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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  …

Iran v Saudi Arabia: Women & Minorities

January 4, 2016
Katayoun KishiWomenWomen in Iran and Saudi Arabia face political, social, and economic discrimination. Rhetorically, Iranian and Saudi leaders often defend women’s rights, and the two countries have even taken steps to include women in political life. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir claimed …

Progress on Enacting Nuclear Deal

December 28, 2015
On December 28, Iran took a key step towards implementation of the nuclear deal by exporting more than 25,000 pounds of low-enriched uranium to Russia. Tehran must shrink its low-enriched uranium stockpile to 300 kg by Implementation Day, which could come as early as January. Secretary of State…

US Hostages to Receive Compensation

December 28, 2015
Personnel of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran who were held for 444 days in Iran from 1979 to 1981 will receive up to $4.4 million each in compensation. The provision was signed into law as part of a massive funding bill signed by President Obama on December 18. Each of the 53 hostages or their estates…

Timeline and ABCs of the Deal

December 21, 2015
October 18 marked Adoption Day for the nuclear deal between Iran and the world’s six major powers —Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States. The day signaled the starting point for the so-called P5+1 countries and Iran to begin preparing to implement their commitments under the…

Zarif on Syrian Peace, Nuclear Deal

December 18, 2015
Robin Wright (for The New Yorker)Two years of transformative diplomacy between the United States and Iran—after almost four decades of hostility—are reaping tentative benefits on other Middle East flashpoints. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, whom I wrote about in the magazine, is meeting…

Iran and the World in 2015

December 18, 2015
Garrett Nada Iran went from being a pariah to a player in international affairs in 2015. The turning point was the final nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers brokered in July. It “changed the way the international community looked at Iran,” Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said in…

Iran Warns US on Visa Waiver Act

December 17, 2015
Iranian officials have warned that changes to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program could be a violation of the nuclear deal. On December 20, 102 Iranian lawmakers sent a letter to President Rouhani condemning the move and demanding government action. House Resolution 158, which passed 407 to 19 on December…

Iran's Economy in 2015

December 17, 2015
Cameron GlennFor Iran’s economy, 2015 was a year of high expectations and slow results. The historic nuclear deal in July – and the promise of sanctions relief – initially raised hopes among foreign companies eager to tap into the Middle East’s second largest economy (after Saudi Arabia). Iranians…

Iran and the Region in 2015

December 17, 2015
Garrett Nada Tensions between the Islamic Republic and the Arab world deepened in 2015, exacerbated by the wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. President Hassan Rouhani’s top priority after securing the nuclear deal in July was to improve relations with Tehran’s neighbors. Iran made limited progress in…

Ambassador Mull on Iran Deal Status

December 17, 2015
On December 17, the U.S. lead coordinator for implementing the nuclear deal said Iran has been “making tangible progress on a number of key commitments.” Iran has “begun dismantling its uranium enrichment infrastructure by removing thousands of centrifuges and transferring them for storage under…