Category Archives: International Law

The Role of Transnational Private Actors in Ukraine International Flight 752 Crash in Iran Under Economic Sanctions Pressure

Transnational private actors (TNPAs) conducting business in a sanctioned country may depart from that market when the costs of doing business with a sanctioned state outweigh any potential profit. When TNPAs cease operations in a sanctioned market, their withdrawal can ultimately denigrate the sanctioned country’s economy and bolster the effectiveness of sanctions imposed by the sanctioning state.

Mahan Ashouri examines the role of TNPAs operating in the Iranian market after the United States’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and reinstatement of sanctions against Iran in 2018. His article explores the expanded role of TNPAs in the global economy, the risk calculation conducted by TNPAs operating in sanctioned Iran, and the great influence of TNPAs on the effectiveness of U.S. economic sanctions on Iran.

Ashouri ultimately concludes that TNPAs exited the Iranian market not out of strict compliance with international law, but out of a rational risk calculation. The decision of TNPAs to leave the Iranian market not only damaged Iran’s economy, by depriving the state of millions of dollars in trade and foreign investment, but also elevated the United States’ ability to leverage economic sanctions over Iran in order to renegotiate the nuclear deal.

However, Iran’s refusal to renegotiate amidst highly restrictive sanctions and its subsequent financial reliance on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps triggered a series of events that tragically led to the Ukrainian plane crash in Iran in January 2020.

Transnational Government Hacking

Cyber investigations often involve devices and data that cross or are located across international borders. This raises challenges for law enforcement which often finds itself limited by enforcement jurisdiction that stops at its territorial borders.

What happens when law enforcement is seeking to access data or a device and the location is unknown? What about situations in which law enforcement has its hands on a device, but the data being accessed via that device is located in another state’s jurisdiction? What if the device itself is located overseas—in a jurisdiction unwilling or unable to aid the investigation?

Nuclear Arms Control: Coming Back from Oblivion, Again

Tensions between the United States and Russian Federation have spiraled in recent years and the outlook for the bilateral nuclear arms control regime has become ever more grim. Comparisons to the early 1980s Cold War are common.

Now, as then, Washington and Moscow are geopolitical adversaries. A key arms control agreement has been abandoned. Nuclear modernization accelerates. Old nuclear hands warn that the risk of nuclear war is rising. Amid growing unease, practitioners and commenters debate nuclear policy priorities, how the arms control process might resume, and how best to reduce nuclear risks.

Dakota Rudsill’s essay analyzes the comparison of our present moment of nuclear destabilization with the Cold War’s frigid and perilous depths in the early 1980s. It argues that the analogy is not perfect but it is instructive. The Cold War teaches that arms control can come back from oblivion. By focusing on the right priorities—strategic stability in particular—and generating ideas now, a pragmatic slate of actionable stability-enhancing proposals can be ready when the geopolitical currents change and prospects for nuclear arms control recover.