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Iran by the Numbers: Economy

May 25, 2016
Iran’s economy has faced a series of existential crises since the 1979 revolution. Tehran suffered the biggest shocks from the sapping costs of an eight-year war with Iraq, between 1980 and 1988, and the final wave of international sanctions imposed in 2010. During less volatile years, Iran’s…

Political Spectrum in Iran’s New Parliament

May 24, 2016
Iran’s new Majles, which holds its first session on May 28, has wider political diversity than any parliament in a dozen years. Some 60 percent of lawmakers are newcomers. Allies and supporters of President Hassan Rouhani form the largest faction, but not a majority. Hardliners held on to more than…

Jannati Elected Assembly of Experts Chief

May 24, 2016
On May 24, hardliner cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati was elected chairman of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, a body of 88 clerics and scholars tasked with overseeing and appointing the supreme leader. He has been a strong critic of President Hassan Rouhani’s efforts to improve relations with the West…

Iran Deepens Ties with India, Afghanistan

May 23, 2016
On May 23, Iran signed a trilateral agreement with India and Afghanistan to develop the strategic Chabahar port in southeastern Iran. India pledged to invest up to $500 million in the port, which will expand India’s trade with Iran and other Central Asian countries while bypassing land routes in…

US, EU Encourage Investment in Iran

May 20, 2016
On May 19, Britain, France, Germany, the European Union and the United States released a joint statement encouraging European banks and businesses to invest in Iran. “We will not stand in the way of permitted business activity with Iran,” they said. As part of the nuclear deal that was implemented…

Parliament Seeks Damages from US

May 18, 2016
On May 17, Iran’s Parliament approved a bill obligating the government to seek compensation from the United States for 63 years of “spiritual and material damage.” The bill passed with 174 votes in favor, seven votes against and four abstentions. The outgoing Parliament (Majles), which is dominated…

IMF: More Economic Reforms Needed

May 17, 2016
On May 15, International Monetary Fund (IMF) First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton arrived in Tehran to discuss economic developments and policy initiatives following the lifting of sanctions. He told Iranians that “your ultimate success depends on what you do at home” in a speech at the…

Iran Boycotts Hajj in Saudi Arabia

May 12, 2016
On May 12, Iran announced that it will not send pilgrims to Saudi Arabia this year for the annual hajj ritual. The culture minister said he blamed Saudi Arabia for stonewalling talks on logistics for Iranian pilgrims. The boycott follows a stampede in Mina during the 2015 hajj that killed almost 2,…

Kerry: Euro Banks Free to Deal with Iran

May 11, 2016
On May 10, Secretary of State John Kerry said that European businesses “should not use the United States as an excuse” for not dealing with Iran. He arrived in London to meet representatives of European banks and discuss implementation of the nuclear deal and implications for financial transactions…

Lawmakers Petition Rouhani on Nuclear Deal

May 11, 2016
On May 9, more than a third of the Members in Iran’s outgoing Parliament submitted a petition to President Hassan Rouhani demanding that the government end compliance with the nuclear deal. The petition called for resumption of research and development of Tehran’s nuclear program if the United…

Report: Iranian Economy at Crossroads

May 11, 2016
Iran’s political elite is divided on what direction to take Iran’s economy. One camp, consisting of President Hassan Rouhani and his centrist and reformist supporters, prioritize economic growth through greater cooperation with the outside world. “The second force, as represented the hardliners,…

U.S. Repatriates 73 Artifacts to Iran

May 11, 2016
In another sign of a gradual diplomatic thaw, the United States has returned 73 ancient artifacts to Iran. The artifacts are all terracotta sealings dating from 224 to 641 A.D., during the Sasanian Empire, the last great Persian Empire before the advent of Islam. Bullae are small clay or bitumen…

US Report: Iran's Religious Freedom Abuses

May 3, 2016
Religious freedom conditions continued to deteriorate in Iran in 2015 and 2016, according to a new report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. President Hassan Rouhani has fallen short on his campaign promises to improve the status religious minorities. The commission found…

South Korea, Iran Boost Ties

May 3, 2016
On May 2, Park Geun-hye became South Korea’s first president to visit Iran. Ministers, economic officials and businessmen joined her for the three-day trip to Tehran. One of South Korea’s key interests in Iran is oil. South Korea, the world’s fifth largest oil importer, is one of the largest buyers…

Iran’s Runoff Election for Parliament

May 2, 2016
Garrett Nada  Allies and supporters of President Hassan Rouhani made gains in the Parliamentary runoff election on April 29. They will form the largest faction in Parliament, but not a majority.  In 55 constituencies, 136 candidates competed for 68  seats that were undecided in the first round, on…

World Bank: Iran’s Economic Outlook

May 2, 2016
The World Bank expects Iran’s economy to grow by 4.2 percent in 2016 and 4.6 percent in 2017, “as a result of the lifting of the sanctions and a more business-oriented environment.” The following is the Iran portion of the Spring 2016 Middle East and North Africa Economic Monitor Report.   The…

Heavy Water Controversy

April 29, 2016
The Iran nuclear deal was officially implemented in January, but the controversy hasn’t ended. The White House and Congress are again at odds over a by-product of the deal—the fate of Iran’s heavy water, which can be used as a moderator and coolant in a nuclear reactor. Tehran had shipped 32 metric…

Zarif Calls on UN to Intervene with US

April 29, 2016
Iran has called on the United Nations to intervene with the U.S. government over two court rulings that held Iran financially responsible for terrorist attacks. On April 28, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sent a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling on him to convince…

UN Experts: Iran Denying Medical Treatment to Political Prisoners

April 27, 2016
On April 27, a group of U.N. human rights experts released a statement criticizing Iran’s denial of adequate medical treatment to political prisoners. They cited the case of physicist Omid Kokabee, who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence for alleged “connections with a hostile government…

Khamenei Comments on US, Gulf States, Shakespeare

April 26, 2016
The tweets from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei covered a full range of subjects in April 2016, from a celebration on the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death to angry accusations about the United States undermining the Iran nuclear deal. He also used his Twitter account to…

Anti-Iran Moves in Congress

April 26, 2016
Since late 2015, U.S. lawmakers have introduced more than a dozen legislative measures against Iran. Most have yet to pass the House or Senate, and the bills largely target areas outside the scope of the nuclear deal, such as ballistic missiles, terrorism, and human rights. But President Obama has…

Zarif on Nuclear Deal, US Relations

April 26, 2016
Robin Wright (for The New Yorker)Three months after Iran dismantled large parts of its nuclear program, in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the international nuclear deal—the country’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, declared last week in New York that the United…

Part I: Are Iran’s Missiles a Threat?

April 25, 2016
Michael Elleman Iran test-fired several ballistic missiles in March 2016 and one in October 2015. Why? What is Iran’s goal? Is there any significance to the timing?  Ballistic missiles have been a key pillar of Iran’s overall defense and deterrence strategy since its 1980-1988 war with Iraq. For…

Part II: US, Iran Disagree on Missiles

April 25, 2016
Top U.S. officials have argued that Iran’s recent missiles launches are inconsistent with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which bans Iran from testing ballistic missiles designed to be capable of carrying nuclear warheads. On March 24, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned two Iranian…

Kerry and Zarif on Nuclear Deal Disputes

April 25, 2016
On April 22, Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held a closed-door meeting in New York to discuss disagreements that have emerged during the implementation of the nuclear deal. Iranian officials have alleged that the United States is not fulfilling its…

Obama on Iran at GCC Summit

April 21, 2016
On April 21, President Barack Obama assured leaders from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries that the United States will “deter and confront external aggression” against them. “Our nations committed to continuing to interdict illegal Iranian arms shipments in the region, impose costs on Iran…

Supreme Court Orders Iran to Compensate Terror Victims

April 20, 2016
On April 20, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a judgement that held Iran financially responsible for terrorist attacks dating back to the 1983 Marine Corps barracks bombing in Beirut. The lead plaintiff, Deborah Peterson, is the sister of Lance Cpl. James C. Knipple, who was killed in Beirut. The…

Zarif Op-Ed in Washington Post

April 20, 2016
On April 20, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif published an op-ed in The Washington Post criticizing its Sunni Gulf neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia, for spending huge sums of money on arms and allegedly supporting militant extremism. He criticized the West for raising alarms about…

Iran Pushes the United States

April 19, 2016
Iranian officials are pushing Washington to do more to fulfill its obligations under the nuclear deal. U.S. officials must be “much more proactive” in assuring other countries that they can do business with Iran without risking penalties from the United States, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad…

Iran Targets Political Elites

April 19, 2016
Garrett Nada  Over the past four decades, Iran’s revolutionaries have often been targets of their own revolution. Dozens have been pushed aside, discredited, banned from running for office, or isolated. Many have ended up in jail or faced prolonged house arrest. A few have been executed. The…