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U.S.-Iran: History of Overtures and Confrontations

May 22, 2019
John Prentice Caves III Since the 1979 revolution, Washington and Tehran have gyrated between hostile actions and diplomatic overtures. Relations have never recovered from the seizure of the U.S. Embassy and 52 diplomats. The U.S. attempted military action to end the drama but eventually turned to…

Poll: Half of Americans Expect War with Iran

May 22, 2019
Half of American adults expect the United States to go to war with Iran “within the next few years,” according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. A representative sample of 1,007 adults were asked a series of questions from May 17-20 amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran. Earlier in May…

Patrick Shanahan on Iran

May 22, 2019
Patrick Shanahan became Acting Secretary of Defense on January 1, 2019, following the resignation of James Mattis. Shanahan had been serving as Deputy Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration since July 2017. He previously worked for Boeing for more than three decades, most recently as the…

Congressional Remarks on U.S.-Iran Tensions

May 15, 2019
Updated: May 28, 2019
U.S. lawmakers have been divided over what to do next to deal with the escalating tensions between the United States and Iran. The split is largely along partisan lines. Democrats voiced concern that the Trump administration was leading the United States into a new Middle East war. “The Trump…

Pentagon on Iranian Threat

May 15, 2019
On May 8, General Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of U.S Central Command (CENTCOM), named Iran the “long-term, enduring, most significant threat” to U.S. forces in the Middle East. “Their hegemonic ambitions, their misbehavior, their threats to us and our partners in the region, have been…

Tankers Sabotaged in Persian Gulf

May 14, 2019
Updated: May 16, 2019
Tensions in the Persian Gulf escalated after four ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including two Saudi Arabian oil tankers, were sabotaged on May 12.  One ship was due to take a delivery of Saudi oil bound for the United States. “Fortunately, the attack didn't lead to any…

Pompeo on Year After Nuclear Deal Withdrawal

May 8, 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo First Anniversary of President Trump’s New Iran Strategy One year ago today, President Trump announced the United States would cease to participate in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and would instead embark on a bold new strategy to end Iran’s destabilizing…

Timeline:Tensions Between Washington and Tehran

May 8, 2019
Updated: September 16, 2019
Donald Trump’s election produced dramatic change in U.S. policy in 2017. As a candidate, he had blasted the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers as “the worst deal ever negotiated.” If elected, Trump said his number-one priority would be to dismantle the deal. President Donald…

U.S. Sanctions Iran’s Metals

May 8, 2019
On May 8, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to impose sanctions on Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors. The White House statement noted that those metals are “the regime’s largest non-petroleum-related sources of export revenue,” some 10 percent. The metals and mining…

Rouhani Ultimatum on Nuclear Deal

May 8, 2019
Updated: May 9, 2019
On May 8, President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran will stop complying with parts of the 2015 nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The move came on the one-year anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement. It marked yet another escalation of…

Iranian Reaction to Bolton Message

May 7, 2019
Iranian officials largely shrugged off National Security Advisor John Bolton’s announcement that a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group and bomber task force are deploying to the Persian Gulf. “The aircraft carrier (USS) Abraham Lincoln arrived in the Mediterranean Sea 21 days ago, and Bolton's…

Bolton: U.S. Deploying Forces to Warn Iran

May 6, 2019
Updated: May 13, 2019
On May 5, National Security Advisor John Bolton announced the deployment of a carrier strike group and bomber task force to the Middle East “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with…

U.S. Tightens Nuclear Restrictions on Iran

May 3, 2019
On May 3, the State Department outlined a new list of sanctionable actions related to Iran’s nuclear program. Washington warned that “assistance to expand Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant beyond the existing reactor unit will be exposed to sanctions.” Additionally, “any involvement in…

The Debate Over Iran’s Financial Reform Laws

May 3, 2019
By Henry Rome Henry Rome is an Iran analyst at Eurasia Group. On May 8, 2018, President Donald Trump announced the United States was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement and “instituting the highest level of economic sanction” against the Islamic Republic. Over the past year, Iranian…

U.S. Charges Iran on Human Rights

May 1, 2019
The U.S. State Department condemned Iran on two consecutive days for human rights abuses. On April 30, Washington denounced the “growing crackdown on women advocating for their human rights,” including the right to choose whether or not to wear hijab, the compulsory head covering. State Department…

Zarif on Growing U.S.-Iran Tensions

April 24, 2019
Updated: April 29, 2019
On April 24, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif ruled out negotiating a new nuclear deal with the United States. “The United States does not need a new [negotiating] table. The table is there. … And I know that neither Iran nor the United States will ever get a better agreement,” he said at the…

Iran Offers U.S. Swap on Detainees

April 24, 2019
Updated: August 12, 2019
On April 24, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif publicly offered to exchange detainees with the United States. “We informed the government of the United States six months ago that we are ready,” he said at the Asia Society in New York. “Not a response yet. If they tell you anything else, they're…

Iranian Reactions to the Iran Oil Waiver Decision

April 23, 2019
Iranian officials reacted to the U.S. decision not to renew sanctions waivers for importers of Iranian oil with a mix of threats and ridicule. The commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy, Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if Iran could no…

International Reaction to Iran Oil Waiver Decision

April 23, 2019
Updated: May 6, 2019
China and Turkey publicly pushed back against the U.S. decision to allow sanctions exemptions on the purchase of Iranian oil lapse on May 2. “China firmly opposes the unilateral sanctions and so-called ‘long-arm jurisdictions’ imposed by the U.S.,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng…

Impact of U.S. Sanctions on Iran Oil

April 23, 2019
By Elizabeth Rosenberg Elizabeth Rosenberg held senior roles at the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 2009 to 2013, where she helped oversee the tightening of international sanctions on Iran. She is now a Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Economics, and Security Program at the Center…

Hossein Salami Appointed IRGC Commander

April 22, 2019
On April 21, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Hossein Salami as the new commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is Iran’s most powerful military and security organization as well as a key economic player. Major General Salami, a veteran of the 1980-1988…

U.S. Ends Sanctions Waivers on Iranian Oil

April 22, 2019
On April 22, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States will stop providing sanctions exemptions to countries that import Iranian oil. “We will continue to apply maximum pressure on the Iranian regime until its leaders change their destructive behavior, respect the rights of…

How the Iranian Revolution Has Survived 40 Years

April 16, 2019
Amin Saikal is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University. He is the author of Iran Rising: The Survival and Future of the Islamic Republic.   Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has weathered a…

Part 8: International Reaction to IRGC Designation

April 10, 2019
International reactions to the State Department’s designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization varied widely by country. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked President Donald Trump for the move in a pair of tweets in English and…

Part 7: Iranian Media on IRGC Designation

April 9, 2019
Iranian newspapers spanning the country’s political spectrum reacted to the U.S. State Department’s designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization with a mix of outrage, bombast, and expressions of solidarity with the IRGC. Front page headlines and…

Part 6: Iranian Officials React to IRGC Designation

April 9, 2019
Updated: April 11, 2019
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) responded to the State Department’s designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization by designating the U.S. government as a state sponsor of terrorism and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and all its…

Part 5: Tehran's Options on IRGC Designation

April 8, 2019
Michael Eisenstadt is the David Kahn and Douglas Kahn Fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Military and Security Studies Program. He served for 26 in the U.S. Army Reserve, doing stints at U.S. Central Command headquarters and in the region, before retiring in 2010. Prior to joining…

Part 3: What Will IRGC Designation Actually Do?

April 8, 2019
Dr. Matthew Levitt is the Fromer-Wexler Fellow and Director for the Reinhard program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.  He previously served as the Treasury Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis. On April 8,…

Part 4: Experts on IRGC Designation

April 8, 2019
The original co-authors of “The Iran Primer” book and other experts reflect on the U.S. designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization. Their comments cover the diversity of analysis.  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and IRGC Commander…

Part 2: Fact Sheets on IRGC, Qods Force

April 8, 2019
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was created after the 1979 revolution to enforce Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s concept of an Islamic state. The Guards played a crucial role not only in crushing early opposition to Khomeini’s vision, but also in repelling Saddam Hussein’s invasion of…