Iran's Political, Demographic, and Economic Vulnerabilities

Iran's Political, Demographic, and Economic Vulnerabilities

Iran's Political, Demographic, and Economic Vulnerabilities

Iran's Political, Demographic, and Economic Vulnerabilities

Synopsis

Iran is one of the United States&' most important foreign policy concerns. It has also been an extraordinarily difficult country with which to engage. Ironically, while the leadership has been hostile to the United States, Iranian society has evolved in ways friendly to the United States and U.S. interests. This book assesses current political, ethnic, demographic, and economic trends and vulnerabilities in Iran. For example, the numbers of young people entering the Iranian labor force are at an all-time high. The authors then provide recommendations for U.S. policies that might foster trends beneficial to U.S. interests. For example, greater use of markets and a more-vibrant private sector would contribute to the development of sources of political power independent from the current regime. The authors finally note a need for patience. Even if favorable trends take root, it will take time for them to come to fruition.

Excerpt

This monograph is intended to help analysts and policymakers assess the political, demographic, and economic vulnerabilities of Iran to potential U.S. policy measures. The study dissects the political complexities and vulnerabilities of the Iranian government, evaluates ethnic and demographic tensions in Iran, and assesses recent economic developments and potential trajectories of future economic growth. It concludes with a set of policy recommendations for the U.S. government based on the analysis.

The research documented here was sponsored by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Programs, Headquarters United States Air Force and was conducted within the Strategy and Doctrine Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE. This work was carried out under a fiscal year 2005 project, “The USAF’s Role in the Future Middle East,” and updated in 2007. This work is part of the RAND Corporation’s ongoing research on Iran and the Middle East.

RAND Project AIR FORCE

RAND Project AIR FORCE (PAF), a division of the RAND Corporation, is the U.S. Air Force’s federally funded research and development center for studies and analyses. PAF provides the Air Force with independent analyses of policy alternatives affecting the development, employment, combat readiness, and support of current and future aerospace forces. Research is conducted in four programs: Aerospace Force Development; Manpower, Personnel, and Training; Resource Management; and Strategy and Doctrine.

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