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News Digest: Week of October 14

October 15, 2019
October 14 Economics: Iran’s oil ministry released images of the tanker Sabiti, which clearly showed two holes in its hull just above the waterline. President Hassan Rouhani claimed a foreign government was responsible for the October 11 attack, which occurred in the Red Sea some 60 miles away…

Soleimani: Mastermind of Iran’s Expansion

October 14, 2019
As commander of Iran’s elite Qods Force, Qassem Soleimani has become one of the most powerful military leaders in the Middle East. He has reportedly masterminded major military operations, bombings and assassinations since he took over the external operations wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard…

U.S. Deploys Troops to Saudi Arabia

October 11, 2019
On October 11, the United States announced the deployment of nearly 3,000 additional troops to Saudi Arabia. The move followed an attack on Saudi oil facilities on September 14, which temporarily cut the kingdom's production in half. Washington blamed Tehran for the strike, which involved…

Women Return to Soccer in Iran

October 10, 2019
By Andrew Hanna Iran marked a historic milestone in October 2019, as thousands of women attended a soccer match for the first time in nearly four decades. The match drew some 4,000 women to Azadi stadium in Tehran for a World Cup qualifier match against Cambodia. Between 1981 and 2019, Iranian…

Iran Urges Turkey to Show Restraint in Syria

October 9, 2019
After Turkey’s invasion of Syria on October 9, Iran called on its longstanding ally and neighbor to rethink its plan to create a buffer zone inside Syria. “We are calling on our friendly and brotherly neighbor Turkey to act with more patience and restraint, and to revise its decision and chosen…

The Broken Promise of Chabahar

October 8, 2019
By Andrew Hanna In April 2016, Iran, India and Afghanistan signed an agreement to develop the Iranian port of Chabahar as a shipping hub with rail links that connected India to Afghanistan through Iran—and circumvented Pakistan. Chabahar is on the Gulf of Oman and is Iran’s only port with access…

News Digest: Week of October 7

October 7, 2019
Updated: October 15, 2019
October 7 Justice/Espionage: Iran said Yulia Yuzik, a Russian journalist detained last week in Tehran, was arrested for a visa violation and not for spying as initially reported. Russia had summoned the Iranian ambassador on October 4 to discuss the case. Politics: Josep Borrell, the incoming E.U…

Iranian Hackers Target U.S. Campaign

October 4, 2019
On October 4, Microsoft reported that a group it calls Phosphorus made more than 2,700 attempts to identify email addresses of current and former U.S. officials, accounts associated with a U.S. presidential campaign and journalists covering political campaigns. Microsoft said it believed the group…

News Digest: Week of October 1

October 4, 2019
Updated: October 7, 2019
October 1 Justice/Politics: Hossein Fereydoun, the brother of President Hassan Rouhani, was sentenced to five years in prison on corruption charges. He had been arrested in 2017 and was the subject of multiple investigations. Fereydoun had long been accused of corruption by hardliners. But Rouhani…

Iran’s Breaches of the Nuclear Deal

October 2, 2019
On July 1, 2019, Tehran began to breach the nuclear deal brokered with the world’s six major powers in 2015. Between July and September, it exceeded the limits three times: •    In July, Iran surpassed the limits on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium.  •    A week later, it increased enrichment…

Iran's Tankers and Its Smuggling Tactics

October 2, 2019
Updated: October 11, 2019
By Alex Yacoubian Smuggling in Persia goes back to ancient times, but the Islamic Republic has become increasingly adept at illicit trafficking in oil since the United States re-imposed economic sanctions in November 2018. Iran’s single largest source of revenue is from oil exports; by mid-2019,…

Iran Media on the U.N.

October 1, 2019
Iranian newspapers, which reflect a broad spectrum of political views, provided positive coverage of President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to New York City for the U.N. General Assembly opening. Even the hardline newspaper, Kayhan, which is often critical of Rouhani, ran an editorial titled “Mr. Rouhani…

Trump Sanctions on Iran

September 30, 2019
President Trump began increasing unilateral sanctions on Iran within weeks of taking office in January 2017. By the end of the year, the U.S. had imposed eight new rounds of sanctions, on individuals and companies linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).   In May 2018, the United States …

Report: Iranian Entrenchment in Syria

September 27, 2019
Iran’s critical assistance to the Assad regime has given it wide latitude to entrench itself on Syrian territory, according to new report by the Syria Study Group. Tehran is working to introduce advanced weapons systems that could threaten Israel and to establish a foothold in the eastern…

Rouhani Press Conference at the U.N.

September 27, 2019
In a press conference at the end of his visit to New York, President Hassan Rouhani reiterated that Iran is open to talks with the United States — if it lifts sanctions. “Cease this policy of maximum pressure and pursue a policy of dialogue and logic and reason, and to seek that which benefits the…

U.S. Bans Iranian Officials and Families

September 25, 2019
On September 25, President Trump announced that the United States would ban senior Iranian officials and their families from entering the country. He said the action was based on Iran’s behavior, which “threatens peace and stability in the Middle East and beyond.” The following is an announcement…

U.S. Sanctions Chinese Oil Firms

September 25, 2019
On September 25, U.S. Treasury announced sanctions on five Chinese companies and six Chinese nationals accused of importing oil from Iran. The United States designated the China Concord Petroleum Co. Ltd., and two units of a major Chinese shipping company, Cosco Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Co. Ltd.…

Pompeo on Iran at the U.N.

September 24, 2019
Updated: September 27, 2019
On the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo continued to blame Iran for the September 14 attacks on Saudi oil facilities. He said the United States was “working diligently” to find a diplomatic resolution despite Iran’s "state-on-state act of war." The following…

Trump on Iran at the U.N.

September 24, 2019
Updated: September 27, 2019
On September 24, President Trump condemned Iran’s leaders for supporting terror, destabilizing the region and cheating their citizens. "Iran’s leaders will have turned a proud nation into another cautionary tale of what happens when a ruling class abandons its people and embarks upon a crusade for…

Rouhani at the U.N.

September 24, 2019
Updated: September 26, 2019
On September 23, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani arrived in New York City to attend the U.N. General Assembly. In his address to world leaders, Rouhani accused the United States of “economic terrorism.” He said Tehran would not enter talks on its nuclear program or other issues unless the United…

A New Nuclear Deal with Iran?

September 23, 2019
Updated: October 10, 2019
Since May 2018, President Trump has sought a new and broader deal with Iran that would cover its controversial nuclear program as well missile tests, regional intervention, support for terrorism, and human rights abuses. French President Emmanuel Macron has launched behind-the-scenes diplomacy to…

U.S. Mobilizes Maritime Coalition in Persian Gulf

September 23, 2019
On July 19, the United States announced plans to mobilize an international maritime force to protect vital shipping routes in the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon said the mission would be “to increase surveillance of and security in key waterways in the Middle East to ensure freedom of navigation” in…

Zarif in New York: On U.S. and Regional Tensions

September 23, 2019
Updated: September 26, 2019
On September 20, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in New York City ahead of the U.N. General Assembly opening. Zarif discussed U.S. tensions, the Saudi oil attacks and other issues in interviews with several news outlets and television networks. The following are excerpts from…

U.S. Sanctions Iran’s Central Bank

September 20, 2019
On September 20, President Trump announced sanctions on Iran’s central bank. “We’ve never done it at this level,” he told reporters in the Oval Office. “It’s too bad what’s happening with Iran. It’s going to hell.” Trump added, “They are broke and they could solve the problem very easily. All they…

Zarif on “All-Out-War”

September 19, 2019
On September 19, Iranian Foreign Minister warned that Tehran could respond to a U.S. or Saudi military strike with “all-out war.” He questioned Saudi resolve and told CNN that the kingdom was prepared to fight "to the last American soldier." Zarif said Tehran hoped to avoid conflict but added, “We…

Timeline of Saudi Oil Attacks

September 18, 2019
Updated: September 19, 2019
On September 14, a drone and missile attack damaged a processing facility and oil field in Abqaiq and Khurais, Saudi Arabia. The Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility, but U.S. and Saudi officials claimed the attacks originated outside of Yemen. Both countries claimed Iran was involved.…

Flashpoints: Iran and Saudi Arabia

September 18, 2019
By Garrett Nada with Thomas Neal, Cameron Glenn and others Since 1979, Iran’s theocracy and Saudi Arabia’s monarchy have vied for regional dominance. Their competition has played out politically, militarily, economically, and culturally—and regularly in rhetoric. In 1987, revolutionary leader…

U.S. Forces Deployed Around Iran

September 18, 2019
Updated: September 27, 2019
The United States has added at least 2,400 more troops to the Middle East in response to tensions with Iran between May and September 2019. As of September 2019, there were over 60,000 U.S. troops deployed in and around the Persian Gulf. This number includes forces positioned in Afghanistan, Iraq,…

Pompeo in the Gulf

September 18, 2019
Updated: September 19, 2019
On September 18, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities an “act of war.” Pompeo, who was traveling to the kingdom to discuss a response, told reporters the September 14 strikes had the "fingerprints of the Ayatollah." He denied claims that the attacks…

Congress on Saudi Oil Attacks

September 18, 2019
In September 2019, members of Congress were divided over how the Trump administration should respond to attacks that damaged oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Democrats were united in demanding the White House seek authorization from Congress prior to any military action against Iran. Senator Chris…