All in Policy

Europe Failed on Iran, but It’s Not Helpless

◢ Iran’s decision to scale down its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by President Donald Trump signifies a serious foreign policy failure for the EU and its member states. They have acted too meekly and ineffectively in the face of unilateral U.S. sanctions, and this unnecessary softness may well come back to haunt them as the U.S. use of extraterritorial sanctions expands.

The US and the Iran Nuclear Deal: Rejoining Is Wiser than Destroying

◢ In a joint call coordinated by the Istituto Affari Internazionali and the European Leadership Network, Europe’s leading policy experts urge the United States to reenter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in order to avoid a proliferation crisis in the Middle East, repair the transatlantic relationship, restore respect in international law and multilateral diplomacy, and end the harms being inflicted on the Iranian people.

Putting Iranian People Before Non-Proliferation

◢ Until American policymakers can conceive of relations with Iran as something more than a set of tactical accommodations designed to address threat perceptions, they are unlikely to solve the question of Iranian proliferation decisively. It is discouraging to see Democratic candidates articulate their intentions towards Iran exclusively within the paradigm of the JCPOA and its ability to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.

Political Risks Outweigh Legal Impact of IRGC Terrorism Designation

◢ The Trump administration announced the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)—a branch of Iran’s armed forces—as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) pursuant to section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). While the practical effect of the FTO designation is negligible at best, the risks to the US from the designation could be severe.

Here’s How the United States Can Help Iran's Flood Recovery

◢ In order improve preparedness for frequent earthquakes, floods, sandstorms, and heat-waves, Iran urgently needs to upgrade its surveying and monitoring technologies to better model and predict meteorological, hydrological, and geological events. The United States should create a new general license to remove the sanctions-related barriers to Iran’s acquisition of these much needed technologies.

Iraq's Top Cleric Joins Game of Thrones

◢ Ostensibly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Iraq was meant to deepen economic ties between the two neighbors, historically divided by political and sectarian enmities as much as they are connected by geography. Only one Iraqi leader could have kept Rouhani at arm’s length: Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, But he didn’t. The audience he gave the Iranian president says as much about Sistani’s own political adventurism as it does about Iraq’s subservience to Iran.

The United States and Iran are in a Quantum War

◢ It took just under an hour for staff at Israel’s Government Press Office to delete a tweet that suggested that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had finally decided to wage war on Iran. The conflict Iran faces today is neither a hot war nor a cold war. It is a quantum war—a superimposition of two states of conflict. Put another way, depending on when you observe the facts, Iran is both at war and it is not.

Poll Shows Iranian Attitudes Towards Europe Becoming More Negative

◢ A new survey conducted by research firm IranPoll offers the first insights into Iranian public sentiment following the reimposition of US secondary sanctions on Iran. The new wave of polling helps confirm recent reporting from Iran that support for the JCPOA has fallen, with just 51 percent of respondents approving of the deal down from 55 percent in January 2018. For European policymakers, the new polling should offer a stark warning it must refocus its political and economic efforts to save the nuclear deal.

Trading With Iran Via the Special Purpose Vehicle: How It Can Work

◢ Following weeks of speculation, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany (the E3) have formally registered a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to help facilitate trade with Iran – trade that the return of US sanctions has significantly hampered. Companies in Europe and Iran are eager to know if the system can be of practical use. The assessment below lays out INSTEX’s likely structure.

Why The Iran Nuclear Deal Still Matters for Europe

◢ The JCPOA continues to hang together—but only just. There are growing indications of signatory states’ fatigue and frustration in attempting to prevent the collapse of the JCPOA, following the US withdrawal from it last May. In this climate, it is important for the deal’s stakeholders to remember why it remains valuable

The Economic War Iran Faces is Bigger Than it Thinks

◢ On the third anniversary of the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the fortieth anniversary of the Islamic Republic, the era of hope ushered in by the election of Hassan Rouhani and the implementation of the nuclear deal seems a lifetime ago. Iran remains in compliance with the agreement, but begrudgingly. Europe looks impotent in the face of U.S. sanctions. But Iran’s economic war isn't just a fight against sanctions. Iran is the frontline of an intensifying economic war between the US, Europe, China, and Russia.

For Iranian Passengers, Old Planes and Few Parts Make Air Travel 5.5 More Times Deadly

◢ Statistically speaking, air travel in Iran is still safe. This is in large part due to the efforts of Iranian pilots and maintenance crews to keep aircraft operable despite limited resources. But even if the overall risk of an accident remains statistically low, the risk still far exceeds expected levels. Looking to an “exposure based” measure, flying in Iran is on average 5.5 times more deadly than flying in the rest of the world.

America’s Latest Wave of Iran Sanctions: An Explainer

◢ On 5 November, the Trump administration’s latest and most significant wave of sanctions against Iran came into effect. The US Treasury has issued a list of more than 700 Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) and Blocked Persons, which includes roughly 300 entities that did not feature in Obama-era sanctions. The new sanctions impact Iran’s oil and transportation industries and banking sector in important ways.

Iran: The Case for Protecting Humanitarian Trade

◢ A crisis is looming in Iran’s healthcare sector: patients are reporting shortages in life-saving medicine. The situation is expected to worsen once US sanctions on Iran are reimposed in November. European and US companies that can provide the advanced medicine and equipment needed to treat chronic diseases inside Iran are grappling with how to sustain their operations. New US sanctions will put the health of ordinary Iranians at risk. Europe can take concrete steps to minimize this—steps which also support its ongoing commitment to the nuclear deal.