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U.S. Sanctions Iran’s Central Bank

September 20, 2019
On September 20, President Trump announced sanctions on Iran’s central bank. “We’ve never done it at this level,” he told reporters in the Oval Office. “It’s too bad what’s happening with Iran. It’s going to hell.” Trump added, “They are broke and they could solve the problem very easily. All they…

Zarif on “All-Out-War”

September 19, 2019
On September 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…

Timeline of Saudi Oil Attacks

September 18, 2019
Updated: September 19, 2019
On September 14, a drone and missile attack damaged a processing facility and oil field in Abqaiq and Khurais, Saudi Arabia. The Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility, but U.S. and Saudi officials claimed the attacks originated outside of Yemen. Both countries claimed Iran was involved.…

Flashpoints: Iran and Saudi Arabia

September 18, 2019
By Garrett Nada with Thomas Neal, Cameron Glenn and others Since 1979, Iran’s theocracy and Saudi Arabia’s monarchy have vied for regional dominance. Their competition has played out politically, militarily, economically, and culturally—and regularly in rhetoric. In 1987, revolutionary leader…

U.S. Forces Deployed Around Iran

September 18, 2019
The United States has added at least 2,400 more troops to the Middle East in response to tensions with Iran between May and September 2019. As of September 2019, there were over 60,000 U.S. troops deployed in and around the Persian Gulf. This number includes forces positioned in Afghanistan, Iraq,…

Pompeo in the Gulf

September 18, 2019
Updated: September 19, 2019
On September 18, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities an “act of war.” Pompeo, who was traveling to the kingdom to discuss a response, told reporters the September 14 strikes had the "fingerprints of the Ayatollah." He denied claims that the attacks…

Congress on Saudi Oil Attacks

September 18, 2019
In September 2019, members of Congress were divided over how the Trump administration should respond to attacks that damaged oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. Democrats were united in demanding the White House seek authorization from Congress prior to any military action against Iran. Senator Chris…

Saudi Statements on Oil Attacks

September 18, 2019
On September 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…

Robert O’Brien on Iran

September 18, 2019
Updated: September 19, 2019
On September 18, President Trump announced the appointment of Robert O'Brien as his new national security advisor. Since May 2018, O'Brien has served as the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs. He also worked on Afghanistan judicial reform under the Obama Administration and as a…

New Study on Iran’s Nuclear Capabilities and Intentions

September 17, 2019
For more than a decade, one of Iran’s top national security priorities has been to maintain its ability to enrich uranium. Although Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, according to U.S. intelligence, Tehran wanted to maintain the core capabilities necessary for weaponization should it…

Iranian Statements on Saudi Oil Attack

September 17, 2019
Updated: September 20, 2019
Iranian officials denied U.S. allegations that Tehran was behind the September 14 strikes on Saudi oil facilities. The United States swiftly blamed Iran for the attacks despite a Houthi statement claiming responsibility. “Amid all the calls for de-escalation, Iran has now launched an unprecedented…

Trump on Saudi Oil Attacks

September 17, 2019
Updated: September 20, 2019
President Trump’s reactions to the drone strikes on Saudi oil facilities have ranged from confrontational to conciliatory. After the September 14 attacks, Trump seemed to threaten an armed response. He tweeted the United States was “locked and loaded” as it investigated the culprit. On September 16…

Khamenei Nixes Direct Talks with U.S.

September 17, 2019
On September 17, Iran’s supreme leader nixed the possibility of bilateral talks with Washington. His remarks came one day after President Donald Trump blamed Iran for an attack on Saudi oil facilities that cut production in half. Tehran denied involvement. In remarks to seminary students, Ayatollah…

Timeline of Houthi Attacks on Saudi Arabia

September 16, 2019
On September 14, an explosive drone attack damaged a processing facility and oil field in Abqaiq and Khurais, Saudi Arabia. The Houthi rebel movement in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack, although U.S. and Saudi officials claimed the attacks originated outside of Yemen. Both countries…

World Reaction to Saudi Oil Attacks

September 16, 2019
Updated: September 20, 2019
Tensions in the Middle East escalated after drone attacks on two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia. On September 14, the Abqaiq and Khurais facilities—both run by the state-owned company Saudi Aramco—were struck by “projectiles” in a pre-dawn attack.  Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who have been…

Iranian Newspapers on Bolton Exit

September 13, 2019
A range of Iranian newspapers devoted part of their front pages to National Security Advisor John Bolton’s exit from the Trump administration. Prior to taking office in April 2018, he was an outspoken critic of the nuclear deal. Bolton also advocated for regime change in Tehran and the use of…

U.S.-Iran Jousting Moves to Twitter

September 11, 2019
Amid diplomacy to bring their presidents together, the United States and Iran have been talking to each other--on Twitter. The tone varies from taunting to caustic banter. Top officials often tag each other in their posts. They sometimes even address each other personally. The subjects vary from…

Iran's Increasing Reliance on China

September 11, 2019
By Alex Yacoubian Longstanding trade relations between Iran and China have deepened since the U.S. imposed punitive economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic in November 2018. Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi called the two countries “comprehensive strategic partners” during a visit by Iranian…

Israeli Army Tweets Target Iran—in Farsi

September 6, 2019
Updated: September 13, 2019
Last month, Israel unveiled the latest weapon in its high-tech arsenal: @IDFFarsi. The Farsi-language Twitter account expands the considerable social media reach of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) – already operating in Hebrew, English, Spanish, and French – into yet another linguistic domain. The…

U.N. Watchdog Update on Iran’s Nuclear Program

September 6, 2019
Updated: September 9, 2019
On August 30, the U.N. nuclear watchdog confirmed that Iran had begun to enrich uranium to 4.5 percent, beyond the 3.67 percent limit stipulated in the 2015 nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In a new safeguards report, the International Atomic Energy…

State of Iran-U.S. Diplomacy

September 4, 2019
Updated: September 16, 2019
A French initiative to broker direct talks between President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been a roller coaster since both leaders indicated a possible willingness to meet. On August 26, French President Emanuel Macron announced a “roadmap of sorts” after talks with Trump and…

U.S. Offers Reward for Intel on IRGC

September 4, 2019
On September 4, the U.S. Treasury designated an “oil for terror” network accused of aiding the IRGC in funding its terrorist operations. The network consisted of 25 entities and individuals and 11 vessels involved in hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit oil sales. Brian Hook, the U.S. special…

U.S. Sanctions Iranian Tanker

September 3, 2019
On August 30, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned the Iranian oil tanker, the Adrian Darya-1, which it accused of transporting 2.1 million barrels of Iranian crude oil on behalf of the IRGC. The ship, formerly named the Grace 1, was detained by Britain off the coast of Gibraltar on July 4 for attempting…

U.S. Sanctions Iran’s Space Program

September 3, 2019
On September 3, the United States imposed new sanctions on Iran’s space program for supporting ballistic missile development. The move came after Iran’s failed attempt to launch a space vehicle on August 29. “Iran’s civilian space launch vehicle program allows it to gain experience with various…

Iran Media on Trump Meeting

August 30, 2019
Iranian newspapers, which reflect a broad spectrum of political views, provided diverse coverage about the prospects of talks between President Hassan Rouhani and President Donald Trump. For months, French President Emmanuel Macron has engaged in behind-the-scenes diplomacy to defuse escalating…

U.S. Sanctions Hamas-IRGC Facilitators

August 29, 2019
On August 29, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned four individuals responsible for transferring tens of millions of dollars between Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hamas in Gaza. Muhammad Sarur, Kamal Abdelrahman Aref Awad, Fawaz Mahmud Ali Nasser, and Muhammad Kamal are accused of funneling…

U.S. Sanctions WMD Procurement Network

August 28, 2019
On August 28, the U.S. Treasury sanctioned two procurement networks linked to the Iranian regime and its military organizations. The designation included two Iranian men and several companies accused of providing ten million dollars of materials for Tehran’s WMD program. One network used a front…

Trump-Rouhani Meeting?

August 27, 2019
On August 26, French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters after the G7 summit that he hoped to arrange a meeting between President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani “in the coming weeks.” Trump told reporters that there was a “really good chance” for a potential meeting with…

Gallup: Most Americans Oppose Military Action

August 20, 2019
As tensions escalated with Iran, 78 percent of Americans said they opposed military action against Iran, according to a Gallup Poll released on August 20, 2019. The vast majority of Republicans (72 percent) and Democrats (86 percent) said they instead favored economic or diplomatic efforts. The…

U.S. and France Split on Iran

August 9, 2019
Since May 2018, the United States and France have increasingly split over Iran.  On August 8, President Trump accused French President Emmanuel Macron of giving Iran “mixed signals” on possible negotiations with the United States. On August 9, Yves Le Drian, the French Minister for Europe and…