Two launch units for anti-tank guided missiles recovered by a Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen appear to have been manufactured in Iran during 2016 and 2017, according to a confidential United Nations report seen by Reuters on Tuesday. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres does not specifically state whether the discovery of the units in Yemen was a violation of a U.N. resolution that took effect in January 2016.
With Israel joining the prestigious FATF (Financial Action Task Force) on Monday, will it be able to work with the US to pressure Iran financially at the upcoming February 17 meeting? Iran already has problems with the FATF with it being singled out along with North Korea for a line of negative public statements in recent years and as a high-risk jurisdiction.
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry arrived in Baghdad on a trade mission Tuesday urging Iraq to reduce its energy dependence on Iran and open its own energy sector to American investment. The visit comes as the U.S. tries to isolate Iran through sanctions targeting its business and finance sectors. U.S. President Donald Trump says Iran is not in compliance with the 2015 nuclear accord.
UANI IN THE NEWS
...Iran's December 1 test is a deliberate provocation to the US, Jordan Steckler, a research analayst at United Against Nuclear Iran told The National. "At a time when the EU has continuously struggled to create a mechanism for continued European trade and investment with Iran, the ballistic missile tests, as well as Iran's stepped up campaign of assassinations and terrorist plots on European soil, show that Tehran has no intentions of moderating its behaviour," he said.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Iranian MP Kazem Jalali said on Monday that Iran will turn to alternate options if Europe fails to start actions to save the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). "European countries have adopted political position to keep the JCPOA, however, we expect serious actions and practical will of Europe," he said during a meeting with Tarja Cronberg, a member of the Executive Board of the European Leadership Network.
Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's nuclear chief and former foreign minister, has warned that Iranians are running out of patience with the European Union's pledge to maintain trade with Tehran despite ramped-up U.S. sanctions against its oil and banking sectors. "If we cannot sell our oil and we don't enjoy financial transactions, then I don't think keeping the deal will benefit us anymore," Salehi said ahead of a Nov. 27 meeting with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
The chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei has been released on bail in Canada, setting her up for a lengthy legal fight over extradition to the United States. But the case of Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Vancouver earlier this month, took on a new dimension after US President Donald Trump suggested he may intervene in the legal saga if it would help his pursuit of a trade deal with China. Meng's arrest has stoked tensions between the United States and China, just as the two sides have been trying to negotiate an end to their bruising trade war.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said on Tuesday he would send a delegation to the United States to seek an exemption from sanctions against Iran that would allow Baghdad to keep importing gas from Tehran. "The American side is cooperating with Iraq to find solutions that would remove pressure on Iraq because the (Iranian) gas is linked to a very sensitive issue which is electricity," Abdul Mahdi told a news conference.
German exports to Iran soared in October, a month before the United States re-instated sanctions on the Islamic Republic to choke its oil and shipping industries, data seen by Reuters showed on Tuesday. The surge signals willingness among Germany's small to medium-sized firms, or Mittelstand, to continue doing business with Iran despite the risk of being blacklisted by the United States for defying its sanctions.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi says Baghdad government will send a delegation to the United States to explore avenues for an exemption from sanctions against Iran, which would allow the Arab country to keep importing Iranian gas used to feed its power stations. "The American side is cooperating with Iraq to find solutions that would remove pressure on Iraq because the (Iranian) gas is linked to a very sensitive issue, which is electricity," Abdul Mahdi told a news conference on Tuesday.
Iran is going to offer its crude to Asian buyers, to be delivered in January, at US$1 per barrel less than this month, Reuters reports, citing a pricing document. The official selling price of Iranian Light crude was set at US$0.30 above the Platts Dubai/Oman average for January. This makes Iranian Light US$0.30 a barrel cheaper than Saudi Arab Light, with Iranian Heavy costing US$1.25 less per barrel than the Kingdom's Arab Medium grade, Reuters calculates.
Earlier this month, an interim agreement on free trade between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) was approved at the regional body's summit in the Russian city of St. Petersburg. After relevant legal procedures in Iran are fully carried out, the deal is expected to take effect as of early 2019. Seen as Iran's biggest ever deal on free trade with foreign partners, the document is aimed at the formation of a full-scale free trade zone between Iran and the EAEU member states, under which the two sides will be decreasing or removing export-import duties from bilateral trade.
Despite the Trudeau government's efforts to reach out to the Muslim world, Ottawa has recently found itself in a state of estrangement from two of the Middle East's most formidable Islamic states. Over the course of 2018, Saudi Arabia and Iran essentially recused themselves, albeit in different ways, from normative engagement with a Canadian government that has never lifted a legislative finger against either of them. Notably, both took this turn amidst disputes with Canada related to their human rights violations involving Canadian residents and citizens. The schism has highlighted the need for Canada to re-examine its assumptions regarding national interests and human rights advocacy, as autocracies become increasingly more muscular and brazen in offending the human rights sensibilities of Western countries.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
In the middle of December last year, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) warned of the expectation of mass protests and responded by dispatching special patrols of Basij forces in order to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation across the country to prevent any expression of popular dissent. But popular protests erupted later that month and turned rapidly into a nationwide uprising that tore down the wall of oppression.
Iran's Foreign Ministry summoned Georgian ambassador to Tehran, Ioseb Chakhvashvili, over recent reports of the Tbilisi government's "disrespect" for some Iranian passengers, Tasnim news agency resorted on Tuesday. In the meeting, Iranian Foreign Ministry voiced Tehran's strong opposition to what it called "the improper behavior" of Georgian border officers toward some Iranian nationals.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to travel to New York on December 12 to participate in a UN Security Council meeting on Iran. During the session, Pompeo will underscore Washington's "unyielding resolve to address the Iranian regime's threats to international peace and security through their continued development and proliferation of ballistic missiles," the State Department said in a statement.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Parliament Research Center of the Iranian legislature says that eleven percent more people have fallen below poverty line in the Tehran region, as the national currency rial has lost value. Currently, the poverty line is defined as a monthly income of around 28 million rials for a family of our, which only makes about $233 based on the free market exchange rate, or $480 based on the official exchange rate of the upcoming government budget.
IRANIAN REGIONAL AGGRESSION
The land across the border from northern Israel, from the Lebanese shores of the Mediterranean to the mountains of the Golan Heights in Syria, has become a staging ground for Iran and its proxies in their confrontation with the West. Iran has provided the Lebanese Shia militant group Hezbollah with more than 100,000 rockets and missiles and now has begun a "precision project" to retrofit those weapons with accurate guidance systems.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
A little over a year ago, President Donald Trump promised he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and, six months later, he delivered on that promise by officially moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Still, the embassy move is just one of many recent achievements that have enhanced the U.S.-Israel relationship under President Trump. Standing up for Israel at the United Nations, confronting Iran, and empowering the Jewish state to defend its interests have been successful outcomes of this policy agenda.
GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN
The United States and the European Union are publicly at odds over whether Iran can play a constructive role in Yemen peace talks, further splitting the two allies regarding how best to deal with Tehran. The Donald Trump administration had asked the UN to reject Iran's request to have a senior Foreign Ministry official attend this week's talks in Sweden between President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi's government and the Houthi rebels, Al-Monitor first reported last week.
A refugee family has been awarded $100,000 of taxpayers money after a court ruled they were mistreated in detention. The asylum seeker family, who fled their native Iran in 2010 claiming to be in fear for their lives, sued the Commonwealth over mistreatment they suffered while living in a number of Australian detention facilities. Last week the New South Wales Supreme Court officially approved payments to two siblings now aged 16 and 11, with one amount confidential.