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CRS Report I: Iran’s Policy Motivators

November 1, 2016
The following are excerpts from a recently published report by Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs at the Congressional Research Service, on Iran’s foreign and defense policies.   Iran’s Policy Motivators Iran’s foreign and defense policies are products of overlapping, and…

Iran Media, Leaders Scoff at US Election

October 25, 2016
Updated: November 6, 2016
Iranian media and leaders have been closely following the U.S. presidential election. Not only have they criticized the candidates’ policies, but they have also derided the political atmosphere and American democracy. “Did you see the debate and the way of their speaking, accusing and mocking each…

Treasury Updates Sanctions Guidance

October 12, 2016
On October 7, the U.S. Treasury Department updated its frequently asked questions document on the lifting of U.S. sanctions as part of the nuclear deal. Regulations on dollar-denominated transactions between foreigners and Iran were relaxed. The “update was intended to clarify the scope of…

UN Report on Human Rights in Iran

October 7, 2016
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon issued a new report critical of Iran’s human rights record. Executions were down in the first half of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015. But Tehran “has not taken any measures to halt executions or instituted a moratorium on the death penalty,” the…

IMF: Economy Rebounding

October 5, 2016
International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff visited Iran and found that the economy has “rebounded strongly” since the nuclear deal was implemented and sanctions were lifted in January 2016. But Iran still needs to take several steps to ensure continued economic growth and reintegration into the global…

Canadian-Iranian Professor Released from Prison

September 26, 2016
On September 26, Iran released retired university professor Homa Hoodfar from Evin prison. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Iranian authorities confirmed the release of the dual-national who had been held since June. She is believed to be in poor physical condition, due to a rare…

Zarif in New York on Nuclear Deal, Syria

September 26, 2016
On September 23, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticized the United States for not sending a clear message to European banks that they are free to do business with Iran. In a wide ranging conversation with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, he also discussed the war in Syria, tensions with…

Rouhani 3: Press Conference in New York

September 23, 2016
On September 22, President Hassan Rouhani gave wide ranging comments on the nuclear deal’s implementation, U.S.-Iran relations, the Syrian war, Saudi Arabia, extremism, and more. He spoke to journalists after delivering an address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York. The following are…

Rouhani 1: Speech at the UN 

September 22, 2016
On September 22, President Hassan Rouhani called on "certain countries in the region" to stop "bombarding their neighbors and put an end to their support for Takfiri terrorist groups" in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly. In particular, he urged Saudi Arabia to "cease and desist from…

Rouhani 2: Interview on Syria, Nuclear Deal

September 22, 2016
On September 21, President Hassan Rouhani called for a political solution to the Syrian civil war in an interview with NBC News’ Chuck Todd. “The rule of the ballot box and the rule of the Syrian people and the will of the Syrian people should be the sole determinant of the future of the country…

Energy Secretary Moniz on Nuclear Deal

September 21, 2016
On September 19, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz discussed the status of the Iranian nuclear deal and progress on implementation at the Council on Foreign Relations. The following are excerpts from the transcript of the conversation moderated by Graham T. Allison, Director of the Belfer …

Report: Israel's Policies After the Iran Deal

September 19, 2016
Israeli leaders expressed varying degrees of hostility to the nuclear agreement between Iran and the world's six major powers. But they largely adapted to the reality of the deal and shifted their focus to nonnuclear areas of concern, according to a new brief by Dalia Dassa Kaye at the Rand…

UN: Iran Complying with Nuclear Deal

September 16, 2016
On September 8, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran has been living up to its commitments as part of the nuclear deal, specifically as codified in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231. For example, Iran has not surpassed limits on its stock of enriched uranium or heavy…

US Resettles Last MEK Members in Albania

September 12, 2016
On September 12, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the last 280 members of a controversial Iranian opposition group, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), had been transferred from Iraq to Albania. Founded in 1965 as an urban guerilla group, it opposed the monarchy of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.…

War of Words Between Iran-Saudi Clerics

September 6, 2016
The war of words is heating up between Iran and Saudi Arabia. They traded angry barbs before the annual hajj pilgrimage. On September 5, Iran’s supreme leader accused Riyadh of murdering its citizens one year ago. In September 2015, hundreds of Iranians were killed in a stampede during the ritual…

Timeline: US-Iran Naval Encounters

August 29, 2016
Updated: August 14, 2017
In the last year, Iranian and U.S. naval forces have had several close encounters in the Persian Gulf. In the most recent incident, an Iranian drone came within 1000 feet of a U.S. aircraft. It was the 14th unsafe and/or unprofessional interaction between U.S. and Iranian maritime forces in 2017,…

US Issues New Travel Warning for Iran

August 26, 2016
On August 22, the U.S. State Department issued new guidance warning Americans to “carefully consider nonessential travel” to Iran. The warning reiterated the risk of arrest and detention of U.S. citizens, particularly dual national Iranian-Americans. Iran does not recognize dual citizenship. The…

Russia & Iran Allied on Syria

August 18, 2016
Updated: August 22, 2016
Russia and Iran escalated their military cooperation on the war in Syria. On August 16, Russian warplanes, taking off from Hamedan airbase in western Iran, bombed targets in Syria belonging to ISIS and Jabhat Fateh al Sham (formerly known as Jabhat al Nusra). Since 2011, Moscow and Tehran have…

US Report: Religious Freedom in Iran

August 10, 2016
Iran’s government reportedly continued to imprison, harass, intimidate and discriminate against people based on religious beliefs in 2015, according to an annual report by the U.S. State Department. The following are excerpts. Executive Summary The constitution declares the country to be an…

Economic Trends: June and July

August 9, 2016
In June and July, Iran expanded its economic outreach to the world, signing deals with foreign oil and automotive companies. In June, IranAir even reached a tentative $17.6 billion deal with Boeing, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, to purchase passenger planes. Iranian officials predicted…

Ahmadinejad Writes Obama

August 9, 2016
Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on President Obama to unfreeze some $2 billion in Iranian foreign currency reserves that were seized from bank accounts in New York earlier in 2016. On April 20, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a judgement that held Iran financially responsible for…

Report: Iran’s Cyber Capabilities

August 5, 2016
“Cyber is emerging as Tehran’s weapon of choice for dealing with domestic opponents and foreign adversaries,” according to Michael Eisenstadt of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. In a new paper, he outlined Iran’s growing interest in cyber, its abilities, and strategic logic. The…

Rouhani on Economy, Nuclear Deal, Environment

August 4, 2016
On August 2, President Hassan Rouhani gave a wide-ranging interview on state television that covered the economy, nuclear deal, environment and more. The following are excerpted remarks arranged by topic.   Economy, Oil & Business “1394 was a hard economic year because of plunge in oil…

Report: Assessing Implementation of the Nuclear Deal

August 1, 2016
Sanctions relief remains a contentious issue more than six months after the implementation of the nuclear deal. Both the United States and Iran, however, can take additional steps to ensure that Iran gets the intended benefits of sanctions relief, according to a new report by Richard Nephew,…

Report: GCC Cooperation and Iran

July 28, 2016
Potential rapprochement between the United States and Iran in the wake of the nuclear deal could cause rifts between the Gulf Cooperation Council states, depending on how Iran is integrated into the regional security order. Engagement with Iran operates as a “wedge” between GCC members, with Oman…

Republican and Democratic Platforms on Iran

July 25, 2016
Both the 2016 Republican and Democratic platforms condemned Iran’s policies in the region and its human rights record. But they differed on the nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s major powers that was subsequently endorsed by the U.N. Security Council. The Republican platform included strong…

Dual Nationals and Foreigners Held in Iran

July 25, 2016
Updated: September 8, 2017
Several Iranians who also hold American, British, or Canadian citizenship or residency are now imprisoned in Iran. Half have been picked up since the U.S.-Iran prisoner swap for five Americans or dual nationals in January 2016. Two more – one British and one French – have been released on bail but…

US Blacklists al Qaeda Members in Iran

July 21, 2016
On July 20, the U.S. Treasury blacklisted three senior members of al Qaeda living in Iran for providing financial and logistics support to the terrorist group. “Today’s action sanctions senior al-Qaida operatives responsible for moving money and weapons across the Middle East,” said Adam J.…

US, Iran & Russia Criticize UN Report

July 20, 2016
Iran, the United States and Russia criticized a new U.N. report on implementation of the nuclear deal codified in Security Council Resolution 2231. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in his first bi-annual report on the deal, commended Iran and the world’s major powers for implementing their…

Iranian Leaders React to Turkey Coup

July 18, 2016
Iranian leaders expressed strong support for Turkey’s elected government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following a failed coup by military officers. “These people should understand that the way of resolving the problems is democracy and respecting the nation’s vote,” said President Hassan…