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Trump on Iran in State of the Union

February 5, 2020
On February 4, President Trump accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons and urged it to stop supporting terror. In his State of the Union address, he encouraged Tehran to change course. “Because of our powerful sanctions, the Iranian economy is doing very poorly. We can help them make it very good…

Iran’s 2020 Parliamentary Elections

February 3, 2020
Updated: February 14, 2020
By Andrew Hanna Iranians go to the polls on February 21, 2020 to vote for all 290 seats in the unicameral Majles. Parliamentary elections, held every four years, often presage which political faction wins the presidency a year later. The stakes in the 2020 election are huge. In the 2016 election,…

News Digest: Week of February 3

February 3, 2020
Updated: February 12, 2020
February 3 Military: Iran announced that it would launch a satellite into orbit within a week. “We are not afraid of failure and we will not lose hope. With your prayers and trust in God, the Zafar satellite by the end of this week ... will be heading toward an orbit of 530 km from Earth,” said…

House Votes to Limit Trump’s War Powers

January 31, 2020
On January 30, the House of Representatives passed two measures to limit President Trump’s ability to conduct military action against Iran. The first proposal, passed by a vote of 236-166, would repeal the 2002 congressional authorization for the war in Iraq. The second bill, approved by a 228-175…

New U.S. Sanctions, Humanitarian Channel

January 30, 2020
On January 30, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook announced sanctions on the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and its chief, Ali Akbar Salehi. “The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has played a big role in Iran breaching its key nuclear commitments [under the 2015 nuclear…

Trends in Parliamentary Elections 1980-2016

January 30, 2020
Since the 1979 revolution, Iran's politics have changed dramatically from a one-party system heavily dominated by clerics to a multi-party system dominated by lay politicians. Iran’s parliament is illustrative. Iranians will head to the polls on Feb. 21, 2020 to elect the 11th parliament. The key…

U.S. on Iran’s Parliamentary Election

January 30, 2020
Updated: February 25, 2020
The Trump Administration criticized Iran’s election process as the nation prepared to vote on a new parliament on February 21. On January 16, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charged that the poll was rigged. “The Iranian regime consistently lies to the Iranian people and treats them with contempt,”…

Iranian Reaction to U.S. Peace Plan

January 28, 2020
Updated: February 5, 2020
Iranian officials dismissed the new U.S. Middle East peace plan presented by President Donald Trump on January 28. They thought the plan heavily favored Israel over the Palestinians. The plan, supported by Israel, called for a two-state solution. But Palestinian and Iranian leaders said the…

News Digest: Week of January 27

January 27, 2020
Updated: February 3, 2020
January 27 Politics: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called for national unity ahead of February parliamentary elections. He urged high voter turnout and condemned the mass disqualification of reformist candidates by the Guardian Council, which was dominated by hardliners. “We should not let…

U.S. Sanctions Iranian Oil Smuggling Network

January 23, 2020
On January 23, the U.S. Treasury Department designated four companies accused of purchasing Iranian oil and petrochemical products in violation of U.S. sanctions. Two companies based in Hong Kong, one company based in Shanghai and another company based in Dubai allegedly helped Iran’s state-owned…

Iran and the NPT

January 22, 2020
Iran was one of the original 62 signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the most important global treaty on the world’s deadliest weapon. It went into effect in 1970 and has been the standard of nuclear arms control ever since. It banned countries other than United States, Russia, China…

News Digest: Week of January 20

January 21, 2020
Updated: January 27, 2020
January 20 Nuclear: Iran said that it could withdraw from the global nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if its case is referred to the U.N. Security Council. “If the Europeans continue their improper behavior or send Iran’s file to the Security Council, we will withdraw from the NPT,” said…

Iran’s Confrontation with Israel over Four Decades

January 21, 2020
By Garrett Nada Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran’s conflict with Israel has gradually evolved geographically and strategically. By 2019, hostilities no longer played out in a shadow war. Iran had deployed men, money and/or materiel to aid allies on three of Israel’s borders—Lebanon, Syria…

U.S. Sanctions Senior Iranian General

January 17, 2020
On January 17, the U.S. State Department blacklisted a Revolutionary Guards commander for his involvement in the crackdown on demonstrators in November 2019. Brigadier General Hassan Shahvarpour “oversaw the massacre of 148 helpless Iranians in the Mahshahr region,” U.S. Special Representative for…

Khamenei Condemns U.S. in Rare Friday Sermon

January 17, 2020
By Haleh Esfandiari For the first time in eight years, Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, personally delivered the Friday prayer sermon in Tehran this week, at a moment of rising discontent and protests at home, and confrontation with the United States and fraying relations with…

Polls: Americans on Soleimani Strike

January 16, 2020
Updated: January 27, 2020
American politicians divided on partisan lines over President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani. Republicans in Congress defended the strike as justified retribution for the deaths of Americans, while Democrats condemned the strike as a dangerous escalation. But…

World Bank: Economy to Stabilize in 2020

January 14, 2020
The multilateral development bank forecasted that Iran’s economy would stabilize in 2020 after two years of recession. The bank predicted the impact of U.S. sanctions would “taper somewhat” as growth among oil exporters was expected increase in 2020. The risk of U.S.-Iran geopolitical tensions led…

Iranian Olympian Defects

January 14, 2020
By Andrew Hanna Iranian Olympian Kimia Alizadeh defected on January 11 in protest of the regime’s treatment of women. The taekwondo athlete, who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said she would not return from her training in the Netherlands and would remain in Europe.  Alizadeh…

Iranian Media on Ukraine Airliner, Protests

January 14, 2020
Iranian newspapers widely covered the revelation that the Revolutionary Guards accidentally shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, killing all 176 people on board. Some of the headlines were mournful while others expressed anger at the government, which denied responsibility for three…

University Students Decry Regime “Incompetence”

January 14, 2020
On January 11, a group of student protestors at Amir Kabir University read a powerful statement that condemned Iran’s elite and government. The students were reacting to the downing of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. They mourned the loss of 176 lives, including colleagues and…

Europe Challenges Iran on Nuclear Breaches

January 14, 2020
Updated: January 15, 2020
On January 14, Britain, France and Germany urged Iran to reverse its breaches of the 2015 nuclear deal. They triggered the agreement’s dispute resolution mechanism. It was the strongest action yet taken by European powers to enforce the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).  If Iran does not…

U.S. on New Wave of Protests

January 13, 2020
President Trump and his administration have issued words of encouragement to demonstrators in Iran. Iranians launched a new wave of protests on January 11 after Iran admitted that the Revolutionary Guards had mistakenly shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. Iranians were enraged at…

New Wave of Protests

January 13, 2020
Updated: January 17, 2020
Iranians launched a new wave of protests on January 11 after Iran admitted that the Revolutionary Guards had mistakenly shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. All 176 people on board, including dozens of Iranians, were killed. Iranians were enraged at the government’s incompetence and…

News Digest: Week of January 13

January 13, 2020
Updated: January 21, 2020
January 13 Protests: Students at universities in Isfahan and Tehran shouted, “Clerics get lost!” Police in riot gear reportedly patrolled the capital. A steep drop in internet connectivity registered at Sharif University, where students protested the deaths of colleagues and alumni killed on the…

Trump Administration on Evidence of Iran Threat

January 13, 2020
Trump administration officials initially said Qassem Soleimani, the head of the elite Qods Force, was killed in a U.S. airstrike because he was planning to attack Americans in the Middle East. On January 2, the Pentagon said Soleimani was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and…

Iran Admits to Downing Ukrainian Airliner

January 13, 2020
Updated: January 14, 2020
After three days of denying responsibility, Iran acknowledged on January 11 that it had shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. The incident occurred early on January 8, hours after Iran launched missiles at two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops in retaliation for the U.S.…

Report: Iran’s Military Strategy

January 10, 2020
In a new report, Michael Eisenstadt explores Iran’s gray zone strategy of operating between war and peace. The following is the executive summary from the report, available in full here from The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.    Operating in the Gray Zone: Countering Iran's…

Iran Attack: U.S. Sanctions Top Officials, Metals

January 10, 2020
On January 10, President Trump issued an executive order authorizing sanctions “against any individual or entity operating in the construction, manufacturing, textiles, or mining sectors of the Iranian economy.” Mining and metals have historically been one of the regime's largest non-oil sources of…

War Powers Resolution on Iran

January 10, 2020
On January 9, the House of Representatives voted 224 to 194 to limit President Trump’s ability to engage in hostilities against Iran under the 1973 War Powers Resolution. The vote came after Trump authorized the killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Qods Force. Many Democrats and a…

Timeline of U.S.-Iran Crisis

January 10, 2020
Dec. 27: Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi militia backed by Iran, launched rockets at the K1 military base near Kirkuk, which housed U.S. military service members and Iraqi personnel. The attack killed a U.S. civilian contractor and wounded four U.S. service members and two Iraqis.   Dec. 29: The United…