Iran Policy

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…
March 11, 2020
Iranian life has been profoundly transformed since the rapid spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the three weeks since the first case was reported on February 19. Government officials now wear masks when they hold meetings. The military has been hauled out to disinfect major sites, build field…
March 11, 2020
Dozens of high-ranking Iranian officials have contracted COVID-19, which originated in China in late 2019 and was first reported in the Islamic Republic in February. Two vice presidents were among the early cases. The virus has since swept through the ranks of the executive branch, parliament, the…
March 4, 2020
On March 3, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the mobilization of the military to help fight the coronavirus outbreak. Authorities said that 300,000 troops from the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and its Basij paramilitary force would deploy to help sanitize public places, direct traffic,…
February 12, 2020
In January 2020, Iran introduced a new form that discriminates against religious minorities not protected under the constitution. The new form removed the option to select “other religion” in national identity cards. The card is a basic necessity to access government services and conduct banking…