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State Department Report on Human Rights in Iran

March 30, 2021
Iran’s human rights record was extremely poor in 2020, the State Department reported. Security, judicial and political officials carried out extrajudicial killings, conducted torture and arbitrary detention, restricted free expression and religious freedom, recruited child soldiers and…

Gallup: Americans on Iranian Threat

March 29, 2021
Iran is the third most critical threat to the United States because of its nuclear program, according to a Gallup public opinion poll of American attitudes about foreign policy. But only four percent view Iran as the “greatest enemy” of the United States, down from 19 percent in 2020. The decrease…

Congress Split on Diplomacy with Iran

March 26, 2021
Updated: June 14, 2021
In early 2021, Congress was divided about whether President Joe Biden should launch new diplomacy with Iran—and, if so, over what issues. But Iran is one issue that does not break down neatly on partisan lines. The strongest bloc, although not necessarily the majority, has urged the administration…

News Digest: Week of March 22

March 24, 2021
March 22 Afghanistan: Iran's special envoy for Afghanistan spoke with the U.N. Secretary General's office about the Afghan peace process. "The two sides reviewed various aspects of Afghanistan developments, and highlighted the necessity of mitigating the pains of Afghan people and accelerating the…

One Year of COVID: Economic Impact

March 24, 2021
Virtually every aspect of Iran’s economy has been impacted by the global pandemic. In the year since the first case of COVID-19 in February 2020, Iran’s economy has faced new challenges exacerbated by longstanding problems, including years of punitive U.S. sanctions. The main consequences have been…

Timeline: Five Waves of COVID-19

March 23, 2021
Updated: January 24, 2022
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 coronavirus spread across Iran’s 31 provinces within a month. Over the first twelve months of the pandemic, nearly 1.6 million Iranians were infected and more…

One Year of COVID: Public Opinion

March 23, 2021
In February 2021, Iranians largely approved of their government’s handling of COVID-19, even though almost four out of five reported that they knew someone who was struck with or died from the disease. Public opinion polling conducted one year into the pandemic revealed contrasting trends. On…

U.S. Officials on Nowruz

March 23, 2021
On March 20, President Joe Biden and top officials wished a happy Nowruz, the Persian New Year, to Iran and other countries celebrating the ancient holiday around the world. Biden, unlike his predecessors, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, did not use the occasion to comment on the state of U.S.-Iran…

Iranian Leaders on Nowruz

March 23, 2021
On March 20-21, Iran’s senior leaders marked Nowruz, the Persian New Year and the first day of spring, with optimistic messages about the economy. President Hassan Rouhani declared that three years of “cruel and ruthless imposed economic war,” a reference to U.S. sanctions, against Iran would soon…

One Year of COVID: Politics of Vaccination

March 22, 2021
Updated: July 13, 2021
In March 2021, one year after the outbreak of COVID-19, Iran was just starting its vaccination campaign, which began on February 9, 2021. But most Iranians were warned that they would have to wait until early 2022 due to a vaccine shortage. Over the first twelve months of the pandemic, nearly 1.6…

DNI: Iran Tried to Influence U.S. Election

March 18, 2021
In a new report issued on March 16, U.S. intelligence charged that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei authorized a covert cyber campaign to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The campaign’s goal was to “undercut former President Trump’s reelection prospects – though without…

U.S. Sanctions Two Iranians for Torture

March 9, 2021
On March 9, the United States designated two Revolutionary Guards interrogators in the first new sanctions imposed by the Biden administration on Iran. Ali Hemmatian and Masoud Safadri were involved in torturing political prisoners and protesters detained during anti-government protests in 2019 and…

News Digest: Week of March 1

March 3, 2021
March 1 Shipping: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran for an explosion on an Israeli ship last week. An Israeli official told Reuters that limpet mines were used in the attack.  Sports: Iran's suspension from international judo events was lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.…

Sanctions 7: Iran’s Economy by the Numbers

March 3, 2021
Iran’s economy has gyrated, often coinciding with the success or failure of international diplomacy. The fluctuations have been reflected in all basic data points, including the value of its rial currency, oil exports, gross domestic product (GDP) and inflation. U.S. sanctions have added to the…

Sanctions 8: Timeline of Sanctions

March 3, 2021
Since 2005, the United States has designated Iranian individuals, companies, and organizations for involvement in nuclear proliferation, ballistic missile development, support for terrorist groups, and human rights abuses. These designations have been made under the following presidential executive…

Sanctions 5: Trump's "Maximum Pressure" Targets

March 3, 2021
Between 2018 and 2021, the Trump administration imposed more than 1,500 sanctions on Iran or on foreign companies or individuals who did business with Iran. They targeted big institutions, such as the supreme leader’s office, the Revolutionary Guards and the Central Bank, as well as individuals.…

U.S. Sanctions Two Houthi Commanders

March 2, 2021
On March 2, the United States sanctioned two Houthi rebel commanders, Mansur al Saadi and Ahmad Ali Ahsan al Hamzi, for orchestrating attacks “impacting Yemeni civilians, bordering nations, and commercial vessels in international waters.” Al Saadi and al Hamzi “command forces that worsening the…

What Sanctions Iran Wants Lifted

March 2, 2021
The U.S. Institute of Peace interviewed Dr. Kenneth Katzman, a former CIA analyst, who is now an Iran expert at the Congressional Research Service. His responses are made in his personal capacity, not for the Library of Congress. Related Material: Sanctions 1: Impact of Iran's Oil Exports…

U.S. Strikes Iran-Backed Militias in Syria

February 26, 2021
Updated: March 2, 2021
On February 25, the United States conducted airstrikes in eastern Syria against Iran-backed militias in the first military action by the Biden administration. The Pentagon said that warplanes struck “several facilities” used by Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al Shuhada, two Iraqi Shiite…

News Digest: Week of February 22

February 24, 2021
February 22 Health: Tehran and Tokyo discussed using frozen Iranian financial assets in Japanese banks to purchase coronavirus vaccines. The Japanese ambassador in Tehran suggested the move during a meeting with Central Bank of Iran Governor Abdonnaser Hemmati, state media reported. Nuclear: …

Part 4: Restoring Limits on Iran's Nuclear Program

February 23, 2021
In February 2021, the Arms Control Association outlined the steps Iran would have to take to pull back from its breaches of the 2015 nuclear deal, initiated in May 2019, and return to full compliance. The following is its detailed rundown.   A year after former U.S. President Donald Trump…

Part 3: Europe, Russia and China on U.S. Moves

February 22, 2021
Updated: February 24, 2021
Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia – the five other parties to the 2015 nuclear deal – largely welcomed the Biden administration’s three moves to jumpstart diplomacy with Tehran on its nuclear program. On February 18, the United States said it would meet with Iran and the five major world…

Part 2: Iran Rejects US Offer of Talks

February 19, 2021
Updated: March 3, 2021
On February 28, Iran rejected the U.S. offer to attend a meeting of the so-called P5+1 countries – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – to chart a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program. Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that the Biden…

Part 1: Biden’s Opening Bid on Iran Diplomacy

February 19, 2021
Updated: March 1, 2021
On February 18, the Biden Administration announced three opening moves to jumpstart diplomacy with Iran, with the goal of new talks that will ultimately lead to steps by both Iran and the United States to fully comply with their obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal. The three moves include: The…

U.S. ‘Prepared’ for Talks with Iran

February 18, 2021
On February 18, the United States told its European allies that it was ready for talks with Iran over returning to the 2015 nuclear deal. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany to discuss Iran, Yemen, ISIS and Iraq, among other issues. “If…

News Digest: Week of February 15

February 17, 2021
February 15 Border: A massive fire at the Iran-Afghanistan border was extinguished after burning for three days. The fire erupted on February 13 when a fuel tanker exploded at the Herat border crossing. The explosion was large enough to be viewed from space. At least 20 people were injured by the…

Iran’s Missiles: Timeline of Attacks

February 17, 2021
Iran’s missile program, which dates back to the monarchy, has been an increasingly important military staple since the 1979 revolution, as the Islamic Republic’s warplanes became obsolete. In the mid-1980s, Tehran acquired Scud missiles from Libya, Syria and North Korea and also began adapting the…

Iran’s Missiles: Military Strategy

February 17, 2021
Assaf Orion is a senior research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies and director of the Israel-China research program. He is also an international fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Orion, a retired brigadier general, was responsible for strategic…

Iran’s Missiles: Infographics and Photos

February 17, 2021
Defense Intelligence Agency estimates of missile ranges (2019) Iran has the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East. It has hundreds of cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges from 200 km to 3,000 km (123 miles to 1,864 miles) and varying degrees of accuracy. Iran’s missile…

News Digest: Week of February 8

February 10, 2021
February 8 Diplomacy: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with U.N. Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths in Tehran. The two discussed backing a nationwide ceasefire in Yemen and reopening the Sanaa airport. Military: Iran, Russia and China announced that they would conduct joint naval drills in the…