Experts & Staff


Ellie Geranmayeh

Deputy Director, Middle East and North Africa programme
Senior Policy Fellow

Languages: English, Persian
Areas of Expertise: Europe-Iran relations; Iran nuclear deal and associated sanctions policy; Iranian foreign and domestic policy; Iran-Saudi relations

Ellie Geranmayeh is a senior policy fellow and deputy head of the Middle East and North Africa programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations. She specializes in European foreign policy in relation to Iran, particularly on the nuclear and regional dossiers and sanctions policy.

Geranmayeh advised European governments and companies on the nuclear negotiations between Iran and world powers from 2013-2015 and continues to brief senior policy makers on how to effectively safeguard the implementation of the nuclear agreement. Her research focus also covers wider regional dynamics including post-ISIS stabilisation and geopolitical trends in the Middle East. 

She is regularly quoted by international media outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, and appears on CNN, Al-Jazeera and the BBC to provide commentary on regional developments.  Prior to joining ECFR, Geranmayeh worked at Herbert Smith Freehills law firm. She graduated in Law from the University of Cambridge. 


Latest from Ellie Geranmayeh

  • Cover: Feeling the Westlessness at the Munich Security Conference 2020

    Feeling the Westlessness at the Munich Security Conference 2020

    The annual Munich Security Conference was themed "Westlessness", defining “a widespread feeling of uneasiness and restlessness in the face of increasing uncertainty about the enduring purpose of the West”. Is the West becoming less relevant in global affairs? Are the West’s international partnerships endangered? And if so, what will the world look like in the future? Our Director Mark Leonard is joined by an all-star ECFR cast including Janka Oertel, Ulrike Franke, Ellie Geranmayeh and Jeremy Shapiro, for a very special episode recorded straight from the MSC – and covering everything from 5G, China, Iran and the future of Europe’s transatlantic relationship.

    This podcast was recorded on 15 February 2020.

    Further Reading

    Listen online   


    2020: The year of economic coercion under Trump (Commentary)

    Jonathan Hackenbroich & Ellie Geranmayeh - 17 February 2020

    European countries and businesses are unlikely to escape the impact of US extraterritorial measures on China, Russia, and Turkey. 


    Riformisti scoraggiati e integralisti risorti: le elezioni in Iran

    Ellie Geranmayeh - 11 February 2020

    A Teheran alcuni funzionari sono preoccupati che le forze di sicurezza stiano acquisendo un controllo eccessivo sul processo decisionale politico. Inoltre, i riformisti sono stati ostacolati da una serie di passi falsi, oltre che dalla politica statunitense.


    Reformists are dispirited and hard-liners resurgent ahead of Iran’s election (Commentary)

    Ellie Geranmayeh - 11 February 2020

    Some elected officials in Tehran are concerned that the security forces are gaining too much control over the political decision-making process. But reformists have been stymied by missteps of their own, as well as by US policy.


    War and pieces: Political divides in southern Yemen

    Lunch discussion to mark the launch of ECFR's newest paper "War and pieces: Political divides in southern Yemen". 

    International attention to the Yemeni conflict has shifted in recent months from the Saudi-led war against the Houthis in the north and west of the country to a major clash within the anti-Houthi coalition between the UAE supported Southern Transitional Council’s forces and those of the coalition supported internationally recognised government of President Hadi. The Saudi sponsored Riyadh Agreement to solve this crisis has faced major difficulties and many questions remain unanswered, particularly the role of the UAE. Meanwhile the UN remains out of the southern debates and has failed to revive talks since the December 2018 Stockholm agreement.  By contrast, European Union and member states leaders are taking notable initiatives in Yemen which may help towards some progress both with the implementation of Riyadh and more widely on the war situation. 

    Following on the recently published ECFR paper War and pieces, political divides in southern Yemen,  the authors presented the findings of their report and discuss other relevant recent developments. Saleh al Batati acted as discussant to the points made in the talk and the paper.

    • Raiman Al-Hamdani is a consultant at DeepRoot Consulting, specialising on human development, local communities and indigenous peace-making methods. Raiman is a Visiting Fellow in ECFR's MENA Programme. 
    • Helen Lackner is an independent researcher and has worked in Yemen since the 1970s. Her latest book is Yemen in Crisis (UK edition 2017, US edition 2019, Arabic forthcoming 2020). Helen is a Visiting Fellow in ECFR's MENA Programme. 
    • Saleh al-Batati is a Journalist Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, a Yemeni journalist and a 2019 News and Documentary Emmy Award winner. In 2019, al-Batati served as south Yemen director responsible for key leader surveys for Pechter Polls of Princeton. 
    • Ellie Geranmayeh is the Deputy Director ofthe Middle East and North Africa Programme at ECFR. Ellie leads on the MENA programme's Iran portfolio, specialising in European policy in relation to Iran, particularly on the nuclear and regional dossiers. She most recently wrote about the killing of Soleimani in the POLITICO article “Crisis in Iran will drive wedge between Europe and Washington”.

    Listen online   


    Iran-US: Preventing a Collision Course

    ECFR, in partnership with the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation (FES), invited to a discussion on “Iran-US: Preventing a Collision Course” on 21 January.
    Following a series of attacks in Iraq that culminated in the assassination of Qassem Soleimani and missile attacks against airbases hosting the U.S. military, Iran and the United States have reached a peak of military escalation under the Trump administration. European leaders have called for urgent restraint and offered to engage in a diplomatic process to reduce tensions.

    Moderator: Ellie Geranmayeh (Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at ECFR)

    Discussants: David Jalilvand (CEO of Orient Matters); Bijan Khajehpour (economist and an expert on the geopolitics of energy); Adnan Tabatabai (co-founder and CEO of CARPO – Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient);

    Listen online   


    Europe’s new gamble: Dispute resolution and the Iran nuclear deal (Commentary)

    Ellie Geranmayeh - 15 January 2020

    The dispute resolution mechanism presents the E3 with risks but it could also buy them time to keep the nuclear deal on life support until the US presidential election in November.


    Cover: De “facto declaration of war”? - Soleimani’s killing as turning point in the Middle East

    De "facto declaration of war"? - Soleimani's killing as turning point in the Middle East

    With the US-killing of the Iranian military leader, Qassem Soleimani, the Middle East has been yet again sent in the heart to geopolitical uncertainty and frenzy. What does the killing mean for the future of the region, the Iran Nuclear Deal and the US role within it? Was there a strategy behind this offence and if yes, what kind? How should Europe react? In a special podcast edition, Mark Leonard talks with our senior policy fellows Ellie Geranmayeh, Jeremy Shapiro and Julien Barnes-Dacey about the implications for the neighbouring countries, Europe’s mediation role and whether there is a chance for de-escalation.

    This podcast was recorded on 6 January 2020.

    Bookshelf:

    Listen online   


  • Cover: Feeling the Westlessness at the Munich Security Conference 2020

    Feeling the Westlessness at the Munich Security Conference 2020

    The annual Munich Security Conference was themed "Westlessness", defining “a widespread feeling of uneasiness and restlessness in the face of increasing uncertainty about the enduring purpose of the West”. Is the West becoming less relevant in global affairs? Are the West’s international partnerships endangered? And if so, what will the world look like in the future? Our Director Mark Leonard is joined by an all-star ECFR cast including Janka Oertel, Ulrike Franke, Ellie Geranmayeh and Jeremy Shapiro, for a very special episode recorded straight from the MSC – and covering everything from 5G, China, Iran and the future of Europe’s transatlantic relationship.

    This podcast was recorded on 15 February 2020.

    Further Reading

    Listen online   

    War and pieces: Political divides in southern Yemen

    Lunch discussion to mark the launch of ECFR's newest paper "War and pieces: Political divides in southern Yemen". 

    International attention to the Yemeni conflict has shifted in recent months from the Saudi-led war against the Houthis in the north and west of the country to a major clash within the anti-Houthi coalition between the UAE supported Southern Transitional Council’s forces and those of the coalition supported internationally recognised government of President Hadi. The Saudi sponsored Riyadh Agreement to solve this crisis has faced major difficulties and many questions remain unanswered, particularly the role of the UAE. Meanwhile the UN remains out of the southern debates and has failed to revive talks since the December 2018 Stockholm agreement.  By contrast, European Union and member states leaders are taking notable initiatives in Yemen which may help towards some progress both with the implementation of Riyadh and more widely on the war situation. 

    Following on the recently published ECFR paper War and pieces, political divides in southern Yemen,  the authors presented the findings of their report and discuss other relevant recent developments. Saleh al Batati acted as discussant to the points made in the talk and the paper.

    • Raiman Al-Hamdani is a consultant at DeepRoot Consulting, specialising on human development, local communities and indigenous peace-making methods. Raiman is a Visiting Fellow in ECFR's MENA Programme. 
    • Helen Lackner is an independent researcher and has worked in Yemen since the 1970s. Her latest book is Yemen in Crisis (UK edition 2017, US edition 2019, Arabic forthcoming 2020). Helen is a Visiting Fellow in ECFR's MENA Programme. 
    • Saleh al-Batati is a Journalist Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, a Yemeni journalist and a 2019 News and Documentary Emmy Award winner. In 2019, al-Batati served as south Yemen director responsible for key leader surveys for Pechter Polls of Princeton. 
    • Ellie Geranmayeh is the Deputy Director ofthe Middle East and North Africa Programme at ECFR. Ellie leads on the MENA programme's Iran portfolio, specialising in European policy in relation to Iran, particularly on the nuclear and regional dossiers. She most recently wrote about the killing of Soleimani in the POLITICO article “Crisis in Iran will drive wedge between Europe and Washington”.

    Listen online   

    Iran-US: Preventing a Collision Course

    ECFR, in partnership with the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation (FES), invited to a discussion on “Iran-US: Preventing a Collision Course” on 21 January.
    Following a series of attacks in Iraq that culminated in the assassination of Qassem Soleimani and missile attacks against airbases hosting the U.S. military, Iran and the United States have reached a peak of military escalation under the Trump administration. European leaders have called for urgent restraint and offered to engage in a diplomatic process to reduce tensions.

    Moderator: Ellie Geranmayeh (Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at ECFR)

    Discussants: David Jalilvand (CEO of Orient Matters); Bijan Khajehpour (economist and an expert on the geopolitics of energy); Adnan Tabatabai (co-founder and CEO of CARPO – Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient);

    Listen online   

    Cover: De “facto declaration of war”? - Soleimani’s killing as turning point in the Middle East

    De "facto declaration of war"? - Soleimani's killing as turning point in the Middle East

    With the US-killing of the Iranian military leader, Qassem Soleimani, the Middle East has been yet again sent in the heart to geopolitical uncertainty and frenzy. What does the killing mean for the future of the region, the Iran Nuclear Deal and the US role within it? Was there a strategy behind this offence and if yes, what kind? How should Europe react? In a special podcast edition, Mark Leonard talks with our senior policy fellows Ellie Geranmayeh, Jeremy Shapiro and Julien Barnes-Dacey about the implications for the neighbouring countries, Europe’s mediation role and whether there is a chance for de-escalation.

    This podcast was recorded on 6 January 2020.

    Bookshelf:

    Listen online   

    Cover: Iran: Calculating the cost of US sanctions

    Iran: Calculating the cost of US sanctions

    Over a year into the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran, the re-imposition of sanctions have not only placed in jeopardy the Iran nuclear deal, but also hit the Iranian economy.
    The panel consisting of Esfandyar Batmanghelidj(Founder, Bourse & Bazaar), David Ramin Jalilvand(CEO, Orient Matters), Tara Sepheri Far(Iran Researcher, Human Rights Watch and chaired by Ellie Geranmayeh (Deputy Head of the MENA Programme, ECFR) looked at all the costs associated with the US sanctions policy including the impact on ordinary Iranians, the Iranian leadership and how this ties into the recent wave of protests across the country.
    The event on 3rd December considered the impact of the US sanctions on trade between Europe and Iran, particularly in the humanitarian sector.

    Recorded on 3 December 2019 in Berlin.

    Listen online   

    Cover: Yemen - Seizing the moment of oppurtunity?

    Yemen - Seizing the moment of oppurtunity?

    Recording of the Lunch Discussion analysing Yemen's role in the current Gulf crisis and how recent regional developments will have an impact on the UN-coordinated peace process.

    Almost a year after the widely praised UN-sponsored Stockholm Agreement, there have been significant changes in the Yemeni war but peace appears no nearer. Focus has shifted away from the Hodeida front, leading to the UAE’s military disengagement from Yemen, and leaving Saudi Arabia in sole charge of the war at a time when finding an appropriate response to the September attacks on ARAMCO remains its priority. Within Yemen itself, in recent months, military action and negotiations have concentrated on the summer’s developments in the South, and Saudi attempts to solve the impasse created by southern separatist takeover of Aden, revealing serious differences between the two main members of the Saudi-led coalition.

    Our speakers addressed the role Yemen plays in the overall Gulf crisis, including Gulf States perspectives resulting from US volatility, recent and potential developments in the UN-coordinated peace process and the implications of recent internal events in the country.

    Recorded on 14 November 2019.

    Listen online   

    Cover: Iran & the US escalation game - What Europe can do?

    Iran & the US escalation game - What Europe can do?

    In this episode, live from Brussels, Ellie Geranmayeh is standing in for our host Mark Leonard to discuss Iran’s further withdrawal from the 2015 Nuclear Agreement. 
    After the Iran Strategy Meeting meeting, she met with Hossein Mousavian (Princeton University), Ilan Goldenberg (Center for a New American Security) and Nasser Hadian (University of Teheran) to analyse the responses coming from the US and European governments, in particular from France. By marking the 40th anniversary of the Iran Hostage Crisis, they look back on how this has shaped the Iran-US relations in the past 4 years. Moreover, after one year, how has the re-imposition of the US sanction impacted Iran domestically? 

    This podcast was recorded on 6 November 2019.

    Bookshelf:

    Listen online   

    Cover: Meddling or Bargaining? - Emmanuel Macron’s Iran Initiative

    Meddling or Bargaining? - Emmanuel Macron's Iran Initiative

    This week, ECFR director Mark Leonard discusses with experts Ellie Geranmayeh and Julien Barnes-Dacey the French president Emmanuel Macron's bold initiative: Europeans are now to explore a credit line for Iran to entice the sanctions-battered country to keep abiding by an international nuclear deal. But the US and president Trump are sceptical.

    Bookshelf:

    The podcast was recorded on 6 September 2019.

    Listen online   

Contact

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)207 227 6872

@EllieGeranmayeh on Twitter

Ellie Geranmayeh on Twitter