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Diplomacy and nuclear issue

Iran received final shipment of uranium from Russia, as part of JCPOA requirement. Shipment will be 149 tons, which brings total amount to 259 tons. (AFP, 2/6) (PressTV, 2/6)

Sanctions and Iran’s economy

Iranian Foreign Ministry denounced new U.S. sanctions and said it would impose legal restrictions on American individuals and entities helping “regional terrorist groups” (Reuters, 2/3).

Anglo-Dutch Shell, Italy’s ENI, France’s Total, Russia’s Gazprom and Lukoil, Netherland’s Schlumberger, China’s CNPC and Sinopec, Japan’s Mitsubishi, and more have submitted bids on oil & gas projects in Iran (AFP, 2/4).

Iranian domestic politics

Iran said it arrested number of Islamic State operatives planning to carry out attacks in Tehran. (PressTV, 2/10)

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians poured into Tehran for anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Some carried “Death to America” banners and effigies of Drumpf (Reuters, 2/10) (NYT, 2/10). 


US-Iran relations

Iranian Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei thanked President Drumpf for revealing “the true face” of the United States (NYT, 2/7).

Iran held military exercises, involving missile and radar systems, one day after new U.S. sanctions were imposed. According to IRGC website, exercises were meant to signal rejection of sanctions (WSJ, 2/4) (Reuters, 2/4).

Lawsuit submitted by Iran to International Court of Justice against U.S. for freezing billions of dollars worth of its assets has been put in motion (PressTV, 2/5).

American operators that organize trips to Iran have begun cancelling tours (NYT, 2/8).

Geopolitics and Iran

Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed they “successfully” fired ballistic missile at army base in western Riyadh. Saudi Arabia had no immediate comment (AP, 2/6).

Iranian parliamentarian and former IRGC official Mojtaba Zonour warned that Tehran would retaliate against Israel if U.S. launched military strike against Iran. He boasted Iranian missiles could hit Tel Aviv in under seven minutes (Times of Israel, 2/5) (Fars NewsAgency, 2/5).

British Prime Minister Theresa May resisted pressure from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to impose new sanctions on Iran (The Guardian, 2/6).


Working Group

The Iran Working Group was created to serve as a channel for internal discussions on the fundamental issues of the Iranian nuclear challenge. The project, which since summer 2013 has grown dramatically in size and scope, is co-chaired by Professor and Belfer Center Director Graham Allison and Belfer Center Iran Project Director and Fellow for Iran Studies Payam Mohseni. Working Group participants come from the Belfer Center, Harvard University, Brandeis University and MIT, and the group draws upon local expertise that spans nuclear physics and nuclear policy, negotiation strategy, economics, and Iranian politics.

Members of the Iran Working Group meet regularly to dissect the latest developments from the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West and the economic impacts of international sanctions. The Working Group regularly hosts private, off-the-record discussions on Iran with distinguished scholars and practitioners in the field.

November 20, 2014 – Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, Baroness Ashton, amd Secretary Kerry before beginning second round of three-way nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria.

November 20, 2014 – Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif, Baroness Ashton, amd Secretary Kerry before beginning second round of three-way nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria.


The Iran Project is dedicated to promoting the study of contemporary Iranian politics, particularly on issues that pertain to important challenges of international security, such as the Iranian nuclear program, US-Iran relations, and Iran’s role in the Middle East.

From its nuclear program and sponsorship of hostile state and non-state actors to its soft-power influence in the region, Iran has outsized abilities to shape events beyond its borders in a dramatic fashion. The Iran Project seeks to bring greater knowledge and analytic clarity to policy discussions on Iran as an important power in the Middle East region.

Dr. Payam Mohseni, the Director of the Iran Project, frequently travels to Iran to conduct research and is fluent in Persian. His work focuses on the internal policymaking process of the Iranian state, the dynamics of factional politics in post-revolutionary Iran, the political economy of development, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. Mohseni also teaches Iranian and Middle East politics at Harvard’s Department of Government.


The mission of the Iran Project is threefold:

  • To produce advanced, policy-relevant knowledge on salient issues of Iranian affairs
  • To serve as a hub in a network that synergizes scholarly collaborations and intellectual discussions among Iran experts and analysts across the world
  • To become a diplomatic bridge to advance dialogue between students and scholars in Iran and the United States, particularly for the Harvard University community, as well as to support the efforts of Iranian students and those involved in Iranian studies at Harvard University across disciplines

Research Focus Areas

  • The Iranian nuclear program, implementation challenges for the JCPOA, and its implications for regional order
  • Iranian domestic and foreign politics, elite factional dynamics, Iran’s role in the Middle East, sectarian conflict in the region, and Iranian soft power and ideology
  • The Iranian economy, Iran’s business environment, its economic policymaking process, sanctions, and the country’s energy sector