Fatemeh Aman

  • Can Pakistan Be the Friend Iran Needs?

    With pressure mounting on Iran from US sanctions, Iran is placing heavy emphasis on its neighbors for trade and political support.

    Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Iran has raised the question of whether Pakistan can be the friend Tehran needs to survive the Trump administration’s growing hostility.

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  • The Future of Afghanistan: Ongoing Negotiations and the Role of Regional Partners

    On Monday April 22, the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center hosted a panel discussion on the Afghanistan peace negotiations. The panel was moderated by the South Asia Center's Nonresident Senior Fellow Fatemeh Aman and focused on the role of regional powers helping to secure stability and peace.


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  • United States Designates Iran's IRGC a Foreign Terrorist Organization

    The Trump administration on April 8 designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization—the first time a country’s military has received such a status.

    US President Donald Trump said in a statement that the designation “sends a clear message to Tehran that its support for terrorism has serious consequences.” The statement added that the Trump administration “will continue to increase financial pressure and raise the costs on the Iranian regime for its support of terrorist activity until it abandons its malign and outlaw behavior.”

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  • Something Fishy Is Going on Between Iran and China (and Pakistan)

    Two of Beijing’s close allies, Iran and Pakistan, have been increasingly impacted by China’s growing appetite for fish, both for domestic consumption and to supply its processed fish industry. Stricter regulations in Pakistan and an internal political fight in Iran could make it harder for China to expand its fishing industry into their waters.

    Friction between Iranian political factions, chiefly the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and President Hassan Rouhani’s government, is on the rise over the growing presence of Chinese fishing vessels in Iranian waters. Growing dissatisfaction by local fishermen over Chinese industrial-style fishing is contributing to the dispute. In Pakistan, meanwhile, new policies and regulations may impact seafood exports to China. 

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  • Is Saudi Arabia Pulling Pakistan Into War With Iran?

    For years, the Pakistani government has avoided taking sides between rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia, but now it may be forced to choose. Pakistan is in dire need of financial support and the Saudis have the means to help. Will Pakistan accept the strings attached to Saudi generosity?

    Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has viewed Asia as part of “Saudi Arabia’s visionfor the future.” His trip across Asia this month had a short-term goal as well: repairing a public image badly damaged by the Yemen war and the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

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  • Can Iran Help Reach a Lasting Peace in Afghanistan?

    Progress has been reported in peace talks between US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and the Taliban, but without the participation of the Afghan government, it seems premature to assume that an agreement will be reached soon. Could Iran play a constructive role in achieving an end to America’s longest war?

    Despite their lack of diplomatic relations and enduring hostility, Iran and the United States have kept some channels of dialogue open since the 1979 revolution. These channels facilitated an end to the hostage crisis, the selling of US arms to Tehran in the Iran-Contra affair and preceded the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq under the George W. Bush administration. Communication became formalized under the Obama administration and continued even under the Trump administration until its unilateral withdrawal last year from a 2015 nuclear agreement.

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  • Can Brazil’s Relationship With Iran Survive a New Administration?

    The trade and economic partnership between Iran and Brazil has expanded in recent years and was slated to grow even further after the completion of the Iran nuclear dealin 2015. But questions are being raised about this relationship after the victory of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro.

    Brazil is Iran’s seventh-largest trade partner and by far its most important economic interlocutor in South America. On November 15, a Brazilian vessel arrived at Chabahar, Iran’s only ocean port, carrying 72,000 tons of bulk corn from Brazil.  A year ago, a Brazilian ship, the Living, ...

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  • Regional Rivalries Threaten Iran-Pakistan Relations

    A recent abduction of border security forces along the Iran-Pakistan border in southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan province is testing Iran-Pakistan relations.

    Iran has suggested that Saudi Arabia was behind the abduction, which it believes was aimed at sabotaging its relationship with Islamabad. Pakistan needs Saudi money more than ever as it struggles economically. So just how resilient are Iran-Pakistan ties?

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  • The War For Peace in Afghanistan

    Challenge posed by ISIS affiliate must be addressed

    The message from Washington these days appears to be that severing the link between the Taliban and Pakistan is the silver bullet for peace in Afghanistan. It is, however, simplistic to portray the Taliban as the only insurgent group in Afghanistan and Pakistan as the only relevant outside actor. While the Taliban might be the insurgent group with the most sympathizers and members, there are other groups active in Afghanistan that may not be influenced by Pakistan. An enduring peace in Afghanistan is only possible if it involves a deal between the Afghan government and the Taliban, and addresses the challenge posed by these other insurgent groups.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to appoint Zalmay Khalilzad as his Afghan envoy, tasked with mediating between the Taliban and Kabul, might help bring Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government and at least some factions of the Taliban together. Khalilzad...

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  • As Sanctions Return, India Caught between Iran and the United States

    As the first set of US sanctions against Iran went back into effect Aug. 7, India is applying its negotiations skills—effectively, so far—toward managing relations with both sides. 

    The United States and its Persian Gulf Arab allies may be able to provide India with enough crude to offset any reduction in India’s oil imports from Iran. But will Delhi give in to the Trump administration’s pressure to cut Iranian oil imports completely by Nov. 4, thereby endangering a long-standing relationship with Tehran that goes beyond energy?

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