In this picture released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, second left, attends a graduation ceremony of Revolutionary Guard officers in Tehran, Iran, as he is accompanied by Chief of the General Staff of Iran's Armed Forces, Hasan Firouzabadi, left, and Revolutionary Guard commander Mohammad Ali Jafar, center. Iran's supreme leader vowed Wednesday he will not allow international inspection of Iran's military sites or access to Iranian scientists under any nuclear agreement with world powers. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

The Islamic Republic of Iran: A Dangerous Regime

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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.



What is the U.S. Position on Iran?

SLIDESHOW: The Destructive Record of Iranian Arms

REPORT: Outlaw Regime: A Chronicle of Iran’s Destructive Activities [PDF]


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


Maximum Pressure Campaign


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.


May 8, 2019

Iran Maximum Pressure Campaign


September 21, 2020
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


May 13, 2020
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


December 19, 2019
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



Iran Under the Rule of the Islamic Republic


In this picture released by official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, center, President Hassan Rouhani, second right, parliament speaker Ali Larijani, right, judiciary chief Sadeq Larijani, second left, and head of the Assembly of Experts and secretary of Guardian Council Ahmad Jannati listen to the national anthem at the start of the official endorsement ceremony of President Rouhani in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Culture and History: Iran prior to the Islamic Republic was rich in its culture and history.

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini salutes the crowd which gathered in Qom to greet the Iranian spiritual leader on Nowruz, Iran's new year feast, March 21, 1979 (AP Photo/Randy G. Taylor)

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.

In this April 4, 2015 file photo, Iranian and U.S. banknotes are on display at a currency exchange shop in downtown Tehran, Iran. In recent months, Iran has been beset by economic problems despite the promises surrounding the 2015 nuclear deal it struck with world powers.(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

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.

Sheep in the river in Alborz mountains, Iran

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.


February 4, 2019

Forty Years of Broken Promises in Iran



A Generation’s Struggle for Democracy

Persia, 1908: Constitution/Majlis
Iran, 1979: Movement Hijacked by Religious Fundamentalists
Islamic Republic, 1999: Student Protests
Islamic Republic, 2009: Green Movement
Islamic Republic, 2019: Protests of 2019

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.



Hope and Future


Religious Freedom; Image of an Iranian Christian woman lights candles during the Christmas Eve mass at the St. Gregor Armenian Catholic church in Tehran on December 24, 2012, as Christians around the world are celebrating Christmas. (Photo credit: ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)          Women's Rights; Image: Iranian police officers detain a woman for not adhering to the strict Islamic dress code in Tehran on Saturday April 21, 2007. Police in Tehran arrested women and men failing to confirm to the regime's definition of Islamic morals by wearing loose-fitting hijab, or head scarves, tight jackets and shortened trousers exposing any skin. (AP Photo)           Workers' Rights; Image: Men raise their hands in a workers' protest in Iran


Religious Freedom


An Iranian Christian woman lights candles during the Christmas Eve mass at the St. Gregor Armenian Catholic church in Tehran on December 24, 2012, as Christians around the world are celebrating Christmas. (Photo credit: ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images)

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.


October 10, 2019

Faces of Religious Persecution: Dabrina Bet-Tamraz


An Iranian Christian woman lights candle at the conclusion of Mass that started on Christmas Eve at the Saint Joseph Chaldean-Assyrian Catholic church in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014. Iran's minority group of Christians are celebrating Christmas and preparing for the new year. According to official figures, around 120,000 Christians live in Iran, mostly in central and northwestern parts of the country. Iranian Christians represent part of the parliament and freely practice their religion as allowed under the constitution. Other minorities, such as the Jews and Zoroastrians, are recognized in the same way by the law. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

July 18, 2019
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




Women’s Rights


Iranian police officers detain a woman for not adhering to the strict Islamic dress code in Tehran on Saturday April 21, 2007. Police in Tehran arrested women and men failing to confirm to the regime's definition of Islamic morals by wearing loose-fitting hijab, or head scarves, tight jackets and shortened trousers exposing any skin. (AP Photo)

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.


January 16, 2020

Women’s Rights in Iran: 2020


June 19, 2018
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


August 14, 2019
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


September 11, 2019
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’ Rights


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.


Punishments for Peaceful Labor Protests in Iran: 10 years in prison & 148 lashes for a journalist covering a labor protest; 5 years in prison for a labor activist who gave cookies to protesting workers; 8 months in prison & 30 lashes for workers demanding unpaid wages.

September 18, 2019
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


Image of barbed wire wrapped around a hand holding a pen

August 30, 2019
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



Speeches and Press Briefings


September 21, 2020

Interagency Press Availability on Iran Snapback Sanctions


June 30, 2020

Secretary Pompeo at the UN Security Council on the Iran Arms Embargo


January 13, 2020

The Restoration of Deterrence:
The Iranian Example


December 19, 2019

Human Rights and the Iranian Regime


September 25, 2019

Iranian Aggression: The World Awakes


July 22, 2018

Supporting Iranian Voices


May 21, 2018

After the Deal: A New Iran Strategy


U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future