Book gives new insight into the state of Iran

11 February 2019

The US sanctions placed on Iran following the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal are likely to be ineffective and could even lead to military conflict, according to leading Middle Eastern scholar Professor Amin Saikal whose new book on Iran is set to be released by Princeton University Press this month.

Professor Saikal, Director of the Australian National University (ANU) Centre for Arab & Islamic Studies, said the sanctions are designed to bring about a regime change or a change in regime behaviour, neither of which is likely to be achieved.

"I don't think the sanctions are likely to bring the Iranian Islamic regime to its knees, but it will certainly impact the lives of ordinary Iranian citizens," Professor Saikal said.

"The Iranian regime is well entrenched and has sufficient forces at its disposal to deal with any major uprisings."

Professor Saikal also warned that the current tensions between Iran, and the US and its regional allies - Israel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular - carry the potential to lead to war.

"That is always on the cards, but I think both sides know a war could be very costly. Iran's strategy is to make sure the cost of an attack is very high for its perpetrators," he said.

"If not a direct conflict between Iran and the United States, there could be a major clash between Israel and Iran, particularly in Syria where the Israelis have continued to target Iranian forces."

Professor Saikal's book, Iran Rising: the survival and future of the Islamic Republic, gives a critical analysis of Iranian politics and society on the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, which saw the overthrow of the pro-Western monarchy of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and its replacement with an Islamic republic.

The book has received wide-spread positive reviews including from respected book review publications Kirkus Review and Publishers Weekly.

Iran Rising: the survival and future of the Islamic Republic is published by Princeton University Press and will be released for purchase on 5 February, it will also be available as e-book and audio book narrated by English actor and narrator Simon Shepherd.