Episode 91:Nader Hashemi on the Current Unrest in Iran

In this episode, Dominic speaks with Nader Hashemi, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies, about the international significance of the current unrest in Iran following the Following the death of Mahsa Amini, arrested by local police on charges of not correctly wearing the hijab.

Nader Hashemi’s research interests lie at the intersection of comparative politics and political theory, in particular debates on religion and democracy, secularism and its discontents, Middle East and Islamic politics, democratic and human rights struggles in non-Western societies and Islam-West relations.

Find Nader Hashemi on the Center for Middle East Studies’ webpage and on his personal website.

International Risk Podcast Interview Transcript

Dominic Bowen 01:30

Hi, I’m Dominic Bowen, the host of the International risk Podcast. Today we’re joined by Professor Nader Hashemi, who is the director at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Denver, with a particular focus on political theory, Middle East and Islamic politics, religion, and Islam West relations. Welcome to the podcast today, Professor nada. I’ve heard you write and speak about the Taliban, about the Taliban isolation of Iran. I mean, the death of 22 year old Messiah Khomeini, who was killed by Iran’s morality police for incorrectly wearing her hijab. her hijab has upset many and really galvanised the youth in Iran, I mean, protests in Iran and nationwide and being discussed daily in the international media, the likelihood of civil unrest was already high. But predicting the timing of social mobility and activism is always less easy to predict. But I understand that that you were one of many people who actually did predict that, you know, there was going to be increasing civil unrest and social unrest. And we’ve seen that across many generations in Iran since the since the revolution, but it’s always been quelled. quite confidently by that by the ruling class. Can you explain for our listeners, the ayatollahs hijab law and other similar laws that have created the repression that eventually leads to civil unrest in all countries? But can you explain that the context in around for our listeners today,

Nader Hashemi 02:45

I’d be happy to. Thanks for the compliment. With respect to predicting this particular moment of crisis, I have to admit that I was surprised like everyone else, that the protests would erupt, you know, roughly a month ago. But I was writing about and discussing the question of the crisis of legitimacy that the Islamic Republic has been facing for a very long time, particularly in the eyes of its young population. And I always have believed that because of this crisis of legitimacy, because we’ve had an authoritarian regime in power in Iran for roughly 43 years, that time was very much on the side of the people who wanted change in Iran, it wasn’t on the side of the regime, the regime had to sort of constantly try to snuff out and crush the demands for political change, as they have done in you know, various moments over the last 43 years. I mean, the big event that I actually edited a book on was in 2009, during the Green Movement protests. So this particular moment of protest, and, you know, discontent has been led by women. I wrote an essay on the topic that sort of tried to characterise this movement, in this moment, as a result in a response to the you know, growing taller was taller than on taller Bong Isaiah version of Iranian politics. That really spoke to the fact that in recent years, the regime has tried to step up enforcement of its draconian dress code law for women, as a way of defending one of the key pillars of the Islamic Republic. So if we go back 43 years, the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was a popular revolution, at top to pro Western political tyranny, there was great hope back then that there would be a democratic opening. And there was a short brief democratic opening, but hardline Islamists, you know, consolidated power, and right from the beginning, the Iranian Revolution, had three core pillars, one of them was clerical rule. The other one was anti Americanism anti imperialism. And the third one was controlling the public presence of women in society, and that manifested itself by this hijab law that was passed in the early days of the revolution that mandated, you know, a strict dress code for women not as bad as in the Taliban, in Afghanistan, under the Taliban, not as bad as we’ve seen for much of the modern rule of Saudi Arabia, but still, a demand that women had to sort of dress very conservatively and cover their hair and their the shape of their bodies in in the public enforcement of that hijaab law has sort of ebbed and flowed. It was always a law depending on which government was in power, reformist governments encouraged the security apparatus, not to enforce the hedgehog laws strictly as some people wanted it to be enforced. But in recent years as the crisis of legitimacy and Iran has sort of become a major theme, threatening the future of the Islamic Republic hardliners fought, and have sought to strictly enforce this particular dress code law. And we’ve, we’ve seen that in recent years and in my essay, I sort of chronicle some of the events that have happened that demonstrate district enforcement. And so a roughly a month ago, you know, this 22 year old woman mask, so as you know, in Tehran, she was picked up for allegedly violating the hijab law. And then she was killed in police custody, and it was this spark. It was this event that sparked these nationwide protests that continue now into their second month. And it’s really a call for substantive political change regime change largely led by largely led by young people, women in particular, who are demanding structural change. And I think that’s the rough broad background to what we’re seeing today in Iran.

Dominic Bowen 06:15

You’ve said a lot that I’d like to unpack but you’ve written about the example of the now former mayor of Tehran, Muhammad Ali Najafi attending a public event that included young female dancers throwing rose petals in honour of a female saint. And after attending this event, the mayor very quickly became the ex mayor, as hardliners pushed for his resignation. Why have the hardliners in Iran made such strict regulation of women’s bodies? A key battleground against reformers? Now, I know you mentioned that three pillars. But why was this one of the key pillars now I think most of us will understand the revolution and the Shah, and the anti imperialist more anti us feeling at the time, we’re going to understand the clerical role being you know, a bit of a ruling class or an opposition at the time, but why was controlling women was and still is such a key battleground for hardliners in Iran?

Nader Hashemi 07:10

That’s a great question. And I think this topic is poorly understood. It largely has to do with the question of political identity of Iranian hardliners. And what I’m about to say applies not just to Iranian hardliners, but to hardline political Islamists across the Muslim world. For this group of actors, political actors, their political identity is shaped in relationship to the west. Because the West has historically intervened and dominated imposed itself in various ways on Muslim countries. In the 20th century, mid 20th century moving forward, political Islamists, when it came to defining who they are, shaped their identity, you know, as a rejection of perceived Western norms and values. And that’s why the question of women has become so central, because in this worldview of hardline political Islam, there’s a perception that women in the West, dressed loosely, they presented themselves as provocatively and sexually in public. And so when it came to the construction of an alternative, allegedly more authentic Islamic identity, it was constructed as a rejection of the West. And as an insistence that our women, authentic, true Muslim women would cover themselves more conservatively, as a way of distinguishing themselves from the West as allegedly showing that they’re really pious, and practising and ethically upstanding individuals. So it was really that whole narrative that became so foundational to the worldview of political Islamist, again, across the Islamic world, but we’re talking about Iran here. So when Khomeini and his disciples come to power and consolidate power, this being central to their identity, they pass a comprehensive hijab law for women, they also encouraged men to dress differently. So you’ll see figures of the Islamic Republic, they’ll never wear a necktie because a necktie is considered considered to be Western alien, foreign and authentic. But women, of course, were subjected to much greater restrictions on their bodily autonomy and their ability to dress the way they wanted, very much for these reasons of identity construction. So it’s a very different issue for the Islamic Republic to compromise on. Because if they were to sort of compromise and pull back and sort of allow a much more, you know, much more freedom for women to wear what they want, in their worldview, it would be like a compromising a founding pillar of their identity. So that’s why it’s such a central issue and why I don’t really see very much room for negotiation here. In other words, I don’t see the Islamic Republic trying to sort of get it get over this moment are resolving this crisis by simply saying, Okay, we’re not going to enforce this law anymore, or we’re going to pass a new law, it’s too central to the ideological view of who they are and what they stand for in this world today.

Dominic Bowen 9:35

You’ve also spoken and some of us have seen the reporting it’s not just in Iran, but you know, one of Iran’s diplomatic missions actually the diplomatic admission to the United Kingdom. The Iranian Ambassador there attended an event where one of the women playing music was not wearing a hat. job when not wearing a hijab properly. And again, he was very quickly the former ambassador and he was also fired and lost his job because of because of that. Are there other actions now? Not that we need any other examples? I mean, these examples are just tragic, you know, a young 22 year old girl dying, having a morality place, you know, these couple of examples that we’ve spoken about, you know, that in itself is enough. But Notwithstanding that, there are other actions that you’re observing that help explain the Talibanization of Iran or the increasing extremism or, or hardline in Iran?

Nader Hashemi 10:25

Well, I think these examples that you’ve cited, and that I go into greater detail in my essay, are really part of a pattern of that reveal a clear policy determination to step up enforcement and step up the upholding of this principle of the Islamic Republic. So, you know, just over the last several weeks, I mean, just actually, last week in the Iranian city of, you know, Ardebil, in sort of northern Iran, you know, a young school girl was killed, because she refused to chant pro regime slogans. We’re seeing a lot of, you know, women arrested and abused. I mean, the one event that everyone is talking about right now, that’s currently in the news was this rock climber, this young woman who was participating in an international competition in Seoul, Korea, and you know, one of the top prize for her success in rock climbing. And she did so without wearing the hijab. And she became immediately a national celebrity back home, because her participation in rock climbing without her hijab was viewed by many Iranians as an act of symbolic solidarity with the people on the streets in Tehran, she has just returned to Iran. And now there’s a big crisis where, you know, she allegedly has now been forced to come public and say, Well, you know, what really happened was that my hijab simply fell off. And it wasn’t an act of solidarity. And she was welcomed at the airport by 1000s, of Iranians. But it’s pretty clear to me, you know, the Islamic Republic has now effectively, you know, if not kidnapped her, put her under house arrest and, you know, told her that look, when you come back to Iran, you’ve got to read from the government script, do not give any endorsement to this idea that women can wear what they want. So these are sort of the things, this is an ongoing battle. And if you follow the internal debates, over the last five weeks, within the ruling hardline class, there have been public debates where senior members of the ruling elite have sort of said, We’ve got to rethink this entire hijaab law, maybe we should just sort of, you know, relax its enforcement, because it’s producing this type of crisis, then you have hardliners who are saying absolutely not. If we give in here, then they’re going to demand more concessions from us. So this is a big problem for the Islamic Republic, there’s, it’s pretty clear that the response from the regime has been brutal in terms of how it’s been, you know, cracking down. But also, if you follow very closely, it’s clear that behind the scenes, there are a lot of members of the senior ruling elite from the hardline constituency who are deeply uneasy over what’s happening in Iran, how this policy of strict unfortunate enforcement of the job has produced this crisis, and try to fit try to now there’s an attempt to try and figure out a way out of this moment of deep despair, but I don’t think it can be resolved very quickly, because you’re talking about a new generation of young people who aspire to political freedom, liberty, you know, democracy and human rights, and those demands aren’t going to be sort of, can’t be snuffed out that easily, you know, simply by giving them you know, greater economic rewards or, you know, relaxing a law here and there, they’re demanding full structural change, regime change. And so, the Islamic Republic, in many ways is, is the author of this of this crisis, they produced this strict enforcement, and now they have to deal with the backlash.

Dominic Bowen 13:20

You talked about being the author of the crisis, and you talked about that crisis of legitimacy, especially in the eyes of the young and we saw this in in Egypt in the lead up to 2011. I remember writing a paper in 2009. Talking about this in Egypt you look at the demographics, you look at the huge population of the youth bulge, the higher levels of education, a low levels of employment, the low levels of or the high levels of underemployment that was always going to lead to something and ultimately it did, and, you know, you’re talking about a different different indicators, but a similar thing, and you talked about after 43 years of authoritarian rule, time is on the side of the population. And I think you are right. And as we’ve seen in Iran, the protests now in the second month, have largely been led by Iranian women. And that in itself is something to note but this is also in a country where female self expression is discouraged. So I think it’s sort of an extra, an extra flag on top of an already big red flag. I mean, what what’s your impression of these protests? And do you believe that the commitment from these protesters and the risks that they’re taking a life either lead to better conditions in Iran?

Nader Hashemi 14:25

Well, I certainly hope so. I mean, there’s no guarantee that when people protest against the repressive regime that they’re going to be victorious. I think what’s noteworthy, and what’s really encouraging is the psychological barrier of fear that exists in all pressed populations living under authoritarian rule, that barrier seems to have been broken. That’s an important step forward, but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee victory. And so I think what I’m looking for moving forward is the ability of these young Iranian women and men protesting on the streets, to hook up with other constituency in constituencies, groups in Iran, that are discontented and angry to build a type of coalition, a networks that can give protests, the capacity to force concessions from the regime. There’s indications that this is happening, we’ve seen strikes in the oil sector, we’ve seen, you know, ethnic minorities, particularly the Kurds, organising and mobilising. There’s been protests among other minority groups, particularly in the province of Baluchistan, organising, we’ve seen, you know, the bazaar, the market, closed down and shut down, in sort of strikes solidarity, student campuses are major site now of protests. So I think those are the things that need to happen. Before we can sort of start talking about a serious, you know, disruption in the structure of power in the Islamic Republic, protests by themselves, you know, coming out in the streets and shouting slogans is not enough, it needs to be much more coordinated, organised, you need, you need a strategy, you need sort of a clear set of demands, you need to hook up with, you know, international civil society, which has really been mobilised in this case in support of the Iranian protesters. But I think a lot more needs to happen before we can talk about a significant shift in the structure of power, power in Iran. But you know, only five weeks into this. So it seems like it’s a turning point. But of course, there’s absolutely no guarantee. I mean, you referenced the Arab Spring, we were all deeply inspired by those protests. And we saw that after after some success, eventually a counter revolution came in and crushed all the, the demands for change. And so that can easily happen in the Islamic Republic. I mean, even if that does happen, if let’s say, we’re having this conversation three months from now, and the protests have stopped, I think what we’ve seen over the last five weeks, will long be remembered as sort of a transformative moment in the history of the Islamic Republic, where women came forward, where there was a martyr that everyone can identify the name of Massa Emini, that people sort of really rose up and defied the regime. And so this will be even in the worst case scenario, this moment of uprising, this revolt will long be remembered, as, you know, a moment of courage that perhaps can inspire future generations or future groups of Iranians going forward.

Dominic Bowen 17:10

I mean, there was that brief period of potential in 1979. And again, you talk about that moment of potential or moments of courage right now. Are you confident that if we get another brief moment of potential as a result of these protests, do you think we should have a relative degree of confidence that we’ll end up with a more democratic and contemporary system of government in Iran? Of course, we saw what happened in Egypt, we saw what happened in Tunisia. We see what’s happening still, in Syria, after the initial protests, how do you think that the this could evolve if there was some sort of a revolution?

Nader Hashemi 17:40

That’s a great question. Of course, uprisings for democracy don’t in enough in and of itself guarantee a democratic transition. I think there’s a lot to be concerned about here. But nonetheless, I think the opportunity needs to be seized because the status quo under the Islamic Republic of Iran is clearly untenable for, you know, the vast majority of Iranians. But if we could just project forward, I’d like to think that there’s a real prospect for political change. I do have deep concerns about the potential of a democratic transformation being smooth and successful. For many reasons. One, is that the legacy of authoritarianism and Iran both before the revolution and after the revolution, right up until today, has produced a certain political culture that is not always conducive to free debate, toleration, pluralism, and democracy. And what I’m speaking about is if you go on social media right now, there’s a lot of really deep, intolerant acrimonious and vicious attacks, being launched by Iranians against the other Iranians, for having a different point of view or for taking the position in the past that is considered to be treasonous. If that’s representative of what’s going to happen in a future Iran after the fall of the Islamic Republic, then there’s a lot of reason to be concerned about I’ve strongly argued that what really, that what Iranians need to do all of them is to practice more toleration is to strive for national reconciliation, is to really strive for some future Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to give up the politics of vengeance, where, after the revolution, you try and sort of go after the leaders of the old regime and chop off their heads exactly, as happened in 1979, when Khomeini and his followers came to power, they went after the old regime officials, I think that was a huge mistake and creating bad blood. And it’s sort of produced in many ways, the violence that we’re seeing today, under the Islamic Republic that set the tone for that. So I think there’s the other big concern that I have is that because Iran is geo strategically positioned in an important part of the world, there are a lot of external actors that don’t have good intentions with respect to the future of Iran. There’s a lot of people who want to bring back the old monarchy, another pro Western dictatorship, who will sort of basically replicate the rule of the Shah, neighbouring Arab Gulf dictatorships have invested a lot of money in trying to hijack the movement for political change in Iran, I’m worried about their intervention. I’m also worried about the fact that look, if even you have a free and fair election, we know from experience here in the United States, and in other countries, that with a lot of money, you can bind election, you can sort of dominate the airwaves and swing voters in your direction. That’s not democratic enhancing. So I’m worried about that. I’m also worried about the role of big money, there’s a lot of money in the Iranian opposition movement that has skewed the debate that has, you know, tarnish the reputation of democratic activists. So those are all big concerns that I have my thinking about the future. But I do have a lot of confidence that they’re still at the same time, a lot of Iranians who’ve grown up in the Islamic Republic, who have left the Islamic Republic who have very thoughtful, mature ideas, about democracy about human rights, who want to turn the page over to a new, a new moment, for Iran, I’m hoping at the end of the day that those voices will be triumphant.

Dominic Bowen 20:52

Learning the prospect for democratic transition, how the rest of the world supports and encourages action in Iran is particularly important. We saw last Monday, the European Union issued sanctions against Iran’s morality police for the death in custody of masa Mini, and the repression of protests. Do you think that the European Union should be issuing sanctions? Or do you think they shouldn’t be supporting protesters in other ways? Or do you think the EU, the European Union, is actually increasing the risks for young Iranians by becoming involved?

Nader Hashemi 21:22

Well, on that question, I have a rule of thumb that I always use. And it’s the following; before planting any sort of action to support a group of people in another part of the world don’t presuppose that you know the answer in advance. It’s always vital that you try to engage with organically connected, authentic leaders on the ground in the country where the conflict is taking place, and ask them, how can we best help? You don’t presuppose you know that answer in advance. And I think if you do that, it’s pretty clear that what the protesters with the organic human rights and pro democracy leaders are asking from the international community is for number one, keeping the focus on the Islamic Republic of Iran, they are supportive, generally of targeted sanctions against leading regime repressors who have blood on their hands and who are in command and control sponsibility of the repression, I think they are generally in favour of stepping up, you know, sanctions, diplomatic sanctions by sort of going to the International Human Rights Forum at the UN at the European Parliament and having special sessions. I’m also hearing from Iran today that they would strongly support withdrawing European ambassadors from Iran is a sign of protest, not cutting off diplomatic relations, but pulling out the ambassadors that head of, you know, the missions in these various countries as a sign that, you know, that the European Union is very serious about these activities, that these are the activities of repression that are taking place. So those are the things generally that I think I’m hearing from people in Iran today. I think there’s a lot that the European community can be doing by simply you know, number one, keeping the spotlight as I said on Iran, that’s important not letting them conversation wither away anytime soon?

Dominic Bowen 22:55

You mentioned earlier there a lot of big money in Iranian opposition groups, Can you unpack that and explain the influences behind that money and what their motivations might be?

Nader Hashemi 23:05

Yeah, you have several groups, you have the old monarchists, the old sort of supporters of the Catholic regime, they have deep pockets. They’ve struck an alliance with various members of the Republican Party in the United States in particular, who have their own aspirations for regime change. And that’s regime change, not in the direction of democracy, but another form of authoritarianism as existed in Iran prior to 1979. And then you have the Israel factor, hard right wing, who are very vocal in the US foreign policy debate, I have very strong views and really believe that the source of instability in the region comes from Iran. And so they’ve been very active in the US foreign policy debate, and particularly in supporting in various ways, Iranian opposition groups, particularly this notorious sort of Stalinist cult known as the NBK, the majority and a hug organisation. So you’ve put all these groups together, you have the right wing of Likud Nixon, United States, were very well organised and have a lot of influence on the US foreign policy debate. You have monarchists who still have vast resources and aspirations of going back to Iran and re constituting what they lost in 1979. And then you have the mvk, who have very small support, but they’re sort of used in various ways by these other groups to attack Iranians who have independent views or have more democratic views. And so that toxic atmosphere, which is really a toxic atmosphere that’s very unique to Washington, DC, Washington, DC really is a hornet’s nest, when it comes to these types of foreign policy activities. You also have Arab dictatorships who have a lot of influence in Washington, DC as well, they have a lot of money, and they’re funding various, you know, Iranian opposition groups, television stations. So this amount of money that you see from all of these different groups, does create a very warped playing field. And if you just listen to the voices coming out of the United States today in Washington, DC, it tends to disproportionately reflect these private interest groups backed by lot of financial resources, and they also have influence disproportionate influence over the US Congress. Because it’s a game of political power, and the more power that you can sort of wield the louder your influence is going to be so that’s very concerning for me that if there is a democratic opening, and we have free and fair elections in Iran, these groups with their financial resources and their you know, organisational ability can have huge influence in terms of swaying public opinion by just dominating the debate the airwaves. We’ve seen this in other countries we’re seeing in the United States today, in many ways, right? Because the role of private money private interests really distorts debates on social policy issues. And so I’m very worried that that can, you know, be a big factor in a future, post Islamic republic that can really bring back another form of authoritarian authoritarianism, with a different name but very much sort of reflecting the the political interests that are behind these types of politics.

Dominic Bowen 25:45

And if we look at the pop aspect or pop culture aspect, the UK Duchess of Sussex recently wore a black top with the words women life and freedom written in Farsi. On the on the front of the shirt. Do you think statements like this from celebrities are impactful? Or further distance groups in and outside of Iran, especially in the news, such a fear from hardliners in Iran about Western decadent culture about monarchies and imperialism?

Nader Hashemi 26:10

I think what Megan Markel did, wearing that T shirt. I think the statements put out by Angelina Jolie and by Kim Kardashian, and by, all of these celebrities, Justin Bieber, all of these things, whatever you think of these people, I think these are very important acts of solidarity to keep the spotlight on Iran, one because it’s these people who have huge influence at a popular level. So the people who follow Kim Kardashian or Angelina Jolie or Meghan Markel, they probably don’t know much about Iranian politics. But when someone of that calibre with that international influence says something about Iran, it helps, keep the spotlight on the Islamic Republic, it’s helped spread the word, it might encourage people to read about what’s happening in Iran because one of their heroes, one of their celebrities, so I think largely, it’s very helpful. Yes, the regime will use these types of things to reinforce their propaganda narrative and the propaganda narrative. You know, the Supreme Leader just said a few weeks ago, these protests have nothing to do with internal discontent. They’re all coming from the United States and Israel. So they will use these types of outside acts of solidarity to been a propaganda narrative as they always have done. But the good thing about it now is that, you know, very few people in Iran buy it anymore. Maybe the core regime supporters do, but the vast majority of people don’t. Don’t buy that sort of those lies anymore from the Islamic Republic claiming that it’s sort of Megan Markel wears a shirt written in Farsi that says, “women, life, freedom”, that’s somehow an indication that the British monarchy is behind these protests. Now the regime will say this, and a few people in Iran will buy into it, but most reasonable people will not. So I think these acts of solidarity are incredibly important. I actually tweeted twice. The picture of Meghan Markel with her t shirt. I think it has a lot of impact, particularly among young Iranians because young Iranians are very globalised. They follow pop culture, they follow movies, they’re, you know, internet savvy before the internet was shut down. And so I think they’ll view what Megan Markel did and what other celebrities have done as really supportive of their demands for political change.

Dominic Bowen 28:00

We’ve just got a couple more minutes, I’d like to ask you about the Kurds. Now Kurds throughout the Middle East have long been victims of attacks by states in the region. And Iran, like many of its neighbouring countries, justifies attacks against Kurds as anti-terror operations and security operations against terrorist bases. Is there any justification for the security crackdowns, we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks against Kurdish groups in Iran?

Nader Hashemi 28:25

There’s no justification. The Kurds are minority groups. They’re disproportionately from the Sunni sort of branch of Islam. So they’re a minority within the larger Iranian religious and political context, they’ve been discriminated against, because they’re a minority, they face higher levels of discrimination, unemployment, declining their standards of living, so there’s more discontent in those areas. Now, there is an argument here, because there’s a porous border, because the Kurds are divided up between four countries. And because a lot of Kurds live on the other side of the Iran Iraq border. And there are independent Kurdish groups that are there, the United States has a military presence there, that there is, you know, back and forth, sort of Kurdish independent, autonomous groups that support independence for the Kurds or greater rights for the Kurds that have crossed that border. But I think the regime here is trying to sort of manipulate and exploit what I’ve just said, to distract from the protests to say that, look, this is more evidence of outside influence coming in and stirring up discontent. But anyone who knows anything about the Islamic Republic, knows that the demands of the Kurds in the Kurdish party of Iran are legitimate, their long standing. This is not a outside conspiracy. This is very much about the failed repressive policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran that have disproportionately impacted minority groups and ethnic groups, such as the Kurds.

Dominic Bowen 29:40

If it’s not up, I know I said only have one more question, but I’m going to squeeze one more in super quickly. What are your thoughts on the likelihood that Iran is providing the Kamikaze drones? The Shaheed 136 is to Russia, which would be breaching international sanctions against Russia. But perhaps Russia, perhaps around doesn’t care too much about sanctions knowing their current position?

Nader Hashemi 30:00

Well, I don’t think there’s any controversy that Iran has provided those drones and they are being used by Russia. I just read today that now there’s going to be response from the European Union and from the international community, because Iran has broken sanctions law that it was that are in place. So I think that’s an established fact. And so Iran has to sort of be held accountable for doing so this is a recent US, I don’t think we can sort of explain the Russian war in Ukraine and the aggression and the atrocities that are taking place right now as a direct result of Iran supplying these drones to Russia, because I think in terms of the overall arsenal of Putin, his army, these drones are not a game changer. I think they complicate the war. But my reading of it is that this is certainly a problem. I think Iran should be held to account. But I don’t think that if Iran were to stop, you know, sending drones to Russia tomorrow, that’s going to change the balance of power in Ukraine war in any substantive way.

Dominic Bowen 30:51

Yep, that’s fair enough. That is fair enough. And thanks very much for your views on that. And thank you very much for coming on the international risk podcast today, Nader.

Nader Hashemi 31:00

Thank you very much loved the conversation. Thanks for the interest in the topic.

Dominic Bowen 31:05

That was a very interesting conversation with Professor Nader Hashemi from the University of Denver. I really appreciated hearing his thoughts on the risks and risks and opportunities around as well as the international significance of the current unrest in Iran. Thanks very much for listening to the international risk podcast, and we’ll speak again next week.

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