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Rouhani: First Presser on US, Reforms, Nukes

June 17, 2013
      On June 17, president-elect Hassan Rouhani called for new ways “to build trust” with the international community on Iran’s controversial nuclear program. Rouhani, in his first press conference, said both the United States and Iran need to find a way to heal "a very old wound.” He spoke…

Obama on Rouhani Victory

June 17, 2013
      On June 17, President Barack Obama said that the United States is open to engaging with Iran through bilateral channels. But Tehran must recognize that sanctions will not be lifted absent “significant steps” show that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons, he stipulated. On Iran’s election,…

Election:What Rouhani Victory Means for Iran

June 15, 2013
Shaul Bakhash            Hassan Rouhani’s surprising first round victory in the presidential elections represents a significant shift in the Iranian political landscape. In a field of candidates dominated by conservatives, Rouhani ran as a moderate. He questioned the necessity of the expanding…

US Report: Human Trafficking Rises in Iran

June 15, 2013
            In its annual report on human trafficking, the State Department called Iran a “presumed source, transit, and destination country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.” The number of teenage girls in prostitution has reportedly risen significantly in…

Rouhani: Diverse Reaction by Iranian Leaders

June 15, 2013
            Top Iranian leaders used their congratulatory messages to President-elect Hassan Rouhani to offer their own takes on the election results. Some seemed unwilling to concede the defeat of the hardliner “principlist” camp. Other leaders focused on the high turnout rather than Rouhani’s win…

G8 Communique on Iran

June 15, 2013
            On June 18, the Group of Eight industrialized nations called on Iran to move “without delay” to fulfill its long-delayed obligations in answering questions about its controversial nuclear program. It also called on the international community to fully implement a variety of U.N.…

Election: US Reacts to Results

June 15, 2013
            In two separate statements, the United States called on the Iranian government to heed its people’s will after the surprise election of Hassan Rouhani in the first round of presidential elections. The Obama administration also “remains ready to engage with the Iranian government…

Rouhani: World Reacts to Election

June 15, 2013
            World leaders issued diverse reactions to the stunning election of Hassan Rouhani to Iran’s presidency. Governments from Europe to Israel and Russia hoped that his election would mark a turning point in stabilizing the region. Some leaders renewed their willingness to work with Iran to…

Election: Diverse Iranian Press Reaction

June 15, 2013
      The Iranian press issued both praise and warnings after the election of Hassan Rouhani. In their editorials, reformist publications said the victory by a moderate cleric reflected a rejection of the status quo in politics, the economy and foreign policy. Newspapers heralded the beginning of a…

Election: Stunning Results and Videos

June 15, 2013
            Hassan Rouhani, the lone reformist candidate, won Iran’s presidential election with 50.7 percent of the vote. The cleric avoided the need for a run-off by securing more than half of the nearly 37 million votes. Mohammad Baqer-Qalibaf, the mayor of Tehran, came in at a distant second…

Vote Day News: Khamenei blasts US, Pictures from polls

June 14, 2013
Fars News posts photos of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei casting the first ballot of the day and saying, “The fate of the country and the prosperity of the nation are dependent on the participation and the people’s selection, and the nation’s votes are trusted in the hands of the election…

Latest on the Race: Final Polls – and Shifts

June 13, 2013
            Iranian elections are highly unpredictable due to the number of candidates and short campaigns. Polls for the 2013 presidential race were initially all over the map. But some polls now indicate that the two leading candidates are Hassan Rouhani and Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf. The other four…

Campaign Posters Capture Rivalries

June 12, 2013
Garrett Nada            In flashy campaign art, Iran’s six presidential candidates are pulling at public heartstrings and playing on haunting moments in Iranian history to rally votes. Posters are now plastered across billboards, fences, office blocks and the sides of cars as well as on Facebook,…

Old War Haunts New Election

June 11, 2013
By Garrett Nada and Helia Ighani            A quarter century later, the Iran-Iraq War looms over Iran’s presidential election as if it happened yesterday. All six candidates participated in the grizzliest modern Middle East conflict as fighters, commanders or officials. Over the past month, the…

Persian Press on the Race: June 13

June 11, 2013
Hanif Zarrabi-Kashani            The Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars offers the latest news on the 2013 Iranian presidential election, based on a selection of Iranian news sources. The Iran Election Update is a daily summary of up-to-date information…

Latest on the Race: Two Candidates Drop Out

June 11, 2013
            Two candidates – one hardliner and one reformer – have quit Iran’s presidential race, leaving six competing in the June 14 poll. Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, a “principlist” hardliner and ex-parliamentary speaker, dropped out on June 10. Mohammad Reza Aref, a reformist and former vice…

Latest on the Race: Foreign Policy Split

June 7, 2013
Garrett Nada             Iran’s third and final presidential debate on June 7 was by far the most heated. In often fiery exchanges, all eight candidates lashed out at their rivals, raising their voices and charging opponents with failing the revolution. The debate exposed deep divisions on how…

Latest on the Race: Debate on Culture, Women

June 6, 2013
Garrett Nada                       Iran’s eight presidential candidates clashed on issues of culture, personal freedoms and women’s rights at the June 5 debate. Hassan Rouhani and Mohammed Reza Aref repeatedly criticized government censorship of the internet, press and academia. They argued that…

What the world will learn from Iran’s election

June 6, 2013
By Robin Wright             The field of candidates may be limited, but the outside world can still learn a lot from Iran’s 2013 presidential poll. The election will provide three pivotal metrics about the Islamic republic now that the Ahmadinejad era is ending.        First, the (real) turnout…

Video: Largest protests since 2009 election

June 5, 2013
            On June 4, thousands reportedly turned the funeral of Ayatollah Jalaluddin Taheri into an anti-government protest in Isfahan. Taheri had been the city’s Friday Prayer leader. He had earlier criticized the regime for corruption, eventually resigning from the post. Taheri also called the…

Latest on the Race: Furor at First Debate

June 4, 2013
      At the first presidential debate on May 31, Iran’s eight candidates spent more time arguing over the quiz show format than debating each other. Tensions erupted when the moderator asked yes-or-no and multiple choice questions. “I’m not answering these questions,” said Mohammad Reza Aref (left…

US Sanctions Iran Leadership

June 4, 2013
           On June 4, the United States sanctioned a major network of front companies for hiding assets on behalf of Iranian leaders. The Treasury targeted The Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order and 37 ostensibly private businesses under it. Many are front companies involved in real estate,…

Supreme Leader Blasts Foreign Plots in Vote

June 4, 2013
      On June 4, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei charged that foreign powers are plotting to discourage Iranians from voting in the upcoming presidential election. Tehran’s enemies also want to cause “sedition” after the poll “just like what they did” after the disputed 2009 election,…

Rand Report on Iran Election

June 4, 2013
            In a new Rand report, Alireza Nader examines the implications of the election, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's objectives, the regime's electoral strategy, the competing factions and personalities, and the potential implications for the United States, especially…

US Sanctions Iran Currency

June 3, 2013
      On June 3, the United States imposed sanctions for the first time on Iran’s currency, the rial. Foreign financial institutions may now face penalties if they “knowingly conduct or facilitate significant transactions” involving the rial― which has already lost half its value since January 2012…

Part I: Iran-Syria Religious Ties

June 3, 2013
Mehdi Khalaji            Iran and Syria are unlikely bedfellows. Iran has been an Islamic republic—and the world’s only modern theocracy—since the 1979 revolution. Syria has been a rigidly secular and socialist country since Hafez Assad took over in 1970. Ethnically, Iran is predominantly Persian,…

Part II: Shiite Holy Sites in Syria

June 3, 2013
Garrett Nada            Syria is home to some 50 sites holy to Shiites. Some have been badly damaged in the fighting between Syrian government forces and rebels since 2011. At least one shrine has been reportedly desecrated by Sunni extremists. Several top Iranian officials have condemned attacks…

Report: Sanctions Empower Regime

June 3, 2013
            Sanctions have had  the unintended consequence of empowering the Iranian regime, according to a new report by the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Sanctions have signaled international opposition to Iran’s proliferation activities. But Iran has continued to defy demands by…

US Charges Iran More Active Worldwide

June 3, 2013
            On May 31, two senior U.S. officials detailed Iran’s growing role in extremist activities worldwide. Tehran was directly or indirectly involved in the planning of attacks in Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa in 2012, said the officials. The following are excerpts from the background…

The Supreme Leader’s Revenge

May 30, 2013
Alireza Nader            Iranian politics are personal. Indeed, the theocrats are decidedly earthly in their rivalries. But the 2013 election is particularly telling. It may be settling a score dating back a quarter century between the revolution’s two most enduring politicos—Supreme Leader…