Dr. Abbas Milani is a leading Iranian scholar and the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University.
This conversation took place via Zoom on Tuesday, October 31, 2023.
A Powerful Player
Iran is at the center of much of the conflict in the Middle East.
Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Houthi in Yemen are all supported with money and weapons, and influenced in tactics and strategy, by Iran. They encircle Israel and are sworn enemies. Iranians are mostly Shia Muslims, while Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are primarily Sunni Muslims. The Iranians also have militant support groups in Syria and Iraq. One of the reasons often cited for the timing of the Hamas invasion of Israel from Gaza and brutal slaughter of Israeli citizens was the developing relationship between those Arab countries and Israel. All of this demands an understanding of Iranian actions, especially as the country develops a nuclear weapon program. Beyond the Persian Gulf and the Middle East region, Iran participates in efforts to change the world order as part of the anti-Western China, Russia, and North Korea links.
Everyone knows of Iran’s economic and military support for Hamas but there are many questions about knowledge and participation in the Hamas attack on Israel. It is a powerful player in the region.