Stories by Behnam Ben Taleblu

Expert Voices

Iran sees growing dividends from support for Yemen's Houthis

a crowd of protestors holding guns, flags and signs
Houthi loyalists marching in Sanaa, Yemen. Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

Iran's partnership with the Houthi rebels in Yemen — heralded this week by a hardline Iranian newspaper as "the battle of destiny in the south" — has become one of its most successful campaigns across the Middle East.

Why it matters: At surprisingly little cost to Tehran, the Houthis have waged a drawn-out war straining the coffers and reputation of Saudi Arabia, Iran's main regional rival. The conflict has also afforded Tehran a foothold on the Arabian Peninsula, allowing it to threaten maritime traffic on the Red Sea.

Expert Voices

Iran’s defiance on display in recent missile tests

a missile on public display in a city plaza
A Shahab-3 missile on dispay in Tehran on June 23, 2017. Photo: Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

As regional tensions ratchet up, Iran has continued flight-testing its missile arsenal, most recently in last week's launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile.

Why it matters: Iran’s missile tests have both symbolic and practical value, helping advance military capabilities while also signaling prowess to domestic audiences and defiance to foreign powers. The Shahab-3 raises particular concerns, as it meets the range and payload thresholds to qualify as a nuclear-capable system.

Expert Voices

Iran's uranium threats aim to push U.S. back into nuclear deal

Hassan Rouhani walking through a room
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Halil Sagirkaya/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

By continuing to breach caps imposed on its nuclear program, Iran is seeking to refocus Washington's attention on the nuclear issue and steer the Trump administration toward an approach more like those of his predecessors, Presidents Bush and Obama.

Why it matters: With these incremental, “reversible” transgressions of the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran may try to force the U.S. to settle for what President Trump has termed a “bad deal,” rather than risk further nuclear or regional escalation.