Iran’s government continued to imprison, harass, intimidate, and discriminate against people based on religious beliefs in 2016, according to an annual report by the U.S. State Department. “In Iran, Baha’is, Christians, and other minorities are persecuted for their faith.
On August 9, 47 national security leaders issued a statement warning against U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, as long as Tehran is complying. They recommended a comprehensive policy to constrain the Islamic Republic and further U.S. interests. The group, organized by The Iran Project, included a former national security advisor, former ambassadors, former lawmakers and foreign policy experts. The full text and list of signers are below.
On August 8, President Hassan Rouhani submitted to Parliament the names of 17 men for ministerial posts in his new cabinet. Two key figures — Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was responsible for negotiating the nuclear deal, and Oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, who has upped oil production following the lifting of sanctions — retained their positions.
Iranian officials have reacted angrily to new U.S. sanctions, signed into law by President Donald Trump on August 2. The bill, which also deals with Russia and North Korea, directs the President to impose sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile or WMD programs, the sale or transfer to Iran of military equipment or related technical or financial assistance, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
On August 3, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei confirmed Hassan Rouhani as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, kicking off his second term. Rouhani won 57 percent of the vote, compared with 38 percent for his closest rival, in the May 19 election.
On August 2, President Donald Trump signed a bipartisan bill imposing sanctions on Iran and Russia. It also increased the President’s ability to sanction individuals connected to North Korea.
Since Donald Trump took office in January 2017, the United States has imposed sanctions on dozens of individuals and entities for connections to Iran’s ballistic missile program, support for terror or human rights abuses. The first set of sanctions came just two weeks after President Trump’s inauguration. Details regarding sanctions and designations imposed by the Trump administration are outlined below.
On July 20, Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo said that Iran’s implementation of the nuclear deal has been “grudging” and “minimalist.” At the Aspen Security Forum (an annual gathering of government officials, industry experts and journalists), he argued that the nuclear deal has not fostered stability in the region or led Iran to “become a reentrant to the Western world.” Pompeo said that Iran has been using proxy forces to expand its influence in the region and become the kingpin. The following are excerpted remarks on Iran.
Majorities of Iranians think President Hassan Rouhani has been successful in improving foreign relations and getting sanctions removed. But the president, reelected in May, has a mixed record on domestic issues, according to a new study by the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and IranPoll. Half of respondents said they thought economic conditions were getting worse as of June. Only 35 percent of Iranians said Rouhani was successful in reducing unemployment.