By Jill Dougherty
The U.S. State Department said Monday it wasn't surprised that Iran's newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should stay in power until 2014.
"We have a number of differences with Iran, and the leadership there, over Syria and the path forward," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. "We've expressed on a number of occasions our concerns about their recent aid to the regime and the influx of foreign fighters, and specifically Hezbollah."
The United States and other Western nations are working on how to help the rebels in Syria's brutal, two-year civil war as the al-Assad government receives backing from Iran and Russia.
By Jill Dougherty
Secretary of State John Kerry sharply criticized Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday, accusing him of soliciting help from Iran and its fighters on the ground in Syria as well as fighters from Hezbollah.
"A designated terrorist organization has now crossed over from Lebanon into Syria and is actively engaged in the fighting," Kerry said at a State Department press availability about the Syrian civil war.
Al-Assad, he said, is willing to use Scud missiles against civilians and noted an "extraordinary number" of people are trapped in the besieged rebel stronghold of Qusair near the Lebanese border.
"He will not allow humanitarian aid to go in until the military has finished what (it) intends to do," Kerry said.
"So I think the world is seeing the actions of a person who has lost touch with any reality except his own and is willing to wreak any kind of punishment on his own - the people of his country - simply so that he can maintain power," he said.
By Jamie Crawford
The United States imposed new sanctions on Iran on Friday in an effort to further squeeze its crippled economy and pressure Tehran into curbing its nuclear ambitions.
The latest Treasury Department action targets the petrochemical industry, Iran's second-highest source of revenue after oil production, which is also under sanctions.
Treasury targeted eight companies under the authority of an executive order signed by President Barack Obama last year to stem the flow of money that can be diverted to Iran's nuclear program.
Western powers believe Iran is aiming to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran says its intentions are peaceful.
By Jamie Crawford
The United States lifted a ban on exports of certain personal communications equipment and software to Iranians on Thursday and sanctioned Iranian government, military and judicial officials for their alleged roles in suppressing freedom of expression.
The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control issued a general license that allows for U.S. citizens to send more sophisticated communication gear not readily available to Iranian citizens within their country.
It also serves as an effort to work around Iranian government censorship of communications, and allow for greater communication with people outside Iran.
The license would not extend to any aspect of the Iranian government, or to any individual or entity already sanctioned by the United States government.
By Chris Lawrence
The United States is investigating "a string of malicious" cyber incidents that appear to be focused on probing energy infrastructure, a U.S. official familiar with the latest intelligence tells CNN.
The official, who spoke anonymously due to the sensitivity of the information, said the suspected hacking did not appear to be intended to steal trade secrets or exploit technology for commercial reasons. It appeared to be aimed at identifying weaknesses in fuel and electrical systems in the United States.
While the official did not identify any suspected origins of the apparent hacking, a U.S. lawmaker raised suspicions about Iran.
The United States has over the past year become more concerned about Iran and cyber security.
By CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen
Editor's note: Peter Bergen is CNN's national security analyst, the author of "Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden - From 9/11 to Abbottabad" and a director at the New America Foundation.
The news that Canadian law enforcement on Monday arrested two men accused of planning to derail a passenger train in the Toronto area has attracted much attention, in part, because the plotters are also charged with "receiving support from al Qaeda elements in Iran."
By Ivan Watson, CNN
Representatives from six world powers and Iran returned to the negotiating table Friday in Kazakhstan for fresh talks aimed at breaking the deadlock over Iran's controversial nuclear program.
When negotiators from the six-nation diplomatic bloc last sat down with Iran's envoy in the Kazakh city of Almaty in February, they delivered what they characterized as a "fair and balanced offer" to defuse tensions over the Iranian nuclear program.
"We are waiting to see how Iran responds to the proposal we put on the table," Michael Mann, a European Union spokesman, told journalists shortly after negotiations resumed on Friday.
Details of the offer from the six governments have not yet been made public. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton described it as a "very clear and concise proposal" for confidence building measures.
Last March, technical experts from Iran and the so-called "P5+1" countries, which consist of the United States, France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia, met for more than 12 hours in Istanbul to discuss the proposal.FULL STORY
By Kevin Liptak
Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday in Baghdad that he pressed Iraq's leaders to take steps prohibiting Iranian planes from delivering arms to Syria's besieged government, which is battling rebels backed by financial support from the American government.
Iranian planes must fly through Iraq's airspace in order to reach Syria with deliveries of weapons and supplies. The flights are occurring almost daily, according to a senior State Department official accompanying Kerry on his stop in Baghdad.
"Anything that supports President Assad is problematic," Kerry told reporters, referring to Syria's leader. "And I made it very clear to the prime minister that the overflights from Iran are, in fact, helping to sustain President Assad and his regime."
Kerry's previously unannounced trip to Iraq came after he joined President Barack Obama on a trip to Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan. This week marked the ten-year anniversary of the beginning of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, and the first time since 2009 that a U.S. secretary of state has visited the country. Obama last went to Iraq in April 2009.
By Jamie Crawford
The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday detailed what it called an "intricate Iranian scheme" helped by a Greek shipping magnate in an effort to avoid oil export sanctions.
Dimitris Cambis established a network of front companies to purchase multiple oil tankers in an elaborate scheme to disguise the origin of Iranian oil, the Treasury Department said.
"Today we are lifting the veil on an intricate Iranian scheme that was designed to evade international oil sanctions," David S. Cohen, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a written statement. "We will continue to expose deceptive Iranian practices, and to sanction those individuals and entities who participate in these schemes."
By Barbara Starr
An Iranian fighter jet targeted an unarmed U.S. Predator drone over the Persian Gulf this week, the Pentagon says.
It was the latest Iranian move aimed at thwarting American military airborne intelligence efforts in the region.
Defense Department spokesman George Little said on Thursday the unmanned MQ-1 drone was conducting routine classified surveillance over international waters on Tuesday when approached by an Iranian F-4.
The two aircraft came within 16 miles of each other.