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

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

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
11 Jan 2018
Iranian government's opponents will focus on [Ayatollah] Khamenei's self-critical statements and appointment to what was intended to be a caretaker position, as evidence of inter-regime wheeling. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Naysan Rafati

Senior Analyst, 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.

The Nuclear Deal’s Fate Lies in Politics—in the U.S. and Iran

Will the U.S. offer to roll back Trump-era sanctions in exchange for Iran complying with the JCPOA’s nuclear restrictions, and use the existing agreement as a foundation for follow-up negotiations?

Originally published in World Politics Review

Q&A / Multilateral Diplomacy

Behind the Snapback Debate at the UN

In mid-August, Washington notified the UN Security Council that it was launching a 30-day process to “snap back” UN sanctions against Iran. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Richard Gowan, Ashish Pradhan and Naysan Rafati explain what this step implies for the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Also available in العربية, فارسی