Geneva Convention on prisoners of war treatment.
Jan. 12 – Iranian military forces seized two U.S. Navy vessels and held them on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf. Nine men and one woman were aboard the small riverine boats. The Pentagon received assurances from Iran that the crew and vessels would be returned promptly.
Jan. 13 – U.S. sailors detained by Iran were safely released to the U.S. Navy after an overnight flurry of diplomatic efforts. Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke at least five times about the incident.
Jan. 17 – The United States imposed new sanctions on 11 individuals and entities for supporting Iran’s ballistic missile program. The new measures followed a December report by U.N. experts that concluded that an Iranian test launch in October violated sanctions banning Iran from test firing missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Feb. 28 - The HMAS Darwin, an Australian warship, interdicted an unflagged fishing vessel more than 170 miles off the coast of Oman. The crew “searched the vessel and discovered 1989 AK-47 assault rifles, 100 rocket propelled grenade launchers, 49 PKM general purpose machine guns, 39 PKM spare barrels and 20 60mm mortar tubes,” the CMF reported. A CMF taskforce initially said that the fishing vessel was headed toward Somalia, but the U.S. Navy later assessed that the weapons originated from Iran and destined for Yemen.
Mar. 8 – The IRGC test fired Shahab-1, Shahab-2, as well as Ghadr-H and Ghadr-F ballistic missiles as part of a large-scale military drill. The launches, publicized widely by Iranian media outlets, were intended to display Iran’s “deterrence power” and “full readiness to confront all kinds of threats against the Revolution, establishment and territorial integrity,” according to the IRGC.
Mar. 20 - The FS Provence, a French destroyer, interdicted a dhow in the northern Indian Ocean. The dhow was carrying “several hundred AK47 assault rifles, machine guns and anti-tank weapons,” according to the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), a U.S.-led coalition of 34 nations that operates in the Rea Sea, Gulf of Aden and Gulf of Oman. The taskforce initially said that the weapons were destined for Somalia, but the U.S. Navy later assessed that the weapons originated from Iran and were destined for Yemen.
Mar. 28 - The USS Sirocco interdicted a dhow in the Arabian Sea headed for Yemen. The vessel was carrying “1,500 AK-47s, 200 RPG launchers and 21 .50 caliber machine guns,” the U.S. Navy said in a statement. The weapons were taken into U.S. custody, while the crew were permitted to depart. The U.S. Navy said that the weapons “originated in Iran” and were “likely bound for Houthi insurgents in Yemen.”
Aug. 23 – Four Iranian small boats harassed the USS Nitze, a guided missile destroyer, in the Strait of Hormuz. The boats, approached the Nitze at a high speed, in an unsafe and unprofessional manner, according to a U.S. defense official, prompting the Nitze to fire ten flares and sound its whistle several times. The Iranian boats ignored the warnings and attempts at radio communication. They finally stopped within 300 yards of the ship.
Aug. 24 – Three IRGC boats crisscrossed the USS Tempest’s bow and “created a possible collision hazard” in the Northern Persian Gulf. Later, an Iranian patrol vessel approached the Tempest head-on despite multiple warnings. The USS Squall eventually resorted to firingwarning shots.
Later that day, an Iranian Nassar-class boat made a runagainst the USS Stout, a guided missile destroyer. The Stout changed course to avoid the Iranian vessel and used unspecified devices to discourage it from approaching again. “These are incidents that carry a risk of escalation and we don’t desire any kind of escalation,” Pentagon Spokesman Peter Cook toldreporters. “At this point, it's not clear what the intentions of the Iranian ships were, but the behavior is not acceptable, given that this U.S. ship was in international waters,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Aug. 29 – Iran deployed a Russian-supplied S-300 SAM defense system at its Fordow nuclear facility. “Our main priority is to protect Iran’s nuclear facilities under any circumstances,” said Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili.
Sep. 1 – Iran unveiled new radar technology, the Nazir and Bina systems, increasing its missile defense capabilities.
Jan. 9 – The USS Mahan, a destroyer, fired warning shots and used radio calls, flares, bells, and whistles to signal five Iranian ships to stay away. The ships came within 900 yards of three U.S. vessels that were entering the Strait of Hormuz, according to Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis. They eventually left the area after a U.S. helicopter also dropped smoke grenades.
Mar. 9 – The IRGC announced that they had successful tested a Hormuz 2 ballistic missile the previous week. It was reportedly capable of hitting floating targets within a 186-mile range.
Apr. 18 – Iran revealed its new Sayyad 3 air defense missile for the first time during nationwide Army Day parades.
Apr. 22 – The IRGC equipped its Navy with new Nasir cruise missiles supposedly capable of precise navigation and equipped to resist signal jamming.
Jun. 18 – Iran launched missiles at ISIS targets in Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria in following terrorist attacks targeting Tehran earlier that month. The missiles used in the strikes were Zolfaqar and Qiam class missiles.
Jul. 18 – Iranian parliament passed a bill introduced to “fight American adventurous and terrorist actions in the region” which expanded funding for the Quds force and missile programs by 1,000 billion tomans ($600 million).
Jul. 22 – Iran began mass production of the new Sayyad-3 missile, used in missile shield systems. The missile reportedly has a range of 120 kilometers and can achieve an altitude of 27 kilometers, and is designed to target incoming aircraft and missiles.
Jul. 27 – Iran announced that it had successfully launched a Simorgh SLV (space-launch vehicle). The Simorgh was claimed to be Iran’s most advanced satellite-carrying rocket yet produced.
Jul. 31 – Iran claimed that U.S. naval forces including the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier had acted provocatively and unprofessionally by flying a helicopter close to IRGC ships. Iranian General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri issued a warning to U.S. naval forces not to continue the alleged provocation.
Aug. 13 – Iranian lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to increase spending on ballistic missile development and foreign operations of the IRGC. At the session, 240 out of 247 legislators voted to allocate some $260 million to the missile program, $300 million to the IRGC Qods Force and $240 million to other military and intelligence-related projects. The move came as a reaction to new U.S. sanctions.Sept. 14 – The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned 11 individuals and entities for supporting the IRGC ballistic missile program, transporting IRGC-operated militias, and engaging in cyber attacks.
Sept. 23 – Iran test launched the Khorramshahr ballistic missile. The missile, with a range of approximately 2000 km, was likely modeled on the Hwasong-10, which North Korea previously transferred to Iran.
Oct. 13 – The U.S. Treasury Department issued sanctions on the IRGC for its support for terrorism, and on three IRGC affiliates for proliferation violations. The move designated the IRGC under the Terrorism Authority, but stopped short of labeling the IRGC a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Nov. 21 – President Rouhani declared victory over ISIS in Iraq and Syria following the capture of Abu Kamal in Syria and Rawa in Iraq, the last significant sized town under ISIS control in each country.
Dec. 2 – Israeli planes flying from Lebanon reportedly bombed an Iranian military base 13km south of Damascus at al-Kiswa. The Syrian government deployed its air-defense system and claimed to have shot down two Israeli surface-to-surface missiles during the attack.
Dec. 14 – The United States presented evidence for the first time of Iranian support for Houthi militants in Yemen, in violation of UN resolutions. The evidence included a drone, an anti-tank weapon, and a short-range ballistic missile, all of which the United States claimed to be Iranian-made and supplied.
Feb. 10 – Israel shot down an Iranian drone flying over Israeli territory. The incident kicked off a series of Israeli airstrikes and Syrian surface-to-air engagement that resulted in an Israeli F-16 being shot down in northern Israel.
April 9-10 – Israel reportedly hit the T-4 airfield and command center near Palmyra with missiles in an overnight strike. Seven Iranian military advisors were reportedly killed. “Israel’s crime… will not go unanswered,” warned Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy advisor to the supreme leader.April 29 - May 1 – Israel allegedly struck two Iran-linked military bases in Syria, killing at least 26 people, including 11 Iranian fighters. “We don’t comment on foreign reports and we have no information at this time,” said Israel’s military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. The strikes reportedly hit a weapons depot for surface-to-surface missiles in northern Syria, destroying 200 missiles. The second target was the Neirab military base southeast of Aleppo. “Well will respond to any aggression on Iran at the right time and place,” said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.
May 8 – Israel reportedly struck Iranian military facilities south of Damascus, killing 15 people, eight of whom were Iranian, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
May 10 – The Israeli military claimed to have struck 70 Iranian targets inside Syria in its largest air operation of the Syrian Civil War, after Iran’s Qods Force launched 20 rockets at the Israeli Golan Heights. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed Israeli fire on targets in Baath, Syria triggered the engagement.
May 15 – The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned four individuals and one bank for moving millions of dollars on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to the Lebanese militia and political movement Hezbollah.
May 22 – The U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against five Iranian IRGC members for providing technical ballistic missile assistance to Houthi forces in Yemen.
Sept. 22 – Gunmen attacked a military parade in the southwestern Iranian city of Ahvaz. The attackers killed at least 29 people and wounded 70, including IRGC soldiers and civilians. Arab separatists claimed responsibility. Iranian leaders blamed the United States’ regional allies for plotting the attack.
Nov. 13 – Ambassador-at-Large Nathan Sales, the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism, said that Tehran provides nearly one billion dollars a year to terrorist groups including Lebanese Hezbollah, Hamas in Gaza, the Houthis in Yemen, and various groups in Iraq and Syria. “We will continue to ratchet up the pressure until Iran comes to its senses, joins the community of civilized nations, and ends its support for murder and mayhem across the globe,” Sales told an audience at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Nov. 22 – The U.S. ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) alleged that Iran failed to declare all its chemical weapons to the group. “The United States is also concerned that Iran is pursuing Central Nervous System-Acting Chemicals for offensive purposes,” Ambassador Kenneth Ward told participants at an OPCW conference. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif dismissed the U.S. claim. “US wants to resort to int'l conventions to make allegations against Iran when it's made a policy of violating them itself. WMD allegations—by a country that supported Iraq’s use of CW against Iran; then invaded Iraq to allegedly rid it of them—is not just obscene, it’s dangerous,” said Zarif.
Nov. 29 – Brian Hook, the State Department’s special representative for Iran, unveiled what he called new evidence of Iranian weapons proliferation. He delivered a briefing in front of a display of missiles, rockets, drones and other equipment that were allegedly transferred to the Houthis in Yemen or the Taliban in Afghanistan. “The new weapons we are disclosing today illustrate the scale of Iran’s destructive role across the region. The same kind of rockets here today could tomorrow land in a public market in Kabul or an international airport,” said Hook.
Dec. 1 – The United States condemned Iran’s test of a medium range ballistic missile reportedly capable of striking parts of Europe and anywhere in the Middle East. “This test violates U.N. Security Council resolution 2231 that bans Iran from undertaking ‘any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,’” claimed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “Making a mockery of the UNSC won't obscure failure to fulfill obligations & to hold US to account over non-compliance. Esp when even US admits that UNSCR2231 does NOT prohibit Iran's deterrent capabilities. Rather than undermining 2231, better to work towards its adherence by all,” replied Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Resolution 2231 only “calls upon” Iran to not test missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
Jan. 29 – U.S. Intelligence agencies released their annual Worldwide Threat Assessment and discussed Iran during a Senate hearing. “We continue to assess that Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities we judge necessary to produce a nuclear device,” said the report. “Iran almost certainly will continue to develop and maintain terrorist capabilities as an option to deter or retaliate against its perceived adversaries,” it added.
President Trump rejected the intelligence agencies’ assessment. “The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!” he tweeted.
Feb. 2 – Iran unveiled a new surface-to-surface cruise missile during celebrations leading up to the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. State television claimed that the new Hoveizeh missile had a range of 810 miles. On February 7, IRGC Commander Mohammed Ali Jafari unveiled the Dezful short-range ballistic missile, with a reported range of 621 miles. Jafari also announced the establishment of an underground facility in Iran for mass-producing precision missiles. On February 11, President Hassan Rouhani addressed the nation. “We have not –and will not- ask for permission from anybody for improving our defensive power. We will continue this path and I say this clearly to the people of Iran that Iran’s military power in the past 40 years, especially in the recent 5 years has amazed the entire world,” he said.
Feb. 4 – President Donald Trump said that U.S. forces departing Syria would shift to bases in Iraq to “watch” Iran, in an interview with CBS news. Iraqi leaders quickly condemned his remark. “Do not burden Iraq with your own policy priorities,” said Iraqi President Barham Salih.
Feb. 14 – A suicide bombing in the Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan killed 27 IRGC soldiers. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blamed the United States and Israel for the attack.
March 5 – The U.S. State Department and Treasury sanctioned Harakat al Nujaba (HAN), an Iran-backed militia in Iraq, and its leader, Akram Abbas al Kabi. The State Department designated them as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. “These designations demonstrate the United States’ unwavering commitment to isolate and deny funding to the Iranian regime’s terrorist proxies,” said the State Department.
April 8 – The United States announced the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), effective April 15. The IRGC is Iran’s most powerful military and security organization as well as a key economic player. “This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft,” said President Donald Trump. He noted that it was the “first time that the United States has ever named part of another government as a FTO.” In response, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council designated U.S. Central Command forces as terrorists and the U.S. as a “sponsor of terrorism.”
May 2 – An Iranian tanker, the Happiness I, broke down in the Red Sea. Iran said that the vessel, which was carrying more than one million barrels of oil, malfunctioned when water leaked into the engine room. None of the crew were injured. The tanker was forced to dock in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. No country claimed responsibility.
May 5 – National Security Advisor John Bolton announced the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the Middle East “to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.” He said the move was in response to “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” but did not specify further. The White House did not specify what Iranian activities it was responding to, but they were widely reported by the media to be related to intelligence citing U.S. interests in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and the Persian Gulf. The carrier strike group, however, was part of regularly scheduled deployment.
May 9 – Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan reportedly presented an updated plan for 120,000 U.S. troops to be deployed to the region in the event of an Iranian attack on U.S. forces or sprint towards attaining a nuclear weapon, according to The New York Times. On May 14, President Trump said the report was “fake news.” But he said that if the United States were to implement such a plan, “we’d send a hell of a lot more” troops. U.S. officials told NBC News that Shanahan had presented a range of options to Trump’s national security team.
May 10 – The Pentagon announced that additional forces would join the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier group in the Persian Gulf—the USS Arlington (capable of supporting amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions) and a Patriot missile defense battery.
May 12 – Four ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were sabotaged, including two Saudi Arabian oil tankers. One was due to take a delivery of Saudi oil to the United States. “Fortunately, the attack didn't lead to any casualties or oil spill; however, it caused significant damage to the structures of the two vessels,” said Khalid al-Falih, the kingdom’s energy minister. The UAE did not speculate on who might have been responsible, but the alleged attack came as the United States warned that “Iran or its proxies” could target maritime traffic in and around the Persian Gulf. Iran denied any involvement and accused the Trump administration officials of trying to frame it.
May 13-14 - On May 13, President Trump warned that Iran “will suffer greatly” if it attacks U.S. interests in the Gulf. “We will see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it’ll be a big mistake,” he told the press. Supreme Leader Khamenei retorted that his country was not interested in a military conflict, but would “resist” the United States.
May 15 – The United States ordered the immediate departure of all non-emergency U.S. government employees from Iraq, citing security concerns. The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which is responsible for U.S. military forces in the Middle East, contradicted a comment made a day earlier by Major General Chris Ghika, the British deputy commander of anti-ISIS coalition forces, that Iran-backed militias in Iraq did not pose an increased threat to coalition personnel. “Recent comments from OIR's Deputy Commander run counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian backed forces in the region,” the CENTCOM statement said.
The New York Times reported that photographs of missiles on small boats in the Persian Gulf were the cause of the White House’s increased warnings about the threat from Iran. The concern was that the IRGC would fire them at U.S. naval vessels or disrupt commercial shipping. Intelligence also suggested American troops in Iraq could be targeted by militias with ties to Tehran.
May 17 – The IRGC deputy for parliamentary affairs warned that U.S. forces in the Gulf are vulnerable. “Even our short-range missiles can easily reach (U.S.) warships in the Persian Gulf,” said Mohammad Saleh Jokar, according to Fars News Agency via Reuters. “America cannot afford the costs of a new war, and the country is in a bad situation in terms of manpower and social conditions.”
A Defense Department official and a congressional official told The New York Times that Iran unloaded missiles from at least two small boats in its territorial waters. The move was seen as a de-escalation in tensions.
May 20 - A Katyusha rocket was fired into Baghdad’s Green Zone, a heavily fortified area that houses Iraqi government offices and foreign embassies. It fell near the U.S. Embassy but did not harm anyone, according to the Iraqi military. A State Department official warned that the United States would hold Iran responsible for any attacks conducted by proxy militia forces. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.
May 22 – Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, the chairman of Parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee said that Iran will “under no circumstances” enter a war with the United States. “No group can announce that it has entered a proxy war from Iran’s side,” he said, according to ILNA via the Associated Press.
Supreme Leader Khamenei’s website posted a graphic on the website calling the U.S. deployment of forces a “futile uproar.” It melded a photograph of an aircraft carrier and a megaphone together with a crosshair superimposed on top.
May 24 – Acting Secretary of Defense Shanahan announced that 1,500 additional troops would be deployed to the Middle East. The Pentagon clarified that, of the 1,500, only 900 additional troops would be sent to the region and 600 personnel manning Patriot missile batteries would have their deployment extended. Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Katie Wheelbarger emphasized that U.S. policy with respect to Iran had not changed. “As the president and the secretary have been clear, we do not seek conflict with Iran. We do not see these additional capabilities as urging hostilities. We see them as defensive in nature,” she said.
Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff, said the IRGC was responsible for the attack on tankers earlier in May. He said limpet mines were used but did not specify how they were delivered.
Secretary Pompeo issued an emergency notification of arms sales to Jordan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia. “These sales will support our allies, enhance Middle East stability, and help these nations to deter and defend themselves from the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said. He invoked a seldom used executive authority that would bypass the usual arms review process with Congress. Pompeo said he intended the transfers, worth some $8 billion, to be a “one-time event.”
May 29 – National Security Advisor Bolton told reporters that it was “clear that Iran is behind” the attack on tankers. “There's no doubt in anybody's mind in Washington who's responsible for this,” he added. “Who else would you think is doing it? Someone from Nepal?” Bolton did not provide evidence. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, called the charge “ludicrous.”
In a speech to academics, Supreme Leader Khamenei said Iran would not negotiate on the core values of the Islamic Revolution or give up military capabilities. “The only way for us is to apply our tactics of pressure in face of the pressures that the U.S. applies. Contrary to their propaganda, these tactics are not military--though we might use military means if we find it necessary.”
June 6 – General Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, met with Iraqi officials in Baghdad. Afterwards, he told NBC News that threat from Iran and its proxies was “imminent” and had not diminished. “I believe the threat is still very real. They probe for weakness all the time,” he said in an exclusive interview. He told the Associated Press that the U.S. deployment of additional forces may have “caused the Iranians to back up a little bit” but that he was “not sure they are strategically backing down.”
Houthi rebels in Yemen shot down a U.S. MQ-9 drone. The U.S. military concluded that the rebels had received help from Iran to down the drone.
June 13 – Two more tankers – one owned by Japan and one owned by Norway – were attacked in the Gulf of Oman. The second ship, the Front Altair, may have been targeted by a torpedo, according to CPC Corp, which chartered the ship. The Front Altair’s crew of 23 were reportedly rescued by the Hyundai Dubai vessel and were transferred to an Iranian navy vessel bound for the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Iranian state media claimed that all 44 crew members from both ships were rescued by Iranian teams. The U.S. Navy offered aid in dealing with the two damaged tankers.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed the attacks – and other incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan – on Iran. He said the U.S. judgement was based on intelligence, “weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.” U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) released a video allegedly showing Iranian sailors removing a mine from the Kokura Courageous’ hull. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denied Iran’s responsibility and said the timing was beyond “suspicious.”
A CENTCOM spokesman claimed that Iran attempted to shoot down a U.S. surveillance drone to prevent the United States from detecting Iran’s role in the attack.
June 17 - Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan authorized the deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East. “The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” he said. Shanahan reiterated that the United States was not seeking a conflict with Iran and that the action was solely “defensive.”
June 20 – Iran shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) claimed it downed an RQ-4 Global Hawk after it violated Iranian airspace. “Our air space is our red line and Iran has always responded and will continue to respond strongly to any country that violates our air space,” said Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. The United States acknowledged that the drone was shot down by a surface-to-air missile system. But it said the incident occurred in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz. "Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false," said CENTCOM spokesperson Navy Captain Bill Urban. "This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace."
Aug. 6 – Iran presented three new precision-guided missiles —the Yasin, Balaban and a new series of the “Ghaem.” Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami said their development “shows that despite the viciousness and conspiracies of the Great Satan America and its mercenaries, the defence ministry will not hesitate for a moment to defend the Islamic republic and to expand security.” Fars news agency reported that the Yasin, equipped with folding wings, could be fired from manned or unmanned aircraft 30 miles from its target. The Balaban, also with folding wings, was meant to be mounted under aircraft. The latest version of the Ghaem was a heat-seeking missile reportedly capable of hitting with 50 centimeters of its target.
Aug. 22 – Tehran unveiled a long-range, surface-to-air defense system that can target planes up to 190 miles away. Rouhani called negotiations with the U.S. “useless” during the unveiling ceremony. “Now that our enemies do not accept logic, we cannot respond with logic,” he said.
Sept. 14 –The Abqaiq and Khurais facilities—both run by the state-owned company Saudi Aramco—were struck by projectiles in a pre-dawn attack. Abqaiq, the kingdom’s largest oil processing facility, was considered one of the most important oil infrastructure sites in the world. It had the capacity to process 7 million barrels of oil per day. Khurais, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil fields, added an additional 1.5 million barrels per day in production. The attacks suspended production of 5.7 million barrels per day—about 6 percent of global oil supply—according to Saudi Aramco.The United States accused Iran of facilitating the drone attacks. "Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply. There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen," said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He added that Tehran had “pretended to engage in diplomacy” with the United States.
Iran denied any responsibility for the attacks. On September 15, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said blaming Iran would not end the regional conflict. "Having failed at max pressure, Sec Pompeo is turning to max deceit,” Zarif tweeted.
Sept 18 – Saudi Arabia’s Defense Ministry held a press conference to display material evidence allegedly proving Iranian involvement in attacks on two oil facilities. “Despite Iran's best efforts to make it appear so, their collaboration with their proxy in the region to create this false narrative is clear,” said Saudi military spokesman Colonel Turki al Malki. Riyadh concluded that Iran or one of its proxies launched a sophisticated assault involving drones and cruise missiles from a location north of Saudi Arabia. Al Malki said the attacks were “unquestionably sponsored by Iran” but stopped short of explicitly accusing Tehran for the attack. The Saudis said they were still “working to know exactly the launch point.”
Al Malki told reporters that both drones and missiles were launched at Abqaiq and that cruise missiles struck the Khurais facility. Riyadh said eighteen drones and seven cruise missiles were used in the attacks, with three missiles falling short of their target. The cruise missiles had a range of 700 kilometers (435 miles), according to al Maliki, which meant they could not have been fired from inside Yemen. The Saudi government also presented video footage of a drone striking from the north.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities an “act of war.” He denied claims that the attacks originated in Yemen. "As for how we know, the equipment used is unknown to be in the Houthi arsenal. These line attack cruise missiles we have never seen there and we think we’ve seen most everything,” Pompeo said. President Trump said the United States would “substantially increase sanctions” against Tehran within the next 48 hours.
Sept. 19 – Iranian Foreign Minister warned that Tehran could respond to a U.S. or Saudi military strike with “all-out war.” He questioned Saudi resolve and told CNN that the kingdom was prepared to fight "to the last American soldier." Zarif said Tehran hoped to avoid conflict but added, “We won't blink to defend our territory.”
Oct. 11 – An Iranian tanker, the Sabiti, was reportedly hit by two missiles in the Red Sea. An Iranian lawmaker, Abolfazl Hassan Beigi, blamed Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia for the attack, which left two large holes in the ship’s hull above the waterline. The National Iranian Tanker Company said that some oil spilled into the water.
Nov. 25 - The USS Forrest Sherman interdicted the Al Raheeb, an unflagged wooden dhow crewed by Yemeni nationals in the northern Arabia Sea. The boat was carrying 21 anti-tank missiles, five surface-to-air missiles, components for land-attack and anti-ship cruise missiles, thermal optical sights, blasting caps and drone components, according to a Justice Department filing. The missiles were “the most sophisticated weapons seized by the U.S. Navy to date during the Yemen conflict,” U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said on December 5, 2019. The Justice Department later connected the Al Raheeb to the Qods Force. A U.N. panel of experts concluded that the Al Raheeb carried “Iranian” anti-tank missiles.
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 States responded with airstrikes on Kataib Hezbollah positions in western Iraq and eastern Syria. The strikes, which reportedly killed at least 25 militants, targeted weapons depots and command centers that the group had used to attack U.S. forces and allies.
Dec. 31 - Supporters of Kataib Hezbollah stormed the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad to protest the U.S. airstrikes. The gunmen and demonstrators broke into a reception area inside the front gate but did not reach the main embassy buildings. They chanted “Death to America” and threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at the compound. In a series of tweets, Trump accused Tehran of orchestrating the attack.
Jan. 2 - Secretary Esper warned that the United States “will not accept continued attacks against our personnel & forces in the region.” He said that the United States would take “preemptive action” to defend U.S. interests against Iranian plots. “The game has changed,” Esper told reporters during a briefing.
Jan. 3 - President Trump ordered an airstrike on a convoy of Iranian and Iraqi military leaders leaving Baghdad airport. The drone attack, launched on January 3 (January 2 U.S. time), killed seven people including General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the IRGC's elite Qods Force, and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, a Kataib Hezbollah leader. Muhandis was also the deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an umbrella group of militias formed to fight ISIS. Many PMF militias have received arms, training and funding from Iran.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani as the new commander of the Qods Force. Ghaani had worked closely with Soleimani and had been deputy commander of the Qods Force since 1997.
Jan. 4 - Iranian General Gholamali Abuhamzeh said that the IRGC had identified at least 35 U.S. targets that could be hit in retaliatory strikes. He specifically named U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf and the city of Tel Aviv.
Trump warned that the United States had identified 52 targets, including cultural sites, and that Washington would strike if Iran attempted retaliatory attacks on U.S. interests. Trump said that the 52 sites represented the 52 American hostages held by Iranian protestors in the 1979 attack of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Jan 6 - Hundreds of thousands of Iranians turned out for Soleimani’s funeral in Tehran. Many shouted “Death to America.” Supreme Leader Khamenei wept over the coffin. Soleimani’s successor, Esmail Ghaani, warned that Iran would take revenge. The late general’s daughter, Zeinab, lashed out against President Trump. “You crazy Trump, the symbol of ignorance, the slave of Zionists, don’t think that the killing of my father will finish everything,” she told mourners. “The families of the American soldiers in western Asia will spend their days waiting for the death of their children.”
Jan. 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 Soleimani. No U.S. or Iraqi personnel were harmed, according to initial reports. Iran was quick to claim responsibility for the attack on U.S. forces. But its foreign minister also emphasized that Tehran did not seek war.
President Trump took to Twitter and implied that the damage to the al Assad and Irbil facilities was not serious. “All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now. So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning,” he tweeted.
Later in the day, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran’s ultimate goal was to expel U.S. forces from the wider Middle East. “Military action like this is not sufficient. What is important is ending the corrupting presence of America in the region,” he said in a televised speech. As of January 2020, the United States had more than 60,000 troops deployed throughout the wider region, including Afghanistan, which borders Iran.
Feb. 9 - The USS Normandy interdicted the Al Qanas 1, an unflagged dhow in the Arabian Sea manned by Yemeni nationals. The vessel was carrying 150 anti-tank missiles, three surface-to-air missiles, night vision scopes and drone components, the Justice Department reported. U.S. naval personnel interrogated the dhow’s crew before handing them over to the Yemeni Coast Guard. The weapons were “destined for the Houthi rebels,” according to the Pentagon. “There’s not a plausible explanation for how these weapons got on the dhow without the sanction of the Iranian government,” said Captain Bill Urban, the CENTCOM spokesperson. The Justice Department later connected the Al Qanas 1 to the Qods Force. A U.N. panel of experts also concluded that the anti-tank missiles were most likely "manufactured in the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Feb. 11 - The Pentagon acknowledged that 109 U.S. troops suffered brain injuries during the Iranian attack on two Iraqi bases in January.
March 11 - Some 30 Katyusha rockets were launched at Camp Taji base near Baghdad. More than a dozen landed on the base, wounding 14 and killing two U.S. and one British service members. No group claimed responsibility for the attack, but Iran-backed militias, including Kataib Hezbollah, Kataib Sayyed al Shuhada and Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba lauded the operation.
March 13 - At approximately 1:30 a.m., U.S. forces struck Kataib Hezbollah sites in retaliation for the attack on Camp Taji. “These strikes targeted five weapon storage facilities to significantly degrade their ability to conduct future attacks against Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) coalition forces,” the Pentagon said. The targets were concentrated in central Iraq, according to local sources.
April 1 - In a tweet, President Donald Trump warned that Iran would pay a “very heavy price” if it or one of its proxies attacked U.S. troops or assets in Iraq. He cited a possible “sneak attack” but did not provide further details.
April - Iran’s foreign ministry warned that U.S. Patriot battery deployments to Iraq constituted “warmongering” that could lead to “instability and disaster.”
April 4 - The IRGC deployed Fajr-5 missile batteries on Qeshm Island in the Strait of Hormuz. The rockets could hit targets up to 45 miles away. Mobile anti-ship missile launchers were also installed on the island.
April 15 - The United States accused Iranian military vessels of conducting “dangerous and harassing” maneuvers close to U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Persian Gulf. A group of 11 IRGC speedboats repeatedly approached six U.S. military vessels at close range and at high speeds, the Pentagon said. The U.S. warships were conducting joint training operations with U.S. Army helicopters in international waters. On April 22, President Trump said that he had instructed the Navy to “destroy” Iranian gunboats if they harassed U.S. ships.
May 9 – A cyberattack hit computers that regulate maritime traffic at Shahid Rajaee port on Iran's southern coast in the Persian Gulf. The disruption created a traffic jam of ships that waited days to dock. Iran acknowledged that it had been hit by a foreign hack. Israel was reportedly behind the cyberattack, although it did not claim responsibility, according to The Washington Post.
May 11 - An Iranian warship mistakenly fired a missile at another Iranian naval vessel, killing at least 19 sailors and wounding 15 others. The accident took place during a military training exercise near the port of Jask in the Gulf of Oman.
June 28 - The U.S. Navy and partner forces interdicted a boat off the coast of Yemen. The vessel was carrying “200 RPGs, more than 1,700 AK rifles, 21 surface-to-air and land-attack missiles, several anti-tank missiles, and other advanced weapons and missiles,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on July 8, 2020. “Iran is not abiding by the U.N. arms embargo restrictions that are due to expire in less than four months now.”
July 2 - A mysterious explosion extensively damaged Iran’s main nuclear enrichment site at Natanz. The blast damaged a factory producing advanced IR-4 and IR-6 centrifuges that enrich uranium faster than the IR-1 models allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal. Enriched uranium can be used to produce energy or fuel a bomb. The damage set back the enrichment program by months, Iran conceded.
July 28 - During a military wargame, Iran ran a mock attack on a fake U.S. aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz. The exercise – dubbed Great Prophet 14 – involved the IRGC’s air force and navy, but Iran’s conventional navy, which operates mainly in the Gulf of Oman and the Caspian Sea, did not participate. U.S. Central Command condemned the wargame as “irresponsible and reckless.”
Aug. 14 - A U.S. proposal that would prevent all U.N. members from selling conventional arms to Iran failed at the Security Council. The vote — two in favor (the United States and the Dominican Republic), two opposed (Russia and China), and 11 abstentions — was a blow to the Trump administration.
Aug. 17 - Iran offered bounties to Taliban fighters to target U.S. forces and coalition troops in Afghanistan, CNN reported. Iran was linked to at least six attacks in 2019 by the Haqqani network, including one on Bagram Air Base outside Kabul. Iran denied the reports as U.S. propaganda.
Sept. 10-12 - Iran tested cruise missiles and drones during an annual three-day wargame to test military capabilities at sea, both offensively and defensively. The Zolfaghar-99 exercise, named after Imam Ali’s sword, was held on and around three key waterways — the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman and the northern Indian Ocean, an area totaling 772,200 square miles. It mobilized Iran’s conventional navy, army and air force participated, although the IRGC did not participate.
Oct. 18 - The global ban on the sale of conventional arms to Iran expired and opened the way for Tehran to import weapons, including warplanes, helicopter gunships, missiles, tanks, artillery, and other weapon systems. The ban was imposed in 2010 by U.N. Resolution 1929. The embargo was lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear deal as one of the incentives for Tehran to limit its nuclear program. The provision also allowed Iran to export its domestically produced arms for the first time in a decade.
Nov. 27 - Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, widely believed to be the pioneer behind Iran’s nuclear weapons program, was assassinated in a roadside attack about 40 miles east of Tehran. Iran blamed Israel and vowed retaliation. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ruled out new diplomacy with the United States in a statement read by his representative at the scientist’s funeral on November 30.
Early February - Iran and North Korea resumed cooperation on long-range missile development, including on a space launch vehicle, according to a U.N. panel that was monitoring sanction on North Korea. The experts, citing U.N. member state, said that North Korea transferred critical parts to Iran as recently as 2020.
Feb. 14 - Iran's army said that it had tested a short-range “smart” missile with a range of 300 km (186 miles). Gen. Kioumars Heidari claimed that the missile could work under all weather conditions.
Feb. 25 - The United States conducted airstrikes in eastern Syria against Iran-backed militias in the first military action by the Biden administration. The Pentagon said that warplanes struck “several facilities” used by Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al Shuhada, two Iraqi Shiite militias trained, armed and funded by Iran. The facilities were located near the Abu Kamal border crossing on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq. The exact death toll was unclear; Kataib Hezbollah claimed that one of its fighters was killed, while a Britain-based monitor claimed that at least 22 militants had been killed. On March 1, the Pentagon said that one fighter was killed and two others were injured.
Feb. 26 – The Israeli-owned Helios Ray cargo ship, which flies a Bahamian flag, was damaged by two limpet mines in the Gulf of Oman. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Iran for the attack but did not provide specifics. “Iran is the greatest enemy of Israel, I am determined to halt it. We are hitting it in the entire region,” he said on March 1. Tehran denied responsibility. Israel is “playing the victim to distract attention away from all its destabilizing acts and malign practices across the region,” Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council on March 9.
March 10 – An Iranian container ship, the Shahr-e Kord, was hit by an explosive object in international waters – about 50 miles off the Israeli coast and reportedly heading for the Syrian port of Latakia – in the eastern Mediterranean. It caused a small fire but no casualties. Iran blamed Israel for the attack because of the geographical location and the way the ship was targeted. The shipping company claimed that the Shahr-e Kord was bound for Europe.
March 25 – The LORI, an Israeli-owned cargo ship that flies a Liberian flag, was struck by a missile in the Arabian Sea. The damage was minimal, and the LORI continued to its final destination in India. A senior Israeli defense official claimed that the IRGC had fired the missile.
April 6 – An Iranian ship, the Saviz, was damaged by a mine planted on its hull in the Red Sea near Djibouti. The vessel had been floating off the coast of Yemen for several years. Iran claimed that the ship was involved in anti-piracy operation. But the Saviz was an armory ship used as a covert “forward base” by the Revolutionary Guards near the strategic Bab el Mandab straits, the U.S. Naval Institute reported in October 2020. Israel reportedly conducted the attack in retaliation for previous Iranian strikes, according to The New York Times.
April 11 - An explosion at Natanz hit the power supply for centrifuges and caused damage that could take up to nine months to fully repair, The New York Times reported. It was the second major attack to sabotage operations at Natanz in less than a year. In July 2020, an explosion caused significant damage to a centrifuge factory. Foreign Minister Zarif blamed Israel and vowed revenge. “We will not fall into their trap,” he told a state television. “We will not allow this act of sabotage to affect the nuclear talks.”
April 13 – The Hyperion Ray, an Israeli-owned cargo ship that flew the Bahamian flag, was struck by a missile or an unmanned drone near the Fujairah port in the United Arab Emirates. There were no casualties, and the ship continued on its route. The ship was attacked two days after Israel allegedly sabotaged the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had vowed “revenge” on Israel.
May 6 to 7 - The USS Monterey interdicted an unflagged dhow in the northern Arabian Sea with a large cache of illicit weapons, including dozens of Russian anti-tank missiles, thousands of Chinese-made assault rifles, and hundreds of machine guns, sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. Navy photos showed the weaponry laid out on the deck of the Monterey. The source and destination of the weapons were “under investigation,” U.S. 5th Fleet based in Bahrain said in a statement. U.S. naval and coast guard personnel removed the cargo from the dhow and questioned the crew before releasing them.
May 7 - Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei decried Israel as a “despotic regime” and praised the “recent uprising of [Palestinian] youth in defending” al Aqsa mosque. “Israel is not a country, rather it is a terrorist camp against the Palestinian nation and other Muslim nations,” he said in a speech. A Palestinian Islamic Jihad official claimed that his group had purchased their rockets “with Iranian money” and had been trained to fire them by Iranian military advisors. “I am proud to say that the rockets that are used to pound Tel Aviv have an Iranian signature on them,” Ramez al Halabi told an Iraqi TV channel.
May 10 – 20: Iranian leaders offered unequivocal support after Palestinian militants in Gaza fired rockets at Israeli cities, and Israel responded with airstrikes on May 10. Khamenei called on Palestinians to “confront the enemy” and “stand strong” against Israel. “One can only talk with the language of strength with these criminals,” he said in a video message on May 11. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif released a video in Arabic on May 11 condemning Israel as “racist” and calling for a “popular referendum” to determine the future of the Holy Land.
On May 20, Israel and Hamas agreed to an Egypt-brokered ceasefire that went into effect the next morning. On May 21, Khamenei congratulated the Palestinians on their “victory” over Israel. “Greetings to the heroic, resistant Gaza. Greetings to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all jihadi and political groups in Palestine,” he wrote. “The savage, wolf-like enemy has realized correctly that it is powerless when facing the unified uprising of Palestine.”
June 27 – The United States conducted airstrikes against three targets operated by two Iraqi militias—Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al Shuhada—that are trained, armed, funded and sometimes directed by Iran. F-15 and F-16 fighters targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq. The U.S. strikes were in response to a string of at least six drone attacks attributed to Iraqi militias from April to June 2021.
July 3 – The CSAV Tyndall, a formerly Israeli-owned cargo ship that flew the Liberian flag, was struck by either a missile or an unmanned drone in the Indian Ocean while sailing from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to the United Arab Emirates. There were no casualties, but the ship suffered minor damage. Israeli security officials believed that Iran was responsible for the attack, Haaretz reported. The ship had previously been owned by Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer but was sold months ago, the Times of Israel reported. The vessel's owner at the time of the attack was Polar 5 LTD, a London-based shipping company.
July 15 – Facebook took down nearly 200 fake accounts used by Iranian hackers to target U.S., British and European military and defense personnel. The hackers, known as Tortoiseshell, sought to infect victims’ computers with malware and steal their login information. The malware used by the hackers was developed by Mahak Rayan Afraz (MRA), “an [information technology] company in Tehran with ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC),” according to Facebook’s cybersecurity team.
The hackers, known as Tortoiseshell, posed as recruiters for the defense and aerospace industries, as well as employees in the hospitality industry, medicine, journalism, NGOs and civilian airliners. They reached out to their targets online to "build trust and trick them into clicking on malicious links," Facebook said in a statement. The hackers also ran several fake job recruiting websites, including one that mimicked the U.S. Department of Labor's job website, to steal their victims' login credentials. "This activity had the hallmarks of a well-resourced and persistent operation, while relying on relatively strong operational security measures to hide who’s behind it," the statement said.
July 26 – The Revolutionary Guards researched how to hack water filtration and ballast systems to sink cargo ships, Sky News reported. "These pumps are used to bring water into the tanks through centrifuges and in order to operate correctly, the task must be completed with precision," one report read. "Any problems could result in the sinking of the ship." The documents "seem to indicate how cyber capabilities can be put to use in the maritime conflict between Israel and Iran," Haaretz reported.
July 29 – The Mercer Street—an oil tanker owned by a Japanese company that flew the Liberian flag but was managed by Zodiac Maritime, which is headed by an Israeli shipping magnate—was attacked off the coast of Oman. Israeli officials told The New York Times that multiple Iranian drones were involved in the attack. Two crew members, one British national and one Romanian national, were reportedly killed. “Iran is not just an Israeli problem, but an exporter of terrorism, destruction and instability that are hurting us all,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid tweeted. On August 1, U.S., British and Israeli officials charged that Iran was behind the attack.
Iran denied involvement while Iranian state media reported that the attack on the tanker was in response to an alleged Israeli attack on al Dabaa airport in Syria. Al Alam News Network cited “informed sources in the region,” but did not specify who attacked the Mercer Street.
August 6 - U.S. Central Command released the findings of its investigation into the Mercer Street drone attack and published photos of debris recovered from the tanker. Forensic analysis confirmed that the drone components were identical to Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and that it was loaded with explosives.
August 17 – Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed Admiral Shahram Irani as the new commander of Iran's conventional navy. Irani was likely the first Sunni or Kurdish military officer to serve at that level of seniority, The Jerusalem Post reported.
August 25 – Israel claimed that the drone used to attack the Mercer Street, an oil tanker floating off the Omani coast, on July 29 was "launched from Iranian territory and approved by the Iranian leadership." Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz briefed foreign diplomats in Jerusalem on the drone attack, as well as Iran's doubling of military spending over the past five years.
September 7 – General Mohammad Pakpour, the commander of the IRGC ground forces, warned Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) against harboring Iranian Kurdish opposition groups. His comments followed a spate of border clashes between Iranian forces and Iranian Kurdish militants based in the KRG. “The current situation is no longer tolerable,” Pakpour said. He advised locals to keep their distance from the “terrorists’ positions” because Iran’s response would be “decisive and harsh.”
September 8 – The U.S Navy’s 5th Fleet, based in Bahrain, announced a new task force focused on integrating sailing, airborne, and underwater drones. The 5th Fleet’s area of operations includes the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and parts of the Indian Ocean.
September 15 – The Justice Department sentenced an Iranian national, Mehrdad Ansari, to more than five years in prison for trying to obtain parts that have potential military uses for Iran. The parts Ansari procured would allow Iran to test weapons and communications systems.
September 17 – The Treasury Department announced sanctions, authorized under Executive Order 13224, on a network of facilitators and front companies in the Middle East and Far East that helped fund Hezbollah and the IRGC’s elite Qods Force. The Treasury designated 11 individuals in China, Kuwait, and Lebanon, as well as eight entities in China and Hong Kong.
September 30 – ImageSat International (ISI), an Israeli satellite imaging company, published photos showing evidence of an explosion at an IRGC facility on September 26. The IRGC had previously reported that two of its members died in an unexplained fire. ISI claimed that the facility was a secret base key involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program.
October 4 – Iran allegedly plotted an attempted attack against Israeli businesspeople living in Cyprus, according to a spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s. On September 27, Cypriot authorities had arrested an individual armed with a pistol and cartridges.
October 11 – Microsoft announced that a hacking group linked to Iran attempted to gain access to more than 250 accounts “with a focus on U.S. and Israeli defense technology companies, Persian Gulf ports of entry, or global maritime transportation companies with business presence in the Middle East.” Some of the targeted companies produce drones, military-grade radars and other advanced equipment.
October 12 – The Revolutionary Guards and the conventional army, the Artesh, held an annual air defense drill called “Velayat.” The two-day exercise in the central desert featured use of a wide range of missile, radar, reconnaissance and electronic warfare technologies.
October 20 – The U.S. base at al Tanf in southern Syria was hit by drones and rockets in a “deliberate and coordinated attack,” Central Command said. Iran appeared to be responsible for the attack, which included up to five drones carrying explosives, U.S. officials told the Associated Press. The drones were Iranian but were launched from within Syria, officials told CBS News. The U.S. military was warned about the attack and evacuated some 200 troops on C-130 military transport planes. Only about two dozen remained at al Tanf but were unharmed, although bomb fragments were found near sleeping quarters and guard posts, according to Fox News.
October 29 – The United States sanctioned four men and two companies for supporting Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programs run by the IRGC and its external operations arms, the Qods Force.
November 3 – The IRGC claimed that it had thwarted an attempt by the U.S. Navy to detain a tanker carrying Iranian oil in the Sea of Oman. But U.S. officials denied the report and said that Iran actually seized a Vietnamese-flagged tanker on October 24.
November 7 – Three quadcopter drones were launched at the home of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi inside the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad. Kadhimi was unharmed, but six guards were reportedly wounded. General Kenneth McKenzie Jr., the head of U.S. Central Command, blamed Iran-backed militias for the attack. No party claimed responsibility, but the attack was initially linked to Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al Haq (AAH), Shiite militias supported by Iran.
November 9 – Iran wrapped up a three-day war game, Zolfaghar-1400, in which the conventional navy, army, air force and air defense force participated. The military tested a wide variety of weapons, including cruise missiles, torpedoes and suicide drones. The exercise was held around four key waterways – the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean – an area totaling more than 386,000 square miles (1 million square kilometers).
November 15 – The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed that an Iranian naval helicopter had circled the USS Essex in the Gulf of Oman on November 11. “There was no impact ultimately to the Essex transit or their operations. But that doesn't mean that this wasn't an unsafe and unprofessional act,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said.
November 17 – Australian and British cybersecurity agencies said that an Iran-backed hacking group was targeting the transportation and healthcare sectors in the United States as well as Australian organizations. In a separate blog post, Microsoft said that six distinct groups linked to Iran were deploying ransomware, which often encrypts data until a victim sends payment to the hackers.
November 18 – The United States sanctioned six Iranian men and one company, Emennet Pasargad, for attempting to interfere with the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
November 22 – Bahrain’s interior ministry said that security forces had apprehended several individuals “linked with terrorist groups in Iran” and armed with weapons and explosives. The detained militants were allegedly “plotting terrorist operations against security and civil peace.”
December 7 – Justice Department announced the forfeiture of Iranian weapons bound for Yemen and oil bound for Venezuela. The property was obtained through three seizures:
- On Nov. 25, 2019 and Feb. 9, 2020, U.S. Navy Central Command seized weapons from two flagless ships in the Arabian Sea, including 171 guided anti-tank missiles, eight surface-to-air missiles, land attack cruise missile components, anti-ship cruise missile components, thermal weapons optics, and other components for missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles. The weapons were allegedly sent by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and were intended for Houthi rebels in Yemen.
- On Aug. 12, 2020, the United States seized 1.1 million barrels of oil from four Greek-owned tankers bound for Venezuela. All four ships were Liberian-flagged. Two ships were reportedly interdicted in the Gulf of Oman, and two were near Mozambique. The United States commissioned third party vessels to take possession of the cargo “with the assistance of foreign partners” and carry it to Houston.
December 20 – The U.S. Navy seized some 1,400 AK-47 assault rifles and 226,600 rounds of ammunition from a fishing vessel in the northern Arabian Sea. The stateless vessel originated in Iran and was traveling along a route historically used to illicitly traffic weapons to Yemen’s Houthi rebels, which are supported by Iran.
December 20-24 – Iran tested a wide variety of weapons, including ballistic missiles, drones and tanks, during a wargame. The Great Prophet 17 exercise was held along the Persian Gulf coast in the southern provinces of Bushehr, Hormozgan and Khuzestan. The ground, naval and aerospace units of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) participated.
January 3 – U.S. forces in Iraq shot down two armed drones approaching a military base near Baghdad International Airport that hosts U.S. military advisors. “Soleimani’s revenge” was written on one wing of the drones. “Revenge operations for our leaders” was written on another wing. The attack coincided with the two-year anniversary of the U.S. assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Qods Force, and Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, an Iraqi militia leader.
To mark the anniversary of Soleimani’s death, pro-Iranian hackers launched a cyber attack on The Jerusalem Post website. The newspaper’s homepage was replaced with a graphic of a fist with a red ring – similar to the one worn by Soleimani – firing at a model of Israel’s Dimona nuclear facility. The picture included a message in English and Hebrew: “We are close to you where you do not think about it.” The Twitter account of Maariv newspaper, a sister publication, was also hacked and briefly ran the same graphic.
January 4 – Iraqi forces shot down two armed drones approaching Ain al Asad, an air base in western Anbar province that hosts U.S. troops. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said that the two drone attacks in January were “very much in keeping with the kind of attacks we've seen from Iran-backed militias in Iraq and in Syria, and so obviously our working-level assumption is that such groups were responsible for these.”
January 5 – “Iran-supported malign actors” fired eight rockets at the Green Village, a base in eastern Syria that houses U.S. troops, according to the U.S.-led coalition to defeat ISIS. Coalition forces fired six artillery rounds in response. On the previous day, the coalition launched pre-emptive strikes on several rocket launch sites near the Green Village.
A Katyusha rocket hit an Iraqi base hosting U.S. forces near Baghdad International Airport. It did not appear to cause any damage or injuries. The attack mirrored others attributed to Iran-backed militias.
The IRGC and the governor of Alborz province dismissed rumors about an explosion in the city of Karaj, the location of a plant that produces centrifuges, machines that are key to Iran’s nuclear program because they enrich uranium. The Karaj plant was sabotaged in an attack in June 2021 that Iran blamed on Israel. The IRGC attributed the loud noise that sparked the rumors to a training exercise involving rocket fire.
January 12 – U.S. Cyber Command said that MuddyWater, a group of hackers, was part of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). Since at least 2017, MuddyWater hackers have reportedly attacked government and private sector targets, such as telecommunication firms, in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.
January 17 – Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are supported by Iran, launched drones, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles at targets in the United Arab Emirates, including Abu Dhabi’s airport, Dubai’s airport and an oil refinery. Two Indians and one Pakistani were killed. The Saudi-led military coalition responded with strikes on Yemen’s capital, Sanaa. At last 20 people, including a senior Houthi military leader and civilians, were reportedly killed. Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi vice minister of defense, alleged that “Houthi terrorism is perpetuated by a flow of Iranian weapons.”
January 19 – President Ebrahim Raisi discussed ways to expand ties with Russia during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. During the three-hour exchange, they covered trade, banking, transportation, energy, regional security, and other issues. “We in Iran have no limits for expanding ties with Russia,” Raisi said. He also presented a draft of a 20-year strategic cooperation agreement, which has been in the works since 2020.
January 27 – Saber Fakih, a 46-year-old British national, pleaded guilty to violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. In federal court in Washington, D.C., Fakih said that he conspired with four other men to export an Industrial Microwave System (IMS) and counter-drone system from the United States to Iran. The IMS, with some modifications, could be used to make a directed-energy weapon that could take down drones. On the same day, the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment charging Fakih’s coconspirators with the same offense and other charges.
February 2 – Iran’s judiciary announced the arrest of the second-in-command of Tondar, an obscure opposition group based in California. The judiciary said the man known as “Masmatus” was apprehended the previous month. He was allegedly connected to an attack on a mosque that left 14 dead in 2008.
February 9 – Iran unveiled a new ballistic missile with a claimed range of 1,450 kilometers (900 miles). The missile's name, "Kheibar Shekan" (Kheibar Buster), refers to a Jewish castle and oasis conquered by Muslim warriors in the 7th century in the Hijaz region of the Arabian Peninsula. Iranian media reported that the new model's weight was one-third less than similar missiles and took much less time to launch.
February 21 – The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet announced a new joint fleet of U.S. and ally-state drones to patrol waterways in the Middle East - especially areas critical to the global oil trade, including the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab el Mandeb Strait. Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, who commands the fleet, said that he hoped to incorporate artificial intelligence into this monitoring regime by the summer of 2023.
February 22 – Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz claimed that Iran had transferred technical knowledge about manufacturing advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Venezuela. He displayed a photo of Venezuela’s president with an Iranian Mohajer drone.
March 13 – Iran launched a dozen ballistic missiles into neighboring Iraq. The 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. The missiles landed near a new U.S. consulate complex under construction, but the site was not damaged. “We do not believe that the consulate was actually the target of this missile attack,” Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said on March 13. One civilian was injured, according to Kurdish authorities.
March 30 – The United States sanctioned an Iranian man and four companies for procuring equipment used in Iran’s ballistic missile program.
April 7 – Iran-backed militants reportedly fired several rockets at the Green Village, a base in eastern Syria used by U.S.-led forces from the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. Four U.S. personnel were injured.
April 11 – Iran was helping to smuggle weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine, according to The Guardian. The weapons, including rocket propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles, were provided by Iraqi militias backed by Iran.
April 18 – Iran unveiled two new drones, the Kaman-22 and Ababil-5, during a military parade in Tehran marking National Army Day. The Kaman-22 has a range of more than 3,000 kilometers and can carry out strikes as well as surveillance and reconnaissance missions. No details were released about the Ababil-5.
May 17 – Iran-backed forces attacked Patrol Base Shaddadi, according to Operational Inherent Resolve, which did not publicize details. Shaddadi is a base hosting U.S. forces in northeastern Syria.
May 26 – An engineer died in a what local media described as an accident at Parchin, a military facility. In 2015, the U.N. nuclear watchdog collected environmental samples from the site as part of an investigation into possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program.
June 1 – FBI Director Christopher Wray alleged that Iran-backed hackers targeted Boston Children’s Hospital in “one of the most despicable cyberattacks” he has seen. Hackers attempted to infiltrate the facility’s computer network in June 2021, but the FBI warned the hospital, then helped identify and mitigate the threat in time.
June 6 – Six Arab Gulf countries sanctioned three Iranians for helping fund the Qods Force, which conducts the IRGC’s external operations, and Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party and militia.
June 8 – Russian officials reportedly visited Kashan Airfield in central Iran to inspect the Shahed-129 and Shahed- 191 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Both drones can carry out reconnaissance and attack missions.
June 13 – 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 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. No details about his death were reported.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid warned that Iranian agents were plotting to kidnap or murder Israeli citizens in Istanbul, a popular vacation destination.
June 20 – Three IRGC fast-attack boats nearly collided with two U.S. Navy Ships, the USS Sirocco and Choctaw County, in the Strait of Hormuz. The ships approached at a “dangerously high speed” and came within 50 yards of the Choctaw County, which fired a warning flare, the U.S. Navy reported. The incident lasted for about an hour.
June 27 – State-owned Khuzestan Steel Co. said that it halted production due to a cyber attack that also targeted two other plants. A hacker group known as “Predatory Sparrow” claimed responsibility and shared footage of what appeared to be a fire on a production line. “These companies are subject to international sanctions and continue their operations despite the restrictions,” the group said in a statement.
June 29 – Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz alleged that Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah conducted a cyberattack against the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. “The leader of global, conventional terrorism is Iran. This is also true for cyberterrorism,” Gantz said at the Cyber Week conference in Tel Aviv.
Mohammad Sayyad, an Iranian border guard, was killed in an ‘incident’ at the Milak crossing on the Iran-Afghanistan border, in Sistan and Baluchistan province. “Officials in Afghanistan's caretaker government are expected to take serious action to clarify the dimensions of the issue, punish the perpetrators and take the necessary measures to prevent similar incidents,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanani said.
July 5 – A second Russian delegation reportedly visited Kashan Airfield to examine Iranian drone technology.
July 7 – Britain and the United States had confiscated Iranian weapons bound for Yemen during naval military operations on January 28 and February 25, according to the Royal Navy and U.S. CENTCOM. The equipment included surface-to-air missiles and cruise-missile rocket engines that were on speedboats in the Gulf of Oman. “This is the first time a British Naval warship has interdicted a vessel carrying such sophisticated weapons from Iran,” the Royal Navy said in a statement.
July 11 – National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan revealed that Iran was preparing to provide Russia with “up to several hundred” drones.
July 26 – Four rockets were fired near Patrol Base Shaddadi, a base hosting U.S. forces in northeastern Syria. No casualties or damage were reported. "The attempted strikes were ineffective and landed well outside the Coalition base. Our Syrian Democratic Partners quickly responded to the incident and have the lead for any further response” a senior coalition official reportedly said. No group claimed responsibility.
August 5 – Iran had transferred 46 UAVs, including Shahed-129s, to Russia for use against Ukraine, said Oleksiy Arestovych, a Ukrainian presidential advisor.
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.
August 11 – The State Department confirmed that Russian officials had been trained on drone technology in Iran “in the last several weeks.”
August 15 – Two drones approached the al Tanf Garrison, a remote outpost in southern Syria. Coalition forces intercepted one drone, but a second one detonated in a compound used by Maghaweir al Thowra, a U.S.-backed Syrian opposition group. No casualties or damage were reported, Operational Inherent Resolve said in a statement. The Pentagon later said the drones, produced in Iran, were launched from Babil, Iraq by Iran-backed groups.
In a separate incident, militants fired rockets at the Green Village base in Syria. “Thankfully on this occasion, there were no casualties and no damage reported. However, attacks like this risk both the lives of innocent civilians and important infrastructure due to their indiscriminate nature,” Maj. Gen. John Brennan, the commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, said. U.S. Central Command later attributed both attacks to Iran-backed groups.
A military drone competition began in the central city of Kashan. Representatives from Armenia, Belarus and Russia participated in the “Falcon Hunting” tournament hosted by the aerospace branch of the IRGC.
August 19 – Russian cargo planes carrying at least three types of Iranian drones – the Shahed-129, the Shahed-191 and the Mohajer-6 – departed Tehran. All three can carry out reconnaissance and attack missions.
August 20 – A Russian military aircraft reportedly flew to Tehran with:
- $145 million in cash
- a British NLAW anti-tank missile
- a U.S. Javelin anti-tank missile
- a U.S. Stinger anti-aircraft missile
The British and American munitions were in a shipment originally meant for Ukraine, according to Sky News. But Russia intercepted the munitions. In return, Iran provided Russia with 160 UAVs, including 100 Shahed-136 suicide drones.
August 23 – U.S. warplanes struck nine bunkers in eastern Deir Ezzor province. The targets had reportedly been used for ammunition storage and logistics support by Iran-backed groups. A Britain-based monitor said that at least six militants were killed. The airstrikes were in response to attacks on U.S and partner forces on August 15.
August 24-25 – Iran-backed militants fired rockets at two bases in northeastern Syria, Conoco and the Green Village. Three U.S. troops were injured. In response, U.S. forces used helicopters, gunships and artillery to destroy three vehicles and rocket launchers used in the previous attack. Two or three militants were killed, according to the Pentagon. U.S. warplanes and artillery later fired on militants preparing to launch rockets. One additional militant was killed.
August 29 – The Shahid Baziar, a support ship in the IRGC Navy, seized a U.S. Saildrone Explorer drone equipped with sensitive radar, sensors and cameras in the Persian Gulf. The Iranian ship released the U.S. craft four hours after a U.S. warship and helicopter approached. The seizure was “flagrant, unwarranted and inconsistent with the behavior of a professional maritime force,” Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of naval forces in the U.S. 5th, said in a statement.
September 1 – An Iranian destroyer, the Jamaran, seized two other Saildrone Explorers in the Red Sea, loaded them aboard, and covered them with tarp. The Jamaran is part of the Iranian Navy fleet, which operates separately from the Revolutionary Guards. The United States dispatched two guided-missile destroyers as well as helicopters in response. Iran released the drones the next day on September 2.
September 8 – The United States sanctioned four Iranian companies and a defense contractor for providing drones to Russia for use in Ukraine.
September 9 – The United States sanctioned Iran’s intelligence ministry and minister for cyberattacks against the United States and its allies.
September 12 – Iran unveiled a new suicide drone, the Arash-2, that was designed to attack Tel Aviv and Haifa, two of Israel’s major cities. Brig. Gen. Kioumars Heydari, the commander of the conventional army’s ground forces, did not provide details about the vehicle’s capabilities.
Iran has used more than 10 military facilities in Syria to manufacture advanced weapons, including missiles, for Hezbollah and other proxies, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said.
September 14 – The United States sanctioned 10 Iranian men and two companies for hacking computer systems and installing ransomware, which can prevent victims from getting access to their files and data unless they pay a ransom to the hackers. “Ransomware actors and other cybercriminals target businesses and critical infrastructure and threaten the physical security and economy of the United States and other nations,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Concurrently, the Justice Department charged three of the men sanctioned by the Treasury for a scheme to hack computer systems of hundreds of victims in the United States, Britain, Israel, Iran, and elsewhere. The State Department offered a reward of up to $10 million dollars for information on them.
September 24 – The IRGC launched artillery strikes from Iran’s West Azerbaijan province targeting “headquarters of anti-Iranian terrorists” in northern Iraq. “These operations ... will continue in order to ensure viable border security, punish criminal terrorists and hold officials (of the Kurdish Regional Government) accountable towards international regulations and their legal duties,” the IRGC said in a statement. Shells first hit the mountainous areas of Barzin Gur Saya and Horne near Iraq’s border with Iran. The mayor of Sedekan reported that there were no casualties.
September 25 – Iran continued shelling remote areas of Erbil province in northern Iraq. The IRGC urged local civilians to stay away from the bases of Kurdish militant groups. No casualties were reported.
September 26 – The IRGC continued artillery strikes in Erbil province for the third consecutive day. Iran also launched drone strikes on Iranian Kurdish dissidents. “Today, three times, the Islamic Republic (of Iran) bombed the Halgurd Mountain side where our forces are based,” Atta Nasir, a central committee member of the Komala party, said. The mayor of Sedekan again confirmed that there were no casualties. “Thankfully, no one was hurt, but farmers lost farm buildings and sheep,” he said.
September 27 – The IRGC, using artillery and drones, continued attacking targets in Erbil province for a fourth consecutive day. The IRGC claimed it targeted bases of the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK). The mayor of Qasre said that an explosive-laden drone exploded in Marga village. But no casualties were reported.
September 28 – The IRGC escalated its campaign in northern Iraq. It claimed to have launched 73 missiles and dozens of armed drones at 42 targets across a 250-mile-wide area. The IRGC targeted three Iranian Kurdish opposition groups – the Komala Party, the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI), and the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK). Tehran had blamed Kurdish groups for supporting protests inside Iran.
The strikes killed at least 13 people and wounded at least 58 others. Civilians, including children, were reportedly among the dead and injured. The PDKI reported that it was targeted with “dozens” of suicide drones. The Komala Party also reported being hit by drones and the PAK stated that at least six of its members were killed.
The United States scrambled an F-15 jet to intercept a drone that appeared to threaten U.S. forces near Erbil. In a statement, U.S. Central Command condemned Iran’s behavior. “Such indiscriminate attacks threaten innocent civilians and risk the hard-fought stability of the region.”
September 29 – The IRGC continued shelling targets in northern Iraq for the sixth consecutive day. The Saqer and Berbizin districts of Erbil were hit from the previous night until the morning, according to local Kurdish forces. The Komala Party reported that three of its members were injured in the attacks.
September 30 – The IRGC continued artillery strikes for the seventh consecutive day. It targeted Sedekan, but no casualties were reported. The deputy commissioner of Koya, Erbil province stated that 600 families had evacuated their homes due to Iran’s campaign.
Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, warned the United States to not interfere. “If Americans carry out any action against Iranian drones, the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran will respond to their hostile measure," Bagheri said. “For the time being, we do not have any action against Americans.” A U.S. jet had downed an Iranian drone on September 28.
October 1 – The IRGC launched artillery strikes for the eighth consecutive day. It targeted Samilan, in Choman district, Sedekan, and the villages of Saqer, Barzein, Parez, and Katine. The IRGC also launched five rockets targeting the Komala party headquarters on Mount Halgurd, according to Hengaw, a human rights group.
The inhabitants of six villages evacuated due to the attacks, a Sedekan official said. “The locals, who make a living off livestock and agriculture, had to leave their farms and cattle for safety.”
October 2 – The IRGC launched attacks, with drones and artillery, for the ninth consecutive day. It targeted Komala and KDPI bases around Sedekan and the Saqer and Berbizin mountain regions near Choman, Erbil province. A drone also exploded in Warda village. Komala and KDPI did not report any casualties.
October 3 – The IRGC launched artillery strikes for the 10th consecutive day, targeting the Saqer and Berbizin mountain region, as well as Sedekan. The attacks reportedly started early in the morning and lasted through the afternoon. No casualties were reported.
Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour, the commander of IRGC ground forces, cited the “illegal entry of armed teams linked with terrorist groups” into Iran as the reason for the campaign. “For this purpose, we first started shelling the bases of terrorists on the borders of our country with artillery and rockets, and then we hit the bases of terrorist elements up to 130 kilometers (81 miles) deep from the borders of our country,” he said.
October 4 – The IRGC attacked Kurdish groups for the 11th consecutive day. It launched suicide drones and artillery strikes around the Saqer and Berbizin mountain region as well as six villages around the Zere valley of Sedekan. The IRGC used a Mohajer-6 drone in one attack on a village near Sedekan.
Komala Party officials said that their headquarters outside of Sulimaniyah were targeted and that two people were injured in the attacks. At least 17 people had reportedly died, including civilians, and more than 50 had been injured since the start of the attacks. An Iraqi Kurdish military official claimed that Iran had moved troops to the Iran-Iraq border but had not invaded.
October 5 – The IRGC attacked for the 12th consecutive day, targeting dissident positions around the Berbizin and Saqer mountain region. The IRGC used rocket launchers, precision-strike weapons, and drones, according to Iranian media. Iranian media also reported that the attacks targeted a dissident group leader and resulted in “heavy losses.”
October 6 – The IRGC launched artillery strikes for the 13th consecutive day. Iran targeted the Sedekan area and hit the villages of Gawarasya, Nawruba, and Katina. No casualties were reported.
October 7 – Iran continued artillery shelling for the 14th consecutive day. Iran targeted the Mount Hassary Sakran area in northern Erbil province. During a phone call, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned his Iraqi counterpart that Iran would “not tolerate the continuation of aggression and terrorist acts by groups that have taken refuge in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and targeted Iran's national security.”
October 9 – The IRGC announced a cessation of military operations but warned that it could resume attacks if Iraqi Kurdish officials do not rein in the Iranian Kurdish groups. Iraq must prevent “parts of its soil from being used for the violation of the security of Iranian citizens and border guards,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said during a press conference on the following day.
October 12 – Iran held a joint maritime drill with Oman. Four Iranian warships, along with an unspecified number of helicopters, participated.
October 14 – Iran reportedly dispatched dozens of IRGC specialists to eastern and southern Ukraine to train the Russian military on drones.
October 19 – The IRGC reportedly built a bridge capable of carrying armored vehicles across the Aras River along Iran’s border with Azerbaijan.
The United States, Britain, and France charged that Iran violated U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 by exporting drones to Russia with a range of 300 kilometers or more. The Western powers made the accusation during a closed-door Security Council meeting.
October 20 – The European Union announced new sanctions on three Iranian individuals and one entity for providing Russia with drones for its war in Ukraine. Britain sanctioned three Iranians–including Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Mohammad Hossein Bagheri and two men affiliated with Iran’s drone program–and a defense manufacturer for Iran’s supply of drones to Russia.
October 21 – British, French, and German diplomats called on the United Nations to investigate reports of Iran’s supply of drones to Russia, which could be a violation a U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231.
Ukrainian officials claimed that Ukrainian strikes had killed 10 Iranians that were reportedly training Russian soldiers on how to use drones.
October 23 – Israel had destroyed roughly 90 percent of Iran’s military capacity in Syria, anonymous officials told The Jerusalem Post. Years of extensive airstrikes had hindered Iran’s weapons transfers to Syria as well as efforts to manufacture weapons and build a base there.
October 24 – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that Russia had ordered 2,000 suicide drones from Iran. “The disgusting sound of Iranian drones is heard in our skies every night,” he said. “Iranian instructors came to teach Russians how to use drones.”
October 26 – At least 13 people, including two children, were reportedly killed in a shooting attack on Shahcheragh Shrine in Shiraz. State media said that two suspects were detained and that security forces were searching for a third person. The Islamic State, a Sunni jihadist group, claimed responsibility for the attack on the Shiite holy site. It claimed that two fighters killed 20 people. Officials blamed the attack on insecurity due to the protests.
November 5 – Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian admitted that Iran had supplied drones to Russia. But he claimed that they had been delivered to Russia months before the war began.
November 7 – London Metropolitan police reportedly warned two British-Iranian journalists of an assassination plot against them by the IRGC. The two journalists worked for London-based Iran International, a Persian satellite television network critical of Iran’s government.
November 8 – Some 14 people, mostly militiamen, were killed in a drone strike on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq. The drone targeted a convoy of 15 trucks transporting fuel from Iraq into Syria via the Qaim crossing. Iranian nationals were reportedly among the dead. Iranian state media claimed that the United States was responsible for the strikes, but U.S. Central Command denied U.S. involvement.
November 9 – Iran and Russia reportedly signed a deal to manufacture drones in Russia. President Raisi said that Iran and Russia were upgrading bilateral relations to counter U.S. sanctions on both countries. Head of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said that Iran was willing to negotiate an end to the war. “Iran welcomes and supports any initiative that would lead to a ceasefire and peace between Russia and Ukraine.”
November 14 – The IRGC launched missile and drone attacks on two Iranian Kurdish insurgent groups near the cities of Koya and Sulimaniyah in northern Iraq. Two were killed and another 10 were injured, according to early reports. Iran reportedly targeted a KDPI base near Koya. KDPI deputy Amanj Zebaii claimed that the IRGC used Fateh-110 ballistic missiles. In Sulimaniyah, a senior Komala Party leader claimed that the IRGC used at least four drones to target the group’s bases.
November 15 – A drone reportedly hit a tanker off the coast of Oman. The Pacific Zircon was managed by Eastern Pacific Shipping, a firm controlled by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer. The company said that the tanker incurred minor damage but that none of the crew members were injured. A day later, U.S. Central Command confirmed that the drone was an Iranian-made suicide drone. "This unmanned aerial vehicle attack against a civilian vessel in this critical maritime strait demonstrates, once again, the destabilizing nature of Iranian malign activity in the region.” An Israeli official said that a Shahed-136 drone, the same type used by Russia in Ukraine, was used in the attack. “We see this as an Iranian provocation in the Gulf – it’s not an attack against Israel – it’s the same thing they usually do in the Gulf, trying to disrupt stability and mainly influence World Cup events.”
The U.S. Navy announced that two of its vessels had interdicted a dhow carrying 70 tons of ammonium perchlorate, a compound commonly used to make rocket and missile fuel as well as explosives. The dhow was on a route used to traffic weapons from Iran to the Houthis in Yemen. “This was a massive amount of explosive material, enough to fuel more than a dozen medium-range ballistic missiles depending on the size,” said Vice Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces.
Georgia foiled a plot by the IRGC Qods Force to assassinate Izik Moshe, an Israeli businessman living in the capital Tbilisi. The State Security Service said that an Iranian national, Mohammad Reza Ebadi Arablu, hired a team of assassins from Pakistan, allegedly connected to al Qaeda. He also instructed two dual Georgian-Iranian citizens to smuggle weapons from Turkey for that team.
The United States imposed sanctions on Iranians and Russians involved in the export of drones used in Ukraine. The State and Treasury Departments designated three Iranian entities, a Russian paramilitary, two Russian nationals, and two transportation firms based in the United Arab Emirates.
November 16 – The chief of Britain’s MI5 spy agency said that Iranian intelligence services had made at least 10 attempts to kill or kidnap British citizens and others residing in the United Kingdom since January 2022. "We do not tolerate threats to life and intimidation of any kind towards journalists, or any individual, living in the UK,” Ken McCallum said. He added that Russia, China and Iran posed the greatest threats to Britain. “We are facing adversaries who have massive scale and are not squeamish about the tactics they deploy.”
November 20 – During a nighttime attack, the IRGC launched surface-to-surface missile and drone strikes. The KDPI and the Komala Party were targeted in Koya, Erbil, and Sulimaniyah in northern Iraq. The mayor of Erbil, Nabaz Abdulhamid, claimed that two Iranian drones had crashed into the Jazhnikan refugee camp, but no injuries reported.
General Michael “Erik” Kurilla, the head of U.S. Central Command, condemned the attack. “Such indiscriminate and illegal attacks place civilians at risk, violate Iraqi sovereignty, and jeopardize the hard-fought security and stability of Iraq and the Middle East.”
November 21 – The IRGC launched missiles and suicide drones on Iranian Kurdish opposition groups in northern Iraq. The KRG said that positions in Perdi, north of Kirkuk, and the Degala region, east of Erbil, were hit. The headquarters of the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK) was among the targets. “We had taken our precautions and emptied the premises, there were no casualties,” said Khalil Nadr, a PAK spokesman. In a statement, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price condemned Iran’s “brazen violations of Iraq’s territorial integrity” and urged Tehran to cease the attacks.
November 23 – The IRGC aerospace division blamed Israel for the killing of one of its officers in a roadside bombing near Damascus. Israel will pay for the "crime," Colonel Davoud Jafari vowed. Iran provided critical military support to the Assad regime since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011.
December 5 – A Revolutionary Guards Navy patrol boat attempted to blind two U.S. Navy ships, sea base platform ship USS Lewis B. Puller and guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans, using a spotlight at night. The Iranian boat came within 150 yards of the ships in international waters in the Strait of Hormuz. “This dangerous action in international waters is indicative of Iran’s destabilizing activity across the Middle East,” said Col. Joe Buccino, spokesman for U.S. Central Command.
December 6 – Russia was seeking new shipments of Iranian drones and surface-to-surface missiles, according to a U.S. National Security Council official and a U.N. diplomat. The sales could have “massive implications for security of the region,” the diplomat told the Associated Press.
December 9 – Iran has become Russia’s “top military backer,” John Kirby of the National Security Council revealed on December 9. Iran’s decision to aid Russia in the war on Ukraine reflected the deepening strategic alliance with Moscow. Iran had provided Russia with hundreds of drones, including the Shahed-136 suicide drones and the Mohajer-6 reconnaissance and strike drone. “In exchange, Russia is offering Iran an unprecedented level of military and technical support,” Kirby briefed reporters.
December 14 – Iran and Russia signed an agreement to cooperate in the space industry, including on the construction and launching of satellites. The move followed a joint launch of an Iranian satellite in August 2022.
December 19 – Three members of the Basij paramilitary and an IRGC member were killed in Saravan in southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan province. State media reported that they were killed in a clash with a “terrorist group.” For years, Baluch separatists have operated in the region.
January 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 IRGC and Iran-backed militias operate. Israel last attacked Damascus Airport in June 2022.
January 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 had reportedly shared the information with the United States in late 2022.
January 6 – The United States sanctioned six executives of an Iranian firm that produced drones exported to Russia for use against Ukraine. It also sanctioned the director of an organization that managed Iran’s ballistic missile program.
January 11 – The Iranian Navy intended to expand its scope of operations to include the Panama Canal, said Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani. “We have formed three oceanic commands, including the Indian Ocean Command, the Pacific Ocean Command, and the Atlantic Ocean Command,” he said. “Today we are present in the Indian and Atlantic oceans and soon we will be present in the Pacific Ocean.” Irani characterized the decision as a defensive move.
January 19 – Pakistan “strongly condemned” a terrorist attack in Pakistan allegedly launched from Iranian territory. “We hope that Iran would take an action against the responsible factors,” said Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch. Four security personnel were killed in the attack.
January 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 The New York Times that the attack was the work of Mossad.
The following individuals have contributed to updates to this timeline: Garrett Nada, Eli Pollock, Cameron Glenn, Daniel Schnur, Evan W. Burt, John Caves, Alex Yacoubian and Andrew Hanna.