Latest News & Updates

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.

May 6, 2020 webinar: Iran: U.S. Maximum Pressure Campaign, American and European Perspectives——Tennessee World Affairs Council with Amb. William Luers, Gary Sick and Ellie Geranmayeh

This special edition of the TNWAC Global Dialogue: International Speakers series presents a conversation about current developments in relations with Iran. Ambassador Bill Luers will moderate a conversation with Professor Gary Sick of Columbia University and Ellie Geranmayeh of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Iran remains at the center of U.S. decision makers attention in the Middle East as Tehran grapples with the effects of Washingtons “Maximum Pressure” campaign and the catastrophic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile Tehran continues its “Maximum Resistance” response through maritime provocations, space vehicle (potential ICBM) launches and backing Iraqi militias that are in conflict with U.S. forces.

Watch the recording here.

Listen to the audio podcast here.

April 30, 2020 webinar : Iran, The Us, And The Covid-19 Crisis–—World Affairs of San Francisco with Amb. Frank Wisner, Dr. Roxane Farmanfarmaian and Barbara Slavin

While the world is preoccupied with the pandemic, tensions between the U.S. and Iran continue to escalate as the two countries pursue conflicting interests in Iraq and the region. Moreover, when it comes to COVID-19, Iran has been among the countries hardest hit. What is the current situation in Iran, and how is the country managing this health crisis while also subject to international economic sanctions? What are we missing in terms of the larger strategic questions driving U.S. policy on Iran and in the region? Iran finds itself in a vice between COVID-19 and the United States. What will give?

Watch the recording here

April 29, 2020 webinar: Flattening the Curve of US-Iran Tensions——World Affairs Council of Atlanta with Amb. Thomas Pickering

Ambassador Thomas Pickering Former Ambassador to the United Nations, Russia, India, Nigeria, El Salvador, Jordan Global Security & International Relations Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 12:00 PM- 12:45 PM ET IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE IRAN PROJECT Tehran’s initial response to COVID-19 was disastrous. As a result, Iran is the country in the Middle East most affected by this pandemic.

Watch the recording here.

Public Statement Release & Invitation to Global Media Call April 6, 2020: Transatlantic Statement to Ease Humanitarian Trade Iran

NEW YORK/LONDON, April 6, 2020 – Today, a bipartisan group of two dozen American and European national security leaders issue a joint statement urging the US government to ease humanitarian trade with Iran in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “As the world grapples with COVID-19 – the disease caused by the novel coronavirus – we must remember that an outbreak anywhere impacts people everywhere. In turn, reaching across borders to save lives is imperative for our own security and must override political differences among governments” the authors write.

View the full statement here.

Access the call transcript here.

Access the call recording here.

Jim Walsh speaks with Peter St. James, host of Good Morning NH!, on 107.7 The Pulse & 107.3 WEMJ. 

Walsh was in New Hampshire for a June 5, 2019 talk at the World Affairs Council of  New Hampshire.

Listen here.

05.07.19 | Statement by the National Coalition to Prevent an Iranian Nuclear Weapon

Today, a bipartisan group of nearly 55 American national security leaders issued a statement one year after U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, arguing that rejoining the agreement is an essential building block for restoring U.S. world leadership and national security.

The statement comes after threatening remarks by National Security Advisor John Bolton in connection with a routine deployment of an Aircraft Carrier strike group to the Gulf. Bolton said it was to send “a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

The authors of the statement warn of the dangers of such escalation: “The U.S. administration, supported by Israel, Saudi Arabia, and a few Gulf states, have set a goal of destabilizing Iran’s government, which in turn may have the effect of driving Iran into even more radical and hostile acts before the U.S. 2020 elections.  Increasingly, the administration’s public comments point in this direction. U.S. ‘maximum pressure’ and threats against Iran make clear the objective of the administration’s policy is to bring down the regime in Tehran by provoking national unrest and destabilizing internal disorder in the country. Heightened U.S. actions against Iran could lead to the collapse of the JCPOA and provide the administration with a ready excuse for military conflict with Iran.”

Full text of the document can be found here.

KCUR’s Up To Date interviews Ambassador Tom Pickering

Segment 1: Former ambassador to the U.N., Israel,  Jordan and Russia critiqued American foreign policy in the Middle East.

President Trump took a new route with America’s policy on Iran by making the decision to withdraw from their nuclear treaty and reimpose sanctions on the country. Ambassador Pickering offered his views on the U.S. strategy in the region and how our role can help or hurt the cause of peace and security there.

Listen to the interview here.

40 years on, Iran’s Islamic Revolution still roils

Minnesota Star Tribune, February 15, 2019.
Paul Pilar speaks with Minnesota Star Tribune writer John Rash about the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution and an Iran-focused Mideast security conference in Warsaw.
Read the full piece here.

Joe Cirincione speaks on the Tennessee World Affairs Council’s podcast, “Global Tennessee.”

Joe Cirincione joined “Global Tennessee” during his Nashville speaking tour to discuss what is happening in the US government and elsewhere to address the scourge of nuclear weapons, the “new arms race” and the situation with Iran and North Korea. Listen here.

Op-Ed by James Clapper and Thomas Pickering:Trump’s Iran Policy Cannot Succeed Without Allies

The National Interest, November 9, 2018

Only well calibrated multilateral political, economic and diplomatic pressure brought to bear on Iran with many and diverse partners will produce the results we seek.

Read the full piece here.

World Affairs Council podcast with Nicholas Burns: “The Crisis in US Global Leadership and Diplomacy”

“Chief among the trends threatening global peace and stability is the weakening of the US leadership role around the world. As the US withdraws from international accords and President Trump criticizes allies, the rest of the world is left to pick up the pieces.” In this October 23, 2018 podcast, Nicholas Burns, former US ambassador and professor at Harvard Kennedy School, in conversation with World Affairs CEO Jane Wales, discusses how traditional American diplomacy can help ease today’s global tensions.

Listen here.

Op-Ed by Joseph Cirincione: Will the Saudis drag us into war with Iran?

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Oct 24 2018

Ten years ago, while conflict still raged in Iraq, Saudi Arabia urged us to start another war. In 2008, King Abdullah pressed America to “cut off the head of the snake.” According to now-declassified documents, the monarch made “frequent exhortations to the U.S. to attack Iran and so put an end to its nuclear weapons program.”

Read the full piece here.

09.23.18 | Statement by the National Coalition to Prevent an Iranian Nuclear Weapon: Assessing the Trump Administration’s Iran Strategy

In advance of President Trump’s address to the United Nations on September 25, a bipartisan group of over 50 American national security leaders released a statement highlighting the danger of the Administration’s policy of pressure without diplomacy with Iran and outlining a more viable way forward.

Prominent signatories include many former senior national security leaders including: Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; senior military commanders such as Commander of Special Operations Command Admiral Eric Olson and Deputy Commander in Chief of U.S. Forces in Europe General Chuck Boyd; Senators such as Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Carl Levin (D-MI); members of the House Representatives such as Lee Hamilton (D-IN) and David Dreier (R-CA); Ambassador to the UN Thomas Pickering, Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns, and Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer.

View the full text here

“Foreign policy bigwigs: Trump risking war with Iran”; Politico reports on the statement of the National Coalition to Prevent an Iranian Weapon

President Donald Trump is risking a potential war with Iran unless he engages the Islamist-led country using diplomacy, not just pressure tactics, dozens of prominent U.S. foreign policy, intelligence and national security figures argue in a new public statement.

The statement, released by a group calling itself the National Coalition to Prevent an Iranian Nuclear Weapon, comes as Trump prepares to speak at the annual United Nations General Assembly. Iran is expected to be a hot topic during this week’s U.N. gathering of world leaders, many of whom are upset that Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Read the full Politico coverage here.

The National Public Affairs Forum brought together Amb. Thomas Pickering and moderator David Hartman on September 6th to speak about the future of US-Iran relations.

Watch the event here, and see coverage of the event on WRAL News here.

Op-Ed by Thomas Pickering: “When it Comes to Iran, Will We Ever Learn?”

The Administration’s new policy toward Iran has zero chance to succeed in changing Iranian behavior or regime change. The policy of maximum pressure and unachievable demands is based on deeply flawed assumptions about Iran and the wise use of American power.

U.S. governments should have learned from past experiences that an effort to squeeze an enemy government, strangle its economy, and isolate it from the world rarely works, especially when the desired end remains unclear and deeply contested. More often it harms U.S. national security, particularly if military force is engaged. To paraphrase former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld on Afghanistan: “Are we creating more enemies than we are ending?”

Read the full piece here.

Dr. Jim Walsh speaks before the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security regarding U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA

On June 6, 2018, the House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security held a hearing to examine the reasons for the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and the Trump administration’s options and strategy moving forward. In this five-minute clip of his oral testimony before the subcommittee, Dr. Walsh highlights the clear negative consequences of violating the agreement for U.S. national security and America’s standing in the world.

“Trump’s Iran Strategy: Hit America in the Pocketbook”

In an op-ed in The National Interest, Frank Wisner and Nelson Cunningham argue that the decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran agreement may be the most dangerous and destabilizing move yet of Trump’s tumultuous presidency. Read the full piece here.

Ambassador William Luers speaks with TNT World Now about President Trump's Violation of the Iran Nuclear Deal

Meeting threats and challenges to U.S. national security: Op-Ed by Thomas Pickering in the Tampa Bay Times

The United States today faces major challenges to its national security — long-term with Russia and China and immediately with regard to North Korea and Iran. Iran, in particular, can serve as a model for turning these grave challenges into constructive approaches and opportunities.

Why is Iran a threat to the interests of the United States and its allies in the Middle East and what is the United States doing about it? The danger of Iran getting a nuclear weapon is a serious concern for the United States and the world. Yet President Donald Trump has indicated that he may kill the very international accord that would prevent Iran from getting one. Such American action would re-open the door to an Iranian nuclear bomb and put the United States in violation of an international pact.

Read the full piece here.

Managing Iran’s Growing Regional Influence

The Iran Project has issued a one page brief on Managing Iran’s Growing Regional Influence that outlines the reasons for Iran’s growing influence in the region and recommends constructive policies toward Iran looking ahead. The Administration is expected to announce next week a new approach to the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) possibly announcing a decision not to certify Iran’s compliance. It is reported that the Administration in the coming weeks will set new policy guidelines for dealing with Iran.

This short briefing paper sets out four simple realities: no conflict in the Middle East can be resolved without Iran’s participation; no conflict can be resolved by military force alone; the U.S. needs the cooperation of other states to constrain Iran and ensure its participation in conflict resolution; and Iran must be prevented from getting a nuclear weapon.

Full text of the document can be found here.

Op-Ed by Thomas Pickering and William Luers: U.S. must be wary in choosing sides, Saudi Arabia vs. Iran

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is playing a high stakes game in his ongoing conflict with Iran. It could threaten to embroil the U.S.

Read the full piece here.

Thomas Pickering speaks with Larry Mantle about the Iran nuclear deal on “AirTalk”

On October 25th, Larry Mantle spoke with Ambassador Thomas Pickering about next steps on the Iran nuclear deal and what the decertification might mean, not just for the U.S., but in Pyongyang and Beijing as we also attempt to temper North Korea’s nuclear capabilities.

Listen here.

Op-Ed by Thomas Pickering in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The United States should stand by the Iran deal

President Donald Trump has taken the first step toward pulling the United States out of the international agreement that is preventing the development of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

With no factual basis, this decision looms like pure domestic politics over America’s international commitments and leadership. Trust is the coin of the realm in foreign affairs, and we have just begun to debase it in the eyes of much of the world. Who will make a deal with us if we can confect a reason out of thin air to pull out of our agreements? U.S. leadership is imperiled, especially in dealing with Iran and North Korea.

Read the full piece here.

Richard Nephew at the World Affairs Forum of Stamford, Connecticut, October 25th

Jessica Mathews at Chicago Council on Global Affairs, October 30th

Op-Ed: Why the Iran nuclear deal benefits the U.S.

In July 2015, the United States, in partnership with China and Russia and our three major NATO allies, reached an agreement with Iran that prevents Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons. In exchange, we joined the international community in easing some economic sanctions against Iran while retaining many others linked to other aspects of Iran’s misbehavior.

View the full article here.

Risks of Restoring Heavy Sanctions Against Iran

The Iran Project has issued a one page brief on the Risks of Restoring Heavy Sanctions Against Iran – a decision that the Trump Administration may leave up to Congress, should the President choose to decertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement by the October 15 deadline.

Full text of the document can be found here.

Consequences of not Certifying Iran’s Compliance with the JCPOA

The Iran Project has issued a one page brief on the Consequences of not Certifying Iran’s Compliance with the JCPOA – a decision that President Trump will face by October 15, 2017. If he decides to not certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, Congress will then have 60 days to consider reimposing sanctions on an expedited timeline that could end the U.S. commitment to the agreement, or they could decide not to act indefinitely.

Full text of the document can be found here.

47 National Security Leaders Propose a Comprehensive Policy to Constrain Iran

47 national security leaders issued a statement warning against U.S. withdrawal from the international nuclear agreement with Iran, as long as Iran is complying, and recommending a comprehensive policy toward Iran that furthers U.S. national security interests.

View the full statement here

NYT Op-Ed: Before you rip up that Iran Deal…

Opponents of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal often complain that the deal doesn’t address the nefarious ways in which Iran is expanding its influence and further destabilizing the Middle East. Such concerns, while valid, are no reason to blow up the agreement, as President Trump is recklessly trying to do by pressing his administration to declare, with absolutely no evidence, that Iran is in violation of the terms.

View the full Op-Ed here.

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.