U.S. Helps Expand Internet Access for Iranians

On September 23, the Treasury Department authorized American companies to expand the range of internet services – which otherwise could be restricted by U.S. sanctions – available to ordinary Iranians. “Today we are issuing a General License to advance our efforts and commitments to ensure that the Iranian people can freely access information online,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Some of the information in this article was originally published on September 23, 2022.

Iran and the Rushdie Attack

On August 12, award-winning novelist Salman Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and abdomen in an assassination attempt while lecturing at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. Hadi Matar, the 24-year-old assailant and the son of immigrants from Lebanon, supported Iran and Hezbollah, its Lebanese proxy. Rushdie has been a target of militant Muslims since 1989, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa condemning the British-American writer to death for alleged blasphemy in his novel “The Satanic Verses.” A religious foundation offered millions in reward money.

U.S. Charges Iranian for Bolton Murder Plot

On August 10, the Justice Department announced charges against an Iranian national for plotting to murder John Bolton, who served as national security advisor to President Donald Trump from 2018 to 2019. Shahram Poursafi, 45, planned the operation, “likely in retaliation” for the U.S. assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Qods Force. Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad in early 2020.

2022: Sweeping Crackdown on Dissent

In 2022, Iran detained and imprisoned dozens of activists, artists and academics. Many were charged with propaganda against the state and collusion against national security. The crackdown coincided with a surge of protests over food prices, pensions and salaries, taxes, and corruption in Tehran and several provinces.

News Digest: Week of June 13

June 13

Defense: Two men involved in Iran’s aerospace industry were “martyred” in separate incidents while on duty, according to local media. Ali Kamani, a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force, was killed in a “driving accident.” He was stationed in Khomein in central Markazi province. And Mohammad Abdous, who worked for the defense ministry, died in northern Semnan province.

Some of the information in this article was originally published on June 13, 2022.

U.S. Intelligence Report on Iran’s Nuclear Program

In April 2022, the annual U.S. assessment of arms control reported that Iran had not yet taken the steps necessary to produce a nuclear weapon even as it “continued to expand its uranium enrichment activities” far beyond the limits stipulated in the 2015 nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The report also expressed “serious concerns” about possible undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran. Tehran has failed to fully cooperate with the U.N.

U.S. Officials on Nowruz

On March 20, President Joe Biden and top officials wished a happy Nowruz, the Persian New year, to Iranians and others celebrating the ancient holiday around the world. Biden, unlike his predecessors, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, did not use the occasion to comment on the state of U.S.-Iran relations or criticize the Islamic Republic’s government. 

Iran Launches Missiles on Iraq

Early on March 13, Iran launched a dozen ballistic missiles into neighboring Iraq. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) claimed that it targeted Israeli “strategic centers” in the northern city of Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region. Iraqi and U.S. officials said that the attack was unjustified.

Some of the information in this article was originally published on March 15, 2022.