The Battle of the Ayatollahs in Iran

The Battle of the Ayatollahs in Iran

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On March 10, 2023, the Iran 1400 Project had the pleasure of talking with Alex Vatanka about his book The Battle of the Ayatollahs in Iran: The United States, Foreign Policy and Political Rivalry Since 1979. Mr. Vatanka dissected the political rivalry between two regime personalities, Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, and Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who before his death in January 2017 held some of the most powerful political positions in Iran. In analyzing their relationship, he helped the audience understand the foreign policy agenda and behavior of the Islamic Republic. During the Q&A session, Mr. Vatanka focused on foreign policy, touching on Iran’s relations with Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S. Furthermore, in the wake of the announcement of Iran’s restoration of ties with Saudi Arabia, he analyzed the history of this relationship and pondered on what the future might hold for the two countries.

Iran Expert | + posts
Alex Vatanka is the founding director of the Iran Program at the Middle East Institute, specializing in Middle Eastern regional security affairs, with a focus on Iran. He is also a senior fellow in Middle East Studies at the US Air Force Special Operations School and teaches as an adjunct professor at DISAS at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, having testified before the US Congress and lectured for various audiences, including governmental and commercial ones.

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