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Report: Sanctions Backfiring, Try Direct Dialogue

April 18, 2013
            A new report by top former U.S. officials concludes that sanctions are backfiring. Punitive economic policies have hardened Tehran’s resistance to pressure and instead “contributed to an increase in repression and corruption,” warns the Iran Project report. As a result, efforts by the…

Iran Condemns Boston Attack, Slams U.S. Policy

April 17, 2013
            Iran's supreme leader condemned the two bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon, which killed three people and wounded more than 170 on April 15. But Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also slammed the United States for “silence toward the killing of innocents” in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria.…

Cartoonists Sketch Human Rights Abuses

April 16, 2013
            A new book on political cartoons confronts the most sensitive issues in Iran ― including censorship, electoral fraud, torture and women’s rights. Sketches of Iran: A Glimpse from the Front Lines of Human Rights, edited by Omid Memarian, depicts the pain and resiliency of Iranians who…

Facebook in Iran: The Supreme Leader

April 16, 2013
Helia Ighani             Iran’s supreme leader is big into social media. Over the past year, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has launched a Facebook page as well as Instagram, Google Plus and YouTube accounts ― despite government bans on Facebook and YouTube. He has been on Twitter since 2009…

U.S. Offers Earthquake Aid to Iran, Pakistan

April 16, 2013
            On April 16, Secretary of State John Kerry offered assistance to Iran and Pakistan after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit their border. The epicenter of the quake ― Iran’s largest in more than 40 years ― was near the remote southeastern city of Khash. But the 51 mile depth of the quake…

Report: Iran’s Economy Shrank in 2012

April 16, 2013
            Iran’s economy has shrunk for the first time in more than twenty years. It shrank by 1.9 percent in 2012 and could contract by 1.3 percent in 2013, according to a new report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Unemployment is also expected to rise to 13.4 percent in 2013, up from…

Report: Sunni-Shiite Divide Deepens

April 12, 2013
            The Arab uprisings have deepened ethnic and religious tensions between Sunnis and Shiites in the Middle East, according to a new report by The Brookings Institution. The rise of sectarianism is being drive by three main factors:      •Sunni Islamist ascendancy in Tunisia and Egypt…

U.S.: Iran Aiding Assad in Aleppo

April 12, 2013
            Iran’s role in the Syrian conflict is “especially pernicious as it helps the Assad regime build sectarian militias,” U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Iran and its proxy Hezbollah “have increased their presence” particularly in Aleppo,…

Latest on the Race: Rival Conservative Coalitions

April 11, 2013
Garrett Nada             In Iran, conservative candidates come in many shades. The presidential race has already produced two new coalitions among the Islamic Republic’s many hardline factions. The goal is to consolidate the political clout of individual candidates two months before the June…

Latest on the Race: Ex-Nuke Negotiator to Run

April 11, 2013
Garrett Nada             Hassan Rouhani, head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council for 16 years from 1989 to 2005, declared his candidacy for president on April 11. Born in 1948, he also served as the lead nuclear negotiator in earlier rounds of diplomacy with European powers.        The…

New U.S. Sanctions on Banks, Oil

April 11, 2013
            On April 11, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned an Iranian businessman, a Malaysian bank and an international network of front companies that moved billions of dollars to a Revolutionary Guards company. “As international sanctions have become increasingly stifling, Iran has resorted to…

G8 Statement on Iran

April 11, 2013
            On April 11, the G8 urged Iran to cooperate with the United Nations on its nuclear program to avoid further isolation. Ministers from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom warned that “talks cannot continue indefinitely.” They also…

Where Does Nuclear Diplomacy Stand Now?

April 9, 2013
Interview with Michael Adler by Garrett Nada What was the outcome of the talks in Kazakhstan and why?             The talks were basically a failure because the six world powers did not receive an answer to the proposal they made to Iran in February. In those talks, also in Kazakhstan, the…

U.S. Offers Earthquake Aid to Iran

April 9, 2013
            On April 10, the United States offered aid to Iran one day after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit the country’s south. The quake hit within 60 miles of Bushehr, a town on the Persian Gulf coast that is home to Iran’s nuclear power plant. Iranian officials claimed that the plant was not…

Kerry on Nuke Talks: What’s Next?

April 9, 2013
            Iran and the world’s six major powers failed to compromise on Tehran’s controversial nuclear program in the fifth round of talks since 2011. The following are remarks by Secretary of State Kerry on the nuclear talks in Almaty, Kazakhstan on April 5 and 6.             On Iran, I think…

Little Progress at Fifth Round of Nuke Talks

April 8, 2013
            Iran and the world’s six major powers failed to compromise on Tehran’s controversial nuclear program in the fifth round of talks since 2011. The United States, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United Kingdom ― the so-called P5+1― met with Iran in Almaty, Kazakhstan on April 5 and…

The Arab Uprisings in Iranian Politics

April 8, 2013
            Iran hailed the 2011 Arab uprisings as an “Islamic Awakening” and considered the overthrow of U.S.-backed dictators a continuation of its own 1979 revolution. A new report claims that Tehran’s goals are to foster political Islam in the Arab world and Arab independence from U.S.…

Part II: What Would it Take to Build a Bomb?

April 5, 2013
Interview with Colin Kahl by Garrett NadaWhat steps would be necessary for Iran to build a nuclear weapon?             President Obama has estimated that it would take Iran “over a year or so” for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. But that device would likely be crude and too large to fit on a…

Part I: Is Iran Slowing its Nuclear Program?

April 4, 2013
Interview with Colin Kahl by Garrett NadaColin H. Kahl served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East from 2009 to 2011. He is currently an associate professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security…

Report: Nuke Program Expensive and Risky

April 3, 2013
            Iran’s nuclear program has cost more than $100 billion in lost foreign investment and oil revenue, according to a new report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Federation of American Scientists. It argues that the nuclear program may be too entangled with national…

Khamenei Comments II: Islam’s Rules on Sports

April 2, 2013
            Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told athletes that they play a valuable role in promoting Iran’s values abroad and raising “national self-confidence” at home. Athletes act as ambassadors at international competitions, presenting Iran as a “determined, religious, talented and noble…

Khamenei Comments I: Nuke Research as Model for Sports

April 2, 2013
            In a little noticed speech, Iran’s supreme leader urged athletes to emulate the determination of the country’s nuclear scientists. The West thought that “we would not be able to produce fuel plates and fuel rods. But our youth built them,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told…

Unusual Rivalry: Iran v. U.S. Over Ice Cream

April 1, 2013
            Iranians apparently take their desserts seriously. The sweet final course of any meal even spills over into foreign policy.      In the latest rivalry between Iran and the United States, a Tehran ice cream company broke the Guinness record for the world’s largest ice cream cup — a full…

U.N. Stats: Life Longer and Healthier In Iran

April 1, 2013
            A new U.N. report highlights Iran’s significant progress in providing citizens with a long and healthy life, access to education and a decent standard of living. Between 1980 and 2012, Iran’s life expectancy at birth increased by 22.1 years, mean years of schooling increased by 5.7…

U.N. Stats: Iran’s Gender Gap

April 1, 2013
            A new U.N. report ranked Iran 107 out of 148 countries on the Gender Inequality Index (GII), which measures reproductive health, empowerment and economic activity of women. Iran’s maternal mortality ratio and adolescent fertility rate are relatively low compared to other countries close…

U.N. Stats: Iran's Slow Population Growth

April 1, 2013
            Iran’s low fertility rate has produced a rapidly aging population, according to a new U.N. report. The rate has declined from 2.2 births per woman in 2000 to 1.6 in 2012. This has pushed the median age of Iranians to 27.1 years in 2010, up from 20.8 years in 2000. The median age could…

Latest on the Race: Appeals to Khatami to Run

March 28, 2013
Garrett Nada             Iran’s political limelight is increasingly focused on whether former President Mohammad Khatami will run again. On March 16, 91 reformist leaders published an open letter calling on Khatami, who was president from 1997 to 2005, to run again in the June 14 election…

Latest on the Race: Reformists Regroup to Run

March 28, 2013
Garrett Nada              Iran’s reformers appear to be rejoining the political fray, with the first reform candidate entering the presidential race and new pressure on former President Mohammad Khatami to run as well. So far, the field of about twenty candidates is otherwise dominated by…

Kerry Presses Iraq on Iran Flights to Syria

March 25, 2013
            On March 24, Secretary of State John Kerry pressed Iraq to inspect Iranian cargo flights for arms. Iranian flights are “helping to sustain” the Syrian regime, Kerry claimed during a previously unannounced visit to Baghdad. The United States suspects that Tehran is using the flights to…

Khamenei Open to Direct U.S. Talks

March 24, 2013
            Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said he is not opposed to direct talks with the United States in a speech marking Nowruz, the Persian New Year. But he is “not optimistic” about prospects for success if negotiations take place. Khamenei claimed that the United States “doesn’t want…