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Part 2: Iran Responds to Sanctions on Supreme Leader, IRGC

June 25, 2019
Updated: June 26, 2019
Iranian leaders condemned President Donald Trump’s decision to impose sanctions on the supreme leader and senior IRGC commanders. Trump characterized the move as a “proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions,” referring to the downing of a U.S. drone on June 20 and attacks on…

Watchdog Reimposes Financial Restrictions on Iran

June 24, 2019
On June 21, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) reimposed restrictions on Iran which had been suspended since October 2016. The FATF is an inter-governmental body of 36 countries that sets standards for countering the financing of terrorism and money laundering. During the FATF conference in…

Part 1: U.S. Sanctions Supreme Leader

June 24, 2019
On June 24, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order imposing sanctions on the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “The Supreme Leader of Iran is one who ultimately is responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime. He is respected within his country. His office oversees the…

Part 3: Congressional Reaction to Drone Attack

June 21, 2019
Updated: June 25, 2019
U.S. lawmakers have been divided over how to handle the downing of a U.S. drone by Iran on June 20. The split is largely along party lines. Democrats called for restraint from the Trump administration. Many were concerned that a military response could lead to a regional conflict. “The high tension…

Part 2: Iran Responds to Drone Incident

June 21, 2019
Updated: June 25, 2019
Iranian officials disputed the Pentagon’s claim that the U.S. drone was shot down over international waters late on June 19. Iran claimed that it only fired on the RQ-4 Global Hawk after it violated its air space and did not respond to radio warnings. "At that time since it was a spy drone, [we]…

U.S. Report on Religious Freedom in Iran

June 21, 2019
On June 21, the State Department released its annual “Report on International Religious Freedom,” which accused Iran of multiple violations of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. “Non-Shia Muslims and those affiliated with a religion other than Islam, especially members of the Baha’i…

Maps and Videos of Iran Crisis

June 20, 2019
The following maps, videos and graphics provide context for escalating tensions between Iran and the United States in 2019.    Map of May-June 2019 Incidents   Department of Defense Map of U.S. Drone Flight Path   Active Duty U.S. Troops Sources: Defense Manpower Data Center for…

Part 1: Iran Downs U.S. Drone near Strait of Hormuz

June 20, 2019
Updated: June 25, 2019
At around 4:00 a.m. on June 20, Iranian forces shot down a U.S. military drone over or near the Strait of Hormuz. It marked a significant escalation in tensions between Iran and the United States. The countries had conflicting versions of what happened.   The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (…

U.S. Report on Human Trafficking in Iran

June 20, 2019
On June 20, the State Department released its annual “Trafficking in Persons Report,” which again designated Iran as a Tier 3 country, the lowest ranking possible. “The Government of Iran does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant…

Part 3: International Response to Tanker Crisis

June 17, 2019
Updated: June 24, 2019
The international community had mixed reactions to the attacks on two tankers, which took place in the Gulf of Oman on June 13. Britain, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) shared the U.S. assessment that Iran was responsible. “We have done our own intelligence assessment and the…

Crisis over the Nuclear Deal

June 17, 2019
Updated: June 26, 2019
As tensions mounted in the Gulf, a second flashpoint threatened to add to the atmosphere of crisis as Iran warned it could enrich uranium up to 20 percent. Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesperson for Iran’s atomic energy organization, accused European countries of “killing time” rather than moving to…

Part 2: Iranian Response to Tanker Crisis

June 14, 2019
Updated: June 19, 2019
Iran categorically denied the U.S. allegation that it was responsible for attacks on two tankers on June 13 near the Strait of Hormuz. “Neither fabrications and disinformation campaigns nor shamelessly blaming others can change the realities. The U.S. and its regional allies must stop warmongering…

Part 1: The Tanker Crisis in the Gulf

June 13, 2019
Updated: June 24, 2019
Tensions between Iran and the outside world have escalated since an attack on four tankers on May 12 near the Strait of Hormuz, which was followed by an attack on two more tankers on June 13. Both attacks occurred in the Gulf of Oman. The Persian Gulf flows through the Strait of Hormuz into the…

U.S. Sanctions IRGC Financial Conduit in Iraq

June 13, 2019
On June 12, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned an Iraqi company, South Wealth Resources Company (SWRC), for trafficking hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Qods Force. The United States had designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization on…

Gallup Poll: Iranians See Economy Worsening

June 13, 2019
A record-high 57 percent of Iranians said economic conditions in their communities were getting worse after the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018, according to a newly released Gallup poll. The organization interviewed a national sample of Iranians using landline and mobile…

Oil Trade Between Iran and India Plummets

June 12, 2019
By John Prentice Caves III Iran and India have had a complex trade relationship built around oil — dating back to the days of the British Raj — that was abruptly terminated in early 2019 by U.S. sanctions. The trade had literally fueled both countries’ economies, although Iran depended more on…

Iran Releases U.S. Resident Nizar Zakka

June 11, 2019
On June 11, Iran released Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese national and permanent U.S. resident, after he spent more than 1,350 days in prison. He was invited by the Iranian government to Tehran for a business conference focusing on entrepreneurship. The information and communications technology expert…

U.S. Sanctions Petrochemical Company Supporting IRGC

June 7, 2019
On June 7, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned Iran’s largest petrochemical holding group, Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC), for supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The U.S. had designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization on April 8. The Office of Foreign Assets…

Iranian Comments on U.S. Allegations

June 5, 2019
Updated: June 14, 2019
On May 14, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran was not interested in a war with the United States. But he was dismissive of President Donald Trump’s openness to negotiations. He and other hardliners argued that U.S. outreach was deceptive. “We will not negotiate with U.S. officials…

Diplomacy on U.S.-Iran Tensions

June 4, 2019
At least four countries – Iraq, Japan, Oman, and Switzerland – have either served as or offered to be intermediaries between Iran and the United States. U.S.-Iran tensions began building on May 5 after National Security Advisor John Bolton announced the deployment of a carrier strike group and…

Khamenei Criticizes Rouhani and Zarif

May 23, 2019
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly criticized President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for how they handled the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated with the world’s six major powers. In a meeting with university students, Khamenei said that although he allowed the…

U.S.-Iran: History of Overtures and Confrontations

May 22, 2019
John Prentice Caves III Since the 1979 revolution, Washington and Tehran have gyrated between hostile actions and diplomatic overtures. Relations have never recovered from the seizure of the U.S. Embassy and 52 diplomats. The U.S. attempted military action to end the drama but eventually turned to…

Poll: Half of Americans Expect War with Iran

May 22, 2019
Half of American adults expect the United States to go to war with Iran “within the next few years,” according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll. A representative sample of 1,007 adults were asked a series of questions from May 17-20 amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran. Earlier in May…

Patrick Shanahan on Iran

May 22, 2019
Patrick Shanahan became Acting Secretary of Defense on January 1, 2019, following the resignation of James Mattis. Shanahan had been serving as Deputy Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration since July 2017. He previously worked for Boeing for more than three decades, most recently as the…

Congressional Remarks on U.S.-Iran Tensions

May 15, 2019
Updated: May 28, 2019
U.S. lawmakers have been divided over what to do next to deal with the escalating tensions between the United States and Iran. The split is largely along partisan lines. Democrats voiced concern that the Trump administration was leading the United States into a new Middle East war. “The Trump…

Pentagon on Iranian Threat

May 15, 2019
On May 8, General Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of U.S Central Command (CENTCOM), named Iran the “long-term, enduring, most significant threat” to U.S. forces in the Middle East. “Their hegemonic ambitions, their misbehavior, their threats to us and our partners in the region, have been…

Tankers Sabotaged in Persian Gulf

May 14, 2019
Updated: May 16, 2019
Tensions in the Persian Gulf escalated after four ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), including two Saudi Arabian oil tankers, were sabotaged on May 12.  One ship was due to take a delivery of Saudi oil bound for the United States. “Fortunately, the attack didn't lead to any…

Pompeo on Year After Nuclear Deal Withdrawal

May 8, 2019
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo First Anniversary of President Trump’s New Iran Strategy One year ago today, President Trump announced the United States would cease to participate in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and would instead embark on a bold new strategy to end Iran’s destabilizing…

Timeline of Tensions Between Trump and Tehran

May 8, 2019
Updated: June 26, 2019
Donald Trump’s election produced dramatic change in U.S. policy in 2017. As a candidate, he had blasted the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers as “the worst deal ever negotiated.” If elected, Trump said his number-one priority would be to dismantle the deal. President Donald…

U.S. Sanctions Iran’s Metals

May 8, 2019
On May 8, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to impose sanctions on Iran’s iron, steel, aluminum, and copper sectors. The White House statement noted that those metals are “the regime’s largest non-petroleum-related sources of export revenue,” some 10 percent. The metals and mining…