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Zarif Demands U.N. Help on U.S. Sanctions

March 12, 2020
On March 12, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged the United Nations to demand that the United States lift sanctions on Iran. In a letter to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Zarif alleged that the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign was hampering Iran’s ability to cope with the…

Photos: Life in the Time of COVID-19

March 11, 2020
Iranian life has been profoundly transformed since the rapid spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the three weeks since the first case was reported on February 19. Government officials now wear masks when they hold meetings. The military has been hauled out to disinfect major sites, build field…

Iranian Officials Infected by COVID-19

March 11, 2020
Updated: October 20, 2020
Dozens of high-ranking Iranian officials have contracted COVID-19, which originated in China in late 2019 and was first reported in the Islamic Republic in February. Two vice presidents were among the early cases. The virus has since swept through the ranks of the executive branch, parliament, the…

State Department Report on Human Rights in Iran

March 11, 2020
Iran’s human rights record remained dismal in 2019, according to an annual report by the State Department. Issues included executions of juvenile offenders, denial of fair trials, poor prison conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, invasion of privacy, restrictions on freedom of expression,…

U.S. Demands Release of American Detainees

March 11, 2020
On March 10, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Iran to release “all wrongfully detained Americans being held in Iran.” He warned that the United States would hold Iran accountable if any of the American prisoners died from coronavirus, which had spread to at least three Iranian prisons by…

Global Map: Coronavirus Traced to Iran

March 10, 2020
The spread of COVID-19, widely believed to have originated in China, has had severe repercussions across the globe. Coronavirus cases traced to Iran have shown up in at least 23 countries – from the United States and Europe to the Middle East and New Zealand – spread either by their own nationals…

News Digest: Week of March 9

March 10, 2020
Updated: March 13, 2020
March 9 Health: Iran’s Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur announced 7,161 cases of coronavirus, including 237 deaths. Chief of Iran’s Crisis Management Organization Esmail Najjar tested positive for the infection, according to a statement from the organization. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali…

Pompeo on Disappearance of Robert Levinson

March 9, 2020
March 9 marked 13 years since Robert Levinson went missing in Iran. Levinson, a former FBI agent, disappeared on March 9, 2007, during a visit to Kish Island. “For 13 years, the Iranian government has denied knowledge of his whereabouts or condition, a claim that defies credibility,” said Secretary…

Iran’s Roster of Political Influence Abroad

March 9, 2020
Since the 1980s, Iran has forged a network of political alliances across the Middle East that now give it more influence than its Gulf rivals and the United States. Tehran has exploited local grievances, sectarian identity, and conflicts to create or foster political parties, most visibly in…

Iran’s Foreign Policy After 2020 Election

March 6, 2020
On February 26, four experts discussed the victory by conservative factions in Iran’s parliamentary elections and the impact on its foreign policy. Speakers included: •    Robin Wright (moderator) – Distinguished Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson Center  •    Ali Vaez – Iran…

Iran Mobilizes Military to Fight Coronavirus

March 4, 2020
Updated: April 27, 2020
On March 3, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the mobilization of the military to help fight the coronavirus outbreak. Authorities said that 300,000 troops from the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and its Basij paramilitary force would deploy to help sanitize public places, direct traffic,…

Iran’s Response to Coronavirus

March 4, 2020
Updated: April 9, 2020
Iran’s government was initially slow to react to the spread of coronavirus, which was first reported in Qom on February 19. But as the death toll rose, Iran upped its efforts to contain the disease, which had reached all 31 provinces by March 5. The government closed schools, universities and…

How Iran's Public is Responding to Coronavirus

March 4, 2020
Updated: April 8, 2020
The Iranian public coped with the outbreak of the coronavirus in a wide variety of ways. Some made personal sacrifices for the benefit of society.  The chief nurse of a Tehran hospital postponed her wedding ceremony so that she could continue working. Others responded by trying to keep public…

IAEA Rebukes Iran for Nuclear Violations

March 3, 2020
Updated: March 5, 2020
On March 3, 2020, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a pair of reports that lambasted Iran for violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In the first report, the U.N. nuclear watchdog found Iran had tripled its stockpile of low enriched uranium since its last…

Coronavirus Spreads in Iran’s Prisons

March 3, 2020
Updated: August 11, 2020
Iran’s prisons became a focal point in the outbreak of the coronavirus since shortly after the first case was reported on February 19. By February 25, cases were reported in at least three prisons— Karaj Prison, Evin Prison and Tehran's Greater Prison, also known as Fashafuyeh. On March 3, Iran’s…

News Digest: Week of March 2

March 2, 2020
Updated: March 10, 2020
March 2 Medicine: Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi announced 523 new coronavirus cases and 12 new deaths, a total of 1,501 cases and 66 fatalities since the outbreak was first reported on February 19. State media reported that Mohammad Mirmohammadi, a senior member of the Expediency Council,…

Europe to Help Iran on Coronavirus

March 2, 2020
Updated: March 26, 2020
On March 2, France, Germany and Britain pledged $5.6 million in financial aid to help the Iranian government fight the coronavirus. The so-called E3 countries also announced a delivery of medical equipment through the World Health Organization and other U.N. agencies. "France, Germany and the…

U.S. Offers Aid on Coronavirus Outbreak

February 28, 2020
Updated: April 14, 2020
In a break from two years of its maximum pressure campaign, the United States offered Iran humanitarian aid to help with the crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak. “This offer of support to the Iranian people, which has been formally conveyed to Iran through the Government of Switzerland,…

Iranian Officials Respond to Coronavirus

February 28, 2020
Updated: October 26, 2020
The Iranian government responded slowly to the outbreak of the coronavirus and then scrambled to catch up as it spread quickly across 30 of Iran’s 31 provinces. The first reported cases—two deaths of elderly in Qom—were on February 19, 2020. By April 29, Iran reported 93,657 cases and 5,957 deaths…

Coronavirus, a New Jolt to Iran's Economy?

February 27, 2020
Adnan Mazarei At a time of horrific economic pressure resulting from U.S. sanctions, a recession, high inflation, and the mismanagement of its own finances, Iran could ill afford another blow to its stability. Now one has come in the form of a public health crisis caused by the coronavirus. On top…

Iran's Political Future After 2020 Election

February 26, 2020
On February 26, four experts discussed the sweeping victory by conservative factions in Iran’s parliamentary elections. Speakers included: •    Robin Wright (moderator) – Distinguished Fellow, U.S. Institute of Peace and the Woodrow Wilson Center  •    Ali Vaez – Iran Project Director,…

U.S. Sanctions Missile Procurement Network

February 25, 2020
On February 25, the U.S. State Department announced sanctions on 13 foreign companies and individuals for supporting Iran's missile program. The entities were based in China, Iraq, Russia, and Turkey. The State Department said that the action was based on a periodic review required under the Iran,…

Part 1: Coronavirus Strikes Iran

February 24, 2020
Updated: July 21, 2020
The coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China in late December spread to Iran in February. On February 19, the health ministry announced that two elderly people in Qom had died from the coronavirus. On February 23, Iran’s health minister Saeed Namaki blamed an Iranian merchant from Qom who had …

2020 Parliamentary Election Results

February 24, 2020
Conservative and hardline factions, including candidates closely aligned with the Revolutionary Guards, won a sweeping victory in parliamentary elections held on February 21. They won 221 of the 290 seats, more than doubling their presence in parliament; 83 were elected in the 2016 poll, according…

News Digest: Week of February 24

February 24, 2020
February 24 Medicine: Iran’s Health Ministry reported 61 cases of coronavirus and 12 deaths since the outbreak was first confirmed in the country on February 19. Cases were recorded in the provinces of Qom , Tehran, Gilan, Markazi, Isfahan, Mazandaran and Hamadan. The ministry said that the new…

What It Looks Like to Vote in Iran

February 21, 2020
On February 21, Iranians headed to the polls to elect a new parliament. The regime cites turnout as a reflection of public support, so it encouraged citizens to fulfill their “national duty.” Fars News Agency reported that the turnout was about 40 percent nationwide and only 30 percent in Tehran as…

Financial Watchdog Returns Iran to Blacklist

February 21, 2020
On February 21, a global financial watchdog returned Iran to its blacklist. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body of 36 countries that sets standards for countering the financing of terrorism and money laundering, cited Iran’s failure to comply with international norms…

Pompeo in Saudi Arabia on Iran

February 21, 2020
On February 19, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Riyadh for three days of meetings with Saudi officials, including King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. During a meeting with King Salman, Pompeo discussed “bilateral issues, including countering the…

U.S. Sanctions Guardian Council Members

February 20, 2020
On February 20, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook announced sanctions on five key members of Iran’s Guardian Council, an unelected panel of twelve Islamic jurists and scholars. The council disqualified more than 9,000 out of the some 14,000 candidates who registered to run in…

Iranian Media on Election 2020

February 20, 2020
Iranian newspapers have been divided in their coverage of the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for February 21. Reformist papers initially focused on the Guardian Council’s disqualification of 90 incumbent lawmakers and the vast majority of reformist candidates. Reformist papers also…