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News Digest: Week of June 13

June 13, 2022
Updated: June 17, 2022
June 13 Defense: Two men involved in Iran’s aerospace industry were “martyred” in separate incidents while on duty, according to local media. Ali Kamani, a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force, was killed in a “driving accident.” He was stationed in Khomein in…

Part 4: Challenges to IAEA Monitoring

June 13, 2022
The U.N. nuclear watchdog may not be able to verify the nature or scope of Iran’s nuclear program if it does not restore 27 cameras that have monitored its activities over the past six years, Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned on June 12. The…

Part 3: JCPOA Faces "Fatal Blow" – Grossi

June 9, 2022
Iran will remove “basically all” the extra monitoring equipment, including 27 cameras, installed as part of the 2015 nuclear deal, the U.N. nuclear watchdog announced on June 9. If Iran does not restore the cameras within three to four weeks, “this would be a fatal blow” to reviving the historic…

Part 2: IAEA Rebukes Iran

June 9, 2022
Updated: September 14, 2022
On September 14, a third of the 175 member states of the U.N. nuclear watchdog urged Iran to explain traces of uranium at three undeclared sites that date back to a covert program before 2003. In a joint statement, the 56 countries reiterated support for a resolution passed by the Board of…

Gulf States Sanction IRGC Funders

June 8, 2022
On June 6, six Arab Gulf countries sanctioned three Iranians for helping fund the Qods Force, which conducts the external operations of the Revolutionary Guards, and Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party and militia. The three are: Meghdad Amini and Ali Qasir, who directed a network that funneled…

Khamenei Blames Protests on West

June 8, 2022
On June 4, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that Western and “reactionary forces” were trying to infiltrate the country. Iran’s enemies were harnessing popular protests—through social media, psychological warfare and hired “mercenaries”—to undermine the Islamic Republic, he said in a…

Amnesty International: Executions Spike in Iran

June 7, 2022
In 2021, Iran executed at least 314 people – more than any other country except China – according to Amnesty International’s annual report on the death penalty. The increase was linked to death sentences for drug-related offenses. Executions “routinely followed grossly unfair trials, with ‘…

Part 1: Iran Accelerates Nuclear Program

June 7, 2022
Iran has stockpiled more than 18 times the amount of enriched uranium allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal, an unprecedented advance, according to a leaked report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog. The growing stockpile means that Iran could amass sufficient fuel for a single nuclear bomb in a few weeks…

News Digest: Week of June 6

June 7, 2022
Updated: June 9, 2022
June 6:  Domestic: The death toll from the collapse of a 10-story building in Abadan on May 23 rose to 41. The incident had triggered week-long protests against government corruption. Religion: Iran demanded an apology from India after two officials of India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata…

Part 1: Explainer - Iran's Space Program

June 3, 2022
Updated: August 9, 2022
John Krzyzaniak is a research associate at the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control. Follow him @john_krzyzaniak.  When did Iran start its space program? What are its goals? Who or what agency is in charge? Iran’s interest in outer space dates back to 1957, when it joined 17 other nations in…

U.S. Report on Religious Freedom in Iran

June 3, 2022
In 2021, Iranian authorities arrested, detained, harassed, and surveilled members of minority faith groups – including Baha’i, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Sunni and Sufi Muslims. “The government convicted and executed dissidents, political reformers, and peaceful protesters on charges of ‘…

FBI: Iran Behind Cyberattack on Boston Hospital

June 2, 2022
On June 1, FBI Director Christopher Wray alleged that Iran-backed hackers targeted Boston Children’s Hospital in “one of the most despicable cyberattacks” he has seen. Hackers attempted to infiltrate the facility’s computer network in June 2021, but the FBI warned the hospital, then helped identify…

Explainer: Iran’s Protests Over Food Prices

June 1, 2022
As of April 2022, food prices in Iran were up 43 percent over the previous year largely due to a severe drought, sanctions, inflation, corruption, and government mismanagement. In early May, the government implemented economic reforms intended to help consumers, but prices of bread and other…

Amir-Abdollahian Interview on Iran’s Foreign Policy

May 30, 2022
On May 26, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that Iran had presented a “new initiative” to the United States, through intermediaries, to restore the 2015 nuclear deal. The diplomat acknowledged, however, that both governments faced domestic challenges in reviving the Joint…

News Digest: Week of May 23

May 25, 2022
Updated: May 27, 2022
May 23 Domestic: A 10-story building partially collapsed in the city of Abadan in southwestern Khuzestan province. Dozens of people were trapped in the rubble. As of May 25, the death toll was 16. The general prosecutor of the province told state media that 11 people were detained in connection to…

U.S. Sanctions Iranian Oil Smuggling Network

May 25, 2022
On May 25, the United States sanctioned an oil smuggling network that secretly funded both Iran’s Qods Force, the external operations arm of the Revolutionary Guards, and Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party and militia. The United States named a web of nine companies and 10 men operating in Iran…

Malley: Future of JCPOA is “Tenuous”

May 25, 2022
On May 25, U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley warned that the prospects of reviving the 2015 nuclear deal were “tenuous at best.” He blamed “excessive Iranian demands” for the impasse. Malley addressed a range of issues during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: On…

U.N. Rapporteur Concludes Controversial Trip

May 20, 2022
On May 18, a U.N. official warned that unilateral sanctions – including by the United States – have severely impacted government revenues, contributed to inflation and poverty, and led to scarcity of basic necessities in Iran. Alena Douhan, a U.N. special rapporteur, expressed particular concern…

U.S. Defense Intelligence on Iran

May 11, 2022
Iran is “probably” plotting “covert actions against American officials” to retaliate for the U.S. assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the elite Qods Force who was killed in a 2020 airstrike, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) warned on May 10, 2022. Tehran’s long-term…

G7 Virtual Summit on Iran

May 9, 2022
In a joint statement on May 9, the G7 called on Iran to “refrain from further escalation of its nuclear activities” and to cease all development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering a bomb. The statement was issued amid growing international concern about Tehran’s breaches of the 2015 accord…

Missiles and Soleimani on Iran’s Qods Day

April 29, 2022
Coming out of a two-year pandemic, Iran celebrated its annual Qods Day – in support of Palestinians (“al Qods” is the Arabic name for Jerusalem) – with parades of towering ballistic missiles and portraits of former Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani was assassinated in a U.S. drone…

U.S. Intelligence Report on Iran’s Nuclear Program

April 29, 2022
In April 2022, the annual U.S. assessment of arms control reported that Iran had not yet taken the steps necessary to produce a nuclear weapon even as it “continued to expand its uranium enrichment activities” far beyond the limits stipulated in the 2015 nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of…

News Digest: Week of April 25

April 26, 2022
April 25 Nuclear: Iran called for a face-to-face meeting “as soon as possible” to finalize an agreement on restoring the 2015 nuclear deal. “It is not yet decided where and when to have this meeting and at what level it should be held, but it is on the agenda,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed…

Open Letter Warns of Stalemate in Nuclear Talks

April 26, 2022
In an open letter, former ranking officials from 15 European countries warned that failure to overcome the final hurdle in the Iran nuclear talks could produce a “corrosive stalemate” and “a cycle of increased nuclear tension.” They urged the United States and Iran to “demonstrate flexibility” to…

News Digest: Week of April 18

April 20, 2022
April 18 Security: Seeking retribution for the U.S. assassination of General Qassem Soleimani is a “basic principle in the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said. “The action taken by the perpetrators and advisers of this cowardly act will not go…

Iran Deal: U.S. Sanctions on the IRGC

April 13, 2022
Updated: May 25, 2022
Since 2007, the United States has sanctioned the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—as well as its proxies and foreign companies that support it—under at least eight executive orders and six laws. “Of the 107 sanctions the Biden administration has imposed on Iran, 86 of those – some three-…

News Digest: Week of April 11

April 13, 2022
April 11 Economy: Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that some $7 billion of Iran's frozen assets would soon be released. He did not provide further details. State media reported that an unspecified senior official from another country in the region was due to visit Tehran to…

State Department Report on Human Rights in Iran

April 13, 2022
Iran’s human rights record was extremely poor in 2021, the State Department reported. Security, judicial and political officials carried out extrajudicial killings, conducted torture and arbitrary detention, restricted free expression and religious freedom, recruited child soldiers and…

CENTCOM's Maj. Gen. Michael Kurilla on Iran

April 8, 2022
Updated: August 21, 2022
Major General Michael Kurilla, President Biden’s choice to head Central Command (CENTCOM), began his Army career in 1988. He has led units in combat, peacekeeping, and operational deployments. Kurilla spent every year from 2004 to 2014 in CENTCOM’s area of responsibility, which extends from Egypt…

Iran Deal: The IRGC is the Final Hurdle

April 7, 2022
Updated: May 30, 2022
The last and biggest hurdle to reviving the 2015 nuclear deal was the dispute between Washington and Tehran over the status of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group. Leaders and an elite branch of the IRGC had faced several layers of economic sanctions—over support for…