In March 2020, the UN Secretary-General called for the easing of sanctions against Iran in response to COVID-19. Hence, external shocks are potentially related to sanctions termination. Yet, the effect of different types of external shocks such as pandemics, natural disasters, and economic crises on the (gradual) removal of sanctions has not been systematically studied. This project examines when and how external shocks affect sanctions termination through a nested research design combining new data collection, statistical analyses, and two case studies.
The project employs a nested research design consisting of three steps: a dataset extension, advanced large-N analyses and two case studies. To be able to capture the potential effect of the current pandemic, the project team will extend the novel ‘International Sanctions Termination’ (IST) dataset, which currently covers the time frame from 1990 to 2018, for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021. The statistical analysis will consist of a range of logistic regressions that investigate the effect of different external shocks on sanctions termination and on the use of alternative foreign policy tools such as mediation and military intervention. Two follow-up case studies, relying on interviews and media analyses, will unravel the underlying causal mechanisms. The case studies will examine sender decision-making on sanctions during the Covid-19 pandemic, which offers a unique opportunity to study foreign policy responses to external shocks in ‘real time’.