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Iran

A decade of diplomacy, sanctions and nuclear brinkmanship involving Iran and the P5+1/E3+3 (the UN Security Council’s five permanent members plus Germany), led to the 14 July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This enshrined a core compromise that Crisis Group had advocated since 2003: acceptance of a limited, tightly monitored uranium enrichment program in Iran in return for Iran’s reintegration into the global economy. Despite the JCPOA’s successful first years, tensions and risks of accidental confrontation are growing between the U.S. and Iran, as well as between Iran and U.S. regional allies. Through field research and high-level advocacy, Crisis Group focuses on preserving the JCPOA, and preventing regional tensions from boiling over and turning the nuclear accord into collateral damage.

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

Deteriorated Situation

Violent crackdown on protests over rise in fuel prices led to deaths of over 100 demonstrators and govt further breached 2015 nuclear deal. Govt raised fuel prices 15 Nov sparking protests nationwide, which security forces sought to disperse forcibly; NGO Amnesty International 29 Nov reported deaths of at least 161 protesters. U.S. 22 Nov sanctioned Iran information minister following internet blackout during protests. President Rouhani 5 Nov announced Iran was going ahead with further violation of nuclear deal, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), by resuming uranium enrichment at Fordow nuclear facility. European parties to JCPOA (France, UK and Germany) and EU 11 Nov raised possibility of invoking agreement’s dispute resolution mechanism. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 7 Nov claimed Iran had temporarily prevented one of its inspectors from leaving country. IAEA 17 Nov affirmed Iran had accumulated more heavy water than JCPOA’s 130 tonne limit. U.S. Treasury Department 4 Nov imposed sanctions on Iranian armed forces general staff and nine individuals associated with Supreme Leader Khamenei including his son and Iran’s judiciary chief. Govt 8 Nov said it had intercepted drone in south west without commenting on its provenance.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

6 Nov 2019
[Iraqi] people make a direct connection between the failure and the corruption of the Shia political establishment, both politicians and some clerics, and the Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs. Washington Post

Maria Fantappie

Senior Adviser, Iraq (Consulting)
2 Oct 2019
It has been politically more convenient to lay the blame for Houthis at Iran’s door than to say that the Houthis’ rise was the product of a series of internal political miscalculations and misplaced international priorities. Foreign Policy

Peter Salisbury

Senior Analyst, Yemen
2 Oct 2019
The debate about [whether] US should distance itself from the [Mideast] region and reduce its military footprint is important but somewhat beside the point. The more consequential question is what kind of Middle East the United States will remain engaged in or disengaged from. Twitter

Robert Malley

President & CEO
2 Sep 2019
The French initiative is the last best hope for salvaging the [Iran nuclear] deal. Bloomberg

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran
25 Jul 2019
What the Iranians do have are missiles and local allies, proxy groups. It's entirely possible that an escalation [between the U.S. and] Iran would manifest across regional flash points. Vice

Naysan Rafati

Analyst, Iran
3 Jul 2019
It is a pity that despite its goodwill and efforts, Europe fell short of preserving [the nuclear deal] that incarnates European belief in multilateralism. AP

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran

Latest Updates

Video - The U.S. and Iran: Maximum Pressure, Maximum Peril

Crisis Group's hand-illustrated video draws out the story of rising tensions between Iran and the U.S. 

Iran Briefing Note #15

Iran Briefing Notes, of which this is the last of a series of 15 that began on 20 June 2019, highlight and provide context for major events featured on International Crisis Group’s Iran-U.S. Trigger List. This infographic resource tracks key flashpoints between Iran, the U.S. and their respective allies in the Middle East. 

Iran Briefing Note #14

Iran Briefing Notes highlight and provide context for the previous week’s major events featured on International Crisis Group’s Iran-U.S. Trigger List. This infographic resource tracks developments on key flashpoints between Iran, the U.S. and their respective allies in the Middle East.

Are There Alternatives to a Military Victory in Idlib?

Last weekend, the presidents of Turkey, Iran and Russia met in Ankara to discuss, among other things, the latest developments in Syria amid Turkish concerns over the consequences of a Syrian government offensive in the last rebel enclave, Idlib. 

Originally published in Valdai

Iran Briefing Note #13

Iran Briefing Notes highlight and provide context for the previous week’s major events featured on International Crisis Group’s Iran-U.S. Trigger List. This infographic resource tracks developments on key flashpoints between Iran, the U.S. and their respective allies in the Middle East.

Our People

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran
AliVaez

Naysan Rafati

Analyst, Iran