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Sheehan Participates in Press Conference on Iran Nuclear Accord

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PRESS CONFERENCE | Iran: Nuclear Ambitions, The Agreement, Rights Violations: Prospects & Challenges | July 21, 2015 |

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, Associate Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Baltimore, participated in a live online press briefing with journalists from around the world on July 21, 2015. The briefing featured remarks from former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission Kenneth Blackwell and The Honorable Linda Chavez, whose distinguished record of public service includes having served in the White House under Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush. The speakers addressed congressional oversight of the preliminary Iran nuclear accord announced by President Barack Obama in July 2015. Sanctions, state-sponsored terrorism, and human rights concerns were also addressed.

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.

#Update: Dr. Sheehan’s remarks on the Iran nuclear deal were featured in a prominent Arab newspaper on July 22. #PDF / I / II

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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: What Is “Regime Change From Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran | Digest of Middle East Studies | Oct 14

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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

Digest of Middle East Studies (DOMES); Copyright © Wiley / Policy Studies Organization; Fall 2014; Vol. 23, Issue 2; Pgs. 385-403

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan is published in the fall 2014 issue of the Digest of Middle East Studies, a peer-reviewed journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Policy Studies Organization. Dr. Sheehan’s latest study — What Is “Regime Change From Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran — clarifies the contested concept of regime change from within via Tehran’s organized opposition and makes contributions to the concept’s formation to increase its policy relevance and classificatory significance.

Abstract: The use of the phrase “regime change from within” has surged in recent years in media, policy, and opposition discourse, especially in relation to the Islamic Republic of Iran. But what does “regime change from within” actually mean? Is it just a script to encourage the aspirations of a people, or can it be defined with more specificity? This article argues that to be of value as a concept and the basis for articulate policy, “regime change from within” needs to be better defined. To bring greater clarity to the term, the article tries to unpack the concept by disaggregating it into three analytically separable problem components: the “regime,” “change,” and “from within.” Drawing on the case of Iran, I argue that although most of the current debate around the concept is on the “from within” component, the definitional choices that need more discussion are the “regime” and “change” aspects of the phrase.

Excerpt | What Is “Regime Change From Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran | Digest of Middle East Studies | F.14 | Vol. 23, Issue 2 –

[The concept of] ‘regime change from within’ has been employed for an array of very disparate processes — as a holder for democracy promotion efforts from outside a country as well as indigenous efforts that exclude outside intervention, to highlight the need for radical change and more vaguely to call for continuous reform. But to be of value as a concept and the basis for articulate policy, a term needs to have some degree of specificity of meaning, some shared consensus. Otherwise, it just becomes a proverbial “you know it when you see it” concept that is difficult to distinguish from other types of political phenomena.

To address this gap and bring greater clarity to the concept, this article looks at some of the definitional choices that need to be addressed to come to a consensus on the meaning of “regime change from within.” Using the case of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I show how different decisions about what constitutes “regime change from within” could lead to very different conceptualizations in empirical cases…

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Sheehan to Speak at International Studies Association Conferences in 2014 & 2015

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Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan has been invited to speak at several international meetings organized by the International Studies Association in 2014 and 2015. In addition to delivering papers, Dr. Sheehan has also been asked to serve as a chair and discussant for panels on a range of topics related to his research. Panel I / Panel II / Panel III

2015 International Studies Association 56th Annual Convention
Global IR & Regional Worlds: A New Agenda for Int’l Studies
New Orleans, Louisiana / #PDF
February 18th – 21st, 2015

  • International Studies Association’s 56th Annual Convention, Global IR and Regional Worlds: A New Agenda for International Studies. “What is “Regime Change from Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran.” At Panel on “Vying for regional supremacy in the Middle East: Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey,” New Orleans, Louisiana. February 18-21, 2015.
  • Chair, International Studies Association’s 56th Annual Convention, Global IR and Regional Worlds: A New Agenda for International Studies. At Panel on “Networks, violence and non-state actors,” New Orleans, Louisiana. February 18-21, 2015.
  • Discussant, International Studies Association’s 56th Annual Convention, Global IR and Regional Worlds: A New Agenda for International Studies. At Panel on “Effective Counterterrorism Strategies: Causes, Connections, and Innovations,” New Orleans, Louisiana. February 18-21, 2015.

2014 International Studies Association Northeast Annual Conference
Concept & Conceptualization in International Relations
Baltimore, Maryland / #PDF
November 7th – 8th, 2014

  • International Studies Association (Northeast Regional Meeting), At Panel on Conflict and Healing. “Untangling the Concept of Regime Change from Within,” Baltimore, MD, November 7-8, 2014.
  • Chair/ Discussant, International Studies Association (Northeast Regional Meeting), At Panel on Terrorism, September 15, 2014, Baltimore, MD, November 7-8, 2014.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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Sheehan Presenting at 2014 World Congress of Middle Eastern Studies

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2014 World Congress of Middle East Studies / Strategies for Change in the Middle East: Clarifying the Contested Concept of Regime Change from Within / Panel on Democracy and Reform in Iran from a Historical Perspective / August 18-22, 2014 / Middle East Technical University (METU)

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan has been invited to Ankara, Turkey to present at the 2014 World Congress of Middle East Studies (WOCMES) between August 18-22, 2014. The symposium will be held at Middle East Technical University (METU), one of Turkey’s leading universities. Dr. Sheehan is scheduled to present a paper titled Strategies for Change in the Middle East: Clarifying the Contested Concept of Regime Change from Within.

Presentation Abstract: The term “regime change from within” has become increasingly popular in opposition and policy discourse, especially in relation to the Islamic Republic of Iran. It has also begun entering the academic literature. But what does it mean? Despite its increasing use “regime change from within” is rarely defined and scant scholarly attention to date has been paid to defining it. This is problematic since, as an “umbrella concept,” the term can be stretched to include a wide variety of discrepant processes. In fact, “regime change from within” has been used as a holder for democracy promotion efforts within a country that start both inside and outside a country, as well as indigenous efforts that exclude outside support, to highlight the need for radical change, and more vaguely to call for “continuous” change or reform. This paper argues that coherent strategic policy demands better articulation of the meaning of the term. As a first step, the paper traces the evolution of use of the term “regime change from within,” tries to unpack its components, and develops a preliminary framework that partitions the concept into ends (vision) and means (strategy) to assess its utility for policy.

Stay tuned for two forthcoming articles by Dr. Sheehan:

SHEEHAN: What is “Regime Change from Within?” Unpacking the Concept in the Context of Iran | Digest of Middle East Studies | Fall 2014

SHEEHAN: Balancing Ends, Ways, and Means: The Case for Reviving Support for “Regime Change from Within” in Iran | Under Review

More on Dr. Sheehan’s research can be found at the below links.

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Sheehan Published in New Book on Middle East

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New Directions in the Middle East Book Cover#Media / #News / #Scholarship / #Inquiries

New Directions in the Middle East / Edited by Mohammed M. Aman and Mary Jo Aman / Westphalia Press / ISBN/EAN13: 194147201X; 9781941472019 / 16 Jun 2014

Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan is published in a new book titled New Directions in the Middle East. The book presents articles based on papers delivered at the annual Middle East Dialogue held in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Digest of Middle East Studies (DOMES) and the Policy Studies Organization (PSO), and at the Conference of the Association for Middle Eastern Public Policy and Administration (AMEPPA) held in Ifrane, Morocco. The authors suggest much needed and even radical reforms amidst a series of conflicts that include the standoff between Israel and its Arab neighbors, the role and impact of social media as empowered by technology, and citizens’ demands for political, economic, and social change. Those interested in crisis management and conflict resolution will find this a must read. The contributors represent an unusually wide variety of political and religious views and include a number who enjoy considerable standing in the Middle East.

“This exceptional work, composed of two volumes, ‘Middle East: Conflicts & Reforms’ and ‘New Directions in the Middle East’ is a magnum opus. In this book, edited by Mohammed M. Aman and Mary Jo Aman, the reader is introduced to a comprehensive and integrated erudite work addressed by a number of distinguished scholars from different disciplines dealing with the Middle East and North Africa, a most sensitive region of the world. The book identifies significant academic and public policy approaches as well as socio-economic, cultural, and political paradigms that bind together such timely topics as democracy, Islam, Islamism, sectarianism, secularism, globalism, modernity, Arab Spring, social justice, social media, leadership, women’s rights, and peace. The book offers a unique and compelling assessment of the future of the Middle East. Objectively written and eloquently presented, this book will enhance the scholarship of the Middle East and assist in the understanding the ability of political systems, government or state and non-government or civil society, in handling and managing current challenges facing the region.”

el-Sayed el-Aswad, Ph.D.
Prof. of Anthropology and Chair of Department of Sociology
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
United Arab Emirates University

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Sheehan Selected to Participate in Aspen Institute/ AAC&U Wye Faculty Seminar on Citizenship in the American & Global Polity

Posted in AAC&U, aspen institute, college of public affairs, courses, debate, democracy, education, faculty fellow, foreign policy, global, international relations, international security studies, policy, politics, scholarly, sheehan, teaching, university of baltimore, Wye Faculty Seminar on June 19, 2014 by Professor Sheehan

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Dr. Ivan Sascha Sheehan has been selected to participate in one of the premier faculty development programs in the country, the 2014 Wye Faculty Seminar on Citizenship in the American and Global Polity. As a 2014 Wye Faculty Fellow, Dr. Sheehan will participate in a week-long seminar hosted by The Aspen Institute and the American Association of Universities and Colleges (AAC&U) between July 19-25, 2014. #SheehanWyeFellowBio

The mission of the Wye Faculty Seminar is to assist professors from colleges and universities in relating their teaching to broad issues of citizenship in the American polity and beyond. The Seminar seeks to address a central need of faculty in liberal arts institutions—to exchange ideas with colleagues from other colleges and other disciplines while probing ideas and values that underlie their teaching and the lives they lead as liberally educated persons. Modeled in the tradition of The Aspen Institute Executive Seminars, each Wye Faculty Seminar strives:

  • first, to gather a diverse group of thoughtful men and women in intellectually rigorous roundtable discussions – truly around the table to converse with rather than confront one another;
  • second, to explore great literature stretching from ancient to contemporary times, not merely for artistry of language but for the power of ideas on fundamental issues in our society, and
  • third, to translate ideas into action suitable to the challenges of our age.

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