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Iran Urges U.N. Response to Israeli Strikes

May 7, 2013
      On May 6, Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee condemned the Israeli airstrikes on Syria as “blatant acts of aggression” and demanded an international response. The letter warned that Israel’s attacks will further destabilize the region.      “Nothing can justify the use of force and act of…

How Deeply is Iran Enmeshed in Syria?

May 6, 2013
Will Fulton            Israel carried out two airstrikes on Syrian targets in early May that significantly expanded the regional dimensions of Syria’s internal conflict. In the first strike on May 3, Israeli warplanes reportedly hit a convoy of Iranian Fateh-110 missiles destined for Lebanon’s…

Iran and Syria React Angrily to Israeli Strikes

May 6, 2013
      Iran and Syria both lashed out angrily at Israel for two reported airstrikes on Syrian military targets on May 3 and 5, 2013. Both also warned of possible retaliation. The following are select quotes from senior officials in Tehran and Damascus.  Iran Ali Akbar Salehi, foreign minister…

New U.S. Sanctions on Nuclear Program, Bank and Shipping

May 6, 2013
            On May 9, the State Department imposed new sanctions on four Iranian companies and one individual for providing “goods, technology, and services that increase Iran’s ability to enrich uranium and/or construct a heavy water” research reactor. U.N. Security Council Resolutions prohibit…

Report: Religious Freedom Abuses

May 3, 2013
            Iran continues to engage in “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, including prolonged detention, torture, and executions based primarily or entirely upon the religion of the accused,” according to an annual report by the U.S. Commission on International…

How Iran Ranks on World Press Freedom Day

May 3, 2013
            Iran’s crackdown on the press, including detention of 24 journalists, was highlighted by two reports to mark International Press Freedom Day on May 3. Iran ranks among the world’s worst-rated countries on press freedom, according to a new index by Freedom House. The organization assigns…

Iran Takes Tough Stance on Chemical Weapons in Syria

May 2, 2013
            On at least one issue—and at least rhetorically—Iran and the United States agree. Both Tehran and Washington are now on the record in calling the use of chemical weapons “a red line.” Iran’s toughening position may reflect its own experience when Saddam Hussein repeatedly used several…

Supreme Leader on Women

May 1, 2013
      The West has committed an “unforgivable sin” against women by defining them as merely objects of pleasure, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Iran’s National Women’s Day. The supreme leader claimed that Islam grants women equal rights and honor, while Western lifestyle degrades them. He also…

Latest on the Race: Economy Top Election Issue

May 1, 2013
      The economy is a pivotal issue in Iran’s presidential campaign, since the country now faces its most serious crisis since the 1980-88 war with Iraq. Virtually everyone—including both supporters and critics of the regime—is demanding change. Most candidates are too.       But the economy…

Khamenei: West Fueling Syria Conflict

April 30, 2013
            Western intelligence services are fomenting “bloody sectarian, ethnic and national conflicts” in Syria and countries in transition, Iran’s supreme leader said on April 29. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Western propaganda and “mercenary media” in the region are falsely portraying…

Latest on the Race: Leader’s Ideal President

April 29, 2013
            In a strong speech six weeks before the election, the supreme leader admonished presidential candidates against making empty promises or creating tension. Ayatollah Khamenei also defended the Guardian Council, which usually disqualifies 99 percent of candidates. In 2009, the council…

Part II: Sanctions Hit Iran’s Oil Production

April 29, 2013
            Iran’s oil production dropped 17 percent in 2012, according to a new according to a new report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But Iran managed to remain the second-largest crude oil producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on average. Consumption…

Part I: Iran Oil Sales Plummet

April 29, 2013
            In 2012, Iran’s oil exports dropped to their lowest level since 1986, according to a new report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Exports declined 39 percent between from 2011 to 2012 alone due to tightened U.S. and E.U. sanctions. Production of crude oil and condensates…

Al Qaeda and Iran: Enemies with Benefits

April 25, 2013
Matthew Duss             On April 22, Canadian authorities arrested two men who allegedly planned to derail a U.S.-bound passenger train. Officials said al Qaeda elements in Iran gave “direction and guidance” to Chiheb Esseghaier, 30, and Raed Jaser, 35. But police have not found evidence of…

Politics and Art of Iran’s Revolutionary Tulips

April 23, 2013
Garrett Nada       Their petals are on the national flag. They line the dome above Ayatollah Khomeini’s tomb. They adorn billboards of martyrs from the war with Iraq. They have been depicted on coins and postage stamps. And hotels, parks and restaurants are named after them…

Hagel: Arms Deal Clear Signal to Iran

April 23, 2013
            U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that a $10 billion arms deal with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates is a “clear signal" that all options are on the table for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran. Hagel arrived in Israel on April 21 for his first visit as defense…

Latest on the Race: Khamenei’s Do’s and Don’ts

April 23, 2013
            The supreme leader has warned presidential candidates against demeaning each other and promising more than they can accomplish. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has published a list of 25 campaign do’s and don’ts ahead of the June presidential election. At least 30 candidates have indicated their…

Iran’s Self-Inflicted Wounds

April 23, 2013
            Iran is facing double-digit inflation, high consumer prices, rising unemployment, and anemic economic growth, according to a new report by Jahangir Amuzegar, a former executive board member of the International Monetary Fund. But not all of Iran’s economic problems are caused by…

U.S. Slams Iran in New Human Rights Report

April 19, 2013
            On April 19, the State Department’s new human rights report charged that Iran engaged in “egregious” abuses, including “cruel, inhuman or degrading” punishments as well as “judicially sanctioned” amputation and flogging. It cited “beatings and rape” as evidence of Tehran’s politically…

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…