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State Department Update on Iran’s Human Rights Abuses

May 17, 2017
On May 17, the U.S. State Department released a semi-annual report to Congress on sanctions imposed on individuals for human rights abuses committed in Iran. The following is the full text of a media note and the report. U.S. State Department Issues Report on Human Rights Sanctions on Iran The…

U.S. Imposes New Sanctions

May 17, 2017
On May 17, the United States imposed new sanctions on Iran even as it waived sanctions as part of the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The United States committed to waive nuclear-related sanctions if Iran remains in compliance with the JCPOA’s…

The Race: Banned Politicians Impact Election

May 16, 2017
Updated: May 17, 2017
Three banned politicians are having an outsized impact on Iran’s presidential election – with their legacies benefiting President Hassan Rouhani. The three – former President Mohammad Khatami, former Prime Minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and former Parliamentary Speaker Mehdi Karroubi – are all…

The Race: The Final Stretch

May 16, 2017
Updated: May 17, 2017
The pace and intensity of Iran’s presidential campaign have picked up in the final days before the May 19 vote. The election has basically turned into a two-man race between President Hassan Rouhani and conservative Ebrahim Raisi. For the first time in 20 years, the top two candidates are both…

The Race: Third Presidential Debate

May 15, 2017
Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf The third presidential debate, technically on the economy, often devolved into personal attacks over corruption, personal gains at public expense, nepotism, and association with human rights abuses. The angry sniping and name-calling played out largely between President…

The Race: A Combatant Campaign

May 11, 2017
Updated: May 15, 2017
Iran’s presidential campaign has gone from feisty to combative. President Hassan Rouhani has dared to rebuke his rivals and even scolded hardline clerics and the powerful Revolutionary Guards. At campaign rallies and in television debates, he has presented the election as a stark choice between…

The Race: It’s the Economy, Stupid

May 8, 2017
The economy is the primary issue in the 2017 presidential campaign for at least three reasons. The 1979 revolution was carried out in the name of the “oppressed,” but decades of international isolation and sanctions crippled the theocracy’s ability to deliver. As they go to the polls on May 19,…

The Race: Second Presidential Debate

May 5, 2017
The most interesting aspects of Iran’s second presidential debate, on May 5, were discussions of the nuclear deal and a nuanced but obvious question about the Revolutionary Guards. All six candidates implicitly supported the nuclear deal with the United States and five other major powers, which has…

The Race: Poll Results

May 3, 2017
Updated: May 18, 2017
The following are polls by various organizations on the upcoming May 19 presidential election.  IPPO Group Click here for more information.   The Iranian Labour News Agency   Click here for more information.    The Iranian Students Polling Agency (ISPA) After the second presidential…

The Race: First Presidential Debate

April 28, 2017
On April 28, the six candidates vying for Iran’s presidency engaged in a fiery first debate. Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf challenged President Hassan Rouhani’s economic record. “You are the government of the four percent,” Qalibaf told Rouhani, accusing the president of working to benefit…

Tehran Firefighters Memorialize NYC Counterpart

April 26, 2017
In a gesture of good will, firefighters from Tehran’s Station 55 held a memorial for William N. Tolley, a 14-year veteran of the New York City Fire Department. Tolley died on April 20 after falling five stories while fighting an apartment fire in Queens. The firefighters said they believe…

The Race: Khamenei Wades into Election

April 25, 2017
Updated: May 10, 2017
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei The May 19 election is widely seen not just as a contest for the presidency, but also for the political trend in the post-Khamenei period. In July, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will turn 78. He is likely to retain the top position in the Islamic…

The Race: Election Factoids

April 24, 2017
Updated: April 27, 2017
Iran’s 2017 presidential election is setting records. A total of 1,636 men and women signed up to run, an increase of almost 1,000 over the 686 candidates in the 2013 poll. Among them was a record number of women—137. The Iranian media reported that several minors also signed up, including a five-…

Poll: Economy to Dominate Presidential Race

April 19, 2017
The economy is the most important issue for Iranian voters in the upcoming election, according to a new study by IranPoll.com. Some 42 percent of respondents said unemployment is the number one challenge that the next president should address, followed by youth unemployment and other economic…

The Race: Khamenei vs Ahmadinejad

April 19, 2017
Updated: April 20, 2017
On April 12, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shocked Iranians when he registered for the presidential election. The Guardian Council, which is responsible for vetting all potential candidates, may or may not let him run, but his decision alone openly defied the supreme leader. In September…

Trump Orders Review of Iran Sanctions

April 19, 2017
Updated: April 20, 2017
On April 18, the Trump administration announced the launch of an interagency review of whether sanctions relief for Iran, as part of the nuclear deal, is vital to U.S. national security interests. Iran committed to significantly curbing its nuclear program and taking greater steps towards…

G7 Countries Support Nuclear Deal

April 13, 2017
On April 10-11, the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the High Representative of the European Union met in Lucca, Italy to discuss pressing issues that impact global peace and security. The so-called Group of Seven (G7) is an…

New US Sanctions for Human Rights Abuses in Iran

April 13, 2017
On April 13, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned the Tehran Prison Organization and Sohrab Soleimani, a senior official within Iran’s State Prison Organization. The announcement cited an April 2014 incident at the infamous Evin Prison, when dozens of security guards and prison officials attacked political…

The Race: Presidential Candidates

April 12, 2017
Updated: May 16, 2017
On April 20, the Iran’s interior ministry announced the names of the six men allowed to campaign for president. A record number of individuals, 1,636, had registered for the May 19 election. A record number of women, 137, had also signed up. But as in previous years, none were approved. The…

European Union Extends Iran Sanctions

April 11, 2017
The following is the press release from the European Council on renewed sanctions.   On 11 April 2017, the Council extended until 13 April 2018 its restrictive measures responding to serious human rights violations in Iran. These measures consist of:  a travel ban and an asset freeze against 82…

US and Iran on Syria, Chemical Weapons

April 5, 2017
Updated: April 10, 2017
On April 4, more than 80 people died after planes reportedly dropped chemical bombs on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in northwestern Syria. At least 100 others were later treated in hospitals in Idlib province while several dozen were transferred to Turkey. The victims included women and children. The…

Baluch Insurgents in Iran

April 5, 2017
Updated: April 27, 2017
The Baluch are among the two most independent and defiant ethnic groups in Iran. Citizens listen to President Rouhani give a speech in Sistan-e Baluchestan  Over the past few decades, several Baluchi groups have fought Iran’s theocratic regime—as well as the neighboring Pakistani government—for…

ISIS Threatens Iran in New Video

March 30, 2017
On March 27, the Islamic State group released a rare Farsi-language video threatening Iran. The nearly 40-minute clip, issued on social media by the group’s Diyala Province in neighboring Iraq, is titled “The Farsi Land: From Yesterday ‘till Today.” The Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL or…

Rouhani and Putin Strengthen Iran-Russia Ties

March 29, 2017
On March 27, President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Moscow with a large political and economic delegation for a two-day visit. Iranian and Russian officials signed 14 memoranda of understanding to cooperate on a range of security, economic, scientific and cultural issues. Putin highlighted that…

Iran Sanctions 15 US Companies

March 27, 2017
On March 26, Iran imposed sanctions on 15 U.S. companies for alleged human rights violations and support for Israel. The retaliatory move came two days after the United States sanctioned 11 entities and individuals from China, North Korea or the United Arab Emirates for transferring sensitive items…

New US Sanctions on Iran’s Missile Program

March 24, 2017
On March 21, the United States imposed sanctions on 11 entities and individuals for “transfers of sensitive items to Iran’s ballistic missile program.” Washington considers Tehran’s missile program a threat to regional security. Since Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile in January 2017,…

Trump and Tillerson on Nowruz

March 21, 2017
On March 22, President Donald Trump issued a statement marking Nowruz, the Persian New Year. "On behalf of the American people, I wish you freedom, dignity, and wealth," he said in remarks directed to the Iranian people. On March 20, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had also issued a Nowruz message…

Khamenei, Rouhani Vie Over Economy

March 20, 2017
Updated: March 21, 2017
On the Persian New Year, Nowruz, Iran’s supreme leader and president gave conflicting assessments about Iran’s economy. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the middle and lower classes had suffered during the year from unemployment and high prices. He added that, despite the government’…

US Sanctions Bahrainis Linked to Iran

March 18, 2017
On March 17, the U.S. State Department sanctioned two Bahrainis with ties to Iran for supporting terrorism. One was affiliated with the al Ashtar Brigades, which has received funding and support from the Iranian government and carried out attacks in Bahrain. Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram…

Trump and Saudi Prince on Iran

March 17, 2017
On March 14, President Donald Trump met with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House. The two discussed shared interests in the region, including challenging Iran’s “destabilizing regional activities.” The following are excerpts from statements about the meeting. US…