Iran Policy

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…
June 5, 2019
On May 14, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran was not interested in a war with the United States. But he was dismissive of President Donald Trump’s openness to negotiations. He and other hardliners argued that U.S. outreach was deceptive. “We will not negotiate with U.S. officials…
May 23, 2019
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publicly criticized President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for how they handled the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated with the world’s six major powers. In a meeting with university students, Khamenei said that although he allowed the…
May 8, 2019
On May 8, President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran will stop complying with parts of the 2015 nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The move came on the one-year anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement. It marked yet another escalation of…
May 7, 2019
Iranian officials largely shrugged off National Security Advisor John Bolton’s announcement that a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group and bomber task force are deploying to the Persian Gulf. “The aircraft carrier (USS) Abraham Lincoln arrived in the Mediterranean Sea 21 days ago, and Bolton's…
April 24, 2019
On April 24, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif ruled out negotiating a new nuclear deal with the United States. “The United States does not need a new [negotiating] table. The table is there. … And I know that neither Iran nor the United States will ever get a better agreement,” he said at the…
April 24, 2019
On April 24, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif publicly offered to exchange detainees with the United States. “We informed the government of the United States six months ago that we are ready,” he said at the Asia Society in New York. “Not a response yet. If they tell you anything else, they're…
April 23, 2019
Iranian officials reacted to the U.S. decision not to renew sanctions waivers for importers of Iranian oil with a mix of threats and ridicule. The commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy, Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if Iran could no…
April 9, 2019
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) responded to the State Department’s designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization by designating the U.S. government as a state sponsor of terrorism and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) and all its…
March 21, 2019
On March 20-21, Iran’s top leaders marked Nowruz, the Persian New Year and the first day of spring, with televised addresses to the nation. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised Iran’s resilience in the face of U.S. and European sanctions but also acknowledged that the struggling economy is…