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U.S. Sanctions Iranian Drone Maker Executives

February 3, 2023
On February 3, the United States sanctioned eight executives of Paravar Pars Company, which manufactures suicide drones for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC exported hundreds of the Shahed-series drones to Russia for use against Ukraine. Russia launched the drones against both…

News Digest: Week of January 30

February 2, 2023
January 30 International: A drone strike targeted Iran-backed militants in Syria near the Iraqi border. “A commander in an Iran-backed group and two of his companions, all of them non-Syrian, were killed this morning after renewed drone strikes,” reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.…

Raisi on the Anniversary of the Revolution

February 1, 2023
On January 31, President Ebrahim Raisi marked the “10 Days of Dawn” commemorating the 1979 revolution by warning that foreign powers were plotting to overthrow the theocracy on its 44th anniversary. In a speech at the mausoleum of revolutionary leader Imam Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, he claimed, “…

Khamenei: Iran's Economy a "Decade Behind"

February 1, 2023
On January 30, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei admitted that Iran’s economy was “a decade behind” because of sanctions, fluctuations in oil prices, and poor government management. Rapid growth is “absolutely crucial in order to solve the tangible problems associated with people’s livelihood…

Report: Corruption Perceptions in Iran

February 1, 2023
Iran had one of the highest rates of corruption in the world, according to the annual Transparency International report released in January 2023. The Islamic Republic ranked 147th out of 180 governments evaluated. Iran received a score of 25 on a sale of 100. (In contrast, the United States scored…

Congress Supports Iranian Protesters

January 27, 2023
On January 25, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bipartisan resolution expressing support for Iranian protesters and condemning the government crackdown. The resolution commended the people demonstrating in “more than 133 cities and 130 universities in Iran, where women are…

U.S. Charges Three Men in Iranian Murder Plot

January 27, 2023
On January 27, the United States indicted three men for plotting to assassinate Masih Alinejad, a Brooklyn-based activist critical of the Iranian government. The men, members of an eastern European criminal organization, were working for people based in Iran. The plot reflected Iran’s determination…

Whither Iran on the Revolution’s Anniversary?

January 27, 2023
Iran marks the anniversary of the Islamic revolution in February amid increasingly existential challenges at home and in relations with the outside world. Four months of nationwide protests — triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in September 2022 — reflected deepening discontent among …

Iran: U.S. and Israeli Threats & Options

January 26, 2023
For decades, Iran has considered the United States and Israel to be among the greatest threats to the theocracy. After the 1979 revolution, the new Islamic Republic labeled the United States the “Great Satan” and Israel the “Little Satan.” Iran has engaged in a shadow war with both the United…

U.S.: The Iran Threat & Options

January 25, 2023
Updated: January 30, 2023
For decades, the United States has considered the Islamic Republic to be among the greatest threats to its interests and allies in the Middle East. Successive presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, have cited Iran’s nuclear program, support for terrorism, meddling in the Middle East and…

Israel: The Iran Threat & Options

January 25, 2023
Updated: January 30, 2023
For decades, Israel has considered the Islamic Republic to be its greatest adversary. Several governments, led by both the left-wing Labor Party and the right-wing Likud Party, have centered their foreign policies around the threats from Iran, ranging from its nuclear program to its creation of a…

E.U. Sanctions Iran for Human Rights Violations

January 24, 2023
On January 23, the European Union sanctioned 18 Iranian government and security officials for the brutal crackdown on nationwide protests that erupted in September 2022. The group of 27 nations, including some of the world’s largest economies, also imposed sanctions on 19 government bodies and…

U.S. Sanctions for Crackdown on Protests

January 24, 2023
On January 23, the United States sanctioned a senior intelligence official and nine commanders or board members affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for human rights abuses in the crackdown on protests ignited in September 2022. Five of the men worked with the IRGC…

News Digest: Week of January 23

January 24, 2023
January 21 Economy: The Iranian rial fell to a record low against the U.S. dollar. One dollar was trading for 447,000 rials. It traded for 430,500 rials the previous day. Iran was struggling to deal with rampant inflation and the long-term impact of international sanctions.   January 23…

Human Rights Watch on Iran: Repression in 2022

January 23, 2023
Iran’s security forces and judiciary carried out extensive violations of human rights in 2022, Human Rights Watch said in its annual report. Authorities harassed journalists and civil society activists and discriminated against women and minorities. The judiciary conducted unfair trials and…

News Digest: Week of January 16

January 20, 2023
January 16 International: Thousands of protestors marched to the E.U. parliament in Strasbourg in support of Iranian protesters. On the same day, the words “Stop Executions in Iran” were displayed in a light show on the Eiffel Tower in Paris.  International: South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol…

Iran Executes Former Cabinet Official

January 18, 2023
On January 14, 2023, Iran executed Alireza Akbari, a former deputy defense minister (2000-2004), after he was convicted of spying for Britain and “corruption on earth.” Akbari, who served in the reformist government of President Mohammad Khatami, also had British citizenship after a decade living…

Christine Abizaid on Iran

January 17, 2023
In confirmation hearings in June 2021, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) Christine Abizaid warned that the United States faced an “intensifying confrontation with Iran,” which the United States viewed as the foremost state sponsor of terrorism. Iran employed terrorism as a key…

Timeline: U.S. Sanctions & Iran's Drones to Russia

January 17, 2023
Updated: February 3, 2023
The United States and its allies have faced a problem in countering Iran’s drones since the 2010s, when Tehran increasingly deployed unmanned aircraft to harass adversaries across the Middle East. But Iran’s UAV arsenal became even more of a flashpoint after it exported drones to Russia in August…

A Hostage’s Plaintive Letter to President Biden

January 17, 2023
Updated: January 22, 2023
On January 16, Siamak Namazi, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, appealed to President Joe Biden to do more to free him and other Americans held in Iran. “In the past I implored you to reach for your moral compass and find the resolve to bring the US hostages in Iran home. To no avail,” he wrote in an…

News Digest: Week of January 9

January 11, 2023
January 7  Human Rights: Iran executed two more men arrested in connection with anti-government protests. The two men, Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, were convicted for allegedly killing a paramilitary volunteer during a protest. In total, Iran has executed four men since…

Explainer: Timing of Key Sunsets in Nuclear Deal

January 11, 2023
International restrictions on Iranian weapons—which include “sunset clauses” with expiration dates—were imposed by the 2015 nuclear agreement and U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, which endorsed the deal. The clauses cover Iran’s nuclear program, missile production, arms trade, and…

Explainer: Can the Iran Deal Be Resuscitated?

January 11, 2023
Kelsey Davenport is the Director for Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association.   Is restoring the nuclear deal with Iran—brokered in 2015 and abandoned by the United States in 2018—still possible after almost two years of stalled diplomacy? From a technical perspective, restoring…

U.S. Sanctions Iranians for Drone Supply to Russia

January 6, 2023
On January 6, the United States sanctioned six executives of an Iranian firm that produced drones exported to Russia for use against Ukraine. It also sanctioned the director of an organization that managed Iran’s ballistic missile program. “Iran must cease its support for Russia’s unprovoked war of…

News Digest: Week of January 2

January 5, 2023
Updated: January 6, 2022
January 2 Nuclear Negotiations: Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Bagheri told reporters that the nuclear negotiations were not at a stalemate and were continuing. Bagheri headed Iran’s delegation in indirect talks with the United States, which were last held in August 2022. …

Iran Commemorates Soleimani Assassination

January 4, 2023
In early January, Iran marked the third anniversary of the U.S. assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Qods Force, with official speeches, commemorative rallies, major media coverage, and inflammatory threats. Soleimani, who was considered a military hero for…

Iran in 2023: Pivotal Year Ahead

January 4, 2023
In early 2023, Iran faced the greatest array of challenges since the early days of the revolution. At home, the unpopular government was dealing with enduring protests, soaring inflation, and energy shortages. Abroad, Iran was increasingly isolated over its human rights record, controversial…

U.S. Sanctions for Serious Human Rights Abuses

December 21, 2022
On December 21, the United States sanctioned Iran’s prosecutor general, four military officials and one company for the crackdown on nationwide protests that erupted in September 2022. Iranian authorities “have killed hundreds of peaceful protestors, including dozens of children, and arbitrarily…

Iran in 2022: Protests, Politics & Russian Alliance

December 21, 2022
Hadi Semati is a former professor in the faculty of Law and Political Science at Tehran University and a former scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is now an independent analyst.   What were the key political events or developments in Iran in…

Iran in 2022: Cusp of Nuclear Threshold

December 21, 2022
Kelsey Davenport is the Director for Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association.   What actions did Iran take in 2022 to advance its nuclear program? How did Iran’s nuclear capabilities change in 2022? Iran significantly expanded its uranium enrichment program in 2022. One of the…