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Raisi: Human Rights Groups Condemn

June 22, 2021
International organizations condemned President-elect Ebrahim Raisi for his long record of human rights abuses dating back to the 1980s. He was one of four men on the so-called Death Commission that approved the execution of more than 4,000 political prisoners in 1988. Raisi, the judiciary chief…

Raisi: First Press Conference

June 22, 2021
In his first press conference, President-elect Ebrahim Raisi warned that his administration would take a harder stand on diplomacy with the international community. “The world, particularly the West, should realize that the situation in Iran has changed through the people’s vote,” Raisi told…

Raisi: U.S. & World Reaction

June 22, 2021
Ebrahim Raisi’s election produced both criticism and congratulations from world leaders. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki warned that Raisi “will be accountable for gross violations of human rights on his watch going forward.” A hardline cleric who has been the judiciary chief since 2019,…

Raisi: Profile of President-elect

June 21, 2021
Updated: July 20, 2021
On June 19, Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline cleric and the chief of the national judiciary, won Iran’s 2021 presidential election with 62 percent of the vote, although only 48.8 percent of eligible voters participated. It was the lowest turnout in a presidential election since the 1979 revolution. A mid-…

Photos: Election Day in Iran

June 21, 2021
On June 18, Iranians voted for a new president at some 67,000 polling stations in mosques, schools, gymnasiums, and religious shrines. Iran is still trying to pull out of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, so voters were required to wear masks and were asked to bring their own pens rather…

Election 2021: Candidate Profiles

June 16, 2021
On the eve of the election, the list of candidates had been reduced from seven to four. On June 16, two hardliners – Saeed Jalili and Alireza Zakani – dropped out and endorsed Ebrahim Raisi, the frontrunner. Mohsen Mehralizadeh, the lone reformist, withdrew as well but did not explicitly endorse…

Khamenei Calls for High Turnout

June 16, 2021
In a nationally televised address on June 16, two days before a pivotal presidential election, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the next government needed a broad public mandate to tackle the myriad political, economic and social problems facing Iran. “If the new president is elected…

Photos: Iran’s Colorful Campaigns

June 16, 2021
Iran’s short campaign period, only three weeks long, was nevertheless intense and colorful. Presidential candidates usually traverse Iran’s 31 provinces and hold mass rallies with thousands of attendees. But in 2021, the seven candidates running for president had to modify their campaign tactics to…

News Digest: Week of June 14

June 16, 2021
June 14 Health: Iran approved emergency use of CovIran Barekat, its first domestically developed vaccine. Health Minister Namaki said that a permit for the second vaccine, Razi CovPars, would be issued the following week. "The entire target population of Iran will be vaccinated by the end of…

G7 Summit on Iran

June 14, 2021
On June 13, leaders at the G7 summit in Britain issued a statement on their global agenda, including diplomacy with Iran. Four of the world’s seven most powerful democracies – Britain, France, Germany and the United States – have been involved in six rounds of talks to bring the United States and…

Iranian Newspapers on Presidential Election 2021

June 11, 2021
Updated: June 15, 2021
Coverage of Iran’s 2021 presidential election varied widely based on the longstanding political slant – reformist, centrist, conservative or hardline – of newspaper editorial policies. Almost 600 candidates, including 40 women, initially registered to run by May 15. They included a former president…

U.S. Lifts Sanctions on Former Iranian Officials, Companies

June 11, 2021
On June 10, the United States lifted sanctions on three former Iranian officials and two companies previously involved in buying, selling, or transporting Iranian petrochemical products. One company was based in Hong Kong, and the other was based in mainland China. “These actions demonstrate our…

Dull Presidential Debates: 2021

June 9, 2021
Updated: June 15, 2021
The moderator selects a candidate's number from a bowlIn nationally televised debates, the seven candidates vying to win Iran’s presidential election offered limited insight on how they would address critical economic, diplomatic and social challenges. They invoked buzzwords – including “corruption…

Controversy over Nuclear Inspections

June 9, 2021
Updated: June 10, 2021
On June 7, 2021, Rafael Grossi, head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, reported that Iran had failed to explain the origin of suspect uranium particles detected at three sites that had not been declared as part of its nuclear program. The traces of uranium were discovered during so-called snap…

News Digest: Week of June 7

June 9, 2021
June 7 Health: Ali Akbar Mohtashamipour, a former member of parliament, died from the coronavirus. He passed away in a hospital in northern Tehran, IRNA reported. Mohtashamipour previously served as ambassador to Syria from 1982 to 1986 and helped establish Hezbollah, a Shiite Islamist militia, in…

Poll on 2021 Presidential Election

June 9, 2021
In a nationwide public opinion poll, almost half of Iranian voters surveyed said that they favored Ebrahim Raisi, the hardline chief of the judiciary, in the seven-way contest for president on June 18. But less than 42 percent of voters said that they were likely to vote, which would be the lowest…

Flap Over Iran's U.N. Dues

June 8, 2021
Updated: June 11, 2021
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif On June 2, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres reported that Iran will lose its voting rights in the General Assembly after failing to pay its dues. Iran can continue to vote in the current session, which ends in September. But the Islamic Republic would…

News Digest: Week of May 31

June 2, 2021
Updated: June 3, 2021
May 31 Health: Iran's Food and Drug Administration said that it would issue authorization for two domestically produced vaccines "over the next few days." The vaccines - Soberana-02 (jointly developed by Iran and Cuba) and CovIran Barekat - have yet to complete clinical trials. But both met "…

Issues and Stakes in 2021 Election

May 27, 2021
Hadi Semati is a former professor in the faculty of Law and Political Science at Tehran University and a former scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is now an independent analyst.    What are the stakes in the 2021 presidential election?  …

News Digest: Week of May 24

May 26, 2021
May 24 Diplomacy: President Hassan Rouhani spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the phone. The two presidents discussed the Vienna talks over the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Tehran's need for COVID-19 vaccines and trade.   Oil: The Syrian Foreign Minister accused Israel of attacking tankers…

Domestic Backlash to Candidate Selection

May 26, 2021
Iran’s presidential election triggered backlash from across the political spectrum after the Guardian Council approved only seven men out of 592 candidates to run for president. Highly anticipated candidates were barred from running. They included Ali Larijani, speaker of parliament from 2008 to…

Presidential Election 2021: Candidates

May 26, 2021
Updated: June 16, 2020
On May 25, Iran approved seven candidates to run for president in the June 18 election. A total of 592 candidates, 552 men and 40 women, had registered to run. The Guardian Council – an unelected panel of 12 Islamic jurists and scholars who vet candidates – said that only 40 men met the basic…

U.S. Sanctions Two Houthi Military Commanders

May 21, 2021
On May 20, the Biden administration sanctioned two Houthi military commanders leading the rebel offensive on Yemen’s Marib province. The Treasury sanctioned Muhammad Abd al Karim al Ghamari, the Head of the General Staff of the Houthi military. The State Department designated Yusuf al Madani, as a…

Iran Transfers Rockets to Palestinian Groups

May 19, 2021
Updated: May 24, 2021
What weapons has Iran provided to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza? Iran first established ties with Hamas and PIJ in the 1980s. Iran has since provided funding, weapons and training to the militant groups. Iran has transferred several types of artillery rockets — including Fajr…

News Digest: Week of May 17

May 19, 2021
Updated: May 21, 2021
May 17 Diplomacy: The top Iranian lawmaker on Parliament's national security committee called on both Armenia and Azerbaijan to deescalate tensions over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. “The position of the Islamic Republic of Iran is very clear, unequivocal, and decisive," MP Mojtaba…

Iranian Leaders on Israel-Gaza Conflict

May 18, 2021
Updated: May 22, 2021
In April and May 2021, Iran’s senior leaders unanimously condemned Israel amid clashes in East Jerusalem and Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Tehran expressed staunch support for Palestinians and militant groups in Gaza.  Iran has long supported Hamas and PIJ for geostrategic and ideological…

U.S. Report on Religious Freedom in Iran

May 13, 2021
In 2020, Iran had a poor record on religious freedom, particularly for minorities, the State Department reported in its annual global survey of religious freedom. Non-Muslims faced “societal discrimination and harassment,” while Sunnis living in Kurdistan, Khuzestan and Sistan and Baluchistan…

Explainer: Iran’s Presidential Election

May 12, 2021
Updated: May 27, 2021
Iran’s presidential election is scheduled for June 18. Registration for candidates began on May 11, and seven candidates were selected to run on May 25. The poll will be pivotal to Iran's future since President Hassan Rouhani cannot run again; the Islamic Republic has a limit of two consecutive…

Seizures of Iranian Weapons at Sea

May 12, 2021
Between 2015 and 2021, the United States and its allies intercepted at least seven shipments of weapons allegedly originating from Iran and headed to Yemen. The vessels were either unflagged dhows, wooden boats or fishing vessels. Their cargoes varied in size, and the weapons varied in lethality.…

News Digest: Week of May 10

May 12, 2021
May 10 Diplomacy: E.U. foreign affair chief Josep Borrell said that he was "optimistic" about indirect negotiations in Vienna aimed at getting the United States and Iran back in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. "There is a window of opportunity that will stay open for a couple of weeks, (…