IranSource | Understanding and Analyzing a Multifaceted Iran

From its early days, the Trump administration has sought to isolate and weaken the Islamic Republic of Iran, using Iran’s missile and space launch programs as a key justification. 

In addition to withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018, expanding extensive trade sanctions, and severely restricting travel to the US by Iranians, the Trump White House “has also accelerated a secret American program to sabotage Iran’s missiles and rockets,” according to a recent report in The New York Times

Read More

When US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last May, his main argument to justify the move was that the agreement had been one-sided, providing Iran with large amounts of money to finance its “destabilizing policies” throughout the Middle East. 

This argument has become one of the main rationales behind Washington’s “maximum pressure” policy against Iran. By re-imposing economic sanctions against Iran, the Trump administration aims to push the Islamic Republic to decrease its regional activities by severely cutting its financial resources, especially oil revenues. 

Read More

The World Cup was over, Germany winning its first world title since 1990. Looking for something else to occupy my attention, this sports-obsessed Iranian American spotted an article in The Washington Post by Jason Rezaian about baseball in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

As a child of an Iranian immigrant growing up in rural Kentucky, American sports were a rite of passage. Even though soccer would eventually become my passion, I quickly fell in love with America’s triumvirate of sporting traditions: baseball, basketball and football.

Read More

One of the criticisms of Iran analysts usually thrown around on social media is that they haven’t lived in the country, visited it for a long time or speak the language.

While not as well-known as some analysts, this author speaks the language, lived in Iran for twenty-eight years until two years ago and recently visited the country for forty days—fortunately without any problems entering or leaving. The purpose of this piece is to share what I saw and heard, with one disclaimer: these are my personal observations and when I refer to “Iranians,” I mean the people I talked and interacted with, not the entire 80 million population.

Read More

It is too early to assess the long-term consequences of the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East. But for Poland and several other actors, the meeting can already been seen as a success.

Poland, after hosting a NATO summit in 2016 and a UN Climate conference in 2018, has once again shown that it is able to organize large international events.

Read More

The Trump administration has sought to break out of its international isolation on Iran by pressuring nations to go to Warsaw for a summit on peace and security in the Middle East. But the administration has failed to craft an effective multilateral approach towards Iran based on common concerns and a realistic understanding of what is achievable.

Despite White House backtracking from an initial expressed aim to focus on Iran, US officials and regional leaders such as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the occasion to unleash rhetorical barbs against Iran—which was not invited. 

Read More

Iran forty years after its Islamic revolution is facing a grave economic crisis and growing popular discontent. It continues to commit acts that deepen its isolation even as it benefits from the mistakes of its adversaries. US sanctions are more punishing than anticipated but will probably not cause Iran to alter policies of greatest concern to Washington, such as regional interventions and ballistic missile development, and are instead strengthening hardline elements as Iran approaches a key political transition. Meanwhile, society has already undergone a cultural counter-revolution that aging ayatollahs cannot reverse.

These were among the insights gleaned from a day-long conference at the Atlantic Council on February 12. Organized in conjunction with the Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies at the University of South Florida, it brought together veteran scholars and up and coming experts with recent field experience in Iran. Many of the speakers also wrote blog posts, which were collected on our IranSource site.

Read More

The Trump administration’s policy of containing and weakening the Islamic Republic of Iran may appear to be going well to causal observers of Iranian affairs, and there is some evidence to support such a view.

The United States has withdrawn from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), that solely addressed the regime’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons but failed to address its menacing actions towards neighboring countries, continued support of international terrorism, and ongoing efforts to develop ballistic missile technology. The JCPOA also completely failed to address the horrible human rights situation inside Iran itself.

Read More

In his January 10 speech in Cairo, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described America as a “force for good in the Middle East.”

“We need to acknowledge that truth, because if we don't, we make bad choices [that will] have consequences for nations, for millions of people,” he said. “In falsely seeing ourselves as a force for what ails the Middle East, we were timid in asserting ourselves when the times—and our partners—demanded it.”

Read More

The Trump administration accurately identified the Iranian threat and has, on some significant issues, acted accordingly—including the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the application of increasingly tough sanctions on Iran, as well as organizing the Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East in Warsaw on February 13-14. A reported seventy-nine states will participate in the conference, including the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, and Jordan, as well as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Iran was not invited to the conference. 

The Poland summit officially centers around three major issues: The challenge of missiles, terror funding, and cyber threats. The common denominator of all three categories is the Iranian threat, which is for all intents and purposes at the center of the conference—though the Trump administration has backtracked its comments about Iran being the center of the debate.

Read More