Analyst tells students about concerns over developments in Iran, North Korea

March 21, 2023 (Volume 46, Number 14)
Article by Brian Vernellis

headshot of Suzanne DiMaggio

Suzanne DiMaggio, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Suzanne DiMaggio has devoted her career to analyzing rogue states around the world. Currently, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, DiMaggio is focused on U.S. foreign policy for the Middle East and Asia, primarily Iran and North Korea.

Developing news in both countries has her gravely concerned, she recently told political science students during her visit to Grand Valley on February 27. 

North Korea is developing a missile with the capability of striking targets across Europe and North America while rumors swirl regarding the health of its leader Kim Jong-un and his line of succession.

Since the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal, the regime has accelerated its uranium enrichment program. Uranium needs to be enriched to 90 percent for a nuclear weapon, and Iran is quickly approaching that level, she said. 

“When we had the Iran Nuclear Deal in place, Iran was enriching uranium at 3.6 percent, basically for civilian power uses,” DiMaggio said. “As of mid-February, there's been some reporting that their enriched material is up to 84 percent. There’s no good reason for them to be enriching at such a high level.” 

The Iranian regime is also facing protests from citizens following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. Amini died days after being picked up by the Iranian morality police for allegedly not complying with the country’s strict rules on head coverings.

Amini’s death has sparked unrest, largely driven by women, across the nation. It’s a scenario that is unique to Iran for several reasons, DiMaggio said.

“It’s a women led movement, that’s the first time we’re seeing this,” DiMaggio said. “The geographic scope of the protests is far more expansive than we’ve ever seen. And, it’s really crossing divides along ethnic and class lines.

“The movement itself is going to be persistent, and it is going to be a big challenge for the leadership who, by the way, have employed brutal tactics to try to suppress the protesters. But yet people keep coming out to protest. It's quite astonishing bravery that we're seeing.”

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This article was last edited on March 20, 2023 at 9:8 a.m.

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