Insider news & Analysis in Iran

This month the US Senate passed a bill that imposes new sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran. The sanctions package targets the country’s ballistic missile program, which has continued to develop through several provocative tests in spite of the fact that the United Nations called upon Iran to avoid such work after the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The bill also extends terrorism-related sanctions to the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the hardline paramilitary that is responsible for close encounters with US Navy vessels, the growth of Shiite militant groups in Syria, and the massive crackdown on activists, journalists, and social progressives inside Iran itself.

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During the summer of 1988 in Iran, some 30,000 political prisoners, the majority of whom were MEK members or sympathizers, were executed. The year is the 29th anniversary of the 1988 massacre.

Last summer, an audio tape was published by the son of Hossein-Ali Montazeri. August 9, 2016, the recording was heard for the first time, and on it Khomeini’s former heir can be heard telling a meeting of members of the “Death Committee” that they are carrying out a crime against humanity, 28 years ago, on August 15, 1988.

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June 23 marked the last Friday of Ramadan, a date that is celebrated as Quds Day each year in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Los Angeles Times was among the news outlets that detailed the festivities, which are organized and carefully stage-managed by the Iranian government to showcase hardline sentiments against the Jewish state of Israel and its Western backers, while striving to organize regional Muslim sentiment around the cause of Palestine.

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On Thursday, the Washington Post published an article detailing the escalating tensions between the United States and supporters of the Assad regime in Syria, as ISIL power in the region continues to diminish. The article reiterates that ISIL’s de facto capital of Raqqa seems to be on the verge of falling, and that this development will send the Syrian Civil War into a new phase, with US-backed and Iran-backed forces competing directly for strategically significant swaths of reclaimed territory.

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On Monday, Western media was abuzz with reports of the previous day’s ballistic missile strike that had been carried out in eastern Syria by Iranian forces. This was one of several recent stories that seemed to point to worsening tensions among various stakeholders in regional affairs, including Iran and its longstanding adversaries Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Israel.

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On Tuesday, NPR was among the outlets to report on recent remarks by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, commenting on the aftermath of last week’s ISIL-linked terrorist attacks in the Iranian capital of Tehran. Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi claimed over the weekend that the mastermind of the attacks had been killed by Iranian security forces in a border region. He added that those forces had also broken up 25 terrorist cells in just the past three months.

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