Iran

The big picture

Iran's proxies in the Middle East

Iran could likely use one of its many proxies to strike American military assets.

Jan 18, 2020
Where U.S. troops and military assets are deployed in the Middle East

Between 60,000 and 70,000 U.S. troops are in the Middle East.

Updated Jan 8, 2020
How Iran's disinformation threat differs from Russia

"This style is extremely different than Russia."

Jan 7, 2020
Ripples from Soleimani strike will be felt for years to come

In Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Jan 7, 2020

All Iran stories

U.S. willing to take military action to stop Iran's nuclear program, envoy says

Hook today in Jerusalem. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The Trump administration will use military force if that's what it takes to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, President Trump’s envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, told me in an interview today in Jerusalem.

Why it matters: Hook is on a regional tour to discuss Iran with U.S. allies, with stops in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Israel. The main issue on his agenda is the U.S. efforts to extend an international arms embargo on Iran beyond October, when it is due to expire.

Jun 4, 2020 - World

Iran releases U.S. Navy veteran detained for 683 days

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Photo: Iranian Leader Press Off./Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

U.S Navy veteran Michael White has been freed by Iran and has left the country on a Swiss government aircraft, AP reports.

Why it matters: White spent 683 days detained by the Iranian government. He was the first American known to be detained by Iran since President Trump took office.

May 27, 2020 - World

Trump administration to eliminate nuclear waivers tied to Iran deal

Pompeo testifies on Iran in February. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The U.S. is ending waivers that had allowed foreign companies to work at Iran's civilian nuclear facilities, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday.

Why it matters: This will eliminate most elements of U.S. sanctions relief still in place two years after President Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Pompeo said "continued nuclear escalation" made the move necessary, but critics warn it will encourage further Iranian enrichment.

May 7, 2020 - World

Senate fails to override Trump's veto of Iran war powers resolution

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Senate failed to produce the two-thirds majority necessary to override President Trump's veto of a resolution seeking to curb his ability to direct military action against Iran, falling short 49-44.

The big picture: Trump vetoed the bipartisan measure on Wednesday, calling it "very insulting resolution" that was "introduced by Democrats as part of a strategy to win an election on November 3 by dividing the Republican Party."

Inside Trump's obsession with Iranian gunboats

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President Trump's declaration about directing the Navy to "shoot down and destroy" Iranian gunboats brings to a head his years of urging military leaders to get tougher on Iranian harassment at sea.

Why it matters: Now unlike in the days when James Mattis ran the Defense Department and often ignored what he viewed as intemperate orders from Trump — the president faces no meaningful resistance from his national security team.

Apr 22, 2020 - World

The world won't stop for coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The world is facing its gravest challenge in decades, but President Trump issued a reminder today that geopolitical tensions won’t wait until it’s over.

The big picture: Trump’s threat to “destroy” Iranian boats that harass U.S. ships comes amid rumors about Kim Jong-un's health, arrests in Hong Kong of leading pro-democracy activists, and clashes in Afghanistan that could further undermine the peace process there. 

Mar 28, 2020 - World

Iranian-backed militias increase attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq

Photo: Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Iranian-backed militias are more frequently and boldly attacking U.S. personnel in Iraq, and for the first time some of the strikes are taking place in broad daylight, The Washington Post reports.

The big picture: "The question of how to deter further militia strikes without putting troops at greater risk highlights how much American security and influence have evaporated in Iraq," Louisa Lovelock and Missy Ryan write.

Mar 22, 2020 - World

Iran's supreme leader refuses U.S. offer of coronavirus aid

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Photo: Iranian Supreme Leader Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday refused assistance from the United States to help fight the coronavirus outbreak in his country, citing a conspiracy theory that accuses the U.S. military of developing and spreading the virus, AP reports.

Why it matters: Iran has reported more than 20,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,600 deaths, making it one of the hardest-hit countries in the world. Its economy was already in free-fall mostly due to sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

Mar 6, 2020 - World

Iran clamps down on information as coronavirus spreads

Taking precaution in Tehran. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty

Iran’s coronavirus outbreak has reached the upper echelons of power, and ordinary citizens fear that the information filtering down can’t be trusted.

Why it matters: Iran has the largest coronavirus outbreak outside of China, with 3,513 confirmed cases and 107 deaths. But experts fear the real numbers are much higher, and that the government’s instinct to control information and prevent fear undermined hopes of containing it.

Feb 23, 2020 - World

Iranian state TV: Hardliners win landslide victory in low-turnout election

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Photo: Iranian supreme leader press office/handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iranian state TV announced Sunday that hardliners won a landslide victory in the country's parliamentary elections two days ago, including all 30 seats in Tehran, AP reports.

Why it matters: Voter turnout in the election reached only 42.57%, according to Iran's Interior Ministry, the first time turnout dipped below 50% since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The low turnout may signal dissatisfaction with the Iranian government and the election system.

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