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.

CrisisWatch Iran

Unchanged Situation

President Raisi and FM Amir-Abdollahian were killed in helicopter crash, nuclear watchdog’s chief visited Tehran amid transparency concerns, and deterrence with Israel held after April escalation.

Helicopter crash killed President Raisi and FM Amir-Abdollahian. Govt 20 May confirmed helicopter crash in north-western Iran previous day killed President Raisi and FM Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, as well as six others. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei approved VP Mohammad Mokhber in executive branch caretaker capacity while preparations get underway for presidential elections set for 28 June; Amir-Abdollahian’s deputy Ali Bagheri-Khan, lead interlocutor on nuclear negotiations, took over as acting FM. Following 1 March elections and 10 May run-off votes, which saw hardline victory and record low turnout, new parliamentarians 27 May took seats; Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf was re-elected as speaker.

Amid transparency concerns, nuclear watchdog’s chief visited Iran. Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi 6-7 May travelled to Iran, met with senior officials and “proposed set of concrete practical measures for revitalisation of 4 March 2023 Joint Statement” aiming to restore confidence and increase transparency in Iran’s nuclear program, which continues to advance; Grossi also noted Iran’s willingness to cooperate rather than continue divergent course risking “more escalation […] including war”, but noted “huge question mark about what they are doing and why they are doing it” and criticised “loose talk about nuclear weapons” among senior officials. It remained unclear how much progress was made ahead of next IAEA Board of Governors meeting 3-7 June.

Regional tensions simmered; West imposed more sanctions. After April’s unprecedented escalation between Iran and Israel, pair refrained from further direct hostilities; however, Iran-backed Iraqi armed groups claimed over two dozen missile and drone attacks against Israel during May, while Israeli strikes in Syria persisted and exchanges between Houthis and U.S.-led forces in and around Yemen continued apace (see Iraq, Syria and Yemen). Meanwhile, Australia 14 May sanctioned total of eight persons and entities, including Iran’s defence minister and commander of Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force. Council of EU next day announced expansion of sanctions on Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) activity to include “persons and entities supplying, selling or otherwise being involved in transferring Iran’s missiles”.

Continue reading

In The News

19 जून 2024
The next Iranian government … [is] not at all eager to rely on Russia and China for their economic needs, and they want sanctions relief. The Nation

Ali Vaez

Senior Adviser to the President & Project Director, Iran
22 मे 2024
The Islamic Republic has really focused on ideological conformity at the top rather than legitimacy from below. New York Times

Ali Vaez

Senior Adviser to the President & Project Director, Iran
7 मे 2024
Iran is more aggressive in the region, more repressive at home, and closer to the verge of nuclear weapons than ever before. Voice of America

Ali Vaez

Senior Adviser to the President & Project Director, Iran
14 अप्रिल 2024
Iran’s government appears to have concluded that the Damascus strike [by Israel] was a strategic inflection point, where failure to retaliate would carry more downsides t... New York Times

Ali Vaez

Senior Adviser to the President & Project Director, Iran

Latest Updates

Our People

Ali Vaez

Senior Adviser to the President & Project Director, Iran
Ali Vaez

Naysan Rafati

Senior Analyst, Iran

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.