New Articles

Israeli Prime Minister Bennett on Iran

August 25, 2021
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has long taken a hardline stance on Iran’s regional intervention and controversial nuclear program. Bennett has criticized the Islamic Republic since he was first elected to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in 2013. He has made Iran a top foreign policy issue…

U.S. Loosens Restrictions on Educational Services for Iranian Students

August 25, 2021
On August 24, the Treasury Department temporarily loosened restrictions on educational services for certain Iranian students. The general license, issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, allowed U.S. institutions to provide online courses and educational software to Iranian students who…

Iran and the Taliban Takeover

August 25, 2021
Iran welcomed the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan while it also scrambled to deal with the sudden influx of thousands of refugees along the 572-mile border. For months, Iran had been positioning itself for the transition by hosting a Taliban delegation in January and intra-Afghan peace…

News Digest: Week of August 23

August 24, 2021
Updated: August 26, 2021
August 23 Afghanistan: Iran announced that it would resume exporting fuel to Afghanistan at the Taliban’s request. The price of gasoline had exceeded $900 per ton in Afghanistan due to a spike in demand from Afghans fleeing Taliban-controlled cities.   Diplomacy: Outgoing Foreign Minister…

Under Raisi, Three Scenarios for Nuclear Talks

August 24, 2021
Updated: November 28, 2021
Ali Vaez is Iran Project Director at the International Crisis Group and Senior Adviser to ICG’s president.   Iran and the world's six major powers are schedule to resume negotiations on November 29. What package of ideas are on the table after six rounds of talks in Vienna? Ali VaezThe core…

British, Russian Envoys Summoned Over Photo

August 18, 2021
On August 12, Iran summoned the British and Russian ambassadors for posing in a photo commemorating the meeting of Allied leaders in Tehran during World War II. The photo, tweeted by the Russian embassy on August 11, recalled a picture of Soviet leader Josef Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston…

News Digest: Week of August 16

August 18, 2021
August 16 Diplomacy: Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that he would "enrich" the 25-year strategic partnership between Beijing and Tehran that was signed in March 2021. "Since the establishment of diplomatic ties half a century ago, the relations between China and Iran have developed steadily…

U.S. Sanctions Iran Oil Smuggling Network

August 13, 2021
On August 13, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned an oil smuggling network for supporting the Qods Force, the external operations branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The Qods Force “has been using revenue from Iranian petroleum sales to fund its malign activities,” Secretary of…

Raisi's National Security Team

August 13, 2021
Updated: September 10, 2021
Raisi named his cabinet nominees on August 11, 2021On Aug. 11, 2021, President Ebrahim Raisi submitted a list of 19 proposed cabinet members to Parliament, the Majles, which must approve all nominations. Two weeks later, Parliament approved all of his picks with the exception of his proposed…

News Digest: Week of August 9

August 11, 2021
Updated: August 12, 2021
August 9 Diplomacy: President Ebrahim Raisi spoke with French President Emanuel Macron in an hour-long phone call. The pair discussed the situation in Lebanon, maritime security in the Persian Gulf and nuclear negotiations in Vienna. Raisi told Macron that he would "welcome" French support in…

Raisi's COVID-19 Challenge

August 11, 2021
Updated: August 23, 2021
President Ebrahim Raisi was inaugurated during the fifth and most infectious wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 38,000 new cases were reported on the day that he took office. The more infectious Delta variant was first reported in the southern provinces of Fars, Hormozgan, Kerman, and Sistan…

CENTCOM: Iran Behind Drone Attack on Tanker

August 10, 2021
Iran produced at least one of the drones used in the deadly attack on the Mercer Street – a Liberian-flagged oil tanker with ties to Israel – on July 29 and 30, according to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). CENTCOM released the findings of its investigation into the drone attack and published photos…

U.S. Report on Religious Minorities in Iran

August 9, 2021
In the first half of 2021, Iran persecuted religious minorities including Baha’is and Christians as well as Sunni and Sufi Muslims, according to a new report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. “Iranian authorities have arrested scores of religious minorities, who face…

U.S. Calls on Raisi to Resume Nuclear Talks

August 7, 2021
On August 5, the United States called on Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, to resume talks on restoring full U.S. and Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. “We urge Iran to return to the negotiations soon so that we can seek to conclude our work,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price…

Controversy on Raisi Visa for U.N. Summit

August 5, 2021
After President Ebrahim Raisi’s inauguration on August 5, the Biden administration faced the awkward issue of whether to grant a visa to a man sanctioned by the U.S. government and who played a role in the massacre of some 5,000 political prisoners. Raisi, like previous Iranian presidents, may seek…

Raisi Inaugurated, Pledges to Revive Economy

August 5, 2021
On August 5, former judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi took the oath of office as Iran’s eighth president in a ceremony before parliament, senior officials and foreign dignitaries. Raisi’s election, in June, reflects the growing hold by hardliners over all branches of government.  On foreign policy,…

News Digest: Week of August 2

August 4, 2021
August 2 Diplomacy: The Iranian embassy in Kabul recommended all Iranians residing outside of the capital city "immediately leave" Afghanistan. Iran hosted intra-Afghan talks in early July amid a renewed military offensive by the Taliban and the withdrawal of nearly all U.S. forces.  Health: Iran…

Raisi’s Challenges: Protests, Sanctions & COVID-19

August 3, 2021
Henry Rome is the deputy head of research at Eurasia Group. Follow him on Twitter @hrome2.   What are the most pressing political issues that Ebrahim Raisi faces at home? Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (left) endorsed Ebrahim Raisi (right) as president on Aug. 3, 2021Raisi is inheriting an…

Khamenei Blesses Raisi as President

August 3, 2021
On August 3, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei formally endorsed Ebrahim Raisi as president, the first step in the transition of power. He called on Raisi to “empower the middle and lower classes of society that are shouldering the burden of economic problems.” Khamenei gave Raisi a mandate to…

Iran Behind Oil Tanker Attack

August 2, 2021
Updated: August 25, 2021
On July 29, an oil tanker with ties to Israel was hit in a drone strike off the coast of Oman, killing two crew members. The Mercer Street was owned by a Japanese company and flew the Liberian flag, but was managed by Zodiac Maritime, a company headed by an Israeli shipping magnate. On August 1, U.…

In Farewell, Rouhani Admits Mistakes

August 2, 2021
Outgoing President Hassan Rouhani apologized to Iranians for their suffering during his eight years in office. “If we had any shortcoming and flaws, we ask people’s forgiveness and mercy,” he said during his last cabinet meeting on August 1. Rouhani said that his administration would have been more…

Rouhani’s Forlorn Presidency

August 2, 2021
Hassan Rouhani at a 2013 press conferenceAfter the eight years of Ahmadinejad’s controversial presidency, Hassan Rouhani’s election marked a return to government of men (and some women) with experience and common sense. Rouhani was an insider, having served for 16 years as the head of Iran’s…

News Digest: Week of July 26

July 29, 2021
July 26: Internet: Iran's Parliament tabled a controversial bill that would have limited access to the internet. Major digital business, including online retailers and video streaming services, had opposed the bill, Al Jazeera reported. Nuclear: The French foreign ministry warned that Iran's…

Supreme Leader on U.S. & Nuclear Talks

July 28, 2021
On July 28, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the United States of being “obstinate” and “cowardly” in talks on restoring full compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. “On paper and in words, they promise to remove the sanctions, but they have not and will not remove them,” he told…

Iran, Afghanistan and the Taliban

July 28, 2021
Updated: August 18, 2021
For decades, Iran has faced an ever-growing array of challenges from neighboring Afghanistan, with which it shares a 572-mile border. Iran had long sought the withdrawal of U.S. forces, which President Joe Biden announced on April 14. But the absence of the U.S.-led NATO forces has also created new…

Iran at the Olympics

July 28, 2021
Updated: August 7, 2021
On July 23, Iran’s delegation joined 204 nations to inaugurate the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Iranian flagbearers, male basketball player Samad Nikkhah Bahrami and female shooter Hanieh Rostamian, led the team in the opening ceremony; the women wore long, light-blue garments and headscarves, while…

U.S. on Iran Protests

July 28, 2021
On July 28, the State Department condemned Iran’s crackdown on peaceful protests sparked by a water shortage. “We support the rights of Iranians to peacefully assemble and express themselves, without fear of violence and detention by security forces,” Spokesperson Ned Price said. As of July, more…

Iraqi Prime Minister on U.S.-Iran Tensions

July 27, 2021
Biden and Kadhimi Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi met with President Joe Biden on July 26 for the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Dialogue. The United States committed to removing all combat troops by the end of 2021. The two leaders also spoke about attacks by Iran-backed militias on U.S. troops and…

Raisi: Role in 1988 Massacre

July 21, 2021
Ebrahim Raisi, winner of Iran’s 2021 presidential election, was a pivotal player in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. At 27, Raisi was the youngest of four members named to the so-called Death Committee for Tehran after the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini,…

Khamenei Calls on Muslims to Resist West

July 21, 2021
On July 19, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Muslims across the Middle East to “stand up and resist the aggression, interference and evil of Western powers.” He lambasted the Islamic Republic’s enemies—namely the United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel— in a nationally televised…