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U.S. Eases Sanctions for Medicine, Sports

September 10, 2013
            On September 10, the U.S. Treasury eased sanctions on humanitarian activity and athletic exchanges with Iran. Nongovernmental organizations can now provide disaster relief and conduct projects on environmental issues, human rights and democracy. And athletic exchanges will be easier to…

Rouhani and Zarif Wish Jews Happy New Year

September 6, 2013
            On September 4, President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif used Twitter to wish a happy new year to the world’s Jews. “As the sun is about to set here in #Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah,” tweeted Rouhani. Iran is home to…

US Expands Sanctions, EU Court Voids Others

September 6, 2013
            On September 6, Iran faced new sanctions imposed by the United States as the top European court mandated the lifting of sanctions on key Iranian banks and business.           The European Court of Justice criticized the European Union for relying on alleged insufficient or inconclusive…

US Renews Sanctions Waivers for 11 Nations

September 6, 2013
            On September 6, the United States extended Iran sanctions waivers to Japan and 10 E.U. countries for significantly reducing their crude oil purchases from Tehran. Japan’s imports of Iranian oil in June 2013 were down 38.1 percent compared to a year earlier. Washington had already…

Report: Iran’s Strategy in Afghanistan

September 6, 2013
            Iran is set to play a major role in Afghanistan after the 2014 pullout of U.S. combat troops, according to a new report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. On August 5, 2013 — President Hassan Rouhani’s first day in office —Tehran signed strategic cooperation…

Iran Factor in U.S. Syria Strike

September 4, 2013
            Iran has been a constant subtext of the Obama administration’s campaign to justify a military strike on Syria. Both proponents and opponents of a strike have have referred to Iran’s controversial nuclear program as a factor in deliberations. Proponents have argued that an attack could…

Rouhani Wishes Jews Happy New Year

September 4, 2013
            On September 4, President Hassan Rouhani used Twitter to wish a happy new year to the world’s Jews. Iran is home to some 25,000 Jews—the second largest population in the Middle East outside of Israel. His tweet contrasted starkly with the tone of his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who…

Iran Minorities 2: Ethnic Diversity

September 3, 2013
Bijan DaBell      Persians are Iran’s largest ethnic group, but nearly a dozen other ethnicities represent well over a third of the 79 million population. The largest ethnic groups, which are major factors in Iranian politics, are Azeris, Kurds, Arabs, Baluchis, and Lors. Others include Turkomen,…

Iran Minorities 1: Diverse Religions

September 3, 2013
Bijan DaBell                       Iran may be the world’s only modern theocracy, but the Islamic Republic’s constitution actually mandates a political role for three religious minorities. Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians all have seats in the 290-seat parliament proportionate to their populations…

Iran Officials Warn Against Syria Strike

September 3, 2013
      Iran’s political and military leaders have condemned calls for Western military intervention following reports of chemical weapons use in Syria. Military action would drag the Middle East into “the abyss of violence and conflict,” warned Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on August 27.…

Foreign Minister’s Facebook Essay on Chemical Weapons

August 30, 2013
      On August 30, Iran's new foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif posted an essay on his personal Facebook page strongly condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria. But he also challenged the international response -- and hypocrisy -- in light of the world's lack of action in the 1980s when…

Khamenei Google+ : On Iran’s Lazy Youth

August 30, 2013
            On August 29, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s office announced the launch of his English language Google Plus account. One of the first postings bemoaned the laziness of Iran’s youth and included a picture of Khamenei walking up a mountain road. Tehran has periodically blocked…

Rouhani Tweets: Women, Egypt, Econ & Sport

August 28, 2013
      During his first month in office, President Hassan Rouhani’s office tweeted extensively on women’s rights, job creation and foreign policy. He promised to take decisive action to fix the economy within 100 days. But Rouhani also warned, “I'm no miracle maker” in one tweet. “National unity,…

Khamenei Comments: On Foreign Policy

August 28, 2013
      In August, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei focused particularly on regional conflicts and foreign policy. He urged Egyptians to avoid a civil war—and prevent the kind of conflict that is destroying Syria. Khamenei blamed the bloodshed in Syria and Iraq on foreign powers. “U.S.…

U.N. Report: Iran Slowing Nuke Program

August 28, 2013
            Iran has made slow but steady progress on its nuclear program, according to a new quarterly report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The following analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security breaks down the positive and negative developments.…

Marriage and Divorce of Hamas and Hezbollah

August 27, 2013
Hanin Ghaddar             Iran has always been the element that tied Sunni Hamas and Shiite Hezbollah together. The Islamic Republic’s priority was to foster organizations that would be part of the “resistance” against Israel and the West. Hanin Ghaddar analyzes the split between the two…

Rouhani Tweets: On Chemical Weapons, Syria

August 27, 2013
            In a flurry of tweets, President Hassan Rouhani took a firm stand against use of chemical weapons in Syria. Damascus is Tehran’s closest ally in the region. But chemical weapons are a particularly sensitive issue in Iran because of repeated use by Iraq during the 1980-1988 war. During…

Sign of Changing Times?

August 26, 2013
            In unusual coverage of a diplomatic visit, the Iranian press issued several pictures of new Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif welcoming U.N. Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, who is also a former senior U.S. official. As Assistant Secretary of State for…

Report: Iran-Turkey Rivalry

August 26, 2013
            Turkish and Iranian interests in the Middle East are increasingly at odds, especially in Syria and Iraq, according to a new report by the Rand Corporation. Turkish energy needs and massive Iranian oil and natural gas resources heightened levels of cooperation between the two countries…

Youth in Iran Part 4: Crazy for Sports

August 20, 2013
Garrett Nada             Faced with few social options or outlets to let off steam, Iran’s young have turned almost fanatically to sports. The first post-revolution generation now includes some world-class athletes—both male and female—as well as millions of diehard sports fans. Iran’s youth…

Youth in Iran Part 3: The Politics of Fashion

August 19, 2013
Maral Noori             They have bare forearms! They have shapely legs! They even have daring waistlines! And most of all, they vote!            To understand politics in Iran these days, outsiders also have to understand female fashion. A woman’s right-to-wear was an implicit theme in the…

Zarif Outlines New Foreign Policy

August 19, 2013
            In several interviews and speeches, Iran’s new foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif has offered new insight on how foreign policy would take new directions under President Hassan Rouhani. The following are excerpts from public remarks, translated from Farsi, and an interview in English…

Youth in Iran Part 2: Parkour Fever

August 13, 2013
Garrett Nada             Young Iranians are scaling walls, leaping staircases and flipping over benches. But they’re not running from the police. They’re practicing parkour, a blend of gymnastics, martial arts and plain old obstacle-course athletics. Participants are called traceurs, French for…

Report on Iran Talks:New Hope under Rouhani

August 13, 2013
            President Hassan Rouhani’s electoral victory may signal a change in style and negotiating tactics on Iran’s controversial nuclear program, according to a new International Crisis Group report. Rouhani authored the only previous nuclear agreement between Tehran and the West in the 2000s…

Youth in Iran Part 1: "The Determinators"

August 9, 2013
Robin Wright              They’re the determinators—the politically savvy, socially sassy, and media astute young of Iran. And they count, quite literally, as never before as a new president takes over.        President Hassan Rouhani owes his election to the young, who are Iran’s largest voting…

Political Prisoners Letter to Obama

August 9, 2013
            In a letter dated August 8, more than 50 current and former political prisoners appealed to President Obama to seize the “last chance” to “turn a page and start a new era of mutual understanding” between the United States and Iran. It described the election of new President Hassan…

President Rouhani’s First Press Conference

August 6, 2013
      President Hassan Rouhani met with local and international correspondents at his first press conference on August 6. He addressed the full range of challenges Iran faces on both domestic and foreign policy. Rouhani said Iran is prepared to enter “serious and substantive” negotiations on its…

Iran Sanctions: Which way out?

August 5, 2013
Ali Vaez       The United States has imposed several layers of sanctions against Iran—for widely diverse reasons—dating back to the 1979 revolution. Tehran now wants relief from sanctions as part of any diplomatic deal on its controversial nuclear program. But lifting sanctions is often harder…

Inauguration of Hassan Rouhani

August 4, 2013
      On August 3, Hassan Rouhani took office as Iran’s new president at a ceremony in Tehran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei endorsed Rouhani’s victory in front of political, military and religious leaders. The new president took the oath of office before parliament and foreign dignitaries…

Obama on New Iranian President

August 4, 2013
            On August 4, the Obama administration welcomed Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration as Iran’s new president. The following is the full text of the press secretary's statement.             "On the occasion of Dr. Hojjatoleslam Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration today as the Islamic Republic of…