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Pompeo Assesses Maximum Pressure Campaign

January 12, 2021
In his final full week in office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined all that the Trump administration has done in its maximum pressure campaign against Iran. In a series of tweets, he highlighted the following accomplishments: The Trump administration sanctioned more than 1,500 individuals…

U.S. Revokes Houthi Terrorist Designation

January 12, 2021
Updated: February 12, 2021
On February 12, 2021, the Biden administration announced that the terrorist designation of the Houthis, also known as Ansarallah (“Supporters of God”), would be revoked on February 16. The Houthis are Shiite rebels in Yemen allegedly supported by Iran. In January, the Trump administration had…

U.S. on Anniversary of Ukraine Airliner Shootdown

January 9, 2021
On January 9, 2021, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded accountability from Iran for the accidental downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 one year prior. He accused Iran of shielding the Revolutionary Guards from culpability. “Iran’s own investigation revealed that the Islamic…

IRGC Reveals Underground Missile Base

January 8, 2021
On December 8, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) unveiled an underground missile base at an undisclosed location on the Persian Gulf. Dozens of missiles, launchers and trucks were visible in photos released by Sepah News, an IRGC-linked news agency. “These missiles have ranges of…

U.S. Sanctions Iraqi Militia Leader Tied to Iran

January 8, 2021
On January 8, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned Falih al Fayyadh, Chairman of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Commission (PMC) and former National Security Advisor to the Iraqi Prime Minister, for human rights abuses. Fayyadh headed the PMC when its forces, including militias supported by Iran, allegedly…

Iran Officials, Media on Unrest in Washington

January 7, 2021
Updated: January 9, 2021
In Iran, the attempt to seize the Capitol in Washington on January 6 generated live television coverage, widespread commentary and denunciations by top officials. President Hassan Rouhani said that the unrest reflected the frailty of the American political system. “What we saw in the U.S. last…

Iran Responds to U.S. Deployments

January 6, 2021
In late 2020, Iran condemned President Donald Trump for deploying additional U.S. military warplanes and warships to the Persian Gulf during his final days in office. In November and December, the Pentagon ordered three flights of B-52 bombers, a nuclear-powered submarine and a carrier strike group…

News Digest: Week of January 4

January 6, 2021
January 4 Maritime: Iran seized a South Korean-flagged chemical tanker, the Hankuk Chemi, in the Persian Gulf. The ship’s 20-member crew, which included nationals from South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar, was detained at the Bandar Abbas port. Tehran denied that the crew were being held…

Nuclear Diplomacy with Iran: What’s Ahead for the Biden Administration?

January 6, 2021
Of all the pressing issues in the volatile Middle East—wars in Syria, Yemen and Libya, unstable Iraq, imploding Lebanon, and the 10,000 ISIS fighters and other al-Qaida franchises still on the loose—the most pressing for President-elect Joe Biden will be Iran’s controversial nuclear program. He has…

U.S. Military Deployments Around Iran

January 5, 2021
Updated: March 8, 2021
In late 2020, the Pentagon ramped up aerial and naval deployments around Iran amid military tensions in the Persian Gulf. The new deployments began in late November and continued through January 2021. They included seven flights of B-52 bombers, a nuclear-powered submarine and a carrier strike…

U.S. Sanctions Iran’s Metal Industry

January 5, 2021
On January 5, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned 12 Iranian and four foreign-based companies as well as one Iranian man involved with steel production and sales. Concurrently, the State Department sanctioned an Iran-based shipping company involved in supplying graphite, a key element in steel production…

Sanctions 6: U.S. Sanctions Many Iran Proxies

January 5, 2021
Updated: May 20, 2021
Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba, an Iraqi militia trained, armed and advised by Iran's Revolutionary GuardsSince the 1979 revolution, Iran has built a network of proxies across the Middle East. At the beginning of 2021, Tehran had allies among more than a dozen major militias, some with their own…

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 “…