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U.S. Sanctions Senior Iranian General

January 17, 2020
On January 17, the U.S. State Department blacklisted a Revolutionary Guards commander for his involvement in the crackdown on demonstrators in November 2019. Brigadier General Hassan Shahvarpour “oversaw the massacre of 148 helpless Iranians in the Mahshahr region,” U.S. Special Representative for…

Khamenei Condemns U.S. in Rare Friday Sermon

January 17, 2020
By Haleh Esfandiari For the first time in eight years, Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, personally delivered the Friday prayer sermon in Tehran this week, at a moment of rising discontent and protests at home, and confrontation with the United States and fraying relations with…

Polls: Americans on Soleimani Strike

January 16, 2020
American politicians divided on partisan lines over President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani. Republicans in Congress defended the strike as justified retribution for the deaths of Americans, while Democrats condemned the strike as a dangerous escalation. But…

World Bank: Economy to Stabilize in 2020

January 14, 2020
The multilateral development bank forecasted that Iran’s economy would stabilize in 2020 after two years of recession. The bank predicted the impact of U.S. sanctions would “taper somewhat” as growth among oil exporters was expected increase in 2020. The risk of U.S.-Iran geopolitical tensions led…

Iranian Olympian Defects

January 14, 2020
By Andrew Hanna Iranian Olympian Kimia Alizadeh defected on January 11 in protest of the regime’s treatment of women. The taekwondo athlete, who won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, said she would not return from her training in the Netherlands and would remain in Europe.  Alizadeh…

Iranian Media on Ukraine Airliner, Protests

January 14, 2020
Iranian newspapers widely covered the revelation that the Revolutionary Guards accidentally shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, killing all 176 people on board. Some of the headlines were mournful while others expressed anger at the government, which denied responsibility for three…

University Students Decry Regime “Incompetence”

January 14, 2020
On January 11, a group of student protestors at Amir Kabir University read a powerful statement that condemned Iran’s elite and government. The students were reacting to the downing of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. They mourned the loss of 176 lives, including colleagues and…

Europe Challenges Iran on Nuclear Breaches

January 14, 2020
Updated: January 15, 2020
On January 14, Britain, France and Germany urged Iran to reverse its breaches of the 2015 nuclear deal. They triggered the agreement’s dispute resolution mechanism. It was the strongest action yet taken by European powers to enforce the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).  If Iran does not…

U.S. on New Wave of Protests

January 13, 2020
President Trump and his administration have issued words of encouragement to demonstrators in Iran. Iranians launched a new wave of protests on January 11 after Iran admitted that the Revolutionary Guards had mistakenly shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. Iranians were enraged at…

New Wave of Protests

January 13, 2020
Updated: January 17, 2020
Iranians launched a new wave of protests on January 11 after Iran admitted that the Revolutionary Guards had mistakenly shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. All 176 people on board, including dozens of Iranians, were killed. Iranians were enraged at the government’s incompetence and…

News Digest: Week of January 13

January 13, 2020
January 13 Protests: Students at universities in Isfahan and Tehran shouted, “Clerics get lost!” Police in riot gear reportedly patrolled the capital. A steep drop in internet connectivity registered at Sharif University, where students protested the deaths of colleagues and alumni killed on the…

Trump Administration on Evidence of Iran Threat

January 13, 2020
Trump administration officials initially said Qassem Soleimani, the head of the elite Qods Force, was killed in a U.S. airstrike because he was planning to attack Americans in the Middle East. On January 2, the Pentagon said Soleimani was “actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and…

Iran Admits to Downing Ukrainian Airliner

January 13, 2020
Updated: January 14, 2020
After three days of denying responsibility, Iran acknowledged on January 11 that it had shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. The incident occurred early on January 8, hours after Iran launched missiles at two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops in retaliation for the U.S.…

Report: Iran’s Military Strategy

January 10, 2020
In a new report, Michael Eisenstadt explores Iran’s gray zone strategy of operating between war and peace. The following is the executive summary from the report, available in full here from The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.    Operating in the Gray Zone: Countering Iran's…

Iran Attack: U.S. Sanctions Top Officials, Metals

January 10, 2020
On January 10, President Trump issued an executive order authorizing sanctions “against any individual or entity operating in the construction, manufacturing, textiles, or mining sectors of the Iranian economy.” Mining and metals have historically been one of the regime's largest non-oil sources of…

War Powers Resolution on Iran

January 10, 2020
On January 9, the House of Representatives voted 224 to 194 to limit President Trump’s ability to engage in hostilities against Iran under the 1973 War Powers Resolution. The vote came after Trump authorized the killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Qods Force. Many Democrats and a…

Timeline of U.S.-Iran Crisis

January 10, 2020
Dec. 27: Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi militia backed by Iran, launched rockets at the K1 military base near Kirkuk, which housed U.S. military service members and Iraqi personnel. The attack killed a U.S. civilian contractor and wounded four U.S. service members and two Iraqis.   Dec. 29: The United…

Iran Attack: World Reacts

January 8, 2020
World powers largely called for restraint after Iran launched missiles on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops on January 8. Britain, France and Germany condemned the attack and called for calm. Russia and China were more critical of U.S. policy. The following are international reactions to the…

Iran Attack: Congressional Reactions

January 8, 2020
Congress was divided over prospects for war after Iran launched missiles at two Iraqi bases housing U.S. personnel on January 8. Many Republicans lauded President Trump for standing strong against Iran by ordering the killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the elite Qods Force, on January 3. “All…

Iran Attack: Iraq Reacts

January 8, 2020
Iraq’s political and militia leaders diverged in their response to the Iranian missile strikes against the al Asad airbase in Anbar province and a base in Erbil on January 8. Pro-Iran members of parliament cheered the attack and called for additional retribution against the United States. But…

Comparing U.S. and Iran Military Might

January 8, 2020
By Andrew Hanna As of January 2020, the United States possessed an overwhelming advantage in conventional military capabilities in the Persian Gulf – dominating in both air and naval power. But Iran’s unconventional capabilities, along with its array of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles,…

Iran Attack: Trump Remarks

January 8, 2020
On January 8, President Trump announced new economic sanctions on Iran and condemned its support for terror following an attack on two Iraqi bases that housed U.S. forces. He also called on the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal – Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia – to withdraw…

Iran Attack: Iran Comments

January 8, 2020
Updated: January 9, 2020
Iranian leaders hailed their country’s strike on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. On January 8, Iran fired at least a dozen missiles at the al Asad air base in Iraq’s western Anbar province and another facility in Irbil in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the…

Iran Attack: Roundup

January 8, 2020
On January 8, Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops in retaliation for the U.S. killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the elite Qods Force. Iran was quick to claim responsibility for the attack on U.S. forces. But its foreign minister also…

Part 10: Iran’s Allies and Proxies on Soleimani

January 7, 2020
Iran’s allies and proxies across the Middle East condemned the U.S. killing of Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Qods Force, and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, a leader of the Iraqi militia Kataib Hezbollah. Several groups threatened to attack U.S. forces in the Middle East. “The American…

Part 8: Iraqi Reaction to U.S. Strike, Soleimani

January 7, 2020
Across Iraq, political and militia leaders uniformly condemned the U.S. drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the Quds Force commander, and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, the founder of Kataib Hezbollah and deputy commander of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).  They charged that the U.S.…

Part 9: Iranian Media Reaction on Soleimani

January 7, 2020
On January 4, Iranian newspapers from across the political spectrum devoted their front pages to memorializing Qassem Soleimani. The head of the elite Qods Force was killed early the previous day in a U.S. drone strike on Baghdad International Airport. Newspapers described Soleimani as a national…

Are the U.S. and Iran Really on the Brink of War?

January 7, 2020
By Robin Wright I’ve covered Iran since my first visit in 1973 during the shah’s reign and many times since the 1979 revolution. I can’t remember a moment—even during the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in 1979—when the U.S. and Iran seemed closer to some form of overt or covert military showdown.…

Part 12: U.S. and Iran’s Cultural Sites

January 7, 2020
On January 4, President Trump warned Iran against seeking revenge for the killing of Qassem Soleimani. The head of the elite Qods Force died in a U.S. airstrike shortly after he arrived at Baghdad’s International Airport on January 3. Trump specified that Washington had identified 52 sites of “…

Part 11: New Qods Force Leader - Esmail Ghaani

January 7, 2020
On January 3 (January 2 U.S. time), the United States killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of the elite Qods Force, in a drone strike in Iraq. One day after Soleimani’s death, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced that Esmail Ghaani, deputy commander of the Qods Force, would replace him.…