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Raisi's Death: Photo Essay

On May 19, 2024, President Ebrahim Raisi inaugurated a dam on the border with Azerbaijan with his counterpart Ilham Aliyev. On the way back to the Iranian city of Tabriz, about 80 miles to the south, his helicopter crashed in a mountainous region of East Azerbaijan province. Raisi, Foreign Minister…

Raisi’s Death: Iran & Allied Reaction

Iranian leaders mourned the loss of President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and the other officials who died in the helicopter crash on May 19. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lauded Raisi, “the people’s president,” for his decades-long career in public service.…

News Digest: Week of May 20

May 20Domestic: Officials confirmed that President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and six other passengers had died in a helicopter crash the previous day. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Raisi’s first vice president, Mohammad Mokhber, as interim president…

Raisi's Death: What's Next for Iran?

On May 19, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and six other passengers and crew died in a helicopter crash. The aircraft went down in dense fog in a mountainous region of East Azerbaijan province in northwestern Iran. The officials were returning from the…

Raisi’s Death: World Reaction

The death of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in a helicopter crash elicited condolences from across the world, including the United States, a key adversary. But U.S. officials were quick to stress that Raisi was responsible for human rights abuses and complicit…

U.S. Report: Religious Persecution in Iran

In 2023, Iran restricted freedom of belief and persecuted religious minorities, according to an annual report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom released on May 1, 2024. The Islamic Republic, a Shiite theocracy, conducted mass arrests of Baha’is, a minority that the…

U.S., Britain & Canada Sanction Iran's Drone Program

On April 25, the United States, Britain and Canada imposed sanctions Iran’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program. They designated individuals, entities and vessels involved in the production, transfer and sale of drones, including those used by Russia against Ukraine. The coordinated action…

News Digest: Week of April 22

April 22Domestic: Iran’s foreign ministry reiterated that nuclear weapons have no place in the country’s nuclear doctrine. "Iran has repeatedly said its nuclear program only serves peaceful purposes,” spokesperson Nasser Kanaani stressed. The statement followed a warning less than a week earlier by…

U.S. Report: Abuse of Refugees in Iran

Iranian security forces and authorities mistreated refugees, largely from Afghanistan, though physical abuse, detention, forced labor, separating families, restricting movement within Iran and restricting access to jobs, education and other services, the State Department reported. Iran has absorbed…

U.S. Report: Women’s Rights Violated in Iran

Iran’s poor record on women’s rights further deteriorated in 2023, the State Department reported. They faced “increased discrimination through expanded application of punishments against people who violated the mandatory dress code,” Ambassador Robert Gilchrist, the Senior Official in the Bureau of…

U.S. Report: LGBTQI+ Persecution in Iran

Iran’s laws, based on a conservative interpretation of Shiite Islam, did not provide any protections to or recognize LGBTQI+ individuals, couples, or their families in 2023, the State Department reported. Same-sex sexual activity, consensual and nonconsensual, was criminalized. And “security forces…

U.S. Report: Ethnic & Religious Discrimination in Iran

Iran discriminated against ethnic and religious minorities in 2023, the State Department reported. For example, the death penalty was “disproportionately applied against members of the Baluchi and Kurdish ethnic minorities,” Ambassador Robert Gilchrist, the Senior Official in the Bureau of…

U.S. Report: Rising Executions & Detentions in Iran

Iran increasingly used executions and detentions to suppress dissent in 2023, according to the State Department. Many people were reportedly executed for homicide or drug crimes, but others were killed for criticizing the government. The death penalty was “often applied after sham trials against…

U.S. Report: Restrictions on Civil Liberties in Iran

Iran stifled freedom of expression in 2023 by censoring media, harassing and detaining rights activists, journalists and artists, and restricting access to the internet, the State Department reported. The Islamic Republic “showed blatant disregard to a free and open press and media environment,”…

President Biden Signs MAHSA Act into Law

On April 24, 2024, President Biden signed the Mahsa Amini Human Rights and Security Accountability (MAHSA) Act into law as part of the national security supplemental package. The bipartisan legislation was a response to Iran’s brutal crackdown on nationwide demonstrations sparked by the death of…

U.S. Report: Unfair Judicial System in Iran

Iran’s judicial system, including both civil and Islamic courts, failed to adhere to international standards of fairness in 2023, the State Department reported. Authorities often did not uphold rights guaranteed under the constitution, including access to a lawyer. One major loophole was the…

U.S. Sanctions Iranians Linked to Cyberattacks

On April 24, 2024, the United States sanctioned two companies and four men for launching operations against more than a dozen U.S. companies and government entities on behalf of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The “coordinated, multi-pronged campaign intended to destabilize our critical infrastructure…

Limited Strike by Israel, Muted Response from Iran

Israel struck Iran overnight on April 19, 2024, responding to Tehran’s April 13-14 largely ineffective attack of more than 330 drones and missiles. Israel’s retaliation appeared to be limited in scope and calibrated to avoid further escalation. But the targets, weapons used, and extent of damage…

Iran and Israel Trade Barbs at United Nations

On April 18, 2024, Iranian and Israeli officials traded barbs during a U.N. Security Council session on the situation in the Middle East. Iran defended its unprecedented April 13-14 assault on Israel with more than 330 drones and missiles as a “necessary” and “legitimate” response to Israel’s…

U.S. & Britain Sanction Iran's Drone Program

On April 18, 2024, the United States announced new sanctions and export controls on Iran in response to its unprecedented assault on Israel on April 13-14. The Treasury Department targeted leaders and firms connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Defense Ministry, and missile and drone programs.…

Jerusalem: Iran’s Unprecedented Attack on Israel

Israel and its international allies and partners thwarted an unprecedented Iranian attack – by 170 drones, at least 30 cruise missiles, and more than 120 ballistic missiles – launched overnight on April 13-14, 2024. The Israeli military, with major help from U.S., British and Jordanian forces,…

News Digest: Week of April 15

April 15International: The White House denied reports that Iran had warned the United States about its April 13-14 attack on Israel. "Iran never gave us a message giving us the time or the targets," said John Kirby of the National Security Council. "This whole narrative out there that Iran passed…

U.S.: Iran's Unprecedented Attack on Israel

Updated: April 16, 2024
The United States played a major role in deflecting Iran’s unprecedented attack on Israel on April 13-14, 2024, reflecting its growing role in the escalating tensions between the Islamic republic and Israel. President Joe Biden had vowed that the U.S. commitment—militarily and diplomatically—was “…

Tehran: Iran's Unprecedented Attack on Israel

Updated: April 21, 2024
Overnight on April 13-14, 2024, Iran launched an unprecedented attack—including 170 drones, at least 30 cruise missiles, and more than 120 ballistic missiles—on Israel. The swarm of assaults were retaliation for Israel’s airstrike, on April 1, on an Iranian diplomatic mission in Damascus that …

Iran’s Unprecedented Attack on Israel

Overnight on April 13-14, 2024, Iran launched an unprecedented attack—including 170 drones, at least 30 cruise missiles, and more than 120 ballistic missiles—on Israel. Iran’s militia allies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen also fired rockets, missiles and drones at Israel. The swarm of assaults…

World: Iran’s Unprecedented Attack on Israel

Updated: April 17, 2024
Global reaction to Iran’s attack on Israel reflected the deepening division among major powers on the Middle East crisis. During an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on April 14, 2024, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that the region is “on the brink” as it confronts the…

Iran’s Missiles: Infographics and Photos

Iran has the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East. It has thousands of cruise and ballistic missiles with ranges from 200 km to 3,000 km (123 miles to 1,864 miles) and varying degrees of accuracy. Iran’s missile program, which dates back to the monarchy and briefly included…

Timeline of Attacks: Israel versus the Houthis

Updated: April 14, 2024
The Houthis, a Yemeni militia backed by Iran, launched a campaign against Israel shortly after the Gaza war erupted on Oct. 7, 2023. During the first six months of the conflict, they fired missiles and drones at least 10 times in the direction of Eilat, the strategic Israeli port on the Red Sea…

U.S. Sanctions Ships Linked to Iran’s Military

On April 4, the United States sanctioned Oceanlink Maritime DMCC, a shipping company, for smuggling on behalf of Iran’s military and defense ministry. The shipments of Iranian goods were worth hundreds of millions of dollars. “We are focused on disrupting Iran’s ability to finance its terrorist…

U.S. on Israeli Strike on Iranian Site in Syria

The United States vehemently denied any involvement or prior knowledge of the Israeli attack on an Iranian diplomatic facility that killed senior Revolutionary Guards officers in Damascus on April 1, 2024. The Biden administration informed Iran through back channels that the attack was a surprise…