September 27th, 2013
05:36 PM ET

Shift in policy? Obama, Rouhani talk on phone

President Barack Obama spoke by telephone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the first direct conversation between leaders of the United States and Iran since 1979.

Obama believes a comprehensive agreement is possible regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions, telling reporters at the White House that "the test will be meaningful, transparent and verifiable action" and if proven would ease international sanctions in place against Iran.

Western leaders have expressed cautious optimism about Iran's more moderate tone under Rouhani. Among other things, recent comments by Rouhani have given some hope that a deal could be struck over the Middle Eastern nation's nuclear program.

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Filed under: Iran
August 19th, 2013
02:52 PM ET

CIA acknowledges role in '53 Iran coup

Sixty years after the overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, a declassified CIA document acknowledges that the agency was involved in the 1953 coup.

The independent National Security Archive research institute, which published the document Monday, says the declassification is believed to mark the CIA's first formal acknowledgment of its involvement.

The documents, declassified in 2011 and given to George Washington University research group under the Freedom of Information Act, come from the CIA's internal history of Iran from the mid-1970s and paint a detailed picture of how the CIA worked to oust Mossadegh.

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Filed under: Iran
June 14th, 2013
10:17 AM ET

Iranians go to the polls in 'epic' election

Television cameras zoomed in on his hand Friday as Iran's supreme leader filled out the first ballot in the national election to replace outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei slipped the folded paper into the ballot box and turned to the cameras. His vote officially opened the ballots as he called on the 50 million Iranians eligible to vote to pick one of six candidates in the "epic" election.

"My expectation of our endeared people is for everyone to take part, and I would recommend that they go to ballot boxes as soon as possible and not to delay," he said.

Iranians appeared to heed their leader's call, with voters flocking to the country's 60,000 voting stations. The six candidates also have cast their votes, according to Iran's state-run IRNA news agency.

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Filed under: Iran
April 16th, 2013
08:04 AM ET

Powerful earthquake strikes SE Iran

At least 40 people are feared dead in Iran and seven more in Pakistan after a powerful earthquake near the countries' shared border, Iran's state-run Press TV reported Tuesday, citing local reports.

Akbar Hussain Durrani, provincial home minister of Balochistan province, told CNN that six people had been killed by the quake and more than a dozen injured in the province's Washuk district.

The quake destroyed more than 50 shops in the district, Durrani said.

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Filed under: Iran • Pakistan
March 20th, 2013
02:40 PM ET

Obama, Netanyahu exchange assurances on Iran, Syria, Palestinians

President Barack Obama is visiting Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank for the first time since he became president. He and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a joint news conference Wednesday evening in Jerusalem.

[Update 3:16 p.m.] The news conference has concluded.

[Update 3:15 p.m.] Netanyahu said the United States and Israel have a "common assessment" on Iran's progress in developing a nuclear weapon.

[Update 3:09 p.m.] Obama said that he "purposely did not want to come here and make some big announcement that might not match up to the reality" on the ground regarding the Middle East peace process.

[Update 3:04 p.m.] "I think there is time to resolve this issue diplomatically," Obama said about tension over Iran's nuclear program.

[Update 2:56 p.m.] Obama said that "all options are on the table" regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions, adding that "we will do what is necessary in preventing Iran from getting the world's worst weapons."

Netanyahu said he was "absolutely convinced" that Obama is "determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."

[Update 2:52 p.m.] Obama said he has ordered an investigation of whether the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people, adding he was "deeply skeptical" of any claim the opposition had used them.

"Once we have established the facts, I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game-changer," Obama said, stopping short of saying what he would do if Syria had crossed his "red line" for stronger action.

[Update 2:49 p.m.] Obama said the Syrian government's "use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people would be a serious and tragic mistake," adding that Damascus "will be held for accountable for the use of chemical weapons or their transfer to terrorists." 

[Update 2:45 p.m.] Obama said he and Netanyahu discussed extending U.S. assistance for Israel beyond the 2017 deadline of the current agreement between their countries.

 [Update 2:42 p.m.] Netanyahu said Wednesday that he hoped the visit by Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry can "help us turn a page in relations" with Palestinians seeking their own state.

[First post 2:38 p.m.] Netanyahu said Wednesday that diplomacy and sanctions have not stopped Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear weapon so far, adding that a peaceful solution also requires a clear and credible threat of military action.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Iran • Israel • Military • Palestinians • Politics • Syria • World
March 15th, 2013
03:55 PM ET

U.S. to beef up missile defense

The United States will deploy additional ground-based missile interceptors as part of efforts to enhance the nation's ability to defend itself from attack by North Korea or Iran, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Friday.

Still relatively new in his post, the Pentagon chief told reporters that 14 additional interceptors would bring the total to 44. He said the expansion should be completed by 2017.

Part of the move would involve reopening a missile field at Fort Greely, Alaska, Hagel said.

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Filed under: Iran • North Korea
March 14th, 2013
01:38 PM ET

Iran confronts U.S. drone over Persian Gulf

Iranian military aircraft targeted a U.S. Predator drone over the Persian Gulf this week, administration officials said. It was the latest in Iranian efforts to thwart the U.S. military's airborne intelligence collections efforts in the region.

Three administration officials have separately confirmed details of the incident, although the Pentagon has not publicly acknowledged it.

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Filed under: Iran
Source: Obama to challenge Iran
March 7th, 2013
09:57 PM ET

Source: Obama to challenge Iran

Barack Obama said on Thursday that he will not engage in any "chest beating" over Iran's nuclear program, but plans to issue a "clear and direct" challenge to Tehran during his upcoming Middle East trip, according to sources familiar with his comments.

Obama said at a White House meeting with Jewish American leaders that he will still work toward a diplomatic resolution with Iran over its nuclear program, but that no options are off the table, including military ones, one of the sources said.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Iran • Politics
U.S. commander: Iran sanctions not working
Gen. James N. Mattis testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
March 5th, 2013
02:24 PM ET

U.S. commander: Iran sanctions not working

Severe sanctions against Iran under fire for its nuclear activities are not working, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East said on Tuesday.

Gen. James Mattis, the commander of U.S. Central Command, made the statement in response to a question from U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican.

Mattis said at a Senate hearing, he said, "we have to continue sanctions" to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability, "but have other options ready."

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Filed under: Iran • Politics
March 4th, 2013
05:10 AM ET

IAEA: Iran not cooperating

Iran is not cooperating, making it difficult for the UN's nuclear watchdog agency to provide "credible assurance" that the country doesn't possess undeclared nuclear material, the IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said Monday.

Amano said Iran should grant access "without further delay" to the Parchin military complex, where it is believed to have tested rockets.

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Filed under: Iran • World
February 27th, 2013
02:34 AM ET

Iran, P5+1 conclude second round of talks

Diplomats emerged Wednesday from an unusually secretive round of talks over Iran's controversial nuclear program with a joint announcement to hold a follow-up meeting within weeks.

In a joint statement after the meeting in Kazakhstan, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and the chief Iranian negotiator, Saeed Jalili, announced that technical experts would meet in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 18.

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Filed under: Iran • Nuclear
February 23rd, 2013
05:02 PM ET

Iran says it captured 'enemy drone'

Iran said Saturday that it downed and captured another "enemy drone," the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.

The incident reportedly took place during Iranian military maneuvers in southern Iran.

"IRGC's electronic warfare systems detected electronic signals, which indicated that foreign drones intended to enter our country," said Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Lt. Gen. Hamid Sarkheili, Fars reported. "Our specialist forces then succeeded in bringing down the drone in the field of maneuvers."

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Filed under: Iran • World
Iran's Qaher-313 fighter plane
February 8th, 2013
11:55 AM ET

Iran's newest warplane something from 'GI Joe?'

First it was monkeys in space (or not) and now it’s “GI Joe” fighter jets. Not the best of times for Iran’s aviation and aerospace programs, at least if you listen to the skeptics.

First there were doubts about Tehran’s claim it sent a monkey into space in late January.  After photos of two different monkeys that were aboard the alleged one-monkey space shot surfaced, Iran media said there was a photo mix-up and, yes, there was just one Iranian monkey in space.

Then this week Iran unveiled what it said was its new high-tech stealth fighter plane. The jet shown in pictures on the website of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been the butt of jokes all week from aviation bloggers.

“This aircraft looks a lot like an old GI Joe toy,” wrote one blogger.

And from another, “This has to be a joke, right?”

Click through the gallery above to see the bloggers' comments and evidence in the photos.

Iran unveils "flying boats"

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Filed under: Aviation • Iran • Military
Ahmadinejad jokes he'd volunteer to go to space
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looks at a space monkey Monday on Iran's National Day of Space Technology in Tehran.
February 4th, 2013
01:47 PM ET

Ahmadinejad jokes he'd volunteer to go to space

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad joked he is so serious about making sure Iran advances technologically that he'd volunteer to go to space for his country if needed.

"I am ready to be the first human to be sent to space by Iranian scientists,” he said after meeting Monday with Iranian space scientists, according to the semi-official Mehr News Agency.

The president's comments, made in jest, came a week after the state's semi-official Fars News Agency said Iran had "sent a monkey to the orbit, brought it back to the Earth and retrieved the animal and the relevant data successfully."

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February 3rd, 2013
03:16 PM ET

Iran says it will consider nuclear talks with U.S.

Iran will give "positive consideration" to a renewed prospect of one-on-one talks with the United States on its nuclear program, its foreign minister said Sunday.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said a new round of talks between Iran and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members, plus Germany, would be held February 25 in Kazakhstan. Salehi spoke on the last day of the 49th Munich Security Conference, a day after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the Obama administration remains willing to hold direct talks with the Islamic Republic.

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Filed under: Iran
January 28th, 2013
02:50 AM ET

Iran arrests journalists for working with regime opponents, foreign news outlets

Iranian authorities have arrested several journalists, including the editor-in-chief of a leading reformist newspaper, on accusations of collaborating with the regime's opponents and working for foreign news organizations.

Acting on a court-issued warrant, security officers detained several journalists at their work places Sunday, the semi-official Mehr News Agency reported. The publications raided by officials included the newspapers Etemaad, Bahar, Arman and Shargh, it said.

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Filed under: Iran • World
Iran sentences U.S. pastor to 8 years in prison, group says
Saeed Abedini, a resident of Idaho, was charged wtih trying to undermine the Iranian government.
January 27th, 2013
05:20 PM ET

Iran sentences U.S. pastor to 8 years in prison, group says

An Iranian judge has sentenced an American Christian pastor to eight years in prison after he was tried for his religious beliefs, a U.S.-based religious group said Sunday.

Saeed Abedini was swiftly sentenced by a member of the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Court, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, an organization founded by television evangelist Pat Robertson.

CNN was not immediately able to confirm what went on in the court proceedings.

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Filed under: Iran • Religion • World
Syrian civil war in photos
December 28th, 2012
08:37 AM ET

U.S. officials: Syria using more accurate, Iranian-made missiles

The Syrian regime this week fired at least two Iranian-made, short-range ballistic missiles in what appears to be an effort to more precisely target Syrian rebels, two U.S. military officials tell CNN.

The Fateh A-110 missiles are more accurate than the older Scud variants that Syrian government forces have used in recent weeks.

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Filed under: Iran • Syria
Iran claims seizure of U.S. drone over Persian Gulf
December 4th, 2012
07:39 AM ET

Iran claims seizure of U.S. drone over Persian Gulf

Iran's navy has captured what it says is a U.S. drone after it entered Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf.

However, a U.S. defense official, who could not be named because the official was not authorized to speak to the media, told CNN that whatever the Iranians claim to have, it is not an actively operating U.S. Navy drone.

"The U.S. Navy has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles (UAV) operating in the Middle East region. Our operations in the Gulf are confined to internationally recognized water and air space," the source said. The internationally recognized territorial limit is 12 nautical miles off the coast.

It is not yet clear whether any other branch of the U.S. military or government might have been operating a drone in the area.

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Filed under: Iran
November 14th, 2012
06:50 AM ET

Helicopter crash kills 10 in Iran

An Iranian air force helicopter crashed Wednesday, killing all 10 people on board, according to the semiofficial Fars News Agency.

"The helicopter was carrying five people who had been injured earlier in a road accident, as well as four crew members and one medic," a medical official was quoted as saying.

The five passengers worked for the Ministry of Education, another official said.

The crash took place near a hospital in the holy city of Mashad.

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Filed under: Air travel • Iran • Transportation • World
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