Sanctions Termination in Times of Crises

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 issue of sanctions relief constitutes an important yet under-researched part of the sanctioning process. The ongoing DFG project on the termination of sanctions has played an important role in closing this gap in the literature. But research on how external shocks affect the use and termination of sanctions is still in its infancy, not least because limited existing large-N data has constricted researchers’ ability to capture the gradual adaptation of sanctions under such circumstances. Moreover, many studies have considered sanctions as an isolated foreign policy tool. As a result, their use and relation to other foreign policy tools – particularly in times of crises – remains unclear.

To address these gaps in the literature, the project makes two major contributions. Theoretically, the project will develop a coherent analytical framework that brings together disparate arguments on how economic and humanitarian considerations influence the potential removal of sanctions. Empirically, it will investigate how different types of external shocks affect processes of (gradual) sanctions termination and the use of alternative foreign policy tools as substitutes or complements.

Team: Dr. Julia Grauvogel & Hana Attia. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), 2022-2023. More information can be found here.

Hana Attia
Hana Attia
Postdoc at the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg

My research interests include economic sanctions, foreign policy, domestic politics and water politics in the Nile Basin.