For Iran, 2023 was a tumultuous year that included controversial nuclear advances, rising tensions with Washington over proxy attacks on U.S. forces and support for Russia’s war against Ukraine, chronic inflation, and tensions over enforcement of the Islamic dress code. The following is a timeline of major events.
Jan. 2: 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.
Jan. 2: The Intelligence Ministry said that six Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) cells had been detained. It said that the network had funded and equipped MEK groups in Iran during the protests. Tehran considers the Marxist-Islamic organization, which seeks the overthrow of the Islamic Republic, a terrorist group.
Jan. 2: Israel struck Damascus Airport in Syria with missiles, according to the Syrian Army. Missiles also struck the southern part of the capital. Two members of the Syrian armed forces were killed. The missiles reportedly hit near areas where the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-backed militias operate. Israel last attacked Damascus Airport in June 2022.
Jan. 3: 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. During the first days of January, officials including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi lauded Soleimani and condemned the United States for his killing.
Jan. 3: IRGC member Qasim Fathullahi was killed outside of his Tehran home. He was reportedly shot several times. Fathullahi had commanded a Basij base in Tehran.
Jan. 4: An Iranian drone used by Russia and shot down by Ukraine in fall 2022 had parts made by 13 U.S. companies and 12 other companies based in Canada, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan, and China, according to Ukrainian intelligence seen by CNN. Ukraine reportedly shared the information with the United States in late 2022.
Jan. 4: Supreme Leader Khamenei said that “those who do not fully observe the hijab should not be accused of irreligion or being counter-revolutionary” in a meeting with a group of mothers as well as female academics and activists. “Avoid excluding those with poor hijab from Islamic and revolutionary circles,” he added. But Khamenei also described the headscarf as an “inviolable” necessity of Islamic law.
Jan. 7: 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 demonstrations began over the death of Mahsa Amini in September 2022.
Jan. 10: Iran sentenced Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, to five years in prison over negative comments about the government. Tehran's public prosecutor indicted Hashemi last year on charges of "propaganda against the system,” according to state news.
Jan. 14: 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 in Britain after he left government. He was arrested in 2019 during a visit to Iran. His execution triggered a flurry of international condemnation. Akbari’s execution was a “barbaric act that deserves condemnation in the strongest possible terms,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement.
Jan. 18: Judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi announced that 5,200 people – 98 percent of detained protesters in Tehran province – had been released. He said that the rate was about the same nationwide.
Jan. 21: 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.
Jan. 23: The United States, Britain, and the European Union sanctioned Iran for its crackdown on protesters. U.S. sanctions largely targeted the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Britain imposed sanctions on five individuals and two entities. The European Union targeted 30 Iranians, including IRGC officials. The European Union decided against designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization, in part due to the lack of an E.U. court decision on the issue. The E.U. parliament had previously called on the 27-nation bloc to designate the IRGC.
Jan. 25: Iran’s non-oil exports during the previous 10 months hit a record high, said Mohammad Rezvani-Far, head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration. Iran exported 103 million tons of non-oil goods, valued at $45.3 billion, to countries including China, Iraq, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and India.
Jan. 25: Iran had processed “enough nuclear material for several nuclear weapons–not one at this point,” said Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Iran had enriched 70 kilograms of uranium to 60 percent purity and had another 1,000 kilograms enriched at 20 percent purity, he added. Uranium enriched to 90 percent is widely considered suitable for weapons.
Jan. 26: The French Foreign Ministry called for the release of French-Irish citizen Bernard Phelan, a tourism consultant, due to concerns for his health after he ended a hunger strike. “We are extremely concerned given the extreme fragility of his health situation,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Anne-Claire Legendre at a press conference. “The denial of medical access at this point from the Iranian authorities is completely unacceptable.” Legendre also called for the release of six other French citizens detained in Iran.
Jan. 27: A gunman attacked the Azerbaijani embassy in Tehran. One guard was killed and two others were injured. “We demand that this terrorist act be investigated and the terrorist be punished,” said Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev. The Azerbaijani foreign ministry said that it would evacuate its personnel in Iran. The Iranian foreign ministry condemned the attack, and security forces detained a suspect. The attack occurred during months of tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan.
Jan. 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 to silence critics, even in the United States. The plotters faced up to 40 years in prison on murder-for-hire and money laundering charges. One faced an additional five years for possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
Jan. 28: Suicide drones equipped with explosives struck a military plant in Isfahan that Iran said was an ammunition storehouse. The small size of the blast indicated that the building “could have been a lab or military-logistics site,” the Wall Street Journal reported. Iran’s defense ministry claimed that the attack caused only minor damage. The Jerusalem Post, however, cited Western Intelligence officials who claimed the attack was a “phenomenal success.” While Israeli officials refused to comment, U.S. intelligence officials told The New York Times that the attack was the work of Mossad.
Jan. 29: An airstrike reportedly killed seven drivers and members of a convoy carrying Iranian weapons from Iraq into northeastern Syria. A pro-Syrian regime radio station reported that “unidentified war planes targeted, in a number of raids, six refrigerated trucks.”
Jan. 30: 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. Another strike on a convoy reportedly carrying Iranian weapons from Iraq into Syria occurred the previous night. No country claimed responsibility for either attack.
Jan. 30: Iran and Russia signed an agreement to connect their interbank communication and transfer systems in an effort to skirt international sanctions. Both Iran and Russia had been disconnected from the international SWIFT financial messaging service by U.S. sanctions. “We have connected the national banking messaging network of the two countries and we no longer need SWIFT,” said the deputy governor of Iran’s central bank, Mohsen Karimi.
Feb. 1: A protester sentenced to death was granted a stay of execution. Mohammad Ghobadlou had been convicted of “corruption on earth” for running over a group of security officers in Tehran with a car in November. One security officer died and five were injured as a result. The court rejected Ghobadlou’s appeal in December, but it suspended his sentence to allow the family of the dead security officer to ask for or reject retribution.
Feb. 1: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expressed concern over an undeclared modification to machines that enrich uranium to 60 percent–a step below weapons grade–at Iran’s Fordow nuclear site. The U.N. nuclear watchdog reported that Iran had made an unannounced modification to the interconnection between two machine clusters. The organization said that the machines were “interconnected in a way that was substantially different from the mode of operation declared by Iran (to the IAEA).” The IAEA had conducted an unannounced inspection on January 21 and discovered the modification. “This is inconsistent with Iran's obligations under its Safeguards Agreement and undermines the Agency’s ability to adjust the safeguards approach for [Fordow] and implement effective safeguards measures at this facility,” said Rafael Grossi, the IAEA chief, in a statement.
Feb. 2: Iran blamed Israel for a January 28 drone attack against a military plant in Isfahan that Tehran said was an ammunition storehouse. “Early investigations suggest that the Israeli regime was responsible for this attempted act of aggression,” wrote Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Amir Saeid Iravani in a letter on the mission’s website. The Islamic Republic “reserves its legitimate and inherent right ... to defend its national security and respond resolutely to any threats or wrongful actions by the Israeli regime, wherever and whenever deemed necessary.”
Feb. 5: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei pardoned or reduced the sentences of tens of thousands of prisoners, including some protesters, to mark the 44th anniversary of the Islamic revolution. But the pardons were heavily conditioned on good behavior, a formal apology, and a pledge not to engage in protests or other activities undermining the state. Iran Human Rights called the move “a propaganda act.”
Feb. 5: First Lady Jill Biden announced that Shervin Hajipour, a popular 25-year-old Iranian singer, had won the inaugural Grammy Award for Best Song for Social Change. The lyrics of “Baraye”—“For…” or “Because of…” in Persian—were pulled from phrases used in Twitter posts about Mahsa Amini and the public outcry following her death in detention in September 2022. Hajipour’s song on Instagram quickly went viral with 40 million views in two days. It became the anthem or soundtrack of the protests, sung by defiant schoolgirls, blared on car radios, and picked up by sympathy protestors in foreign capitals. Hajipour’s song was “a powerful and poetic call for freedom and women’s rights,” Biden said at the award ceremony.
Feb. 9: The United States sanctioned nine companies based in Iran, Singapore, and Malaysia that produced, sold, and shipped Iranian petroleum and petrochemicals. Petrochemicals, derived from oil and natural gas, are essential to manufacturing paints, plastics, solar panels, medicine, and mobile phones that facilitate modern life. The firms sold products worth hundreds of millions of dollars to buyers in Asia. “Today’s action demonstrates our continued efforts to enforce U.S. sanctions on Iran’s petroleum and petrochemical trade and disrupt Iran’s efforts to circumvent sanctions,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Feb. 13: Reza Khandan, husband of influential rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, was ordered to Evin Prison within 30 days to serve at least five years of a six-year sentence from 2019. He was reportedly charged with “gathering and collusion against national security”; “propaganda against the regime”; and “spreading and promoting not wearing hijab. In 2018, Sotoudeh was sentenced to 38 years in prison–with 12 years mandatory–for representing women who protested against the hijab law. She has been on medical furlough from prison since July 2021. On February 1, the State Department announced that Sotoudeh was one of 10 winners of the Global Human Rights Defender Awards. On February 8, Sotoudeh condemned the mandatory hijab and said that Iranians “constantly want and still want a regime change” in an interview with CNN.
Feb. 13: Venezuela and Iran reportedly finalized an agreement to build two oil tankers at an Iranian shipyard for PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-run energy company. The two countries had an existing deal that was delayed due to logistical and payment issues. The two tankers, India Urquia and India Mara, will each cost some $33 million. The Iran Marine Industrial Company will build the ships in Bushehr, Iran. The firm had previously built two ships for PDVSA that were able to hold 500,000-800,000 barrels of oil each. Venezuela reportedly settled a debt owed to Iran in 2021 to facilitate the agreement. Iran and Venezuela are both sanctioned by the United States.
Feb. 14: President Ebrahim Raisi began a three-day trip to China to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, business leaders in China, and Iranian expatriates. The visit would reportedly include new cooperation agreements in an effort to strengthen political and economic relations. The trip was the first state visit to China by an Iranian president in two decades. Raisi brought Iran’s central bank governor as well as the ministers of economy, petroleum, foreign affairs, trade, transport and urban development, and agriculture.
Feb. 26: Iran’s currency fell to a record 600,000 rials for one U.S. dollar. The rial traded at 32,000 to the dollar in 2015, when Iran signed the JCPOA. Inflation had also reached more than 50 percent in January 2023.
Feb. 26: A health official said that girls’ schools across Iran had been poisoned using chemical compounds. “Certain individuals sought the closure of all schools, especially girls’ schools,” said Deputy Health Minister Younes Panahi. Hundreds of girls had been hospitalized in at least 10 cities. The attacks reportedly began in November in the holy city of Qom.
Feb. 26: Brazil permitted two Iranian navy warships, the IRIS Makran and IRIS Dena, to dock in a Brazilian port. In January, the Brazilian government had blocked the ships from docking before President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's meeting with President Biden. But Brazil allowed the ships to dock in Rio de Janeiro between February 26 and March 4. “In the past, those ships facilitated illegal trade and terrorist activities, and have also been sanctioned by the United States,” U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Elizabeth Bagley said on February 15. “Brazil is a sovereign nation, but we firmly believe those ships should not dock anywhere.”
Feb. 28: Iran could produce enough material to make a nuclear weapon “in about 12 days,” said Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl in House testimony. “Back in 2018, when the previous administration decided to leave the JCPOA it would have taken Iran about 12 months to produce one bomb's worth of fissile material,” he said. “Now it would take about 12 days.”
March 1: Iran expelled two German diplomats a week after Germany expelled two employees at Tehran’s embassy in Berlin. Germany had condemned Iran after the judiciary sentenced Jamshid Sharmahd, a German-Iranian citizen and activist, to death. “The two German diplomats are being expelled due to their country's irresponsible interference in Iran’s internal and judicial affairs,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani. Germany protested the move, which it described as “arbitrary and unjustified.”
March 6: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described the poisoning of schoolgirls “a huge, unforgivable crime.” He demanded that the perpetrators, when caught, face the death penalty. The new crisis followed nationwide protests over personal freedoms, soaring inflation as the value of the rial has dropped another 30 percent in just two months, and fuel shortages during a bitter winter. Up to 7,000 schoolgirls had been poisoned at dozens of schools in at least 28 of Iran’s 31 provinces, according to human rights groups and government officials.
March 10: Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to restore diplomatic ties seven years after severing relations. The regional rivals committed to reopening embassies in Tehran and Riyadh by May 2023. The deal, brokered by China, also included the implementation of a security cooperation agreement signed in 2001 and a 1998 pact to enhance cooperation on trade, investment, technology, and culture. The Islamic Republic and the Gulf kingdom affirmed their respect for the “sovereignty of states” and “non-interference in internal affairs.”
March 13: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had pardoned more than 22,000 people arrested during the nationwide protests that erupted in September 2022, according to the judiciary. The detainees were not guilty of theft or violent crimes, Chief Justice Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei said. More than 82,000 detainees and people charged with crimes had been pardoned in total.
March 13: Iran, China, and Russia began a joint naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman. “This exercise will help deepen practical cooperation between the participating countries’ navies ... and inject positive energy into regional peace and stability,” China's foreign ministry said. The United States downplayed concern over the drill. “We’re going to watch it, we’ll monitor it, obviously, to make sure that there’s no threat resulting from this training exercise to our national security interests or those of our allies and partners in the region,” said National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby. “But nations train. We do it all the time. We’ll watch it as best we can.”
March 28: Greek police arrested two men who were allegedly plotting attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets, including a Kosher restaurant in Athens, on behalf of Iran. The two men, aged 27 and 29, were reportedly born in Iran but were Pakistani nationals. They had entered Greece illegally from Turkey months earlier. Another operative based in Iran, who reportedly promised to pay the pair for carrying out the attacks, was charged in absentia.
March 30: Washington and Tehran both declared victory after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on disputed Iranian assets frozen by the United States. The top U.N. court rejected Iran’s bid to unfreeze some $2 billion in central bank funds held in a Citibank account in New York. But it also ordered the United States to compensate Iranian companies for illegally blocking other assets.
March 31: Israel launched a second round of strikes in Syria targeting Iran-backed groups. The strike near Damascus killed two members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Milad Haydari and Meqdad Meqdani. Meqdani reportedly died later due to injuries sustained from the attack, Iranian media reported on April 2. The IRGC threatened that Israel “will undoubtedly receive a response to this crime.” Israel had previously struck targets in Syria on March 30.
April 2: Israel reportedly launched a third round of strikes in Syria targeting Iran-backed groups. The strike injured five Syrian soldiers near Homs. Israel targeted the T-4 airbase near Palmyra and al Dabaa airport near al Qusayr, which reportedly hosted Iranian military personnel and Iran-backed groups. Israel also reportedly targeted an underground drone and missile development facility. It had previously struck targets in Syria on March 30 and 31.
April 2: Israel intercepted a drone launched from Syria. It reportedly downed the drone electronically. On April 3, Israel blamed Iran for the drone, which did not cause any injuries. Israel had previously launched three rounds of airstrikes in Syria between March 30 and April 2.
April 3: Israel reportedly launched a fourth round of strikes in Syria in less than a week. Israel targeted military sites near Damascus controlled by Iran-backed militias, hitting a radar system in Sweida and a glass factory near al Kiswah. Two civilians were reportedly killed.
April 3: Education Minister Yousef Nouri resigned amid widespread anger over the delayed payment of teacher salaries for March.
April 7: A California court sentenced an Iranian-American woman to four years in prison over a plot to kidnap Iranian activist Masih Alinejad. Niloufar Bahadorifar pleaded guilty to charges including providing financial support for the plot and violating U.S. sanctions “by giving material support” to Iran. “Bahadorifar provided financial support to a brazen plot intended to kidnap an Iranian human rights activist living in the United States whom the Iranian government has sought to silence for years,” said U.S. attorney Damian Williams. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen said that the United States holds “accountable an individual who violated U.S. sanctions by providing financial assistance that ultimately supported a failed kidnapping plot directed by the Iranian government.”
April 8: The police announced the installation of public cameras to monitor the number of women violating the mandatory hijab law. The government called on businesses to “seriously monitor the observance of societal norms with their diligent inspections.” Violators would reportedly receive “warning text messages as to the consequences.” Women not wearing the hijab will also be banned from using the Tehran metro, state media reported. The move comes as government officials take an increasingly hardline approach to women who violate the law which the Interior Ministry has described as “one of the practical principles of the Islamic Republic.”
April 8: The U.S. Navy deployed the USS Virginia, an attack submarine, to the Middle East. The submarine is capable of carrying up to “154 Tomahawk land-attack cruise missiles and is deployed to U.S. 5th Fleet to help ensure regional maritime security and stability,” said Cmdr. Timothy Hawkins. U.S. Fifth Fleet spokesperson. The decision to deploy the submarine came after U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials warned of potential Iranian attacks against vessels in the region. “Recent events, including the strikes in Syria and public threats made by Iran against merchant vessels, prompted us to remind regional mariners to remain vigilant,” said Hawkins.
April 24: Iran shipped more than 300,000 Iranian artillery shells and a million rounds of ammunition to Russia in the previous six months, officials told The Wall Street Journal. Tehran had emerged as Moscow’s top military backer amid the war against Ukraine.
April 27: The Iranian navy seized an oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman. Advantage Sweet–a Marshall Islands-flagged, Turkish-managed, and Chinese-owned ship–was en route to Texas. The Islamic Republic claimed that it had collided with an Iranian ship. “Iran's continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are a threat to maritime security and the global economy,” said the U.S. Navy in a statement. The Iranian move came after reports emerged that the United States had previously seized a tanker carrying Iranian crude oil in April.
April 27: The United States announced new sanctions on Iran for taking Americans and Iranian-Americans hostage. The Treasury Department designated four senior officials in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Intelligence Organization.
May 3: President Raisi travelled to Syria to meet with President Bashar al Assad. “Many regional and extra-regional changes have failed to impact the brotherly relations between the two countries and Iran and Syria proved they were right in their positions,” said President Raisi. Raisi’s trip to Syria, one of Iran’s few allies, was the first made by an Iranian president to Syria since 2010, the year before the civil war broke out. Raisi and al Assad signed 15 cooperation agreements, including long-term oil and trade agreements, which emphasized the “comprehensive plan of strategic and long-term cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic.
May 3: The Revolutionary Guards seized the Panama-flagged oil tanker Niovi in the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S. Navy released drone footage of the tanker’s capture and said that U.S. ships were in the area at the time of the incident but did not receive a distress call. “Iran’s continued harassment of vessels and interference with navigational rights in regional waters are unwarranted, irresponsible and a present threat to maritime security and the global economy,” the U.S. 5th Fleet said in a statement. The seizure came six days after the Iranian Navy seized a Marshall Islands-flagged ship, the Advantage Sweet.
May 15: Russia intended to purchase additional drones from Iran, John Kirby of the National Security Council said. The two countries had forged a “full-scale defense partnership,” and Iran was Russia’s “top military backer,” Kirby warned. “Since August, Iran has provided Russia with more than 400 UAVs primarily of the Shahed variety,” Kirby told reporters. “Russia has expended most of these UAVs, using them to target Ukrainian critical infrastructure inside Ukraine. By providing Russia with these UAVs, Iran has been directly enabling Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.” He added that the White House would impose additional sanctions against both countries to disrupt the flow of weapons.
May 16: The Justice Department charged a Chinese national for attempting to steal U.S. ballistic missile technology on behalf of Iran. “These charges demonstrate the Justice Department’s commitment to preventing sensitive technology from falling into the hands of foreign adversaries, including Russia, China, and Iran,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen told reporters. The Justice Department also charged five other people, including three Russians, for plots linked to Russia and China.
May 30: President Ebrahim Raisi had instructed the Foreign Ministry to restore diplomatic ties with Egypt, Iranian government spokesperson Ali Bahadari Jahormi said. The announcement came one day after Supreme Leader Khameini backed rapprochement with Egypt during a meeting with Omani Sultan Haytham bin Tareq Al Said.
May 31: Tehran’s stockpile of 60-percent enriched uranium had grown to 114.1 kilograms (251 pounds), a 25-percent increase since February 2023, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report. The uranium could be enriched to 90 percent, or weapons grade, quickly if Iran made the political decision to produce a bomb.
But Tehran also expanded cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog by granting permission for it to install cameras at the centrifuge production facility in Isfahan, according to a second report. Centrifuges are cylindrical machines that enrich uranium by spinning at high speeds. Iran also allowed the installation of monitoring equipment at Fordo, a uranium enrichment facility buried under the mountains near Qom, and Natanz, another enrichment site. The IAEA also closed two probes. It had no further questions about uranium particles enriched to 83.7 percent that were discovered in January 2023. The IAEA also stopped its investigation into uranium traces found at Marivan, a site 325 miles southwest of Tehran allegedly connected to Iran’s pre-2003 nuclear weapons program.
June 1: Iran executed at least 142 people in May, the most in one month since 2015, according to Iran Human Rights (IHR), based in Norway. The report elaborated that Iran had executed at least 307 people to date in 2023, a 75% rise compared to the first half of 2022. "The purpose of the Islamic Republic's intensification of arbitrary executions is to spread societal fear to prevent protests and prolong its rule," said Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, IHR’s director.
June 1: The United States sanctioned five Iranian men and a Turkish airline for plotting terrorist attacks and assassinations targeting former U.S. officials, U.S.-Iranian citizens, dissidents, and journalists. Three of the men were affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF), which is responsible for external operations. Two were linked to the IRGC Intelligence Organization (IRGC-IO). The designations demonstrated that Washington “will continue to expose and disrupt the regime’s terrorist activities and its efforts to silence opposing voices,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “We reiterate our resolve to protect and defend U.S. citizens.”
June 2: Iran freed one Danish and two Austrian citizens as part of a prisoner swap, according to Danish and Austrian officials. Denmark’s Foreign Minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, thanked Belgium and Oman for their role in facilitating the release, while Iranian media did not immediately release a statement or explain what had been granted in return.
June 2: The United States sanctioned Arvan Cloud, two of its executives, and an affiliated technology company for developing an alternative to the Internet that would allow the government to control or censor content available inside Iran. The technology also restricted Iranians from getting access to the global Internet. The Arvan Cloud network has closely cooperated with two powerful government agencies–the Ministry of Intelligence and Security as well as the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology. The Islamic Republic took even stricter measures to restrict internet access after four months of protests erupted in September 2022.
June 6: The Revolutionary Guards unveiled Iran’s first hypersonic missile, which reportedly has a range of 1,400 kilometers (or 870 miles). The medium-range missile can travel at speeds of up to Mach 15—or 15 times the speed of sound. Iran dubbed it the Fattah, Persian for “conqueror.” Iranian state television claimed that the new missile is capable of “bypassing the most advanced anti-ballistic missile systems of the United States and the Zionist regime, including Israel's Iron Dome.”
June 6: The United States sanctioned six companies and seven people in Iran, China, and Hong Kong that procured technology and parts for the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile and military programs. The network was linked to Iran’s Defense Ministry and four affiliated organizations.
June 6: Iran reopened its embassy in Saudi Arabia some seven years after the regional rivals had severed diplomatic relations. "We consider today an important day in the relations between Islamic Republic of Iran and Saudi Arabia," said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular Affairs Alireza Bikdeli, at the opening ceremony in Riyadh. "The region will move Inshallah (God willing) towards greater cooperation and convergence to achieve stability, prosperity and progress.”
June 27: Israel’s Defense Ministry seized millions of dollars of cryptocurrency assets connected to Hezbollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant “ issued an order that enabled the confiscation of said funds, as well as their transfer to the State of Israel,” he said. “In doing so, we have effectively cut off the flow of terror funds via this channel.”
July 3: Chairman of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce Yahya Al-e Es'haq announced that all of Iraq’s $10 billion in energy debts to Iran had been unfrozen via a U.S. sanctions waiver and would soon be released. He added that trade with Iran had the potential to double in the next year, from $10 billion to $20 billion, and emphasized the role of the private sector in meeting that goal.
July 4: Iran was formally admitted as the ninth member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a security and economic organization led by China and Russia, during an online summit hosted by India. President Ebrahim Raisi joined the proceedings with leaders from other member states, including India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
In a joint declaration, the SCO called for a “multi-polar world order” and rejected ideological blocs in world politics. The statement condemned the “unilateral and unlimited expansion of global missile defense systems” and stressed the need to “establish an inclusive government in Afghanistan with the participation of representatives of all ethnic, religious and political groups in Afghan society.” The SCO also proposed a 2030 Economic Development Strategy and endorsed China’s Belt and Road Initiative, although India opposed the latter move.
July 5: The Iranian Navy attempted to seize two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran aborted the attempt on the TRF Moss, a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, after the U.S. Fifth Fleet sent the destroyer USS McFaul, a surveillance aircraft, and a drone to the area. A different Iranian ship later attempted to seize the Richmond Voyager, a Bahamian-flagged tanker managed by Chevron. It fired on the tanker and left the area as the U.S. Navy arrived. The following day, Iran claimed that the Richmond Voyager had hit an Iranian ship and injured five people. Tehran said it had a court order to seize the tanker.
July 5: Iran’s oil exports hit a five year high in mid-2023, The Wall Street Journal reported. Iranian exports helped reduce global prices. Iranian oil shipments averaged about 1.6 million barrels per day in June and May. China, long Iran’s largest customer, imported an estimated 359,000 barrels per day in May.
July 6: Russia had started producing reconnaissance drones at an Iran-supported facility in Tatarstan province, the Financial Times reported. A Russian agricultural technology company called Albatross manufactured some 50 drones for the war in Ukraine. The organization reportedly operated in Yelabuga—in mid-2023, the White House claimed that the site could host an operational Iran-Russia drone plant by early
July 6: The U.S. Navy reported that Iran seized a commercial tanker accused of smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf. The news came just one day after Iran attempted to seize two other commercial tankers in the Gulf, though the U.S. Navy specified that this instance “did not warrant further response” due to the alleged criminal activity aboard. The vessel was “possibly engaged in smuggling activity,” according to U.S. Navy Commander Tim Hawkins. The next day, Iranian state-affiliated media reported that the IRGC navy seized 900 tons of smuggled fuel from the ship under a court order.
July 8: Iran publicly hanged two men for their involvement in an attack on a shrine in southern Shiraz in 2022. The men, Mohammed Ramez Rashidi and Saeem Hasem Qatali, were believed to have provided arms to a gunman who killed 13 people in the attack, which ISIS claimed.
July 8: Jaish ul Adl, a militant Sunni and Baluch group, killed two police officers at a police station in Zahedan, the capital of southeast Sistan and Baluchistan province. The militants claimed the attack was in retaliation for the police station’s involvement in “Bloody Friday,” a massacre of protestors by security forces on Sept. 30, 2022.
July 9: A U.S. district court judge ordered Iran to pay $3.3 million in damages to Iranian American activist Masih Alinejad for detaining her brother, Alireza Alinejad. Iran had “wrongfully arrest[ed]” Alireza to “pressure me to stop my campaigns against compulsory hijab and gender apartheid,” tweeted Alinejad. She was also awarded more than $3.3 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani criticized the court ruling. Iran “does not accept the U.S. banditry against the assets of other countries.”
July 11: U.S. federal prosecutors charged Gal Luft, a co-director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, for operating as an unregistered Chinese agent and attempting to facilitate the sale of Iranian oil. Luft allegedly recruited and paid a top U.S. government official to work on behalf of Chinese principles in 2016 and sold weapons to the United Arab Emirates, Libya and Kenya. In early 2023, he had been detained in Cyprus and was due to be extradited. But he fled the country after being released on bail.
July 12-13: President Ebrahim Raisi began a three country tour of Africa with a visit to Kenya. He signed five cooperation agreements on fisheries, livestock and information technology with Kenyan President William Ruto. Raisi hailed the trip, the first to Africa by an Iranian president in more than a decade, as a “new beginning” for the Islamic Republic’s relations with the continent. Raisi traveled to Uganda later that evening.
President Raisi signed 12 cooperation agreements with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the conclusion of his three-country African tour. The agreements covered energy, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and scientific research projects. “Our cooperation with Zimbabwe and our cooperation with the African continent, which is a continent full of potential, could help us for mutual advances.”
July 16: Police Spokesperson Saeid Montazeralmahdi announced that Iran would resume vehicle and foot patrols to enforce the country’s mandatory hijab laws. “If they disobey the orders of the police force, legal action will be taken, and they will be referred to the judicial system,” Montazeralmahdi said. The “morality police” returned to the streets 10 months after the death in detention of Masha Amini, which sparked nationwide protests. Reformists on social media and in the press decried the move. Hammihan, a reformist outlet, warned that renewed patrols would “cause chaos” in society. Reformist politician Mohammad Sadeqi wrote that the state had “declared war” on women.
July 18: Former President Mohammad Khatami warned that the decision to re-enforce mandatory hijab laws could lead to the government’s “overthrow by itself and social collapse.” The “danger of self-overthrow, which has been talked about many times, stands out more than ever with the return of morality police,” he told government advisors. Khatami added that renewed enforcement of the Islamic dress code “will make the society more tense than before.”
July 19: Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed a waiver allowing Iraqi payments to Iran for electricity. The agreement allowed Iraq to pay-off energy related debts owed to Iran via non-Iraqi banks for a period of 120-days.
July 20: The European Union sanctioned six Iranians and issued a new sanctions framework over Iran’s military assistance to Syria as well as Russia for the war in Ukraine. The new measures barred E.U. export of parts that could be used in the production of drones. They also included travel restrictions and asset restrictions on those involved in Tehran’s drone program.
July 20: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin deployed an amphibious readiness group, reportedly including a Bataan assault ship as well as the transport ships USS Mesa Verde and USS Carter Hall. The United States also sent the 26thMarine Expeditional Unit, which could include some 2,500 Marines. The move came less than a week after the United States deployed the USS Thomas Hudner in addition to F-35s and F-16s to the region.
July 23: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged that the United States and Iran were “now in a place where we’re not talking about a nuclear agreement” in an interview. “There have been some developments and some changes since the time we got out of the [nuclear] deal and the time we were trying to get back in it,” Blinken told CNN. “An agreement was on the table. Iran either couldn’t or wouldn’t say yes. We’re not about to take any deal. Of course, it has to meet our security objectives. It has to meet our interests.”
July 25: A Washington D.C. district judge sentenced Behrouz Mokhtari, an Iranian-born American citizen, to 41 months in federal prison for conspiring to violate sanctions against Iran. Mokhtari pleaded guilty in attempting to purchase oil tankers and conduct petrochemicals transitions with entities in Iran on behalf of a company based in the United Arab Emirates between 2013 and 2017.
July 26: Bolivian Defense Minister Edmundo Novillo confirmed his country’s interest in obtaining Iranian military drone technology for combating smuggling and drug trafficking. Bolivia acknowledged its arrangement with Iran after neighboring Argentina filed a complaint demanding clarity on a secretive security agreement signed on July 20. Novillo told reporters that he had signed an “act” identifying common areas of interest but denied that agreement amounted to a full security memorandum of understanding.
July 31: Kepler Analytics reported that Iran’s oil exports to China had tripled since 2020. The tanker-tracking service specified that in 2020, Iran’s oil sales to China slumped to 324,000 barrels per day but rebounded in the following years, reaching a record 1.3 million bpd in November 2022.
Aug. 7: More than 3,000 American military personnel arrived in the Red Sea in a pre-announced deployment by the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet. The troops sailed through the Suez Canal aboard the USS Bataan and USS Carter Hall. The units “add significant operational flexibility and capability as we work... to deter destabilizing activity and deescalate regional tensions caused by Iran's harassment and seizures of merchant vessels,” a spokesman for the 5th Fleet said.
Aug. 8: The Russian foreign ministry issued a statement supporting Iran against Western sanctions and declaring the failure to return to the 2015 nuclear deal an “erroneous policy of 'maximum pressure' pursued by the United States and those who think similarly.” The statement followed a meeting between the Russian and Iranian deputy foreign ministers in Moscow. The two stressed the “unacceptability of any attempts on the part of the West to impose some new schemes and approaches to solving problems related to the JCPOA, which imply damage to legitimate and mutually beneficial Russian-Iranian cooperation in various fields,” according to Russia’s foreign ministry.
Aug. 9: Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran had reportedly reopened for the first time in seven years on August 6, according to Iranian media.
Aug. 9: Pakistan’s Ministry of State Petroleum paused a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline project with Iran. The announcement cited external forces including U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Aug. 10: Iran released four Americans to house arrest as part of a reported prisoner deal with the United States. The terms involved Iran's release of five Americans. In return, the United States reportedly agreed to unfreeze some $6 billion of Iranian assets held in South Korean banks and release five Iranians imprisoned in the United States for skirting U.S. sanctions. The deal — mediated by Oman, Qatar, and Switzerland — addressed a key flashpoint in tensions between Washington and Tehran.
Aug. 14: The interior ministry reported that registrations for the 2024 parliamentary elections hit a record with nearly 49,000 people in the first week. Only 16,000 registrants filed in the 2020 election.
Aug. 17: Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian arrived in Saudi Arabia — the first visit by an Iranian foreign minister since the kingdom severed ties with Iran in 2016 — and met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.The visit addressed regional security issues and was “very good, direct and fruitful,” according to Amir-Abdollahian.
Aug. 22: The defense ministry revealed a new drone capable of reaching Israel, according to Iranian state media. The drone, called the Mohajer-10, could stay airborne for 24 hours and reach speeds of up to 130 miles per hour. “Today, we can firmly introduce Iran as an advanced and technologic nation to the world,” said President Ebrahim Raisi in regards to the drone.
Aug. 24: BRICS, a group of emerging economies consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, welcomed Iran and five other countries into its fold during a summit in Johannesburg. “The full membership in the group of world’s emerging economies is a history-making development and a strategic achievement for the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy,” said the Iranian President’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Political Affairs, Mohammad Jamshidi.
Aug. 28: Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani announced that Iran and Iraq had reached an agreement to disarm and relocate “armed terrorist groups” in Iraqi Kurdistan. “Iraq has committed to disarm armed separatists and terrorist groups present in its territory, close their bases, and relocate them to other locations before the 19th of September,” said Kanaani.
Aug. 31: Iran’s oil production increased to about 3.15 million barrels per day in August, the most production since 2018. Roughly half (1.5 million bpd) was exported to China.
Sept. 2: Iran had received at least two Yak-130 trainer jets from Russia, according to Iranian media. The trainer craft—which could be used for combat—were reportedly held by the Air Force in Isfahan province. Iranian outlet ISNA added that the aircraft would train pilots to fly more advanced fighter jets.
Sept. 4: Iran slowed uranium enrichment to 60 percent, according to the IAEA. It enriched 7.5 kilograms (16.5 pounds) of uranium to 60 percent between June and August 2023. In the first half of 2023, Tehran enriched more than 50 kilograms of uranium to near weapons-grade. The IAEA added that Iran diluted 6.4 kilograms of 60 percent-enriched uranium to 20-percent enrichment. But the Islamic Republic increased its stockpile of uranium enriched to five and 20 percent and stalled negotiations over installing cameras at facilities. It also did not cooperate with an IAEA probe of undeclared nuclear material from 2019 and reportedly denied visas to agency inspectors.
Sept. 5: Iran and Saudi Arabia exchanged ambassadors. Iranian ambassador Alireza Enayati—former director of Gulf affairs at the foreign ministry and envoy to Kuwait—arrived in Riyadh. And Saudi ambassador Abdullah bin Saud al Anzi—a former envoy to Oman—arrived in Tehran.
Sept. 12: The judiciary confirmed that Iran held E.U. employee Johan Floderus in prison. “The Swedish national has been lawfully imprisoned following a preliminary inquiry and the results of a full investigation into his case made by the prosecutor's office will be sent in the coming days to a competent court,” Spokesperson Masoud Setayeshi said. Floderus had been detained in April 2022 for accusations of espionage.
Sept. 12: President Ebrahim Raisi blamed the West for unrest in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt ahead of the one-year anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death in detention. “Those who intend to abuse Madam Amini’s name, under this pretext to be an agent of foreigners to create this instability in the country, we know what ... would happen to them,” he threatened. “And they know that endangering the security of people and (the) security of society will create a big cost.” He also justified the regime’s crackdown, which targeted “those who…undermine security” while protecting “freedom of speech.”
Raisi also discussed the prisoner deal with the United States, which would see five Americans released from Iranian custody in exchange for the unfreezing of $6 billion in Iranian funds held in South Korea. The funds would be held by Qatari banks and free for humanitarian purchases under the deal. But Raisi maintained that the “money belongs to the Iranian people, the Iranian government, so the Islamic Republic of Iran will decide what to do with this money.” Humanitarian meant “whatever the Iranian people needs,” he asserted, “and the needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government.”
Sept. 12: The State Department rebutted President Raisi’s claim that the Iranian government had the authority to determine how it could spend the $6 billion in Iranian funds unfrozen under the prisoner deal with the United States. “When this money arrives in these accounts in Qatar, it will be held there under strict oversight by the United States Treasury Department and the money can only be used for humanitarian purposes, and we will remain vigilant in watching the spending of those funds and have the ability to freeze them again if we need to,” Spokesperson Matthew Miller said.
In response to criticism for releasing the funds, Miller said that the United States had to make “tough choices and engage in tough negotiations to bring these American citizens home.” He added that Washington maintained its support for the Iranian people. Miller pointed out that “as many as one in three Iranians used U.S.-supported anticensorship and digital security tools” during the protests.
Sept. 13: Sixty-three IAEA member states called on Iran to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog in a joint statement. The group shared “the Director General’s regret that no progress has been made” in Iran’s implementation of a cooperation agreement with the IAEA. The countries called on Iran to address:
- “Outstanding safeguards issues in relation to nuclear material detected at undeclared locations in Iran,”
- “The discrepancy in the amount of nuclear material verified by the Agency at the Isfahan Uranium Conversion Facility,” and
- “Implementation of…the Safeguards Agreement, including the provision of the required early design information.”
Nuclear: Britain, France, and Germany – the E3 states – said that Iran continued to violate the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “Iran has continued escalating its nuclear program to an alarming level clearly beyond credible civilian justification, and has displayed no will to implement the transparency commitments laid out in the Joint Statement agreed with the IAEA last March,” the countries told the IAEA Board of Governors. Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium was more than 18 times the level allowed in the JCPOA. Tehran had also stonewalled verification and monitoring efforts for more than two years, they added.
“We have made significant efforts to negotiate and agree a return to the JCPOA, for which viable deals were tabled in March and in August 2022,” the E3 said. “In both cases, it is Iran that refused to sign these agreements, making unacceptable demands going beyond the scope of the JCPOA.” The European countries expected “swift and meaningful further steps” from Iran to implement its IAEA commitments.
Sept. 18: Iran released five Americans as part of a prisoner swap with the United States. The four men and one woman had been imprisoned on unproven charges of espionage. One had been held since 2015. In return, the Biden administration released five Iranian men imprisoned in the United States, including two who had been held since 2019. The United States also issued a waiver so South Korea could transfer $6 billion of frozen Iranian oil revenues to Qatar, which will oversee limited Iranian purchases of humanitarian goods, including medical, education and agricultural goods.
Sept. 19: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met with Iranian Defence Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, Revolutionary Guards aerospace chief Amir Ali Hajizadeh, and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Akbar Ahmadian at a missile and drone exhibition. Russia-Iran ties have reached “new highs,” Shoigu said. He outlined the Kremlin’s intent for bilateral military cooperation and “boosting” its strategic partnership with Iran as well as further collaboration in stabilizing the Middle East. Ashtiani told Shoigu that Iran was committed to countering shared challenges, including U.S. “unilateralism.”
Sept. 20: Parliament passed a bill increasing penalties – including fines and prison sentences of up to 10 years – for women seen not adhering to the strict Islamic dress code. The vote on the “Hijab and Chastity” bill was 152 in favor, 34 against, and seven abstentions. The law will be implemented on a trial basis for three years. The powerful Guardian Council was expected to approve it soon.
Sept. 21: Ali Bagheri Kani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator and deputy foreign minister, participated in talks with the European Union’s coordinator Enrique Mora. The discussions were held on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. The two officials had a detailed conversation on easing sanctions on Iran and reviving the 2015 nuclear deal. Bagheri Kani tweeted that the “consultations will be continued in future.”
Sept. 25: The State Department had denied Iran’s request for Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to travel to Washington, D.C. “Given Iran’s wrongful detention of U.S. citizens, given Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism, we did not believe it was either appropriate or necessary in this instance to grant that request,” spokesperson Matthew Miller said. Amir-Abdollahian, however, was granted a visa to attend the opening of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Sept. 27: Israel’s Shin Bet security service arrested five Palestinians involved in a plot to spy on senior Israeli politicians, including the National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and far-right activist and former member of parliament Yehuda Glick. The Shin Bet alleged that the operation was devised by Iran’s government and that an Iranian security official based in Jordan had recruited three Palestinian men from the West Bank and two Palestinian citizens in Israel to collect intelligence on these politicians. The men from the West Bank allegedly smuggled weapons into Israel. Ben-Gvir said that the “terrorist squad” intended to assassinate a minister.
Sept. 27: IRGC Naval vessels flashed a laser multiple times at a U.S. Viper attack helicopter during routine operations in the Persian Gulf. No injuries or damage resulted from the interaction. “This unsafe, unprofessional, and irresponsible behavior by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy risks U.S. and partner nation lives and needs to cease immediately,” U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Spokesman Cmdr. Rick Chernitzer said.
Sept. 27: The IRGC’s aerospace division launched a third military imaging satellite into orbit, according to Minister of Communications Issa Zarepour. A three-stage Qased rocket carried the Noor-3 into orbit about 280 miles above the earth’s surface. Western officials have long expressed concern that the technology used to launch satellites could be applied to ballistic missiles, including the kind that could carry nuclear warheads.
Sept. 28: The U.S. Department of Defense assessed that Iran was not pursuing nuclear weapons but warned that it could produce enough fuel for a bomb in less than two weeks. The 2023 Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction also noted that Iran was not compliant with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Oct. 6: Narges Mohammadi – an imprisoned Iranian human rights activist – won the Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian Nobel Committee commended “her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all.”
Oct. 7: Hamas, a Palestinian movement armed, trained and funded by Iran, launched a multi-prong military operation on Israel. It included rocket attacks on southern and central Israel, balaclava-clad fighters dropping from paragliders, and the murderous slaughter of civilians in their homes, on city streets and at a music festival. Militants killed 1,200 people and captured 240 hostages, including foreign nationals.
Oct. 9: Iran’s U.N. mission argued that the brutal attack on Israel by Hamas and Islamic Jihad on October 7 was a “wholly legitimate defense against seven decades of oppressive occupation.” But it denied playing any role in the multi-prong assault. "We emphatically stand in unflagging support of Palestine; however, we are not involved in Palestine's response, as it is taken solely by Palestine itself."
Oct. 11: President Biden implicitly warned Iran against interfering in the war between Hamas and Israel when summarizing U.S. efforts to help the Jewish state. "We’re surging additional military assistance to the Israeli Defense Force, including ammunition interceptors to replenish the Iron Dome. And we have moved a U.S. Carrier fleet to the Eastern Mediterranean, and we’re sending more fighter jets there into that region and made it clear — made it clear to the Iranians, 'Be careful,” he told Jewish community leaders.
Oct. 11: President Raisi and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke by telephone for the first time since the regional rivals moved towards rapprochement as part of a deal brokered by China in March 2023. Iran “is committed to deepening and strengthening relations with Saudi Arabia based on the principle of the unity of the World of Islam and neighborliness, and we believe that the relations between the two sides have the capacity to help stabilize, strengthen and promote the security and stability of the region,” Raisi said. The two leaders also discussed the war between Israel and Hamas. The prince "affirmed that the Kingdom is making all possible efforts in communicating with all international and regional parties to stop the ongoing escalation” between Israelis and Palestinians, according to Saudi state news.
Oct 19: Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen fired three land attack cruise missiles and several drones that reportedly targeted Israel. The USS Carney intercepted eight drones in the northern Red Sea.
Oct. 22: Two journalists in Iran were sentenced to up to 7 years in prison for charges including collaborating with the US after covering the death of Mahsa Amini. Niloufar Hamedi broke the news of Amini's death in custody for a headscarf violation, while Elaheh Mohammadi reported on her funeral.
Oct. 23: Iran's president and foreign minister met with the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Tehran to talk about energy, logistics, and regional issues like Nagorno-Karabakh. The visit comes as Russia seeks to bolster ties with non-Western countries during its war in Ukraine, even as Ukraine urges Iran to stop supplying drones to Russia.
Oct. 27: Two U.S. F-16 fighter jets and one F-15E carried out airstrikes on arms storage facilities linked to Iranian-backed militias in Al Mayadin in eastern Syria
Oct. 27: Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber met with Chinese Vice President Hu Chunhua at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. Mokhber highlighted Iran's capacities and development projects as areas for Chinese investment, including railways, renewable energy, and mining.
Oct. 28: Armita Geravand, a 16-year-old Iranian student, died in the hospital after suffering a severe head injury during an encounter with Iran's morality police over hijab rules on October 1st. Geravand fell into a coma after reportedly being pushed by a female officer while stopped in the subway, but details were limited due to tight government restrictions. Prior reports indicated the teenager was brain dead from her injuries following the clash with hijab enforcement officers.
Oct. 31: Iranian Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian met with the Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Jassim Al Thani in Doha, Qatar. They discussed cooperation between the two states, an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and ways to prevent violence from spreading further in the region.
While in Doha, Amir-Abdollahian met with Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the Hamas politburo. The two officials discussed the conflict and humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Nov. 5: Iranian and Afghan officials held the first day of their Joint Economic Committee meeting in Tehran. They discussed forming joint working groups in areas like trade, transit and transportation to identify and solve problems impeding economic cooperation. Afghanistan's delegation, led by Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Ghani Baradar, had arrived in Iran earlier Saturday ahead of the two-day talks aimed at strengthening economic ties.
Nov. 8: Two U.S. F-15 fighter jets hit a weapons storage facility used by Iranian-backed militias and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in Maysulun, Syria. The Pentagon did not specify which militia. The strike triggered secondary explosions.
Nov. 11: President Raisi visited Saudi Arabia for an Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit on the Gaza war, marking the first visit by an Iranian president to the kingdom in 11 years. Raisi called for unified action to quickly stop the Israeli campaign, lift the blockade, and expand access to humanitarian aid.
Nov. 11: President Raisi, through a representative, announced that he would run for re-election to the Assembly of Experts, a body of 88 clerics and scholars tasked with overseeing and appointing the supreme leader. The election was slated to coincide with parliamentary elections in March 2024.
Nov. 12: An F-15 fighter jet struck facilities used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and Iran-backed militias for training and as a command headquarters near Abu Kamal and Mayadin in Syria. Seven militants were reportedly killed. “The President has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. personnel, and he directed today's action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The Pentagon did not specify the militia group.
Nov. 12: Former President Hassan Rouhani, a centrist, registered as a candidate for the Assembly of Experts elections. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the outgoing chairman, was not seeking reelection. By the time the registration period closed, 510 candidates had signed up to contest the 88 seats.
Nov. 13: Iran’s judiciary executed three members of Jaish ul Adl, an armed Sunni Baluch group, for a 2019 bombing that killed 27 Revolutionary Guard members. The men were convicted by the judiciary of the attack in southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan province along with receiving military training and hiding bomb materials.
Nov. 15: An IAEA report published on Wednesday said Iran has tripled its stockpile of highly enriched uranium to more than 120 kilograms (265 pounds), enough for three nuclear weapons by IAEA standards. The IAEA stated that Iran continued to stonewall demands for transparency on nuclear sites and had blocked highly experienced inspectors.
Nov. 21: A U.S. AC-130 gunship hit an operations center and command-and-control node used by Kataib Hezbollah near al Anbar and Jurf al Saqr in Iraq. It killed eight militants. The strike responded to a ballistic missile attack by the Islamic Resistance of Iraq on al Asad air base that injured U.S. and allied forces deployed in Iraq as part of Operation Inherent Resolve against ISIS.
Nov. 22: U.S. fighter jets struck two sites, an operation center and command-and-control node both used by Kataib Hezbollah, near the border of al Anbar province and the town of Jurf al Sakhar, Babil province.
Dec. 3: Houthis fired at least four ballistic missiles at three commercial ships in the Red Sea, including the Unity Explorer, a British-owned and -operated container ship; the Number 9, a British-owned and -operated carrier; and the Sophie II, a Japanese-owned and -operated carrier. The USS Carney responded to distress calls and shot down three drones. The Pentagon reported that the Houthi targets were unclear. The attacks inflicted minor damage on all three vessels.