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Iran

Crisis Group's Interactive Iran-U.S. Trigger List
Crisis Group's Interactive Iran-U.S. Trigger List

Crisis Group's Interactive Iran-U.S. Trigger List

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CrisisWatch Iran

Unchanged Situation

Elevated tensions with the U.S. continued in Iraq and the Gulf, while govt remained in breach of 2015 nuclear deal although it did not intensify nuclear-related activities during month. President Trump 1 April tweeted that Iran and proxies plan to attack U.S troops or assets in Iraq, warning “Iran will pay a very heavy price”. Iranian naval forces 14 April boarded Hong Kong-flagged tanker in Sea of Oman and briefly detained vessel in Iranian waters. U.S. military next day said eleven Iranian ships “repeatedly conducted dangerous and harassing approaches” toward six U.S. vessels in international waters; Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) 19 April dismissed claims, accused U.S. forces of “illegal, unprofessional, dangerous and adventurist” manoeuvres. Trump 22 April tweeted that he has instructed U.S. navy to “destroy any and all Iranian gunboats that harass our ships”. IRGC 22 April launched military satellite Noor; U.S. 25 April urged extension of UN embargo and sanctions against missile program. U.S. 26 April extended by 30 days Iraq sanction waiver for Iranian electricity imports. Govt continued nuclear-related activities at same tempo as in March, and International Atomic Energy Agency continued inspections of nuclear facilities. Chief of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran 5 April announced intention to install new centrifuges at Natanz fuel enrichment plant. During 20 April meeting with Syrian President Assad in Damascus, FM Zarif criticised U.S. for maintaining sanctions on Iran and Syria throughout COVID-19 crisis. Govt continued to await official response from International Monetary Fund for March request for $5bn emergency loan to tackle COVID-19; U.S. Sec State Pompeo 14 April said Iran should not receive financial assistance “which will be used to fund its proxy wars”. President Rouhani 5 April announced gradual lifting of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions; 19 April extended furlough for prisoners temporarily released in March to 20 May.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

29 Apr 2020
Depriving Tehran from having access to the arms market will compel Iran to double down on its support for proxies and its ballistic missiles program. Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran
15 Apr 2020
The Iranians are keen on demonstrating to the U.S. that the COVID crisis has neither debilitated them nor has altered their strategic calculus. Time

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran
1 Apr 2020
[The Trump administration] think[s] that the timeline for bringing Iran to its knees has shortened because of the coronavirus. New York Times

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran
18 Mar 2020
[The sanctions] are a testament to this administration's doctrinal belief in the effectiveness of sanctions to bring Iran to its knees. Middle East Eye

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran
12 Mar 2020
The Iranian leadership knows that if it curbs the [International Atomic Energy Agency’s] inspections, it will lose the support of all the remaining parties to the JCPOA. Bloomberg

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran
5 Mar 2020
The coronavirus has basically done what the Trump administration’s sanctions failed to do: effectively completely isolated Iran. South China Morning Post

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran

Latest Updates

U.S. “Maximum Pressure” on Iran Hurts the Women It Claims to Help

To help justify its coercive measures against the Islamic Republic, Washington often evokes Iranian women’s struggles for inclusion and equality. But evidence from today’s Iran shows that U.S. policies are instead contributing to holding women back.

A Way Out of the U.S.-Iranian Impasse

U.S.-Iranian clashes have pushed the JCPOA to the brink of collapse. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2020 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to use their economic and diplomatic power to keep Iran in compliance with the JCPOA and prevent Iraq from being sucked further into the conflict.

The Iran Nuclear Deal at Four: A Requiem?

Prospects for the 2015 nuclear deal’s survival are dimming, as Washington tightens its sanctions, Tehran loosens its compliance, U.S.-Iranian clashes pick up in intensity and European powers crack down on agreement breaches. Third-party mediation is likely required to stave off the accord’s demise.

Also available in العربية, فارسی

Iran Sanctions under the Trump Administration

Since 1979, Iran has been subjected to a steady stream of sanctions. Under the Trump administration, their depth and breadth have dramatically increased in the U.S. campaign of "maximum pressure". This interactive infographic illustrates all the major unilateral U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran since 2017 by year, type and location.

A Perilous Turning Point in the U.S.-Iran Confrontation

With the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, the U.S.-Iran standoff has shifted from attrition toward open conflict. Tehran will retaliate – the only question is how – prompting another response from Washington. Allies of both should intercede to stop the exchange from spinning out of control.

Also available in العربية

Our People

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran
AliVaez

Naysan Rafati

Senior Analyst, Iran