New Articles

U.S. Sanctions Iranians Linked to Nuclear Program

March 22, 2019
On March 22, the U.S. State Department and Treasury sanctioned 31 Iranian entities and individuals linked to the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, also known by its Persian acronym, SPND. The organization was founded by Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who allegedly headed Iran’s pre-2004…

Khamenei, Rouhani Speeches on Nowruz

March 21, 2019
On March 20-21, 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 praised Iran’s resilience in the face of U.S. and European sanctions but also acknowledged that the struggling economy is…

President Trump’s Nowruz Message

March 20, 2019
On March 20, President Donald Trump issued a message to the millions of people celebrating Nowruz, the Persian New Year, around the world, including in Iran. He used the occasion to criticize the Islamic Republic's government. “This year, as they have each year for the past four decades, they […

Report: Iran's Afghan Fighters in Syria

March 19, 2019
In 2013, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards began recruiting Afghan Shiites to fight in the new Fatemiyoun militia on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Most of the fighters came from the estimated three million Afghan refugees living in Iran. Over the next four years, some 50,000 Afghans were…

State Department Report on Human Rights in Iran

March 14, 2019
In 2018, Iran’s human rights record “remained extremely poor and worsened in several key areas,” according to a new State Department report. Issues included executions of juvenile offenders, denial of fair trials, poor prison conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, invasion of privacy, severe…

Rouhani Deepens Ties with Iraq

March 14, 2019
On March 11, President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Iraq for a three-day visit. It was his first official visit to Iran’s western neighbor. Iran and Iraq are Shiite-majority countries that share centuries-deep cultural and religious ties — and a 900-mile border. The Islamic Republic has used these…

Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced to 38 Years in Prison

March 13, 2019
On March 11, 2019, Iran’s most prominent human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes for nine charges. She received 12 years for allegedly encouraging “corruption and prostitution,” according to her husband, Reza Khandan. The charge is likely connected…

Ebrahim Raisi Appointed Judiciary Chief

March 8, 2019
Updated: March 12, 2019
On March 7, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Ebrahim Raisi as judiciary chief. Raisi was not a well-known figure until he entered the 2017 presidential race. The hardline cleric garnered 38 percent of the vote but lost to incumbent Hassan Rouhani, who got 57 percent. Raisi replaces…

Families of Detainees in Iran Appeal to Congress

March 7, 2019
On March 7, relatives of three Americans detained in Iran appealed to lawmakers and the Trump administration to do more to free their family members. Babak Namazi spoke on behalf of his father, Baquer, and brother, Siamak, who were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for allegedly collaborating with…

U.S. Calls on Iran to Address Past Nuclear Weapons Research

March 6, 2019
On March 5, Ambassador Jackie Wolcott, the U.S. representative to the U.N. office in Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other organizations, called for a full accounting of Iran’s past nuclear activities. “As we move forward, Iran must end its longstanding efforts to deny and…

U.S. Sanctions Iranian Proxies in Iraq

March 5, 2019
On March 5, the U.S. State Department and Treasury sanctioned Harakat al Nujaba (HAN), an Iran-backed militia in Iraq, and its leader, Akram Abbas al Kabi. The State Department designated them as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. “These designations demonstrate the United States’ unwavering…

Iran and Syria: Charting a Post-War Future

February 26, 2019
Syrian President Bashar Assad made a surprise trip to Tehran on February 25, the first since the Syrian war began in 2011. The visit comes as Assad has consolidated his hold on all major Syrian cities and as Iran, Russia, and Turkey are working on a post-war peace process. Assad met with Iranian…

Zarif Announces Resignation, Rouhani Rejects It

February 25, 2019
Updated: February 27, 2019
On February 25, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced his resignation in an Instagram post. “With good wishes on the occasion of the blessed birth of Her Holiness Fatima Zahra, may the peace of Allah be upon her, the day of mothers and the day of women, I am very thankful for the…

Zarif in Munich: U.S. Wants Regime Change, Israel Seeks War

February 21, 2019
On February 17, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the United States of “exporting insecurity” to the Middle East and trying to foment regime change in his country. In a defiant address at the Munich Security Forum, he condemned Washington for reimposing sanctions and withdrawing…

Report: Pakistan’s Approach to Navigating the Saudi-Iranian Split

February 21, 2019
Pakistan has spent decades striking a delicate balance between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the self-appointed vanguards of Sunni and Shiite Islam, respectively. Pakistan is predominantly Sunni, but it also has a substantial Shiite population and shares a nearly 600-mile long border with Iran. Since 2015…

U.S. Co-hosts Warsaw Conference, Pressures Europe on Iran

February 19, 2019
On February 13-14, the United States co-hosted a conference in Warsaw, Poland on peace and security in the Middle East. Foreign ministers from more than 60 countries in Europe and the Middle East participated. Iran was a major topic. In a keynote address, Vice President Mike Pence said, “As Iran’s…

Pence Urges E.U. to Withdraw from Nuclear Deal

February 19, 2019
In two speeches, Vice President Mike Pence urged European countries to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal. “The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and join with us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the Iranian people, the…

U.S. Statement on Detention of Opposition Leaders

February 15, 2019
On February 14, the State Department issued a statement on the eight-year anniversary of the house arrest of three Iranian opposition leaders. “We condemn the continued house arrest of these three individuals, which contradicts Iran’s own laws and its international obligations, including those…

Revolutionary at 40: Rallies in Pictures

February 11, 2019
On February 11, Iranians took to the streets across the country to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution. The popular uprising, led by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, led to the ouster of Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi and ended centuries of dynastic rule. Each year, Iranians…

Revolution at 40: Poll on Economy, Nuclear Deal

February 11, 2019
The majority of Iranians say the economy is bad and is getting worse, according to a new survey by IranPoll, an independent research company based in Toronto, Canada. Some 85 percent of those interviewed said European countries were “moving slowly” to trade and invest with Iran because of U.S.…

Revolution at 40: Economy by the Numbers

February 7, 2019
Iran’s economy has faced recurring existential crises since the 1979 revolution. Tehran suffered the biggest shocks from the sapping costs of an eight-year war with Iraq, between 1980 and 1988, and the wave of international sanctions imposed in 2012. During less volatile years, Iran’s economic…

Revolution at 40: U.S. Officials React

February 6, 2019
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Iran’s revolution, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned Iran’s foreign and domestic policies. “Even your president, Hassan Rouhani, admits to the regime’s 40 years of failure. It didn’t need to be this way, but your ruling regime has always prioritized…

Revolution at 40: Society by the Numbers

February 6, 2019
Iranian society has undergone dramatic changes since the 1979 revolution. The population has doubled. The Islamic Republic has improved education. Illiteracy has been virtually eradicated. People are living longer. • Education: In 1976, the adult literacy rate was 37 percent. In 2016, it was 86…

Revolution at 40: Politics by the Numbers

February 5, 2019
Iran’s politics have changed dramatically – from a one-party system heavily dominated by clerics to a multi-party system dominated by secular politicians – during its first four decades. Iran’s parliament is illustrative. The key trends:    Clerics in Parliament: In 1980, clerics held 61 percent…

Revolution at 40: Experts Reflect

February 5, 2019
The original co-authors of "The Iran Primer" book reflect on the eve of the 40th anniversary of Iran’s revolution. Their comments cover the diversity of analysis.  Photo by Bokopix via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow and Director of The Intelligence Project, The Brookings…

Revolution at 40: Leaders Celebrate

February 4, 2019
Updated: February 11, 2019
President Hassan Rouhani Iranian leaders have given defiant speeches, condemning U.S. sanctions and touting the country’s resilience, in the run-up to the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution. “The biggest economic pressure in the past 40 years on the Iranian nation has been plotted [by the…

Trump Wants Troops in Iraq to 'Watch' Iran

February 4, 2019
Updated: February 8, 2019
On February 3, President Donald Trump said that U.S. forces departing Syria would shift to bases in Iraq to “watch” Iran, in an interview with CBS news. Iraqi leaders were quick to condemn his remark. Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hassan Karim al Kaabi called the Trump’s comment a “blatant and overt…

Iran Unveils News Missiles, Underground Factory

February 2, 2019
Iran unveiled two new missiles and an underground missile factory during celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the Islamic revolution. On February 2, Defense Minister Amir Hatami presented the Hoveizeh surface-to-surface missile, an addition to the Soumar family of cruise missiles with a…

E.U. Council Statement on Iran

February 2, 2019
On February 2, the Council of the European Union, which consists of member states’ foreign ministers, released an outline of its views on Iran and related issues. The ministers reiterated their support for the nuclear deal and recognized that Iran had fulfilled its commitments. But they also…

Europeans Launch Iran Trade Mechanism

January 31, 2019
Updated: February 8, 2019
On January 31, Britain, France, and Germany announced the establishment of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for European companies to facilitate trade with Iran. The entity is formally named the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). The “exact method INSTEX uses will be the first…