Iran Policy

April 14, 2020
Iran began to slowly reopen government offices and businesses in early April following a two-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 virus, which was first reported in Qom on February 19. In early April, President Hassan Rouhani reported that the number of new cases and deaths had begun to decrease. “…
April 13, 2020
In early April, Iran began to reopen after shutting down most of the country for nearly two months after the COVID-19 virus was first reported in Qom on February 19. On April 5, President Rouhani announced that low-risk economic activities would resume in most parts of the country on April 11 and…
April 1, 2020
On March 31, the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide, published the following story about the Iranian government's decree suspending the publication and delivery of newspapers due to COVID-19.    The Committee to Protect Journalists…
March 31, 2020
President Hassan Rouhani’s position on the COVID-19 pandemic gradually evolved as the crisis expanded and the death toll mounted. The first official report of deaths from the new virus was on February 19. Rouhani initially downplayed the threat of the disease. On February 23, he compared the impact…
March 23, 2020
In a televised address, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected U.S. aid to help combat the coronavirus outbreak. “You might give us a medicine that would spread the disease even more or make it last longer,” he said on March 22. Khamenei also cited a baseless conspiracy theory that COVID-19…
March 23, 2020
The coronavirus outbreak has significantly dampened celebrations of Nowruz, the Persian New Year. Across the country, signs implored families to stay home instead of traveling to see friends and family for the holiday. Media coverage reflected the somber tone during what is usually the most festive…
March 23, 2020
In an open letter addressed directly to the American people, President Hassan Rouhani appealed for their help in pressuring President Donald Trump and Congress to lift economic sanctions on Iran. Sanctions are “collective punishment” on the Iranian people that have hampered his country’s ability to…
March 20, 2020
In his annual address marking the Persian New Year, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei acknowledged that Iran had faced a difficult year “that began with the floods and that ended with the coronavirus.” He also listed the physical toll from earthquakes, the economic pressure of sanctions, and…
March 19, 2020
On March 19, the U.S. State Department announced that Michael White, a U.S. Navy veteran detained in Iran, was temporarily released from prison on a medical furlough.  His release was facilitated by the Swiss, who represent U.S. interests in Iran. White was required to remain in Iran throughout his…
March 18, 2020
Daily life in Iran has been increasingly disrupted by COVID-19, which was first reported in the country on February 19. On February 28, Iran closed schools and universities. Students were forced to watch their lessons on television. On March 3, Iran suspended parliament sessions indefinitely…