Iran's Strategic Priorities Remain Intact

(Al Arabiya) Majid Rafizadeh - Economic duress is not likely to fundamentally shift Iran's regional hegemonic ambitions, as well as alter the stance of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the senior cadre of Iran's Revolutionary Guards towards their top regional strategic priorities. History has shown that even when Iran's economy became chaotic a few years ago, Tehran's stance towards supporting Assad, boosting Hizbullah, influencing the ruling Iraqi Shiite coalition, and continuing its nuclear program did not alter. Even with the economic challenges, Iran is planning to increase its defense spending and IRGC budget by 50%. The gap between the Islamic Republic's demands on its nuclear program and those of the West's (primarily the U.S.) is too deep to bridge. A final nuclear deal in July 2015 is unlikely. The writer is an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar at Harvard University.

2015-01-02 00:00:00

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