Middle East Focus podcast

Ebrahim Raisi and the future of Iran

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Ebrahim Raisi was sworn in as Iran's new president on August 5. Ali Alfoneh and Henry Rome join guest host Alex Vatanka, director of MEI's Iran Program, to discuss the political and economic challenges the new president will contend with, his relationship to Ayatollah Khamenei, and the future of Iran and the country's leadership.

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  • Middle East Focus podcast

    Takeaways from COP26


    Mohammed Mahmoud, director of MEI's Climate and Water Program, and Abbey Krulik, who attended the recent United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, as an observer, discuss takeaways from the conference and the Glasgow Pact that was signed there.
  • Middle East Focus podcast

    The Legacy of the Iranian Hostage Crisis


    Alex Vatanka and Michael Metrinko discuss the Iranian hostage crisis, how it’s shaped US-Iran relations, and what that history tells us about the present and potential future of the Islamic Republic. Metrinko also recounts his experience as a political officer at the embassy in Iran in 1979 and being one of the 52 hostages.
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  • Middle East Focus podcast

    Afghanistan Under the Taliban


    Marvin Weinbaum and Javid Ahmad discuss conditions in Afghanistan since falling back under Taliban rule, including worsening economic and humanitarian crises, the security situation, the role of international and regional actors, and where things might be headed moving forward.
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    Converging Lines: the Arab Diaspora in the U.S.


    Artists Helen Zughaib and John Halaka join MEI’s Lyne Sneige in conversation on the MEI Art Gallery’s current exhibition, "Converging Lines: Tracing the Artistic Lineage of the Arab Diaspora in the U.S." They discuss the exhibition's themes of exile, memory formation, changing identities, and the state of in-betweenness that often accompanies migration. Converging Lines is on view until November 17. Learn more at www.mei.edu/art-gallery
  • Middle East Focus podcast

    Saudi-Iran Talks


    Mohammed Alsulami and Kasra Aarabi join Banafsheh Keynoush to discuss the latest talks between long-time regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran. Several rounds of talks between Riyadh and Tehran been held in Baghdad since April. They are taking place amid a broader regional trend toward deconfliction and as negotiations in Vienna over the revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal appear to have bogged down.
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    Tunisia's political crisis


    Lilia Blaise and Fadil Aliriza join Intissar Fakir for a discussion on Tunisia's political turmoil following President Kais Saied's series of moves since July to reshape the country's government.
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    Iraq's Elections


    Marsin Alshamary joins the program to discuss the upcoming Iraqi parliamentary elections on Oct. 10. Originally scheduled for 2022, the elections were moved up amid pressure from the Tishreen protest movement that began in late 2019. MEI Senior Fellow Randa Slim also speaks with two long-time watchers of Iraqi politics, Farhad Alaaldin and Naufel Alhassan, about how they see things playing out and the impact the elections might have on Iraq’s political landscape going forward.
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    Iran and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization


    Iulia Sabina-Joja and Alex Vatanka join today's program to discuss Iranian foreign policy and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Amid growing concerns about the regional repercussions of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the SCO met for its 20th anniversary summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on September 16th and 17th. Regional security cooperation and Iranian accession were at the top of the agenda, with Iran formally joining the organization as a full member on September 17th. 
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    9/11’s legacy for U.S.-Middle East relations


    Ross Harrison, Paul Salem, and Randa Slim join host Alistair Taylor to reflect on 9/11’s impact on US policy in the Middle East over the past 20 years and how its legacy has been viewed by the region.
  • Middle East Focus podcast

    Morocco's elections


    Maati Monjib and Rachid Aourraz join guest host Intissar Fakir to discuss the results of Morocco's Sept. 8 general elections, their context and why they are important, and what they signal about political trends in the country moving forward.

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