News and Publications

The Iran Project regularly issues articles, interviews, op-eds, and reports. The Iran Project has also submitted
Briefs to Congress. The full archive of our publications is included 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.

Op-Ed by Suzanne DiMaggio and Gary Sick: If Trump shreds the Iran deal, it’ll be a huge geopolitical mistake

NY Daily News, May 2, 2018

In a conflict-racked Middle East, the Iran nuclear deal stands as a rare source of stability.

Negotiated by the United States and the world’s major powers, the agreement makes it impossible for Iran to produce a nuclear weapon while putting in place the world’s most extensive inspections system ever negotiated.

Read the full piece here.

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

My San Antonio, November 30, 2017

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.

Time to Revisit the Iran Deal: Chicago Council on Global Affairs Deep Dish Podcast

November 22, 2017

Brian Hanson moderates a debate between Jessica Mathews, Distinguished Fellow and past President at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Michael Singh, the Lane-Swig senior fellow and managing director at The Washington Institute and a former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council.

Thomas R. Pickering on The World Affairs Report Weekly Podcast and Radio Show

November 7, 2017

Pickering and Angelica Ocampo of World Affairs Council Pittsburgh discuss the Iran Nuclear Deal.

Thomas R. Pickering speaks with WXXI’s Evan Dawson about the Future of the Iran Deal

Connections, WXXI, September 12, 2017

Ambassador Pickering discusses a number of subjects with us, chief among them: his thoughts on the future of the Iran nuclear deal and the actions of the Trump White House

Richard North Patterson: Trump’s misconceived Iran policy

The Boston Globe, September 11, 2017

Iran agreed to severe constraints on its nuclear program for compelling economic reasons. Sanctions relief, foreign investment, and robust trade will benefit Iran’s restive young people, often highly educated, who face unemployment running at 50 percent.


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

The National Interest, July 8, 2017

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.

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

The World Affairs Council panel discussion, June 27, 2017

Banafsheh Keynoush, a geopolitical and communications consultant, Jessica Tuchman Mathews, distinguished fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Ambassador Hossein Mousavian, Middle East security expert at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, will discuss the US – Iran – Saudi Arabia nexus and whether we are destined for renewed diplomacy or conflict in the Middle East.

Thomas R. Pickering: Whatever happened to the Iran nuclear deal?

Richmond Times-Dispatch, January 29, 2017

Whatever happened to the Iran nuclear deal? It used to be a central issue in U.S. foreign policy. We talked about it all the time. We even argued over whether we should bomb Iran. In fact, it is now a “done deal” and all sides began implementation in early 2016 requiring severe limits and effective monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program.

Dr. Jessica Tuchman Mathews: Why President Trump should keep the Iran Deal

New Hampshire Union Leader, January 25 ,2017

Challenges And Opportunities In The Middle East For The Trump Administration

WFAE Charlotte, January 18, 2017

Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Dr. Jim Walsh join host Mike Collins to discuss the issues relating to the Iran Nuclear Deal, Saudi Arabia, the ongoing crisis in Syria and more.

Jim Morrill: Diplomats argue for preserving Iran nuclear deal

The Charlotte Observer, January 18, 2017

With a new administration about to take office, a veteran diplomat and a national security expert told a Charlotte audience Wednesday that it would be a mistake to abandon the nuclear deal with Iran.

“Better to keep it and improve on it,” veteran ambassador Thomas Pickering told a World Affairs Council luncheon.

Thomas Pickering and Jim Walsh: Guess who we don’t talk about these days? Iran.

Charlotte Observer, January 14, 2017

Have you noticed? The nuclear agreement with Iran is no longer in the headlines. Not long ago, Iran’s nuclear program was the central issue in U.S. foreign policy. We talked about it all the time. We even argued over whether we should bomb Iran.

Barbara Slavin and Ryan Crocker: Trump can preserve nuclear deal while reviewing Iran policy

Denver Post, December 12, 2016

A year after its activation, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has achieved its chief purpose: slowing Iran’s nuclear advances and insuring through tight verification that the country cannot amass sufficient material to make a single nuclear weapon.

Thomas R. Pickering: Four ways that Trump can keep relations steady with Iran

Dallas News, December 2, 2016

Our new president will face many tough challenges in devising a strategy to assure America’s security. He will be the first since 1979 who will not have to immediately devise a strategy to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

In Federation briefing, former Ambassador Pickering says Iran is sticking to nuclear agreement

The Jewish Observer, September 28, 2016

Iran is complying with the historic agreement struck last year to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon, former U.S. Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering said during a briefing last month for board members and major donors of the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle.

Thomas R. Pickering: What should our new president expect with Iran?

The Tennessean, September 15, 2016

Our new president will face many tough challenges in devising a strategy to assure America’s future security. But the president who takes office Jan. 20 will be the first since 1979 who will not have to devise immediately a strategy to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon.

Jim Walsh and Frank G. Wisner: Let’s be diplomatic: We can leverage the Iran deal to help solve problems

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 13, 2016

Americans will elect a new president in November. That president will face many challenges, none more dangerous than the chaos in the Middle East. Experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us we cannot manage the region’s crises without partners or by military means alone.

Gary Sick and Frank G. Wisner: The Iran nuclear deal has been a Middle East game-changer

Cleveland Plain Dealer,  June 12, 2016 

Two years ago, a new war in the Middle East appeared very likely. The government of Iran, despite enduring the most severe international sanctions ever imposed on a noncombatant power, insisted on increasing its nuclear program.

 Jessica Mathews and William Luers: How Boeing could benefit from Iran nuclear deal

The Seattle Times, June 6, 2016

LAST year’s agreement to reduce dramatically Iran’s nuclear program also authorized Boeing to negotiate the sale of commercial aircraft to Iran.

This is just one of the hundreds of provisions in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which is the agreement reached with Iran after complex and hard-fought negotiations by the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China and the United States. In exchange for drastically reducing Iran’s nuclear capabilities, this groundbreaking agreement has lifted some of the heavy sanctions imposed on Iran.

Jessica Mathews and Richard Nephew: A New Start in U.S. – Iran Relations?

The Alger, May 5, 2016

In 2009, former U.S. diplomat Lloyd Rollins from Columbus expressed concern to the The Columbus Dispatch that “the U.S. and Iran are still without diplomatic relations and still quarreling over nuclear sites, weapons programs and human rights.” He expressed sadness over the intractability of U.S.-Iranian disputes. But Rollins was no ordinary retired diplomat; he was also a former hostage in Iran, one of 66 held captive in Iran during the now infamous hostage crisis of 1979-1980.

How A 2007 Debate Gaffe Paved The Way For A Deal That Will Define Obama’s Legacy

Huffington Post July 14, 2015

The agreement was the conclusion of 20 months of negotiations between Iran, the U.S. and five world powers with vastly divergent foreign policies. Its supporters hailed it as a historic breakthrough of international diplomacy, a defining moment in nuclear non-proliferation, and the start of a potential sea change in Middle East politics.


Bunker-Buster Bomb No Sure Way to Stop Iran If Talks Fail

Bloomberg Business June 30, 2015

If negotiations in Vienna to curb Iran’s nuclear program fail, however, even an airstrike with the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator — the largest non-nuclear bomb ever developed — would delay Iran’s nuclear efforts by only a few years, according to U.S. defense officials and private analysts. Israeli forces could do far less, these experts say.

William Luers, Thomas Pickering, and Jim Walsh discuss the role of Congress in Iran Talks and the dangers of new sanctions.

Congress and the Future of Iran Talks
Arms Control Association, January/February 2015

Following the announcement on November 24, 2014, that Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) were extending the Vienna talks on Iran’s nuclear program, pressure has been building in Washington and Tehran against the negotiations. Domestic opposition in both countries has been empowered by this delay. Some in the U.S. Congress have even called for an end to the negotiations or threatened new sanctions. Read More


What’s the Way Forward?

Essential Pittsburgh, NPR Radio Interview with Jessica Tuchman Mathews. September 9, 2014

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? Read More

New Iran Project Op-Ed: A New Era for 
American Diplomacy?

Cuba and Iran: A New Era for American Diplomacy?
The Huffington Post, January 2015

President Obama has taken charge of “trying something different” with Cuba and Iran by initiating discrete and patient diplomatic approaches with two of America’s most entrenched adversaries. He seeks to replace policies that have failed to achieve America’s objectives. The President has directly taken on the powerful yet waning domestic and Congressional opposition to changing the bankrupt strategies. Read More

More Iran Project Articles and Op-Eds

Senate Prepares to Review Iran Nuclear Deal U.S. News & World Report. June 8, 2015

How a U.S. Nuclear Deal Could Help Save Iraq.  The Washington Post. July 11, 2014

Iran: A good Deal Now in Danger NY Review of Books. February 20, 2014

A Delicate Dance with Iran The Denver Post. January 12, 2014

Diplomatic Success Always Trumps a Military Victory Financial Times. December 19, 2013.

Looking to Diplomacy with Iran Reuters, October 14, 2013.

Exclusive Interview with Ambassador Thomas Pickering Iran Review, October 22, 2013

A New Way Forward is now Possible with Iran The Plain Dealer, September 13, 2013.

For a New Approach to Iran The New York Review of Books, July 16, 2013.

Envisioning a Deal with Iran The New York Times. February 2, 2012

Ending the Game of Chicken Boston Globe. March 10, 2012

What to do about Iran? The Chicago Tribune.  October 12, 2012.

Iran Talk: What’s in a War? The Washington Post.  September 30, 2012.

Don’t Mess Up US-Iran Relations. Bloomberg.  December 16, 2012.

The Nixon Option for Iran? Project Syndicate. May 22, 2012

Military Action Isn’t the Only Solution to Iran. The Washington PostDecember 30, 2011


The Iran Project in the News

Hours after Netanyahu’s speech, experts discuss Iran negotiations The Diamondback, University of Maryland Independent Student Newspaper, March 3, 2015

Opinion: Cowboys and Iranians USNI News, February 23, 2015

What Iran talks mean for ISIS fight CNN, November 24, 2014

Could an Iranian Nuclear Deal Could An Iranian Nuclear Deal Be The Answer to Stability In The Middle East? Mint Press News, October 2014

Nuclear Deal with Iran 95% Complete The Real News, Lawrence Wilkerson, October. 2014

Tehran Politics Constrain Nuclear Talks Voice of America, September 2014

Nuclear deal with Iran likely to enhance US regional leverage Middle East Eye, September 2014

Press TV: Lew tells AIPAC: War with Iran still an Option

Worldview: Iran’s Choice for U.N. Ambassador Highlights Old Wounds
The Philadelphia Inquirer. April 27, 2014

Iran Project Report Assesses Debate Over New Sanctions Payvand Iran News, February 2014

Iran Nuclear Talks Start With Doubt Over Meeting Deadline Bloomberg, February 2014

Fact Checking the Obama Strategy for Iran’s Nukes  U.S. News, February 2014.

Murphy takes on question of Iran sanctions Greenwich Time, January 2014.