More than 30 years after Iran's revolution, its political, military, and international activities continue to challenge and perplex its neighbors and the West. RAND research has informed policymakers on a range of topics, including Iran's domestic environment, its regional relationships, the nuclear negotiations, and broader U.S.-Iran policy.

Our Work

  • Commentary

    Islamic State 2.0

    Aug 10, 2017


    Many of Iraq's Sunnis are frustrated with the slow pace of reconstruction and a Baghdad government they consider too friendly to Iran. The U.S. needs to shift from supporting military operations in cities such as Mosul to helping the Iraqi government better address political grievances. Failure risks sowing the seeds of ISIS's resurgence.

  • Commentary

    State Competition, Not Sectarianism, Key Driver of Middle East Politics

    Aug 3, 2017


    Sectarianism is real and dangerous in the Middle East, but the region is more complicated. The next leaders in Iran and Saudi Arabia, under pressure from youthful populations and worsening economic challenges, may no longer see value in a costly sectarian agenda.

  • Commentary

    Time for Quiet Diplomacy, Not Taking Sides

    Jun 7, 2017

    Kaye , et al.

    Disputes within the Gulf Cooperation Council are inevitable given differing threat perceptions and political interests, but there is no reason for the U.S. to pursue policies that aggravate the differences and risk fueling greater instability. Instead, Washington could assure both sides that it will support any agreement they reach.

  • Commentary

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

    May 25, 2017


    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.

  • Report

    The Future of Sectarian Relations in the Middle East

    May 22, 2017

    Martini, et al.

    Sectarianism is shaping developments across the Middle East. But sectarianism is only one lens for understanding the region's conflicts, and some of its drivers are amenable to policy interventions.

  • Report

    Iranian Domestic Issues Could Challenge the Nuclear Deal

    May 10, 2017

    Nader , et al.

    The Iran nuclear agreement has proven successful so far, but challenges from within Iran may emerge. The deal could be affected by factional divisions in Iran, the death of the supreme leader, or heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.

More Work on Iran »

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