Improving U.S. and European security policy making toward Iran requires increasing public and official understanding of the concerns and perspectives of Iran’s leaders and citizens.
The lengthy process of negotiating, approving, and implementing a nuclear agreement with Iran underscored how Iranian relations with the rest of the world can have major effects on international security—for both good and bad. Successfully implementing the nuclear deal and increasing cooperation between Iran, the major powers, and Iran’s regional neighbors addressed some of the most vexing security problems in the Middle East and promoted peace and prosperity on a broader scale. The recent failure to cooperate destabilizes the region, reinforces preexisting fears and assumptions, and undermine globals security. The ups and downs in US relations with Iran point difficulty of achieving and sustaining cooperation, due to real differences of interests, values, and political systems, and also to misperceptions and misunderstandings.
CISSM Iran Project Details
This project seeks to improve US and European security policy making toward Iran by increasing public and official understanding of the concerns and perspectives of Iran’s leaders and citizens. What are Iran’s security concerns and objectives? How do the Iranian government and public view the actions and motivations of other regional actors, including the United States and European powers? And how do Iranian religious beliefs and public opinion affect official policy decisions, to the extent that they do at all? The project also addresses how the assumptions of American, European, and other officials and publics about Iran affect their willingness and ability to communicate and cooperate with Tehran. In particular, how do domestic political and security concerns in these countries affect the ability of officials to pursue desirable policies with Iran?
CISSM’s Iran project has had three main components to date. It began with a 2013 analysis of how Western news coverage not only reflects, but also shapes, US and European policy debates about Iran’s nuclear program. In 2014 CISSM initiated a series of public opinion studies of American and Iranian publics. Some of these studies have focused primarily on the nuclear negotiations and agreement between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia (the so-called P5+1); others have looked at broader security, political, and economic issues. For instance, CISSM's research on Iranian attitudes toward Europe were featured in the 2017 Munich Security Report. CISSM has also helped to facilitate religious exchanges between American and Iranian clergy. It also relates to several broader projects at CISSM, such as the Nuclear Past, Present, and Future project and the Morality and Security project.
Security cooperation between Iran, the United States, and other Western and Mideast nations might not always be possible or desirable, but correcting misperceptions and deepening understanding of security policies on all sides could increase the likelihood and impact of cooperation when it is.
CISSM Experts on Security Cooperation with Iran
Ebrahim Mohseni is a research associate at Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM), an assistant professor of Iranian Studies on the faculty of World Studies at the University of Tehran, and a senior analyst at the University of Tehran Center for Public Opinion Research.
Clay Ramsay is a senior research associate at CISSM and a practitioner in the study of US and international public opinion on global problems and domestic policy.
- US & international public opinion on domestic/global policy; Iranian policy; public and elite understanding of rule of law in the US; pedagogy for public policy
Nancy Gallagher is the Director at the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and a Research Professor in the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy. Her current research includes a book project on Strategic Logics for Arms Control; public opinion sur
- International security; arms control & nonproliferation; nuclear policy; cybersecurity; space security
Iran-related CISSM public opinion studies
IRAN UPDATE: Iranian Public Opinion on the War in Ukraine and Nuclear Options | AUGUST 15, 2022
Iranian Public Opinion at the Start of the Raisi Administration | OCTOBER 18, 2021
Iranian Public Opinion at the Start of the Biden Administration | FEBRUARY 24, 2021
Iranian Public Opinion under 'Maximum Pressure' | OCTOBER 16, 2019
Iranian Public Opinion after the Protests | JULY 9, 2018
The Ramifications of Rouhani's Re-election | JULY 28, 2017
Iranian Attitudes on Iranian-U.S. Relations in the Trump Era | JANUARY 25, 2017
Iranian Public Opinion, One Year after the Nuclear Deal | JULY 13, 2016
Iranian Public Attitudes Before & After Parliamentary Elections | MARCH 31, 2016
Iranian Attitudes in Advance of the Parliamentary Elections: Economics, Politics, and Foreign Affairs | FEBRUARY 3, 2016
Iranian Public Opinion on the Nuclear Agreement | SEPTEMBER 9, 2015
Iranian Public Opinion on the Nuclear Negotiations | JUNE 23, 2015
Iranian Attitudes on Nuclear Negotiations | SEPTEMBER 17, 2014
Most Americans Oppose Withdrawing From Iran Deal | DECEMBER 19, 2016
Assessing the Iran Deal | SEPTEMBER 1, 2015
Negotiations with Iran: Views from a Red State, a Blue State and a Swing State | JUNE 24, 2015
Americans on Negotiations with Iran: A Policymaking Simulation | JULY 15, 2014