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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…

New U.S. Sanctions, Humanitarian Channel

January 30, 2020
On January 30, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook announced sanctions on the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and its chief, Ali Akbar Salehi. “The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has played a big role in Iran breaching its key nuclear commitments [under the 2015 nuclear…

Trends in Parliamentary Elections 1980-2016

January 30, 2020
Since the 1979 revolution, Iran's politics have changed dramatically from a one-party system heavily dominated by clerics to a multi-party system dominated by lay politicians. Iran’s parliament is illustrative. Iranians will head to the polls on Feb. 21, 2020 to elect the 11th parliament. The key…

U.S. on Iran’s Parliamentary Election

January 30, 2020
Updated: February 25, 2020
The Trump Administration criticized Iran’s election process as the nation prepared to vote on a new parliament on February 21. On January 16, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charged that the poll was rigged. “The Iranian regime consistently lies to the Iranian people and treats them with contempt,”…

Iranian Reaction to U.S. Peace Plan

January 28, 2020
Updated: February 5, 2020
Iranian officials dismissed the new U.S. Middle East peace plan presented by President Donald Trump on January 28. They thought the plan heavily favored Israel over the Palestinians. The plan, supported by Israel, called for a two-state solution. But Palestinian and Iranian leaders said the…

News Digest: Week of January 27

January 27, 2020
Updated: February 3, 2020
January 27 Politics: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for national unity ahead of February parliamentary elections. He urged high voter turnout and condemned the mass disqualification of reformist candidates by the Guardian Council, which was dominated by hardliners. “We should not let…

U.S. Sanctions Iranian Oil Smuggling Network

January 23, 2020
On January 23, the U.S. Treasury Department designated four companies accused of purchasing Iranian oil and petrochemical products in violation of U.S. sanctions. Two companies based in Hong Kong, one company based in Shanghai and another company based in Dubai allegedly helped Iran’s state-owned…

Iran and the NPT

January 22, 2020
Iran was one of the original 62 signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the most important global treaty on the world’s deadliest weapon. It went into effect in 1970 and has been the standard of nuclear arms control ever since. It banned countries other than United States, Russia, China…

News Digest: Week of January 20

January 21, 2020
Updated: January 27, 2020
January 20 Nuclear: Iran said that it could withdraw from the global nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if its case is referred to the U.N. Security Council. “If the Europeans continue their improper behavior or send Iran’s file to the Security Council, we will withdraw from the NPT,” said…

Iran’s Confrontation with Israel over Four Decades

January 21, 2020
By Garrett Nada Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran’s conflict with Israel has gradually evolved geographically and strategically. By 2019, hostilities no longer played out in a shadow war. Iran had deployed men, money and/or materiel to aid allies on three of Israel’s borders—Lebanon, Syria…

U.S. Sanctions Senior Iranian General

January 17, 2020
On January 17, the U.S. State Department blacklisted a Revolutionary Guards commander for his involvement in the crackdown on demonstrators in November 2019. Brigadier General Hassan Shahvarpour “oversaw the massacre of 148 helpless Iranians in the Mahshahr region,” U.S. Special Representative for…

Khamenei Condemns U.S. in Rare Friday Sermon

January 17, 2020
By Haleh Esfandiari For the first time in eight years, Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, personally delivered the Friday prayer sermon in Tehran this week, at a moment of rising discontent and protests at home, and confrontation with the United States and fraying relations with…