Iran Policy

September 17, 2019
On September 17, Iran’s supreme leader nixed the possibility of bilateral talks with Washington. His remarks came one day after President Donald Trump blamed Iran for an attack on Saudi oil facilities that cut production in half. Tehran denied involvement. In remarks to seminary students, Ayatollah…
September 4, 2019
A French initiative to broker direct talks between President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been a roller coaster since both leaders indicated a possible willingness to meet. On August 26, French President Emanuel Macron announced a “roadmap of sorts” after talks with Trump and…
August 7, 2019
Iranian leaders have disparate and, sometimes, conflicting views of how to respond to the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other hardliners seemed to rule out negotiations entirely. They have resisted making further concessions since the Trump…
July 23, 2019
On July 22, Tehran announced the detention of 17 Iranian citizens for espionage after disrupting an alleged CIA spy ring. The purported spies transmitted intelligence on Iran’s economy, nuclear program, military, and cyber capabilities. The Trump administration immediately denied Tehran's claims…
July 11, 2019
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hit political and personal milestones in 2019. In June, he marked 30 years as supreme leader, making him the second-longest serving head-of-state in the Middle East (after Sultan Qaboos of Oman). On July 16, he turns 80, making him one of the oldest leaders in the region.…
June 25, 2019
Iranian leaders condemned President Donald Trump’s decision to impose sanctions on the supreme leader and senior IRGC commanders. Trump characterized the move as a “proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions,” referring to the downing of a U.S. drone on June 20 and attacks on…
June 21, 2019
Iranian officials disputed the Pentagon’s claim that the U.S. drone was shot down over international waters late on June 19. Iran claimed that it only fired on the RQ-4 Global Hawk after it violated its air space and did not respond to radio warnings. "At that time since it was a spy drone, [we]…
June 17, 2019
On July 8, Iran started enriching uranium to 4.5 percent, a breach of the 2015 nuclear accord. The deal allows enrichment up to 3.67 percent, which is sufficient to fuel a peaceful nuclear reactor. It was Tehran’s second breach –and second challenge to the international community to save the…
June 14, 2019
Iran categorically denied the U.S. allegation that it was responsible for attacks on two tankers on June 13 near the Strait of Hormuz. “Neither fabrications and disinformation campaigns nor shamelessly blaming others can change the realities. The U.S. and its regional allies must stop warmongering…
June 11, 2019
On June 11, Iran released Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese national and permanent U.S. resident, after he spent more than 1,350 days in prison. He was invited by the Iranian government to Tehran for a business conference focusing on entrepreneurship. The information and communications technology expert…