Bottom Line Up Front The U.S. and Iran are close to a conflict that would have no clear end and could quickly spread throughout the Middle East and beyond. Iran has acquired leverage by building proxies and allies into politico-military forces, arming them with short-range missiles, rockets, and other ...

A series of events last week led to escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. While tensions had seemed to ease somewhat on Friday, President Trump tweeted on Sunday ‘If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!’ Intelligence sources told ...

The U.S. moved this week to apply even more pressure on Iran to end its involvement in illicit activities around the world by announcing that the U.S. State Department will no longer grant sanctions waivers to countries that import Iranian oil.    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the announcement ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The Trump Administration ended a key waiver on Iran oil sanctions as part of an effort to apply maximum pressure on Iran’s economy and its regime. The end of the waiver program will reduce Iran’s oil exports further but is unlikely to bring them to ...

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council is taking retaliatory steps after President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the U.S. will designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a ‘foreign terrorist organization’. Iran now says it will designate U.S. Central Command as a ‘terrorist organization’.  The IRGC designation will impose ...

  Bottom Line Up Front The 8 April Trump administration announcement designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization will have little practical effect on IRGC operations. There are few benefits to the designation because the IRGC is already widely sanctioned; few foreign companies transact any ...

  Bottom Line Up Front While Pakistan relies on terrorists as proxies, it remains unclear exactly how much control the military and intelligence services have over certain of those terrorist groups. Iran has suffered from a recent increase in terrorist attacks, which could lead Tehran to adopt an aggressive counter-terrorism ...

As part of The Cipher Brief's special coverage in the run up to our 2019 Threat Conference in Sea Island, GA March 24-26th, we will be presenting a series of weekly briefs on pressing national and global security issues.  Cipher Brief experts, many of whom have briefed presidents and world leaders ...

Bottom Line: Tehran’s military doctrine seeks to deter a conventionally superior foe, the United States, from entering its territorial waters or borders through the threat of asymmetric retaliation. But with the expansion of Iran’s maritime reach – alongside their success in various proxy conflicts – Tehran’s efforts could have lasting ...

For this last week of 2017, we asked our experts to look ahead at key national security issues. Intelligence veteran and Iran hand Norman Roule sketches out where we are now in the Mideast and Gulf region, and what he sees ahead for Tehran. On the state of the Middle ...

President Donald Trump on Friday announced he would not certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal and vowed to terminate the agreement if its “many serious flaws” are not tackled. “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror, and the very real threat ...

President Donald Trump’s threatened de-certification of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement is sure to damage not just the deal itself, but the ultimate credibility of the United States. But his reported plan to declare Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group would pose an ever more troubling risk: plunging ...

The White House is expected to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group as part of the White House’s tough new tact on Tehran, according to multiple news reports—but experts say doing so could worsen regional conflicts. This week, President Donald Trump will announce the designation as part of a ...

President Donald Trump is reportedly about to extend a terrorism designation to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in its entirety. The IRGC is both the dominant force inside Iran and the instrument through which the Islamic Republic projects power abroad. Operating throughout the region, the IRGC is deeply entrenched ...

On the surface, the Iranian election was an impressive display of hope trumping cynicism. Over 70 percent of the population turned out with more than half saying yes to President Hasan Rouhani’s moderate policies and giving a strong rebuke to hardliner Ebrahim Raisi, the preferred candidate of Iranian Supreme Leader ...

When the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was signed in July 2015, you might have been forgiven for thinking that U.S. relations with Iran were on the path to stability. Although many U.S. sanctions remain in place and Iran still has difficulty accessing ...

Iran’s supreme leader implemented a dramatic overhaul of Iranian military leadership in June 2016, and in so doing, effectively consolidated control of the Iranian military into the hands of a small network of senior Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commanders. This same network of IRGC commanders have been the driving ...

According to U.S. Navy officials, confrontations between American and Iranian naval vessels in the Persian Gulf have risen by roughly 50 percent. This despite the fact that the landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) deal with Iran, which lifted nuclear sanctions on the country, was implemented in January 2016. ...

Most analysts have been impressed, and increasingly concerned, with the rapid improvement of Iran’s cyber capabilities. Tehran undoubtedly focuses the bulk of its cyber investment in defending itself from cyberattack, as well as being able to better monitor and manage its own people. That mission is a clear priority in ...

On April 15, Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, traveled to Moscow for talks with Russian political and military officials regarding the two countries’ strategies in Syria and the delivery of Russia’s S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran. Despite an international ban that prohibits Soleimani from legally ...

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is an ideological military force that, since its creation, has been involved in virtually every facet of Iranian politics, society, and economics. Although far from monolithic in their views, most senior Guard commanders retain a revolutionary outlook infused with religion and nationalism. They use ...

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was formed shortly after the 1979 revolution that ousted the U.S.-backed Shah Reza Pahlavi. According to the Iranian Constitution, the IRGC is the ‘guardian of the Revolution’ from internal and external threats and reports directly to the Supreme Leader. The IRGC quickly established its ...