Middle East Briefs

Parallel to the Center’s scholarly work, Middle East Briefs provides a brief analysis of a single issue at the top of the region’s political, social, or economic agenda. Targeted primarily at decision-makers and opinion leaders, the publication was launched in 2005.

Latest Brief

January 2022 – Iran After Trump: Can Biden Revive the Nuclear Deal and Does Iran Even Want to?

Hadi Kahalzadeh

Middle East Brief 145 (Summary) — In its bid to revive an Iranian nuclear deal, the Biden Administration has promised to reverse the heavy sanctions burden placed on Tehran by President Trump. Yet, as Hadi Kahalzadeh argues in our latest Middle East Brief, turning back the clock to the pre-Trump era will not be so straightforward. Not only will it prove difficult to dismantle the sheer quantity of new sanctions imposed on Iran by the previous administration, but the economic impact of those sanctions has undermined the support for negotiations among the Iranian political elite and public. Analyzing recent household survey data, Kahalzadeh reveals the declining fortunes of the Iranian middle class under sanctions and explains how Iranian hardliners have used the implosion of the country’s private sector businesses to tighten their own grip on Iran’s economy. Although President Biden might be willing to negotiate a new nuclear deal, Kahalzadeh argues that his administration will find itself weighed down by the legacy of President Trump.

Read Middle East Brief 145 (PDF)

Hadi Kahalzadeh, doctoral fellow at the Crown Center and PhD candidate in social policy at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis.