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Naysan Rafati

Senior Analyst, Iran
Washington DC

Crisis Group Role

Naysan Rafati is Crisis Group’s Iran Senior Analyst. His research is focused on the Iran nuclear deal and Iran’s regional policies. He joined the organisation in October 2017 and is based in Washington.

Professional Background

Prior to joining Crisis Group, Naysan was a Transatlantic Postdoctoral Fellow in International Relations and Security (TAPIR) at the RAND Corporation, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Institut français des relations internationales.

He holds MSt and DPhil degrees in Oriental Studies from St Antony’s College, Oxford, where he was awarded the Albert Hourani and Jenkins Memorial Scholarships and taught various courses on Middle East politics and history. He received his BA magna cum laude from Yale.


  • English
  • Persian
  • Arabic
  • Hebrew


Naysan has written for a variety of publications including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Le Monde Diplomatique (English), and the Financial Times.

In The News

9 Mar 2022
The Russia-Ukraine crisis has certainly cast a darker shadow [over the Vienna Talks] than it did a few days ago. The Hill

Naysan Rafati

Senior Analyst, Iran
25 Jan 2022
The advances Iran has made in its nuclear program since 2019, and especially over the past year, mean that the [Iran nuclear deal] exists as little more than a theoretical construct at the moment. Washington Examiner

Naysan Rafati

Senior Analyst, 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

Senior Analyst, Iran
26 May 2019
What we've definitely seen is a response from Iran on the nuclear front ... and the risk has always been that there would be a response on the regional front. CNN

Naysan Rafati

Senior Analyst, Iran
6 Aug 2018
There is a fine line between politics and economics in a country [Iran] where the government plays such a major role in the economy. But you can’t say that every economic protest is a pre-revolutionary protest. Foreign Policy Magazine

Naysan Rafati

Senior Analyst, Iran
26 Jan 2018
Internally, [Iran's Prensident] Rouhani has been trying to clip the wings of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), on their military moves but also economic influence. Business Insider

Naysan Rafati

Senior Analyst, Iran

Latest Updates

The Impact of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine in the Middle East and North Africa

Spikes in prices of grain and fuel, with uncertain political reverberations, are the Ukraine war’s primary effect to date on Middle Eastern and North African countries. But diplomatic and military developments are important, too, as Crisis Group experts explain in this look around the region.

Also available in العربية
Podcast / Global

The Fallout from Ukraine: Iran Talks Stalled; U.S. Woos Caracas?

In this week’s Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood is joined by Crisis Group’s Iran expert Naysan Rafati and Venezuela expert Phil Gunson to discuss the Ukraine war’s global repercussions.

The Ukraine War: A Global Crisis?

The overwhelming support for a UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion shows that countries around the world see it as attacking global norms. Yet policymakers also view the crisis in terms of their own national interest. Crisis Group experts assess the war from thirteen vantage points.

Also available in Español