Why New Iran?

A new organization is needed to provide objective and non-partisan research and advocacy on Iran as the country faces severe challenges, including dire water shortages, pollution, and economic collapse. You can help Iran achieve freedom and prosperity. Donate today.

We feel that the debates on Iran in Washington, D.C. and within our community do not capture the realities of Iran, especially the struggle for real democracy, personal freedom, and dignity.

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Areas of Focus

Helping Iranians in their struggles

Human Rights

The Islamic Republic does not recognize the rights and dignity of individual Iranians...

Women's Freedom

The women’s freedom movement is one of the most incredible and unique of its kind...

Environmental Protection

Iran’s environment and resources have been exploited for the interests of the regime’s...

Foreign & Defense Policy

Iranians want their nation to reassume its role as a member of the global community...

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Research & Analysis

The best deal for the U.S. isn’t a new nuclear agreement, but an entirely new Iran

The old way of dealing with the Islamic Republic of Iran will no longer work.

Alireza Nader

The old way of dealing with the Islamic Republic of Iran will no longer work. The regime’s march toward a nuclear weapons capability is not only a threat to U.S. national security interests, but global peace. And merely engaging the regime and hoping for its evolution is completely unrealistic.

The regime has announced that it will no longer abide by key restrictions imposed by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal. The regime is now enriching uranium above the level allowed under the agreement and has indicated it could easily increase enrichment levels to 20%, bringing it closer to a nuclear weapons capability.

Critics have blamed the Trump administration for the regime’s belligerent behavior, not only on the nuclear issue, but also for attacks carried out on international shipping in the Persian Gulf. While the current phase of confrontation was precipitated by the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in mid-2018, the Obama administration’s Iran policy deserves much blame for the worsening international crisis.

The nuclear agreement was built on a weak foundation. While restricting Iran’s ability to enrich uranium, it nevertheless contained major flaws, including dangerous sunset clauses and toleration of the regime’s ballistic missile program. Even worse, the Obama administration’s policy failed to contain and roll back the regime’s expanding regional influence, particularly in Syria and Iraq, which allowed the Islamic Republic to build a formidable military infrastructure on Israel’s northern border.

But perhaps more tragically, the Obama administration did not support the 2009 massive Green Movement political uprising. A time of great vulnerability for the regime, the uprising provided the U.S. with an ideal opportunity to further undermine a deeply hated regime and gain even more U.S. leverage in nuclear negotiations. Instead, millions of Iranians protesting the fraudulent reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were met with a stony silence from Washington, a decision senior Obama officials, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, later said they regretted.

Encouraged by the 2013 election of Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran, Washington falsely hoped that the nuclear agreement would moderate the regime’s behavior and lead to real reform in Iran. Neither happened. Instead, Rouhani helped expand the regime’s power across the Middle East and horrific human rights abuses in Iran.

The Trump administration’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and the imposition of U.S. sanctions has had a devastating impact on Iran’s economy and the regime’s ability to finance its malign activities across the Middle East. The U.S. withdrawal has put the regime in a corner in which it must choose between its destructive activities, including building up its nuclear enrichment program, or potentially face a massive revolt much like the 2009 uprising.

The regime is already the weakest and most unpopular it has ever been within Iran and throughout the Middle East. In December 2017, more than 100 Iranian cities witnessed demonstrations calling for an end to the Islamic Republic. Since then, a broad barandazan (regime overthrow) movement has emerged that not only rejects the absolute rule of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but the concept of reforms and “moderation” espoused by such figures as former President Mohammad Khatami and Rouhani. Many of the demonstrations since 2017 have even called for the return to Iran of Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, in exile since 1979.

The regime remains weak, but also quite dangerous. The march toward nuclear weapons capability and attacks on international shipping are heavy-handed attempts to gain more leverage in any possible new negotiations.

Khamenei has only one real card to play: the threat of war to scare the American public, Europe and major oil customers such as Japan into pressuring the Trump administration or a possible future Democratic administration to return to the JCPOA. Almost all of the Democratic presidential candidates have urged a U.S. return to the nuclear agreement.

But a return to the JCPOA or a new nuclear agreement that does not address sunset clauses that allow the Islamic Republic a full-scale industrial-scale enrichment program once the agreement ends; the missile program; and the regime’s malign behavior is guaranteed to fail. U.S. policy toward Iran cannot be just about the nuclear program. It must take into account 40 years of unrelenting regime hostility and the demands of the Iranian people for freedom from Khamenei’s dictatorship.

The Trump administration and its Democratic opponents would be wise to demand not only greater nuclear restrictions, but fundamental political changes entailing freedom and prosperity for all Iranians, not just a select group of Revolutionary Guards and ruling clerics. The Islamic Republic, much like the corrupt and bankrupt former Soviet Union, is destined to fail.

The U.S. has a moral duty and the strategic imperative to help Iranians in their peaceful civil disobedience campaign by providing rhetorical and material support to dissidents. The fight against the Khamenei regime’s tyranny is in principle the same as the fight against Soviet tyranny. The best deal for the United States is not a new nuclear agreement, but an entirely new Iran.

Protesters outside the Iranian Embassy in London. (Ben Stansall / AFP/Getty Images)

July 11, 2019

  • Iranian Uprising
  • Ali Khamenei
  • Trump administration
  • Supporting Iranian Voices
  • regime change


Alireza Nader is founder and chief executive of New Iran, a nonprofit and nonpartisan advocacy organization in Washington, D.C.

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Persian Gulf Showdown

The U-S and Iran seem closer to war than ever before with the U-S beefing up its military presence in the Persian Gulf.

Alireza Nader

The U-S and Iran seem closer to war than ever before, with the U-S beefing up its military presence in the Persian Gulf and Iran's leadership striking a defiant tone. The Crisis Next Door's Jason Brooks digs into what all of this means with Alireza Nader, founder and CEO of New Iran, a Washington D-C think tank dedicated to research and analysis of Iran.

May 15, 2019

  • Iranian Uprising
  • Ali Khamenei
  • Trump administration
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
  • Persian Gulf


Alireza Nader is founder and CEO of New Iran, a nonprofit and nonpartisan advocacy organization in Washington




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OPINION: Venezuela And Iran Are More Similar Than You Think

The collapse of Venezuelan society under the dictatorial and socialist Maduro regime cannot fail to remind us of Iran under the Islamic Republic.

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) meets with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Tehran, November 23, 2015.

Alireza Nader

The collapse of Venezuelan society under the dictatorial and socialist Maduro regime cannot fail to remind us of Iran under the Islamic Republic. Like Maduro, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has put the enrichment of his mafia clan and an exploitative revolutionary ideology before the needs of the Iranian people. Like Venezuela, Iran is experiencing black outs, water and food shortages, and collapse of order in parts of the country. And like Maduro, Khamenei uses the Basij, literally meaning Collectivos-or Maduro’s irregular armed forces- to instill fear in the population. But there are some key differences between the two as well.

If Maduro falls, the U.S. can learn much from the successes and failures of its strategy and how they can be applied to Iran. Many Iranians, much like Venezuelans, are ready to rid themselves of their dictatorial regime, as mass protests, strikes and civil disobedience have shown in the last decade. And they welcome American support. As difficult as it may seem now, the path can open toward a future in which both the democratic Iranian opposition and its American and international friends can play a decisive role in bringing freedom to Iran.

The key obstacle to change in Iran has been and will always be the massive and effective security forces. Khamenei spends billions upon billions of dollars on the Revolutionary Guards, the Basij, Law Enforcement Forces, and other official and unofficial security and repressive organizations. The Iraqi Hashd al Shaabi and Lebanese Hezbollah have also been recruited to maintain order in southwestern Iran, a region which recently experienced devastating floods.

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Khamenei has managed to create terror throughout Iran and maintain his rule through brute force despite widespread civil resistance. Maduro may be brutal, but Khamenei’s regime is the master of terror and violence. International organizations, including UN bodies, have amply recorded the gross violations of human rights for four decades of the Islamic Republic.

Yet like Venezuela’s military, the Iranian military, including the Revolutionary Guards and the conventional army, the Artesh, are reported to be experiencing deep dissatisfaction and even the inability to pay salaries of rank and file soldiers. Many members of the Artesh, a draftee armed force, are reported to be malnourished and even homeless.

The Guards always fair better, but the virtual economic blockade being placed on Iran due to the regime’s support for terrorism, among many other harmful policies, could translate into widespread dissatisfaction even within the inner sanctum of Khamenei’s Praetorian Guard. Lest we forget, there is precedent for defections within the highest echelons of the regime, as General Ali Reza Asgari’s 2007 “disappearance”, widely reported to have been a defection - showed. It took some time, but eventually senior members of Maduro’s military did peel away. So may some of Khamenei’s top commanders, if the situation gets so bad in Iran that they see no other way out.

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Finally, Venezuela is lucky to have Juan Gerardo Guaidó Márque, the opposition leader who has been recognized by more than fifty countries as President of Venezuela. A fearless young man, Guaidó has become the brains and leading spirit of the revolt against Maduro’s dictatorship.

Iran does not have a Guido, yet. But it does have a widespread and well networked opposition that may not always work in synch, but nevertheless keeps hammering at the legitimacy of Khamenei’s regime. And there are prominent personalities and groups within the opposition who are playing effective roles, including Prince Reza Pahlavi, Masih Alinejad, the new opposition group Iran Revival, countless women freedom activists, environmental activists, labor organizations, teachers’ unions, students, and even farmers, truckers, and gay rights activists.

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Khamenei is still strong. His men have the guns. But every day Iranian women refuse to comply with the compulsory hijab, crowds rescue them from being harassed by the morality police, and random dissidents shout slogans against the regime and in support of Pahlavi. Iranians want fundamental change- the disbanding of the Islamic Republic once and for all, to be replaced by a government of their own choosing. This can be achieved through an open and free national referendum, free elections, and an entirely new constitution. But Khamenei must go first.

When the time comes and Iranians pour into the streets again, Washington should unequivocally side with the democratic opposition and its representatives. America must also leave a door open for defecting regime officials while it crafts a way to empower Iranians seeking freedom for their country. Iranians are closely watching Washington’s reaction to popular uprisings across the world, from Sudan to Algeria and Venezuela. Success in achieving freedom in Venezuela will boost Iranians’ enthusiasm and hope for positive change. But the U.S. should be less hesitant in siding with forces that will determine the future of Iran. Those forces will burst forth more powerful than ever before once Khamenei and the Guards’ tight grip on Iran weakens. That moment has not come yet, but the path to it is wide open.

May 8, 2019

  • Iranian Uprising
  • Iranian Opposition
  • President Nicolas Maduro
  • Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
  • Venezuela


Alireza Nader is founder and CEO of New Iran, a nonprofit and nonpartisan advocacy organization in Washington

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