For over 30 years, the U.S. and Iran have not held formal diplomatic relations. In recent years, tensions have risen over as Iran’s nuclear program has deeply concerned the international community.
Despite the lack of formal relations, and the many areas of disagreement between the U.S. and Iran, there is a variety of public diplomacy programs underway designed to bypass the Iranian government and reach out to Iranian citizens. Some, like the Virtual Embassy Tehran, are run by the State Department to overcome the physical barriers and connect with Iranians. Others, like exchange programs and science diplomacy, are less centralized and allow for in-person relationship building with the Iranian people.
This report explores several types of public diplomacy aimed towards Iran, and looks into some of the challenges and potential of these programs as part of an overall strategy for addressing U.S. national security interests.