New Articles

Impact of U.S. Sanctions on Iran Oil

April 23, 2019
By Elizabeth Rosenberg Elizabeth Rosenberg held senior roles at the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 2009 to 2013, where she helped oversee the tightening of international sanctions on Iran. She is now a Senior Fellow and Director of the Energy, Economics, and Security Program at the Center…

Hossein Salami Appointed IRGC Commander

April 22, 2019
On April 21, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Hossein Salami as the new commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is Iran’s most powerful military and security organization as well as a key economic player. Major General Salami, a veteran of the 1980-1988…

U.S. Ends Sanctions Waivers on Iranian Oil

April 22, 2019
On April 22, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States will stop providing sanctions exemptions to countries that import Iranian oil. “We will continue to apply maximum pressure on the Iranian regime until its leaders change their destructive behavior, respect the rights of…

How the Iranian Revolution Has Survived 40 Years

April 16, 2019
Amin Saikal is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Australian National University. He is the author of Iran Rising: The Survival and Future of the Islamic Republic.   Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has weathered a…

Part 8: International Reaction to IRGC Designation

April 10, 2019
International reactions to the State Department’s designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization varied widely by country. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked President Donald Trump for the move in a pair of tweets in English and…

Part 7: Iranian Media on IRGC Designation

April 9, 2019
Iranian newspapers spanning the country’s political spectrum reacted to the U.S. State Department’s designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization with a mix of outrage, bombast, and expressions of solidarity with the IRGC. Front page headlines and…

Part 6: Iranian Officials React to IRGC Designation

April 9, 2019
Updated: April 11, 2019
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) responded to the State Department’s designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization by designating the U.S. government as a state sponsor of terrorism and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and all its…

Part 5: Tehran's Options on IRGC Designation

April 8, 2019
Michael Eisenstadt is the David Kahn and Douglas Kahn Fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Military and Security Studies Program. He served for 26 in the U.S. Army Reserve, doing stints at U.S. Central Command headquarters and in the region, before retiring in 2010. Prior to joining…

Part 3: What Will IRGC Designation Actually Do?

April 8, 2019
Dr. Matthew Levitt is the Fromer-Wexler Fellow and Director for the Reinhard program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.  He previously served as the Treasury Department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis. On April 8,…

Part 4: Experts on IRGC Designation

April 8, 2019
The original co-authors of “The Iran Primer” book and other experts reflect on the U.S. designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization. Their comments cover the diversity of analysis.  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and IRGC Commander…

Part 2: Fact Sheets on IRGC, Qods Force

April 8, 2019
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was created after the 1979 revolution to enforce Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s concept of an Islamic state. The Guards played a crucial role not only in crushing early opposition to Khomeini’s vision, but also in repelling Saddam Hussein’s invasion of…

Part 1: Trump, Pompeo on IRGC as “Terrorists”

April 8, 2019
Updated: April 15, 2019
On April 8, the United States announced the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), effective April 15. The IRGC is Iran’s most powerful military and security organization as well as a key economic player. “This unprecedented step, led…

U.S.-Iran Spat Over Floods

April 3, 2019
Updated: April 4, 2019
In late March and early April, flash floods killed dozens of people in southern Iran. The worst rains in at least a decade ravaged 20 of Iran's 31 provinces. At least 25,000 homes were destroyed, and another 60,000 were damaged. On April 2, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement…

U.S. "Maximum Pressure" Campaign on Iran

April 2, 2019
On April 2, the State Department released a fact sheet on U.S. efforts to place “maximum economic pressure” on Iran. Since 2017, the Trump administration has sought to negotiate a new nuclear deal that would also address the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program, support for extremist groups…

Supreme National Security Council of Iran

April 1, 2019
Updated: May 1, 2019
Iran’s national security policymaking is an opaque process involving both official branches of government and informal influence networks. The one formal body that brings most of those influencers together is the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC). Established in 1989 by Article 176 of Iran’s…

U.S. Exposes Sanctions Busting Network

March 26, 2019
On March 26, the United States sanctioned a network of front companies that evaded U.S. sanctions to provide support to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran’s Ministry and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). “With this action today we are increasing our pressure even further on the…

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
Updated: March 25, 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: April 4, 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…