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US Report on Iran's Support of Extremism

May 24, 2013
            Iran significantly increased its sponsorship of terrorism in 2012, according to a new report by the State Department. It claims that attacks in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, South Asia and the Far East were linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force or Iran’s ally in…

US Lifts Sanctions

May 24, 2013
            On May 30, the United States authorized the export of cell phones, computers and internet equipment to Iran. The export of such consumer electronics and communications tools had been banned since 1992. “As the Iranian government attempts to silence its people by cutting off their…

Latest on the Race: Khomeini Daughter Defends Rafsanjani

May 23, 2013
      The daughter of late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has urged the supreme leader to allow Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to run for president. The Guardian Council ― the powerful body charged with vetting candidates ― has blocked the former president from running. “Please…

Latest on the Race: Candidates Approved

May 21, 2013
            The Guardian Council has approved eight out of 686 candidates to run in Iran’s June 14 presidential election. The unelected body of 12 clerics and scholars rejected two individuals who might have been key contenders ― former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei…

Latest on the Race: Reactions to Candidate List

May 21, 2013
      The Guardian Council has blocked two prominent figures from running in the June 14 presidential election. Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a two-term former president, and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, former chief of staff to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, were both left off the list of eight…

US Sanctions Nuclear and Missile Programs

May 21, 2013
            On May 23, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned 20 individuals and entities for involvement in Iran’s nuclear and missile proliferation networks. They were responsible for moving supplies and providing services to clandestine programs. “As long as Iran continues to pursue a nuclear and…

Latest on the Race: Rafsanjani Redux?

May 20, 2013
By Robin Wright and Garrett Nada            Among the 680-plus candidates who registered to run for president of Iran, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani stands alone as the most experienced and savviest politico — by far. He has almost done it all.      He was speaker of parliament for nine terms in the…

Latest on the Race: Rafsanjani on the Issues

May 20, 2013
      Former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been a pivotal player in Iranian politics since the 1979 Islamic revolution. His views have often adapted to the times, issue or public sentiment. But he has often argued that “moderation” and national unity could help Iran overcome domestic…

Iran Denies Military Presence in Syria

May 20, 2013
            “Iranian forces have never been, and are not present in Syria,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Araghchi said on May 23. “The real enemies of Syria make such claims.” His statement came one day after foreign ministers from the United States, Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy,…

U.N. Report: Iran Expanding Nuclear Program

May 20, 2013
            Iran has increased its capacity to enrich uranium by installing hundreds of new centrifuges, according to a new report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed the installation of almost 700 IR-2 centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility…

U.S. Report on Iran Religious Freedom Abuses

May 20, 2013
            Iran’s government reportedly imprisoned, harassed and discriminated against more people for their religious beliefs in 2012 than in the past, according to a new report by the U.S. State Department. It notes an increase in reports of the government charging religious and ethnic…

U.N.-Iran Nuclear Talks Fail

May 16, 2013
            Talks between Iran and the U.N. nuclear watchdog failed to produce an agreement on May 15. The two sides met in Vienna, Austria for the 10th round of talks since late 2011. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been trying to reopen an inquiry into possible military…

Iran Opposes U.N. Resolution on Syria

May 16, 2013
            On May 15, the U.N. General Assembly approved a non-binding resolution calling for a political transition in Syria. The Qatari-drafted measure passed with 107 countries voting in favor and 59 abstaining. Iran and 11 other countries voted against it, including China and Russia. The…

Latest on the Race: Jalili, Ideologue on Twitter

May 15, 2013
Garrett Nada             Saeed Jalili has never held elective office, yet he may have an important edge in the presidential race because of his close ties with Iran’s supreme leader. He is an insider’s insider. At the same time, Jalili is not a charismatic figure. He unsuccessfully ran for…

Latest on the Race: Jalili on the Issues

May 15, 2013
      Chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili is a major conservative candidate for Iran’s presidency. The secretary of the Supreme National Security Council seems to share the supreme leader’s hardline outlook on all key issues. The following are excerpts from various interviews, public remarks and…

Top US Officials on Sanctions Impact

May 15, 2013
            On May 15, two top officials in the Obama administration claimed U.S. sanctions are having a growing impact on the Iranian economy, the regime’s political calculations and Tehran’s foreign policy. The following are excerpts from the testimony of Under Secretary of the Treasury David S.…

Latest on the Race: Heir Apparent Esfandiar Mashaei

May 13, 2013
Kourosh Rahimkhani       Although never elected to office, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei has become a major political figure as chief of staff to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He is also one of Iran’s most controversial politicians. Ahmadinejad appointed him vice-president in 2009, but the political…

Latest on the Race: Mashaei on the Issues

May 13, 2013
      Presidential Chief of Staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei is the most controversial of the 686 candidates who have registered to run for president. He shares President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s populist and nationalist outlook on all key issues. The following are excerpts from various interviews and…

Sport I:Iran and US Wrestle--in a different way

May 13, 2013
Garrett Nada           Iran and the United States have at least one urgent interest in common: Their wrestling federations have teamed up to salvage wrestling for the 2020 Olympics after the Olympic Committee recommended dropping the sport in February 2013. The Iranian and American teams were…

Sport II: The Basketball Bridge

May 13, 2013
Garrett Nada      For more than a decade, Iran has looked to the United States to improve its caliber of basketball. In 2000, the national team even hired American coach Gary LeMoine. Since then, dozens of Americans ― reportedly 37 during one season ― have played on Iranian teams. Jonas Lalehzadeh…

Report: Obstacles to Containing a Nuclear-Armed Iran

May 13, 2013
            The United States may be pressed to adopt a containment strategy if efforts to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran fail, according to a new report by the Center for a New American Security. U.S. intelligence officials have testified that Tehran has not yet decided whether or not to pursue…

Nukes Unlikely to Change Iran’s Strategy

May 12, 2013
            Nuclear arms would be unlikely to change Iran’s fundamental interests and strategy in the Middle East, according to a new report by the Rand Corporation’s Alireza Nader. Tehran is primarily concerned with survival. So it probably would not attack Israel or U.S. interests in the Persian…

Latest on the Race: Candidates on U.S. Ties

May 8, 2013
Garrett Nada       After the economy, the most controversial issue in the presidential election is normalizing Tehran’s ties with the United States. For the first time, both major conservative and reformist candidates actually embrace the idea that direct talks could bring Iran out of isolation…

Iran Calls for Syrian Dialogue With Opposition

May 7, 2013
            In talks in Damascus and Amman in early May, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi called on the Syrian government to engage in dialogue with its “peaceful opposition.” But he made clear that Tehran still fully backs the government of President Bashar Assad. “Iran stands at the side…

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…