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The Deep Map


Apr 10, 2023

We would all like to see a secular, democratic Iran – but is it really possible in a place long governed by kings and strong men? How could democracy ever rise so long as the ayatollahs control the levers of state power? And are we sure the Iranian people even want it?

In this episode, Robert sits with Philos Senior Research Fellow Farhad Rezaei to ask these questions in light of widespread protests sweeping the country since September 2022. Farhad, an outspoken critic of the regime and a political asylee, believes that these protests offer a window into changing sentiments on the Iranian street – changes he sees as part of a slow-motion revolution – and insists that the goal of US policy should be nothing short of toppling the regime. He also discusses Iran’s nuclear ambitions and paramilitary activity around the region, and, as a Kurdish convert to Christianity, explains how religion and culture shape the geopolitical situation.

Farhad Rezaei is a senior research fellow at The Philos Project, where his work focuses on Iran and its violations against religious minorities in the Near and Middle East. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Iran's foreign and defense policy, and his research has appeared in many prestigious magazines and journals. His latest Philos publication is Invisible Jihad: The Treatment of Christians by Iran’s Proxies.