As many readers know, this blog was born way back in the fall of 2006, right in the thick of the Khodorkovsky defense blitz and not long after I was kindly escorted from my Moscow hotel room by the security services in the middle of the night. In those initial years, I was living, breathing, eating, and drinking Russia news, but nowadays my work and interests have significantly diversified to other regions and countries, where at least I believe one can observe many of the same patterns and processes which make Russia an endlessly fascinating place.
These wide interests also propose a conceptual issue for this blog – why on earth is Amsterdam writing about Brazil, China, and Nigeria, when we came here for Russia stuff?, they might ask. Please rest assured that the Russia coverage is not going anywhere, and our interest in the country remains high as ever, even if the political system seems headed toward some sort of neo-Fukuyamian end of history redux. We will continue our usual routine, but at the same time we are looking at adding some new features.
One of the new regular features that we are going to try out for a while here is an “Iran Update,” authored anonymously under the name of “Vareedi” by a colleague of mine who is a fluent Persian speaker with decades of experience in the country. I would like to see how these updates are received and if there is any value we can contribute to the general state of intelligence and public knowledge on this important country, which, in my opinion, only seems to be getting more and more important as a focal point of international diplomacy. So without further ado, let’s jump right in there with a summary review of the Iranian press to get an inside look on the thinking in Tehran.