Analysis & Commentary

Policy Briefs


17th February 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Iran’s Financial Rebranding Efforts and the FATF Plenary

Toby Dershowitz

The Plenary and Working Group of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – a global body for combatting money laundering and terror and proliferation finance – will meet from February 18 to 24 in Paris. While Iran is not on the agenda, it could figure prominently in discussions at the...

15th February 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Meet Mahmoud al-Aloul, Abbas’ New Deputy

Grant Rumley

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced the surprise appointment of Mahmoud al-Aloul as his deputy in the Fatah party Wednesday night. This is the first time in Fatah’s history that the party has appointed a deputy. The move and the man are both seen as controversial.

15th February 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

North Korea Debuts New Solid-Fuel Missile

Anthony Ruggiero

North Korea on Sunday launched a new ballistic missile, the Pukguksong-2. The launch represents not just a significant advancement for Pyongyang’s missile program, but the first foreign policy challenge for the Trump administration.

14th February 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Terror Financiers “Operating Openly” in Qatar and Kuwait

David Andrew Weinberg

A White House readout following President Trump’s phone conversation Thursday with the emir of Qatar said the two leaders discussed stopping terror finance throughout the region. Washington has good reason to raise the issue: Just last week, the Obama administration’s Assistant Treasury...

12th February 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Will North Korea’s Missile Launch a New U.S. Policy?

Anthony Ruggiero

North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), probably the Musudan (Hwasong-10), from western North Korea on Sunday morning (North Korea time). It is no coincidence that the provocation came during a working dinner in Florida between President Trump and Japan’s Prime...

10th February 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Erdogan Builds a Parallel Budget

Aykan Erdemir

Over the weekend, the Turkish government issued state-of-emergency decrees to transfer its holdings in the country’s major publicly-owned companies to a new sovereign wealth fund created last summer. These holdings include some of Turkey’s most valuable public assets, such as the...

8th February 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Iran’s missile tests reveal weaknesses of UN Security Council Resolution

Olli Heinonen

Iran’s latest missile test on January 29 received a swift response, as warranted. The United Nations Security Council called for an emergency session, and on February 2, the U.S. Treasury imposed new sanctions on persons and entities involved with Tehran’s ballistic missile program. Iran...

31st January 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Erdogan’s Newfound Partners: Russia and Iran

Aykan Erdemir

Russian officials announced Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin would meet with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani, at some point over the following months – the latest sign that trilateral relations are deepening.

27th January 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Mattis to Shore up Asian Allies on North Korea Threat

Anthony Ruggiero

Secretary of Defense James Mattis will travel to South Korea and Japan on February 1-4. His visit, the first of any Trump official overseas, comes at an important time.

26th January 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Ensuring Iran’s Enrichment R&D is for Peaceful Purposes

Olli Heinonen

Iran announced last week that it would start feeding its first IR-8 centrifuges with uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6). The 2015 Iran nuclear deal states that Tehran’s breakout time (the time needed to enrich uranium enough for a nuclear bomb) is one year, but that is based on Iran only using...

19th January 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Iran Taps Quds Force Official as Envoy to Iraq

Amir Toumaj

Iran has appointed a high-ranking officer from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) extraterritorial branch, the Quds Force, as ambassador to Iraq. Brigadier General Iraj Masjedi, a senior advisor to Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani, replaces Hassan Danaeifar (who himself is a Quds...

16th January 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Easing Sanctions on Sudan Erodes U.S. Leverage

Jonathan Schanzer

The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Friday eased sanctions against Sudan based on improved behavior, and with the expectation that Sudan “sustains [the] positive actions it has taken over the last 6 months.” The move, which comes after months of rumors that Sudan would be removed...

16th January 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Another Palestinian Unity Agreement?

Grant Rumley

A coalition of Palestinian parties released a statement last week calling for the first session in over two decades of the parliamentary body of the PLO, the Palestinian National Council (PNC).

12th January 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Treasury Targets North Korea’s Human Rights Abusers

Anthony Ruggiero

The U.S. Department of the Treasury yesterday designated seven North Korean individuals and blocked two entities of the regime in response to North Korea’s human rights abuses and censorship activities. The State Department complemented the action with its Report on Human Rights Abuses and...

10th January 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Iran Stockpiling Uranium Far Above Current Needs

Olli Heinonen

In a televised speech on January 1, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran had imported 200 metric tons of yellowcake uranium and would import another 120 tons at an unspecified future date.

9th January 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Rafsanjani: A Revolutionary, Not a Reformer

Behnam Ben Taleblu

Former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died of a heart attack Sunday at age 82. Often described as a “modern mullah” and “moderate voice,” Rafsanjani was more a shrewd survivor and political operative than champion of reform, let alone democracy. His career was...

4th January 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

Hunger Strikes: The Last Resort for Iran’s Desperate Prisoners

Toby Dershowitz, Saeed Ghasseminejad

Arash Sadeghi, a political prisoner in Iran, is 13 months into a 19-year sentence in the notorious Evin Prison. His alleged crime: “Assembly and collusion against national security, propaganda against the state, spreading lies in cyberspace and insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic...

3rd January 2017 - FDD Policy Brief

North Korea’s New Year’s Message

Anthony Ruggiero

The year 2017 started with new threats from North Korea. In his New Year’s Day address, North Korean leader Kim Jung Un noted that preparations for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test had reached the final stage.

28th December 2016 - FDD Policy Brief

Kerry’s Address: More Posturing Than Policy

Oren Kessler

Secretary of State John Kerry, in a speech lasting over an hour on Wednesday, laid out six “principles” for achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace.

23rd December 2016 - FDD Policy Brief

Treasury Sanctions Airline Ferrying Fighters for Assad

Emanuele Ottolenghi, David Daoud

The U.S. Treasury announced new Syria sanctions on Friday, including on Cham Wings, Syria’s second-largest carrier. Privately owned by businessman Issam Shammout, Cham Wings has been blacklisted by the Department of Commerce since 2011.

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