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Iran's Political Future After 2020 Election

February 26, 2020
On February 26, four experts discussed the sweeping victory by conservative factions in Iran’s parliamentary elections. Speakers included: •    Kenneth Katzman – Specialist, Middle East Affairs, Congressional Research Service •    Ariane Tabatabai – Associate Political Scientist, RAND Corporation…

U.S. Sanctions Missile Procurement Network

February 25, 2020
On February 25, the U.S. State Department announced sanctions on 13 foreign companies and individuals for supporting Iran's missile program. The entities were based in China, Iraq, Russia, and Turkey. The State Department said that the action was based on a periodic review required under the Iran,…

Coronavirus Strikes Iran

February 24, 2020
Updated: February 26, 2020
The coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China in late December spread to Iran in February. On February 19, the health ministry announced that two elderly people in Qom had died from the coronavirus. It blamed Chinese laborers who recently came to Qom. Another early case involved a businessman who…

2020 Parliamentary Election Results

February 24, 2020
By Garrett Nada Conservative and hardline factions, including candidates closely aligned with the Revolutionary Guards, won a sweeping victory in parliamentary elections held on February 21. They won 221 of the 290 seats, more than doubling their presence in parliament; 83 were elected in the 2016…

News Digest: Week of February 24

February 24, 2020
February 24 Medicine: Iran’s Health Ministry reported 61 cases of coronavirus and 12 deaths since the outbreak was first confirmed in the country on February 19. Cases were recorded in the provinces of Qom , Tehran, Gilan, Markazi, Isfahan, Mazandaran and Hamadan. The ministry said that the new…

What It Looks Like to Vote in Iran

February 21, 2020
On February 21, Iranians headed to the polls to elect a new parliament. The regime cites turnout as a reflection of public support, so it encouraged citizens to fulfill their “national duty.” Fars News Agency reported that the turnout was about 40 percent nationwide and only 30 percent in Tehran as…

Financial Watchdog Returns Iran to Blacklist

February 21, 2020
On February 21, a global financial watchdog returned Iran to its blacklist. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body of 36 countries that sets standards for countering the financing of terrorism and money laundering, cited Iran’s failure to comply with international norms…

Pompeo in Saudi Arabia on Iran

February 21, 2020
On February 19, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Riyadh for three days of meetings with Saudi officials, including King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Shared concerns about Iran’s military interventions and support for terror were high on the agenda…

U.S. Sanctions Guardian Council Members

February 20, 2020
On February 20, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook announced sanctions on five key members of Iran’s Guardian Council, an unelected panel of twelve Islamic jurists and scholars. The council disqualified more than 9,000 out of the some 14,000 candidates who registered to run in…

Iranian Media on Election 2020

February 20, 2020
Iranian newspapers have been divided in their coverage of the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for February 21. Reformist papers initially focused on the Guardian Council’s disqualification of 90 incumbent lawmakers and the vast majority of reformist candidates. Reformist papers also…

Iran Sentences Eight Environmentalists

February 19, 2020
On February 18, an Iranian revolutionary court finalized the sentences of eight environmental activists by upholding tough prison terms for “cooperating with the hostile state of the U.S.” and “collusion to act against national security.” One of the eight is Morad Tahbaz, an Iranian who also holds…

Trends in Parliamentary Election 2020

February 18, 2020
Updated: February 21, 2020
Key Dates Registration Period: December 1-7, 2019 Campaign Period: February 13-20, 2020 First Round of Elections: February 21, 2020 Second Round of Elections: April 20-May 20, 2020   Facts and Figures The unicameral Majles has 290 seats for 31 provinces; 285 seats are directly elected and…

News Digest: Week of February 17

February 18, 2020
Updated: February 25, 2020
February 18 Justice: Tehran released a German citizen who was sentenced to three years in prison for taking photographs of “sensitive places” in Iran. The move came two days after Ahmad Khalili, an Iranian national detained in Germany on charges of violating U.S. sanctions, was released by Berlin…

White House Justification for Soleimani Strike

February 14, 2020
On February 14, the House Foreign Affairs Committee released the Trump administration’s legal justification for killing Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Qods Force. Administration officials had said that Trump approved the drone strike, carried out on January 3 near Baghdad…

U.N. Report: Houthi Arms Resemble Iran's

February 14, 2020
Yemen’s Houthi rebels have used sophisticated weapons similar to those manufactured in Iran, according to a new report by the U.N. Panel of Experts on Yemen. Some weapons, including a new type of drone and a new model of cruise missile, had not been seen in Yemen before 2019. The Houthi rebels are…

U.S. Seizes Iranian-made Missiles in Arabian Sea

February 14, 2020
On February 13, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said that it had seized a large cache of Iranian-made weapons from a dhow in the Arabian Sea. The military equipment, which included surface-to-air-missiles and anti-tank missiles, was “identical” to the weapons systems captured by the United States in…

U.S. Charges Five for Conspiring to Sell Iranian Oil

February 13, 2020
On February 13, the United States charged five individuals with conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran. The Justice Department alleged that the five defendants planned to use a Polish shell company to illicitly purchase Iranian oil and sell it to a refinery in China. “With the goal of…

Senate Votes to Restrain Trump’s War Powers

February 13, 2020
On February 13, the U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan bill to limit President Trump’s authority to conduct military action against Iran. The measure, introduced by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), passed by a 55-45 vote. It was supported by eight Republicans and all 47 Democrats. But the bill did not…

Will U.S.-Iran Tensions Spark Afghan Proxy War?

February 13, 2020
By Belquis Ahmadi, Barmak Pazhwak and Michael V. Phelan Rising tensions between the United States and Iran—illustrated and exacerbated by the January 3 assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani—are rippling out beyond the Middle East. Now, American officials are voicing growing concern…

New Discrimination Against Minorities

February 12, 2020
In January 2020, Iran introduced a new form that discriminates against religious minorities not protected under the constitution. The new form removed the option to select “other religion” in national identity cards. The card is a basic necessity to access government services and conduct banking…

CRS Report on Iran’s Missile and Space Programs

February 12, 2020
Iran’s space launch efforts are not necessarily related to its ballistic missile program, according to a Congressional Research Service report updated in January. Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMS) “share many similar technologies and processes inherent in a space launch program, but many…

Revolution at 41: Rallies in Pictures

February 11, 2020
On February 11, hundreds of thousands of Iranians gathered in cities and villages across the country to commemorate the 41st anniversary of the Islamic revolution. The popular uprising, led by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, culminated in the ouster of Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, ending…

Revolution at 41: Leaders Celebrate

February 11, 2020
Updated: February 12, 2020
On February 11, Iranian leaders struck a defiant tone on the 41st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. President Hassan Rouhani spoke to a large crowd gathered in Tehran in front of a poster of Qassem Soleimani, the Qods Force commander killed in a U.S. drone strike. Rouhani said that the…

Iran Fails to Launch Satellite, U.S. Reaction

February 11, 2020
On February 9, Iran attempted to put a satellite into orbit but failed. The Simorgh (Phoenix) rocket used in the launch did not reach the speed needed to put the Zafar (Victory) 1 communications satellite into orbit. “Stage-1 and stage-2 motors of the carrier functioned properly and the satellite…

News Digest: Week of February 10

February 10, 2020
Updated: February 13, 2020
February 10 Economy: Iraqi officials said that the United States will grant sanctions waivers to allow Iraq to import gas and electricity from Iran. The previous waiver will expire on February 13. Iraq was heavily dependent on Iran to meet its domestic electricity demands, especially during the…

Issues in Iran’s Parliamentary Election

February 5, 2020
By Garrett Nada Iran’s 2020 parliamentary election, following months of internal protests and showdowns with the outside world, will be a stark contrast to the last poll in 2016, when Iranians believed they were emerging from years of economic sanctions and political isolation. Voters go to the…

Trump on Iran in State of the Union

February 5, 2020
On February 4, President Trump accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons and urged it to stop supporting terror. In his State of the Union address, he encouraged Tehran to change course. “Because of our powerful sanctions, the Iranian economy is doing very poorly. We can help them make it very good…

Iran’s 2020 Parliamentary Elections

February 3, 2020
Updated: February 14, 2020
By Andrew Hanna Iranians go to the polls on February 21, 2020 to vote for all 290 seats in the unicameral Majles. Parliamentary elections, held every four years, often presage which political faction wins the presidency a year later. The stakes in the 2020 election are huge. In the 2016 election,…

News Digest: Week of February 3

February 3, 2020
Updated: February 12, 2020
February 3 Military: Iran announced that it would launch a satellite into orbit within a week. “We are not afraid of failure and we will not lose hope. With your prayers and trust in God, the Zafar satellite by the end of this week ... will be heading toward an orbit of 530 km from Earth,” said…

House Votes to Limit Trump’s War Powers

January 31, 2020
On January 30, the House of Representatives passed two measures to limit President Trump’s ability to conduct military action against Iran. The first proposal, passed by a vote of 236-166, would repeal the 2002 congressional authorization for the war in Iraq. The second bill, approved by a 228-175…