An Iranian general on Monday acknowledged that more than 300 people have been killed in the unrest surrounding nationwide protests, giving the first official word on casualties in two months. That estimate is considerably lower than the toll reported by Human Rights Activists in Iran, a U.S.-based group that has been closely tracking the protests since they erupted after the Sept. 16 death of a young woman being held by the country’s morality police. The activist group says 451 protesters and 60 security forces have been killed since the start of the unrest and that more than 18,000 people have been detained.
Crypto exchange Kraken has agreed to pay a fine to settle civil liability related to apparent violations of sanctions on Iran, the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said on Monday. As part of the settlement with OFAC, Kraken will pay about $362,000, and "invest an additional $100,000 in certain sanctions compliance controls." Cryptocurrencies and other digital assets have soared in popularity over recent years, saddling policymakers with monitoring risks in a largely unregulated sector.
The families of Iran’s World Cup soccer team have been threatened with imprisonment and torture if the players fail to “behave” ahead of the match against the USA on Tuesday, a source involved in the security of the games said. Following the refusal of Iranian players to sing the nation’s national anthem in their opening match against England on November 21, the source said that the players were called to a meeting with members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The source said that they were told that their families would face “violence and torture” if they did not sing the national anthem or if they joined any political protest against the Tehran regime. The players sang the anthem before their second game against Wales last Friday, which saw 2-0 victory for Iran.
UANI IN THE NEWS
… Iran and its terror proxies have used drones in several different arenas in the Middle East, including in Iraq, Syria, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. It has also targeted oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Particularly troubling has been Iran’s rapid advancement of its drone capabilities in recent years. According to a report by United Against Nuclear Iran, a think tank, Iran has accelerated its efforts to develop its UAV systems and transform its drones “into versatile platforms with integrated or suicide attack capabilities.”
The pickup truck bounced along a rutted dirt track until it came to a stop on a sandy knoll. It was almost midnight. A half-moon revealed waves lapping at a small beach as four Ukrainian soldiers — drone hunters — stepped out of the truck and waited for the sound. Boom. A powerful explosion echoed over the city of Mykolaiv — signaling another Russian air attack was underway. Then came another rumble and sirens blared. “To battle,” said the unit commander, aiming a thermal vision sensor into the early November sky as another soldier climbed behind a heavy, truck-mounted machine gun.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
The Islamic Republic’s parliament is honing regulations that would enable the authorities to execute anyone who speaks or sends images to foreign media outlets. Since the current wave of protests began in Iran following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, the authorities have been trying to restrict the spread of information both within the country and from inside the country to the international community. In its latest move, the regime plans to ratify laws that would pave the way for executing people who are helping the world hear the voices of dissent. When finalized, the new law would help the hardliner Judiciary issue death sentences for anyone contacting foreign-based media.
Iran has released a 76-year-old dual Iranian-Austrian citizen from prison for health reasons, the Austria Press Agency reported Monday. APA quoted the Austrian foreign ministry confirming that Massud Mossaheb was given indefinite medical leave. The ministry said “intensive diplomatic efforts” had led to his release, which was first reported by Austrian daily Die Presse. APA reported that Mossaheb must remain in Iran and report to authorities every other week. Mossaheb was arrested on suspicion of espionage in early 2019 during a visit to Tehran. He was subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison. Two other Austrians remain imprisoned in Iran, APA reported.
The number of young and underage protesters killed in Iran’s nationwide uprising by government security forces continues to increase. Based on reports received by Iran International, Mohammad Hossein Kamandlou, 17, was killed on November 22 in Moshiriyeh neighborhood of Tehran and his funeral took place under strict security measures. Activists say Arshiya Imamqolizadeh Alamdari, 16, who was detained for 10 days and charged for grabbing and tossing the turban of a cleric in Jolfa in East Azarbaijan, committed suicide just two days after being released. Reports have also indicated that Maedeh (Mahak) Hashemi, 16, was killed by batons strikes in Shiraz Thursday, and her body was buried in the presence of security forces.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
The last World Cup clash between the United States and Iran 24 years ago is considered one of the most politically charged matches in soccer history. This time, the political overtones are just as strong and relations perhaps even more fraught as the U.S. and Iran face off once again on Tuesday in Qatar. Iran’s nationwide protests, its expanding nuclear program and regional and international attacks linked back to Tehran have pushed the match beyond the stadium and into geopolitics. No matter the outcome, tensions are likely only to worsen in the coming months. When relations soured between the U.S. and Iran depends on who you ask. Iranians point to the 1953 CIA-backed coup that cemented Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi’s power. Americans remember the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover and 444-day hostage crisis during the Iranian Revolution.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
An audio file obtained by the hacktivist group, Black Reward, has revealed concerns among Iranian officials about worn-out security forces, media failure and strikes. Black Reward found access to Fars News Agency’s digital files in recent days providing Iran International with an audio tape of a meeting between a Revolutionary Guard general and a group of media managers or representatives from outfits affiliated with the IRGC. We published one part of the audio file Sunday which detailed coordination between Iran and Qatar to silence dissidents during the World cup. The new part of the file is about plans to quell popular protests in the country.
A member of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was assassinated in Isfahan on Monday, according to local officials. The member, identified as Reza Dastani, was killed on his way to work. Efforts are underway to identify and arrest the assailants. The General Department of Public Relations and International Affairs of Isfahan Governorate, Jan Nishari, told ISNA that additional information about the intelligence measures taken to identify the assailants would be released in a few hours.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
Under the guise of reporting on reports by Beirut-based Al Mayadeen, a pan-Arabist satellite news channel, media outlets close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have published a list of “sensitive” sites that could be targeted in a future war. The reports listed a number of buildings and sites in Israel in what was clearly intended as a threat. Iran’s Tasnim News Agency on Monday reported: “In this regard, Al Mayadeen network has published a report on the analysis of Israel’s target bank and the sensitive positions of this regime that can be targeted in any war. At the beginning of this report, the general situation of the Zionist regime at the military level and its equipment has been examined.”
OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
A U.S. push for Iran to be removed from a U.N. women's equality and empowerment body will be voted on Dec. 14, diplomats said on Monday as Washington lobbies for Tehran to be punished over its denial of women's rights and brutal crackdown on protests. The United States on Monday circulated a draft resolution on the move, seen by Reuters, that also denounces Iran's policies as "flagrantly contrary to the human rights of women and girls and to the mandate of the Commission on the Status of Women." Iran has just started a four-year term on the 45-member commission, which meets annually every March and aims to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. The U.S.-drafted resolution would "remove with immediate effect the Islamic Republic of Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women for the remainder of its 2022-2026 term."