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2015 Annual Conference for Democracy in Iran

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Louis Freeh, Tom Ridge, Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Frances Townsend, Michael Mukasey

In June 2015 Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, traveled to Paris as part of a distinguished research delegation examining the Iranian opposition in the context of the ongoing P5+1 nuclear negotiations with the Iranian regime.

A guest of the organizing committee, Dr. Sheehan met with a series of elected officials while at the meeting to discuss U.S.-Iran policy and his research on regime change.

The annual conference – which featured crowds estimated at 100,000 – is the largest annual gathering of the democratic Iranian opposition in exile. The June event featured remarks by leaders from more than fifty countries, a bipartisan delegation of U.S. policymakers, and prominent academics from around the world. The ongoing nuclear negotiations between the P5+1, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and the deteriorating situation in neighboring Iraq were discussed.

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan is the Director of the graduate programs in Negotiations & Conflict Management and Global Affairs & Human Security in the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore.

For additional research or media related updates or to learn more about Dr. Sheehan, follow him on Twitter @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

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Sheehan Joins Global Research Delegation at 2015 Conference for Democratic Change in Iran

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Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, has been invited to Paris as a guest of the Committee for the Convention of Democracy in Iran to join a delegation of researchers at the largest annual gathering of the democratic Iranian opposition on June 13, 2015. The event will feature remarks by leaders from more than fifty countries, a bipartisan delegation of U.S. policymakers, and distinguished academics from around the world. P5+1 nuclear negotiations, democracy, human rights, ISIS, and the Iranian regime’s interference in the sovereign affairs of Middle East countries will be examined.

For additional research or media related updates or to learn more, follow Dr. Sheehan on Twitter @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

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Sheehan Interviewed on Iran Policy from Paris

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Live Interview | Iran’s Regional Conduct, The Gulf Summit, & Obama Administration Policy | May 14, 2015 | 

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, participated in a live online interview from Paris with journalists from around the world on May 14, 2015. The program with Professor Sheehan came one day after a similar question and answer session with Ambassador Robert Joseph, who formerly served as United States Special Envoy for Nuclear Nonproliferation.

Dr. Sheehan is the Director of the graduate programs in Negotiations and Conflict Management and Global Affairs and Human Security in the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore.

For additional research or media related updates or to learn more about Dr. Sheehan, follow him on Twitter @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

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Sheehan Speaks at Rally Outside White House

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Hundreds of Iranian-Americans rallied outside the White House on April 14 as Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with President Obama.

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, addressed the crowds by discussing the destructive role played by the Iranian regime’s interference in Iraq and called for the prompt eviction of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force and its commander, Major General Qassem Soleimani, from Iraq noting that these were prerequisites for a durable solution to the Iraqi crisis.

Also speaking at the event were Col. Wesley Martin, formerly stationed at Camp Ashraf as Senior Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection Officer for Coalition Forces in Iraq; Professor Raymond Tanter, a Senior National Security Council staffer in the Reagan White House; Mr. Bruce McColm, former Executive Director of the prominent human rights organization Freedom House; and Mr. Steven Schneebaum, international lawyer and Professorial Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. The speakers pointed to ongoing detention of the Iranian resistance in Iraq and called on the international community to do more to protect the Iranian dissidents from Iraqi forces acting as proxies for Tehran.

Dr. Sheehan is the Director of the graduate programs in Negotiations and Conflict Management and Global Affairs and Human Security in the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore.

For additional research or media related updates or to learn more about Dr. Sheehan, follow him on Twitter @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

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Sheehan Speaks in U.S. Senate on Iran Policy

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On March 25, 2015, Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan – Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs – spoke at a bipartisan congressional briefing in the United States Senate on a panel featuring Senator Joseph Lieberman (former candidate for Vice President of the United States), Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Gary Peters, and distinguished military leaders and academics. Dr. Sheehan’s talk addressed matters related to the ongoing P5+1 nuclear discussions with Iran and the prospect of regime change from within.

Dr. Sheehan is the Director of the graduate programs in Negotiations and Conflict Management and Global Affairs and Human Security in the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore.

Several of his recently authored studies on U.S.-Iran policy can be accessed @:

SHEEHAN: What Is “Regime Change From Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran | Digest of Middle East Studies | Fall 2014 | Vol. 23, Issue 2

SHEEHAN: Balancing Ends, Ways, and Means: The Case for Reviving Support for “Regime Change from Within” in Iran | The Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis | Syracuse University | Spring 2015 | 10th Edition

For additional research or media related updates or to learn more, follow Dr. Sheehan on Twitter @ProfSheehan or link to his research profiles.

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SHEEHAN: Balancing Ends, Ways, and Means: The Case for Reviving Support for ‘Regime Change from Within’ in Iran | The Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis | Syracuse University | Spring 2015 | 10th Edition

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SHEEHAN: Balancing Ends, Ways, and Means: The Case for Reviving Support for “Regime Change from Within” in Iran | The Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis | Syracuse University | Spring 2015 | 10th Edition

As a March 31 deadline looms and world powers scramble to negotiate over Iran’s nuclear program – and on the heels of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s warnings to a joint session of Congress this week – Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan has published his latest paper titled Balancing Ends, Ways, and Means: The Case for Reviving Support for ‘Regime Change from Within’ in Iran in The Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis (Syracuse University). In the paper he argues that “the U.S. needs to abandon the idea that pressure on Iran in the form of support for “regime change from within” will only derail talks. As Kenneth Pollack has pointed out, Iran does not moderate when the pressure is off but when it is high.

Excerpt: The regime’s expanding use of proxies to destabilize its neighbors is another matter of urgent concern. Iran still provides small arms shipments and training to the Taliban in Afghanistan. In addition, and despite its pledge to support Iraq’s stabilization, it gives regular guidance and training to Shia militants in Iraq. It has also deployed several hundred military specialists, including senior Quds Force commanders to Syria and is believed to have spent billions of dollars to support the Assad regime as it continues its brutal crackdown on the Syrian people, a crackdown that has resulted in the deaths of more than 70,000 civilians. Additionally, Iran has been sending weapons to secessionist movements to foment dissent and destabilize Yemen. These activities too are unlikely to stop in the presence of a nuclear deal, if one occurs. As Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, indicated as recently as November 2013, Iran is determined on “challenging the influence of America in the region and extending its own influence”and it does not appear to be inclined to change how it pursues its influence “one iota.” 

Further, to support these activities and defend against potential fallout, Iran has intensified a brutal crackdown on its own citizens. While the regime’s record on human rights has always been poor, its repression of ordinary Iranians reached new heights in the wake of the disputed elections of 2009. Protestors were arrested en masse, tortured, raped and killed in prison. Today, as many as 500 Iranian dissidents, including minority rights and women’s activists, are still behind bars. Leading opposition figures such as Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard have now been held under house arrest for three years without charges or trial, and “despite President Rouhani’s numerous promises to respect people’s rights following his June 2013 electoral victory,” serious rights abuses continue. One of the most alarming trends is the surge in executions. Iran is now ranked number one, above China, in executions per capita. According to Ahmed Shaheed, Iran’s UN special rapporteur for human rights, 176 people were put to death in January, February, and early March of 2014 alone. Several were executed in public and many sources believe the numbers are much higher. According to other reports, including the Human Rights Documentation Center, more than 500 people have been executed since Rouhani took office. These trends, coupled with the regime’s record of arbitrary detention and unfair trials, discrimination against minorities, mistreatment of political prisoners and restrictions on freedom of expression, led the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, to deliver a sharp rebuke to Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, as recently as March 2014. The problem is that such abuses not only affect individuals and communities. In “a world of complex interdependencies and trans-border activities,” they also have “spillover effects.” In particular they can increase the flow of refugees with destabilizing effects in neighboring countries. In addition, as Tim Dunne points out they “diminish the constraining capacity of key norms” and in the process give a “green light” to other states to engage in similar repression in blatant violation of international standards of behavior.

Access a full PDF of the newly published article here.

For additional research or media related updates or to learn more, follow Dr. Sheehan on Twitter @ProfSheehan.

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Sheehan to Speak at Syracuse University National Security Studies Conference

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Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan has been invited to speak at a conference – The Global Threat: Emerging Issues in National Security – hosted by the prestigious Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University on February 27-28, 2015.

Dr. Sheehan is also scheduled to speak next week at the 2015 Annual Conference of the International Studies Association (ISA) in New Orleans and the week after at the 2015 Middle East Dialogue (MED) conference hosted by the Policy Studies Organization in Washington, D.C.

For additional research or media related updates or to learn more, follow Dr. Sheehan on Twitter @ProfSheehan.

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