US and Iran on Syria, Chemical Weapons

April 5, 2017

On April 4, more than 80 people died after planes reportedly dropped chemical bombs on the town of Khan Sheikhoun in northwestern Syria. At least 100 others were later treated in hospitals in Idlib province while several dozen were transferred to Turkey. The victims included women and children. The United States, Britain, France, and the European Union held the Syrian regime responsible for the attack.

ISIS Threatens Iran in New Video

March 30, 2017

On March 27, the Islamic State group released a rare Farsi-language video threatening Iran. The nearly 40-minute clip, issued on social media by the group’s Diyala Province in neighboring Iraq, is titled “The Farsi Land: From Yesterday ‘till Today.” The Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) accuses Iran of being a repressive state that persecutes Sunnis while providing protection for Jews and cooperating with Israel and the United States. The clip clearly expresses the organization’s goal to conquer Iran and make it Sunni, as it was in the past.

Rouhani and Putin Strengthen Iran-Russia Ties

March 29, 2017

On March 27, President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Moscow with a large political and economic delegation for a two-day visit. Iranian and Russian officials signed 14 memoranda of understanding to cooperate on a range of security, economic, scientific and cultural issues. Putin highlighted that bilateral trade had increased 70 percent compared to last year. Banking officials from both countries discussed creating a joint bank account to facilitate trade in rubles and rials, which could further boost trade.  

Iran Sanctions 15 US Companies

March 27, 2017

On March 26, Iran imposed sanctions on 15 U.S. companies for alleged human rights violations and support for Israel. The retaliatory move came two days after the United States sanctioned 11 entities and individuals from China, North Korea or the United Arab Emirates for transferring sensitive items to Iran’s ballistic missile program. The following are excerpts from the Foreign Ministry’s statement with the list of U.S. companies. 

Trump and Tillerson on Nowruz

March 21, 2017

On March 22, President Donald Trump issued a statement marking Nowruz, the Persian New Year. "On behalf of the American people, I wish you freedom, dignity, and wealth," he said in remarks directed to the Iranian people. On March 20, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had also issued a Nowruz message. It mentioned more than a dozen countries where the holiday is observed, including Iran, but did not include a special message to the Iranian people. The full text of Trump and Tillerson’s statements are below.


US Sanctions Bahrainis Linked to Iran

March 18, 2017

DoS sealOn March 17, the U.S. State Department sanctioned two Bahrainis with ties to Iran for supporting terrorism. One was affiliated with the al Ashtar Brigades, which has received funding and support from the Iranian government and carried out attacks in Bahrain. Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi, however, dismissed the allegations as political.

Trump Travel Ban Seeks to Suspend Iran Visas

March 6, 2017

On March 6, President Donald Trump issued a new executive order banning people from six Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, from entering the United States for 90 days. The move comes about a month after a panel of federal judges blocked enforcement of his initial executive order. The original January order barred citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen — from entering the United States for 90 days. The new ban will go into effect on March 16 and does not include Iraq on the list of countries of concern.