Iranian Voters Weary of Rogue State Status, Look West

By Emad Kiyaei

Emad Kiyaei is the executive director of the American Iranian Council (AIC), a nonprofit and nonpartisan educational organization seeking to help policy makers and citizens overcome key misunderstandings and misperceptions between the United States and Iran. Emad is also a researcher at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs. His research focuses on the Middle East region, with emphasis on finding avenues for resolving the crisis over Iran's nuclear program through diplomacy, improving US-Iran relations and increasing the prospects for a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone. Previously, Emad was an associate at the Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR) at Columbia University, focusing on Middle East and Iranian affairs.

The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with Emad Kiyaei, Policy Advisor at the American Iranian Council to discuss Iran’s recent elections, U.S. President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East, and how Iran could react to the establishment of an “Arab NATO.”

The Cipher Brief: Leading up to the Iranian presidential election, polls showed incumbent President Hassan Rouhani and main hardline rival Ebrahim Raisi competing in a tight race. Were you surprised that Rouhani won a decisive victory, with 57 percent of the vote, compared to Raisi’s 38 percent?

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