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Muhammad Sahimi
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Muhammad Sahimi is professor of chemical engineering and materials science and the NIOC Chair in petroleum engineering at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. In addition to his scientific research, he has been writing about Iran's political developments and nuclear program. He is the lead political columnist for the website PBS/Frontline/Tehran Bureau that is dedicated to news and analysis about Iran, and contributes regularly to His articles have also been published in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, Harvard International Review, and The Progressive among others. He is the co-founder and editor of the new website, Iran News and Middle East Reports.

Entries by Muhammad Sahimi

What the Defeat of Iran's Hard-Liners Means

(5) Comments | Posted February 29, 2016 | 9:14 AM

Two important nationwide elections were held in Iran on Feb. 26. One was for the Majlis, or parliament, while the second was for the Assembly of Experts, a constitutional body that appoints the supreme leader and can, at least theoretically, fire him. To be sure, the...

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Who Will Succeed Ayatollah Khamenei?

(27) Comments | Posted January 4, 2016 | 4:13 PM

Ever since Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was appointed Iran's supreme leader in 1989, there has been a power struggle in Iran between two groups. In one group are the moderates, reformists and liberals who want to open Iran's political system and make Iran a normal, non-revolutionary state. The second group consists...

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Why the Nuclear Agreement With Iran Is a Defeat for Ayatollah Khamenei

(134) Comments | Posted August 24, 2015 | 6:34 PM

Ever since the Vienna nuclear agreement between Iran and P5+1 -- the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany -- was announced on July 14, the opponents of the agreement have been waging an all-out war against it. But, what the critics of the...

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It Is Untenable to Seek a Nuclear Agreement With Iran While Also Arming its Opponents

(93) Comments | Posted June 9, 2015 | 9:47 AM

Ever since the negotiations between the administration of President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and P5+1 -- the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany -- began in earnest in September 2013, and particularly since the announcement of the Lausanne Accord, the Obama administration has been trying...

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Saudi Attack on Yemen Aims to Prevent Thaw Between Iran and the West

(44) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 6:12 PM

Another bloody, destructive, and quite possibly long war has begun in the Middle East due to intervention by a foreign power in the internal affairs of another nation. A coalition of Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia, began bombing Yemen on March 26. The coalition's partners include the...

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Failed Nuclear Talks Are Not Iran's Fault

(23) Comments | Posted November 25, 2014 | 1:46 PM

Nov. 24, the deadline for reaching a comprehensive agreement between Iran and P5+1 -- the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany -- came and went without the agreement.

What happened? Iran made major concessions. It was excessive demands by the U.S. and its allies...

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Don't Blame Iran for Middle East Turmoil

(1) Comments | Posted August 15, 2014 | 7:57 PM

Amid bloodshed and chaos caused by Israel's latest military attacks on Gaza, the usual anti-Iran crowd has been hard at work to partly blame that country for the carnage.

Some analysts have claimed that the latest war between Israel and the Palestinian people in Gaza should be...

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Julian Assange, Osma bin Laden, and Salman Rushdie

(6) Comments | Posted December 11, 2010 | 12:27 PM

In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win.

Rings true, does it not? And who said this? None other than Rupert Murdoch, back in 1958 when he was young and presumably not the ultra-conservative reactionary that he is now with Fox...

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Call to Burn the Quran: Another Facet of an Industry Called Demonizing Islam

(91) Comments | Posted September 8, 2010 | 11:29 AM

The Rev. Terry Jones, the "religious leader" who has proclaimed Islam as devil's religion, has called on the people to burn a Quran on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. This is a man who says that he does not personally know any...

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The Audacity of Hoax: Obama and the Islamic World

(38) Comments | Posted June 22, 2010 | 9:29 PM

When Barack Obama was running for president in 2008, he wanted, first and foremost, to be different from George W. Bush who was despised by a large majority of people everywhere on this planet. Obama had opposed the illegal invasion of Iraq, and during his campaign he continued to criticize...

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Madam Secretary, the Name is Persian Gulf

(7) Comments | Posted March 3, 2009 | 11:30 AM

The State Department statement was relatively brief: "The Secretary [of State Hillary Rodham Clinton] is pleased to announce the appointment of Dennis B. Ross to the position of Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for The Gulf and Southeast Asia." Which "Gulf?" Gulf of Mexico? Gulf of Aqaba? Gulf...

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Do Not Do Anything That Would Help Ahmadinejad To Get Re-Elected

(2) Comments | Posted February 9, 2009 | 11:26 AM

Iran will hold her presidential elections on June 12. Even though the campaigns have not officially begun, the elections are already the most important subject of political discussions in Iran, and in the Iranian community in the diaspora. But, Iranians are not the only ones who have a stake in...

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Support Shirin Ebadi and other Human Rights Advocates in Iran and the Middle East

(7) Comments | Posted February 2, 2009 | 11:49 AM

While in December and January the world focused on the clash between Israel and the Palestinians and the carnage in Gaza, gross violations of human rights were also taking place in another region of the Middle East, namely, Iran.

Since the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's president in June...

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Let us Pray for Obama

(2) Comments | Posted December 26, 2008 | 3:11 PM

My Lord, give me the capability to tolerate an opposing point of view. Help me so that I may be aware of the differences between humanity, thoughts, and relationships, and so that I may be capable of distinguishing each of them. Inspire me with the piety of rebellion so that...

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Obama and the Middle East: Fundamental Changes or Deja vu?

(7) Comments | Posted December 10, 2008 | 2:10 PM

It is probably the greatest understatement of 2008 to say that many progressives in the Obama coalition, who played a crucial role in his victory, have been greatly disappointed with his national security team (NST). I do not wish to rehash all the discussions about Obama's NST by the progressives,...

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Now You Can Say It, President-Elect Obama: "So What If I Am a Muslim?"

(105) Comments | Posted November 9, 2008 | 12:34 PM

Ever since President-Elect Barack Obama became a serious candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination for the presidency, the right and the ultraright, the Fox News, and the ill-informed segment of the population which follows Fox's "fair and balanced" news and analysis used Mr. Obama's middle name and the fact that...

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McCain's Middle East Policy. Part III: the Only Thing Worse than his Presidency will be Having these Advisors Devise the Policy

(1) Comments | Posted October 29, 2008 | 2:32 PM

In the first two parts of this series, posted on Monday and Tuesday, I described John McCain supposed expertise on and experience with foreign affairs, and the results of the Middle East policy of the Bush administration that he has so strongly supported. In this article - the last of...

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McCain's Middle East Policy. Part II: Not a Task from God, but a Bridge to Nowhere

(0) Comments | Posted October 28, 2008 | 2:32 PM

In Part I of this series that was posted yesterday, I described John McCain's confusion about important facts in the Middle East, but his clarity and determination when it comes to waging wars there. Needless to say, the combination of the two is extremely dangerous.

In this article I would...

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McCain's Middle East Policy, Part I: Confusion About Facts, Clarity About War

(4) Comments | Posted October 27, 2008 | 2:51 PM

We are in the home stretch of the presidential elections. Although the economy has dominated the discussions since mid-September, foreign policy and how to deal with several important crises around the world will be at the top of the next president's agenda come January. Before the collapse of the stock...

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Nobel Prize for Bush, Cheney, and McCain?

(1) Comments | Posted September 30, 2008 | 7:00 PM

In his excellent book, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, former Los Angeles County Assistant District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi argued forcefully for putting President Bush on trial for murder. But, that has not happened.

On June 9, 2008, Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced a 35-count resolution for impeaching...

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