News Digest: Week of July 8

July 8

International: In a letter to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, President-elect Masoud Pezeshkian pledged to maintain Iran’s support for groups opposed to Israel. “I am certain that the resistance movements in the region will not allow this regime to continue its warmongering and criminal policies against the oppressed people of Palestine and other nations of the region,” he said on July 8.

Hassan Nasrallah


July 9

Domestic: Some 60 percent of Pezeshkian's cabinet will be comprised of first-time ministers under 50 years old who have not been ministers before, former Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, one of Pezeshkian's advisers, said. “We are planning to form a young government, and people like me, who have had posts many times, are not supposed to get a position again in this administration.”

International: The U.S. director of national intelligence revealed that Iran was trying to “stoke discord and undermine confidence in our democratic institutions.” Avril Haines said that actors tied to Tehran were encouraging protests over the war in Gaza by posing as activists online and even providing financial support to demonstrators. Both Haines and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre emphasized that Americans were participating in protests in good faith, but they cited the government’s duty to report foreign influence operations to the public, especially in advance of elections. 

International: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and President-elect Pezeshkian expressed their shared commitment to “promote long-term strategic relations,” according to the readout of their phone call.   


July 10

International: In an Arabic-language op-ed, President-elect Pezeshkian invited Iran's neighbors to participate in "constructive dialogue and enhancement of cooperation" to build a more prosperous region. He wrote that Iran could play a role as a transit corridor running North-South and East-West to boost trade and development. Pezeshkian also rejected the dominance of great powers and contended that Palestinian self-determination was key to stability. He also argued that Israel's nuclear weapons posed a threat to regional security. "Steps should be taken with the help of the countries of the region and the world towards [realization] of a Middle East region free of weapons of mass destruction.”

International: In a call with President Bashar al Assad, President-elect Pezeshkian pledged to deepen ties with Syria. “Our entire effort is to continue this strategy with strength and to further solidify the relationship between the two sides,” Pezeshkian said. “The policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran, under the guidance and leadership of the supreme leader, are based on supporting Palestine, the resistance movement, and the nation and government of Syria as Iran's strategic ally.” 

International: NATO warned Iran that transferring ballistic missiles and related technology to Russia would be “a substantial escalation.” In a declaration, members of the 32-national alliance also noted that “Iran’s destabilizing actions are affecting Euro-Atlantic security.” Heads of state and government gathered in Washington for a summit marking the 75th anniversary of the alliance. 


July 11

International: An oil tanker seized by Iran’s navy in April 2023 began sailing through the Strait of Hormuz toward international waters. Originally carrying 50 million of oil from Kuwait for Chevron Corp, the seizure of the Advantage Sweet tanker came shortly after an Iranian court ordered the United States to pay $6.7 billion in compensation on behalf of plaintiffs who allegedly could not receive medical supplies due to U.S. sanctions.

International: U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington, DC to discuss actions aimed at disrupting Iran and its regional proxies, including Hezbollah and Hamas. "I thanked her for the American support for Israel and reviewed Iran's activities as the leader of the axis of evil against Israel, the US, and the entire free world,” Katz said on social media. “I emphasized that now is the time to impose severe sanctions on Iran, led by the US and in cooperation with European countries, to stop its nuclear and missile activities and support for terrorist organizations."