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Dissent Among Iran Elite Over Protests

December 8, 2022
Updated: February 7, 2023
Despite initial silence, Iran’s political elites—from former presidents to senior clerics and members of the Supreme Leader’s family—have gradually challenged the government’s repressive policies. Several called for dialogue with demonstrators and compromises on issues of personal freedoms. Others…

News Digest: Week of December 5

December 7, 2022
December 5 Security: A Revolutionary Guards Navy patrol boat attempted to blind two U.S. Navy ships, sea base platform ship USS Lewis B. Puller and guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans, using a spotlight at night. The Iranian boat came within 150 yards of the ships in international waters in…

U.S. Intelligence on Threats from Iran

December 5, 2022
In Congressional testimony, U.S. intelligence warned in November that Iran posed an escalating threat to the United States. Tehran is “becoming more aggressive and more capable in their nefarious activity than ever before,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate Committee on Homeland…

World Cup: The Aftermath for Iran

December 2, 2022
Iran’s loss to the United States at the World Cup was splashed across the front pages of national media—both reformist and conservative—along with player apologies for failing the country and official condemnation of Iranians who rejoiced after the match. Poignant pictures captured the despair and…

Supreme Leader Khamenei on Iran’s Protests

November 30, 2022
In a lengthy speech on November 19, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei downplayed the nationwide protests and claimed that “orchestrators” of the “riots” had failed to mobilize many Iranians. “Those who have come out and those who are behind the scenes are far too small to be able to harm the…

World Cup: U.S. Defeats Iran

November 29, 2022
The U.S. national team defeated Iran 1-0 on November 29 in the most politically charged match at the 2022 World Cup in Doha, Qatar. The Americans were often on the attack; they took 12 shots while the Iranians only took four. But the game was a nail-biter right until the end. “That was stressful. I…

U.N. Rights Council to Investigate Iran’s Crackdown

November 29, 2022
On November 24, the U.N. Human Rights Council voted to create a fact-finding investigation into Iran’s bloody crackdown on protestors. The mission “will help ensure that those engaged in the ongoing violent suppression of Iranian people are identified and their actions documented,” Secretary of…

News Digest: Week of November 28

November 28, 2022
Updated: November 30, 2022
November 28 Human Rights: Iran “will have no cooperation” with a U.N. investigation into the crackdown on protesters, foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said. Member states had voted on November 24 to create the fact-finding mission, which Iran alleged was politicized. “We have specific…

New U.S. Sanctions Over Iran Crackdown

November 23, 2022
On November 23, the United States sanctioned three Iranian security officials for the ongoing crackdown on protesters. “The Iranian regime is reportedly targeting and gunning down its own children, who have taken to the street to demand a better future,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for…

Iran's Protests and the World Cup

November 23, 2022
Updated: November 29, 2022
Iran’s long-anticipated presence at the 2022 World Cup was repeatedly caught up in the protests sweeping all 31 provinces back home. The team went into the soccer tournament widely criticized for its lack of public support for the demonstrations, even though three players had been outspoken. “Shame…

History: U.S.-Iran at the World Cup

November 23, 2022
Iran and the United States face off at the World Cup in Doha, Qatar on November 29. The match coincided with escalating tensions over failed diplomacy to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran’s drones to Russia for use in the Ukraine war, and the government crackdown on months of protests. The match…

News Digest: Week of November 21

November 23, 2022
Updated: November 23, 2022
November 21 Sports: Members of Iran’s national soccer team remained silent during their national anthem before their match against England’s team at the World Cup in Qatar. The move was widely interpreted as an act of solidarity with protestors in Iran. Team captain Ehsan Hajsafi had offered…

U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Rebukes Iran

November 18, 2022
Updated: November 22, 2022
On November 17, the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s Board of Governors urged Iran to explain traces of uranium at three undeclared sites that date back to a covert program before 2003. The resolution – drafted by the United States, Britain, France and Germany – passed 26 to 2, with five abstentions and two…

U.S. Sanctions Oil Smuggling Network

November 17, 2022
On November 17, the United States sanctioned an international network of companies for smuggling Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products. Petrochemicals, derived from oil and natural gas, are essential to manufacturing paints, plastics, solar panels, medicine, and mobile phones that facilitate…

Iran's Crackdown on Celebrities

November 17, 2022
Updated: January 9, 2023
During the first two months of protests, dozens of major celebrities—from athletes and artists to award-winning actors, from poets to theater directors—publicly supported the growing challenges to the theocratic regime. Their actions and statements reflected the willingness of national figures to…

Explainer: Iran’s Drone Exports Worldwide

November 16, 2022
Updated: February 17, 2023
Iran has developed a robust drone industry after decades of importing defense equipment for domestic use by both security and military forces. By the fall of 2022, Tehran had also exported drones or drone technology to at least five countries on four continents as well as to at least seven proxy…

U.S. Sanctions Iranian State Media

November 16, 2022
On November 16, the United States sanctioned four senior officials and two journalists at the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) for involvement in censorship and airing forced confessions of detainees. The journalists worked with the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS…

U.S. Sanctions Iran-Russia Drone Facilitators

November 16, 2022
On November 15, the United States imposed sanctions on Iranians and Russians involved in the export of drones used in Ukraine. The State and Treasury Departments designated three Iranian entities, a Russian paramilitary, two Russian nationals, and two transportation firms based in the United Arab…

New E.U. & British Sanctions Over Iran’s Protests

November 14, 2022
On November 14, the European Union and Britain imposed sanctions on dozens of senior Iranian government and security officials for the brutal crackdown on protests following the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16. Brussels named 29 officials, including Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, provincial…

News Digest: Week of November 14

November 14, 2022
Updated: November 17, 2022
November 14 International: The Revolutionary Guards launched missile and drone attacks on Iranian Kurdish opposition groups based in northern Iraq. Iran reportedly hit a Komala Party base near the city of Sulaimaniya as well as four Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan offices near Erbil. At…

Explainer: Iran's University Protests

November 10, 2022
Updated: January 5, 2023
Students were the trigger and sustaining force behind protests that erupted on September 16. During the first two months, young Iranians demonstrated against the government at some 143 universities in all 31 provinces, which led to government crackdowns and hundreds of deaths. By early January 2023…

News Digest: Week of November 7

November 7, 2022
Updated: November 10, 2022
November 7 International: Iran summoned Norway’s ambassador over “interventionist comments” by the Norwegian parliamentary speaker in support of Iranian demonstrators. International: London Metropolitan police reportedly warned two British-Iranian journalists of an assassination plot against them…

Iran: 43 Years After U.S. Embassy Takeover

November 4, 2022
On November 4, Iran held some 900 rallies nationwide to commemorate the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in 1979. Demonstrators chanted “Death to America” outside the former embassy compound in Tehran, burned American flags, and waved posters vowing loyalty to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.…

G7 Nations Back Iran Protesters

November 4, 2022
On October 4, the foreign ministers of the G7 nations, representing the world’s most advanced economies, issued a joint statement backing Iran’s protest movement. They called on the Iranian government to end its crackdown and release “unjustly detained prisoners,” including protesters, children,…

U.S. Sanctions Oil Smuggling Network

November 3, 2022
On November 3, the United States sanctioned an international network that smuggled Iranian oil for the Qods Force, the external operation arm of the Revolutionary Guards, and Hezbollah, a Lebanese militia and political party backed by Tehran. “This network has facilitated the sale of hundreds of…

Malley on U.S. Iran Policy

November 1, 2022
Updated: December 1, 2022
In fall 2022, U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley discussed Iran, the 2022 protests, the nuclear negotiations, and the drone transfer to Russia with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Foreign Policy. The following are key excerpts from his comments.   Carnegie Endowment (…

U.S. Sanctions For Rushdie Attack

October 28, 2022
On Oct. 28, 2022, the United States sanctioned Iran’s 15 Khordad Foundation for offering a $3.3 million bounty for the murder of Salman Rushdie, the British-American author of “The Satanic Verses.” Thirty-four years after his book was published, Rushdie was attacked while giving a lecture at the…

New U.S. Sanctions Over Iran’s Protests

October 26, 2022
On October 26, 2022, the United States sanctioned 14 senior officials—including Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) commanders, intelligence and police officials, prison administrators, and a governor—from at least five provinces. It also designated an internet surveillance company, a prison, and a…

Explainer: Iran’s Gen Z Protests

October 26, 2022
In September 2022, Iran’s Gen Z – a young generation born between 1997 and 2012 – issued the boldest challenge to the theocracy in more than a decade. Protests sparked by the issue of personal freedoms for women erupted in dozens of cities, from Tabriz in northern Azerbaijan to southern Bandar…

Elnaz Rekabi's Controversial Climb

October 25, 2022
Updated: December 6, 2022
On October 16, Elnaz Rekabi, a young Iranian rock climber, generated controversy when she competed without her headscarf, as mandated by the government, in the Asian Continental Championships in South Korea. She personified the spirit of defiance among young female demonstrators who made the hijab…