Alireza Nader

alireza nader , alireza nader
Senior International / Defense Researcher
Washington Office


M.A. in international affairs, The George Washington University; B.A. in political science, University of California, Santa Barbara

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Alireza Nader is a senior international/defense researcher at the RAND Corporation and author of Iranian Domestic Challenges to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. His research has focused on Iran's political dynamics, elite decisionmaking, and Iranian foreign policy. His commentaries and articles have appeared in a variety of publications and he is widely cited by the U.S. and international media. 

Research Focus

Previous Positions

Research Analyst, Center for Naval Analyses; Program Officer, U.S. Department of the Treasury



Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Al Arabiya; Al Jazeera; BBC; CBS; CNN; CNBC; C-SPAN; Fox News; Here and There, Santa Fe Public Radio; Huffington Post; IranWire; KCBS-AM San Francisco; KCRW To The Point; MSNBC; NPR; PBS NewsHour; Sirius XM; Voice of America

Commentary: Al-Monitor; The Arab Weekly; BBC Persian; The Cipher Brief; CNN; Foreign Affairs; Foreign Policy; Foreign Policy Concepts;; The Hill; International Herald Tribune; Inter Press Service; Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles; Lobe Log; The National Interest; Newsday;; PBS FRONTLINE; Politico; Project Syndicate; San Francisco Chronicle; United Press International; United States Institute of Peace - The Iran Primer; USA Today; U.S. News & World Report; War on the Rocks; The Woodrow Wilson Center; World Politics Review


  • Tehran skyline with Iranian flag and Milad Tower

    Why the Iranian Uprising Won't Die

    The Iran uprising of 2017 is the biggest challenge Iran's theocracy has ever faced. And now, Iranians are no longer contained by the wall of fear created by the Islamic Republic.

    Jan 8, 2018 Politico

  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends a conference in Riyadh, October 24, 2017

    Saudi Arabia and Iran May Be Headed Toward War

    America should encourage Tehran and Riyadh to settle their differences, not facilitate aggressive Saudi action. Otherwise, the region will be plunged into an even bigger crisis—without an end in sight.

    Nov 13, 2017 Atlantic Council

  • Iran's army servicemen with the national flag attend the opening ceremony of the airborne platoon competition, part of the International Army Games 2017, in Guangshui, Hubei province, China, July 30, 2017

    Saudi Shakeup Gives the U.S. an Opening with Iran

    If Saudi Arabia forces a showdown with Iran, the U.S. will find itself in the middle of it. Washington and Tehran need to come to an understanding so as not to further inflame the region. Demonizing Iran for all the ills of the Middle East is counterproductive and will lead to further escalation.

    Nov 13, 2017 Bloomberg

  • People walk at the Grand Bazaar, a day after the presidential election, in central Tehran, Iran, May 20, 2017

    Killing Iran's Economy Won't Help the U.S.

    Iran's economy is likely to be damaged by any new U.S. sanctions, with foreign investment having already slowed in response to President Trump's rhetoric. The biggest losers will not be the Iranian regime but the Iranian people, whose striving the U.S. has long hoped would bring about a less antagonistic Iran.

    Oct 31, 2017 Bourse and Bazaar

  • Supporters of Iran's President Hassan Rouhani celebrate his victory in the election, in Tehran, Iran, May 20, 2017

    Why Trump's Pressures on Iran Won't Benefit America

    The Trump administration has demonstrated a renewed policy of pressure against Iran. In doing so, it risks losing the ability to leverage the greatest potential source of change in Iran: millions of Iranians who want a better country at peace with the world.

    May 25, 2017 Fortune

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a welcoming ceremony at Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia, March 27, 2017

    Could Iran's Rouhani Lose?

    In this month's presidential election Rouhani is running against Ebrahim Raisi, a trusted member of the revolutionary establishment. The Iranian population continues to live under duress and may be open to new candidates. The Iran nuclear deal hasn't resulted in the great economic windfall Rouhani promised.

    May 3, 2017 RealClearWorld

  • A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015

    Sticking with the Complicated U.S.-Iran Relationship

    The United States and Iran differ on many issues, but they signed what has so far been a successful nuclear agreement and both seek to defeat the Islamic State. The U.S. would have more to gain by sticking with the relationship than by pursuing a policy of “regime change.”

    Mar 2, 2017 The Cipher Brief

  • Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) talks with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani as they meet during a summit of Caspian Sea regional leaders in the southern city of Astrakhan September 29, 2014

    Iran at Putin's Mercy

    Russia and Iran have forged an unprecedented but fragile alliance in the Middle East. But there's no guarantee that Putin won't sell Iran out if he manages to forge better U.S. relations under Trump.

    Jan 12, 2017 The National Interest

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference near the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, September 22, 2016

    Whoever Wins the Presidency, the Next Big International Crisis Will Come from Iran

    The next U.S. president is likely to meet many international crises after taking office, and Iran may be one of the most challenging. The continuing climate of repression, the next Iranian presidential election, and Khamenei's eventual demise may provide some important opportunities for him or her.

    Sep 29, 2016 Fox News Channel

  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, July 20, 2016

    What Erdogan and Khomeini Have in Common

    The analogy between Islamist Iran and a possibly soon-to-be Islamist Turkey is not perfect. But there are striking similarities between the state of affairs in Turkey today and the 1979 revolution in Iran that established the Islamic Republic.

    Aug 24, 2016 Foreign Policy

  • World foreign ministers/secretaries of state in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015, when Iran and six major world powers reached a nuclear deal

    RAND Experts Q&A on the Iran Nuclear Deal, One Year Later

    Looking back on the past year, five RAND experts respond to a series of critical questions about the Iran nuclear deal, its implementation, and potential challenges ahead.

    Jul 12, 2016

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani waves next to a portrait of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the Interior Ministry in Tehran, December 21, 2015

    Rouhani and Khamenei Are Both Winners in Iran's Elections

    Iran's recent elections are being heralded as major wins for Iran's long-struggling 'moderates.' But the conservative political establishment is also a winner, despite its reported losses in parliament and the Assembly of Experts.

    Mar 2, 2016 Foreign Policy Concepts

  • Iranian women take part in a reformist campaign for the upcoming parliamentary elections in Tehran February 20, 2016

    New Era with Iran? Not So Fast

    On the whole, ties between the United States and Iran are improving, but to think that a new era in Iran or in U.S.-Iran relations has arrived is a stretch. The U.S. has achieved an important diplomatic breakthrough with Iran, but it still faces the same regime it has since 1979.

    Feb 23, 2016 U.S. News & World Report

  • A protester holding a picture of Shi'ite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed in Saudi Arabia, walks past a picture of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a rally in Tehran January 8, 2016

    Saudi-Iranian Tensions

    The nuclear accord between Iran and the United States has induced a sense of abandonment in Riyadh. The Saudis may fear that Washington might one day replace its alliance with Saudi Arabia with a new partnership with Iran; or perhaps more realistically, that Washington might come to depend less on Riyadh given improving ties with Iran.

    Jan 22, 2016 The Cipher Brief

  • A money changer displays U.S. and Iranian banknotes at the Grand Bazaar in central Tehran, October 7, 2015

    Unlocking Iran's Economy

    While Rouhani and his team want Iran's gradual opening, reactionary forces aligned with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, much of the security establishment, and the clergy are likely to stand guard against “anti-revolutionary” tendencies and policies.

    Nov 2, 2015 The Cipher Brief

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the Iran nuclear agreement in Washington, July 28, 2015

    The Only Iran Deal Alternative Worth Considering

    Now is the time for Washington to prove its leadership and implement the Iran nuclear deal. The alternative is a major diplomatic defeat for America and an unrestricted Iranian nuclear program.

    Aug 30, 2015 The National Interest

  • Iranians celebrate after the announcement of a nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 countries, Tehran, July 14, 2015

    Opening Iran After the Nuclear Deal

    The nuclear accord paves the way for Iranian-Americans to help Iranians know the United States not for past perceived misdeeds, but future possibilities.

    Aug 3, 2015 The Hill

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Asian African Conference in Jakarta, April 22, 2015

    Post Deal, Can Rouhani Deliver on Promises of Reform?

    Rouhani was elected president because he offered hope; he claimed that the nuclear agreement would be the key to unlock or solve Iran's problems. But it will take more than that to make Iran a better place to live. Can he achieve his people's dreams? Is he even willing?

    Jul 24, 2015 Al-Monitor

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015

    Iran Deal or No Deal

    A U.S. rejection of the Iran nuclear agreement would send the wrong message, not only to Iran but also to America's closest allies, and it would not serve American interests in the region.

    Jul 22, 2015 War on the Rocks

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reacts as he delivers a statement on the Iran deal at the Vienna International Center, Austria, July 14, 2015

    Iran Deal Not a Panacea, but a Pragmatic Necessity

    The nuclear agreement signed between Iran and the P5+1 prevents Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability in the near future while giving some space for Iranian proponents of change.

    Jul 15, 2015 USA Today

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif waves after a plenary session at the UN building, Vienna, July 14, 2015

    The Iran Nuclear Deal: RAND Experts Answer Questions About the Days Ahead

    Diplomats have reached a nuclear agreement with Iran. Now, the United States faces important policy decisions that will help shape the days ahead and the relationship that emerges between Iran and the other parties involved.

    Jul 14, 2015

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani arrives to attend the closing statement for the Asian-African Conference in Jakarta April 23, 2015

    Who Benefits from Iran Sanctions Relief?

    More than $100 billion of Iranian oil proceeds are “frozen” in foreign bank accounts under the current sanctions regime. The repatriation of Iran's money would no doubt boost a flagging economy.

    Jul 2, 2015 The National Interest

  • An air strike hits a military site controlled by the Houthi group in Yemen's capital Sanaa May 12, 2015

    Yemen: Victim of the Saudi-Iranian Rivalry

    Instability in Yemen does not benefit Iran, Saudi Arabia, or the United States. AQAP is a major threat to all three countries. And neither side in the Yemeni conflict has the capability to impose central authority in Yemen by itself.

    May 12, 2015 The Arab Weekly

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 22, 2014

    Why the United States Needs to Be Patient with Iran

    No one should expect miracles after a nuclear deal. Khamenei and his system will not change so easily. But Iranians have been patient. The United States should be as well.

    Apr 20, 2015 The National Interest

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks after nuclear talks with Iran in Lausanne, Switzerland, April 2, 2015

    RAND Experts Q&A on the Iran Nuclear Framework

    President Barack Obama hailed last week's framework for an Iranian nuclear accord as a 'historic understanding,' and there was celebration in Iran, but many challenges remain.

    Apr 6, 2015 The RAND Blog

  • Army and police officers loyal to the Iran-backed Houthi movement shout slogans as they take part in a demonstration to show support in Sanaa, January 23, 2015

    Relax, Iran Is Not Taking Over the Middle East

    Nuclear negotiations should not be held hostage to all of the things Iran may be doing right or wrong. The conflicts in the Middle East are much more complex than 'Iran on the march' theories would have us believe.

    Feb 11, 2015 The National Interest

  • Bashar al-Assad meeting with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran August 19, 2009

    Iran's Goals in Syria

    Iran is playing a crucial role in buttressing President Bashar Assad, through military advice, provision of weapons, and funding of the cash-strapped Syrian government. The Assad regime might not survive without support of Iran and its allies such as Hezbollah.

    Jan 26, 2015 The Iran Primer, USIP

  • Iraqi security forces guard during the building of a new road between Diyala province and Samarra December 21, 2014. The Badr Organization, a leading political party and militia with ties to Iran, is supervising the new road.

    Salvaging Iraq

    The Iranian government, particularly the Revolutionary Guards, is playing a huge role in helping the Iraqi security forces fight the Islamic State. Iraq and Iran share a 910-mile border that is mostly porous. Iraq's territorial integrity is critical for Iran too.

    Jan 26, 2015 The Iran Primer, USIP

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif addresses a news conference after a meeting in Vienna, November 24, 2014

    A Nuclear Extension Can Still Work, but Iran Must Show Flexibility

    The extension of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 is disappointing, but it's better than the alternatives. Now it's time for the Iranian government to show greater flexibility. It may have gained a few months, but in the long run, time is not on its side.

    Nov 26, 2014 The Woodrow Wilson Center

  • Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei waves to the crowd in the holy city of Qom, October 2010

    Ignore Flap Over Obama Letter

    While it is not surprising that the alleged letter from President Obama to Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei has upset domestic critics of the nuclear negotiations, the alleged correspondence has also unsettled Israel and Saudi Arabia, which fear a 'bad' deal with Iran and even secret collusion between Washington and Tehran. But such concerns seem unfounded.

    Nov 14, 2014 CNN

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov shake hands at a news conference in Moscow, August 29, 2014

    Why Iran Can't Walk Away from Nuclear Talks So Easily

    If the public inflexibility of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif isn't mere diplomatic posturing, they would be gambling not only with their own political futures, but the futures of 80 million Iranians as well.

    Sep 26, 2014 The National Interest

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani during a meeting in Ankara, June 10, 2014

    Nuclear Deal or No Deal, Don't Expect Iran Changes

    The impeachment of Iranian science minister Reza Faraji-Dana, the latest episode in the struggle between Iran's so-called moderates and hard-liners, is likely a sign of troubling times ahead. And even though President Hassan Rouhani is the West's best hope of the nuclear issue being addressed, a deal could energize his rivals in their bid to stave off change.

    Sep 8, 2014 CNN

  • Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks live on television after casting his ballot in the Iranian presidential election in Tehran June 12, 2009

    Can U.S. and Iran Work Together in Iraq?

    The presence of Iranian and American troops in Iraq may necessitate clear and direct communications between the two sides, at least to prevent misunderstanding and greater chaos. But Washington should tread carefully and focus on nuclear negotiations for now.

    Jul 3, 2014 Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani attends a news conference after the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit, in Shanghai May 22, 2014

    Let's Make a Deal: Iran Edition

    Washington will strive to achieve the best deal for U.S. and allied interests. Iran may not like that; after all, Khamenei may want to preserve most of Iran's nuclear-weapons capability. But his regime is simply in no position to make such maximalist demands. Iran has to lower its expectations if it wants a deal.

    Jun 2, 2014 The National Interest

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani smiles during a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum

    Can Rouhani Break Through?

    Rouhani, while so far effective in Iran's nuclear negotiations, has an uphill battle at home. While the Iranian conservative establishment is likely to support his nuclear policy for now, it is unlikely to concede him the full economic and political agenda he seeks. Not without a fight, anyhow.

    Feb 6, 2014 Lobe Log

  • The site of a car bomb attack in Baghdad

    Iraq's Turmoil Highlights Extent and Limits of Iran's Influence

    Iran may be more influential in Iraq today than it has been since the Safavid era, but this is not so much due to Iranian strength as Iraqi weakness. Iraq will need Iran as long as it faces an uncertain future — unrest at home, war in Syria, and isolation from the Arab world.

    Jan 27, 2014 World Politics Review

  • Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, President Hassan Rouhani, and Mohammad Nahavandian at the World Economic Forum

    Why New Sanctions on Iran Won't Work

    Sanctions are not a button that can be pushed to strengthen the U.S. position automatically; they must be used in tandem with diplomacy, and a deeper understanding of Iranian, Chinese and Russian motivations.

    Jan 23, 2014 The National Interest

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sits between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius at the United Nations Headquarters after the P5+1 member nations concluded a nuclear deal with Iran in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 24, 2013.

    A First Step in Geneva

    The Geneva agreement is only a first step toward a comprehensive deal but it is an important achievement. Iran's ability to move toward a nuclear weapons breakout capability has been halted in return for limited sanctions relief.

    Nov 25, 2013 Foreign Policy

  • Nuclear talks at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva November 20, 2013

    We're Close to a Good Deal with Iran. Why Sabotage It?

    It appears that Iran and the P5+1 are close to agreeing for Tehran to suspend major aspects of its program, including the enrichment of uranium to a medium level of 20 percent, and installation of more advanced centrifuges, in return for reversible and limited easing of sanctions.

    Nov 21, 2013 The National Interest

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry addresses an international assembly of reporters upon arriving in Geneva

    The Geneva Blame Game

    Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., Britain, France, China, and Russia plus Germany) came tantalizingly close to reaching a nuclear deal this past weekend in Geneva, but the talks ended without an agreement. Although both Iran and the United States expressed optimism that much was achieved, a blame game between the different players soon ensued.

    Nov 15, 2013 Lobe Log

  • European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton speaks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before the start of two days of nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva October 15, 2013

    Pause on Additional Iran Sanctions Crucial to Negotiations

    The Nov. 7–8 negotiations between Iran and six world powers (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany) could prove to be a critical point in the Iranian nuclear crisis. New sanctions under consideration by Congress could lead to a weakening of the overall U.S. position.

    Nov 6, 2013 The Hill

  • Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks to the media after a meeting of foreign ministers at the U.N. Headquarters in New York September 26, 2013

    Zero-Sum Enrichment

    Sanctions have taken a heavy toll on the Iranian economy, and the Islamic Republic may finally be motivated to take steps to rein in its nuclear program, including accepting limits on uranium enrichment, in exchange for lessening the pressure.

    Oct 14, 2013 Foreign Policy

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani takes questions from journalists during a news conference in New York September 27, 2013

    The US Iran Wrestling Match

    According to Khamenei, the Islamic Republic is willing to engage its enemy, or show “flexibility,” in order to win the overall competition. However, Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards have also laid out clear red lines for Rouhani. He is to demonstrate no weakness or “humility” with the opponent, the United States.

    Sep 27, 2013 Inter Press Service

  • Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei casts his ballot in central Tehran June 14, 2013

    Obama Should Take Iran's Overture Seriously

    If his words are any guide, Iran's supreme leader is pivoting to diplomacy. Long an advocate of “resistance” to the United States, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei now praises his new president, Hassan Rouhani, for his administration's “heroic” and “artful” approach toward foreign policy.

    Sep 23, 2013 Politico

  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javed Zarif speaking at a news conference in Baghdad, September 8, 2013

    What to Do Now? Iran Torn on Syria

    Iran has a strategic interest in opposing chemical weapons due to its own horrific experience during the 1980–1988 war with Iraq. But it also has compelling reasons to continue supporting Damascus. The Syrian regime is Iran's closest ally in the Middle East and the geographic link to its Hezbollah partners in Lebanon.

    Sep 11, 2013 United States Institute of Peace's Iran Primer

  • The official photo of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

    Rowhani's Syria Dilemma

    Syria is Iran's only real state ally in the Middle East. But Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's behavior puts Iranian leaders, especially the newly elected President Hassan Rowhani, in a quandary.

    Aug 30, 2013

  • A photo of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in Aleppo, Syria.

    RAND Experts Q&A on Syria

    There are increasing reports suggesting that President Obama will soon take military action against the Syrian government, perhaps targeting its chemical weapons facilities. Several RAND experts spoke with us about the latest developments.

    Aug 30, 2013

  • Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during an event to mark Nawroz, the Persian New Year, in Kabul March 27, 2014

    A Last Chance for Iran's Pragmatists

    Rouhani's new government is not pro-Western by any stretch of the imagination, writes Alireza Nader. But its political interests and Iran's current predicament provide a unique opportunity to solve the nuclear crisis peacefully.

    Aug 12, 2013 U.S. News & World Report

  • A 2009 rally in support of Mir Hussein Mousavi before he was put on house arrest.

    Will Iran's Opposition Leaders Be Released?

    The resolution of Iran's nuclear crisis does not only depend on U.S.-Iranian relations, but also on other factors including the fate of three Iranian prisoners.

    Aug 2, 2013 Inter Press Service

  • Hassan Rouhani giving a speech

    Before Piling on New Sanctions, Give Rouhani a Chance

    The imposition of sanction after sanction without a clear diplomatic approach may convince Iran's leadership that the United States seeks regime implosion and overthrow rather than a solution to the nuclear crisis, write Alireza Nader and Colin H. Kahl.

    Jun 27, 2013 Al-Monitor

  • Hassan Rouhani's supporters, Valiasr street

    Rouhani: Rival Constituencies

    Rouhani may improve the economy in pursuing his underlying goal to preserve the Islamic system, writes Alireza Nader. But not all Iranians would be satisfied with just economic improvements. Many want greater freedom of expression and a bigger say in the political system.

    Jun 24, 2013 United States Institute of Peace's Iran Primer

  • Hassan Rouhani

    Rouhani's Win in Iran Could be Reason for Optimism

    Iran's unelected institutions—the deep state—remain more powerful than any other force. At the same time, Rouhani's election may mean that Khamenei realizes the extent of Iran's crisis and is willing to let Rouhani pave a way forward.

    Jun 17, 2013 The RAND Blog

  • Khamenei with Nasrallah

    The Supreme Leader's Revenge

    Iranian politics are personal, writes Alireza Nader. Indeed, the theocrats are decidedly earthly in their rivalries. But the 2013 election is particularly telling. It may be settling a score dating back a quarter century.

    May 31, 2013 United States Institute of Peace's Iran Primer

  • the Shrine of the Tomb of Imam Reza

    Think Again: A Nuclear Iran

    When contemplating the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, we should all be grateful that notions of martyrdom and apocalyptic beliefs don't have a significant pull on Iranian decision-making, writes Alireza Nader.

    May 29, 2013 Foreign Policy and Newsday

  • Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) and First Vice President Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei attend a ceremony in Tehran July 22, 2009

    Will Iran's Real Reformists Please Stand Up?

    Neither Ahmadinejad nor Mashaei will be the political 'messiahs' many religious and secular Iranians long for, writes Alireza Nader. Much like Khatami and the reformists, figures like Ahmadinejad are willing to challenge the system only to a limited degree.

    May 15, 2013 U.S. News & World Report

  • Door with poster of Ahmadinejad, Assad, and Nasrallah

    Why Iran Is Trying to Save the Syrian Regime

    Tehran views Syria as a strategic gateway to the Arab world, a bulwark against American and Israeli power, and, perhaps most importantly, a crucial link to Lebanese Hezbollah, writes Alireza Nader.

    Apr 25, 2013 U.S. News & World Report

  • An Iranian worker builds a wall in Aradan, east of Tehran, March 12, 2008

    Labor and Opposition in Iran

    The economic pains caused by the Iranian regime's mismanagement, corruption, and international sanctions have dealt serious blows to worker wages, benefits, and job security — enough reason for Iranian laborers to organize and oppose the regime.

    Apr 22, 2013 Foreign Policy

  • Iranians campaigning for reformist candidate Mostafa Moeen in 2005

    Iran's Forgotten Ethnic Minorities

    Non-Persian ethnic minorities make up roughly 40 to 50 percent of Iran's population. Marginalized from society, they may choose a path of political apathy. On the other hand, Tehran's refusal to acknowledge minority rights may lead to future ethnic insurgencies and uprisings.

    Apr 4, 2013 Foreign Policy

  • Iranian people living in France protested the 2009 the reelection of Ahmadinejad and the  irregularities in the vote count for his main opponent, the reformist Moussavi.

    Iran's Elections to End All Elections

    The June election will not be about mobilizing the Iranian public. It is instead the culmination of a years-long evolution in Iranian politics: the transformation of the Islamic Republic from a mildly representative theocracy into a Revolutionary Guards-controlled kleptocracy, writes Alireza Nader.

    Mar 7, 2013 U.S. News & World Report

  • Israeli and Iranian flags, weapons, fire

    Khamenei's Mounting Pressures

    Khamenei's mounting pressures may compel him to be more flexible on the nuclear program, writes Alireza Nader. Otherwise, he will face greater sanctions, more internal political opposition, and, possibly, the wrath of his own people.

    Feb 11, 2013 The Woodrow Wilson Center

  • Former Senator Chuck Hagel shakes hands with Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta

    Reading Chuck Hagel in Tehran

    If Obama's election didn't change Tehran's view of U.S. policy, it's hard to see how Hagel's nomination could. After all, America's war-weariness is no secret, and it's hardly limited to Vietnam veterans such as Hagel, writes Alireza Nader.

    Feb 6, 2013

  • Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili listens to a reporter's question during a news conference in New Delhi January 4, 2013

    What Is Iran's Strategy at New Talks?

    Iran is still willing to give diplomacy a chance after a seven-month hiatus, as demonstrated by the announcement of new talks. But Tehran wants the P5+1 to make the first move, writes Alireza Nader.

    Feb 5, 2013 United States Institute of Peace's Iran Primer

  • Iran's Revolutionary guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari speaks during a conference to mark the martyrs of terrorism in Tehran, September 6, 2011

    Profile: Revolutionary Guards Chief Gen. Jafari

    Jafari now commands one of the most feared militaries in the Middle East, which is also far better equipped than Iran’s conventional army, navy and air force, writes Alireza Nader. He has an estimated 150,000 troops under his control.

    Jan 22, 2013 United States Institute of Peace's Iran Primer

  • Members of the revolutionary guard attend the anniversary ceremony of Iran's Islamic Revolution at the Khomeini shrine in the Behesht Zahra cemetery, south of Tehran, February 1, 2012

    Sanctions Squeeze Revolutionary Guard

    Iran's inability to sell its oil due to sanctions will not only shrink the resources available to the Guard as a military force, but will crimp the wealth of individual Guard officers. This could erode the Guard's loyalty to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, writes Alireza Nader.

    Jan 8, 2013 Al-Monitor

  • Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque at Imam Square in Isfahan, Iran

    Iran: A Rough Year in 2013

    The Islamic Republic faces the potential of stronger economic sanctions and even a military strike because of its intransigence in complying with U.N. resolutions on its nuclear program. It also must deal with twin domestic challenges—deepening malaise among the young and increasing tensions among the political elite, writes Alireza Nader.

    Jan 2, 2013 PBS FRONTLINE and

  • flags of China and Iran

    Chinese-Iranian Ties in the Face of the Nuclear Crisis

    The U.S. effort to isolate and pressure Iran in order to extract concessions on the nuclear program faces a significant vulnerability: the ties between Iran and the People’s Republic of China, says Alireza Nader.

    Nov 12, 2012 BBC Persian

  • A person holding Iranian currency

    The Iranian Regime Is in Trouble

    Any instability in Iran, even if it is meant to pressure Ahmadinejad, is bad news for the entire regime. The nose-diving economy has affected the lives of millions of Iranians; they are unlikely just to blame Ahmadinejad alone, writes Alireza Nader.

    Oct 4, 2012 U.S. News & World Report

  • Famous mural of Statue of Liberty with a skull face in front of an American flag, former US Embassy, Tehran

    Would Iran Turn to Terror?

    In a conflict with the United States or Israel, Tehran could turn to terror tactics—directly or indirectly through proxies—to create leverage when it is significantly outmanned and outgunned against conventional military forces, writes Alireza Nader.

    Oct 3, 2012 United States Institute of Peace's Iran Primer

  • A sailor mans a small craft attack team post in the Strait of Hormuz

    Will Iran Close the Strait of Hormuz?

    Just by threatening to close the Strait, Iran increases pressure on the U.S. to restrain Israel from attacking Iran. Other key players—including major oil importers such as China, Japan, and India—would be reluctant to support military action because of heavy dependence on Persian Gulf oil, writes Alireza Nader.

    Oct 2, 2012 United States Institute of Peace's Iran Primer

  • Iranian protest-rally against Ahmadinejad September 26, 2012 in NYC

    How Would Iran Fight Back?

    Iranian leaders are well aware that they cannot defeat the U.S. military in a face-to-face conflict. But as Hezbollah's 2006 war with Israel demonstrated, battlefield losses (or draws) can be turned into psychological victories, writes Alireza Nader.

    Oct 1, 2012 United States Institute of Peace's Iran Primer

  • Iranian flag over archaeological site, Bishapur - Southwestern Iran

    Smart Sanctions

    Not until the Obama administration had Iran faced sanctions with serious bite. The administration has managed to build a wide and deep international coalition against Iran, writes Alireza Nader.

    Sep 26, 2012 Foreign Policy

  • Iranians supporting Mousavi in Azadi Square

    Gate Crashing the Opposition: Why Washington Should Leave Regime Change to the Iranians

    Emphasizing human rights will demonstrate to the Iranian people that the U.S. cares for their future. Threats of military action and war will only convince the Iranian opposition that America is a hostile power that supports regime change for its own narrow purposes, write James Dobbins and Alireza Nader.

    Aug 23, 2012 Foreign Affairs

  • Iran's Buying Time—and That's Fine

    Khamenei faces a critical choice in the months ahead: make a compromise to lessen tensions with the United States and the international community, or maintain a status quo that may set in motion the demise of his regime, writes Alireza Nader.

    May 22, 2012

  • Iran's Calculations in New Diplomatic Talks

    Beset by economic problems, political divisions, and domestic discontent, Iranian leaders may compromise—or appear to make compromises—to cushion the regime from the mounting internal and external pressures, writes Alireza Nader.

    Apr 17, 2012 United States Institute of Peace's Iran Primer and

  • Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the current Supreme Leader of Iran

    Will Khamenei Compromise?

    For Khamenei, increasing US and Israeli concerns regarding the nuclear program may enhance its value as a deterrent and point of leverage in Iran's conflict with the US, making the nuclear program a major tool to be used against the US, rather than a prize to be bargained away, writes Alireza Nader.

    Apr 2, 2012 Al-Monitor

  • Khamenei: The Nuclear Decision-maker

    Many Iranians are increasingly concerned that the supreme leader is taking Iran down a dangerous path and is unwilling to turn back, whatever the pressures, writes Alireza Nader.

    Feb 23, 2012 PBS FRONTLINE

  • Is Regime Change in Iran the Only Solution?

    The United States should not pursue sanctions with the intent of changing the regime, but to contain it in order to give Iranians a chance to effect change themselves, writes Alireza Nader.

    Jan 26, 2012 Foreign Policy

  • Iran's Self-Destructive Gamble

    For all its bluster, the Iranian regime is more vulnerable than at any time in its 32-year history. Internally, Iran is constrained by deep political divisions, civil strife and a woeful economy, write Alireza Nader and James Dobbins.

    Jan 6, 2012 on January 5, 2012 and in International Herald Tribune

  • Iran's Growing State of Civil Disobedience

    A typical Iranian has many reasons to disobey the government, whether he or she is young, an ethnic minority, a poor teacher or laborer, or a struggling student, writes Alireza Nader.

    Sep 8, 2011 PBS FRONTLINE

  • Ahmadinejad vs. the Revolutionary Guards

    Khamenei and Jafari are unlikely to allow the political faction loyal to Ahmadinejad to win elections for parliament in 2012 and the presidency in 2013, writes Alireza Nader.

    Jul 11, 2011 PBS FRONTLINE

  • The Quiet Before the Storm

    The Iranian regime faces immense internal and external pressures that are coming to the surface in surprising ways. Indeed, the relative calm prevailing now may be a sign of the great storm to come, writes Alireza Nader.

    May 16, 2011 PBS FRONTLINE

  • Iran Overhauls Subsidies in the Face of Sanctions

    The Iranian regime plans to replace nearly $100 billion of government subsidies on fuel, electricity, and food with more targeted assistance to needy Iranians. If successful, the overhaul would be a major and historic change, one designed to save the government money in the wake of international sanctions, writes Alireza Nader.

    Jan 13, 2011 and

  • Revolutionary Guards Criticize Ahmadinejad

    Ahmadinejad, who has been opposed by the reformists and the pragmatic conservatives, is increasingly viewed as a divisive figure even within the principlist (fundamentalist) camp, writes Alireza Nader.

    Nov 5, 2010 and USIP

  • How Washington Can Really Help the Greens in Tehran

    History shows that intervention is easier said than done. Past U.S. attempts to sway Iranian internal affairs have proven costly for U.S. interests. But between the extremes of doing nothing and doing everything, there is a middle ground, write Alireza Nader and Trita Parsi.

    Feb 9, 2010 Foreign Policy

  • Punish Iran's Rulers, Not Its People

    Time is running out for the U.S. to persuade Iran to halt its nuclear program. As the potential for a diplomatic solution wanes, the administration must consider what steps might dissuade Tehran from continuing its nuclear program without punishing the Iranian people, writes Alireza Nader..

    Dec 14, 2009 Foreign Policy

  • Finding a Solution to Iran

    The revelation of a secret nuclear facility near the holy city of Qom, and the likely existence of other advanced facilities across Iran, makes more urgent the need for a quick solution to the nuclear impasse, writes Alireza Nader.

    Sep 30, 2009

  • Iran's Real Winners: The Revolutionary Guards

    Despite the huge protests on the streets of Tehran, Iranian President Ahmadinejad has once again triumphed. A relative newcomer to Iranian politics, Ahmadinejad's re-election and subsequent crackdown on the demonstrators suggest that the Iranian political system is moving in a new and potentially dangerous direction, writes Alireza Nader.

    Jun 22, 2009

  • Iran's New Contender

    Iran's presidential race just got more interesting, with former Prime Minister Mousavi throwing his hat in the ring and former President Khatami withdrawing his. This development poses the most significant challenge yet to current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - and a potential opportunity to alter the relationship between Iran and the West, writes Alireza Nader.

    Mar 24, 2009 Project Syndicate

  • Is Ahmadinejad in Trouble?

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may lose the June 2009 presidential election. And a more pragmatic figure... may assume power. But no one, especially in the United States, should count on a dramatic change in Iran's policies, even if Ahmadinejad loses, writes Alireza Nader.

    Dec 17, 2008 United Press International