New Articles

U.S. Crisis with Iraq Over Iranian Threat

September 30, 2020
Updated: November 25, 2020
Tensions between the United States and Iran created a political crisis in Baghdad in September after months of attacks on U.S. personnel and facilities by Iraqi militias armed, trained and aided by Tehran. The militias targeted U.S. bases, supply convoys and diplomatic facilities almost daily in…

Biden Foreign Policy Team on Iran

November 24, 2020
Updated: November 25, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden’s top foreign policy appointments – Antony Blinken as Secretary of State and Jake Sullivan as National Security Advisor – both supported reentering the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration in 2015 and abandoned by the Trump administration in 2018. The…

Mike Pompeo on Iran

November 30, 2017
Updated: November 24, 2020
On March 13, President Donald Trump announced that he was replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo. Pompeo has been outspoken on Iran both as a Republican congressman from Kansas (2011-2017) and as CIA director. The Senate confirmed Pompeo on…

Part 4: Iran Shuts Down Again

October 6, 2020
Updated: November 24, 2020
In mid-September, Iran’s pandemic began a third wave, with more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases a day. Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi declared a COVID-19 red alert for the entire country on September 18. The government ordered the closure of schools, universities and mosques in Tehran and…

Iran's Growing Stockpiles of Enriched Uranium

November 18, 2020
Updated: November 20, 2020
As of November 2020, Iran had amassed 12 times the amount of enriched uranium – the fuel for a nuclear bomb – that was permitted by the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the world’s six major powers. The deal stipulated that Tehran was limited to producing a maximum of 203 kg (or 447 pounds) of low-…

Iran’s Breaches of the Nuclear Deal

October 2, 2019
Updated: November 20, 2020
On July 1, 2019, Tehran began to breach the nuclear deal brokered with the world’s six major powers in 2015. It has exceeded the agreement's limits at least five times: •    In July, Iran surpassed the limits on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium.  •    A week later, it increased enrichment…

Part 3: Iranian Media on COVID-19 Surge

July 8, 2020
Updated: November 18, 2020
In June, Iranian newspapers covered the challenges of reopening subways and other public places that get crowded. They highlighted warnings from officials to take precautions when out in public. “We Haven’t Defeated Corona: [President Hassan] Rouhani Warns Restrictions May Return,” read Ebtekar.…

COVID-19 by the Numbers: U.S. versus Iran

May 6, 2020
Updated: November 18, 2020
The United States and Iran have both been epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic. The United States reported its first confirmed case, in Washington state, on January 21. Iran’s first cases, both deaths, were reported on February 19. The U.S. population is 331 million, roughly four times larger…

Iranian Officials Infected by COVID-19

March 11, 2020
Updated: November 18, 2020
Dozens of high-ranking Iranian officials have contracted COVID-19, which originated in China in late 2019 and was first reported in the Islamic Republic in February. Two vice presidents were among the early cases. The virus has since swept through the ranks of the executive branch, parliament, the…

Rouhani’s Evolving Views on COVID-19

March 31, 2020
Updated: November 18, 2020
President Hassan Rouhani’s position on the COVID-19 pandemic gradually evolved as the crisis expanded and the death toll mounted. The first official report of deaths from the new virus was on February 19. Rouhani initially downplayed the threat of the disease. On February 23, he compared the impact…

Iran and U.S. Mark Anniversary of Massive Protests

November 16, 2020
Updated: November 18, 2020
On November 15, Iran marked the one-year anniversary of the deadliest political unrest since the Green Movement demonstrations after the disputed 2009 presidential election. The regime did not officially comment, but five days before the anniversary, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pardoned…

Iran Officials React to U.S. Election

November 9, 2020
Updated: November 18, 2020
President Hassan Rouhani and his supporters were cautiously optimistic that Joe Biden, the projected winner of the 2020 presidential election, could shift U.S. policy on Iran. “We hope the three-year experience will be a lesson for America's next administration to abide by laws and regulations and…

Abrams on U.S. Demands for New Iran Talks

September 25, 2020
Updated: November 16, 2020
On September 24, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Elliott Abrams said that any future agreement with Tehran would have to cover four areas — nuclear and missile programs, support for terrorism and American detainees — and be "legally binding." "The United States is open to negotiate with Iran…

Iran, Venezuela Increase Ties Amid U.S. Sanctions

May 27, 2020
Updated: November 16, 2020
Iran and Venezuela have formed a strategic partnership to circumvent punitive U.S. sanctions imposed on both countries by the Trump administration. In October 2019, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani commended Venezuela’s “praiseworthy” resistance to U.S. pressure. “All their [U.S.] conspiracies…

Iranian Officials Respond to Coronavirus

February 28, 2020
Updated: November 16, 2020
The Iranian government responded slowly to the outbreak of the coronavirus and then scrambled to catch up as it spread quickly across 30 of Iran’s 31 provinces. The first reported cases—two deaths of elderly in Qom—were on February 19, 2020. By April 29, Iran reported 93,657 cases and 5,957 deaths…

US Sanctions Network for Supplying Iran Military

November 10, 2020
Updated: November 11, 2020
On November 10, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned six companies, two men and two women for supplying electronic components to an Iranian military firm. The United States and the European Union had sanctioned the firm – Iranian Communications Industries (ICI) – in 2008 and 2010, respectively. ICI was…

Nasrin Sotoudeh's Health Deteriorates

August 12, 2020
Updated: November 10, 2020
On August 11, 2020, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Iran’s most prominent human rights lawyer, went on hunger strike to demand the release of political prisoners amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter from Tehran’s infamous Evin prison, she warned that inmates were being denied due process and access to legal…

Iranian Media on the U.S. Election

October 7, 2020
Updated: November 6, 2020
In Iran, both hardline and reformist media provided extensive coverage of the U.S. presidential election but from widely divergent viewpoints. How America voted could have sweeping military, diplomatic and economic impact on the Islamic Republic over the next four years, especially because the two…

The Invisible U.S.-Iran Cyber War

October 25, 2019
Updated: November 5, 2020
By 2020, tensions between the United States and Iran increasingly played out in invisible cyberspace. Both governments acknowledged that cyberattacks were central to their strategies. The scope was unknown, but cyberspace has turned into a virtual battlefield. Cyber offered an alternative to…

Part 1: Iran in the U.S. Election

October 23, 2020
Updated: November 4, 2020
On October 21, John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, accused Iran and Russia of interfering in the U.S. presidential election. “Some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran, and separately, by Russia,” he said at a hastily arranged news conference. “We have already…

Part 2: Timeline - U.S. Claims of Iran Meddling

October 22, 2020
Updated: November 2, 2020
By 2020, tensions between the United States and Iran increasingly played out in cyberspace. Both governments acknowledged that cyberattacks were central to their strategies, as outlined in an earlier report by The Iran Primer. The following is a timeline of specific U.S. claims of Iran cyber…

U.S. Sanctions Buyers and Sellers of Iran Oil

October 29, 2020
Updated: October 30, 2020
On October 29, the U.S. Treasury and the State Department sanctioned 11 companies and five individuals in Iran, China and Singapore for purchasing and selling Iranian oil. “The Iranian regime benefits from a global network of entities facilitating the Iranian petrochemical sector,” Secretary Steven…

Part 2: Iran's Wish List of Weapons

May 12, 2020
Updated: October 21, 2020
The U.N. ban on conventional arms sales to Iran expired on October 18, 2020. It opened the way for Iran to import weapons – including battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems and spare parts –…

Part 1: History of Arms Embargos on Iran

May 11, 2020
Updated: October 21, 2020
The international community has long been concerned about Iran’s military arsenal. Since the 1979 revolution, the United States and the United Nations have imposed several embargoes on Tehran’s purchase of conventional weapons. The last U.N. embargo on Iran’s purchase of conventional weapons was…

Part 6: Iran Marks End of Arms Embargo

October 19, 2020
Updated: October 21, 2020
On October 18, the global ban on the sale of conventional arms to Iran expired and opened the way for the Islamic Republic to import weapons, including warplanes and helicopter gunships, missiles, tanks, artillery and other weapon systems. The ban was imposed by U.N. Resolution 1929 in 2010. It was…

Detainees in Iran and the U.S.

November 1, 2019
Updated: October 19, 2020
Hostage seizures and arrests have been a recurrent feature of the troubled relationship between the United States and Iran since revolutionary students captured the U.S. Embassy—and 52 diplomats—on Nov. 4, 2019. That 444-day drama ended on January 20, 1981, the day President Ronald Reagan was…

Part 1: Mysterious Explosions Rock Iran

July 10, 2020
Updated: October 13, 2020
Beginning in June 2020, Iran experienced a notable string of explosions, fires and industrial accidents. The damaged sites included Iran’s nuclear facility in Natanz, a missile plant in Khojir, the power grid in Shiraz and a chemical plant in Mahshahr. The most destructive incident was an explosion…

Iran's Increasing Reliance on China

September 11, 2019
Updated: October 13, 2020
By Alex Yacoubian Longstanding trade relations between Iran and China have deepened since the U.S. imposed punitive economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic in November 2018. Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi called the two countries “comprehensive strategic partners” during a visit by Iranian…

The "Chilling Effect" of U.S. Sanctions on Iran

October 11, 2020
Updated: October 11, 2020
Richard Nephew, author of The Art of Sanctions, is a senior research scholar at Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy. He was director for Iran policy at the National Security Staff from 2011 to 2013, during the expansion of U.S. sanctions on Iran. He coordinated sanctions policy at the…

U.S. Sanctions Iran’s Financial Sector

October 8, 2020
Updated: October 10, 2020
On October 8, the Treasury sanctioned 18 major Iranian banks to cut Iran off from the global banking system and deny the regime access to foreign funds and institutions. The new sanctions are the latest step in the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure campaign” to squeeze Iran into…