The Islamic Republic of Iran, also known as Iran and previously known as Persia, is a paradox in the Middle East. It is home to a proud and ancient culture whose ideals of freedom and democracy under Cyrus the Great helped form some of the foundations of the U.S. Constitution, while Iran itself has struggled to reach democracy. The Iranian people have been fighting to reach toward freedom throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. The Iranian people are largely pro-Western but are brutally subjugated by an anti-Western religious theocracy. Iran is an anomaly in the Middle East as the Iranian people do not speak Arabic, but rather Persian or “Farsi.” While there is diversity in Iran, the majority of the Iranian people are culturally, ethnically, and religiously unique from their surrounding neighbors.
SLIDESHOW: The Destructive Record of Iranian Arms
The United States supports the Iranian people’s struggle for human rights, democracy, and freedom.
The regime’s greatest victims are the Iranian people. Regime elites squander the people’s resources and opportunities, while suppressing freedom and basic human rights.
Iran’s Islamic regime also is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.
To counter the regime’s destabilizing and malign behavior both at home and abroad, the United States is pursuing a maximum pressure campaign to deprive the regime of the resources it needs to brutalize its own people and fuel terrorism abroad.
The future of Iran belongs to its people. They are the rightful heirs to a rich culture and an ancient land. And they deserve a nation that does justice to their dreams, honor to their history, and glory to God.
President Donald J. Trump
May 8, 2018
The Islamic regime in Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. For over 40 years their malign behavior and support for terrorist proxies has spread across the region. The implementation of the JCPOA, informally known as the “2015 Iran Nuclear Deal,” placed even more resources and money at the regime’s disposal, furthering the reach and aggression of their malign activities. This is why the United States left the JCPOA and implemented decisive sanctions to curb the regime’s ability to fund terror. On August 20, 2020, the United States initiated the snapback procedure in UN Security Council resolution 2231 to return virtually all of the previous UN sanctions on Iran, including the UN arms embargo and restrictions on Iran enriching and processing nuclear material. Starting on September 20, 2020, Iran is also prohibited by the UN from testing and developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
The international community must stand together against the Iranian regime’s support for terror.
Iran Maximum Pressure Campaign
The United States Imposes Sweeping New Sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran
Under the leadership of President Trump, the Departments of State, Treasury, and Commerce took significant action to counter Iranian nuclear threats as well as missile and conventional arms proliferation. Read More
We’re Ready to ‘Snap Back’ Sanctions
Iranian provocations accelerated under the nuclear deal. Emboldened by repeated diplomatic wins and flush with cash, the Iranian regime increased its ballistic-missile testing and missile proliferation to terrorist proxies. Read More
Human Rights and the Iranian Regime
The regime has killed hundreds and hundreds of protesters since mid-November, possibly more than 1,000. The regime cut off the internet, a basic communication tool, to try and stop the world to see the horrors that were taking place inside of their country. Read More
Culture and History: Iran prior to the Islamic Republic was rich in its culture and history.
Creation of “Supreme Leader”: In 1979, the Shah was deposed and Ayatollah Khomeini came into Iran. At first he said he would retire to a mosque in Qom (a religious city in Iran) but rather created the position of “Supreme Leader,” essentially making himself a dictator for life — counter to the hopes of the people who wanted a democracy.
Human Rights Abuses: Today the Iranian regime under the Islamic Republic’s rule routinely punishes activists and religious and ethnic minorities for peaceful activities, preventing the free exercise of belief and expression. Thousands of prisoners of conscience are currently detained in Iran.
Support for Terrorism: Since the 1979 revolution, Iran’s regime has conducted terrorist attacks and assassinations in more than 20 countries. In July 2018, authorities foiled the regime’s terrorist plot against Iranian dissidents living in Paris. In 2019, the regime kidnapped a journalist in Iraq and killed an opposition figure in Turkey.
Iran’s Missile Program: Iran’s development and proliferation of ballistic missiles poses a critical threat to regional security and a significant challenge to global nonproliferation efforts. In 2010, the UN Security Council severely restricted Iran’s ballistic missile program to limit the regime’s ability to deliver a nuclear warhead in the future.
Illicit Financial Activities: The Islamic Republic regularly uses shell companies to illicitly finance U.S.-designated terrorist groups like Hizballah and Hamas. Since 2012, Iran has spent over $16 billion propping up the Assad regime in Syria.
Threat to Maritime Security: The Islamic Republic poses a major threat to freedom of navigation and maritime security from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea. The Iranian Navy has held international naval crews captive and sabotaged cargo ships with mines.
Environmental Exploitation: The regime’s environmental mismanagement hurts the Iranian people in many ways, most notably by limiting access to water in approximately 96 percent of the country. According to a 2017 United Nations report, water shortages in Iran are so acute that making a living in agriculture is no longer sustainable.
Threat to Cybersecurity: The Islamic Republic is a leading cybersecurity threat. Over the past decade, the Iranian regime’s cyber operations have targeted governments, businesses and civic groups in the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, among others.
Forty Years of Broken Promises in Iran
The Iranian people will enjoy a better future when their government begins to respect basic human rights, abandons its revolutionary posture and destabilizing foreign policy, and behaves simply like a normal nation.Michael R. PompeoSecretary of State
For over a century, the Iranian people have struggled toward democracy. During the last 40 years, however, after the ousting of the Shah, the Iranian people have been subjugated by an oppressive theocracy called the “Islamic Republic,” with a religious “Supreme Leader” overseeing all aspects of Iranian life.
Iran’s Islamic government is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism and has spent billions of dollars bankrolling terrorist proxies while neglecting the needs of Iranian citizens at home. In addition, the Islamic regime has rolled back human rights and routinely discriminates against and brutalizes women, children, members of the LGBTQ community, religious minorities, and ethnic minorities.
The people of Iran are vastly pro-Western and openly long for freedom and democracy but are met with brutal and violent suppression any time they rise up and demand their basic human rights, whether in the 1999 student protests, the 2009 Green Movement, or the most recent protests of 2019.
Iran’s authoritarian regime governs the theocratic republic with laws and regulations based on Ja’fari Shia Islam.
The regime harasses and arrests religious minorities, including Baha’is, Christians, Sunni Muslims, Zoroastrians, and Jews, according to the State Department’s 2018 Report on Religious Freedom for Iran. The regime in December 2018 arrested 142 Christians, after arresting at least 40 members of the Baha’i faith in October and November of that year.
Faces of Religious Persecution: Dabrina Bet-Tamraz
Persecution of the Faithful in Iran
“In Iran, the regime’s crackdown on the Baha’is, Christians, and others continues to shock the conscience.” — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Read More
Iranian women are fighting back against the Islamic regime’s oppressive policies, including through the White Wednesday movement, in which women wear white to protest a requirement that they wear headscarves in public.
Iranian activist Masih Alinejad supports White Wednesdays from outside her native country, running the website My Stealthy Freedom, which highlights images of women not wearing hijabs and shows the daily abuse women face in Iran.
An Iranian judge in July 2019 sentenced three women to a combined 55 years in prison for peacefully protesting mandatory hijabs. U.S. officials have denounced the punishment as a “grave violation” of basic human rights.
Women also have rallied to protest against the Iranian regime’s ban on women attending football matches. Sahar Khodayari, 29, and nicknamed “the Blue Girl” for the color of her favorite football team, died after setting herself on fire when she learned she faced prison for trying to sneak into a game.
Women’s Rights in Iran: 2020
An Inspiration for Women Fighting for Their Rights
Women in Iran have been openly protesting laws forcing women to wear the hijab, the traditional Muslim head covering, in public. Violence done to these protesters by Iran’s self-proclaimed “morality police” has shocked the Iranian people and the world. Read More
Combined 55-year Jail Time for Defying Iran’s Hijab Law
The U.S. is denouncing the Iranian regime’s sentencing of three women to a combined 55 years in prison for peacefully protesting a mandatory hijab law, calling the punishment a “grave violation” of basic human rights. Read More
Iranian Woman Dies After Trying to Watch a Soccer Game
A 29-year-old Iranian woman died September 9, several days after setting herself on fire in front of a Tehran courthouse. She had just learned she might have to spend six months in jail for trying to watch a soccer (football) game. Read More
Workers in Iran and lawyers who represent them risk prison and lashings for protesting unpaid wages or simply doing their jobs. Reporters Without Borders in 2019 ranked Iran 170 out of 180 in its World Press Freedom Index, citing increasing arrests of Iranian journalists covering anti-government protests or posting comments critical of the government on social media.
An Iranian judge in August 2019 sentenced 16 sugar factory workers to 30 lashes and eight months in prison for protesting unpaid wages. The punishment flies in the face of Iran Constitution, which permits public gatherings and marches.
Iran’s Revolutionary Court recently sentenced defense lawyer Amirsalar Davoudi to 30 years in prison and 111 lashes for highlighting human rights abuses in Iran in his social media posts.
Iranian Workers Choose: Wages or Lashes?
Workers in Iran are increasingly forced to choose between quietly toiling without pay or risking lashes for demanding the wages they are owed. Read More
Iran’s Regime Tightens Grip on Press Freedoms
The Iranian regime has stopped renewing foreign journalists’ credentials and even closed a newspaper friendly to its cause, part of a worsening crackdown in a country with an abysmal reputation for press freedoms. Read More
Interagency Press Availability on Iran Snapback Sanctions
Secretary Pompeo at the UN Security Council on the Iran Arms Embargo
The Restoration of Deterrence:
The Iranian Example
Human Rights and the Iranian Regime
Iranian Aggression: The World Awakes
Supporting Iranian Voices
After the Deal: A New Iran Strategy