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Future nuclear diplomacy with Iran

ELN’s current policy work on Iran provides support and ideas for multilateral nuclear diplomacy with Iran, in order to uphold nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East, and reduce the risks that regional insecurity will result in a regional nuclear arms. The region is at a tipping point that could pose severe risks to the non-proliferation regime globally. To reduce these risks, ELN brings together experienced practitioners and experts from the ELN’s network alongside seasoned diplomats and regional policymakers, in order to provide nuanced and well-informed analysis, and constructive policy recommendations, for all those engaged in nuclear diplomacy and nonproliferation.


Activities include:

  • Convening and participating in track 2 and track 1.5 dialogues on nuclear diplomacy with Iran and in the region
  • Providing analysis and ideas to governments engaged in nuclear diplomacy
  • A regular newsletter which brings out key highlights from the public debates inside Iran, to provide a deeper and more nuanced understanding of Iranian discussions about the JCPOA, Iranian diplomacy, Iran’s relations with different parts of the world, nuclear policy and conflict risks
  • Collaborating with other experts and publishing analysis to inform diplomacy and support nonproliferation


In a climate of growing risks to the non-proliferation regime, the Iranian nuclear programme and the possibility of a wider Middle Eastern nuclear arms race present critical risks to international security. Despite some diplomatic fatigue with longrunning efforts to revive the JCPOA, the issue of nuclear diplomacy remains vitally important both for nonproliferation globally and for conflict prevention in the Middle East. The ELN’s work helps to keep it on the policy agenda.


The project situates the Iranian nuclear programme within the broader global context of nuclear non-proliferation laws and diplomacy, while also assessing the specific regional political conditions that affect nuclear diplomacy.

It engages experts from Iran, the P5+1 countries and other European and Middle Eastern countries for a holistic view of the different perspectives and interests involved.

The project keeps abreast of debates among Iranian scholars, officials and the media on issues relevant to nuclear diplomacy through regular analysis of Persian-language sources

Project publications


Iran: The implications of President Raisi’s death

The ELN’s Policy and Impact Director, Jane Kinninmont, analyses why the deaths of Iran’s President and Foreign Minister, Ebrahim Raisi and Hossein Amirabdollahian, doesn’t necessarily represent a shift in global politics. She explains that the probable candidates to replace Raisi are likely to endorse a continuation of current Iranian foreign policy, and any changes will be hard to notice for external observers.

22 May 2024 | Jane Kinninmont

Out of the shadow war? Iranian narratives of the confrontation with Israel

Following Iran’s direct attack on Israel on 13th April, Hemidreaza Azizi examines both the official and unofficial discourse in Iran in recent days. He writes that most political experts and analysts in Iran seem to agree that Iran’s goal has been to restore deterrence and not to enter into war. However, concerns about the outbreak of an unintended war and its destructive consequences appear to be more pronounced among experts than among official figures.

19 April 2024 | Dr Hamidreza Azizi

The Women Leaders Podcast: The Middle East – Endless escalation

Ilana Bet-El, Senior Associate Fellow at the ELN, speaks with Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief of the Forward and former New York Times Bureau Chief in Israel, and Dr Roxane Farmanfarmaian of Cambridge University, Senior Associate Fellow at the ELN, and an expert on Iran and the Middle East. They discuss their own experiences of 7 October, their reactions to the war in Gaza, the implications for the media, geopolitics and the region, and the escalatory nature of the war following Iran’s increased role in the conflict over the past week.


The Iran protests one year on: Time for a feminist EU response

One year on from the death of Jina Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s morality police, which sparked unprecedented protests across the country in support of women’s rights, Dr. Azadeh Zamirirad calls for European decision-makers to take a feminist approach to their foreign policy with Iran and in their response to Iran’s feminist uprising.

15 September 2023 | Azadeh Zamirirad

Workshop report: Track 1.5 Dialogue on Iran, the JCPOA and future scenarios

In May 2023 , the ELN and Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF) held a track 1.5 meeting in London featuring a range of European, American, Asian and Iranian experts to assess three possible scenarios that could come about should attempts to revive the JCPOA fail: resumption of nuclear negotiations, building regional solutions, and regional conflict. ELN Senior Associate Fellow Roxane Farmanfarmaian captures the core findings in this report.

28 June 2023 | Roxane Farmanfarmaian
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