New Articles

Bipartisan Report Urges Talks and Threat of Force

February 1, 2012
      On Feb. 1,the Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Project released its fourth report on Iran’s nuclear development urging the United States to immediately adopt a triple-track strategy that simultaneously pursues diplomacy, tough sanctions and credible, visible preparations for…

The Revolution Turns 33

February 1, 2012
Karim Sadjadpour How has Iranian society changed over the 33 years since the revolution?  Demographically, Iran is a much different society than it was 33 years ago. Its population has grown from around 35 million in 1979 to approximately 75 million today.  Before the…

U.S. on new Arrests, Harassment and Death Sentences

January 26, 2012
On Jan. 26, the State Department issued the following statement on Iran. We are deeply concerned by the alarming increase in the Iranian regime’s efforts to extinguish all forms of free expression and limit its citizens’ access to information in the lead-up to March…

Obama on Iran in State of the Union

January 25, 2012
Below is an excerpt from President Obama's State of the Union address on Jan. 24"We will safeguard America's own security against those who threaten our citizens, our friends, and our interests.  Look at Iran.  Through the power of our diplomacy, a world that was once divided about how to deal with…

U.S. lauds EU sanctions, imposes its own

January 24, 2012
President Obama’s Statement on EU’s New Iran Sanctions, on Jan. 23 I applaud today’s actions by our partners in the European Union to impose additional sanctions on Iran in response to the regime’s continuing failure to fulfill its international obligations regarding its nuclear program. These…

Election Watch #2: Iran Starts Slashing Candidates

January 24, 2012
Interview with Yasmin Alem   How do the numbers of registered candidates compare to previous elections?   The number of candidates who registered for the 2012 parliamentary elections is at its lowest since the 1996 elections. Only 5,395 individuals registered to run for parliament, a 33…

Analyzing the Impact of European Sanctions

January 24, 2012
Patrick Clawson What does the unprecedented new European Union oil embargo on Iran mean in practical terms?The direct impact of the new EU oil embargo is relatively limited. Economists like to say that oil is "fungible," that is, oil not sold to the EU could be sold to other countries, and so the…

European Union Imposes Oil Sanctions on Iran

January 23, 2012
The European Union on Jan. 23 imposed new sanctions on Iran. The following is the EU press statement, with the full conclusions of the EU Foreign Affairs Council below.Iran: New EU sanctions target sources of finance for nuclear programme Given the EU's serious and deepening…

U.S. Sanctions Chinese, UAE, Singapore Firms for Iran Dealings

January 13, 2012
Under the Amended Iran Sanctions Act, the United States on Jan. 11 sanctioned three companies for doing business with Iran's energy sector, expanding the range of punitive American action on the international stage. The following is the State Department announcement.  Secretary of State Hillary…

Part 3: Key Quotes on Strait of Hormuz

January 11, 2012
Annika Folkeson Tension has increased between Iran and the United States over the past weeks following new U.S. sanctions and Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz. The following are quotes on the tensions between Tehran and Washington.  IRAN   Vice president, Mohammad…

Part 2: Key Facts on Iranian Oil

January 11, 2012
Annika FolkesonTension has increased between Iran and the United States over the past weeks after the United States imposed new sanctions and Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz. The following are key facts on Iranian oil. Iran holds the world’s fourth-…

Part 1: Key Facts on Strait of Hormuz

January 11, 2012
Annika FolkesonTension has increased between Iran and the United States over the past weeks after the United States imposed new sanctions and Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz. The following are key facts on the Strait. The Strait of Hormuz is the world's most…

Israel and Iran: A Dangerous Rivalry

January 10, 2012
The Rand Corporation issued a report in December entitled “Israel and Iran: A Dangerous Rivalry” by Dalia Dassa Kaye, Alireza Nader, and Parisa Roshan. Alireza Nader is a contributing author to “The Iran Primer.” Excerpts from the summary are posted below, with a link to the entire report.   The…

Regime Isolates Entire Rafsanjani Family

January 6, 2012
Interview with Yasmin Alem The daughter of the former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been sentenced to six months in prison on charges of "spreading propaganda against the ruling system." The trial of Faezeh Hashemi took place behind closed doors in December 2011. Hashemi is a…

Will Iran Dare Close the Strait of Hormuz?

January 5, 2012
Michael Singh  Iranian officials grabbed global headlines in recent days by threatening to close the vital Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world’s traded oil passes. Iran sought to back up its threats by holding a 10-day military exercise in the Persian Gulf and warning the…

U.S. Sanctions Iran “Front Companies”

December 20, 2011
On Dec. 20, the United States issued new sanctions against front companies linked to Iran’s missile program. The following rundown was released by the Treasury Department. The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designation of 10 shipping and front companies…

Mysterious Explosion at Iran Missile Base

December 18, 2011
Michael Elleman For the outside world, one of the biggest mysteries about Iran is what really happened on Nov. 12, when a massive explosion went off at a sprawling military base just 25 miles from Tehran. The truth could provide pivotal information about the status of Iran’s missile program—a key…

U.S. Court Ruling Links Iran to Al Qaeda

December 13, 2011
Matthew Levitt   On Nov. 28, a U.S. District court issued a little-noticed ruling that effectively links Iran to al Qaeda on terrorism. It specifically named both Iran and Sudan for an indirect supporting role in the 1998 twin bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, acts long…

U.S. Sanctions Military Officials on Human Rights

December 13, 2011
On Dec. 13, the United States sanctioned two senior Iranian military officials for being responsible for or complicit in serious human rights abuses in Iran: Hassan Firouzabadi is chairman of Iran’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and Abdollah Araqi is deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard…

Iran UN Letter: US Drone is Aggression

December 9, 2011
The following is a letter to the U.N Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, from Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, sent on Dec. 8.   In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful…

Coping with a Nuclear Iran

December 7, 2011
James Dobbins and Alireza Nader  The Rand Corporation issued a report this month entitled “Coping with a Nuclearizing Iran” by James Dobbins and Alireza Nader, two contributing authors to “The Iran Primer.” Excerpts from the summary are posted below, with a link to the entire report.   It is not…

U.S. Launches Virtual Embassy Tehran

December 6, 2011
On Dec. 6, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman gave a briefing about the launch of the “virtual embassy Tehran” to provide a means for the United States to communicate directly to Iranians. The following are excerpts.  This initiative is designed to enhance our outreach to the…

New Testimony: U.S. Policy on Iran

December 6, 2011
On Dec. 1, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The following are two excerpts, with links to their full statements below. Wendy…

Iran Election Watch #1

December 6, 2011
Interview with Yasmin Alem   What is Iran’s parliamentary election schedule until the March poll?   Election activities began in December as Iran’s Election Commission announced that the Ministry of Interior established election headquarters in all 31 provinces. The key…

Tehran's Growing Tensions with the West

December 5, 2011
The following is an interview by the Council on Foreign Relations with USIP fellow and Iran Primer editor Robin Wright:
The attack on the UK embassy in Tehran (BBC) on November 28 reportedly by Iran's Basij militia, a volunteer paramilitary wing, has led to heightened tensions between Iran and the…

Gallup: Few Iranians Approve of U.S., European Leadership

December 4, 2011
According to a 2011 Gallup poll, the U.K., U.S., and EU did not enjoy much approval in Iran even before they tightened sanctions there, escalating tensions. Nine percent of Iranians approved of U.K. and U.S. leadership when Gallup surveyed in February and March 2011 and not many more approved…

Defense Secretary Warns Iran

December 4, 2011
On Dec. 2, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta made extensive remarks about Iran to the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center. The following are excerpts.          Iran’s continued drive to develop nuclear capabilities, including troubling enrichment activities and past work on weaponization that…

Iran and America: A Dialogue about Disability

December 3, 2011
            The Stimson Center project, “Iran and America: A Dialogue about Disability,” held in partnership with the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, BlueLaw International LLP, and several Iranian organizations was a cross-cultural dialogue on disability law and rights. Funded by USIP,…

New European Sanctions on Iran

December 1, 2011
On Dec. 1, the European Union issued the following statement to explain its new sanctions on Iran: The Council adopted the following conclusions:1. "The Council reiterates its serious and deepening concerns over the nature of Iran's nuclearprogramme, and in particular over the findings on Iranian…

Key Quotes on Iran-Britain Tensions

November 30, 2011
Annika Folkeson           After the Iranians stormed the British embassy in Tehran on Nov. 29, Britain closed the Iranian embassy in London and expelled all Iranian diplomats. Britain also evacuated its diplomats in Tehran. The new tensions followed London’s new sanctions on all Iranian banks…