icon caret Arrow Down Arrow Left Arrow Right Arrow Up Line Camera icon set icon set Ellipsis icon set Facebook Favorite Globe Hamburger List Mail Map Marker Map Microphone Minus PDF Play Print RSS Search Share Trash Crisiswatch Alerts and Trends Box - 1080/761 Copy Twitter Video Camera  copyview Whatsapp Youtube

Iran

A decade of diplomacy, sanctions and nuclear brinkmanship involving Iran and the UN Security Council’s five permanent members (plus Germany) led to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This accord 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 that country’s reintegration into the global economy. Despite the JCPOA’s successful first years, the U.S. withdrew from the deal in 2018, putting it at risk of collapse while raising the danger of conflict between Tehran, Washington and their respective allies. Through field research and high-level advocacy, Crisis Group focuses on salvaging the JCPOA and preventing regional tensions from boiling over.

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

Read More

CrisisWatch Iran

Unchanged Situation

U.S. continued to expand its sanctions designations against Iran and Iran-linked targets and warned of reimposing pre-nuclear deal sanctions, while regional tensions with both U.S. and Israel persisted. President Rouhani 6 May said govt “will give a crushing response if the arms embargo on Tehran is extended” beyond Oct expiry date. U.S. special representative for Iran 13 May confirmed plans to reinstate all pre-Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action sanctions if UN Security Council votes against upcoming U.S. resolution to extend arms embargo; Chinese and Russian UN missions next day separately voiced opposition to planned resolution. U.S. govt 27 May announced termination in 60 days of sanctions waivers for civil nuclear projects but extended waiver for Bushehr plant by 90 days; Iran next day said decision “will not in practice have any effect on Iran’s work” while UK, France and Germany 30 May said they “deeply regret the U.S. decision”. U.S. govt imposed series of sanctions, including: 19 May on Chinese company Shanghai Saint Logistics Limited for acting as general sales assistant for U.S. blacklisted airline Mahan Air; 20 May on Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli over alleged role in human rights abuses during Nov 2019 anti-govt protests; and 27 May on two Iranian nuclear officials. Israeli military 9 May reportedly launched cyberattack on Iran’s largest port facility at Bandar Abbas in retaliation to alleged 24-25 April cyberattack on Israeli water infrastructure. Supreme Leader Khamenei 17 May insisted that “Americans cannot stay for long in Iraq or Syria, and they will be expelled”; outgoing Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett next day claimed Israeli airstrikes on Iranian-backed forces were forcing Iran to begin withdrawing from Syria (see also Israel and Syria). Tanker Fortune 25 May arrived in Venezuela; first of reported five tankers delivering gasoline from Iran. Authorities 16 May sentenced French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah to six years imprisonment on national security charges; French govt same day condemned arrest as politically motivated and called for Adelkhah’s release. New parliament inaugurated 27 May; Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf next day elected to speakership.

Continue reading

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

The Coronavirus Crisis is a Diplomatic Opportunity for the United States and Iran

Washington and Tehran could use the public health emergency to show goodwill, dial down tensions while saving face, and avoid a dangerous confrontation.

Originally published in Foreign Policy

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.

Our People

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran
AliVaez

Naysan Rafati

Senior Analyst, Iran