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News Digest: Week of January 31

February 2, 2022
January 31 Nuclear: A senior State Department official said that negotiators “made progress narrowing down the list of differences to just the key priorities on all sides” during the eighth round of talks in Vienna on restoring the 2015 nuclear deal. “And that’s why now is a time for political…

U.S. & Iran on Eighth Round of Nuclear Talks

February 1, 2022
Updated: March 10, 2022
U.S. officials acknowledged modest progress in the eighth round of nuclear talks with Iran and the world’s major powers. The “negotiations in January were among the most intensive that we’ve had to date,” a senior State Department official said on January 31. “And we made progress narrowing down…

Iran at the 2022 Olympics

January 28, 2022
Updated: February 20, 2022
Iran entered only three athletes – two men and one woman – in the 2022 Olympics in Beijing. They included: Atefeh Ahmadi (b. 2000) – alpine skiing Hossein Saveh Shemshaki (b. 1985) –  alpine skiing Seyed Sattar Seyd (b. 1987) – cross-country skiing But Seyd, who was due to carry the flag at the…

U.S. Charges Five Men with Sanctions Violations

January 28, 2022
On January 27, Saber Fakih, a 46-year-old British national, pleaded guilty to violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. In federal court in Washington, D.C., Fakih said that he conspired with four other men to export an Industrial Microwave System (IMS) and counter-drone system from the United States to…

News Digest: Week of January 24

January 25, 2022
January 24 Diplomacy: Robert Malley, the U.S. special envoy for Iran, told Reuters that restoring the 2015 nuclear deal was “very hard” to imagine “while four innocent Americans are being held hostage by Iran.” He, however, reiterated that the United States was pursuing each issue separately. “So…

South Korea Pays Iran's U.N. Dues

January 24, 2022
On January 21, South Korea paid Iran’s unpaid U.N. dues, $18.4 million, using Iranian assets frozen in Korean banks by U.S. sanctions. The Korean government cooperated with the U.S. Treasury and the United Nations to make the payment, which restores Iran’s voting rights. Ambassador Majid Takht…

News Digest: Week of January 17

January 21, 2022
January 17 Regional: Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran, launched drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles at targets in the United Arab Emirates, including Abu Dhabi’s airport, Dubai’s airport and an oil refinery. Two Indians and one Pakistani were killed. U.S. Secretary of…

Raisi in Russia

January 21, 2022
On January 19, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Moscow to discuss expanding bilateral ties with Russia. In wide-ranging talks with President Vladimir Putin, Iran and Russia discussed cooperation on trade, banking, transportation, energy, regional security, and more. “We in Iran have no…

U.S. Arrests Dual Citizen for Sanctions Violations

January 18, 2022
On January 14, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested a dual Iranian-U.S. citizen for allegedly trying to send goods and technology to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI). Kambiz Attar Kashani, age 44, allegedly “orchestrated an elaborate scheme to evade U.S. export laws and use the U.S. financial…

Human Rights Watch on Iran: Repression in 2021

January 13, 2022
Iran’s security services and judiciary carried out widespread violations of human rights in 2021, Human Rights Watch said in its annual report. Authorities cracked down on peaceful protests, imprisoned human rights activists, executed more than 250 people, and discriminated against women and…

News Digest: Week of January 10

January 12, 2022
January 9-10 Regional: On January 9, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian hosted Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban’s acting foreign minister, in Tehran. Amir-Abdollahian reiterated Iran’s call for an inclusive government that reflects Afghanistan’s diverse religious and ethnic groups.…

Pentagon Links Hackers to Iranian Intelligence

January 12, 2022
On January 12, U.S. Cyber Command said that MuddyWater, a group of hackers, is part of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). Since at least 2017, MuddyWater hackers have reportedly attacked government and private sector targets, such as telecommunication firms, in the United…

Iran Sanctions 51 Americans

January 10, 2022
On January 8, Iran sanctioned 51 Americans for involvement in the U.S. assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Qods Force. Soleimani was widely considered the mastermind behind Iranian interventions in the region and support for military proxies. He was killed in a…

World Bank: Iran's Slow Recovery

January 10, 2022
After a decade of little to no growth, Iran's economy grew modestly in 2020 and 2021, according to a new report by the World Bank. The economy began to rebound as Iran adapted to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccinated the majority of its population in 2021. The recovery was…

Khamenei: "No Surrender"

January 10, 2022
On January 9, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran could negotiate with its enemies but would not give into coercion. “We have never surrendered so far, and we never will,” he vowed in a televised speech commemorating the anniversary of an uprising against the monarchy in the holy…

News Digest: Week of January 3

January 5, 2022
January 3 Nuclear: The eighth round of diplomatic talks to return Iran and the United States to full compliance with the nuclear deal resumed after a brief pause for the New Year holiday. On the second day of talks, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Iran “to engage in good faith.” In…

Soleimani Anniversary in the Middle East

January 5, 2022
The U.S. assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s Qods Force, was commemorated across the Middle East on the second anniversary of his death. Soleimani was widely considered the mastermind behind Iranian interventions in the region and support for militant proxies. Under his…

Soleimani Anniversary in Iran

January 4, 2022
On January 3, Iran marked the second anniversary of the U.S. assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Qods Force, with official speeches, commemorative rallies, major media coverage, and inflammatory threats. Soleimani, who was considered a military hero for…

Explainer: Iran's Priorities at Nuclear Talks

January 3, 2022
Nasser Hadian is a U.S.-educated professor of political science at the University of Tehran and a former visiting professor at Columbia University.   Does Iran really want to return to the nuclear deal? Why—or why not? Yes, both Iran and the United States want to go back to the nuclear deal—…

IRGC Tests Ballistic Missiles, Drones in War Game

December 28, 2021
Iran tested a wide variety of weapons, including ballistic missiles, drones and tanks, during a war game between December 20 and 24. The Great Prophet 17 exercise was held along the Persian Gulf coast in the southern provinces of Bushehr, Hormozgan and Khuzestan. Ballistic missiles on mobile…

U.S. Seizes Iranian Arms Shipment

December 23, 2021
On December 20, the U.S. Navy seized some 1,400 AK-47 assault rifles and 226,600 rounds of ammunition from a fishing vessel in the northern Arabian Sea. The stateless vessel originated in Iran and was traveling along a route historically used to illicitly traffic weapons to Yemen’s Houthi rebels,…

U.N. Criticizes Iran’s Human Rights Record

December 18, 2021
On December 16, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution criticizing Iran for human rights abuses. The resolution was passed with 78 votes in favor, 31 against and 69 abstentions. The resolution called on Iran to carry out wide-ranging reforms, including: ceasing use of the death penalty and…

U.S. Report: Iran’s Support for Terrorism

December 18, 2021
“Iran continued to support acts of terrorism regionally and globally,” according to the State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2020. In the Middle East, Iran provided arms, training and funding to militant groups in Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. Hezbollah, a Shiite militia and…

U.S. on Seventh Round of Nuclear Talks

December 18, 2021
Updated: December 21, 2021
U.S. officials acknowledged modest progress in the seventh round of nuclear talks with Iran and the world’s major powers. But they warned that time was running out for restoring the nonproliferation benefits of the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “We’re…

Iran in 2021: Timeline

December 16, 2021
For Iran, 2021 was a tumultuous year that included the election of a new president, chronic inflation, tensions with the West over its controversial nuclear program, two deadly waves of COVID-19 infections, protests over water shortages, and more. The following is timeline of major events.  Jan. 5…

Iran in 2021: Politics and Foreign Policy

December 15, 2021
For Iran, 2021 was a year of major transitions in both politics and foreign policy. President Hassan Rouhani, a centrist, finished his second term with much of his agenda unfulfilled and the future of his signature policy project, the 2015 nuclear deal, in doubt. Ebrahim Raisi’s victory in the June…

Iran in 2021: U.S. Sanctions

December 15, 2021
In 2021, the United States imposed sanctions on Iran for issues ranging from election interference to drone proliferation and oil smuggling. In January, during the last weeks of the Trump administration, the United States expanded sanctions on Iran’s defense, shipping, and metals industries. It…

News Digest: Week of December 13

December 15, 2021
December 13 Regional: Iran condemned Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s landmark visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh warned that such moves would strengthen Israel’s “destructive and seditious presence” in the Middle East. Bennett met with…

Iran and IAEA Reach Compromise on Karaj

December 15, 2021
On December 15, Iran and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reached an agreement to allow the U.N. nuclear watchdog to replace surveillance cameras at the Karaj facility that produces parts for centrifuges. Centrifuges are machines that spin uranium gas at high speeds to produce fuel for…

U.S. and Iran Vie at U.N. on JCPOA

December 15, 2021
At the United Nations, the United States and Iran charged each other with sabotaging the talks in Vienna on the future of the 2015 nuclear deal. U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield charged that Iran had taken “vague, unrealistic, maximalist, and unconstructive positions on both nuclear and…