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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

Conflict Risk Alert

U.S. triggered mechanism under UN Security Council Resolution 2231 endorsing 2015 nuclear deal to reimpose all pre-agreement UN sanctions on Iran, raising prospect that tensions could escalate in Sept. UN Security Council 14 Aug resoundingly rejected U.S. resolution aimed at indefinitely extending UN arms embargo on Iran set to expire in Oct; U.S. 20 Aug triggered “snapback” mechanism of Resolution 2231 to reinstate within 30 days all UN sanctions in place prior to Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) at midnight GMT 20 September; all remaining JCPOA parties and majority of Security Council members disputed U.S.’s legal standing to invoke “snapback”, citing U.S. withdrawal from deal in 2018. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran 26 Aug announced “agreement on the resolution of the safeguards implementation issues specified by the IAEA”; deal facilitates IAEA access to two sites following months-long standoff. U.S. 14 Aug announced that it had seized Iranian petroleum of four tankers bound for Venezuela; in apparent attempt to retrieve seized fuel, Iranian security forces two days earlier had briefly boarded Liberian-flagged tanker near Strait of Hormuz. U.S. 19 Aug sanctioned two United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based companies and one UAE-based Iranian national for links to U.S. blacklisted Iranian airliner. Regional tensions with both U.S. and its allies remained high: Iran 7 Aug called on UN to hold U.S. accountable for intercepting Iranian airliner in Syrian airspace in July; Israel’s army chief of staff 7 Aug said Israel had “thwarted a squad sent by Iran” during 2 Aug incident at Israel-Syria border that prompted retaliatory airstrikes. President Rouhani 15 Aug described normalisation of Israel-UAE relations as “a big mistake”; in response to Rouhani’s “inflammatory” remarks, UAE next day summoned Iranian envoy to Abu Dhabi; Emirati coast guard 17 Aug opened fire on Iranian fishermen, killing two; Iran same day seized Emirati vessel for “illegally entering Iranian waters” and 18 Aug summoned UAE’s envoy to Tehran over fishermen’s killing. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran 23 Aug said July explosion at Natanz nuclear facility was result of “sabotage”. Guardian Council 24 Aug scheduled presidential elections for June 2021.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

15 Aug 2020
The fact is that everybody at the UN believes this (resolution) is just a prelude to a US effort to trigger snapback and sink the Iranian nuclear deal. The Asia Times

Richard Gowan

UN Director
12 Aug 2020
[The U.S. has done] a poor job concealing its intention to capitalize on the arms embargo expiration to dismantle [what remains of the nuclear deal]. The Japan Times

Ashish Pradhan

Senior Analyst, UN Advocacy and Research
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

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Also available in العربية, فارسی

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Our People

Ali Vaez

Project Director, Iran

Naysan Rafati

Senior Analyst, Iran