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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…

Iran Primed for End of Sanctions

December 17, 2015
On December 16, President Hassan Rouhani declared the closing of the U.N. probe of Iran’s nuclear program a victory. In an address to the Iranian public, Rouhani announced that international sanctions would be lifted in December or January. He also invited investment from domestic and international…

Report: 19 Journalists Imprisoned in Iran

December 17, 2015
At the end of 2015, Iran was the world’s third leading jailer of journalists after China and Egypt, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The organization listed 19 journalists behind bars in the Islamic Republic. In Iran, among other countries, “a climate of fear for the media…

Iran's Female Dynamos

December 16, 2015
Katayoun KishiDespite legal and social limits, Iranian women play dynamic roles in politics, the arts, education, the environment, the media and human rights. They are players. President Hassan Rouhani campaigned specifically on a platform of improving women’s rights. He named four female vice…

UN Closes File on Iran’s Past Nuclear Work

December 15, 2015
On December 15, the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s board decided to close the inquiry into the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program. The unanimous decision by the 35-nation group will end the 12-year probe while allowing inspectors to continue monitoring Tehran’s program. “The…

Report: Iran After the Nuclear Deal

December 15, 2015
The implementation of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the world’s six major powers has raised the stakes for internal debates about the future of the Islamic Republic, according to a new International Crisis Group report. The February 2016 elections for parliament and the Assembly of Experts…

US Reviewing Alleged Iran Missile Test

December 9, 2015
On December 8, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said that Washington is “conducting a serious review” of reports that Tehran launched a ballistic missile in November. A 2010 U.N. Security Council resolution prohibits Iran from testing ballistic missiles. State Department…

Kerry: Iran Deal Was Right Thing to Do

December 7, 2015
On December 5, Secretary of State John Kerry defended the nuclear deal with Iran at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum, an annual U.S.-Israel dialogue. “It was the right thing to do whether it leads to cooperation or not in other areas, because any effort to roll back Iran’s behavior, my…

Congress Reacts to New UN Report

December 4, 2015
Democrats and Republicans in Congress were disturbed, but not surprised, to find out that Iran had worked on activities relevant to nuclear weapons development. A long-awaited U.N. watchdog assessment said that the most “coordinated” work was done before 2003, but that Tehran continued some…

Tehran Transformed by Surreal Murals

December 4, 2015
Robin Wright Tehran has new colors—and a new un-revolutionary whimsy. The sprawling Iranian capital, long famed for its anti-American graffiti and grim billboards of war martyrs, is now adorned with huge surreal murals in bright hues that have transformed drab cement-and-steel high-rises. Some…

Nuclear Experts on New UN Report

December 3, 2015
The following are reactions by nonproliferation experts to the new U.N. report on possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program. The long-awaited assessment concluded that Tehran had worked on a “range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device,” despite its…

UN Report on Iran's Past Nuclear Program

December 2, 2015
In a report completed in December 2015, the U.N. nuclear watchdog concluded that Iran had worked on a “range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device,” despite its denial of any work on a nuclear weapons program. It reported that the most “coordinated” work was done…

Climate Change Unites US, Iran & Israel

December 2, 2015
The Paris climate change conference brought together an unlikely pair in a group photo – President Obama and Iranian Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, who was lead spokesperson for the hostage-takers of the U.S. Embassy. They were among the 150 heads of state and top leaders who gathered for the U.N…