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News Digest: Week of November 4

November 4, 2019
Updated: November 12, 2019
November 4 Foreign Policy/Society: More than 1,000 rallies were held across Iran to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. embassy. Outside of the former U.S. mission, thousands of Iranians chanted “Death to America,” as army chief Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi condemned…

U.S.: 40 Years After Its Embassy Takeover

November 4, 2019
The United States marked 40 years since the seizure of its embassy in Tehran by announcing new sanctions on Iran. “Forty years later, the revolutionary regime in Tehran has proven, time and again, that its first acts after gaining power were a clear indication of its evil character,” Secretary of…

Iran: 40 Years After U.S. Embassy Takeover

November 4, 2019
On November 4, thousands of Iranians chanted “Death to America” outside of the former U.S. embassy in Tehran. It was one of more than 1,000 rallies held across Iran to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the embassy’s seizure. In 1979, students stormed the compound to protest the Carter…

Khamenei: 40 Years After U.S. Embassy Takeover

November 4, 2019
On November 3, Iran’s supreme leader renewed the ban on talks with the United States. “No problem will be solved with meetings and with negotiations,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told students on the eve of the 40th anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. “The same wolfish qualities…

U.S.: Iran Worst State Sponsor of Terror

November 1, 2019
Iran “remains the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism,” according to a new State Department report. In the latest edition of “Country Reports on Terrorism,” Washington alleged that Tehran “has spent nearly one billion dollars per year to support terrorist groups that serve as its proxies and…

U.S. Sanctions Iran’s Construction Sector

November 1, 2019
On October 31, the U.S. State Department announced sanctions on Iran’s construction sector and the sale of certain materials used in Tehran’s nuclear, military or ballistic missile programs. The sale of raw and semi-finished metals, graphite, coal, and software for integrating industrial purposes…

Detainees in Iran and the U.S.

November 1, 2019
Updated: June 18, 2020
Hostage seizures and arrests have been a recurrent feature of the troubled relationship between the United States and Iran since revolutionary students captured the U.S. Embassy—and 52 diplomats—on Nov. 4, 2019. That 444-day drama ended on January 20, 1981, the day President Ronald Reagan was…

Inside the Former U.S. Embassy in Tehran

October 30, 2019
For almost four decades, the U.S. embassy in Iran was off-limits to visitors. Students seized the embassy on November 4, 1979 to protest the Carter administration’s decision to take in the ailing former shah for medical treatment. Student leaders later said their intention was to hold the embassy…

U.S. and Gulf Partners Sanction Financial Network

October 30, 2019
On October 30, the United States and six Gulf countries—Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait—imposed sanctions on a financing network controlled by Iran’s military and linked to Hezbollah, a Lebanese militia and political movement. The Terrorist Financing…

News Digest: Week of October 28

October 28, 2019
Updated: November 4, 2019
October 28 Justice: The Iranian lawyer of two French citizens detained in Tehran said prosecutors had provided no evidence of espionage or security-related charges. Roland Marchal was arrested in June while visiting his Iranian-French colleague Fariba Adelkhah, who was also detained. The attorney…

U.S. Announces Humanitarian Mechanism

October 25, 2019
On October 25, the U.S. Treasury announced a new financial channel “to ensure unprecedented transparency into humanitarian trade with Iran.” The Treasury Department said the mechanism would allow “permissible trade” to support the Iranian population while continuing to deprive Tehran of the…

The Invisible U.S.-Iran Cyber War

October 25, 2019
Updated: June 4, 2020
By 2020, tensions between the United States and Iran increasingly played out in invisible cyberspace. Both governments acknowledged that cyberattacks were central to their strategies. The scope was unknown, but cyberspace has turned into a near-unrestricted war zone. Cyber offered an alternative to…

Thaw in Iran-Gulf Relations

October 22, 2019
Updated: February 7, 2020
On October 20, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced that it released $700 million in frozen funds to Iran—a sign of thawing relations between the two Gulf countries. On October 14, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said there have been “some contacts between Iran and the United Arab Emirates in…

News Digest: Week of October 21

October 21, 2019
Updated: October 25, 2019
October 21 Justice/Diplomacy: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran sent the United States a list of names for a proposed prison swap. Tehran did not publicize the list, but Zarif said he hoped to hear “good news” regarding the release of Iranian scientist Masoud Soleimani. The United…

Hook: Syria Pullout Does Not Affect Iran Strategy

October 18, 2019
On October 16, Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on U.S. policy toward Iran. Hook told lawmakers that Washington’s policy was rooted in “an unprecedented pressure campaign” with two objectives: “to deprive the Iranian regime of the…

Iran’s Role in Iraqi Protests

October 16, 2019
Updated: December 6, 2019
On October 1, more than 1,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Baghdad to protest corruption, unemployment and a lack of basic services. The protests also targeted growing Iranian influence in Iraq. Some protestors chanted anti-Iranian slogans, while others displayed posters of Iraq’s former…

Imran Khan’s Saudi-Iran Diplomacy

October 16, 2019
In mid-October, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan traveled to Iran and Saudi Arabia to discuss ways to reduce regional tensions. Khan met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani on October 13. After the meeting, Tehran indicated a desire to engage with…

Poll: Iranians on the Economy

October 16, 2019
Some 68 percent of Iranians say their country’s economic situation is bad, and 55 percent say it is getting worse, according to a new poll by the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and Some 54 percent of Iranians say that domestic mismanagement and…

Rouhani's Brother Goes to Prison

October 16, 2019
On October 16, Hossein Fereydoun, the brother of President Hassan Rouhani and a senior negotiator in nuclear talks with the United States, began a five-year prison term in Tehran’s Evin prison. He was arrested in 2017 and initially sentenced to seven years in prison; an appeals court reduced the…

Poll: Iranians on Nuclear Deal, U.S. Policy

October 16, 2019
For the first time, less than half of Iranians approve of the 2015 nuclear agreement brokered between Iran and six world powers, according to a new poll by the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM) and The United States withdrew from the deal in May 2018.…

News Digest: Week of October 14

October 15, 2019
Updated: October 22, 2019
October 14 Economics: Iran’s oil ministry released images of the tanker Sabiti, which clearly showed two holes in its hull just above the waterline. President Hassan Rouhani claimed a foreign government was responsible for the October 11 attack, which occurred in the Red Sea some 60 miles away…

Soleimani: Mastermind of Iran’s Expansion

October 14, 2019
As commander of Iran’s elite Qods Force, Qassem Soleimani has become one of the most powerful military leaders in the Middle East. He has reportedly masterminded major military operations, bombings and assassinations since he took over the external operations wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard…

U.S. Deploys Troops to Saudi Arabia

October 11, 2019
On October 11, the United States announced the deployment of nearly 3,000 additional troops to Saudi Arabia. The move followed an attack on Saudi oil facilities on September 14, which temporarily cut the kingdom's production in half. Washington blamed Tehran for the strike, which involved…

Women Return to Soccer in Iran

October 10, 2019
By Andrew Hanna Iran marked a historic milestone in October 2019, as thousands of women attended a soccer match for the first time in nearly four decades. The match drew some 4,000 women to Azadi stadium in Tehran for a World Cup qualifier match against Cambodia. Between 1981 and 2019, Iranian…

Iran Urges Turkey to Show Restraint in Syria

October 9, 2019
Updated: October 23, 2019
After Turkey’s invasion of Syria on October 9, Iran called on its longstanding ally and neighbor to rethink its plan to create a buffer zone inside Syria. “We are calling on our friendly and brotherly neighbor Turkey to act with more patience and restraint, and to revise its decision and chosen…

The Broken Promise of Chabahar

October 8, 2019
By Andrew Hanna In April 2016, Iran, India and Afghanistan signed an agreement to develop the Iranian port of Chabahar as a shipping hub with rail links that connected India to Afghanistan through Iran—and circumvented Pakistan. Chabahar is on the Gulf of Oman and is Iran’s only port with access…

News Digest: Week of October 7

October 7, 2019
Updated: October 15, 2019
October 7 Justice/Espionage: Iran said Yulia Yuzik, a Russian journalist detained last week in Tehran, was arrested for a visa violation and not for spying as initially reported. Russia had summoned the Iranian ambassador on October 4 to discuss the case. Politics: Josep Borrell, the incoming E.U…

Iranian Hackers Target U.S. Campaign

October 4, 2019
On October 4, Microsoft reported that a group it calls Phosphorus made more than 2,700 attempts to identify email addresses of current and former U.S. officials, accounts associated with a U.S. presidential campaign and journalists covering political campaigns. Microsoft said it believed the group…

News Digest: Week of October 1

October 4, 2019
Updated: October 7, 2019
October 1 Justice/Politics: Hossein Fereydoun, the brother of President Hassan Rouhani, was sentenced to five years in prison on corruption charges. He had been arrested in 2017 and was the subject of multiple investigations. Fereydoun had long been accused of corruption by hardliners. But Rouhani…

Iran’s Breaches of the Nuclear Deal

October 2, 2019
Updated: January 25, 2020
On July 1, 2019, Tehran began to breach the nuclear deal brokered with the world’s six major powers in 2015. It has exceeded the agreement's limits at least five times: •    In July, Iran surpassed the limits on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium.  •    A week later, it increased enrichment…