Analysis & Commentary

Policy Briefs


13th December 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Iranian Budget Hints at British Ransom Payment

Saeed Ghasseminejad

This past weekend, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson departed Tehran without securing the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the Iranian-British dual citizen being held hostage by Tehran. However, a single line in Iran’s newly released budget proposal for the coming fiscal year...

1st December 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

U.S. Calls for Oil Ban and Complete Diplomatic Isolation of North Korea

Anthony Ruggiero, Mathew Ha

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting Wednesday following North Korea’s third intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the thirteenth meeting of the Security Council this year. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called for the body to isolate...

22nd November 2017 - FDD's Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance Policy Brief

Congress Supports Financial Transparency for Iranian Transactions

Annie Fixler , Tyler Stapleton

The House Financial Services Committee approved last week the Strengthening Oversight of Iran’s Access to Finance Act, which codifies in law a set of conditions that the U.S. Treasury must use to evaluate licenses for the sale of commercial aircraft to Iran.

21st November 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

U.S. Government Warns of Continued North Korean Cyber Activities

Anthony Ruggiero, Mathew Ha

The U.S. government last week issued two technical alerts on North Korea’s cyber activities targeting the aerospace, telecommunications, finance, government, automotive, and media sectors. North Korea is engaged in cyber-enabled economic warfare and is using its attacks against South Korea...

16th November 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Iran’s Repression of Foreign Journalists Intensifies

Tzvi Kahn

Iran’s targeting of foreign journalists has intensified. In recent weeks and months, the regime has conducted cyber attacks against Iranian journalists abroad, launched a criminal investigation of BBC Persian, and falsely charged a British-Iranian for conspiring against the regime by...

9th November 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Turkey’s Premier Visits Washington

Aykan Erdemir, Merve Tahiroglu

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is in Washington this week in a bid to mend his country’s flailing ties with the U.S. His trip follows the worst crisis in Turkish-American relations in decades, whereby both sides suspended visa services for each other’s citizens. It also comes...

9th November 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

U.S. Backs Saudi Claim about Iranian Missile Support to Yemeni Rebels

Behnam Ben Taleblu, Alexandra N. Gutowski

Regional tensions escalated as Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for an attempted missile strike on its capital by Yemeni rebels. On November 4, Saudi defenses intercepted a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels (also known as Ansar Allah) at a Riyadh airport.

8th November 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Treasury Department Cuts Off Bank of Dandong

Mathew Ha

The Treasury Department on Thursday issued its final rule barring a Chinese bank from the U.S. financial system because of its role as a North Korean money launderer. Bank of Dandong is a small Chinese bank, but Treasury’s action provides clues on how it plans to restrict North Korea’s...

6th November 2017 - FDD's Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance Policy Brief

Wakeup Call for Chinese Banks on North Korea Sanctions

Anthony Ruggiero

The Treasury Department on Thursday issued an advisory on North Korea’s use of the international financial system to evade U.S. and UN sanctions. The advisory sent an unmistakable message to senior compliance officers in Chinese banks: Treasury knows you are violating North Korea sanctions...

3rd November 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

The S-400: Erdogan’s Fail-safe

Boris Zilberman

Moscow and Ankara continue to signal that the $2.5-billion sale of four S-400 anti-aircraft batteries will proceed. While questions remain about when delivery will occur and under what conditions, both sides have an overriding interest in seeing the deal through. President Vladimir Putin...

2nd November 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

House Passes Sanctions Targeting Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program

Behnam Ben Taleblu, Tyler Stapleton

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation targeting the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ballistic missile program and its enablers. The bill – H.R. 1698, or “The Iran Ballistic Missiles and International Sanctions Enforcement Act” – received bipartisan support,...

1st November 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

New UN Report Highlights Iran’s Continued Human Rights Abuses

Tzvi Kahn

Iran’s repression of its own people has continued largely unabated, the United Nations indicated in a new report presented to the UN General Assembly last week. The semi-annual publication, authored by Asma Jahangir, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, paints a grim...

31st October 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Erdogan’s Power Grab Continues with Municipalities

Aykan Erdemir

The mayor of Istanbul, Turkey’s largest metropolis with almost 15 million inhabitants, stepped down from office last month. Since then, five other mayors from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) followed suit, responding to their party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s command to...

27th October 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

North Korean Human Rights Abuses

Anthony Ruggiero, Mathew Ha

Both the State Department and a non-governmental human rights organization issued new reports yesterday on North Korea’s abhorrent human rights abuses. Concurrently, the Treasury Department sanctioned ten North Korean officials and entities identified by the State Department as responsible...

20th October 2017 - FDD's Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance Policy Brief

Implications of the New IRGC Sanctions

Annie Fixler

The U.S. Treasury designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) under Executive Order 13224 for its support for terrorism last Friday, pursuant to Congressional legislation. While the immediate legal implications are limited, the designation of the IRGC in its entirely sends a...

16th October 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Removing Sanctions While Retaining Leverage in Sudan

Alex Entz

Though President Trump’s decision to decertify the Iran Deal largely dominated headlines last week, it was not the administration’s only major foreign policy action. Last Thursday, the Trump administration lifted sanctions on over 200 Sudanese entities, a decision based in part on the...

11th October 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Worst Crisis in Decades for Turkey and U.S.

Merve Tahiroglu

The U.S. and Turkey suspended visa services for each other’s citizens this weekend. The crisis represents the most serious deterioration of bilateral ties in the last half-century – since the U.S. arms embargo against Turkey after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in the 1970s.

6th October 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Diplomatic Spat Erupts Between Ankara and U.S. Over Arrest

Merve Tahiroglu

A controversy erupted this week between Washington and Ankara over Turkey’s arrest of a U.S. consulate employee in Istanbul. The employee, a Turkish national identified only by the initials M.T., was arrested on charges of espionage and attempts to “destroy” the constitutional order...

5th October 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Iran’s GDP Growth Back to the Normal Level

Saeed Ghasseminejad

Iran’s Parliament Research Center (PRC), an official arm of the country’s legislature, or majlis, has forecast the country’s GDP growth to be 3.7 percent for the Persian year 1396, which runs from March 2017 to March 2018.

5th October 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Fearing an Independent Kurdistan, Erdogan Travels to Tehran

Behnam Ben Taleblu, Merve Tahiroglu

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled to Iran on Wednesday for meetings with the country’s supreme leader, president, and other regime officials.

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