Part 3: Iran in Syria, Reaction to US-led Airstrikes

April 13, 2018

On April 13, the United States, Britain and France launched strikes in response to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons in the rebel enclave of Douma. U.S. aircraft, including B-1 bombers, and at least three warships participated in the attack on three sites related to the regime’s chemical weapons program. President Donald Trump notified the public in a televised address.

Report: Legality of Withdrawing from Nuclear Deal

April 5, 2018

President Donald Trump has warned that he would withdraw from the nuclear deal if the United States and European partners cannot agree on ways to fix its alleged flaws. The administration is aiming to sign a supplemental agreement that deals with the sunset clauses and Iran’s missile program. Trump will have to decide if the United States will continue to implement the deal by May 12. If Trump does not waive sanctions then, the United States will be in violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

US Sanctions Iranian Hacking Network

March 23, 2018

On March 23, the United States issued sanctions and criminal indictments against an Iranian hacker network that targeted hundreds of U.S. and foreign universities, dozens of U.S. companies and government agencies and the United Nations. The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned one Iranian entity and 10 individuals for theft of intellectual property and data. The Department of Justice indicted nine Iranians for conducting a massive cyber theft campaign on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Khamenei, Rouhani Speeches on Nowruz

March 20, 2018

On March 20, Iran’s top leaders marked Nowruz, the Persian New Year and the first day of spring, with televised addresses to the nation. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei acknowledged that the past year featured “a mixture of peaks and troughs, sweet and bitter events, just like other stages of our lives.” He cited the severe and ongoing drought, an earthquake, transportation disasters and, most notably, “the livelihood problems of some social classes” that contributed to protests in 30 of Iran’s 31 provinces in December and January.

Trump’s Big Decision on Nuclear Deal in May

March 20, 2018

President Donald Trump has warned that he would withdraw from the nuclear deal if the United States and European partners cannot agree on changes to the agreement. Since he issued his ultimatum on January 12, diplomats have been working to find common ground. In early March, the State Department’s policy planning director, Brian Hook, reportedly traveled to Europe to meet with British, French and German officials.

President Trump on Nowruz

March 20, 2018

On March 19, President Donald Trump issued a statement ahead of Nowruz, the Persian New Year. He used the occasion to condemn Iran’s leaders and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is Iran’s most powerful security and military organization. It is also the most powerful economic actor in the country. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan also issued a Nowruz statement. He expressed support for Iranians who protested economic grievances and corruption. Their statements are below.

UN Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran

March 14, 2018

The U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran has observed a “worrying” trend since her last report in August 2017. “Despite assurances from the Government, improvements are either not forthcoming or are being implemented very slowly and in piecemeal,” according to an advance copy of Asma Jahangir’s report to the U.N. Human Rights Council. Jahangir passed away in February 2018, shortly after sharing the report with Iran’s government, so she did not have the opportunity to consider its response.