On April 18, the Trump administration announced the launch of an interagency review of whether sanctions relief for Iran, as part of the nuclear deal, is vital to U.S. national security interests. Iran committed to significantly curbing its nuclear program and taking greater steps towards transparency in exchange for sanctions relief as part of the 2015 agreement, also known as at the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
On April 10-11, the foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the High Representative of the European Union met in Lucca, Italy to discuss pressing issues that impact global peace and security. The so-called Group of Seven (G7) is an informal bloc of industrialized democracies expressed support for the Iran nuclear deal and called on Tehran to comply with its international human rights obligations. The following is the relevant excerpt from the G7’s final communique from the meeting.
On April 13, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned the Tehran Prison Organization and Sohrab Soleimani, a senior official within Iran’s State Prison Organization. The announcement cited an April 2014 incident at the infamous Evin Prison, when dozens of security guards and prison officials attacked political prisoners in Ward 350 for several hours.
The following is the press release from the European Council on renewed sanctions.
On 11 April 2017, the Council extended until 13 April 2018 its restrictive measures responding to serious human rights violations in Iran. These measures consist of:
On April 4, more than 80 people died after planes reportedly dropped chemical bombs on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in northwestern Syria. At least 100 others were later treated in hospitals in Idlib province while several dozen were transferred to Turkey. The victims included women and children. The United States, Britain, France, and the European Union held the Syrian regime responsible for the attack.
On March 27, the Islamic State group released a rare Farsi-language video threatening Iran. The nearly 40-minute clip, issued on social media by the group’s Diyala Province in neighboring Iraq, is titled “The Farsi Land: From Yesterday ‘till Today.” The Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) accuses Iran of being a repressive state that persecutes Sunnis while providing protection for Jews and cooperating with Israel and the United States. The clip clearly expresses the organization’s goal to conquer Iran and make it Sunni, as it was in the past.
On March 27, President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Moscow with a large political and economic delegation for a two-day visit. Iranian and Russian officials signed 14 memoranda of understanding to cooperate on a range of security, economic, scientific and cultural issues. Putin highlighted that bilateral trade had increased 70 percent compared to last year. Banking officials from both countries discussed creating a joint bank account to facilitate trade in rubles and rials, which could further boost trade.
On March 26, Iran imposed sanctions on 15 U.S. companies for alleged human rights violations and support for Israel. The retaliatory move came two days after the United States sanctioned 11 entities and individuals from China, North Korea or the United Arab Emirates for transferring sensitive items to Iran’s ballistic missile program. The following are excerpts from the Foreign Ministry’s statement with the list of U.S. companies.
On March 21, the United States imposed sanctions on 11 entities and individuals for “transfers of sensitive items to Iran’s ballistic missile program.” Washington considers Tehran’s missile program a threat to regional security. Since Iran tested a medium-range ballistic missile in January 2017, the U.S.
On March 22, President Donald Trump issued a statement marking Nowruz, the Persian New Year. "On behalf of the American people, I wish you freedom, dignity, and wealth," he said in remarks directed to the Iranian people. On March 20, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had also issued a Nowruz message. It mentioned more than a dozen countries where the holiday is observed, including Iran, but did not include a special message to the Iranian people. The full text of Trump and Tillerson’s statements are below.