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Ali Vaez

Senior Adviser to the President & Project Director, Iran

Crisis Group Role

Ali Vaez is Crisis Group’s Iran Project Director and Senior Adviser to the President. He led Crisis Group’s efforts in helping to bridge the gaps between Iran and the P5+1 that led to the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. Previously, he served as a Senior Political Affairs Officer at the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and was the Iran Project Director at the Federation of American Scientists. He is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service and a Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Professional Background

Trained as a scientist, Vaez has more than a decade of experience in journalism. He has written widely on Iranian affairs and is a regular contributor to mainstream media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs. He is a frequent guest on CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera and NPR. Vaez was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University from 2008 to 2010 and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Geneva and a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Languages

  • Persian
  • French
  • English

In The News

22 Jun 2021
There is a realization by both sides [of the Iran nuclear deal] that restoring the status quo ante is not entirely possible. Foreign Policy

Ali Vaez

Senior Adviser to the President & Project Director, Iran
17 Jun 2021
I’m afraid if the deal is not restored by August, [...] a return to the JCPOA might become a moot question. At that point the parties would probably have to negotiate a new nuclear deal. The Hill

Ali Vaez

Senior Adviser to the President & Project Director, Iran
26 May 2021
The leadership [of Iran] is throwing the system's republican features out the window to ensure that the supreme leader's succession goes according to plan. RFE/RL

Ali Vaez

Senior Adviser to the President & Project Director, Iran
9 May 2021
[Restoring the Iran nuclear deal is] a fragile process. If a single American is killed [by Iran’s rocket attacks in Iraq], the whole process is derailed. The New York Times

Ali Vaez

Senior Adviser to the President & Project Director, Iran
4 May 2021
It’s very clear there is an organized onslaught by opponents of the JCPOA in Iran, against reviving the deal under the Rouhani administration. The Washington Post

Ali Vaez

Senior Adviser to the President & Project Director, Iran
28 Apr 2021
This is the Iranian equivalent of an October surprise -- a deliberate leak timed to prevent the pro-engagement forces of Iranian politics from having any say in the upcoming elections RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty

Ali Vaez

Senior Adviser to the President & Project Director, Iran

Latest Updates

Engaging Iran Remains Vital after Presidential Election

Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, represents the hardliners within the Islamic Republic. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Ali Vaez and Naysan Rafati explain why the U.S. should nevertheless persist in working to restore the 2015 nuclear deal to its full promise.

Iran: the Vote and the Bomb

This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Crisis Group expert Ali Vaez about Iran’s presidential vote this week and what it means for the country’s domestic politics, nuclear talks with the U.S. and Iran’s role in the Middle East.

Biden Should Cap, Freeze and Roll Back Iran’s Nuclear Program

Iranian and U.S. leaders face domestic pressure to further harden their positions in negotiations to revive the faltering 2015 nuclear accord. Both parties should start a three-phase synchronised process to bring them back into compliance with their nuclear deal obligations before Iran’s June presidential elections.