations), and the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales in Geneva (PhD in International Relations).