Michael Rubin is a former Pentagon official whose major research area is the Middle East, with a special focus on Iran, Turkey, Arab politics, Afghanistan and diplomacy. Rubin regularly instructs senior military officers deploying to the Middle East on regional politics, and teaches classes regarding Iran, terrorism, and Arab politics on U.S. aircraft carriers. Rubin has lived in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Yemen, both pre- and post-war Iraq, and spent time with the Taliban before 9/11. Encounter Books will publish his newest book, Dancing with the Devil, a history of U.S. diplomacy with rogue regimes and terrorist groups in early 2014.
Rouhani either does not believe himself strong enough to take on the Basij, strong supporters of his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or, conversely, he simply does not want to constrain the paramilitaries.