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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…

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…