New Articles

Obama on Nuclear Deal, Prisoners, Sanctions

January 17, 2016
On January 17, President Obama welcomed the nuclear deal’s implementation and Iran’s release of four Americans as part of a prisoner swap. “Engaging directly with the Iranian government on a sustained basis, for the first time in decades, has created a unique opportunity, a window, to resolve…

Secretary Kerry on Implementation Day

January 16, 2016
On January 16, Secretary of State John Kerry welcomed the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal and Tehran’s release of American prisoners as part of a swap. “Today marks the moment that the Iran nuclear agreement transitions from an ambitious set of promises on paper to measurable action in…

Mogherini, Zarif Joint Statement on Implementation Day

January 16, 2016
On January 16, E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced the start of implementation of the nuclear deal. Implementation Day was triggered by the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s certification that Iran has fulfilled its obligations under the…

Implementation Day: Obama Lifts Sanctions

January 16, 2016
On January 16, President Obama issued an executive order lifting sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. Implementation Day was triggered by the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s certification that Iran has fulfilled its obligations under the nuclear agreement. As a result, Iran is to receive relief from…

US Presidential Candidates on Prisoner Swap

January 16, 2016
Nearly all of the U.S. presidential candidates have reacted to the prisoner swap with Iran. The following are excerpted remarks. Click the name of each candidate to learn more.Democrats Republicans Hillary Clinton Martin O’MalleyBernie Sanders Jeb BushBen CarsonChris ChristieTed CruzCarly…

UN: Iran Has Met Nuclear Obligations

January 16, 2016
On January 16, the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s director general confirmed that Iran has taken the necessary steps to start implementation of the nuclear deal. Implementation Day will trigger the lifting or suspension of certain U.S., E.U., and U.N. sanctions on Iran. Iran will also be able to access…

Fifth American Freed by Iran

January 16, 2016
On January 16, Iran released American student, writer and researcher Matt Trevithick, who had been held in Evin Prison for 40 days. He was released separately from the four Iranian-Americans that were part of a prisoner swap. The following is a biography of Trevithick with a statement from his…

Seven Iranians Freed by US in Prisoner Swap

January 16, 2016
Iranian news outlets reported on January 16 that the United States released seven Iranians — Nader Modanloo, Bahram Mechanic, Khosrow Afghahi, Arash Ghahreman, Nima Golestaneh, and Ali Saboonchi —as part of a prisoner swap with Iran. The State Department later confirmed that the United States “…

Amid Secret Diplomacy, US & Iran Said…

January 16, 2016
Despite progress on the nuclear deal, Iran and U.S. leaders have insisted over the past year that negotiations had a singular focus. Both sides claimed that they were not straying into other subjects—when, in fact, both governments had authorized a secret channel to pursue a diplomatic solution to…

Iran Frees Four Americans in Prisoner Swap

January 16, 2016
The U.S. State Department confirmed on January 16 the release of four Iranian-Americans as part of a prisoner swap with Iran. They were Jason Rezaian, Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini, and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari. Iranian State media had initially incorrectly reported that the fourth prisoner was…

Iranians Held in United States

January 15, 2016
Iranian officials have called for the release of at least 19 Iranians jailed in the United States. According to Reuters, 11 of the men have U.S. citizenship.  More than 100 people have reportedly been charged or convicted of violating Iran sanctions since 2008. Most, however, have served their…

Congress Urges Action on Iran Missile Tests

January 15, 2016
U.S. lawmakers have urged President Obama to take action regarding alleged Iranian ballistic missile launches in October and November 2015. On Jan. 16, 2016, Senator David Purdue (R-GA) and 12 other Republicans requested a roadmap of what he considers illicit behavior by Iran and what punitive…

Bio and Timelines: Americans Held in Iran

January 15, 2016
Dec. 3, 2015, marked Jason Rezaian’s 500th day in prison. The Washington Post journalist has been held in Iran on charges including espionage. On Nov. 22, 2015, he was sentenced. But the Judiciary has not released any further details. “During these 500 days, Jason has been subjected to harsh…

Nuclear Deal Implementation Day

January 14, 2016
Daryl G. Kimball  What is Implementation Day? And what does it mean?  The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) concluded by Iran and the world’s six major powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — plus the European Union on July 14, 2015 requires Iran to take…

Kerry on Foreign Policy Agenda for 2016

January 13, 2016
On January 13, Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted implementation of the Iran nuclear deal as a top foreign policy priority for 2016. “Implementation day, which is the day on which Iran proves that it has sufficiently downsized its nuclear program and can begin to receive sanctions relief, is…

US Sailor Flap: Model for Diplomacy?

January 12, 2016
On January 13, U.S. sailors detained by Iran were safely released to the U.S. Navy after an overnight flurry of diplomatic efforts. Unlike the 2007 crisis over 15 British sailors, the United States and Iran resolved the matter quickly, which was sparked when 10 U.S. sailors in two navy boats…

Part 2: Why Iran's Elections Matter

January 11, 2016
Interview with Nasser HadianWhat role does Iran’s parliament (known as the Majles), play in Iran’s political system? To what extent is it constrained by the Council of Guardians? The Majles is a legislative branch of the Iranian government, made up of 290 members. Elections are held every four…

Part 1: Do Iran's Elections Mean Change?

January 11, 2016
Katayoun Kishi  Iran is scheduled to hold elections on February 26 — for parliament and the Assembly of Experts — that could shift the political balance of power. Hardliners have dominated parliament for more than a decade. But reformists, centrists and moderate conservatives are jockeying for a…

Part 3: Trends in Parliamentary Elections

January 11, 2016
Katayoun Kishi More than 12,000 Iranians registered to run in the February 26 parliament election. Women, in particular, signed up in large numbers—a total of 1,434. Both set a new record. The diversity suggests the possibility of significant change in the next Majles. In the past, however, the…

Zarif Letter to UN, New York Times Op-ed

January 11, 2016
On January 8, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif criticized Riyadh’s policy towards Tehran and alleged that, “Some in Saudi Arabia are on a mission to drag the entire region to conflict.” In a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, he wrote that Iran had “no desire” to escalate tensions…

Rouhani: Year of Economic Prosperity Ahead

January 11, 2016
On January 11, President Hassan Rouhani pledged that Iran would see economic growth in the upcoming Persian Year that will begin on March 21. “I promise the nation of Iran that next year, with sanctions behind us and by young people's efforts, will be a year of economic prosperity," he said at the…

Video: Iran Test-Fires Rockets Near US Ships

January 10, 2016
On January 9, the U.S. military released a video showing what it says is an Iranian military vessel firing several unguided rockets near the U.S. aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman, U.S. destroyer Bulkeley, a French frigate, and commercial craft. No vessels were hit during the December 26 incident,…

Iran Accelerates Ballistic Missile Program

January 6, 2016
On January 5, Iran revealed a new underground missile base containing Emad precision-guided long-range missiles. The footage was released five days after President Hassan Rouhani called for accelerating Iran’s missile capability, in response to the U.S. Treasury’s announcement that it was preparing…

Iran in 2016

January 6, 2016
Garrett Nada2016 is a pivotal year for Iran, with implementation of the nuclear deal expected in January and high-stakes elections in February. Tehran’s ability to reengage with the international community will hinge on its compliance with the agreement. The parliamentary election could determine…

Timeline of Iran-Saudi Relations

January 6, 2016
Iran and Saudi Arabia have been regional rivals for more than three decades. The recent row over Riyadh’s execution of Sheikh Nimr al Nimr is only the latest point of contention between the two countries. Tensions date back to the 1979 Iranian revolution. The Saudi monarchy, which based its…

Iran v Saudi Arabia: Four-Part Series

January 4, 2016
The following is a four-part series comparing politics, ideology, leadership, and women's issues in Iran and Saudi Arabia - two Middle Eastern powers that have been rivals for more than 30 years.Part 1: Islam's Arch RivalsPart 2: Government & IdeologyPart 3: LeadershipPart 4: Women &…

Iran-Saudi Tensions Flare Over Execution

January 4, 2016
The Sunni monarchy of Saudi Arabia and the Shiite theocracy of Iran began 2016 with an escalation in long-simmering tensions. The spark for the latest showdown was Saudi Arabia’s decision to execute a prominent Shiite cleric. Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran after protestors attacked the…

Iran v Saudi Arabia: Islam’s Arch Rivals

January 4, 2016
Cameron GlennIran and Saudi Arabia have been regional rivals for more than 30 years, but they have at least one thing in common: Both present themselves as pure, idealized states based on Islam. In practice, however, their unique blends of religion and politics are starkly different.Iran is a…

Iran v Saudi Arabia: Government & Ideology

January 4, 2016
Cameron GlennGovernmentIran and Saudi Arabia both claim to be model states based on Islam. But Iran is a theocracy with democratic elements, and Saudi Arabia is a hereditary monarchy. Iran’s political system is based on Shiism, while Saudi Arabia has strong ties to Wahhabism, a conservative branch…

Iran v Saudi Arabia: Leadership

January 4, 2016
Cameron GlennCurrent leadersBoth Iran and Saudi Arabia are ruled by leaders with virtually unchecked authority. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been Iran's supreme leader since 1989, and King Salman has ruled Saudi Arabia since January 2015.   Iran  Saudi ArabiaSupreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei  …