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Part III: Opposition to a Deal - Congress

November 14, 2013
            Any deal on Iran’s controversial nuclear program may need Congressional approval. But the Obama administration could  face a tough sell for any deal on the Hill from both Republicans and Democrats. Nearly 60 percent of sanctions imposed on Tehran have been written into law since the…

Iranians' Support for Syria Wanes

November 14, 2013
            Less than half of Iranians support economic, military or political support for the Syrian regime, according to a new Gallup World poll. The Iranian government, however, has been a staunch defender of Bashar al Assad’s government since the conflict erupted in early 2011. Tehran has…

Geneva Talks: Progress, But No Nuclear Deal

November 12, 2013
            Iran and the world’s six major powers made significant headway but ultimately failed to finalize an agreement at grueling talks between November 7 and 10. Foreign ministers from the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia rushed to Geneva as a breakthrough appeared…

Iran Launches Flashy Nuclear Website

November 12, 2013
             Tehran has a launched sophisticated new website, NuclearEnergy.ir, to convince the world – in English – that its nuclear energy program is both peaceful and necessary for modern development, despite Iran’s vast oil and gas resources. The Islamic Republic’s ambitious public diplomacy…

Geneva Talks: Experts on Deal Terms

November 12, 2013
            The following briefs by nuclear proliferation experts analyze the potential terms of a deal to solve the Iranian nuclear dispute. SIPRI: Stockholm International Peace Research InstituteTime for a more comprehensive approach to the Iran nuclear negotiations   Shannon KileWill the first…

Iran Provides UN More Access to Nuclear Sites

November 12, 2013
            On November 11, Iran agreed to provide the U.N. nuclear watchdog with greater access to its nuclear sites. The joint statement signed in Tehran was intended to help verify the peaceful nature of Iran’s controversial nuclear program. International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano…

Rouhani at 100 Days: Easing Up is Hard to Do

November 7, 2013
Hanif Kashani and Robin Wright            The honeymoon is over. President Hassan Rouhani marks 100 days in office on November 12, which is also his birthday. During his campaign against five rivals, Rouhani distinguished himself as the people’s champion and pledged to create a government of “…

Rouhani at 100 Days: Few New Freedoms Yet

November 7, 2013
Hanif Kashani and Garrett Nada             Iran’s new government has taken only token steps to restore basic freedoms or open up politically during Hassan Rouhani’s first 100 days in office. The cleric had campaigned on an ambitious platform that included free speech, release of political…

Gallup: Most Iranians Say Sanctions Hurting

November 6, 2013
            Some 85 percent of Iranians said international sanctions have hurt their livelihoods, according to a new poll by Gallup World. Half of respondents said they have been hurt “a great deal.” A higher percentage of Iranians said that sanctions had hurt the country overall. Since early 2012…

US, Iran Share Goal: Push Back Hardliners

November 4, 2013
           Ahead of new diplomatic talks, top U.S. and Iranian officials are scrambling to push back hardliners opposed to a nuclear deal. Tehran and the world’s six major powers are scheduled to meet from November 7 to 8 for the second time since President Hassan Rouhani took office.        The…

World Leaders on Upcoming Diplomatic Talks

November 4, 2013
      World leaders expressed skepticism that the second round of diplomatic talks in Geneva would produce a dramatic breakthrough agreement on Iran’s controversial nuclear program. Even President Hassan Rouhani (left), who reinvigorated diplomacy after his August inauguration, was skeptical. “The…

US Report: Sanctions Biting Harder

November 1, 2013
            The Congressional Research Service periodically releases a comprehensive report on Iran sanctions impact. The following are excerpts from the latest update with a link to the full text at the end.   Summary               Increasingly strict sanctions on Iran—sanctions that primarily…

Former US Hostages: Their Thoughts on New Iran Diplomacy

October 31, 2013
            The United States marks the 34th anniversary of the American Embassy seizure in Tehran on November 4— just four days before the resumption of diplomatic talks between Iran and the world’s six major powers in Geneva. The new talks, launched in October, have also featured the highest…

What Billboards Say on Iran’s Foreign Policy

October 30, 2013
            Iranian suspicion about the United States has been splashed across billboards and spray-painted on public walls ever since the 1979 revolution. But anti-American art has actually now become a source of dispute within Iran’s government—and maybe a sign of changing times.            …

Iran’s Environment: Greater Threat than Foreign Foes

October 28, 2013
David Michel       Iran faces growing environmental challenges that are now more perilous to the country’s long-term stability than either foreign adversaries or domestic political struggles. More than two-thirds of the country’s land—up to 118 million hectares—is rapidly turning into desert, Iran…

Kerry on Iran Nuclear Talks

October 28, 2013
            On October 28, Secretary of State John Kerry said not testing Iran’s intentions to solve the nuclear dispute would be the “height of irresponsibility and dangerous.” Kerry emphasized that whatever actions Iran would take as part of a settlement must be verifiable. He also reiterated…

Iran Oil Exports Up 26 Percent from 2012

October 28, 2013
             Iran’s oil exports increased by 180,000 barrels per day in September 2013, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency. Exports were up 26 percent from 2012, probably due to increased purchases by China, India and Japan. Crude oil production, however, was down 100,000…

Photo Essay: A New Mood in Iran

October 23, 2013
Semira Nikou              The voice of Ali Larijani, Iran’s parliament speaker, disrupted our dinner party.             We left our plates filled with fruits and nuts to huddle around the television, as the speaker read the names of…

Report: Gender Gap Widening

October 23, 2013
            Iran has one of the worst records on gender gap, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum. The Islamic Republic was ranked 130 out of 136 countries overall [more than 50 countries were not included in the survey]. Iran has fallen in rank the last four consecutive years. It…

U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Chief on Iran

October 22, 2013
            On November 1, the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s chief, Yukiya Amano, said that talks with Iran on its controversial nuclear program have progressed significantly since the election of President Hassan Rouhani. “There was some real change” in Iran’s tone during the last two meetings with the…

UN Report: Deepening Human Rights Crisis

October 22, 2013
            On October 22, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran released a new report on violations in the Islamic Republic. It stated that:             “At the heart of the deepening human rights crisis in the Islamic Republic of Iran is its disregard for the pre-eminence of…

Iranians Divided on Nuclear Program

October 21, 2013
            About 56 percent of Iranians approved of their government developing nuclear power capabilities for non-military use, according to a new Gallup World poll. And a plurality of some 41 percent of respondents disapproved of developing such capabilities for military use. But 34 percent…

US Views of Iran Improve After UN Assembly

October 21, 2013
            Diplomatic overtures from Iran during the U.N. General Assembly seem to have softened American views of Iran, according to a new Economist/YouGov poll. On September 13, some 52 percent of respondents considered Iran an enemy. But on September 30, only 36 percent did. The following are…

Iran's Man on Wire: Javad Zarif

October 18, 2013
Robin Wright             When Mohammed Javad Zarif left the United Nations in 2007, I asked what he had achieved in five years as Tehran's ambassador. "Not much," he said with a sigh. "A stupid idealist who has not achieved anything in his diplomatic life after giving one-sided concessions--this is…

New Progress in Iran Nuke Talks?

October 17, 2013
            After talks on October 15 and 16, Iran and the world’s six powers reported that the nuclear talks were “substantive and forward looking.” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters, “We hope that this is a beginning of a new phase in our relations.” It was the sixth…

Zarif Diary on Historic US-Iran Talks

September 30, 2013
      In an all-time first for Iranian diplomacy, new Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif has been chronicling his visit to New York on his Facebook page for Iranians back home. On September 26, Secretary of State John Kerry and Zarif held their first meeting on the sideline of talks between Iran…

On the Record: Zarif, Kerry, Rice on US-Iran Talks

September 30, 2013
            On September 29, top officials from Iran and the United States explained their goals and reasoning in the first-ever talks between their foreign ministers two days earlier. The following are transcripts of an interviews with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on ABC’s “This…

US-Iran: Other Signs of New Times

September 30, 2013
Robin Wright             A week of remarkable U.S.-Iran diplomacy has been followed by other indications of shifting tones in both the Islamic Republic and the United States. Among the most startling was the headline “On the Wave of Telephone Diplomacy” in Iran’s Bahar newspaper…

Rouhani Briefs Iranians on US Visit

September 30, 2013
            On September 29, President Hassan Rouhani briefed Iranians on his visit to the United Nations and his phone conversation with President Barack Obama. Rouhani told Obama that the “Iranian people have opened a window of opportunity, but that there is not much time for” resolving the…

US and Israel Discuss New Iran Diplomacy

September 30, 2013
            President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed Iran and the new U.S.-Iran diplomacy at the White House on September 30. The following are the relevant excerpts of their remarks on Iran. President Barack Obama              We had an opportunity, obviously,…