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Chuck Hagel on Iran at Senate Hearing

February 4, 2013
            On January 31, defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel said the United States should pursue all diplomatic options with Iran, including direct engagement if the “dynamics are right.” But he also told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the “military option must remain on the table.”…

Biden: U.S. Open to Direct Talks with Iran

February 2, 2013
            On February 2, Vice President Joe Biden said the United States is prepared to hold direct talks with Iran to resolve tensions over its controversial nuclear program. Biden said there is still time for diplomacy, either through the current format involving the world’s six major powers or…

Clinton’s Parting Words on Iran

February 1, 2013
            During her last week as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton made several comments on Iran and unfinished U.S. business. The following are excerpts from various farewell interviews and speeches.  Remarks on American Leadership at the Council on Foreign Relations  Jan. 31, 2013  …

Khamenei Comments: West Wants to Block Election

February 1, 2013
            In three major speeches in January, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei focused on the upcoming presidential election, the troubled economy and Muslim unity worldwide.             In a speech on January 19, Khamenei charged that the United States and other world powers are trying to…

Part IV - Pivotal Election: The Issues

January 31, 2013
Shaul Bakhash             Three major issues will dominate Iran’s presidential election in June: ·    A deteriorating economy due to both chronic mismanagement and tough international sanctions, ·    The nuclear stand-off with the West, the flashpoint undermining Iran’s broader foreign…

Part III - Pivotal Election: The Reformists

January 30, 2013
Shaul Bakhash             Iran’s reformers transformed revolutionary politics between 1997 and 2005 under former President Mohammed Khatami. But today, the reformists’ ability to contest the presidential elections in any meaningful way appears slim. Conservatives have even taken to labeling them…

Part II - Pivotal Election: The Ahmadinejad Camp

January 29, 2013
Shaul Bakhash             Despite their current political dominance, Iran’s conservatives appear inordinately fearful of challenges looming in the June presidential election. Perhaps the most surprising is their concern that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may field a member of his inner circle…

Part I - Pivotal Election: The Conservatives

January 28, 2013
Shaul Bakhash             Iran’s presidential elections, slated for mid-June, will take place against a background of domestic uncertainty. The economy has been battered by sanctions from abroad and mismanagement at home. Oil sales and foreign exchange earnings have plummeted, while inflation…

Kerry: Iran Can Prove Peaceful Intentions

January 28, 2013
            On January 24, Senator John Kerry pledged to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons if confirmed as the new Secretary of State. But if Tehran's program is peaceful, it can allow inspections and prove it, Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He also said that the Obama…

Why is Parchin Important (or Not)?

January 24, 2013
            Iran and the U.N. nuclear watchdog failed to strike a deal after two days of negotiations from January 16-17. The U.N. demand to access the Parchin military complex near Tehran has been a divisive issue in previous talks. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) suspects Iran…

Tehran’s Mixed Messages on U.N. Nuclear Talks

January 24, 2013
            Iranian and U.N. officials failed to produce an agreement after intensive talks in Tehran from January 16-17. Iran has sent mixed messages on negotiations with the International Atomic Energy (IAEA). Ambassador to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh claimed the two sides bridged some gaps…

Profile: Revolutionary Guards Chief Gen. Jafari

January 21, 2013
Alireza Nader             As commander of the Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari is one of the dozen most powerful men in Iran. He is a hard-line ideologue loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He rose to power through a combination of ideological commitment and military…

Iran’s Influence in Afghanistan After U.S. Pullout

January 17, 2013
Omar Samad Has Iran's influence in Afghanistan changed since the U.S. troop surge in 2010? What steps has it taken in anticipation of the U.S. withdrawal planned for 2014?             The Islamic Republic considers the U.S. presence in Afghanistan a major security concern along its 600-mile…

Ahmadinejad Urges Parliament to Cut Reliance on Oil

January 17, 2013
            On January 16, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Parliament that Iran needs to cut reliance on petrodollars “once and for all.” Iran’s oil revenues have dropped 45 percent in the last nine months, according to parliament’s budget committee chief. Ahmadinejad also admitted that…

Letter Appeals to Obama, Khamenei from Former Iran Parliamentarians

January 16, 2013
            On January 7, seven former Iranian parliamentarians called for direct talks between Washington and Tehran on the nuclear issue. They urged Iran to stop enriching uranium to twenty percent in return for a lift on international sanctions. The former parliamentarians also suggested that…

Pew: Rising Tide of Restrictions on Religion

January 14, 2013
             Among 197 countries, Iran ranked sixth in restricting freedom of religion, according to a Pew Research Center survey. It even ranked below Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. The following are selected results from The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey published in September 2012…

Congress Report: Iran Intelligence Expanding

January 14, 2013
           Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security has recently expanded its operations in the Middle East and beyond, most notably in Latin America and Europe, according to a new report by the Library of Congress. A profile of the ministry, which is shrouded in secrecy, claims that hard-…

Iran-Egypt: Prospects of a New Alliance?

January 11, 2013
Interview with Joshua Stacher By Garrett Nada   What is the state of relations between the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, especially in light of Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi’s third visit to Egypt since President Mohamed Morsi took office in June 2012?                        …

Pew: Iran’s Popularity (or Not) in the World

January 11, 2013
            As part of its Global Attitudes Project, the Pew Research Center surveyed attitudes about Iran among major countries. The two charts below reflect the two halves of the answer to the same question. The question: Please tell me if you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable,…

48 Iranian Captives Return from Syria

January 10, 2013
            On January 10, 48 Iranian captives landed in Tehran after their release by Syrian rebels. The Syrian government freed 2,130 detainees in exchange for the Iranians, according to the Turkish humanitarian organization that coordinated the swap. The al Baraa rebel brigade abducted the 48…

State of Diplomacy: What will it take?

January 9, 2013
Michael AdlerWhat is Iran’s standing in the world in 2013 compared to the beginning of 2012?              Iran was resilient in 2012. It managed to survive increasing diplomatic, economic and military pressures:   ·    Tehran did not yield to new sanctions, despite the fact that oil and gas…

Hagel’s Past Comments on Iran

January 8, 2013
            On January 7, President Obama nominated former Senator Chuck Hagel to be the Secretary of Defense during his second term. The following are comments by Senator Hagel on Iran since 2005.             “War with Iran is not inevitable, but U.S. national security would be seriously…

New Penalties on Iran in Defense Bill

January 7, 2013
            On January 3, President Barack Obama signed a $633 billion defense bill for fiscal year 2013. The comprehensive appropriations bill will help “ensure the United States will continue to have the strongest military in the world,” Obama said.             The legislation also contained…

Iran’s Economy Faces Grim 2013

January 3, 2013
Kevan Harris What is the state of Iran’s economy in 2013 compared to a year ago?             Iran's economy enters 2013 significantly worse than a year ago, particularly with higher inflation and unemployment than at the beginning of 2012. The rial also plunged from around 11,000 to the dollar…

Iran: A Rough Year in 2013

January 2, 2013
Alireza Nader            For Iran, 2013 could be one of the most challenging years—both at home and in relations with the outside world—since the 1979 revolution. The Islamic Republic faces the potential of stronger economic sanctions and even an Israeli and/or U.S. military strike because of its…

Kerry’s Past Comments on Iran

December 21, 2012
            On December 21, President Barack Obama nominated Senator John Kerry to be the Secretary of State during his second term. The following are comments by Senator Kerry on Iran since 2004.             “If I can just say to you and to the people of Israel: I hope there is no doubt about…

More U.S. Sanctions for Proliferation

December 21, 2012
            On December 21, the U.S. Treasury froze the assets of four Iranian companies and one executive for links to Tehran’s missile and nuclear programs. SAD Import Export Company was also sanctioned for supplying weapons to Syria’s government, which is cracking down on its civilian…

Panetta: New U.S. Strategy to Counter Iran

December 21, 2012
            On December 18, Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta outlined a new U.S. defense strategy that will counter “the continuing threat from Iran.” If Tehran attempts to close the Straits of Hormuz, “we must be capable of being able to respond decisively,” he said. Panetta also warned…

Iran Boosts North Korean Missile Program

December 21, 2012
             Iran may have helped North Korea launch a multistage rocket and put a satellite into orbit on December 12, according to a new report by John S. Park. “What started as a transactional relationship, where Iran provided much-needed cash to North Korea in return for missile parts and…

The U.S.-Iran Covert War

December 20, 2012
Ari Ratner What is the U.S.-Iran covert war? What is the United States doing? What is Iran doing? And why?              During both the Bush and Obama administrations, Iran and the United States have engaged in a shadow war that relies more on technology and human intelligence than conventional…