Iran Policy

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…
March 14, 2019
On March 11, President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Iraq for a three-day visit. It was his first official visit to Iran’s western neighbor. Iran and Iraq are Shiite-majority countries that share centuries-deep cultural and religious ties — and a 900-mile border. The Islamic Republic has used these…
March 13, 2019
On March 11, 2019, Iran’s most prominent human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes for nine charges. She received 12 years for allegedly encouraging “corruption and prostitution,” according to her husband, Reza Khandan. The charge is likely connected…
March 8, 2019
On March 7, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Ebrahim Raisi as judiciary chief. Raisi was not a well-known figure until he entered the 2017 presidential race. The hardline cleric garnered 38 percent of the vote but lost to incumbent Hassan Rouhani, who got 57 percent. Raisi replaces…
February 26, 2019
Syrian President Bashar Assad made a surprise trip to Tehran on February 25, the first since the Syrian war began in 2011. The visit comes as Assad has consolidated his hold on all major Syrian cities and as Iran, Russia, and Turkey are working on a post-war peace process. Assad met with Iranian…