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Iran Breaches Key Limit on Uranium Enrichment

January 4, 2021
Updated: January 6, 2021
On January 4, Iran resumed enriching uranium to 20 percent at an underground nuclear facility, a major breach of the 2015 nuclear deal. The landmark agreement, negotiated between Iran and six major world powers, stipulated that Tehran could only enrich uranium to 3.67 percent. It also banned…

House Democrats Support Biden on Iran Deal

January 4, 2021
On December 23, 150 House Democrats sent a letter to President-elect Joe Biden expressing support for renewed diplomacy with Iran to curb its nuclear program. “We are united in our support for swiftly taking the necessary diplomatic steps to restore constraints on Iran’s nuclear program and return…

Timeline: Iranian Fuel Shipments to Venezuela

December 21, 2020
Updated: February 23, 2021
In 2020, Iran began shipping fuel to Venezuela, its closest ally in Latin America. Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves. But years of government mismanagement and U.S. sanctions on its oil industry have left its refineries in disrepair. Caracas faced gas shortages and widespread blackouts…

Zarif Visits Latin America

December 18, 2020
In November 2020, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif traveled to Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia. The three countries shared Iran's anti-Americanism and sought deeper bilateral relations with Tehran. On November 5, Zarif met with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and other government…

Sanctions 3: Iran's Economy in 2020

December 16, 2020
Henry Rome is a senior analyst on Iran, Israel and global macro issues at Eurasia Group. Follow him on Twitter @hrome2. In 2020, Iran’s economy faced two overarching challenges – U.S. economic sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trump administration further ratcheted up sanctions as part of…

U.S. Sanctions Firms for Helping Iran Sell Oil

December 16, 2020
On December 16, the Treasury Department sanctioned four companies – two based in China and two based in the United Arab Emirates – for facilitating the export of Iranian oil by a previously designated firm, Triliance. Four companies, including Triliance, were sanctioned in January 2020 for…

Iran in 2020

December 16, 2020
For Iran, 2020 was a particularly tumultuous year. It faced unprecedented economic challenges from tightening U.S. sanctions, a major political transition after a parliamentary election, and a health crisis that killed tens of thousands. It also marked the last full year of President Hassan Rouhani…

Iran Struggles with COVID-19 in 2020

December 16, 2020
Iran reported its first deaths from the new COVID-19 virus on February 19, 2020. It soon became one of the world’s early epicenters. The Health Ministry claimed that the disease had been spread by travelers between Iran’s holy city of Qom and China’s industrial center at Wuhan, where the…

U.S. Sanctions on Iran in 2020

December 16, 2020
In 2020, the United States ratcheted up its “maximum pressure” campaign to force Tehran to negotiate a new and broader deal on Iran’s nuclear program, missiles test, intervention in the Middle East and support for extremist movements. U.S. sanctions on Iran caused “a currency crisis, mounting…

U.S. Sanctions Bahraini Militia Tied to Iran

December 15, 2020
On December 15, the State Department designated Saraya al Mukhtar, a Bahrain-based militia with ties to Iran, as a terrorist organization. Saraya al Mukhtar “plotted attacks against U.S. personnel in Bahrain and has offered cash rewards for the assassination of Bahraini officials,” Secretary of…

News Digest: Week of December 14

December 14, 2020
December 14 Diplomacy/Nuclear Program: President Hassan Rouhani said that the United States must return to the 2015 nuclear deal without preconditions. “Joe Biden has stated that he would like to return to the nuclear deal, but this time they are looking for a stronger agreement that would include…

Iran Human Rights in 2020

December 14, 2020
Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has detained or imprisoned tens of thousands of human rights activists, including peaceful protestors, dissidents, union members, civil society organizers, feminists, students, journalists, lawyers and the unemployed. It notoriously cracked down when millions took to…

Former U.S. Officials on Rejoining JCPOA

December 14, 2020
On December 14, a bipartisan group of over 50 American national security leaders issued a statement urging the incoming Biden Administration to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) swiftly and without preconditions. “The immediate U.S. commitment to rejoin the JCPOA will require…

U.S. Sanctions Iran Over Missing U.S. Hostage

December 14, 2020
On December 14, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on two Iranians allegedly involved in the disappearance of former FBI agent Robert Levinson. Levinson was abducted on Iran’s Kish Island in March 2007. Thirteen years later, in March 2020, Levinson’s wife and children said that they…

News Digest: Week of December 7

December 9, 2020
December 7 Natural disaster: Major floods in killed at least seven people in southern Iran. The flooding affected six provinces: Isfahan, Bushehr, Tehran, Fars, Hormozgan and Yazd. @SKhatibzadeh addressing Monday press conference: The first foreign visit of Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal…

Part 5: Statistics on Women in Iran

December 9, 2020
Since the 1979 revolution, the status of women in Iran has improved significantly in the fields of education and literacy, the labor force and lifespan. The number of women in parliament has quadrupled. But the gains are uneven. Women, for example, are still a distinct minority in top government…

Part 4: Khomeini & Khamenei on Women

December 8, 2020
Ruhollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader from 1979-1989Iran’s two supreme leaders have both been prolific on the subject of women’s rights and obligations in an Islamic state. But their interpretations often differed, sometimes significantly. During his one decade in power, between 1979 and 1989,…

Iran on What’s Next with Biden

December 8, 2020
Updated: April 7, 2021
Iran proposed a mechanism to break a deadlock over how compliance for compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal could work. On February 1, 2021, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif suggested that Josep Borrell, the E.U. foreign policy chief and the coordinator of the deal’s Joint Commission, could “…

U.S. Sanctions Iran Envoy and University

December 8, 2020
On December 8, the United States imposed sanctions on two men and one university: Ambassador Hasan Irlu, Iran’s diplomatic envoy to the Houthis in Yemen Yousef Ali Muraj, a Pakistani operative with alleged ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Al Mustafa International University, a Qom-based…

Part 3: Iranian Laws on Women

December 8, 2020
Logo of Iran's JudiciaryWomen have long faced legal, political, economic and social challenges in Iran. Iran's 1906 constitution, written by its first parliament, promised “equal rights before the law” for all Iranians, but it said nothing specific about women. Between 1967 and 1975, women gained…

New Iran Law Accelerating Enrichment

December 7, 2020
On December 1, Iran’s parliament, which is dominated by conservatives and hardliners, passed a bill requiring the government to take two steps: First, resume enriching uranium to 20 percent immediately. And second, to produce 120 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20 percent annually. Since July 2019…

Zarif on Nuclear Deal, Prisoner Exchanges

December 3, 2020
On December 3, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran would return to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal if the United States formally rejoined the historic accord that President Trump abandoned in May 2018. But Iran will never renegotiate the deal, he said. “The United States…

Part 2: Profiles of Women Politicians, Activists

December 3, 2020
Updated: March 8, 2021
Women have played a major role in Iranian politics before, during and after the 1979 revolution. They were given the vote and right to run for office in 1963 during the monarchy; in 1978, they held 22 seats in parliament. During the four decades after the revolution, dozens of women from across the…

U.S. Sanctions Iran Firm for Chemical Weapons Research

December 3, 2020
On December 3, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned an Iranian firm, Shahid Meisami Group, and its director for chemical weapons research. The group was responsible for projects worth millions of dollars that included testing and producing chemical agents. The shop was a subsidiary of the Iranian…

Part 6: Timeline and Fallout from a Scientist’s Assassination

December 2, 2020
Updated: December 8, 2020
The assassination of nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on November 27 generated significant fallout in the wider Middle East and in the West. It heightened fears of retaliation and kinetic tensions in the region. The United States pulled back its diplomatic presence in Iraq. And the Iranian…

News Digest: Week of November 30

December 2, 2020
November 30 Nuclear: Iran held a funeral for nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was assassinated 40 miles from Tehran on November 27. Fakhrizadeh's body was taken to several Shiite shrines, including that of Ayatollah Khomeini, before being buried at a cemetery near the Imamazadeh Salah…

Part 5: Assassinations of Iran Nuclear Scientists

December 2, 2020
On November 27, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a prominent nuclear scientist, was assassinated in a roadside attack about 40 miles east of Tehran. He was the fifth nuclear scientist killed since 2010. Iran usually blamed Israel, sometimes invoking the United States and often their local agents. Historically,…

Part 4: Iran Media on Scientist's Assassination

December 1, 2020
The Iranian media expressed outraged at the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a leading nuclear scientist. Newspapers from across the political spectrum – reformist, centrist, conservative and hardline – published front-page photos of his bullet-riddled car and funeral casket.     Conservative…

Part 3: World on Nuclear Scientist’s Assassination

December 1, 2020
Updated: December 7, 2020
Many major powers around the world and in the Middle East denounced the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a leading Iranian nuclear scientist on November 27. Five of the six world powers that brokered the 2015 nuclear deal – Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – rebuked the murder and…

Profiles: Iran’s Jailed Human Rights Activists

December 1, 2020
Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has detained or imprisoned tens of thousands of human rights activists, including peaceful protestors, dissidents, union members, civil society organizers, feminists, students, journalists, lawyers and the unemployed. It notoriously cracked down when millions took to…