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Rouhani: Should he resign?

December 19, 2019
By Andrew Hanna In late 2019, President Hassan Rouhani faced calls to leave office from both hardliners and moderates. The demands followed the largest protests since the 1979 revolution; they were triggered by the Rouhani government’s surprise hike in the price of fuel—by 50 percent—and the…

Iran and Japan Struggle Over Ties and Trade

December 17, 2019
Updated: December 20, 2019
By Garrett Nada and Alex Yacoubian As an oil-hungry island nation, Japan’s position on Iran has been fraught with inherent tensions. It has had to balance an existential thirst for oil—to fuel industries, cars and homes—against a moral abhorrence of nuclear weapons, especially as the only country…

News Digest: Week of December 16

December 17, 2019
Updated: December 18, 2019
December 16 Human Rights: Amnesty International updated its death toll from the November fuel price protests. At least 304 people were killed and thousands more were injured in the harsh government crackdown, according to the watchdog. The report said that security forces “massacred” scores of…

U.S. Targets Iran’s Steel Industry

December 16, 2019
On December 16, the U.S. State Department warned against transferring two materials to Iran that are essential for steel production. The advisory specified that producers and exporters of graphite electrodes and needle coke, as well as shippers and port operators, could face U.S. sanctions for…

Secret Nuclear Warehouse Explained

December 16, 2019
By Kelsey Davenport   In November 2019, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog urged Iran to explain uranium traces found at an undeclared site. Reuters reported that the site was a warehouse in Tehran’s Turquzabad district. What is known about the site?  In his 2018 address to the U.N. General…

Iran Cracks Down After Protests

December 16, 2019
Amnesty International updated its death toll from the fuel price protests that erupted on November 15. In just four days, security forces killed at least 304 people and injured thousands, according to the watchdog. “Harrowing testimony from eyewitnesses suggests that, almost immediately after the…

Iran's Crisis Budget

December 16, 2019
Updated: April 2, 2020
On December 8, President Hassan Rouhani presented a $43 billion budget to parliament for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts in March 2020. What challenges does Rouhani face? This year’s budget is the first since the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign kicked into high gear in May 2019. The…

Pompeo on Attacks by Iran's Proxies in Iraq

December 13, 2019
On December 13, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned two recent attacks by Iran’s proxies in Iraq. Pompeo warned Tehran that the United States would respond decisively to attacks against U.S. interests or allies in the region. “Iran must respect the sovereignty of its neighbors and…

Hook on U.S. Strategy and the Iranian Economy

December 12, 2019
The U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign has deprived Iran of “historical levels of revenue,” according to U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook. At a Council on Foreign Relations event, he predicted that Iran’s leaders would be forced to pursue negotiations or accept economic defeat. “Our…

Unprecedented Crackdown After Protests

December 11, 2019
By Hadi Ghaemi   What is the state of human rights in Iran in 2019? Have any new patterns emerged? Has the regime targeted any new groups or notable people? The Iranian government continued its assault on basic rights and freedoms including freedom of speech, assembly and expression in 2019. To…

U.S. Sanctions Iranian Shippers and Airline

December 11, 2019
On December 11, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced sanctions on three Iranian transportation companies that “helped Iran import items for its weapons of mass destruction programs.” The United States also blacklisted a shipping network that smuggles weapons from Iran to Yemen to support the…

Iran’s Influence Challenged in Iraq

December 10, 2019
By Garrett Nada and Andrew Hanna For Iran, Iraq has been a foreign policy priority since the 1979 revolution for political, military, economic and cultural reasons. Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran in 1980 was its first military threat; the war lasted eight years and cost more than a hundred…

News Digest: Week of December 9

December 9, 2019
Updated: December 16, 2019
December 9 Diplomacy: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed that Tokyo was planning a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss nuclear tensions between Tehran and Washington. Abe did not provide a timeline, but media reports suggested that the proposed meeting would occur…

Iran Releases American Student in Prisoner Swap

December 7, 2019
Updated: December 9, 2019
On December 7, the United States and Iran conducted a rare prisoner swap. An American graduate student, Xiyue Wang, was released in Switzerland in exchange for Massoud Soleimani, an Iranian national held in an Atlanta prison for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions.  President Donald Trump,…

U.S. Sanctions Iran-backed Iraqi Militia Leaders

December 6, 2019
On December 6, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned three Iran-backed Iraqi militia leaders for their alleged role in the killing of innocent protestors. Protests erupted on October 1 over government corruption, unemployment and a lack of basic services. The demonstrations also targeted growing Iranian…

Iran’s Resilience is “Dangerously Fraying”

December 6, 2019
Suzanne Maloney I see the recent unrest and the brutal response as indicative of a system whose resilience is dangerously fraying. The diagnosis that I’ve been using for a while is a slow-motion metastasis that is echoing across the political establishment, the economy, and society. The November…

Fact Sheet: Protests in Iran (1979-2019)

December 5, 2019
Updated: January 21, 2020
1979 Islamic Revolution Killed: Estimates range from 2,000 to more than 3,000 Detained: Thousands Flashpoint: Social Injustice, Political Repression, Corruption, and Religious Motives Location and Scope: Protests spread to nearly all major cities and included millions of participants Major…

U.S. Interdicts Iranian Arms to Yemen

December 5, 2019
On November 25, a U.S. warship seized a significant cache of Iranian weapons bound for Yemen’s Houthi rebels. A U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard boarding team interdicted the weapons during a flag verification of a small wooden boat in the northern Arabia Sea. “An initial investigation indicates that…

State Department on Protest Crackdown, Intervention in Yemen

December 5, 2019
In a wide-ranging briefing, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, alleged that Iranian security forces may have killed more than 1,000 people, including at least a dozen children, in response to demonstrations that were sparked by a gas price hike on November 15. The protests swept 100…

Europeans Warn U.N. on Iran’s Missile Program

December 5, 2019
On December 4, Britain, France and Germany accused Iran of developing missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads. They argued that Iran’s activities were inconsistent with the 2015 U.N. resolution that enshrined the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In…

Protests: Government Response

December 4, 2019
Updated: December 4, 2019
Protests spread across Iran in response to increased fuel prices and rationing. The government’s move, announced overnight on November 15, triggered an angry reaction. "Have shame [President] Rouhani, Leave the country alone!" and "Have shame dictator, Leave the country alone!” protestors…

News Digest: Week of December 2

December 2, 2019
Updated: December 9, 2019
December 2 Human Rights: At least 208 people had been killed by security forces since protests began on November 15, according to Amnesty International. The watchdog reported that families of victims were warned not to hold funeral ceremonies or talk to the media. Amnesty also reported that some…

News Digest: Week of November 25

November 25, 2019
Updated: December 2, 2019
November 25 Diplomacy: General Hossein Salami, head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, accused the United States, Britain, Israel and Saudi Arabia for instigating protests that began of November 15. He threatened to “destroy” the enemies of the state. “If you cross our red line, we will…

U.S. Intelligence on Iran’s Military Power

November 22, 2019
Iran has expanded its military capabilities and is poised to purchase more advanced weapons starting in 2020. Tehran’s “combination of lethal conventional capabilities and proxy forces poses a persistent threat” to U.S. interests and allies in the Middle East, according to a new Defense…

U.S. Sanctions Iranian Communications Minister

November 22, 2019
On November 22, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned Iran’s communications minister, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, for his role in internet censorship. In a surprise overnight announcement on November 15, Iran hiked gas prices—by up to 300 percent—and introduced a new rationing system. The government’s…

Leaked Iran Cables Reveal Influence Game

November 20, 2019
On November 18, 2019, The Intercept and The New York Times published 700 pages of classified Iranian intelligence cables that illustrated the depth of Tehran’s penetration of Iraqi politics, intelligence and the military. The cables, written between 2013 and 2015, also detailed meticulous efforts…

News Digest: Week of November 18

November 19, 2019
Updated: November 25, 2019
November 18 Economics: The government announced that 12 people had been killed in clashes with security forces during protests against a sudden fuel price hike. But activists claimed that at least 40 people had died.  Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei claimed that attendance in demonstrations had…

Protests: U.S. Reaction

November 18, 2019
Updated: December 5, 2019
The Trump administration offered support to Iranians protesting a hike in gas prices announced on November 15. “We condemn the lethal force and severe communications restrictions used against demonstrators. Tehran has fanatically pursued nuclear weapons and missile programs, and supported terrorism…

Protests: Overview and Timeline

November 18, 2019
Updated: December 18, 2019
In a surprise overnight announcement on November 15, Iran hiked gas prices—by up to 300 percent—and introduced a new rationing system. The government’s goal was to raise funds to help the poor, but it backfired. Protests erupted across the country. The sudden move followed rising inflation and…

U.S. Renews National Emergency Regarding Iran

November 13, 2019
On November 12, President Donald Trump, like his predecessors, renewed the national emergency with respect to Iran. The emergency status was first declared on November 14, 1979, shortly after the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The following is the full text of the White House press release…