New Articles

Profiles: Iran’s New Nuclear Team

November 22, 2021
Updated: November 28, 2021
The Raisi government’s two top officials on nuclear issues reflected Iran’s increasingly assertive stance on both diplomacy with the outworld and developing capabilities at home. Both are known as hardliners. Both have been deeply critical of the United States. Ebrahim Raisi and Mohammad Eslami at…

Explainer: Iran’s Centrifuges

November 22, 2021
This article is based on an Iran Watch report by the Wisconsin Project. The full report can be found here. Iran has produced thousands of gas centrifuges that are essential to its nuclear program. Centrifuges are cylindrical machines that spin uranium gas at high speeds to produce fuel for nuclear…

Iran and World Powers on Renewed Diplomacy

November 22, 2021
Updated: November 24, 2021
Iran has made maximalist demands ahead of nuclear talks with the world’s six major powers scheduled for November 29. Iran expects the United States to “recognize its fault in ditching” the 2015 deal, lift all U.S. sanctions imposed after the withdrawal in one go, and guarantee that no other U.S.…

U.S. Defense Officials on Iran

November 21, 2021
Updated: December 12, 2021
Under the Biden administration, U.S. defense officials have prioritized deterring Iran and its myriad proxies. Iran’s activities are “the biggest threat to stability in the Middle East,” General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr, the head of U.S. Central Command, said in June 2021. At the same time, U.S.…

U.N. Watchdog Reports Iran Stonewalling

November 19, 2021
In a report in November 2021, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said that Iran had twice turned back inspectors at a facility that manufacturers parts for centrifuges used to enrich uranium. The facility in Karaj, outside Tehran, may be again manufacturing parts for advanced centrifuges. Since February…

U.S. Sanctions Iran for Election Hacking

November 18, 2021
Updated: November 19, 2021
On November 18, the United States sanctioned six Iranian men and one company, Emennet Pasargad, for attempting to interfere with the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Sectary of State Antony Blinken said that the move represents “the collective efforts of the Department of the Treasury, the…

Iran-backed Hackers Target U.S. Infrastructure

November 17, 2021
On November 17, U.S., Australian and British cybersecurity agencies said that an Iran-backed hacking group was targeting the transportation and healthcare sectors in the United States as well as Australian organizations. The hackers were trying to access firms’ computer networks by exploiting…

US, E3 and GCC on Iran, Regional Tensions

November 17, 2021
Updated: November 18, 2021
On November 17, the United States and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) condemned Iran for supporting militias and proliferating weapons across the region. Ballistic missiles and drones “have been used by Iran or its proxies in hundreds of attacks against civilians and critical infrastructure in…

News Digest: Weeks of November 15 & 22

November 17, 2021
Updated: November 22, 2021
November 15 Domestic: A magnitude-five aftershock hit the Bandar Abbas region in southern Iran and caused one death. Two earthquakes had hit Iran one day earlier. Maritime: The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed that an Iranian naval helicopter had circled the USS Essex in the Gulf of Oman on…

Iran Tests Drones and Missiles During War Game

November 11, 2021
Iran tested a wide variety of weapons, including cruise missiles, torpedoes and suicide drones, during an annual war game between November 7 and 9. The Zolfaghar-1400 exercise, named for Imam Ali’s sword, was held around four key waterways – the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman, the Red Sea and…

Profiles: Pro-Iran Militias in Iraq

November 10, 2021
Since 2003, Iranian influence has deepened in Iraq through a wide array of Shiite militias. Several militia leaders and politicians spent years in exile in Tehran during Saddam Hussein’s reign in the 1980s and 1990s. One of Iraq’s most powerful armed groups, the Badr Organization, was formed in…

News Digest: Week of November 8

November 10, 2021
November 8 Nuclear/Diplomacy: Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh outlined Iran’s demands for the United States ahead of the resumption of nuclear talks on November 29. Washington “must lift the oppressive sanctions completely and effectively.” And it must “guarantee that no…

Role of Iran Proxies in Kadhimi Attack

November 10, 2021
On November 7, three quadcopter drones were launched at the home of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi inside the well-guarded Green Zone in Baghdad. Kadhimi was unharmed, but six guards were reportedly wounded. “Cowardly rocket and drone attacks don’t build homelands and don’t build a future…

Iran: 42 Years After U.S. Embassy Takeover

November 4, 2021
Demonstrators burn an American flag in TehranOn November 4, thousands of Iranians chanted “Death to America” outside the former U.S. embassy in Tehran on the anniversary of the embassy’s seizure in 1979. Iran held more than 800 rallies where demonstrators burned American and Israeli flags. Many…

News Digest: Week of November 1

November 3, 2021
Saeed Khatibzadeh November 1 Health: Iranian state television said that Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Adbollahian had tested positive for COVID-19. But his general condition was “good,” and he continued to work while in quarantine, according to the foreign ministry. Diplomacy: Foreign Ministry…

Israel-Iran Cyber War, Gas Station Attack

November 2, 2021
Updated: February 23, 2022
Iran blamed Israel and the United States for disrupting sales at gas stations nationwide on October 26. The cyberattack disabled a system that allows millions of Iranians to use government-issued cards to buy fuel at a subsidized price. Card users reportedly received the message “cyberattack 64411…

Biden on Iran at G20 Summit

November 1, 2021
On October 30, President Joe Biden and the leaders of Britain, France and Germany said that the 2015 nuclear deal could be restored quickly if Iran changes course. “We call upon President [Ebrahim] Raisi to seize this opportunity and return to a good faith effort to conclude our negotiations as a…

Explainer: Iran’s Frozen Assets

November 1, 2021
Esfandyar Batmanghelidj is the founder and chief executive of the Bourse & Bazaar Foundation, a think tank focused on economic diplomacy and development in the Middle East and Central Asia.    Iran reportedly has more than $100 billion in frozen assets held in banks abroad. Why are the assets…

U.S. Sanctions IRGC Drone Program

October 29, 2021
On October 29, the United States sanctioned four men and two companies for supporting Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programs run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its external operations arms, the Qods Force. “Iran’s proliferation of UAVs across the region threatens international…

Iran Hosts Regional Meeting on Afghanistan

October 28, 2021
On October 27, Iran hosted a regional conference to develop a “road map” for improving the security and economic situation in Afghanistan, with which it shares a 572-mile border. “If no solution is found as soon as possible to control and manage the economic crisis in Afghanistan, the crisis will…

Iran Vows to Return to Talks in November

October 27, 2021
On October 27, Iran’s lead negotiator announced a return to nuclear talks with the world’s six major powers by the end of November. Ali Bagheri, the new deputy foreign minister, tweeted the announcement after meeting in Brussels with Enrique Mora, the E.U. coordinator for the talks. In response,…

Once Banned, Warhol Displayed in Tehran

October 27, 2021
Warhol's portraits of Mao ZedongBetween June and October 2021, Tehran’s Museum of Contemporary Art held an exhibit of the work of Andy Warhol, an American known as the “king of Pop art” in the mid-20th century. The “Persona” show featured 18 pieces, including colorful depictions of Marilyn Monroe,…

News Digest: Week of October 25

October 27, 2021
October 25 Human Rights: Iran executed more than 250 people in 2020 and at least 230 in 2021 so far, the U.S. special rapporteur for Iran, Javaid Rehman, told the U.N. General Assembly. He noted that the regime had executed minors in both years. United States: Iran appeared to be responsible for…

U.S. Envoy on Iran Nuclear Talks

October 27, 2021
On October 25, the U.S. special envoy for Iran, Robert Malley, warned that Tehran’s reasons for delaying nuclear talks were “wearing very thin.” He also said that the United States and its partners were increasingly concerned “over the “pace and direction of Iran’s nuclear progress.” He added that…

U.S. Blames Iran for Strike on Base in Syria

October 26, 2021
Updated: October 31, 2021
On October 20, the U.S. base at al Tanf in southern Syria was hit by drones and rockets in a “deliberate and coordinated attack,” Central Command said. Iran appeared to be responsible for the attack, which included up to five drones carrying explosives, U.S. officials told the Associated Press. The…

Khamenei Condemns Arab Ties with Israel

October 25, 2021
Supreme Leader KhameneiOn October 24, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denounced countries that had established diplomatic ties with Israel. “They sinned by normalizing relations with the usurping, despotic Zionist regime,” he said in a speech marking the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.…

News Digest: Week of October 18

October 20, 2021
October 18 The Venezuelan and Iranian foreign ministers Diplomacy: Venezuelan Foreign Minister Felix Plasencia met with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, as well as President Ebrahim Raisi, in Tehran. During a joint press conference, Amir-Abdollahian announced that the two…

Poll: Iranians on Foreign and Defense Policy

October 20, 2021
As of September 2021, almost 60 percent of Iranians had positive views—in equal degrees—of China and Russia. In contrast, 85 percent reported negative views of the United States and 67 percent viewed the Biden administration’s views on Iran as “hostile.” Some 60 percent reported viewing France…

Poll: Iranians on Nuclear Program, Talks

October 20, 2021
Six years after it was negotiated, Iranian public opinion was split on the 2015 nuclear deal. Some 47 percent disapproved of the agreement while 48 percent approve of it, according to a new poll by the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and IranPoll.com. The deal had…

Poll: Iranians on Raisi, Domestic Politics

October 20, 2021
A large majority of Iranians, 78 percent, had favorable views of President Ebrahim Raisi, according to a new poll by the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and IranPoll.com. Many Iranians, however, were critical of how the June 2021 election was conducted. Some 44…