Latest News & Updates

 The Iran Project’s Mission in 2017

The Iran Project continues its efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Iran has remained in full compliance with its commitments under the nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) since the interim agreement was signed in 2013, but new threats to the JCPOA have emerged. Although the Trump administration has not withdrawn from the agreement, the actions and threats from the Executive Branch and from Congress against Iran and the JCPOA could eventually lead to its demise.

The Iran Project is concerned about the Trump administration’s regional policy more broadly. The White House seems determined to increase the use of military force in the region, double down on its strong partnership with Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states to counter Iran’s non-nuclear activities, and single out Iran as the greatest long term threat to American security. This new approach has contributed to a more volatile and polarized security environment in the Middle East. Moreover, the intensified military conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan have brought US ground forces, aircraft and ships in closer proximity to Iranian, Turkish and Russian forces – each supporting different local combatants and thereby increasing the risk of a US and Iranian military confrontation that could dangerously escalate.

In this new environment, The Iran Project has chosen to address a broader diplomatic agenda that can preserve the JCPOA that is working to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons, hold open opportunities for collaboration and dialogue when it is in the US interest to do so, and reduce the possibility of a direct conflict between the US and Iran.

We approach this broader agenda with the conviction that none of the regional conflicts can be resolved by military action alone, and that no political solutions will be possible in any of the conflicted areas without some agreement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. To that end, the long term diplomatic efforts of the US with Russia and Turkey should be directed toward encouraging the Iranians and Saudis to agree to solutions that are in their own security interests.

Any American president today would face the challenging dilemma of how to oppose Iran’s troubling activities in the region while at the same time preserving the JCPOA and remaining open to coordinating with Iran when necessary to achieve U.S. objectives. Iran’s activities in each of the regional disputes, particularly its support for the Assad regime and for Hezbollah, are a major threat to peaceful regional solutions. Nevertheless, the Trump administration’s decision to raise the level of military engagement in the region, to encourage Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States plus Israel to undertake common action against Iran, and to try to exclude Iran from participating in regional affairs will not result in a long-term resolution of conflicts. Worse, such action could cause the unraveling of the nuclear agreement. A nuclear armed Iran would be a far more dangerous adversary.

The Iran Project will continue to provide balanced analyses of the current situation in the Middle East, urge a greater use of political and diplomatic strategies to achieve US national security objectives, and promote improved communications between the U.S. and Iran.

William H. Luers, Director, The Iran Project

The Iran Project has published numerous articles, op-eds, and maintained regular contact with journalists
and columnists in major media outlets across the country on issues pertaining to Iran.  Due to increased
public engagement, The Iran Project has created this website to make it easier for you to follow us
in the news and leave us your comments. Stay updated on our news and events by joining our mailing list.

Op-Ed: Take It from 3 Former Ambassadors: Neglecting Diplomacy Will Hurt America

The Trump administration’s budgetary proposals and decisions reflect a growing gap between strong support for increased military action and capability, and a significant reduction in budgetary support for diplomacy. Military force alone cannot secure America’s national-security objectives; they can only be met through a solid fusion of force and diplomacy.

View the full piece here.

US, Iran, Saudi Arabia: A New Diplomatic Calculus?

On June 27th, The Iran Project and World Affairs Council of Northern California organized a discussion with Banafsheh Keynoush, Jessica Tuchman Mathews, and Ambassador Hossein Mousavian. Watch the discussion here, focused on the US – Iran – Saudi Arabia nexus and whether we are destined for renewed diplomacy or conflict in the Middle East.

Short Briefing Paper from The Iran Project on Iran’s Missile Testing

The Iran Project has compiled a “Short Briefing Paper on Iran’s Missile Testing” for the purpose of trying to provide balanced and objective information on the complex political and technical issues that are raised by the recent test of an Iranian ballistic missile.

View the briefing paper here.

Short Briefing Paper from The Iran Project on Designating the IRGC a Terrorist Organization

While the designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization is being considered by Congress, The Iran Project has prepared a short briefing paper (attached) on the subject, which can also be found online here. The aim is to provide a balanced one page assessment of this important proposal.


Ambassador Thomas Pickering sat down with David Plazas of “The Tennessean,” to discuss the Iran nuclear deal and topics of interest in global affairs.

Watch the full video here

The Chicago Council on Global Affairs with Ambassadors  Thomas Pickering and James F. Jeffrey: What Does the Iran Deal Means for Nuclear Nonproliferation?

Watch the full event here

 Atlantic Council and The Iran Project: The Progress and Problems of Iran Sanctions Relief

The Iran Project Statement on the Announcement of a Framework for a Comprehensive Nuclear Agreement with Iran

Read the full statement.

Envisioning a Deal with Iran

Former U.S. Diplomats Praise Iran Deal

More than 100 former American ambassadors wrote to President Obama on Thursday praising the nuclear deal reached with Iran this week as a “landmark agreement”

Read the full article.

Video: The Iran Project Launch of New Publication at the Woodrow Wilson Center


As an Iran Deal Nears, the Lobbying, Pro and Con, Intensifies

Amb. William Luers discusses the timeline for the Iran Nuclear Deal and its political implications.         Read the full article.

The National Interest
Roger Cohen
Benghazi Investigator Pickering Attends Muslim Forum

The Iran Deal: What 18 Tense Months have Produced – and Now, 68 Tense Days

Ambassador William Luers and and Jeremy Shapiro, fellow at the Brookings Institution, discuss the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran, at The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College on April 23.

An Iran Nuclear Deal is There for the Taking

Amb. William Luers, Amb. Thomas Pickering, and Dr. Jim Walsh publish a new op-ed in The National Interest on the most recent round of talks and remaining challenges in this final phase of diplomacy. Read the full article.

NYTimes Roger Cohen Pens Op-Ed on Nuclear Deal with Iran, ‘the Thinkable Ally’

Obama’s war against ISIS makes war with Iran even more unthinkable. A nuclear deal is imperative. Read the full article.

The Washington Post: How a Nuclear Deal can Help Save Iraq

The Iran Project’s Ryan Crocker, William Luers, and Thomas Pickering discuss the U.S. and Iran’s shared interests in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the long-term impact of a breakdown in talks. Read the Op-Ed

What’s the Way Forward with Iran? The Iran Project’s Jessica Tuchman Mathews Talks to NPR

It has been months since President Obama announced an interim deal had been struck between the group known as P5+1 and Iranian leadership over Iran’s nuclear program. Many open questions remain as the deliberations move forward and the details of the agreement emerge. How will this play out? Dr. Jessica Tuchman Mathews, distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, speaks with NPR. Listen to the full interview

Amb. Thomas Pickering’s Testifies before the House Armed Services Committee | 6.19.2014

As nuclear negotiations proceed between Iran and world powers, the Iran Project’s Ambassador Thomas Pickering testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on the shift in the US-Iran relationship and how a possible comprehensive agreement can impact US strategy in the region. Read the Testimony | Watch the Video

Former American Diplomats lead the Iran Project, Featured in Al-Monitor

William Luers, Director of The Iran Project, has spent nearly 12 years together with Thomas Pickering, Frank Wisner, Stephen Heintz, Jim Walsh and others pursuing a strategy to bring American and Iranian officials and scholars together. They have authored articles and several reports analyzing prospects for better US-Iran relations including the latest report by the Iran Project that foresees enhanced opportunities for the United States and Iran to pursue cooperation on mutual concerns such as fighting Islamic State militants, stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan, if there is a long-term nuclear accord. Read the full article.

More Articles & Op-Eds

The Iran Project has published numerous articles and op-eds in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, the Washington Post, the National Interest, the New York Review of Books. Read all Iran Project articles and op-eds.