Iran's Malign Behavior Tracker

Iran’s Escalating Intransigence Since the JCPOA

Since the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 powers on July 14, 2015, also known as the Iran Deal, UANI has been monitoring the day-to-day actions of the Iranian regime to determine if Tehran is abiding by its commitments and moderating its aggressive and threatening behavior.

A key benefit of the Iran Deal, proponents of the agreement argued, would be that it would contribute to the moderation of the Iranian regime. By tracking developments in Iran’s nuclear program, human rights situation, destabilizing regional activities, sponsorship of terrorism, and relations with the U.S., UANI’s Moderation Mythbuster clearly shows that the Iranian regime failed to moderate despite the sanctions relief and prospect of further economic engagement with the West that resulted from the JCPOA. In fact, Iran adopted a more hardline approach both in its domestic and foreign policy, even during the presidency of Hassan Rouhani, who was touted in the West as a supposed moderate. Iran’s aggression has only grown since hardliner Ebrahim Raisi assumed the presidency in September 2021.

The regime has pursued the path of increased intransigence in order to compel the U.S. to relent and rejoin the JCPOA, a deal that does not permanently prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability. As comprehensively cataloged in this resource, Iran's failure to moderate highlights why the U.S. should refrain from providing up-front sanctions relief until the regime changes course.

To see daily Iran-related developments prior to the JCPOA, view UANI’s Rouhani Accountability Tracker.

Date Theme Event
01-27-2023
Military

Iran's biggest warship and one of its frigates are sailing across the Pacific in a first-of-its-kind journey likely meant to show off Tehran's growing naval force to friends and foes alike.

Iran's biggest warship and one of its frigates are sailing across the Pacific in a first-of-its-kind journey likely meant to show off Tehran's growing naval force to friends and foes alike. The two ships appear to be the frigate IRIS Dena and the forward base ship IRINS Makran. They were spotted by the French and Australian navies in early January as they sailed through the South Pacific. The ships have been granted permission to dock in Rio de Janeiro, reportedly arriving on January 23. (Business Insider)

01-27-2023
Human Rights

A newspaper in Iran says the parliament's plan to add two new articles to the “Islamic Penal Code” could further restrict civil liberties and freedom of speech.

A newspaper in Iran says the parliament's plan to add two new articles to the “Islamic Penal Code” could further restrict civil liberties and freedom of speech. According to Etemad newspaper, based on the new legislation, making any comment about the state of affairs in the country can land people in trouble, particularly politicians, political activists and celebrities. The newspaper said that lawmakers at the Judiciary Committee wish to make sure that all public comments are identical with official version of developments. (Iran International)

01-27-2023
Terrorism

The Department of Justice has charged three members of an Eastern European criminal group with ties to Iran with attempting to assassinate a prominent U.S. journalist and activist critical of the Iranian regime.

The Department of Justice has charged three members of an Eastern European criminal group with ties to Iran with attempting to assassinate a prominent U.S. journalist and activist critical of the Iranian regime. In a 25-page indictment unsealed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Department of Justice said the three men were enlisted last year to murder an American citizen of Iranian origin on U.S. soil. The indictment did not identify the victim by name but said the person wrote critically about Iran’s treatment of women, protesters and other issues. (NBC)

01-26-2023
Human Rights

Iran has sentenced an ethnic Iranian-Kurdish pregnant woman being held in Urmia Central Prison to death.

Iran has sentenced an ethnic Iranian-Kurdish pregnant woman being held in Urmia Central Prison to death, according to a report by Iran Wire. Shahla Abdi, from the north-western province of West Azerbaijan and said to be in her early 20s, was initially arrested in Urmia in mid-October at the peak of mass protests that were triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini in morality police custody. Ms. Abdi is said to have received the death sentence after being accused of setting fire to a portrait of former Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. (The National)

01-26-2023
Terrorism

Iranian and Russian hackers are targeting British politicians and journalists with espionage attacks.

Iranian and Russian hackers are targeting British politicians and journalists with espionage attacks, officials have warned. The National Cyber Security Centre has issued a fresh alert about increasing attempts to steal information from specific groups and individuals. NCSC said the hackers usually target those doing research and work about Iran and Russia. (BBC)

01-25-2023
Nuclear Program

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi warned that Tehran has amassed enough material for “several nuclear weapons.”

Diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon should restart, said International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi, who warned that Tehran has amassed enough material for “several nuclear weapons.” Speaking ahead of a planned visit to Tehran, Grossi told a European Parliament subcommittee in Brussels that Iran has not yet built a nuclear weapon and the West should redouble efforts to stop it from doing so. Uranium enriched to more than 90% can be weaponized. Iran has 70 kilograms (154 pounds) of uranium enriched to 60% purity and 1,000 kilograms to 20% purity, according to Grossi. (CNN)

01-24-2023
Human Rights

An activist group says sixteen young people arrested in Urumieh in November, including several minors, have been tortured and threatened with rape to incriminate each other.

An activist group says sixteen young people arrested in Urumieh in November, including several minors, have been tortured and threatened with rape to incriminate each other. Follow Up Iran (komite-ye Peygiri-ye Bazdashtshodegan) which on its twitter account introduces itself as a group of activists said in a brief report on its Telegram page that the IRGC’s intelligence organization in West Azarbaijan Province has been torturing these young people to “confess” against each other and say their group was in contact with foreign intelligence services. State media reported in November that intelligence bodies had arrested 25 members of Youth of Urumieh Neighborhoods and accused them of trying “to deceive young people and incite them [to riot].” (Iran International)    

01-23-2023
Military

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is ramping up Syria’s air defense system, despite rampant poverty in Iran.

Amid new sanctions by Western countries on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard for human rights violations and other mischiefs, the multi-role organization is ramping up Syria’s air defense system, despite rampant poverty in Iran. According to a report by the Newsweek earlier in the month, the Islamic Republic has invested tens of millions of dollars from the country's public budget for the deployment of a comprehensive aerial defense network in Syria. Newsweek cited an unnamed intelligence source from a nation allied with the United States that the IRGC over the past two years has been “promoting the deployment of aerial defense capabilities on its behalf in Syria at a cost of tens of millions of dollars in order to deal with the Israeli airstrikes.” (Iran International)

01-23-2023
Human Rights

Iranian authorities have arrested three female journalists in the past two days, local media said.

Iranian authorities have arrested three female journalists in the past two days, local media said, amid months of protests triggered by the death in custody of Mahsa Amini. "In the past 48 hours, at least three female journalists, namely Melika Hashemi, Saideh Shafiei and Mehrnoush Zarei, have been arrested in Tehran," reformist newspaper Etemad quoted the Tehran journalists' union as saying. The paper said the three women had been transferred to Evin prison, where many of those arrested in connection with the protests are being held. (AFP)

01-22-2023
Military

In addition to the 24 Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jets Tehran expects to receive from Russia as soon as March 21, the Persian New Year, Tehran also claims it has ordered helicopters and missile systems.

Iran expects to receive the first of the 24 Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jets it ordered from Russia as soon as March 21, the Persian New Year. Tehran also claims it has ordered helicopters and missile systems. Shahriar Heidari, a member of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told Iranian state media that Iran has ordered other Russian military equipment, including helicopters, air defense systems, and other missile systems, and expects to receive them soon. While the specific equipment Iran expects in addition to Su-35s remains unclear, the seemingly imminent delivery of those two dozen air superiority fighters, originally built for Egypt, has dominated discussions and headlines. (Forbes)

01-22-2023
Anti-Americanism

Islamic Republic’s education minister says parts of the documents obtained during the US embassy takeover in 1979 will be included in school textbooks as of next year.

Islamic Republic’s education minister says parts of the documents obtained during the US embassy takeover in 1979 will be included in school textbooks as of next year. [Education Minister] Yousef Nouri said that the move was done upon a call by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the materials will be included in textbooks in all levels from the elementary school to the end of high school according to the level of understanding of the students. (Iran International)

01-20-2023
Anti-Americanism

Three drones targeted a U.S. base in Syria's Al-Tanf region but no American troops were injured, the U.S. military said in a statement.

Three drones targeted a U.S. base in Syria's Al-Tanf region but no American troops were injured, the U.S. military said in a statement. U.S. Central Command said two of the drones were shot down while the remaining drone hit the compound, injuring two members of the Syrian Free Army forces. (Reuters)

01-18-2023
Human Rights

Sources have told BBC Persian that Mohammad Mehdi Karami—a 22-year-old karate champion hanged by Iran—had less than 15 minutes to defend himself in court.

Four young men have been executed in connection with the nationwide protests that erupted in Iran four months ago, while 18 other people have been sentenced to death. Human rights groups have said they were convicted after grossly unfair sham trials. Mohammad Mehdi Karami, a 22-year-old karate champion, was hanged on 7 January, just 65 days after his arrest. Sources have told BBC Persian that he had less than 15 minutes to defend himself in court. (BBC)

01-18-2023
Syria Conflict

In a recent lengthy interview, the deputy commander of the Iranian Army for Training Affairs Brig.-Gen. Alireza Sheikh discussed how Iran’s regime views its military doctrine.

The recent interview [with the deputy commander of the Iranian Army for Training Affairs Brig.-Gen. Alireza Sheikh] reveals how Iran is following Russia’s military doctrine and also learning from Pakistan and how it is focusing on missiles and drones. Tehran is also warning its adversaries that it is practicing conducting raids that could destabilize the Gulf if Iran were confronted with a larger conflict. (The Jerusalem Post)

01-17-2023
Human Rights

A Kurdish rights group says during the first 15 days of 2023, at least 96 Kurdish citizens have been arrested by Islamic Republic government forces.

A Kurdish rights group says during the first 15 days of 2023, at least 96 Kurdish citizens have been arrested by Islamic Republic government forces. Hengaw Human Rights Organization announced in a tweet that 13 children, five university students, four teachers, and five women are among the detainees. Iranian security forces used excessive and lethal force against protesters in Kurdish regions since the beginning of nationwide protests following the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody in mid-September. (Iran International)   

01-17-2023
Human Rights

Iran has sought to develop an “unprecedented” mobile surveillance system.

Iran has sought to develop an “unprecedented” mobile surveillance system, and discussed setting up the program with a pair of Western companies, according to research from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab. Based on hacked documents that Citizen Lab verified were authentic, Iran’s ambitions focused on deeply integrating into mobile business systems. (Washington Post)

01-15-2023
Extremism

The Islamic Republic has announced its intention to change the content of textbooks in foreign language schools after criticism by Iran’s ruler Ali Khamenei.

The Islamic Republic has announced its intention to change the content of textbooks in foreign language schools after criticism by Iran’s ruler Ali Khamenei. Head of Non-Governmental Schools and Centers Ahmad Mahmoudzadeh told ILNA Sunday that “We will have a call to produce content of language books for schools, which will be implemented in line with the order of the Supreme Leader.” Changing the content of textbooks based on the government's propaganda policies has been implemented in the last few years upon the order of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. However, this is the first time that these changes will be applied to the language teaching books of private institutes. (Iran International)

01-15-2023
Military

Iran will receive Russian Su-35 fighter jets within three months under an agreement with Moscow.

Iran will receive Russian Su-35 fighter jets within three months under an agreement with Moscow, an Iranian parliamentarian said, Anadolu reports. Shahriar Heidari, a member of the parliament's National Security Committee, told Tasnim News Agency that the jets will arrive in Iran in the coming Iranian year, which begins March 21. According to the MP, Tehran has also ordered a number of other military equipment from Russia, including air defense systems, missile systems and helicopters, most of which will arrive soon. According to media reports, Iran will receive 24 twin-engine, highly maneuverable fourth-generation fighter jets that will be used primarily for air superiority missions. (Middle East Monitor)

01-13-2023
Terrorism

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian traveled to Beirut to meet with senior Lebanese officials and political figures such as Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian traveled to Beirut to meet with senior Lebanese officials and political figures such as Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah. Hezbollah said in a statement that Nasrallah and Amir-Abdollahian discussed Israel’s new, hardline government and regional developments. He also held a meeting with Secretary-General of Palestinian Islamic Jihad Ziyad al-Nakhalah during his trip to Lebanon. (Iran International)

01-12-2023
Human Rights

Iranian authorities may be using new technology to help enforce the country's strict dress code for women.

Iranian authorities may be using new technology to help enforce the country's strict dress code for women, expanding the use of facial recognition technology to issue fines and other penalties for those breaking the rules. "Many people haven't been arrested in the streets," Shaparak Shajarizadeh, who fled from Iran to Canada in 2018 after multiple violations of Iran's strict laws and became an activist, told Wired in a report. "They were arrested at their homes one or two days later." (Fox News)

01-11-2023
Military

Iran's navy is set to station warships for the first time in the Panama Canal.

Iran's navy is set to station warships for the first time in the Panama Canal. Rear Admiral Shahram Irani, the commander of Iran's navy, said that his forces will establish a presence in the Panama Canal later this year, marking the first time Iran's military has entered the Pacific Ocean. Iran in recent years has placed a greater focus on moving its military into Latin American territories as it strengthens relations with anti-American dictators in the region, most notably in Venezuela. (Washington Free Beacon)

01-10-2023
Terrorism

The US intercepted a shipment of more than 2,000 Iranian assault rifles destined for Yemen.

The US intercepted a shipment of more than 2,000 Iranian assault rifles destined for Yemen, according to a statement from the US military. The interception took place in international waters in the Gulf of Oman, US Central Command said. A team from the USS Chinook, a patrol coastal vessel, boarded the other ship along a route historically used to smuggle weapons from Iran to the Houthis in Yemen. A photo from the USS The Sullivans shows the 2,116 assault rifles covering the deck of the guided missile destroyer. (CNN)

01-10-2023
Syria Conflict

Over the last two years, Iran has shifted its strategy in Syria toward prioritizing the “deployment of aerial defense capabilities," an intelligence source told Newsweek.

Iran has pursued the establishment of a comprehensive aerial defense network in Syria by sending equipment and personnel to the war-ravaged Arab nation in a project Israel has sought to thwart through repeated airstrikes, an intelligence source from a nation allied with the United States told Newsweek. However, the source told Newsweek that over the course of "the last two years" Iran has shifted its strategy, "promoting the deployment of aerial defense capabilities on its behalf in Syria at a cost of tens of millions of dollars in order to deal with the Israeli airstrikes." (Newsweek)

01-08-2023
Terrorism

German police have taken into custody a 32-year-old Iranian citizen suspected of having procured deadly poisons cyanide and ricin to commit an "Islamist-motivated" attack.

German police have taken into custody a 32-year-old Iranian citizen suspected of having procured deadly poisons cyanide and ricin to commit an "Islamist-motivated" attack, authorities in western Germany said. The residence of the suspect in the city of Castrop-Rauxel was searched as part of the investigation, according to a joint press release from the Duesseldorf public prosecutor's office and police in the cities of Recklinghausen and Muenster. Police said the Iranian was suspected of having planned a "serious act of violence endangering the state" by allegedly procuring cyanide and ricin to commit an Islamist-motivated attack. This carries a prison sentence of between 6 months to 10 years. (Reuters)

01-07-2023
Politics

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has appointed Ahmad Reza Radan as the country's new police chief.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has appointed Ahmad Reza Radan as the country's new police chief. Radan replaced outgoing Hossein Ashtari after his eight-year term of service ended, state media reported. Radan, who served as acting commander of police from 2008-2014, is known for his violent crackdown on the 2009 mass protests over a disputed presidential election. He also imposed tough measures against women who don't fully observe the hijab law. (Radio Free Europe)

01-07-2023
Human Rights

Two protesters who allegedly took part in anti-regime protests last year, Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, were hanged.

The executions of two young men in Iran, one a karate champion, the other a volunteer children’s coach, in connection with nationwide protests have sparked outrage around the world. Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini were hanged, state-affiliated Fars News reported. The pair, who allegedly took part in anti-regime protests last year, were convicted of killing Seyed Ruhollah Ajamian, a member of the country’s Basij paramilitary force, in Karaj on November 3, according to the Iran’s judiciary news agency Mizan. (CNN)

01-07-2023
Terrorism

An audio file shared on social media has revealed that the regime threatens Iranians abroad for taking part in anti-government protests and expressing opposition.

An audio file shared on social media has revealed that the regime threatens Iranians abroad for taking part in anti-government protests and expressing opposition. In the audio file published by the VOA Farsi service, a security agent of the Islamic Republic, who introduces himself as an agent of the intelligence ministry, threatens "Massi Kamri", an Iranian activist living in France, saying if she does not stop acting against the regime, they will imprison her parents and family members in Iran. Apparently, she participated in rallies against the Islamic Republic’s bloody crackdown on anti-government protests that have engulfed Iran following the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. (Iran International)

01-04-2023
Anti-Americanism

Two rockets struck a base housing American troops in eastern Syria without causing any human or material losses, the U.S. military said.

Two rockets struck a base housing American troops in eastern Syria without causing any human or material losses, the U.S. military said. The morning attack on Mission Support Site Conoco came as Iran and its allies in the region marked the third anniversary of the killing of Iran’s elite Quds force chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad. No one claimed responsibility for the attack in east Syria, where it is not uncommon for bases housing U.S. troops to come under rocket fire or mortar attacks. Iran-backed militia are based nearby as are sleeper cells of the Islamic State group that was defeated in Syria in March 2019. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said the rockets were fired by Arab tribesmen in the region who are armed by Iran. (Associated Press)

01-03-2023
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi vows revenge for the assassination of Qassem Soleimani.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, speaking on the third anniversary of the US killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, said that revenge for the slain commander was “certain.” “We have not forgotten and will not forget the blood of martyr Soleimani, and let them know that revenge for the blood of martyr Soleimani is certain,” Raisi said in a televised speech. (Al Arabiya News)

01-02-2023
Human Rights

Iranian police have resumed warnings that women must wear mandatory headscarves even in cars.

Iranian police resumed warnings that women must wear mandatory headscarves even in cars, Iranian state media reported, as unrest continues following the death of Mahsa Amini. "The removal of hijab has been observed in your vehicle: It is necessary to respect the norms of the society and make sure this action is not repeated," read a message reportedly sent by police and posted on social media. Iran's morality police — known as Gasht-e Ershad, or "Guidance Patrol" — have a mandate to enter public areas to check on the implementation of the strict dress code. (AFP)

01-02-2023
Terrorism

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei celebrated the new year by praising slain Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was directly responsible for the deaths of over 603 U.S. serviceman and women.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei celebrated the new year by praising slain Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by a U.S. airstrike nearly three years ago and was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of U.S. service members and allies. Khamenei also lauded Esmail Qaani, Soleimani's replacement as head of the U.S.-designated terrorist organization the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, which was designated by the U.S. as a foreign terrorist organization in 2019. (Fox News)

12-30-2022
Military

Iran held top military drills in a joint effort involving air, sea and land forces in the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran held top military drills in a joint effort involving air, sea and land forces, in what one major general referred to as "the war before the war" while he spoke against the threat Israel and the U.S. pose. The drills, held in the Strait of Hormuz which sees roughly 25% of the world's oil transported through it, were dubbed "Zolfaghar-1401" and involved commandos, airborne infantry, drones, various aircraft and submarines, according to local reports. The drills were held to "improve readiness in confronting foreign threats and any possible invasion.” (Fox News)

12-27-2022
Human Rights

At least 100 detainees identified by an Oslo-based human rights NGO face capital punishment, including at least 11 already sentenced to death.

At least 100 Iranians arrested over more than 100 days of nationwide protests face charges punishable by death, Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) has said. The NGO published a report that said many of them had limited access to legal representation. “By issuing death sentences and executing some of them, [the authorities] want to make people go home,” said IHR director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam. “It has some effect … [but] what we’ve observed in general is more anger against the authorities. Their strategy of spreading fear through executions has failed.” (AFP)

12-25-2022
Terrorism

Iran brags about how it exports missiles to Palestinians and Hezbollah.

Iranian pro-government media published an article on Sunday bragging about its “integrated missile network” and how it has armed the “resistance” in the Middle East. By “resistance,” the report was referring to a network of pro-Iranian groups and proxy groups it supports, particularly Hezbollah, the Palestinians and Yemen. (Jerusalem Post)

12-21-2022
Terrorism

A member of an Iranian intelligence network (Kiya Sadeghi) attempted to hire a private investigator in Canada to conduct surveillance on anti-regime activists.

A member of an Iranian intelligence network (Kiya Sadeghi) attempted to hire a private investigator in Canada to conduct surveillance on anti-regime activists, The Fifth Estate has learned. Kiya Sadeghi is wanted by the FBI in the United States along with three other Iranian intelligence operatives for allegedly plotting to kidnap exiled Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad from her home in New York City. According to a June 2021 indictment filed in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, Sadeghi used false pretenses to hire private investigators in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom to conduct surveillance on Alinejad and other dissidents. (CBC)

12-20-2022
Human Rights

Hard-line Iranian lawmakers have proposed a plan to impose tougher penalties against those who publish news that is deemed to have "negative social consequences."

Hard-line Iranian lawmakers have proposed a plan to impose tougher penalties against those who publish news that is deemed to have "negative social consequences." According to the plan, those who publish "fake news" in the media will be responsible for the negative social consequences resulting from it. The rules would "apply to any type of news." Mohammad Taghi Naqdali, a member of the Legal and Judicial Commission of the Iranian Parliament, said prosecution and punishment are not only limited to those who publish news with negative consequences, but "punishment has also been determined for individuals or media outlets that exaggerate the news." (Radio Free Europe)

12-19-2022
Human Rights

A 14-year-old girl in Iran was reportedly raped and killed for removing her hijab in school in amid ongoing protests rocking the Islamic Republic.

A 14-year-old girl in Iran was reportedly raped and killed for removing her hijab in school in amid ongoing protests rocking the Islamic Republic. The New York Times reports that the teen, identified as Masoomeh, was from a poor neighborhood in Tehran and took her headscarf off at school in protest.  School cameras identified the girl and she was arrested. She was later treated at a hospital for "severe vaginal tears," The Times reported, citing the Center for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based watchdog organization. (Fox News)

12-19-2022
Human Rights

Iran’s government accesses the social media accounts of those it detains in search of incriminating information regarding the protests.

As protests spread in the country, much of the attention has focused on the Iranian government’s efforts to shut down the internet. But behind the scenes, some worry the government is using technology in another way: accessing mobile applications to surveil and suppress dissent. Human rights activists inside and outside of Iran have been warning for years about the Iranian regime’s ability to remotely access and manipulate protesters’ cell phones. And tech companies may not be well equipped to handle such incidents, experts say. (CNN)

12-18-2022
Human Rights

A prominent Iranian actress was arrested by the local authorities after she posted messages on social media expressing solidarity with antigovernment protests.

Taraneh Alidoosti, a prominent Iranian actress, was arrested by the local authorities after she posted messages on social media expressing solidarity with antigovernment protests that have rocked Iran for nearly three months. Ms. Alidoosti, 38, was arrested in connection with what state news media described as “unsubstantiated comments about recent events” and “the publication of provocative material.” It is one of the highest-profile detentions the Iranian authorities have made in their effort to crack down on a women-led uprising that started in September. (New York Times)

12-17-2022
Human Rights

Iran arrested the lawyer of two female journalists detained after reporting the death of a woman in custody, which sparked three months of protests, the Ham Mihan newspaper said.

Iran arrested the lawyer (Mohammad Ali Kamfirouzi) of two female journalists detained after reporting the death of a woman in custody, which sparked three months of protests, the Ham Mihan newspaper said. The arrest brings to 25 the number of lawyers detained in connection with the protests, the reformist daily said. (AFP)

12-17-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran said that its uranium enrichment capacity has increased to record levels, a day before U.N. nuclear monitors are set to visit the country.

Iran said that its uranium enrichment capacity has increased to record levels, a day before U.N. nuclear monitors are set to visit the country. “Currently, the enrichment capacity of the country has reached more than twice the entire history of this industry,” Mohammad Eslami, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA. “Nuclear energy and atomic power production have great economic savings for the country and are effective in reducing fossil and non-renewable fuel consumption and environmental problems,” he added. (Times of Israel)

12-15-2022
Human Rights

Two young Kurdish men—Shadman Ahmadi and Shahriar Adeli—were killed by torture on the same day as the execution of Mohsen Shekari.

Two young Kurdish men—Shadman Ahmadi and Shahriar Adeli—were killed by torture on the same day as the execution of Mohsen Shekari. These murders, like many others, were not adequately covered in the media. The numbers of reported killed, tortured, sentenced to death, and detained are likely underestimations, especially given the government-directed internet blackouts and the shut-down of communication services and platforms. (CBC)

12-15-2022
Terrorism

An Albanian court has convicted an Iranian man on terrorism-related charges and sentenced him to ten years’ imprisonment.

An Albanian court has convicted an Iranian man on terrorism-related charges and sentenced him to ten years’ imprisonment, court officials said. In a ruling, Albania’s Special Court on Corruption and Organized Crime found Bijan Pooladrag guilty of funding terrorism and being a member of a terrorist organization. No details on Pooladrag’s age, home city, or when he had come to Albania were made known. Pooladrag denied the charges. He has the right to appeal the verdict. (Associated Press)

12-14-2022
Extremism

A hardline newspaper close to Iran’s ruling clerics suggested authorities close the Strait of Hormuz.

A hardline newspaper close to Iran’s ruling clerics suggested authorities close the Strait of Hormuz, a crucial waterway for global energy supplies, in response to alleged foreign support for the nationwide protests gripping the country. The suggestion came from the editor-in-chief of the hardline Kayhan newspaper, who is appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in an editorial that could be seen as a trial balloon. “Closing the Strait of Hormuz to Western countries’ oil tankers and commercial vessels is Iran’s legal right,” Hossein Shariatmadari wrote. “We can even seize a part of their commercial cargo as compensation for the financial damage they have done to our country.” (Washington Post)

12-13-2022
Human Rights

Iran says it has publicly hanged a 23-year-old in what is the second execution linked to the recent anti-government protests.

Iran says it has publicly hanged a 23-year-old in what is the second execution linked to the recent anti-government protests. Majidreza Rahnavard, 23, was hanged in the city of Mashhad, the judiciary said. A court convicted him of "enmity against God" after finding he had stabbed to death two members of the paramilitary Basij Resistance Force. Rahnavard was hanged just 23 days after his arrest. (BBC)

12-13-2022
Terrorism

Britain is facing growing interference, threats and influence from state actors including Iran, security minister Tom Tugendhat has warned.

Britain is facing growing interference, threats and influence from state actors including Iran, security minister Tom Tugendhat has warned. Since 10 Iranian plots were revealed in November more incidents have come to light. Foreign meddling of this nature, he said, poses monumental challenges to freedom of speech in the UK and residents' way of life. Speaking at London-based think tank Policy Exchange, he said that “acute threats” to national security require an immediate response. (The National)

12-13-2022
Nuclear Program

Vladimir Putin could seek to help Iran develop its nuclear weapons program in exchange for Tehran's continued support of his war in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin could seek to help Iran develop its nuclear weapons program in exchange for Tehran's continued support of his war in Ukraine, US intelligence has claimed. Weapons supplied by the Islamic Republic have been used by the Russian military in the conflict—particularly Iranian-manufactured Shahed-136 drones which are playing a central role in ongoing attacks on civilian populations and key energy infrastructure. This “sordid” alliance led British foreign secretary James Cleverly to announce a sanctions package targeting “high-level” figures from both countries as he condemned the embattled Iranian regime for making deals with Russia in “a desperate attempt to survive.” (Daily Mail)

12-09-2022
Military

The US National Security Council spokesman said that Tehran is receiving “an unprecedented level of military and technical support” from Moscow in exchange for Iranian drones, and potentially ballistic missiles, for use in Ukraine.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that “support is flowing both ways,” as Moscow offers “an unprecedented level of military and technical support” to Tehran in exchange for Iranian drones, and potentially ballistic missiles, for use in Ukraine. “We are concerned that Russia intends to provide Iran with advanced military components,” Kirby said. He declined to specify what those components were but agreed “that could include air defense.” Russia’s S-400 air defense system is considered one of the world’s most capable. (Washington Post)

12-09-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran’s nuclear chief said traces of enriched uranium found on its territory by U.N. inspectors were brought into the country from abroad.

Iran’s nuclear chief said traces of enriched uranium found on its territory by U.N. inspectors were brought into the country from abroad, disputing claims of secret nuclear activity. The U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, has for months been pressing Tehran to explain the presence of the nuclear material at three undeclared sites. The discovery further complicated efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that has been hanging by a thread since the United States unilaterally withdrew from it in 2018 under then-president Donald Trump. (AFP)

12-08-2022
Human Rights

Mohsen Shekari, 23, was executed after being convicted for attacking a member of the Basij militia during a protest.

The Iranian government announced that it had hanged a 23-year-old prisoner, the first known execution of a person arrested in the protests that have engulfed the country for the past three months. The man, Mohsen Shekari, was accused of blocking a street in Tehran and of attacking a member of the Basij militia with a machete, according to the Mizan news agency, which is overseen by the country’s judiciary. He is one of 11 protesters who have so far been sentenced to death by the regime. (New York Times)

12-08-2022
Human Rights

Iranian security forces are targeting women at anti-regime protests with shotgun fire to their faces, breasts, and genitals.

Iranian security forces are targeting women at anti-regime protests with shotgun fire to their faces, breasts and genitals, according to interviews with medics across the country. Doctors and nurses – treating demonstrators in secret to avoid arrest – said they first observed the practice after noticing that women often arrived with different wounds to men, who more commonly had shotgun pellets in their legs, buttocks and backs. While an internet blackout has hidden much of the bloody crackdown on protesters, photos provided by medics to the Guardian showed devastating wounds all over their bodies from so-called birdshot pellets, which security forces have fired on people at close range. Some of the photos showed people with dozens of tiny “shot” balls lodged deep in their flesh. (The Guardian)

12-08-2022
Human Rights

Some of the most violent attacks by Iranian security forces on protesters over the last three months have been occurring in provinces where minorities, including Kurds, Arabs, Sunnis and Balochis, reside.

The Iranian regime’s suppression, specifically of religious and ethnic minorities, has reached a new peak. Some of the most violent attacks on protesters over the last three months have been occurring in provinces where minorities, including Kurds, Arabs, Sunnis and Balochis, reside. Three major institutions appear to be involved: The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), its paramilitary group the Basij and the regime’s security forces. The deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, Adam Coogle, warned that attacks by IRGC forces “on residential areas in the Kurdistan region of Iraq (are) part of a long history of lethal attacks on civilians, including during the war in Syria.” (Arab News)

12-07-2022
Human Rights

Iranian authorities have executed more than 500 people this year, up more than 50 percent compared to 2021’s figure of 333.

Iranian authorities have executed more than 500 people this year, according to data released by Iran Human Rights. Up more than 50 percent on 2021’s figure of 333, the spike in executions marks a dramatic shift following years of decline, with numbers only likely to climb amidst the government’s brutal response to protests in the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini while in police custody. Five further death sentences were handed out to protesters yesterday, for killing a member of the security forces, bringing to 11 the total number arising from the protests. (Arab News)

12-06-2022
Syria Conflict

An Iranian patrol boat tried to temporarily blind US Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz by shining a spotlight toward the vessels and crossing within 150 yards of them, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.

An Iranian patrol boat tried to temporarily blind U.S. Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz by shining a spotlight toward the vessels and crossing within 150 yards of them, U.S. Central Command said in a statement. A few days prior to this incident, the U.S. Navy intercepted more than 50 tons of ammunition rounds and “other illegal weapons” sent from Iran to Yemen, marking U.S. 5th Fleet’s second such seizure within a month, according to U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. (CNN)

12-05-2022
Human Rights

Iran subjected a prisoner to mock execution as a form of torture.

A person sentenced to death over the current anti-government protests in Iran has been subjected to mock executions three times in prison, a source has told BBC Persian. A Revolutionary Court in Tehran found Sahand Noormohammadzadeh, 26, guilty of "enmity against God" last month. He was accused of setting a bin on fire and blocking traffic, which he denied. Before his trial, the source said, Noormohammadzadeh was "asked to go on a chair blindfolded to be hanged.” (BBC)

12-05-2022
Human Rights

Hackers backed by the Iranian government have targeted two Human Rights Watch staff members and at least 18 other high-profile activists, journalists, researchers, academics, diplomats, and politicians working on Middle East issues.

An investigation by Human Rights Watch attributed phishing attack against Human Rights Watch staff members and at least 18 other high-profile activists, journalists, researchers, academics, diplomats, and politicians working on Middle East issues to an entity affiliated with the Iranian government known as APT42 and sometimes referred to as Charming Kitten. “Iran’s state-backed hackers are aggressively using sophisticated social engineering and credential harvesting tactics to access sensitive information and contacts held by Middle East-focused researchers and civil society groups,” said Abir Ghattas, information security director at Human Rights Watch. (Human Rights Watch)

12-04-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran began construction on a new nuclear power plant in the country’s southwest, Iranian state T.V. announced.

Iran began construction on a new nuclear power plant in the country’s southwest, Iranian state TV announced, amid tensions with the U.S. over sweeping sanctions imposed after Washington pulled out of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear deal with world powers. The new 300-megawatt plant, known as Karoon, will take eight years to build and cost around $2 billion, the country’s state television and radio agency reported. The plant will be located in Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province, near its western border with Iraq, it said. (Associated Press)

12-01-2022
Terrorism

The Iranian government has stepped up its efforts to kidnap and kill government officials, activists and journalists around the world, including in the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Tehran has targeted former senior U.S. government officials; dissidents who have fled the country for the United States, Britain, Canada, Turkey and Europe; media organizations critical of the regime; and Jewish civilians or those with links to Israel, according to the officials and government documents. Iran’s intelligence and security services rely largely on proxies to carry out their plans, offering hundreds of thousands of dollars to jewel thieves, drug dealers and other criminals in murder-for-hire schemes, the officials said. The tempo of the plots has dramatically increased in the past two years, and they are among the most ambitious and far-reaching in recent memory, according to the officials and documents. Iran’s actions have led to diplomatic expulsions and warnings to potential targets from governments. (Washington Post)

11-30-2022
Human Rights

Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi faces the death penalty for “corruption on earth” charge over Iran protests.

Last year, the Iranian rapper was arrested for songs criticizing the government and denouncing those he described as apologists for the Iranian government abroad. He was released on bail earlier this year, but it was not long before he found himself in prison again — and this time he may pay the ultimate price. The 31-year-old was among the thousands of Iranians who took to the streets across the country to protest the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman in custody of the so-called morality police. Mahsa (Jina) Amini was arrested on Sept. 13 for allegedly wearing an improper hijab and died three days later, sparking a nationwide uprising. (Washington Post)

11-29-2022
Anti-Americanism

A top Revolutionary Guard commander claimed that several people who were arrested during Iran’s “riots” were in touch with U.S. intelligence agencies.

A top Revolutionary Guard commander claimed that several people who were arrested during Iran’s “riots” were in touch with U.S. intelligence agencies. Iranian officials use the term “riot” to describe the nationwide antigovernment protests. Deputy commander of the IRGC Ali Fadavi said those arrested were not only in touch with “Iran International [TV], which is a branch of the enemy's spy services, but also were related to the intelligence and spy services of the United States.” (Iran International)

11-29-2022
Human Rights

Iran regime officials told players on the national soccer team that their families would face violence and torture if they did not sing the national anthem before their World Cup match.

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, 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. (CNN)

11-22-2022
Syria Conflict

U.S. Navy investigators confirmed an explosive-laden drone that struck an oil tanker associated with an Israeli billionaire off the coast of Oman was an Iranian Shahed-136.

U.S. Navy investigators confirmed an explosive-laden drone that struck an oil tanker associated with an Israeli billionaire off the coast of Oman was an Iranian Shahed-136. The “suicide drone” attack on the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Pacific Zircon on November 15 appeared to be part of a long-running shadow war between Israel and Iran that has included the targeting of Israeli-linked ships around the region. Western and Israeli officials said the recent attack, which caused damage but no injuries, was launched from an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) base in the southeastern Iranian city of Chabahar. (The Times of Israel)

11-21-2022
Human Rights

Iran’s security forces are using rape to quell protests.

With media access inside Iran severely constrained, CNN went to the region near Iraq’s border with Iran, interviewing eyewitnesses who'd left the country and verifying accounts from survivors and sources both in and outside Iran. CNN corroborated several reports of sexual violence against protesters and heard accounts of many more. At least one of these caused severe injury, and another involved the rape of an underage boy. In some of the cases CNN uncovered, the sexual assault was filmed and used to blackmail the protesters into silence, according to sources who spoke to the victims. (CNN)

11-21-2022
Syria Conflict

Iran attacked Kurdish groups in Iraq that it blames for the unrest that broke out across Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini.

Iran launched drones and missiles against Kurdish groups in northern Iraq, the second time in a week, as the Islamic Republic intensifies efforts to suppress a two-month-old protest movement inside its borders. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said that it had targeted Kurdish military bases in Erbil and Sulaimaniya, alleging that factions there are fomenting unrest in Iran. The latest strikes are part of Tehran’s campaign to retaliate against outside groups and foreign governments that it has blamed for supporting the discord at home, which is posing the clerical establishment’s biggest challenge in decades. (The Wall Street Journal)

11-20-2022
Politics

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has appointed another Revolutionary Guard commander to a civilian post as Tehran governor.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has appointed another Revolutionary Guard commander to a civilian post as Tehran governor. In a decision of the cabinet, Alireza Fakhari was appointed governor of Tehran province. Fakhari was suggested by Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi, who is another high-ranking IRGC officer. Raisi’s move in effect changed the civilian governorship in Tehran into a military governorship. Alireza Fakhari was the deputy coordinator of Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarter of the IRGC until earlier this year. (Iran International)

11-19-2022
Military

Tehran has agreed to help Moscow manufacture hundreds of unmanned weaponized aircraft on Russian soil, according to new intelligence seen by U.S. and other Western security agencies.

Moscow has quietly reached an agreement with Tehran to begin manufacturing hundreds of unmanned weaponized aircraft on Russian soil, according to new intelligence seen by U.S. and other Western security agencies. By acquiring its own assembly line, Russia could dramatically increase its stockpile of relatively inexpensive but highly destructive weapons systems that, in recent weeks, have changed the character of the Ukraine war. Moscow has shifted to a strategy of relentless air assaults on Ukrainian cities, using a combination of cruise missiles and self-detonating drones packed with explosives to knock out electricity and running water for millions of people. Iran’s leaders may believe that they can avert new sanctions if the drones are physically assembled in Russia, the officials said. (Washington Post)

11-17-2022
Nuclear Program

The International Atomic Energy Agency demanded that Iran start cooperating with the agency’s investigation into undeclared nuclear material found by the IAEA in Iran in recent years.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) board formally rebuked Iran, demanding that it start cooperating with the agency’s investigation into undeclared nuclear material found by the IAEA in Iran in recent years. Many officials believe the traces of nuclear material found in Iran were related to the nuclear weapons work Iran did until at least 2003. The IAEA probe is a major sticking point in nuclear negotiations. Iran has said that Western powers must commit to close the investigation before a revived nuclear deal is fully implemented. (The Wall Street Journal)

11-16-2022
Terrorism

Iran has plotted to kidnap or kill at least 10 British nationals or U.K.-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime this year, Britain’s domestic spy chief said.

Iran has plotted to kidnap or kill at least 10 British nationals or U.K.-based individuals perceived as enemies of the regime this year, Britain’s domestic spy chief said. Iran International T.V. in London said two of its journalists had been told by the Metropolitan Police that the threats against them pose “an imminent, credible and significant risk to their lives and those of their families.” The television network’s extensive coverage of the protests has enraged Iranian authorities, who have accused it of fomenting the demonstrations and allege it is a tool of Saudi Arabia. The powerful commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami, has warned Saudi Arabia over the network without naming it, saying Riyadh should “be careful.” (NBC)

11-14-2022
Terrorism

The Biden administration has determined that Iranian threats against former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and one of his former top aides remain credible and persist nearly two years after they left office.

The Biden administration has determined that Iranian threats against former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and one of his former top aides remain credible and persist nearly two years after they left office. The State Department notified Congress last week that both Pompeo and Brian Hook, who served as special representative for Iran during the Trump administration, were still both subject to a “serious and credible threat from a foreign power or agent of a foreign power” stemming from their work while in government. The determinations — which mean Pompeo and Hook will continue to receive government protection — were signed by Deputy Secretary of State for Management Brian McKeon on Nov. 8. (Associated Press)

11-10-2022
Military

Iran has built a hypersonic ballistic missile, the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace commander was quoted as saying, in remarks likely to heighten concerns about Iranian missile capabilities.

Iran has built a hypersonic ballistic missile, the semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace commander as saying, in remarks likely to heighten concerns about Iranian missile capabilities. Hypersonic missiles can fly at least five times faster than the speed of sound and on a complex trajectory, which makes them difficult to intercept. However, there have been no reports of such a missile being tested by Iran and, while the Islamic Republic has developed a large domestic arms industry in the face of international sanctions and embargoes, Western military analysts say Iran sometimes exaggerates its weapons capabilities. (Reuters)

11-10-2022
Nuclear Program

The U.N. atomic watchdog said it believes that Iran has further increased its stockpile of highly-enriched uranium.

The U.N. atomic watchdog said it believes that Iran has further increased its stockpile of highly enriched uranium and criticized Tehran for continuing to bar the agency’s officials from accessing or monitoring Iranian nuclear sites. In its quarterly report, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that according to its assessment, as of Oct. 22, Iran has an estimated 62.3 kilograms (137.3 pounds) of uranium enriched to up to 60% fissile purity. That amounts to an increase of 6.7 kilograms since the IAEA’s last report in September. That enrichment to 60% purity is one short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%. Nonproliferation experts have warned in recent months that Iran now has enough 60%-enriched uranium to reprocess into fuel for at least one nuclear bomb. (Associated Press)

11-09-2022
Syria Conflict

Iran attempted to smuggle weapons into Syria over the border with Iraq, but the convoy was struck by Israel.

The attack near Abu Kamal—a border town often used as a transshipment point by militant groups with ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps—destroyed several vehicles and killed at least 10 people, including an unknown number of Iranians, according to the people and Iraqi militia members. Iraqi officials said the tanker convoy was carrying a legal shipment of fuel that Iran had sent to Lebanon. At least some of the vehicles were believed to be transporting munitions and missiles in addition to oil, the people familiar with the attack said. Israel has conducted hundreds of airstrikes aimed at interrupting Tehran’s smuggling of weapons to the Lebanese militant and political group Hezbollah and against Iran’s military forces and proxies in Syria. (The Wall Street Journal)

11-08-2022
Politics

Iranian lawmakers demand “no leniency” for protesters as mass demonstrations continue.

Iranian lawmakers have urged the country’s judiciary to “show no leniency” to protesters in a letter cited by state-run Press TV, as thousands of people continue to rally on the streets despite the threat of arrest. In an open letter signed by 227 of Iran’s 290 members of Parliament, the lawmakers called for protesters to be taught a “good lesson” to deter others who threaten the authority of the Iranian government. (CNN)

11-04-2022
Anti-Americanism

Iran celebrated the 1979 U.S. Embassy takeover amid anti-government protests.

Iran held state-sponsored annual rallies, marking the 1979 seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, as the clerical establishment that has ruled since then battles nationwide protests calling for its downfall. Radical students cemented the Islamic Revolution by storming the embassy soon after the fall of the U.S.-backed Shah, and 52 Americans were held hostage there for 444 days. The two countries have been enemies ever since and, as Iranian authorities urged security forces to swiftly stamp out anti-government protests that have spread to all layers of society, new bilateral tensions surfaced. (Reuters)

11-04-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran is seeking Russia’s help to bolster its nuclear program, U.S. intel officials believe.

Iran is seeking Russia’s help to bolster its nuclear program, U.S. intelligence officials believe, as Tehran looks for a backup plan should a lasting nuclear deal with world powers fail to materialize. The intelligence suggests that Iran has been asking Russia for help acquiring additional nuclear materials and with nuclear fuel fabrication, sources briefed on the matter said. The fuel could help Iran power its nuclear reactors and could potentially further shorten Iran’s so-called “breakout time” to create a nuclear weapon. Experts emphasized to CNN, however, that the nuclear proliferation risk varies depending on which reactor the fuel is used for. And it is also not clear whether Russia has agreed to help – the Kremlin has long been outwardly opposed to Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. (CNN)

11-01-2022
Military

Iran is preparing to send additional weapons including ballistic missiles to Russia to use in Ukraine, western officials say.

Iran is preparing to send approximately 1,000 additional weapons, including surface-to-surface short range ballistic missiles and more attack drones, to Russia to use in its war against Ukraine, officials from a western country that closely monitors Iran’s weapons program said. The shipment is being closely monitored because it would be the first instance of Iran sending advanced precision guided missiles to Russia, which could give the Kremlin a substantial boost on the battlefield. The last shipment of weapons from Iran to Russia included about 450 drones, officials said, which the Russians have already used to deadly effect in Ukraine. Ukrainian officials said last week that they have shot down more than 300 Iranian drones. (CNN)

11-01-2022
Human Rights

As unrest grips Iran’s schools, the government is going after children.

Across Iran, schoolgirls have defiantly taken off their headscarves, stomped on pictures of the supreme leader and chanted for freedom, producing some of the most iconic images from the country’s anti-government uprising. Now, the state is coming for them. In interviews with The Post in recent weeks, three students and two parents described the assaults on schools, where teachers are under pressure to squash any sign of dissent and are often powerless to stop security forces from targeting the minors in their care. School attendance lists, report cards and security cameras have become tools of repression. Parents are warned to keep their children in check. (Washington Post)

11-01-2022
Syria Conflict

Saudi Arabia shared intelligence with the U.S. suggesting that Iran was about to carry out an attack on targets in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia shared intelligence with the U.S. warning of an imminent attack from Iran on targets in the kingdom, putting the American military and others in the Middle East on an elevated alert level, said Saudi and U.S. officials. In response to the warning, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and several other neighboring states have raised the level of alert for their military forces, the officials said. They didn’t provide more details on the Saudi intelligence. Saudi officials said Iran is poised to carry out attacks on both the kingdom and Erbil, Iraq, in an effort to distract attention from domestic protests that have roiled the country since September. (The Wall Street Journal)

10-31-2022
Human Rights

Iranian authorities announced they will hold public trials for 1,000 people in the capital, Tehran, over the protests that have convulsed the country.

Iranian authorities announced they will hold public trials for 1,000 people in the capital, Tehran, over the protests that have convulsed the country. The mass indictments mark the government’s first major legal action aimed at quashing dissent since unrest erupted over six weeks ago. Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency quoted judicial officials as saying that a thousand people who had a central role in the protests would be brought to trial in Tehran alone over their “subversive actions,” including assaulting security guards, setting fire to public property and other accusations. (Associated Press)

10-30-2022
Human Rights

Protests in Iran entered a more violent phase as students were met with tear gas and gunfire from security forces, social media videos showed.

Protests in Iran entered a more violent phase as students, who defied an ultimatum by the Revolutionary Guards and a warning from the president, were met with tear gas and gunfire from security forces, social media videos showed. One video showed a member of Basij forces firing a gun at close range at students protesting at a branch of Azad University in Tehran. Gunshots were also heard in a video shared by rights group HENGAW from protests at the University of Kurdistan in Sanandaj. Videos from universities in some other cities also showed Basij forces opening fire at students. Across the country, security forces tried to block students inside university buildings, firing tear gas and beating protesters with sticks. (Reuters)

10-29-2022
Anti-Americanism

Two female journalists who were instrumental in reporting the death of Mahsa Amini have been labelled as CIA foreign agents by the Iranian regime.

Two female journalists who were instrumental in reporting the death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old woman whose death in the custody of Iran’s morality police has sparked nationwide protests, have been labelled as CIA foreign agents by the Iranian regime. Niloofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi, who were arrested shortly after news broke of Amini’s death and who are reportedly being held in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, were accused of being foreign agents in a joint statement released by Iran’s ministry of intelligence and the intelligence organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards last night. (The Guardian)

10-28-2022
Military

Russia’s expanding use of Iranian drones in Ukraine poses an increasing threat for the U.S. and its European allies as Tehran attempts to project military power beyond the Middle East.

Russia’s expanding use of Iranian drones in Ukraine poses an increasing threat for the U.S. and its European allies as Tehran attempts to project military power beyond the Middle East. In recent weeks, Ukrainian officials say, Russia has launched more than 300 Iranian drones that have targeted military units, power plants and civilian buildings in the capital, Kyiv. The Ukrainian military said it has shot down more than 70% of the drones, but Ukrainian officials are asking the U.S. and NATO allies for more help to counter the threat. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has vowed to rush hundreds of drone jammers to Ukraine as part of a deepening effort to shore up Ukraine’s air defenses. (The Wall Street Journal)

10-28-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran is a problem that is ever more "relevant," the U.N. nuclear watchdog's chief, Rafael Grossi, said, referencing the growing number of advanced centrifuges the Islamic Republic is using to enrich uranium.

Iran is a problem that is ever more "relevant", the U.N. nuclear watchdog's chief, Rafael Grossi, said, in an apparent reference to the growing number of advanced centrifuges the Islamic Republic is using to enrich uranium. The International Atomic Energy Agency has said in recent confidential reports to member states seen by Reuters that Iran has been installing and enriching with more cascades, or clusters, of advanced centrifuges at its underground enrichment plants at Natanz and Fordow. (Reuters)

10-25-2022
Politics

By tightening curbs on women's rights, President Ebrahim Raisi has boosted his hardline credentials and possibly his prospects of becoming Iran's Supreme Leader.

By tightening curbs on women's rights, President Ebrahim Raisi has boosted his hardline credentials and possibly his prospects of becoming Iran's Supreme Leader, even at the cost of provoking mass protests and driving a wedge between many Iranians and the ruling elite, three analysts and a pro-reform official said. A year after Raisi's election marked the end of what many Iranians recall as more pragmatic, tolerant times, his government's tougher enforcement of hijab wearing in the weeks before Mahsa Amini's death in custody on Sept. 16 reflected a full reassertion of hardline influence. (Reuters)

10-25-2022
Human Rights

Iran has reportedly turned to child soldiers in an attempt to crack down on the ongoing riots in the country.

Iran has reportedly turned to child soldiers in an attempt to crack down on the ongoing riots in the country, a tactic the Islamic Republic has used in the past and a potential violation of international law. "The Iranian regime’s use of child soldiers is a sign of both its desperation and its abhorrent ideology," Orde Kittrie, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Fox News Digital. Kittrie's comments come after an FDD report revealed that Iran was attempting to crush protests in the country by using minors, citing recent pictures that have emerged on social media showing children wearing Basij militia uniforms, which is a branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. (Fox News)

10-20-2022
Military

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is conducting military exercises along the country's border with Azerbaijan amid signs of tensions between the two countries.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is conducting military exercises along the country's border with Azerbaijan amid signs of tensions between the two countries. Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency has reported that the maneuvers, which commenced in the northwestern region, were being held in accordance with a pre-planned, annual activity calendar. The location of the exercises, which include Iran’s East Azerbaijan and Ardabil provinces, is home to a large ethnic Azerbaijani population. (Voice of America)

10-20-2022
Military

Iranian personnel have been working in Crimea to train Russian pilots to use Iranian-made drones, the U.S. said.

Iranian personnel have been working in Crimea to train Russian pilots to use Iranian-made drones, the U.S. said, as Moscow attempts to maintain its hold on the territory in southern Ukraine. The statement by John Kirby, the National Security Council’s Coordinator for Strategic Communications, marks the first official U.S. accusation that Iran is directly involved in the war in Ukraine. Mr. Kirby said the U.S. is worried that Russia is also seeking to obtain surface-to-surface missiles from Iran for use in Ukraine. Such a move, former U.S. officials say, could provide a significant boost to Russia as its supply of missiles dwindles. (The Wall Street Journal)

10-19-2022
Human Rights

Forty-one journalists have been confirmed detained by Iran since protests broke out last month over the death of a woman in the custody of the country's so-called morality police.

Forty-one journalists have been confirmed detained by Iran since protests broke out last month over the death of a woman in the custody of the country's so-called morality police. Mahsa Amini, 22, a Kurdish woman, was arrested in September for improperly wearing her hijab. She died three days after her arrest. Iran has violently suppressed the protests that followed, and the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has documented that as of Wednesday, 41 journalists have been detained. A handful were later released on bail. Most are accused of taking part in the protests they were covering. (Voice of America)

10-16-2022
Anti-Americanism

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi blamed President Biden for inciting “chaos” and “terror” amid anti-regime protests happening around the country.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi blamed President Biden for inciting “chaos” and “terror” amid anti-regime protests happening around the country. In a statement through the country’s official news agency, Raisi, who was elected Iran’s president last year, gave a stern warning to Biden about the ongoing crisis in his country. “The American president, who allows himself through his comments to incite chaos, terror and destruction in another country, should be reminded of the eternal words of the founder of the Islamic Republic, who called America the great satan,” Raisi reportedly said. (The Hill)

10-14-2022
Human Rights

Nearly two dozen children were killed last month during protests in Iran, according to a new report by a human rights watchdog.

Nearly two dozen children were killed last month during protests in Iran, according to a new report by a human rights watchdog that accuses the country’s security forces of targeting young people “with absolute impunity.” The 19-page report released by Amnesty International said at least 23 children – some as young as 11 – were killed by security forces in the last 10 days of September alone. Nationwide protests against the Islamic regime that has ruled Iran for decades have gripped the country following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last month after she was taken into custody by the country’s morality police for apparently not wearing her hijab properly. Her death has sparked violent clashes between demonstrators and authorities, reportedly leaving scores dead. (CNN)

10-13-2022
Human Rights

Iranian security forces stepped up their crackdown on Kurdish regions of the country overnight, deploying militia troops.

Iranian security forces stepped up their crackdown on Kurdish regions of the country overnight, deploying militia troops, as authorities pursued their deadly suppression of nationwide protests sparked by Mahsa Amini's death in police custody. Nearly four weeks after Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, was detained in Tehran for "inappropriate attire", the protests show no sign of abating in a bold challenge to Iran's clerical rulers, even if the unrest does not seem close to toppling them. (Reuters)

10-11-2022
Human Rights

An Iranian singer named Shervin Hajipour was accused of spreading anti-government propaganda and temporarily detained.

Shervin Hajipour, whose song Baraye has become an anthem for the ongoing protests in Iran over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody, has been accused of "propaganda against the system" and "inciting people to violent acts." Majid Kaveh, Hajipour's lawyer, said on Twitter on October 9 that that his client was temporarily detained before being released on bail and prohibited from leaving the country. The song Baraye, which roughly translates as "because of," is based on the outpouring of public anger following the death of Mahsa Amini while in police custody on September 16. She was detained by Iran's morality police for allegedly wearing a head scarf improperly. (Radio Free Europe)

10-11-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran is rapidly expanding its ability to enrich uranium with advanced centrifuges at its underground plant at Natanz.

Iran is rapidly expanding its ability to enrich uranium with advanced centrifuges at its underground plant at Natanz and now intends to go further than previously planned, a confidential U.N. nuclear watchdog report seen by Reuters showed. While indirect talks between Iran and the United States on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have stalled, Tehran has brought onstream a larger number of advanced centrifuges the deal bans it from using to produce enriched uranium. (Reuters)

10-06-2022
Human Rights

Iranian security forces have massacred over 80 people in the southeastern city of Zahedan in Sistan-Baluchestan province.

Iranian security forces have massacred over 80 people in the southeastern city of Zahedan in Sistan-Baluchestan province, in a crackdown on protests that erupted as Iran is convulsed by nationwide demonstrations, rights activists charge. President Ebrahim Raisi has ordered an investigation into the unrest that started on September 30 after Friday prayers, which officials have characterized as attacks by "extremists" on police stations. Activists however say the horrifying images of bloodied corpses with bullet wounds are emblematic of Tehran's repressive policies towards a poor ethnic minority region. (AFP)

10-03-2022
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded publicly to the biggest protests in Iran in years, blaming the U.S and Israel.

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei responded publicly to the biggest protests in Iran in years, breaking weeks of silence to condemn what he called “rioting” and accuse the U.S. and Israel of planning the protests. Khamenei said he was “heartbroken” by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police, which set off the nationwide protests. However, he sharply condemned the protests as a foreign plot to destabilize Iran, echoing authorities’ previous comments. “This rioting was planned,” he told a cadre of police students in Tehran. “These riots and insecurities were designed by America and the Zionist regime, and their employees.” (Associated Press)

09-30-2022
Military

The chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, Mohammed Bagheri, vowed to respond to any “hostile actions” targeting Iranian drones.

The chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, Mohammed Bagheri, vowed to respond to any “hostile actions” targeting Iranian drones, Iranian news outlets reported. The threats followed Wednesday’s shooting down of an Iranian drone that was reportedly heading toward the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Erbil. Earlier this week, Iran unleashed a wave of missile and drone attacks against Iranian Kurdish opposition forces based inside the Kurdish region, killing at least 14 people, including a pregnant woman and a US citizen. It was among the deadliest spate of such attacks in recent years. (Al Monitor)

09-30-2022
Syria Conflict

An American citizen, a mother, and her 1-day-old infant are among the 14 people who were killed this week by a barrage of Iranian missiles fired at Iranian Kurdish opposition groups in northern Iraq.

An American citizen, a mother, and her 1-day-old infant are among the 14 people who were killed this week by a barrage of Iranian missiles fired at Iranian Kurdish opposition groups in northern Iraq. Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) targeted Kurdish opposition groups in northern Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region with dozens of missiles and explosives-laden drone aircraft. In a statement carried by Iranian state TV, the IRGC, which the U.S. government considers a terrorist group, said its "operation will continue with our full determination until the threat is effectively repelled, terrorist group bases are dismantled, and the authorities of the Kurdish region assume their obligations and responsibilities." (CBS)

09-28-2022
Politics

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that the death of a young woman in custody had "saddened" everyone in the Islamic Republic, but warned that "chaos" would not be accepted amid spreading violent protests over Mahsa Amini's death.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that the death of a young woman in custody had "saddened" everyone in the Islamic Republic, but warned that "chaos" would not be accepted amid spreading violent protests over Mahsa Amini's death. "We all are saddened by this tragic incident ... [However] Chaos is unacceptable," Raisi said in an interview with state TV, while protests continued around the country. (Reuters)

09-26-2022
Anti-Americanism

Tehran accused the United States of using the unrest to try to destabilize the country.

Iran faced more international criticism over the death of a woman in police custody that triggered nationwide protests after Tehran accused the United States of using the unrest to try to destabilize the country. Iran has cracked down on the biggest demonstrations since 2019, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16 after she was detained by morality police enforcing the Islamic Republic's strict restrictions on women's dress. The case has drawn widespread condemnation. (Reuters)

09-22-2022
Military

Iran, Russia and China will hold joint naval exercises in the northern Indian Ocean “this autumn,” Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency reported.

Iran, Russia and China will hold joint naval exercises in the northern Indian Ocean “this autumn,” Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency reported. Other countries including Oman and Pakistan may also join the drills, Mehr cited Iranian Chief of Staff Major General Mohammad Bagheri as saying, without giving further details. The northern Indian Ocean extends to the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway for the export of oil to world markets. The three nations started joint exercises in December 2019, according to Iranian state media, to deal with unspecified “threats in the region.” (Bloomberg)

09-22-2022
Military

Iran unveiled a new medium-range ballistic missile during a military parade commemorating the Iran-Iraq war, state television said.

Iran unveiled a new medium-range ballistic missile during a military parade commemorating the Iran-Iraq war, state television said. “The liquid-fueled Rezvan ballistic missile has an operational range of 1,400 kilometers (870 miles),” said the station, which aired images of the missile mounted on a military vehicle. The Rezvan missile was presented in Tehran during an annual parade of the armed forces to commemorate the start of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. (AFP)

09-21-2022
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi used an address to the U.N. General Assembly to launch a tirade against U.S. foreign policy and promote the emergence of a new world order.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi used an address to the U.N. General Assembly to launch a tirade against U.S. foreign policy and promote the emergence of a new world order. Raisi claimed that Daesh was a U.S. construct, slamming what he contended was the hypocrisy of a country claiming a base in justice and humanity. Raisi claimed that U.S. hegemony is coming to an end, saying: “This order has lost its power, and a new order is shaping up to tackle it as this old system’s policies are defeated. (Arab News)

09-21-2022
Human Rights

Iranians experienced a near-total internet blackout amid days of mass protests against the government.

Iranians experienced a near-total internet blackout amid days of mass protests against the government over the death of a woman held by the country’s morality police for allegedly violating its strictly-enforced dress code. An Iranian official had earlier hinted that such measures might be taken out of security concerns. The loss of connectivity will make it more difficult for people to organize protests and share information about the government’s rolling crackdown on dissent. (Associated Press)

09-19-2022
Extremism

The Iranian president’s comment that “there are some signs” that the Holocaust happened but that the issue required more research sparked an outcry from Israeli officials.

The Iranian president’s comment that “there are some signs” that the Holocaust happened but that the issue required more research sparked an outcry from Israeli officials, who denounced the remarks as antisemitic Holocaust denial. Hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi made the comment during an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” on the eve of his visit to New York for the U.N. General Assembly. When asked whether he believed the Holocaust happened, Raisi said there “are some signs that it happened.” (Associated Press)

09-19-2022
Politics

The head of Iran’s morality police has reportedly been suspended from his post as protests swept across Iran for a third day over the killing of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman.

The head of Iran’s morality police has reportedly been suspended from his post as protests swept across Iran for a third day over the killing of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman who was detained by the police after being accused of not wearing the hijab appropriately. A number of respected Iranian news outlets reported that Col Ahmed Mirzaei, the head of the moral security police of Greater Tehran, had been suspended from his role after the death of Mahsa Amini. Tehran police denied he had been suspended or fired. (The Guardian)

09-16-2022
Human Rights

Mahsa Amini, 22, died in northern Tehran. She had been arrested and reportedly was taken to a hospital shortly afterward. Amini suffered multiple blows to the head before she died.

Mahsa Amini, 22, died in northern Tehran. She had been arrested and reportedly was taken to a hospital shortly afterward. Amini suffered multiple blows to the head before she died, according to London-based broadcaster Iran International. Amini was arrested in her brother's car during a visit to see family members in the capital, the outlet reported. She was originally from Saqqez in Kurdistan province. Amini's family say officers beat her in the police van after her arrest, citing eyewitnesses who support that claim. Police reject the allegations, saying Amini died after being taken to a hospital because she had a heart attack. (NPR)

09-15-2022
Terrorism

The Justice Department unsealed an indictment alleging that three Iranian men encrypted hundreds of systems around the world and demanded ransoms to unlock them.

The Justice Department unsealed an indictment alleging that three Iranian men encrypted hundreds of systems around the world and demanded ransoms to unlock them. But the unsealed indictment said the men did so independently of the Iranian government, while the Treasury Department said they were linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). That called attention to how — for some of the United States’ top adversaries in cyberspace — the lines between nation-state hacker and cybercriminal, between government employee and freelance contractor, aren’t always clear. (Washington Post)

09-12-2022
Military

Iran says it has developed drone “designed to hit Israel's Tel Aviv.”

Iran has developed an advanced long-range suicide drone "designed to hit Israel's Tel Aviv, Haifa,” the semi-official Mehr News quoted Iran’s ground forces chief as saying. Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari said the drone, named Arash-2, is a newer version of Arash-1. (Reuters)

09-12-2022
Terrorism

Albania blamed the Iranian government for a cyberattack against computer systems used by Albanian state police.

Albania blamed the Iranian government for a cyberattack against computer systems used by Albanian state police — just days after the White House condemned Tehran for a hack that disrupted Albanian government services in July. The latest hack forced Albanian officials to temporarily take offline its Total Information Management System (TIMS), a system for tracking the data of those entering and leaving Albania, according to a statement from Albania’s interior ministry. The cyberattack was the work of the “same aggressors” that carried out the July hack, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama alleged in a tweet. (CNN)

09-10-2022
Syria Conflict

Yemen’s information minister warned that Iran is arming the Houthis to weaken the country and gain control over international trade and energy through the Red Sea.

Yemen’s information minister has called for stronger international action to rein in Iran’s destructive activities, warning that Iran is arming the Houthis to weaken the country and gain control over international trade and energy through the Red Sea. Muammar Al-Eryani wrote for the Atlantic Council that Iran is establishing a Yemeni Hezbollah model by arming and financing the Houthi militia with the goal of seizing control of Yemen and using it as a launching pad for attacks against neighboring countries and international maritime activities via Bab Al-Mandab and the Red Sea. (Arab News)

09-09-2022
Politics

Experts say Raisi’s administration has been secretly implementing a highly controversial draft bill designed to intensify online censorship and limit Internet access.

During his election campaign, Ebrahim Raisi vowed not to further restrict the internet in Iran, where authorities already block tens of thousands of websites and regularly throttle or cut Internet connectivity. But since the hardline president assumed power in August 2021, experts say his administration has been secretly implementing a highly controversial draft bill designed to intensify online censorship and limit Internet access. The Cyberspace Protection Bill would hand over control of Iran's Internet gateways to the armed forces and criminalize the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) that mask Internet users’ locations and enable them to view blocked websites. (Radio Free Europe)

09-08-2022
Military

Iran’s Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force, has claimed that Iran has new capabilities in its technological innovation.

Iran’s Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force, has claimed that Iran has new capabilities in its technological innovation. Iran has already increased abilities in space, as well as missiles and drones; and cyber. Hajizadeh spotlighted the importance of Iranian universities in creating a pipeline of expertise for the IRGC and Iranian military forces. (The Jerusalem Post)

09-08-2022
Human Rights

Iranian authorities confirmed the arrest of 25 people during a protest on August 24 against a cut in water supplies in the western Iranian city of Hamedan.

Iranian authorities confirmed the arrest of 25 people during a protest on August 24 against a cut in water supplies in the western Iranian city of Hamedan. Mohammad Ali Mohammadi, the governor of Hamedan, accused the detainees – who were attending three different demonstrations – of creating insecurity and panic among the public. Water cuts in Hamedan have led to weeks of street protests and were initially tolerated by security forces, but as they continued, police began moving in on gatherings, such as the demonstrations on August 24 where they arrested many protesters. (Radio Free Europe)

09-07-2022
Nuclear Program

The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency warned that the agency cannot determine that Iran’s nuclear aims are "exclusively peaceful."

The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency released a report outlining the progress Iran's nuclear program has made, warning that the agency cannot determine that the country's nuclear aims are "exclusively peaceful." "The Agency is not in a position to provide assurance that Iran's nuclear program is exclusively peaceful," said the report, according to Reuters. The report comes as the Biden administration reportedly closed in on a renewed nuclear deal with Iran in recent weeks, though talks have stalled in the last 24 hours and the European Union's chief negotiator has attempted to downplay speculation that a deal could be close. (Fox News)

09-06-2022
Anti-Americanism

An elderly American wrongfully held in Iran for more than six years must undergo urgent surgery "to clear life-threatening blockages in his left internal carotid artery," his family said.

An elderly American wrongfully held in Iran for more than six years must undergo urgent surgery "to clear life-threatening blockages in his left internal carotid artery," his family said. Baquer Namazi, 85, and his son, Siamak Namazi are both considered wrongfully detained by the U.S. State Department, and the elder is in need of the surgery "within weeks," his family said. They are urging the Iranian government to release his Siamak on furlough to be with his father during and after the surgery. (CNN)

09-05-2022
Human Rights

A court in Iran has sentenced to death two gay rights activists on charges of promoting homosexuality, campaigners said.

A court in Iran has sentenced to death two gay rights activists on charges of promoting homosexuality, campaigners said, urging pressure from the international community to stop the implementation of the verdicts. The two women, Zahra Sedighi Hamedani, 31, and Elham Chubdar, 24, were sentenced to death by the court in the northwestern town of Urmia, the Hengaw Kurdish rights organization said. They were convicted of "spreading corruption on earth" — a charge frequently imposed on defendants deemed to have broken the country's sharia laws, it added. They were informed of the sentence while in detention in the women's wing of the Urmia jail. (CBS)

09-05-2022
Nuclear Program

A damning new Swedish intelligence report accuses the Islamic Republic of Iran of illegal attempts to secure nuclear weapons technology in the Scandinavian nation during 2021.

As the Biden administration seeks to temporarily restrict Tehran from building an atomic bomb, a damning new Swedish intelligence report accuses the Islamic Republic of Iran of illegal attempts to secure nuclear weapons technology in the Scandinavian nation during 2021. The Swedish document places new question marks over the efficacy of the controversial Iran nuclear deal that rewards the clerical regime with up to $275 billion in economic benefits during the first year of an agreement and as much as $1 trillion by 2030, according to one estimate. (Fox News)

09-04-2022
Military

Iranian authorities have introduced defense systems in 51 cities to counter “biological, radiological, and chemical threats,” Iran’s deputy defense minister Mehdi Farahi has announced.

Iranian authorities have introduced defense systems in 51 cities to counter “biological, radiological, and chemical threats,” deputy defense minister Mehdi Farahi has announced. The defense ministry has “provided 51 cities in the country with the necessary installations and equipment for passive defense,” Farahi was cited as saying by Iribnews, the state broadcaster’s website. He added that the ministry is “now able to identify the threats thanks to the infrastructure put in place to confront all sorts of biological, radiological, and chemical threats.” (The Defense Post)

09-04-2022
Human Rights

Iran has stepped up its actions against Baha’i citizens, arresting 12 believers accused by Tehran of being “heretics” and having links to Israel.

Iran has stepped up its actions against Baha’i citizens, arresting 12 believers accused by Tehran of being “heretics” and having links to Israel in a continuing crackdown that has been condemned by Iranian and global rights groups. Iranian state media on September 4 said the arrests took place in different cities in Mazandaran Province, the same area where 14 members of Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority were arrested on August 31. Baha'is – who number some 300,000 in Iran and have an estimated 5 million followers worldwide – say they face systematic persecution in Iran, where their faith is not officially recognized in the constitution. (Radio Free Europe)

08-31-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran has begun enriching uranium with the second of three cascades, or clusters, of advanced IR-6 centrifuges recently installed at an underground plant at Natanz.

Iran has begun enriching uranium with the second of three cascades, or clusters, of advanced IR-6 centrifuges recently installed at an underground plant at Natanz, a report by the UN nuclear watchdog seen by Reuters said. Like the first of those three cascades of up to 174 machines each, the second is enriching uranium to up to 5% fissile purity and the third has not been fed with nuclear material, the confidential report to member states said. A separate report said the first cascade had been brought onstream. (Reuters)

08-30-2022
Syria Conflict

An Iranian ship tried to seize an American maritime drone in the Persian Gulf.

The U.S. Navy stopped an Iranian ship from seizing an American maritime drone in the Persian Gulf, in a fresh confrontation that underscored the sharp tensions between Tehran and Washington, U.S. defense officials said. The episode began when the U.S. Navy observed an Iranian ship towing the Saildrone Explorer, an unmanned U.S. vessel equipped with camera, radars, and sensors. The U.S.S. Thunderbolt, a patrol coastal ship, and a Navy helicopter moved toward the scene. The Iranians dropped the tow line and eventually left the area, the defense officials said. (The Wall Street Journal)

08-29-2022
Military

Iran sent first shipment of drones to Russia for use in Ukraine.

Russian cargo planes have quietly picked up the first of scores of Iranian-made combat drones for use against Ukraine, U.S. officials said, in a move that underscores deepening ties between Moscow and Tehran while also highlighting Russia’s struggles to supply its overstretched military. Transport planes departed Iran on Aug. 19 hauling at least two types of unmanned aerial vehicles, both capable of carrying munitions for attacks on radars, artillery and other military targets, according to intelligence gathered by U.S. and other spy agencies. (Washington Post)

08-24-2022
Syria Conflict

Three U.S. service members were injured in rocket attacks in Syria carried out by suspected Iran-backed militants, according to U.S. Central Command.

Three U.S. service members were injured in rocket attacks in Syria carried out by suspected Iran-backed militants, according to U.S. Central Command, the latest in a slew of attacks on American personnel that U.S. officials said were directed by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Rockets landed at two separate sites in northeastern Syria starting at roughly 7:30 p.m. local time, the command said late Wednesday in a press release. Several rockets struck inside the perimeter of Mission Support Site Conoco, followed by additional rockets that landed in the vicinity of Mission Support Site Green Village. (Politico)

08-24-2022
Nuclear Program

An Iranian official announced that his country will not allow any nuclear inspections beyond what was agreed upon in its 2015 arrangement with the United States.

An Iranian official announced that his country will not allow any nuclear inspections beyond what was agreed upon in its 2015 arrangement with the United States. "We are committed to inspections in the framework of the nuclear deal that are linked to nuclear restrictions which we have accepted in the past... Not one word more, not one word less," said Mohammad Eslami, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, according to a video carried by state media. Eslami’s statement appears to contradict reporting earlier this week that Iran has dropped some of its main demands. (Fox News)

08-23-2022
Politics

Iran’s Mobarakeh Steel Company is reeling from the release of a lengthy parliamentary investigation that alleges corruption amounting to $3 billion tied to the administration of former President Hassan Rohani.

One of Iran's biggest cash cows, the Mobarakeh Steel Company, is reeling from the release of a lengthy parliamentary investigation that alleges corruption amounting to $3 billion tied to the administration of former President Hassan Rohani. Since the Iranian parliamentary investigatory commission read out its damning allegations on August 18 following a three-year investigation, the Iranian stock exchange suspended trading of Mobarakeh shares and hardline President Ebrahim Raisi has called for company personnel implicated in the report to be fired. (Radio Free Europe)

08-23-2022
Military

Iran's armed forces will launch large scale drone drills across the country involving 150 unmanned aerial vehicles to show off its "power.”

Iran's armed forces will launch large scale drone drills across the country involving 150 unmanned aerial vehicles to show off its "power," state media reported. "The accuracy and power of weapons... the capabilities of guidance and control systems and the combat capabilities of drones are among the things that will be tested and evaluated in this exercise," deputy coordinator of the armed forces Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told the state broadcaster. "This is the first time that a joint drone exercise is conducted at the level of the four forces of the Islamic republic of Iran's army and the country's joint air defence base," Sayyari added. (AFP)

08-20-2022
Terrorism

Iranian operatives have targeted several senior members of US-based advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) through surveillance and cyber operations.

Iranian operatives have targeted several senior members of US-based advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) through surveillance and cyber operations. According to a report by The Dispatch, members of the New York-based think tank have been the subject of suspected Iranian surveillance operations carried out on U.S. soil as well as various phishing operations believed to be carried out by a cyber warfare group linked to the Islamic Republic. (Iran International)

08-18-2022
Human Rights

Human right activists say Khadijeh Mehdipour, a political prisoner being held in Ilam prison in western Iran, has been beaten again by inmates who are serving time for violent crimes.

Human right activists say Khadijeh Mehdipour, a political prisoner being held in Ilam prison in western Iran, has been beaten again by inmates who are serving time for violent crimes. The Hengaw Human Rights Organization says Mehdipour, who is in prison without being segregated from dangerous prisoners, was beaten by violent criminals at the instigation of the prison authorities and even forced to sleep in the prison library. Some human rights sources, including the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), say Mehdipour has been handed new charges while in prison for "insulting Islamic sanctities." (Radio Free Europe)

08-16-2022
Human Rights

A woman who was arrested for protesting mandatory head-scarf rules appeared on television and gave a "confession" that was allegedly made under duress.

Dozens of female civil activists have called on Iranian authorities to release a woman who was arrested for protesting mandatory head-scarf rules after she appeared on television and gave a "confession" they allege was made under duress. According to the Free Union Workers of Iran's Telegram channel, the women took to the streets of Tehran carrying placards asking, "Where is Sepideh Rashno?" and demanded to know her status after the 28-year-old writer and artist was arrested on June 15 after a video of her arguing with another woman who was enforcing rules on wearing a head scarf on a bus in Tehran went viral. (Radio Free Europe)

08-15-2022
Anti-Americanism

The propaganda newspaper Kayhan, the mouthpiece for Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, announced in a blaring editorial on its front page that the assassination of President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the cards.

The propaganda newspaper Kayhan, the mouthpiece for Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, announced in a blaring editorial on its front page that the assassination of President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the cards. In an editorial on Saturday, the newspaper wrote, "The attack on [Rushdie] shows it is not a difficult job to take similar revenge on Trump and Pompeo and from now on they will feel more in danger for their lives." (Fox News)

08-15-2022
Syria Conflict

A drone attack hit a compound run by American troops and U.S.-backed Syrian opposition fighters in eastern Syria.

An attack with drones hit a compound run by American troops and U.S.-backed Syrian opposition fighters in eastern Syria, the U.S. military said, adding that there were no casualties or damage. The military said the attack took place in the vicinity of al-Tanf base near where the borders of Syria, Jordan and Iraq meet. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack. The attack occurred hours after Israeli airstrikes on western and central Syria killed three soldiers, wounded three others and caused material damage. (Associated Press)

08-12-2022
Extremism

An assailant stabbed Mr. Rushdie, 75, in the abdomen and the neck, over thirty years after the Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa—a religious edict—calling for his death.

An attacker rushed the stage of Chautauqua Institution in Western New York, where Mr. Rushdie was scheduled to give a talk about the United States as a safe haven for exiled writers, and stabbed Mr. Rushdie, 75, in the abdomen and the neck, the police and witnesses said, straining to continue the attack even as several people held him back. Mr. Rushdie had effectively been living under a death sentence since 1989, about six months after the publication of his novel “The Satanic Verses,” which fictionalized parts of the life of the Prophet Muhammad with depictions that many Muslims found offensive and some considered blasphemous. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, issued a religious edict known as a fatwa on Feb. 14, 1989, ordering Muslims to kill Mr. Rushdie. A price was put on his head of several million dollars. (New York Times)

08-10-2022
Terrorism

A member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was charged with a plot to murder the former National Security Advisor and UANI Board Member John Bolton.

According to court documents, beginning in October 2021, Shahram Poursafi, aka Mehdi Rezayi, 45, of Tehran, Iran, attempted to arrange the murder of former National Security Advisor John Bolton, likely in retaliation for the January 2020 death of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Force (IRGC-QF) commander Qasem Soleimani. Poursafi, working on behalf of the IRGC-QF, attempted to pay individuals in the United States $300,000 to carry out the murder in Washington, D.C. or Maryland. Poursafi offered the CHS $250,000 to hire someone to “eliminate” the former National Security Advisor. This amount would later be negotiated up to $300,000. Poursafi added that he had an additional “job,” for which he would pay $1 million. Poursafi directed the source to open a cryptocurrency account to facilitate payment, but stipulated that the CHS would likely have to carry out the murder before he/she could be paid. (U.S. Justice Department)

08-04-2022
Military

A new satellite that Russia is preparing to launch on Iran’s behalf next week will greatly enhance Tehran’s ability to spy on military targets across the Middle East.

A new satellite that Russia is preparing to launch on Iran’s behalf next week will greatly enhance Tehran’s ability to spy on military targets across the Middle East — but first, Moscow intends to use the spacecraft to assist its own war effort in Ukraine, according to Western security officials familiar with the matter. Russia’s Roscosmos space agency announced an Aug. 9 launch date for the satellite, dubbed “Khayyam” after a 12th-century Persian mathematician, in fulfillment of a deal negotiated with Iran over nearly four years. Russia agreed to build and launch the Kanopus-V system, which will include a high-resolution camera that would give Tehran unprecedented capabilities, including near-continuous monitoring of sensitive facilities in Israel and the Persian Gulf. (Washington Post)

08-01-2022
Terrorism

A man has been arrested after he was found with an assault rifle outside the Brooklyn home of an Iranian American journalist who was previously the target of a brazen abduction plot by Iranian intelligence agents.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, the suspect, Khalid Mehdiyev, was observed by law enforcement officials near the Brooklyn home of Masih Alinejad, a prominent human rights activist critical of the Islamic Republic of Iran. During a subsequent search of the vehicle, investigators found a loaded AK-47-style assault rifle in a suitcase on the rear seat, the court document shows. Masih Alinejad, an exiled journalist and women’s rights advocate living in New York, has long been critical of the regime in Tehran. Last year, four Iranians were charged with conspiring to kidnap her and take her to the Middle Eastern country, possibly via a daring maritime mission. (Washington Post)

07-21-2022
Extremism

Iran’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, who is former spokesperson for Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), threatened Israel’s ambassador to Azerbaijan on Twitter.

Iran’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, who is former spokesperson for Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), threatened Israel’s ambassador to Azerbaijan on Twitter, saying, “Our beloved Tabriz is known as the land of firsts in Iran’s proud history. Apparently, the first evil Zionist is going to be buried by the zealous people of Tabriz, too. Never cross our red line, ever!” He was responding to the Israel ambassador’s tweet which said, “I am learning so much about Azerbaijani history and culture in Tabriz in this great book I was recently presented.” (Twitter)

07-20-2022
Nuclear Program

Tehran gave assurances that its nuclear policy was unchanged and that it still adhered to a fatwa banning weapons of mass destruction, after an Iranian official said the country was able to make atomic bombs.

Tehran gave assurances that its nuclear policy was unchanged and that it still adhered to a fatwa banning weapons of mass destruction, after an Iranian official said the country was able to make atomic bombs. It is the second time in the past 18 months that Iran has reiterated its opposition to nuclear weapons following comments by an official. "In regard to the topic of weapons of mass destruction, we have the fatwa", or religious edict, by Iran's supreme leader that prohibits the manufacture of such weapons, said foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani. The fatwa declares the use of atomic bombs and other weapons of mass destruction to be "haram", or forbidden by Islam, and it is often cited by Iranian authorities as a guarantee of Tehran's good intentions. (France 24)

07-20-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran warned that proposed U.S. legislation targeting the Islamic Republic could further imperil stalled Biden administration efforts to resurrect the moribund nuclear deal.

Iran warned that proposed U.S. legislation targeting the Islamic Republic could further imperil stalled Biden administration efforts to resurrect the moribund nuclear deal. The bipartisan U.S. Senate bill, called the Iran Nuclear Weapons Capability Act of 2022, seeks to compel the government to assess the dangers posed by Iran and come up with a strategy to deal with them. The law would require the Biden administration establish a task force that would be required to integrate intelligence from Israel -- Tehran’s leading regional foe -- and report updated assessments of Iran’s nuclear capabilities every 120 days. If passed and signed into law, the legislation would also force the White House to outline US diplomatic and military plans to counter Iranian threats. (Bloomberg)

07-19-2022
Syria Conflict

Iran’s supreme leader issued a declaration of support for Mr. Putin’s war in Ukraine of the kind that even other countries close to Russia have so far stopped short of making.

Raveling to Iran, Mr. Putin worked to solidify an Iranian-Russian alliance that has been emerging as a significant counterweight to American-led efforts to contain Western adversaries. He met with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, who issued a declaration of support for Mr. Putin’s war in Ukraine of the kind that even other countries close to Russia have so far stopped short of making. “War is a violent and difficult endeavor, and the Islamic Republic is not at all happy that people are caught up in war,” Mr. Khamenei told Mr. Putin, according to the supreme leader’s office. “But in the case of Ukraine, if you had not taken the helm, the other side would have done so and initiated a war.” Mr. Khamenei’s endorsement of the war went well beyond the much more cautious support offered by another key Russian ally, China, embracing Mr. Putin’s claim that the West had left the Kremlin no choice but to act. (New York Times)

07-19-2022
Human Rights

Iran’s judiciary ordered one of the country’s leading filmmakers to serve out a six-year prison sentence from a decade ago that had never been enforced.

Iran’s judiciary on Tuesday ordered one of the country’s leading filmmakers to serve out a six-year prison sentence from a decade ago that had never been enforced. The order came as the government seeks to silence criticism amid growing economic turmoil and political pressure. Masoud Setayeshi, spokesman for Iran’s judiciary, announced that award-winning director, Jafar Panahi, perhaps Iran’s best-known film director, would fulfill his six-year prison term handed down in 2011 on charges of producing antigovernment propaganda, a final verdict that he said should have been implemented at the time. Although Panahi was banned from traveling over the past years, the sentence was never enforced and he continued to make underground films, which were released abroad to great acclaim. (The Washington Post)

07-19-2022
Human Rights

A legal U.S. resident and German citizen Jamshid Sharmahd faces public execution in Iran for being a journalist.

A legal U.S. resident and German citizen Jamshid Sharmahd faces public execution in Iran for being a journalist. A Tehran regime lawyer told the family a "death sentence is certain." Sharmahd’s daughter said a sixth hearing of her father’s "sham trial" might unfold this week. Iran’s regime refused to allow an independent lawyer to represent Sharmahd. The clerical regime kidnapped the 67-year-old Sharmahd in July 2020 while he was staying at a hotel in Dubai. Sharmahd has lived in California since 2003. Tehran’s opaque justice system claims Sharmahd played a role in a 2008 terrorist attack at a mosque in Shiraz, Iran that left 14 dead and more than 200 injured. (Fox News)

07-19-2022
Human Rights

The Intelligence Organization of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has arrested Zahra Hamadani, a defender of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, on a charge of "trafficking" Iranian women to Iraq.

The Intelligence Organization of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has arrested Zahra Hamadani, a defender of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, on a charge of "trafficking" Iranian women to Iraq. An IRGC statement accused Hamadani of "promoting homosexuality, gambling, fraud, and promoting illicit sexual relations and publishing them on the Internet." It did not give any evidence backing up the claim. Neither Hamadani nor her supporters have commented on the allegations, but she has previously been targeted by authorities for her activities related to LGBT rights. She was arbitrarily detained in October 2021 for her social media posts defending LGBT rights. (Radio Free Europe)

07-19-2022
Human Rights

A woman has been arrested after a video of her arguing with another woman who was enforcing rules on wearing a head scarf on a bus in Tehran went viral.

A woman has been arrested after a video of her arguing with another woman who was enforcing rules on wearing a head scarf on a bus in Tehran went viral. The woman, identified as Sepideh Rashno, a 28-year-old writer and artist, was confronted by a woman who warned her she would send video to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) showing Rashno riding the bus without the mandatory hijab. The notorious Guidance Patrols, or morality police, have become increasingly active and violent. Videos have emerged on social media appearing to show officers detaining women, forcing them into vans, and whisking them away. (Radio Free Europe)
 

07-18-2022
Human Rights

An Iranian political prisoner’s health is deteriorating due to him being on a hunger strike and in solitary confinement.

Relatives of Manuchehr Bakhtiari have warned that the Iranian political prisoner's health is deteriorating due to him being on a hunger strike and in solitary confinement. In an interview with Radio Farda on July 18, a relative who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals from authorities, said that Bakhtiari, whose 27-year-old son Pouya Bakhtiari was killed in a crackdown on protests in Iran in November 2019, is on hunger strike and his family is not allowed to contact him. In November 2019 thousands of citizens protested in more than 100 Iranian cities and towns against the government's sudden decision to raise gas prices. The protests quickly turned political, with many chanting against the Iranian clerical establishment and its leaders. Security agents on July 11 raided and arrested a number of family members of victims of the November 2019 protests, the day before a planned protest against the mandatory wearing by women of the hijab, or head scarves. (Radio Free Europe)

07-18-2022
Terrorism

Israeli forces downed a drone that Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group apparently flew over the border, the Israeli military said.

Israeli forces on Monday downed a drone that Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group apparently flew over the border, the military said. It did not specify how the drone was brought down as it entered Israeli airspace; however, it was believed to have been using electronic warfare means. “The drone likely belongs to the Hezbollah terror group,” the IDF said. In an image shared by the army, the drone appears to be a commercially available quadcopter manufactured by Chinese company DJI. Defense officials have previously noted that at least some of the drones Hezbollah apparently uses for surveillance purposes are commercially available devices. (Times of Israel)

07-17-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran is technically capable of making a nuclear bomb but has not decided whether to build one, a senior adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.

Iran is technically capable of making a nuclear bomb but has not decided whether to build one, a senior adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Qatar's al Jazeera TV. Kamal Kharrazi spoke a day after U.S. President Joe Biden ended his four-day trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, vowing to stop Iran from "acquiring a nuclear weapon." Kharrazi's comments were a rare suggestion that Iran might have an interest in nuclear weapons, which it has long denied seeking. "In a few days we were able to enrich uranium up to 60% and we can easily produce 90% enriched uranium ... Iran has the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb but there has been no decision by Iran to build one," Kharrazi said. (Reuters)

07-17-2022
Terrorism

A pro-Iranian hacker group calling itself Altahrea Team claimed responsibility for a cyberattack that disrupted access to the Israeli Health Ministry website to users from abroad.

A cyberattack disrupted access to the Health Ministry website to users from abroad, the ministry said Sunday. Though the site was still functioning for local Israelis, those trying enter from outside the country were unable to do so intermittently, the ministry said in a statement. A group of pro-Iranian hackers based in Iraq and calling itself Altahrea Team claimed responsibility for the assault, according to Hebrew media reports. On its Telegram channel, the group reportedly wrote that the attack was carried out in response to the bombing of the Gaza Strip over the weekend and a list of other ills. (The Times of Israel)

07-16-2022
Politics

Iran's Supreme Leader has reappointed hardliner politician Ahmad Jannati, 95, to another six-year term as the head of the Guardian Council.

Iran's Supreme Leader has reappointed hardliner politician Ahmad Jannati, 95, to another six-year term as the head of the Guardian Council. He will finish his term when he turns 101. According to a decree issued by Ali Khamenei on Saturday, Mohammad-Reza Modarresi Yazdi and Mehdi Shabzendedar Jahromi were also reinstated as the Islamic sharia law experts in the body, in charge of checking legislation approved by the parliament with the Constitution and sharia, and approving the candidates in various elections. But in fact, critics of the council say that it is simply a tool under Khamenei’s control who engineers elections by having the institution reject candidates. (Iran International)

07-15-2022
Military

Iran unveiled military advances on Friday that have put armed drones aboard its warships, creating a new threat for the U.S. and its allies in the Persian Gulf.

Iran unveiled military advances on Friday that have put armed drones aboard its warships, creating a new threat for the U.S. and its allies in the Persian Gulf, as President Biden tours the region in part to help build security partnerships to counter Tehran. Iranian state television broadcast a report showing some of Iran’s biggest warships and submarines launching drones at sea. The drones are able to fly for up to 24 hours and 600 miles, it said. The U.S. and its allies in the region have accused Iran of using drones to target adversaries including Israel and Saudi Arabia as well as ships in the Persian Gulf. The new developments are expected to give Tehran an expanded ability to target foes across the Middle East. (The Wall Street Journal)

07-14-2022
Extremism

Iran might resort to new methods to “punish” Israel, a website close to its security establishment said, as President Joe Biden visits the region.

Iran might resort to new methods to “punish” Israel, a website close to its security establishment said, as President Joe Biden visits the region. Nour News, close to Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the supreme national security council said that “Any steps to disrupt the current security order in West Asia can impact other spheres, such as transportation and transit of energy and add to the existing global food and energy crisis.” The reference to transportation of energy could be a threat to shipping in the Persian Gulf. Iran in recent and distant past has repeatedly made such threats and in the summer of 2019, attacks took place against many tankers, which were generally blamed on Iran. The article on Nour News also went on to say that Washington should know that “Israel’s mischiefs can, under some circumstances, cause loss of control over the situation and lead to the use of different options for punishing the usurping Zionist regime,” (Iran International)

07-14-2022
Anti-Americanism

Iran may be planning to assassinate top members of Donald Trump’s administration, including the former president himself, in revenge for the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a US intelligence report has warned.

Iran may be planning to assassinate top members of Donald Trump’s administration, including the former president himself, in revenge for the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a US intelligence report has warned. Issued by the National Counterterrorism Center, the report also identifies threats against former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kenneth McKenzie, former head of US Central Command, The Independent reported. “Since January 2021, Tehran has publicly expressed a willingness to conduct lethal operations inside the United States and has consistently identified former president Donald Trump, former secretary of state Michael Pompeo, and former CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie as among its priority targets for retribution,” the report said. “Iran would probably view the killing or prosecution of a US official it considers equivalent in rank and stature to Soleimani or responsible for his death as successful retaliatory actions.” (Arab News)

07-14-2022
Anti-Americanism

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran will have a “harsh and regrettable response” to any “mistake” committed by Washington or its allies, and blames the U.S. and its regional allies for stoking instability in the region.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran will have a “harsh and regrettable response” to any “mistake” committed by Washington or its allies. The Iranian president spoke as US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed a joint pledge on Thursday to deny Iran nuclear arms, a show of unity by allies long divided over diplomacy with Tehran. Raisi blamed the US and “its regional allies” for stoking instability in the region, state-run IRNA news agency reported. (Aljazeera)

07-13-2022
Terrorism

Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah threatened Israel with military escalation if a future deal over the disputed maritime border between the two countries is not in Lebanon’s favor.

The leader of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group threatened Israel with military escalation if a future deal over the disputed maritime border between the two countries is not in Lebanon’s favor. Sayyed Hassan Narallah said in a televised speech that Lebanon should be able to extract oil and gas in Lebanese waters. Lebanon claims the Karish gas field is disputed territory under ongoing maritime border negotiations, whereas Israel says it lies within its internationally recognized economic waters. Negotiations between Lebanon and Israel to determine their maritime borders commenced in October 2020, when the two sides held indirect U.S.-mediated talks in southern Lebanon. (Associated Press)

07-12-2022
Human Rights

Iran has arrested three renowned filmmakers within the past week, as well as a prominent reformist politician and the family members of protesters killed in anti-government uprisings in 2019.

In a new crackdown on dissidents and artists, Iran has arrested three renowned filmmakers within the past week, as well as a prominent reformist politician and the family members of protesters killed in anti-government uprisings in 2019. The directors, Jaffar Panahi, Mohammad Rasolouf and Mostafa Aleahmad, have all been vocal critics of the government. Mr. Rasolouf recently organized a social media campaign that called for the country’s security forces facing protesters to put down their weapons and join the people. The latest arrests come as a new chief takes over the powerful intelligence wing of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, following the ouster in late June of its former head, Hossein Taeb. (New York Times)

07-11-2022
Syria Conflict

Iran is preparing to provide Russia with drones for the battlefield in Ukraine, as well as training for its forces to use them, a senior White House official said.

Iran is preparing to provide Russia with drones for the battlefield in Ukraine, as well as training for its forces to use them, a senior White House official said Monday. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. has information that Tehran “is preparing to provide Russia with up to several 100 UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline.” At a briefing for reporters, Mr. Sullivan said Iran was preparing to train Russian troops to use them, beginning as soon as early this month. “It’s unclear whether Iran has delivered any of these UAVs to Russia already.” (The Wall Street Journal)

07-11-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran announced that it has begun enriching uranium up to 20% using sophisticated centrifuges at its underground Fordo nuclear plant.

Iran announced that it has begun enriching uranium up to 20% using sophisticated centrifuges at its underground Fordo nuclear plant, state TV reported, an escalation that comes amid a standoff with the West over its tattered atomic deal. That Tehran is enriching uranium up to 20% purity — a technical step from weapons-grade levels of 90% — with a new set of its most advanced centrifuges at a facility deep inside a mountain deals yet another blow to the already slim chances of reviving the accord. In a report to member states, Director General Rafael Grossi described a system of “modified sub-headers,” which he said allowed Iran to inject gas enriched up to 5% purity into a cascade of 166 IR-6 centrifuges for the purpose of producing uranium enriched up to 20% purity. (NBC News)

07-05-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran added demands unrelated to discussions on its nuclear program during the latest talks and has made alarming progress on enriching uranium.

Iran added demands unrelated to discussions on its nuclear program during the latest talks and has made alarming progress on enriching uranium, the U.S. envoy for talks on reinstating a nuclear deal said on Tuesday. "They have, including in Doha, added demands that I think anyone looking at this would be viewed as having nothing to do with the nuclear deal, things that they've wanted in the past," Robert Malley, U.S. Special Envoy for Iran, said in an interview with National Public Radio. The demands included some that the United States and Europeans have said could not be part of negotiations. (Reuters)

07-02-2022
Terrorism

The Israel Defenses Forces said it successfully intercepted three drones flown by the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah terror group that were heading for the Karish gas field off Israel’s Mediterranean coast.

The Israel Defenses Forces said it successfully intercepted three drones flown by the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group that were heading for the Karish gas field off Israel’s Mediterranean coast. Tensions have risen over the site in recent weeks, after a gas production vessel arrived in Israel to launch extraction operations in the offshore field, drawing condemnation from Lebanon, which had laid claim to parts of it. Israel says Karish is in part of its UN-recognized exclusive economic zone. One of the Hezbollah aircraft was downed by an F16 fighter jet, and the other two by Barak 8 missiles launched from the Saar 5 Class Corvette INS Eilat, the military said in a statement. Hezbollah added that the mission was accomplished successfully and “a message was conveyed.” (Times of Israel)

06-26-2022
Military

Iran has carried out a second test of its Zuljanah satellite launcher, Iranian state TV reported.

Iran has carried out a second test of its Zuljanah satellite launcher, Iranian state TV reported on Sunday, in a move likely to irk Washington amid expectations of a resumption of indirect talks between the arch foes to revive a 2015 nuclear pact. The United States fears such long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit could also be used to launch nuclear warheads. Tehran denies the U.S. accusation. The Zuljanah is a three-stage satellite launcher using a combination of solid and liquid fuels. (Reuters)

06-21-2022
Anti-Americanism

Iran is renewing threats to assassinate former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, prompting a fresh warning from the State Department that any attempt to take the life of a current or former U.S. official will prompt "severe consequences."

Iran is renewing threats to assassinate former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, prompting a fresh warning from the State Department that any attempt to take the life of a current or former U.S. official will prompt "severe consequences." An Arabic-language Twitter account affiliated with the hardline Iranian regime stated during the weekend that Pompeo, who served under former president Donald Trump, should fear for his life. "Live in fear, liar," the account tweeted, alongside an image of Pompeo with crosshairs on his forehead. The post indicates that Iran wants Pompeo dead as payback for the 2020 drone strike that killed Iranian terror leader Qassem Soleimani. (The Washington Free Beacon)

06-21-2022
Human Rights

Iran executed more than 100 people in the first three months of 2022, continuing a worrying upward trend, according to a report by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Iran executed more than 100 people in the first three months of 2022, continuing a worrying upward trend, according to a report by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. "While 260 individuals were executed in 2020, at least 310 individuals were executed in 2021, including at least 14 women," she said, adding that the trend had continued this year. Between January 1 and March 20, she said, "At least 105 people were executed," many of whom belonged to minority groups." Guterres's report had noted with deep concern the increase of executions for lesser crimes, including for drug-related offenses, Nashif said. (VOA News)

06-20-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran is escalating its uranium enrichment further by preparing to use advanced IR-6 centrifuges at its underground Fordow site that can more easily switch between enrichment levels.

Iran is escalating its uranium enrichment further by preparing to use advanced IR-6 centrifuges at its underground Fordow site that can more easily switch between enrichment levels, a United Nations nuclear watchdog report seen by Reuters on Monday showed. The move is the latest of several steps Iran had long threatened to take but held off carrying out until 30 of the 35 countries on the International Atomic Energy Agency's Board of Governors backed a resolution this month criticizing it for failing to explain uranium traces found at undeclared sites. IAEA inspectors verified on Saturday that Iran was ready to feed uranium hexafluoride (UF6) gas, the material centrifuges enrich, into the second of two cascades, or clusters, of IR-6 centrifuges installed at Fordow, a site dug into mountain, the confidential IAEA report to member states said. (Reuters)

06-20-2022
Terrorism

False rocket warning sirens that were activated in Jerusalem and Eilat were likely caused by a cyberattack, the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD) confirmed.

False rocket warning sirens that were activated in Jerusalem and Eilat on Sunday evening were likely caused by a cyberattack, the Israel National Cyber Directorate (INCD) confirmed on Monday morning. By Monday, there was rampant speculation that Iran was the perpetrator of the hack, with a slew of cyber experts opining as such in interviews about the possibility of Iranian involvement. A diplomatic source downplayed the significance of the attack, saying, “There is constant cyber activity against Israel. Part of the [Israel’s] multi-year plan is to build a cyber iron dome in cooperation with other nations.” On Sunday evening, rocket sirens sounded for almost an hour in Eilat and across several Jerusalem neighborhoods including Talpiot, Katamon and Beit Hakerem. (The Jerusalem Post)

06-19-2022
Terrorism

Israeli officials warn of impending Iranian attacks on its citizens visiting Turkey.

Despite repeated statements from Israeli officials warning of impending Iranian attacks on its citizens visiting Turkey, Tehran has generally remained silent. Defense Minister Benny Gantz issued his latest statement on Saturday reiterating that there is a serious risk of attacks on Israelis in Turkey by Iranian networks. Several individuals affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard have been killed or died mysteriously in recent weeks in Iran. These incidents are attributed to a covert war waged by Israel inside Iran. So far there have been no incidents, but Israeli officials have been insisting that they are in close cooperation with Turkish security agencies to thwart any Iranian threat. (Iran International)

06-16-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran is digging a vast tunnel network just south of the Natanz nuclear production site, in what officials believe is Tehran’s biggest effort yet to construct new underground nuclear facilities.

Israeli and American intelligence officials have been watching each day as Iran digs a vast tunnel network just south of the Natanz nuclear production site, in what they believe is Tehran’s biggest effort yet to construct new nuclear facilities so deep in the mountains that they can withstand bunker-busting bombs and cyberattacks. Though the construction is evident on satellite photographs and has been monitored by groups that track the proliferation of new nuclear facilities, Biden administration officials have never talked about it in public and Israel’s defense minister has mentioned it just once. (New York Times)

06-10-2022
Syria Conflict

Attacks by Iranian proxies against bases housing U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Syria are increasing, but Washington has not responded with force since 2021.

Attacks by Iranian proxies against bases housing U.S. military personnel in Iraq and Syria are increasing, U.S. officials say, and Washington has not responded with force since 2021. There were seven attacks in May, as many attacks that month as February, March and April combined, and there have been a total of 29 since October without a kinetic U.S. response. The attacks have been carried out by Iranian-backed militias, the U.S. officials say. (NBC News)

06-10-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran has started removing 27 surveillance cameras from nuclear sites across the country, the head of the U.N. atomic watchdog said.

Iran has started removing 27 surveillance cameras from nuclear sites across the country, the head of the U.N. atomic watchdog said, warning this could deal a "fatal blow" to the tattered nuclear deal as Tehran enriches uranium closer than ever to weapons-grade levels. The development comes a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s board of governors censured Tehran for failing to provide "credible information" over manufactured nuclear material found at three undeclared sites in the country. (CBS News)

06-08-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran has begun installing advanced IR-6 centrifuges in a cluster at an underground enrichment plant in line with a longstanding plan.

Iran has begun installing advanced IR-6 centrifuges in a cluster at its underground enrichment plant in Natanz in line with a longstanding plan and now intends to add two more such clusters, or cascades, the U.N. nuclear watchdog told its member states on Wednesday. The moves are described in a confidential International Atomic Energy Agency report sent to member states shortly before the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors passed a resolution criticizing Iran for failing to explain uranium traces found at undeclared sites. Iran had warned of retaliation. Iran's commercial-scale Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) at Natanz is its biggest and was built underground, apparently to protect it from potential aerial bombardment. (Reuters)

06-07-2022
Human Rights

Twelve people from an ethnic minority group were hanged in Iran, Iran Human Rights (IHR) said.

Iran has carried out a mass execution of 12 inmates at a prison in its southeast, an NGO said. The 11 men and one woman — convicted either on drugs-related or murder charges — were hanged in the main prison of Zahedan in Sistan-Baluchestan province, Norway-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) said. They were all members of the Baluch ethnic minority who mainly adhere to the Sunni strain of Islam rather than the Shiism that is dominant in Iran, it added. Activists have long expressed concern that executions in Iran disproportionately target members of Iran’s ethnic and religious minorities, notably Kurds in the northwest, Arabs in the southwest and Baluch in the southeast. (The Times of Israel)

06-06-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran is only a few weeks away from having enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear explosive device.

Iran is only a few weeks away from having a "significant quantity of enriched uranium," the International Atomic Energy Agency's Director General Rafael Grossi said on Monday. "Having a significant quantity does not mean having a bomb," Grossi told a press conference following the start of the quarterly Board of Governors meeting in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Monday. The IAEA defines "significant quantity" of enriched uranium as "the approximate amount of nuclear material for which the possibility of manufacturing a nuclear explosive device cannot be excluded." (CNN)

06-06-2022
Terrorism

Thai security forces have thwarted several recent Iranian attempts to harm Western and Israeli targets in the southeast Asian country.

Thai security forces have thwarted several recent Iranian attempts to harm Western and Israeli targets in the southeast Asian country, according to a report. The news comes as Iran has reportedly been trying to retaliate for several high-profile assassinations and mysterious deaths in the Islamic Republic in recent months, including of a senior IRGC official and a top scientist. According to Channel 12, security forces in Thailand were successful in preventing an Iranian agent from establishing a terror cell in the country and potentially carrying out attacks against Israelis. Nonetheless, Thai security forces remain on high alert. Iran is still believed to be planning attacks against Israelis in Thailand and elsewhere. (Times of Israel)

06-01-2022
Terrorism

The FBI thwarted a planned cyberattack on a children’s hospital in Boston that was to have been carried out by hackers sponsored by the Iranian government, FBI Director Christopher Wray said.

The FBI thwarted a planned cyberattack on a children’s hospital in Boston that was to have been carried out by hackers sponsored by the Iranian government, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday. Wray told a Boston College cybersecurity conference that his agents learned of the planned digital attack from an unspecified intelligence partner and got Boston Children’s Hospital the information it needed last summer to block what would have been “one of the most despicable cyberattacks I’ve seen.” He did not ascribe a particular motive to the planned attack on the hospital, but he noted that Iran and other countries have been hiring cyber mercenaries to conduct attacks on their behalf. (The Times of Israel).

05-30-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran has not credibly answered the U.N. nuclear watchdog's long-standing questions on the origin of uranium particles found at three undeclared sites despite a fresh push for a breakthrough, the agency said in a report.

Iran has not credibly answered the U.N. nuclear watchdog's long-standing questions on the origin of uranium particles found at three undeclared sites despite a fresh push for a breakthrough, the agency said in a report seen by Reuters on Monday. A separate quarterly IAEA report seen by Reuters said Iran's stockpile of uranium enriched to 60%, close to the roughly 90% that is weapons grade and in a form that can be enriched further, is estimated to have grown by 9.9 kg to 43.1 kg. That amounts to slightly more than what the IAEA calls a "significant quantity," defined as "the approximate amount of nuclear material for which the possibility of manufacturing a nuclear explosive device cannot be excluded." (Reuters)

05-28-2022
Military

Iran unveiled its first cruise missile that can be fired from a drone, the Heidar-1.

Mohammad Bagheri, chief of staff of the Iranian armed force, has unveiled Iran’s first cruise missile than can be fired from a drone, named Heidar-1. Visiting the underground ‘strategic drone base 313,’ Bagheri also revealed a drone that can be mounted on a helicopter. The Heidar-1’s UAV was reported to have a 200km range and be capable of hitting a target at a maximum speed of 1,000km per hour. Over 100 drones are kept in the base in the Zagros mountains, including Kaman-22, Kaman-12 and Qods Mohajer, the last an intelligence, surveillance, target-acquisition, and reconnaissance drone capable of carrying four precision-guided munitions. The base is also home to the Ababil-5, which is fitted with Qaem-9 missiles, an Iranian-made version of the air-to-surface United States Hellfire missile. (Iran International)

05-27-2022
Military

Iranian forces seized two Greek tankers in the Gulf, shortly after Tehran warned it would take "punitive action" against Athens over the confiscation of Iranian oil by the United States from a tanker held off the Greek coast.

Iranian forces seized two Greek tankers in the Gulf, shortly after Tehran warned it would take "punitive action" against Athens over the confiscation of Iranian oil by the United States from a tanker held off the Greek coast. It said a similar incident took place on another Greek-flagged vessel near Iran, without naming the ship, adding both actions violated international law and Greece had informed its allies, as well as complained to Iran's ambassador in Athens. Greek authorities last month impounded the Iranian-flagged Pegas, with 19 Russian crew members on board, near the coast of the southern island of Evia due to European Union sanctions. The United States later confiscated the Iranian oil cargo held onboard and plans to send it to the United States on another vessel, Reuters reported on Thursday. (Reuters)

05-25-2022
Nuclear Program

Iran secured access to secret United Nations atomic agency reports almost two decades ago and circulated the documents among top officials who prepared cover stories and falsified a record to conceal suspected past work on nuclear weapons.

Iran secured access to secret United Nations atomic agency reports almost two decades ago and circulated the documents among top officials who prepared cover stories and falsified a record to conceal suspected past work on nuclear weapons, according to Middle East intelligence officials and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The IAEA records accessed by Iran were among more than 100,000 documents and files seized by Israeli intelligence in January 2018 from a Tehran archive. The file included reports on nuclear material that Iran had received from China, internal IAEA reports of the agency’s inspections of Iranian facilities and data from samples the agency had taken at Iran’s conversion facilities. (The Wall Street Journal)

05-12-2022
Syria Conflict

The new CENTCOM commander calls Iran the most destabilizing force in the Middle East, reiterating the position that the United States will not allow a nuclear Iran.

The new CENTCOM commander calls Iran the most destabilizing force in the Middle East, reiterating the position that the United States will not allow a nuclear Iran. General Erik Kurilla, who was on a tour of Saudi Arabia and Egypt as part of what he called a “listening tour”, told Al Arabiya on Thursday that countering the threat posed by Iran needs regional cooperation. “I view Iran as the most destabilizing force in the Middle East. The United States’ position is that we will not allow a nuclear Iran. However, our concerns about Iran go beyond its nuclear capability,” the top US military general for the Middle East said. Describing Iran’s ballistic missile program and its support for proxies and Iran-backed militias in the region as other concerns for the US, Kurilla said, “The Iranian threat requires a firm effort from us and our security partners in the region... CENTCOM is committed to that effort.” (Iran International)

05-12-2022
Terrorism

France’s Foreign Ministry said that two French nationals have been arrested in Iran and French authorities have “fully mobilized” to secure their swift release.

France’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that two French nationals have been arrested in Iran and French authorities have “fully mobilized” to secure their swift release. Prominent trade union Workers’ Force identified the two Thursday as a teachers’ union official named Cecile Kohler, and her partner. It said they were on a tourist trip to Iran as part of an Easter vacation break. The union said it was made aware of the arrests Wednesday. France’s Foreign Ministry said its ambassador in Tehran has already attempted to obtain consular access to the couple and the charge d’affaires at Iran’s Paris embassy has been summoned for explanations. The ministry didn’t say what charges the two French faced. The French government said it “condemns this groundless arrest” and “calls for (the French nationals’) immediate release.” (The Associated Press)

05-01-2022
Terrorism

Israeli intelligence operatives foil an Iranian assassination plot targeting Israelis, Americans, and Germans.

A short audio recording was published by Israeli media on Saturday with a photo of a man introduced as Iranian national Mansour Rasouli. In the audio recording, Rasouli says he was sent to Turkey by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) to establishing an operational network to assassinate an Israeli diplomat in Istanbul, a Germany-based US general, and a journalist in France. The audio recording surfaced hours after Iran International's report of the alleged Iranian triple assassination plot. Iran International's diplomatic sources said a member of the IRGC'S Qods Force had been detained in an unnamed European country for assassination plots in Germany, France and Turkey. Apparently duped by his interrogators' claim that they were from one of Iran's many intelligence bodies, Rasouli says in the recording that accepting to carry out the operation was a mistake that he will never make again. (Iran International)

04-28-2022
Extremism

The ultraconservative Kayhan newspaper in Iran, whose editor was appointed by Supreme Leader Khamenei, ran a piece prior to the anti-Israel event Quds Day, praising Hitler.

While Holocaust Remembrance Day falls on April 27-28, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the only state in the world to deny the Holocaust as a matter of policy, celebrates its annual anti-Israel Quds Day on April 29. This year, in a bid to welcome the latter event a day early, the ultraconservative Kayhan newspaper ran a range of related content in its April 28 issue. The centerpiece? Open praise for Adolf Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany and instigator of the genocide of six million Jews. Kayhan is unsurprisingly a favorite of the Iranian regime establishment and is edited by Hossein Shariatmadari: an appointee of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and a career Holocaust denier. The newspaper, too, has a long history of praising Holocaust deniers, including those with Nazi sympathies. But it has gone a step further by allowing a writer to openly praise Hitler. (Iranwire)

04-26-2022
Terrorism

U.S. Department of Justice charged a New Jersey man with plotting terror attacks on the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, and New York airports at the behest of Iran-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah.

Alexei Saab stands accused of preparing attacks against the U.S. from 2000 to 2005 at the behest of Hezbollah. His targets included U.S. infrastructure and popular venues like Rockefeller Center. He was planning to attack the U.S. in the event of a U.S. attack on Iran. He was charged with “providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, conspiracy, receiving military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization, unlawful procurement of citizenship to facilitate international terrorism and citizenship application fraud,” and multiple surveillance videos of popular U.S. destinations were found in his possession at the time of his arrest. (NBC News)

04-22-2022
Terrorism

No militant group in Gaza has yet claimed responsibility for the rocket fire directed at Israel on multiple occasions throughout April, but the Israeli army holds Hamas responsible.

Militants in Gaza fired rockets into Israel on April 18th, April 20th, and April 22nd. No group claimed responsibility for the rocket attacks. On the day of the first attacks, Ali Akbar Velayati, the foreign policy advisor of Iran’s supreme leader, reportedly spoke via phone with Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh and Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement Ziyad al-Nakhalah. Separately, Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, engaged in phone calls with the leadership of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The Israeli army said in its early Thursday statement that it holds Hamas responsible for what takes place in the Gaza Strip. In response to the rocket fire, the Israeli military targeted posts belonging to Hamas. (Times of Israel)

04-21-2022
Terrorism

A group of pro-Iranian hackers said it was behind a cyberattack that temporarily took down the Israel Airports Authority’s website.

A group of pro-Iranian hackers said it was behind a cyberattack that temporarily took down the Israel Airports Authority’s website on Wednesday. The targeting came in the form of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack during which the Airports Authority website servers were overwhelmed by near-simultaneous requests to connect. The Airports Authority was one of several Israeli websites targeted in an attack that the ALtahrea Team of pro-Iran hackers in Iraq said began at 1:02 a.m. on Wednesday, coinciding with the two-year anniversary of Qassem Soleimani’s assassination by the US in Baghdad. (The Times of Israel)

03-25-2022
Syria Conflict

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthis launched attacks on Saudi Aramco's petroleum products distribution station.

Yemen's Houthis said they launched attacks on Saudi energy facilities, and the Saudi-led coalition said oil giant Aramco's petroleum products distribution station in Jeddah was hit, causing a fire in two storage tanks but no casualties. The Iran-aligned Houthis have escalated attacks on the kingdom's oil facilities in recent weeks and ahead of a temporary truce for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The coalition has repeatedly said it is exercising self-restraint in the face of the attacks, but launched a military operation in Yemen early on Saturday saying it aimed to protect global energy sources and ensure supply chains…The ministry blamed Iran for continuing to arm the Houthis with ballistic missiles and advanced drones. (Reuters)

03-23-2022
Syria Conflict

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) plans to dispatch a large number of fighters from its Iraqi affiliates to Yemen.

Reports that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) plans to dispatch a large number of fighters from its Iraqi affiliates to Yemen have raised fears that, if true, this will expand the war in Yemen into a regional one, analysts said. Such a move also would threaten any path towards the establishment of peace in Yemen, they said. In a February 17 report, Intelligence Online revealed that the IRGC is planning to send a large force of fighters from Iran-backed Iraqi militias to support the Houthis in Yemen. This will include fighters from Asaib al-Haq and Harakat al-Nujaba, it said, noting that the move follows massive Houthi losses in the battles of Marib and Shabwa. (Al Mashareq)

03-13-2022
Military

Iran struck the Kurdish capital Erbil with ballistic missiles in March 2022.

A nascent plan for Iraq's Kurdistan region to supply gas to Turkey and Europe - with Israeli help - is part of what angered Iran into striking the Kurdish capital Erbil with ballistic missiles this month, Iraqi and Turkish officials say. The March 13 attack on Erbil came as a shock to officials throughout the region for its ferocity and was a rare publicly declared assault by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC said the strike hit Israeli "strategic centres" in Erbil and was retaliation for an Israeli air raid that killed two of its members in Syria. The choice of target, however, baffled many officials and analysts. Most of the 12 missiles hit the villa of a Kurdish businessman involved in the autonomous Kurdistan region's energy sector. Iraqi and Turkish officials who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity this week said they believe the attack was meant as a multi-pronged message to U.S. allies in the region - but that a key trigger was a plan to pump Kurdish gas into Turkey and Europe, with Israel's involvement. (Reuters)

03-11-2022
Anti-Americanism

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is the target of an Iranian assassination plot.

The Washington Examiner acquired a report, marked sensitive but unclassified, on the Diplomatic Security Service’s protection of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The report details the costs of protecting Pompeo at $2 million per month given the heightened threat against his life emanating from Iran, especially since the January anniversary of the death of Qassem Soleimani. “Additional protective measures” have been needed since January 2021, says the report. Furthermore, the report adds that the security services provided by the State Department to former U.S. officials will not be authorized by law after June 2022, unless included in the “2022 appropriations act or other legislation.” (The Washington Examiner)

03-08-2022
Military

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has successfully put a second military satellite, the Noor 2, into orbit, the state-media said.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has successfully put a second military satellite, the Noor 2, into orbit, the state-media said on Tuesday. Noor 2 is orbiting at an altitude of 500 kilometres (311 miles). The first military satellite, launched by the Islamic Republic in April 2020, placed the Noor, or "light" in Persian, at an orbit of 425km (265 miles) above the earth’s surface. Putting a second satellite in space would be a major advance for Iran’s military, raising concerns about the country's nuclear and missile programs. (Reuters)

03-07-2022
Anti-Americanism

Iranians belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ covert-action Quds Force are plotting to assassinate former national security advisor and UANI board member John Bolton.

At least two Iranians belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ covert-action Quds Force are plotting to assassinate former national security advisor John Bolton, according to a Justice Department official with direct knowledge of the investigation. John Bolton currently sits on the UANI advisory board, and he was instrumental in the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA. The source tells the Washington Examiner that the department possesses indictable evidence against the Iranians but that Biden administration officials are resisting publicly indicting the men for fear that it could derail their drive for a nuclear deal with Iran, which at the time appeared to be nearing completion in negotiations in Vienna, Austria. It is possible but unlikely that there are sealed indictments against the men, but the DOJ source said the seriousness of the conspiracy and the evidence warranted public indictment without delay. (The Washington Examiner)

03-01-2022
Anti-Americanism

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the war in Ukraine should be stopped and accused the "mafia-like regime" of the United States of creating the conflict.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday the war in Ukraine should be stopped and accused the "mafia-like regime" of the United States of creating the conflict. "The U.S. regime creates crises, lives off of crises and feeds on various crises in the world. Ukraine is another victim of this policy," Khamenei said in a televised speech. "In my view, Ukraine is a victim of the crises concocted by the United States," he said. "There are two lessons to be learnt here. States which depend on the support of the U.S. and Western powers need to know they cannot trust such countries." While Tehran and Washington have been foes for decades, Iran and Russia have deepened trade ties and have been allies in the Syrian conflict. (Reuters)

03-01-2022
Human Rights

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei described homosexuality as part of the "moral deprivation" widespread in Western civilization.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei described homosexuality as part of the "moral deprivation" widespread in Western civilization, during a televised speech on Tuesday. "There is severe moral deprivation in the world today such as homosexuality and things that one cannot bring oneself to even talk about. Some have rightly called Western civilization a new age of ignorance," Khamenei said. Western rights groups have often criticized Iran, where homosexual acts among men can be punished by the death penalty. (Reuters)

02-16-2022
Terrorism

The leader of Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah group, Hassan Nasrallah, said for the first time that it has the ability within Lebanon to convert thousands of rockets into precision missiles and to produce drones.

The leader of Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah group, Hassan Nasrallah, said for the first time on Wednesday that it has the ability within Lebanon to convert thousands of rockets into precision missiles and to produce drones. "We have been producing drones in Lebanon for a long time, and whoever wants to buy them, submit an order," Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech to followers. He said Hezbollah was able to transform standard rockets into precision missiles with the cooperation of "experts from the Islamic Republic of Iran." (Reuters)

02-09-2022
Military

Iran unveiled a new domestically-made missile with a range of 1,450 kilometers, state TV reported.

Iran unveiled a new domestically-made missile with a range of 1,450 kilometers on Wednesday, state TV reported, a day after Tehran and Washington resumed indirect talks to salvage a 2015 nuclear deal. Iran, which has one of the biggest missile programs in the Middle East, says its ballistic missiles have a range of up to 2,000 km (1,200 miles) and are capable of reaching its arch-foe Israel and U.S. bases in the region. State TV displayed the new surface-to-surface "Kheibar Shekan" (Kheibar buster) missile. "This long-range missile is domestically manufactured by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) ... It has high accuracy and is propelled by solid fuel and is capable of penetrating missile shields," Iranian state media reported. (Reuters)

02-03-2022
Nuclear Program

Biden Administration officials concluded late last year that Iran’s nuclear program had advanced too far to re-create the roughly 12-month so-called breakout period of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Biden Administration officials concluded late last year that Iran’s nuclear program had advanced too far to re-create the roughly 12-month so-called breakout period of the 2015 pact, the U.S. officials said. Despite the change, the U.S. is pushing ahead with talks. A revised deal needs to be reached soon, the officials said, to leave the U.S. and its allies with enough time to respond to an Iranian nuclear buildup. How limited that breakout period will be depends on the precise steps Iran agrees to take to dismantle, ship abroad, destroy or place under seal its stockpile of enriched uranium, machines for producing nuclear fuel and centrifuge manufacturing capacity. (The Wall Street Journal)

02-02-2022
Syria Conflict

A little-known extremist group claimed a drone attack on the United Arab Emirates, raising the possibility that Iran has decided to mobilize its proxy militias from other countries in the region beyond Yemen.

A little-known extremist group claimed a drone attack on the United Arab Emirates, raising the possibility that Iran has decided to mobilize its proxy militias from other countries in the region beyond Yemen. On the same day, according to the Iranian state news agency IRNA, Iran Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian stressed during a conversation [with his UAE counterpart] that ‘the Zionist regime’s presence is a threat to the regional security,’ in a reference to the normalisation of ties between Israel and some Gulf countries including the UAE. Alwiyat al-Waad al-Haq (True Promise Brigades), which is believed to be simply a cover name used by pro-Iranian factions operating in Iraq, said it launched four drones at dawn on Wednesday targeting the Gulf state. The UAE announced the interception and destruction on Wednesday of three "hostile drones,” which follows three previous drone and missile attacks claimed by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels since January 17. (The Arab Weekly)

02-01-2022
Human Rights

Iran has executed two gay men who were convicted on charges of sodomy and spent six years on death row.

Iran has executed two gay men who were convicted on charges of sodomy and spent six years on death row, a rights group reported. Homosexuality is illegal in Iran, considered one of the most repressive places in the world for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. They were sentenced to death for “forced sexual intercourse between two men” and hanged in a prison in the northwestern city of Maragheh, some 500 kilometers (310 miles) from the capital, Tehran. Under Iranian law, sodomy, rape, adultery, armed robbery and murder are among crimes that can lead to the death penalty. (Associated Press)

01-26-2022
Anti-Americanism

The U.S. State Department provided an unclassified but non-public assessment to Congress on January 11 detailing the “specific [Iranian] threat [that] persists with respect to former special representative [for Iran] Brian Hook.”

The U.S. State Department provided an unclassified but non-public assessment to Congress on January 11 detailing the “specific threat [that] persists with respect to former special representative [for Iran] Brian Hook.” The threat has existed since at least January 2021, the State Department determined. Hook led the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran following the withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018. While the report doesn’t explicitly name Iran as the threat, it comes amid public statements by top Iranian leaders threatening Trump administration officials. (The Washington Free Beacon)

01-17-2022
Syria Conflict

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement used cruise missiles and ballistic missiles alongside drones in a deadly strike on the United Arab Emirates.

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement used cruise missiles and ballistic missiles alongside drones in a deadly strike on the United Arab Emirates, which intercepted part of the attack, the Gulf state's ambassador to the United States said. On the day of the first attack, top Houthi negotiator Mohammed Abdulsalam met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, according to the Al-Mayadeen news outlet. At the meeting, he referred to the attack as a response to the UAE’s military involvement in Yemen. It is the first time the UAE, which rarely discusses its security in public, has said missiles were used in the assault that killed three civilians in Abu Dhabi, and the first time it has claimed to have intercepted some of the weapons. The UAE said the attack hit a fuel depot of state oil firm ADNOC in Musaffah and a construction site near Abu Dhabi airport. Abu Dhabi police said they found parts of small planes that could possibly be drones. (Reuters)

01-13-2022
Syria Conflict

Four rockets targeted the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the latest in a series of aerial attacks amid Iranian threats and political violence as Iraq’s factions struggle to form a new government.

Four rockets targeted the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the latest in a series of aerial attacks amid Iranian threats and political violence as Iraq’s factions struggle to form a new government. The rockets were launched against the backdrop of a spate of rocket and drone strikes against American personnel in Iraq and Syria that Biden administration officials have attributed to Iran-backed militias. Asked if the United States would retaliate for the latest barrage, Mr. Kirby would not specify what response, if any, was possible. (New York Times)

01-13-2022
Military

Iran’s paramilitary Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps launched a solid-fuel satellite carrier rocket into space.

Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard last week launched a solid-fuel satellite carrier rocket into space, the country’s official IRNA news agency reported Thursday. The report quoted Gen. Amirali Hajizadeh, chief of the Guard’s aerospace unit, as saying the test was successful. He said it marked the first time Iran used a solid-fuel rocket rather than a liquid-fuel one. He said Iran will produce lighter rocket engines in further space projects. Satellite carriers usually use liquid fuel but solid-fuel rockets can be adapted for mobile launchers that can be driven anywhere on a major road or rail system. Pure solid-fuel rockets are mostly associated with ballistic missile systems. (Times of Israel)

01-09-2022
Anti-Americanism

Iran imposed sanctions on over 50 U.S. officials amid public statements threatening their lives.

Amid public statements threatening U.S. officials, Iran imposed sanctions on over 50 U.S. officials. Iranian officials have made explicit their interest in killing one of the people involved in the U.S. strike that killed Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Gen. Qassem Soleimani. In public remarks, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan made this concern apparent in saying that “should Iran attack any of our nationals, including any of the 52 people named yesterday, it will face severe consequences.” The Office of the Supreme Leader has also showcased a propaganda video depicting the assassination of former President Trump in Mar-a-Lago. Iranian media has likewise produced videos simulating an attack on Washington, D.C. (The Washington Examiner)

01-05-2022
Syria Conflict

A number of rocket attacks associated with Iran-backed militias were reported against locations housing US advisers in Iraq and Syria.

A number of rocket attacks associated with Iran-backed militias were reported against locations housing US advisers in Iraq and Syria amid an uptick in attacks on the US-led coalition in the region after the second anniversary of the US assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani. An unidentified UAV was intercepted by air defenses near the Ain al-Assad base where members of the US-led coalition are housed. Earlier on in the same evening, five rockets were launched towards Ain al-Assad. The rockets fell short of the base, according to the coalition. (The Jerusalem Post)

01-03-2022
Syria Conflict

The Iran-aligned Houthi movement that controls northern Yemen hijacked a United Arab Emirates-flagged cargo vessel which it said was engaged in "hostile acts" but which the Saudis said was carrying hospital equipment.

The Iran-aligned Houthi movement that controls northern Yemen hijacked a United Arab Emirates-flagged cargo vessel which it said was engaged in "hostile acts" but which the Saudis said was carrying hospital equipment. The ship was heading to the Saudi port of Jizan, just north of Yemen, from the Yemeni Red Sea Island of Socotra when it was attacked just before midnight on Sunday, Saudi state news agency SPA reported, quoting coalition spokesman Brigadier General Turki al-Malki. The cargo ship was hijacked off the western Yemeni port of Hodeidah, the coalition said. The Houthis' military spokesman, Yahya Sarea, confirmed seizure of the vessel which he said was carrying military equipment and engaged in "hostile acts targeting the security and stability of the Yemeni people.” (Reuters)

01-03-2022
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi vowed revenge for the US assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani two years ago unless former US President Donald Trump was put on trial.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi vowed revenge for the US assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani two years ago unless former US President Donald Trump was put on trial. “If Trump and [former secretary of state Mike] Pompeo are not tried in a fair court of law for the criminal act of assassinating General Soleimani, Muslims will take their martyr’s revenge,” Raisi said, according to state news agency IRNA. Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations also called on the UN Security Council to hold the US and Israel responsible for assassinating Soleimani. (Alarabiya News)

12-30-2021
Military

Iran announced a rocket launch carrying three research devices amid nuclear talks with world powers.

Iran announced Thursday a rocket launch carrying three research devices amid nuclear talks with world powers, although it was unclear if any reached orbit. Ahmed Hosseini, a defense ministry spokesman, said the ‘Simorgh’ satellite-carrier rocket had set the three devices at 470 kilometers (290 miles) altitude. Iran, which has one of the widest missile programs in the Middle East, has suffered several failed satellite launches in recent years due to technical issues. Israel and the United States have said it contravenes United Nations Security Council resolution 2231, which in endorsing the JCPOA banned Iran from “any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.” Washington left the JCPOA in 2018, imposing ‘maximum pressure sanctions’ on Iran. (Iran International)

12-29-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah is deploying air defense systems in Syria, where it would be able to defend against Israeli airstrikes there as well as in Lebanon.

Hezbollah is reportedly deploying air defense systems in Syria, where it would be able to defend against Israeli airstrikes there as well as in Lebanon. According to the Alma Research Center, the group is deploying the systems to the Qalmoun Mountains region northwest of Damascus, which borders Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, home to Hezbollah’s logistical and operational rear base. The group is believed to have the SA8 low-altitude, short-range tactical surface-to-air missile system, SA17, and SA22 man-portable air defense missile systems in its arsenal in order to defend against Israeli airstrikes. (The Jerusalem Post)

12-23-2021
Syria Conflict

U.S. 5th Fleet ships seized approximately 1,400 AK-47 assault rifles and 226,600 rounds of ammunition from a stateless fishing vessel that the U.S. military had assessed originated in Iran.

U.S. 5th Fleet ships seized approximately 1,400 AK-47 assault rifles and 226,600 rounds of ammunition from a stateless fishing vessel during a flag verification boarding in accordance with customary international law in the North Arabian Sea, Dec. 20. U.S. Navy patrol coastal ships USS Tempest (PC 2) and USS Typhoon (PC 5) found the weapons during a search conducted by embarked U.S. Coast Guard personnel. The illicit weapons and ammunition were later transported to guided-missile destroyer USS O’Kane (DDG 77) where they await final disposition. The stateless vessel was assessed to have originated in Iran and transited international waters along a route historically used to traffic weapons unlawfully to the Houthis in Yemen. The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of weapons to the Houthis violates U.N. Security Council Resolutions and U.S. sanctions. (US CENTCOM)

12-02-2021
Terrorism

Colombian intelligence foiled an Iranian plot to assassinate Israeli businessmen and U.S. diplomats in Colombia.

Colombian intelligence foiled an Iranian plot to assassinate Israeli businessmen and U.S. diplomats in Colombia. An Iranian national—allegedly a member of Iran’s Quds Force—recruited two prison inmates with whom he was sharing a cell in Dubai sometime between 2017 and 2021. After being released, they traveled to Colombia, surveilled their targets, and contacted local hitmen to carry out the assassination. A Colombian newspaper noted that Colombian authorities had arrested and expelled two Hezbollah operatives – possibly the same individuals recruited in Dubai. (Real Clear Defense)

12-01-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has begun the process of enriching uranium with a cluster of 166 advanced IR-6 centrifuges at its Fordo plant, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

Iran has begun the process of enriching uranium with advanced centrifuges at its Fordo plant, the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Wednesday, in what would be a further violation of the multilateral nuclear accord that world powers are rushing to salvage. The UN’s nuclear watchdog reported that Tehran started the process of enriching uranium at Fordo, 135 kilometers from Tehran, to up to 20 percent purity with a cluster of 166 advanced IR-6 machines. Until now, Iran had been enriching uranium at Fordo, but mainly with less-advanced IR-1 machines, the report said, adding that Western negotiators fear that Tehran is seeking to create facts on the ground as talks in Vienna restart. (Times of Israel)

11-28-2021
Terrorism

An Iranian man, Mohammed Saeid Golabi, was arrested in Kenya on suspicion of planning terror attacks against local and Israeli interests.

An Iranian man, Mohammed Saeid Golabi, was arrested in Kenya on suspicion of planning terror attacks against local and Israeli interests, according to an exclusive report in the daily Kenyan newspaper The Star. Kenyan police had monitored the activities of Golabi and his local associates, and were convinced of his links to terror activities, multiple Kenyan police sources told The Star. “We have profiled him and his contacts over time,” said a senior officer at Kenya’s anti-terrorism police unit. “We have enough reason to believe that he has been working with those terror groups.” (The Jerusalem Post)

11-22-2021
Terrorism

Bahrain security forces arrested a number of suspects, and confiscated weapons and explosives ahead of a planned attack, the interior ministry said. The ministry believed that the terrorists had links with Iranian groups.

Bahrain security forces have arrested a number of suspects, and confiscated weapons and explosives ahead of a planned attack, the interior ministry said. The ministry did not say how many people were arrested or specify their nationalities. “Terrorists (were) arrested for plotting terrorist operations against security and civil peace,” the interior ministry wrote on Twitter on Monday. It described them as “linked with terrorist groups in Iran.” Bahrain, host to the United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet and other international naval operations, has often accused Shia Muslim Iran of seeking to destabilize the Sunni-ruled kingdom, which has a Shia majority population. Iran has denied such allegations. (Aljazeera)

11-16-2021
Military

An Iranian navy helicopter flew dangerously close to a San Diego-based warship in the Gulf of Oman, circling it three times.

The Pentagon reported Monday that an Iranian navy helicopter flew dangerously close to a San Diego-based warship in the Gulf of Oman, circling it three times. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the helicopter came with 75 feet of the amphibious assault ship USS Essex, but the incident ended without accident or any impact on U.S. naval operations. “It’s dangerous because it could lead to miscalculations,” Kirby said of the incident. (Times of San Diego)

11-08-2021
Syria Conflict

A drone attack that targeted the Iraqi prime minister was carried out by at least one Iran-backed militia, Iraqi security officials and militia sources said.

A drone attack that targeted the Iraqi prime minister on Sunday was carried out by at least one Iran-backed militia, Iraqi security officials and militia sources said, weeks after pro-Iran groups were routed in elections they say were rigged. Some reports suggest while Iran may not have directly ordered the attack, it likely had foreknowledge of the operation. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi escaped unhurt when three drones carrying explosives were launched at his residence in Baghdad. Several of his bodyguards were injured. Iraqi officials and analysts said the attack was meant as a message from militias that they are willing to resort to violence if excluded from the formation of a government, or if their grip on large areas of the state apparatus is challenged. (Reuters)

11-07-2021
Terrorism

Five people were arrested in African countries over suspicions that they were planning on carrying out attacks against Israeli tourists or businesspeople on behalf of Iran.

Five people have been arrested in African countries over suspicions that they were planning on carrying out attacks against Israeli tourists or businesspeople on behalf of Iran, an Israeli television network reports. The five, who had been in Senegal, Tanzania, and Ghana, were recruited by Iran’s Quds Force expeditionary arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, according to the report from Channel 12 news, which did not attribute the information to a source. The five were arrested in the African countries by local intelligence, who were working off information obtained from “Western” spies, the channel said. (Times of Israel)

11-05-2021
Syria Conflict

At least 125 people were injured in Baghdad, according to Iraq’s Health Ministry, as supporters of Iran-backed armed groups gathered outside the fortified Green Zone complex to demand a recount of the country’s parliamentary elections.

At least 125 people were injured Friday in Baghdad, according to Iraq’s Health Ministry, as supporters of Iran-backed armed groups gathered outside the fortified Green Zone complex to demand a recount of the country’s parliamentary elections. The broad contours of Iraq’s Oct. 10 election results are not in doubt, but they were a surprise: As Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s party emerged as the biggest winner, his expected main challenger — a powerful coalition of Iran-aligned groups — won more of the votes but saw its seats more than halved. While the discrepancy appeared to have resulted from superior electoral strategy on the part of Sadr’s party, supporters of the coalition’s militia network had camped outside Baghdad’s Green Zone for several weeks, spending their shifts inside tents on the sidewalk or sitting out under banners that denounce Iraq’s election as fraudulent. (Washington Post)

11-05-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran’s atomic agency said that its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium has reached over 210 kilograms (463 pounds), the latest defiant move ahead of upcoming nuclear talks with the West.

Iran’s atomic agency said Friday that its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium has reached over 210 kilograms (463 pounds), the latest defiant move ahead of upcoming nuclear talks with the West. The figure, attributed to agency spokesman Behrouz Kamalvan, was carried in a report by the semi-official Tasnim and Fars news agencies. Under the historic 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the World Powers, Iran was not meant to enrich uranium above 3.67 percent. Enriched uranium above 90 percent can be used for nuclear weapons. (Associated Press)

11-04-2021
Anti-Americanism

Thousands of Iranians gathered on Tehran streets for the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy, chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” and burning American and Israeli flags.

Thousands of Iranians gathered on Tehran streets Thursday for the anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy, chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel,” and burning American and Israeli flags. The embassy takeover triggered a 444-day hostage crisis and break in diplomatic relations that continues to this day. The government-organized commemoration, long a venue for voicing anti-Western sentiment, typically draws angry crowds each year. Last year, authorities canceled the event due to the still-raging coronavirus pandemic but on Thursday, state TV said that 800 cities across Iran staged demonstrations. Protesters hoisted an effigy of President Joe Biden wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the Star of David, drops of red paint dripping from its mouth. It wasn’t clear whether the demonstrators were trying to make a point or were simply recycling old props from their 2019 parade, but the figure’s mop of orange hair resembled that of the effigy of former President Donald Trump used at the rally two years ago. (Associated Press)

11-04-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran will not back down "in any way" in defending its interests, President Ebrahim Raisi said on Thursday, a day after all sides announced the resumption of nuclear talks between Tehran and major powers on Nov 29.

Iran will not back down "in any way" in defending its interests, President Ebrahim Raisi said on Thursday, a day after all sides announced the resumption of nuclear talks between Tehran and major powers on Nov 29. Washington said it hoped the talks would see Iran willing to negotiate in good faith on reviving a 2015 nuclear deal, while Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani said the talks would cover the removal of "unlawful and inhumane sanctions". The negotiations that started in April have been on hold since the election of hardline cleric Raisi in June. (Reuters)

11-04-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran seized a Vietnamese-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman last month and still holds the vessel, two U.S. officials told The Associated Press, revealing the latest provocation in Mideast waters.

Iran seized a Vietnamese-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman last month and still holds the vessel, two U.S. officials told The Associated Press, revealing the latest provocation in Mideast waters as tensions escalate between Iran and the United States over Tehran’s nuclear program. Iran’s powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guard troops on Oct. 24 took control of the MV Southys, a vessel that analysts suspect of trying to transfer sanctioned Iranian crude oil to Asia, at gunpoint. U.S. forces had monitored the seizure, but ultimately didn’t take action as the vessel sailed into Iranian waters. Iran celebrated its capture of the vessel in dramatic footage aired on state television, the day before the 42nd anniversary of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. (Fox News)

11-03-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran-backed militias go on a “killing spree” in al-Muqdadiya, a Sunni-majority town.

After an "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) attack October 26 on al-Rashad neighborhood in al-Muqdadiya district of Diyala province left 15 dead, armed men allegedly linked to Iran-backed militias, including Asaib Ahl al-Haq, went on a revenge killing spree in neighboring Sunni-majority towns. At least three children were among the dead, and several homes were set on fire in the villages of Nahr al-Imam and al-Ameriya, security sources said. In an October 31 statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council and Security Council, the Al-Rafidain International Centre for Justice and Human Rights called for a quick and impartial investigation into the killings. It namely blamed Asaib Ahl al-Haq leader Qais al-Khazaali and Badr Organization head Hadi al-Ameri for the "sectarian crimes" in Diyala, and urged to hold all those responsible accountable. (Diyaruna)

11-03-2021
Human Rights

A self-described hacking group calling itself Edalat-e Ali (Ali’s Justice) has leaked confidential documents to RFE/RL’s Radio Farda that appear to reveal the plight of prisoners at Evin prison, Iran’s most notorious facility.

A self-described hacking group calling itself Edalat-e Ali (Ali’s Justice) has leaked confidential documents to RFE/RL’s Radio Farda that appear to reveal the plight of prisoners at Evin prison, Iran’s most notorious facility. According to the prison documents, hunger strikes by prisoners and the publication of open letters by inmates is considered “criminal” behavior. In one document, a former official at Evin prison called for the punishment of inmates who refused to eat or released letters, statements, and audio files from prison. “In such cases, prisoners [accused] of violations should be held in isolation, their welfare [including private and public meetings] should be limited, and we should look into their demands,” the document says. (RFE/RL)

11-02-2021
Nuclear Program

The head of the U.N. atomic watchdog has compared his agency’s efforts to monitor Iran’s nuclear program to flying through dense clouds, warning that the situation can’t continue for much longer.

The head of the U.N. atomic watchdog has compared his agency’s efforts to monitor Iran’s nuclear program to flying through dense clouds, warning that the situation can’t continue for much longer. The International Atomic Energy Agency has been unable to access surveillance footage of Iranian nuclear sites, or online enrichment monitors and electronic seals since February. Physical inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities have also been problematic even as Tehran has continued to develop new centrifuges and enrich uranium up to purity levels closer to what’s required for an atomic weapon. Western nations fear Iran could be developing the skills and know-how to build an atomic bomb, though Tehran denies any such ambitions. (Associated Press)

11-02-2021
Terrorism

Hours after leaking the personal details of users of an LGBTQ dating app, Iran-affiliated hacker group Black Shadow continued to wreak havoc as it released private information on nearly 300,000 Israelis receiving medical treatment at the Mor Institute.

Hours after leaking the personal details of users of an LGBTQ dating app, Iran-affiliated hacker group Black Shadow continued to wreak havoc Tuesday night as it released private information on nearly 300,000 Israelis receiving medical treatment at the Mor Institute, including patient requests and test results. Patients' credit card information does not appear to have been leaked at this time. Black Shadow also published information on some 30,000 registered users of 103FM Radio's website and nearly 500,000 customers of Locker Ambin Ltd. As was the case in the Atraf leak, the hackers shared the information via an Excel file shared with a new group they created on Telegram. The hackers also provided links allowing others to download information obtained from the Atraf app. The messaging app was forced to take action on the matter after being ordered to do so by the State Attorney's Office. (Israel Hayom)

10-31-2021
Syria Conflict

A Houthi ballistic missile attack on a mosque and a religious school killed and injured 29 civilians, including women and children, in the Yemeni province of Marib, the country's information minister said in a statement on Twitter.

A Houthi ballistic missile attack on a mosque and a religious school killed and injured 29 civilians, including women and children, in the Yemeni province of Marib, the country's information minister said in a statement on Twitter on Monday. Two ballistic missiles were used in the attack late on Sunday, Marib governor's office said in a statement. There was no immediate claim of responsibility by the Iranian-backed Houthis. (Reuters)

10-25-2021
Extremism

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that the Arab nations who have improved ties with Israel have “sinned” and must reverse course.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday that the Arab nations who have improved ties with Israel have “sinned” and must reverse course. Four nations – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan – agreed to normalize ties in 2020, as the “Abraham Accords” led to Israel’s first treaties with Arab nations since reaching an agreement with Jordan in 1994. Jordan and Egypt were the only Arab nations to have existing diplomatic ties with Israel before the 2020 agreements. “Some governments have unfortunately made big errors and have sinned in normalizing [their relations] with the usurping and oppressive Zionist regime,” Khamenei said. “It is an act against Islamic unity, they must return from this path and make up for this big mistake.” (Jerusalem Post)

10-25-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran has begun deploying advanced anti-aircraft missile batteries to the region, including in Syria where Israeli jets routinely carry out airstrikes, in an attempt to challenge Israel Air Force jets.

Iran has begun deploying advanced anti-aircraft missile batteries to the region, including in Syria where Israeli jets routinely carry out airstrikes, in an attempt to challenge Israel Air Force jets. Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria in an attempt to thwart Iranian entrenchment and the smuggling of advanced weapons to Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon, according to foreign reports, and in countries like Iraq and even further as part of its war-between-wars campaign against Iran. Over the past year, while Israeli strikes have intensified in Syria, the response time by Syrian air-defense batteries has become quicker. This has lead to the IAF changing how it acts during such operations, including by having larger formation during operations so that more targets can be struck at once instead of having jets return to the same target. (Jerusalem Post)

10-25-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran is expanding its enrichment of uranium beyond the highly enriched threshold of 20% purity at a Natanz plant where it is already enriching to 60%, but the new activity does not involve keeping the product, the U.N nuclear watchdog said.

Iran is expanding its enrichment of uranium beyond the highly enriched threshold of 20% purity at a Natanz plant where it is already enriching to 60%, but the new activity does not involve keeping the product, the U.N nuclear watchdog said on Monday. The move is likely to help Iran refine its knowledge of the enrichment process - something Western powers generally condemn because it is irreversible - but since this time the product is not being collected it will not immediately accelerate Iran's production of uranium enriched to close to weapons-grade. It has, however, prompted the International Atomic Energy Agency to "increase the frequency and intensity of its safeguards activities" at the above-ground Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP) at Natanz, the IAEA said in a report seen by Reuters. As of around 90% uranium is considered weapons-grade. (Reuters)

10-25-2021
Politics

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed the hardliner Peyman Jebelli as the new CEO of the country’s largest media organization, known as the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Peyman Jebelli late last month as the new CEO of the country’s largest media organization, known as the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB). Jebelli, a 55-year-old communications graduate, hails from the Islamic Stability Front, the most unyielding faction of Iran's influential hardline camp. Now with Jebelli appointed to the position, the IRGC and Khamenei's office appear to have dodged the headache. A man from their very own tribe could be implementing the agenda flawlessly to allow for a tighter IRGC grip on power. Even within the already conservative organization, under his directives, purges are being carried out against staff members who are seen as strangers to the new hardline and “revolutionary” agenda. (Al Monitor)

10-25-2021
Syria Conflict

U.S. officials say they believe Iran was behind the drone attack last week at the military outpost in southern Syria where American troops are based.

U.S. officials say they believe Iran was behind the drone attack last week at the military outpost in southern Syria where American troops are based. Officials said Monday the U.S. believes that Iran resourced and encouraged the attack, but that the drones were not launched from Iran. They were Iranian drones, and Iran appears to have facilitated their use, officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss details that have not been made public. Officials said they believe the attacks involved as many as five drones laden with explosive charges, and that they hit both the U.S. side of al-Tanf garrison and the side where Syrian opposition forces stay. (Associated Press)

10-25-2021
Human Rights

Iran executed over 250 people, including at least four child offenders, in 2020 and so far this year has carried out 230 executions that included nine women and one child who was executed in secret.

Iran executed over 250 people, including at least four child offenders, in 2020 and so far this year has carried out 230 executions that included nine women and one child who was executed in secret, the U.N. independent investigator on human rights in Iran said Monday. Javaid Rehman told the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee that Iran continues to implement the death penalty “at an alarming rate” and said “the absence of official statistics and lack of transparency around executions means that this practice escapes scrutiny resulting in serious abuses preventing accountability.” According to Amnesty International, Iran was the top executioner in the Middle East last year, accounting for more than half the region’s 493 executions, followed by Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Amnesty’s annual figures exclude China, where executions believed to number in the thousands are classified as a state secret, and omit executions from some countries marred by conflict like Syria. (Associated Press)

10-23-2021
Nuclear Program

The head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog says his monitoring program in Iran is no longer “intact” after Tehran refused requests to repair cameras at a key facility.

The head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog says his monitoring program in Iran is no longer “intact” after Tehran refused requests to repair cameras at a key facility, creating the possibility the world will never be “able to reconstruct the picture” of what the Iranians have been doing. In an interview with NBC News, International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi says he’s been unable to establish the type of direct communication with Iran’s government that he had before a new hardline government run by President Ebrahim Raisi was elected in June. “I have never spoken to the new foreign minister,” Grossi says. “I hope to be able to have the opportunity to meet with him soon because it’s very important … so when there is a problem, when there is misunderstanding, when there is a disagreement, we can talk about it. I used to have it before, and I would assume it that I would be the normal thing.” Grossi spoke during a visit to Washington as the fate of the Iran nuclear deal hangs in the balance, with world powers urgently urging Iran to return to negotiations to restore the deal and the U.S. saying time is running out. (NBC News)

10-22-2021
Human Rights

Despite widespread opposition in Iran, lawmakers are working to approve a plan that would severely tighten the government’s control over the Internet.

Despite widespread opposition in Iran, lawmakers are working to approve a plan that would severely tighten the government’s control over the Internet. The plan, titled “Protection of users’ rights in cyberspace and organizing social media,” has been discussed for almost a year in the parliament, supported by hardline lawmakers but widely criticized in Iranian society. On July 28, lawmakers entrusted the next decision on the bill to the parliament’s special cultural commission. Parliament tasked a special committee to review it on September 6. If that commission approves it, the parliament can set a time for its temporary implementation, and there will no need to approve it again in a public session. (Al-Monitor)

10-12-2021
Military

Iran kicked off a massive, two-day air defense drill in the country’s sprawling central desert, state TV reported, the latest show of force by the Islamic Republic.

Iran on Tuesday kicked off a massive, two-day air defense drill in the country’s sprawling central desert, state TV reported, the latest show of force by the Islamic Republic. The report said both the army and the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard were taking part in the annual maneuvers dubbed “Velayat.” It said elite air force and air defense units as well as the Guard’s airspace division would participate. Iran regularly holds such drills and says they assess the troops’ combat readiness and demonstrate the nation’s military capabilities. (Associated Press)

10-12-2021
Human Rights

Iran is preparing to execute a man convicted of a crime that took place when he was still a child under international law.

Iran is preparing to execute a man convicted of a crime that took place when he was still a child under international law. He was sentenced to death followed an unfair trial marred by confessions obtained through torture, according to a human rights group. Arman Abdolali has been moved to solitary confinement in Raja’i Shahr prison in Karaj, on the outskirts of Tehran, in preparation for his execution on Wednesday, Amnesty International said. (The National)

10-11-2021
Terrorism

Microsoft released evidence showing Iranian-linked hackers targeting and at times compromising systems of U.S. and Israeli defense technology companies.

Microsoft on Monday released evidence showing Iranian-linked hackers targeting and at times compromising systems of U.S. and Israeli defense technology companies.  In a blog post, Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Center and Digital Security Unit assessed that a new cyber “activity cluster” linked to Iran had targeted hundreds of Microsoft Office 365 accounts beginning in July tied to groups including U.S. and Israeli defense companies, Persian Gulf entry ports, and global maritime transportation companies. Microsoft also observed targeting by the Iranian-linked hackers of defense companies that work with U.S., European Union and Israeli government partners on producing technology such as drones, satellites and emergency response communications systems. (The Hill)

10-10-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has produced more than 120 kilogrammes (265 pounds) of 20 percent enriched uranium, according to its nuclear chief, a considerable increase compared with the global nuclear watchdog’s latest report.

Iran has produced more than 120 kilogrammes (265 pounds) of 20 percent enriched uranium, according to its nuclear chief, a considerable increase compared with the global nuclear watchdog’s latest report. In an interview broadcast on state television late on Saturday, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) head Mohammad Eslami said it has more than complied with a December parliament law that demanded production of 120 kilogrammes of 20 percent enriched uranium in one year. “We have surpassed the 120-kilogramme figure and in this regard, we’re ahead of schedule,” he said. (Al-Jazeera)

10-08-2021
Terrorism

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah thanked Iran for standing by the Lebanese paramilitary group.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah thanked Iran late Thursday for standing by the Lebanese paramilitary group. “The Islamic Republic proved that it is the sincere and loyal ally who doesn’t abandon its friends despite the hard conditions,” said Nasrallah, the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Manar TV reported Friday. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is in Lebanon for an official visit. On Thursday, he met Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati as well as President Michael Aoun and parliament speaker Nabih Berri. (Al-Monitor)

10-07-2021
Military

Iran’s state TV reported that speedboats belonging to the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard have intercepted a United States vessel in the Persian Gulf.

Iran’s state TV reported on Thursday that speedboats belonging to the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard have intercepted a United States vessel in the Persian Gulf. A US Navy spokesman said that he was not aware of any such encounter at sea over the past few days. The region remains on edge over Iran’s escalating nuclear program. Talks in Vienna to revive Tehran’s now-tattered 2015 accord with world powers have stalled since June, with no date set for their resumption. Thursday’s Iranian report aired footage that the TV station said was filmed from one of the Guard speedboats. It shows a vessel with the US flag and several personnel on board as the speedboat appears to be chasing it. (Associated Press)

10-06-2021
Terrorism

A newly discovered hacking group with alleged ties to the Iranian government has waged a yearslong campaign to steal information from aerospace and telecommunications companies.

A newly discovered hacking group with alleged ties to the Iranian government has waged a yearslong campaign to steal information from aerospace and telecommunications companies in the Middle East, the U.S., Europe and Russia, according to cybersecurity researchers. The hacking group, dubbed MalKamak by the researchers, disguised its activities by using the U.S.-based file storage service Dropbox Inc. as the “command and control” server from which it orchestrated hacking operations, according to a report published by Cybereason Inc. on Wednesday. The use of Dropbox helped conceal the hackers’ activity, making it look like the network traffic from compromised computers was associated with legitimate uploads and downloads from the Dropbox website, Cybereason found. While the group has carried out a targeted spying operation since 2018, Cybereason said it only recently discovered it after identifying the group’s involvement in a hack on a Middle Eastern company. (Bloomberg)

10-04-2021
Terrorism

Israel accused Iran of orchestrating an attempted attack against Israelis in Cyprus after police on the Mediterranean island said an armed individual had been arrested.

Israel accused Iran on Monday of orchestrating an attempted attack against Israelis in Cyprus after police on the Mediterranean island said an armed individual had been arrested. Iran swiftly denied the accusation. "This was a terrorist incident directed by Iran against Israeli businesspeople living in Cyprus," Matan Sidi, spokesman for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, said in a statement. Asked to comment, the embassy of Iran in the Cypriot capital Nicosia said in an emailed statement: "This regime is always making such a baseless allegation against the Islamic Republic of Iran," referring to Israel. (Reuters)

09-30-2021
Military

Iran said it will start military exercises in its northwest on Friday after moving forces near to the border with Azerbaijan, a deployment that angered the Azeri president and thrust Tehran’s rivalry with Israel to the fore.

Iran said it will start military exercises in its northwest on Friday after moving forces near to the border with Azerbaijan, a deployment that angered the Azeri president and thrust Tehran’s rivalry with Israel to the fore. The drills will involve armored units, drones and attack helicopters, and test electronic radar systems, the semi-official Fars news agency reported, citing a statement by Army Brigadier General Kioumars Heydari. Heydari didn’t specify where in Iran’s northwestern region -- which borders Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey and Iraq -- the maneuvers will be held. But Azerbaijan’s leader Ilham Aliyev has expressed concern over Tehran massing military assets near his country’s frontier for the first time since the fall of the Soviet Union. (Bloomberg

09-28-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran rejected a U.S. call to grant U.N. inspectors access to a nuclear site, saying Washington was not qualified to demand inspections without condemning a sabotage attack on the facility, Iranian state media reported.

Iran on Tuesday rejected a U.S. call to grant U.N. inspectors access to a nuclear site, saying Washington was not qualified to demand inspections without condemning a sabotage attack on the facility, Iranian state media reported. "Countries that did not condemn terrorist acts against Iran's nuclear site are not qualified to comment on inspections there," Mohammad Eslami, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said during a visit to Moscow, according to Iranian state news agency IRNA. The United States said on Monday that Iran must stop denying the U.N. nuclear watchdog access to a workshop making centrifuge parts as agreed two weeks ago or face diplomatic retaliation at the agency's Board of Governors meeting. (Reuters)

09-27-2021
Syria Conflict

An unmanned aerial vehicle that appeared at a weapons exhibition held earlier this year by the rebels ruling much of Yemen bears a resemblance to the kamikaze drone believed to have been used later in an attack against an oil tanker off the coast of Oman.

An unmanned aerial vehicle that appeared at a weapons exhibition held earlier this year by the rebels ruling much of Yemen bears a striking resemblance to the kamikaze drone believed to have been used later in a deadly attack against an oil tanker off the coast of Oman, experts told Newsweek. The system used in that operation and others like it have been linked by U.S. officials and other analysts to Iran, but experts also noted the near impossibility of drawing a direct link to any single source. Mercer Street, a Liberia-flagged vessel operating on behalf of a company owned by an Israeli businessman, was hit by two back-to-back explosions in July while sailing through the Gulf of Oman. The latter blast killed the ship's captain, a Romanian national, along with its security officer, a citizen of the United Kingdom. (Newsweek)

09-26-2021
Nuclear Program

The U.N. nuclear watchdog said Iran had failed to fully honour the terms of a deal struck two weeks ago to allow the watchdog's inspectors to service monitoring equipment in the country.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Sunday Iran had failed to fully honour the terms of a deal struck two weeks ago to allow the watchdog's inspectors to service monitoring equipment in the country. "The (IAEA) Director General (Rafael Grossi) stresses that Iran's decision not to allow agency access to the TESA Karaj centrifuge component manufacturing workshop is contrary to the agreed terms of the joint statement issued on 12 September," the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement. The Sept. 12 agreement, reached on the eve of a meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors, meant Western powers chose not to seek a resolution criticising Iran at that meeting since the equipment's memory cards would be replaced just as they were due to fill up. (Reuters)

09-23-2021
Extremism

Iran’s foreign minister said his nation’s "willpower is dedicated" to the elimination of Zionism at this week’s United Nations anti-racism conference.

Iran’s foreign minister said his nation’s "willpower is dedicated" to the elimination of Zionism at this week’s United Nations anti-racism conference. With the United States and 33 other nations boycotting a UN anti-racism conference due to its history of anti-Semitism, Iran’s new foreign minister invoked the destruction of the Jewish state, perhaps giving the countries who boycotted the conference more reason to have stayed away, observers say.  The event, known as Durban IV, had the theme of "Reparations, racial justice and equality for people of African descent." Wednesday’s event was to commemorate and adopt a statement 20 years after the first meeting in Durban, South Africa. While the original purpose of the event was combating racism, critics say it has been hijacked by an anti-Israel agenda that turned it into an anti-Semitic hate fest leading the U.S. and Israel to walk out of the first conference. (Fox News)

09-23-2021
Human Rights

Iran’s judiciary confirmed the death of Shahin Naseri, known for his horrifying account of torture against executed wrestler and political prisoner Navid Afkari, in its custody.

Iran’s judiciary confirmed the death of Shahin Naseri in its custody. Naseri was known for his horrifying account of torture against executed wrestler and political prisoner Navid Afkari. On Thursday, two days after Naseri’s death was reported by activists, the head of Iran’s Prisons Organization issued a “special directive” for a probe into the case. In a separate statement circulated on Iranian media, authorities at Tehran’s Greater Prison announced that Naseri had died “45 minutes” after being transferred to the jail’s medical center. With no further details on the exact circumstances surrounding the victim’s death, the statement said a full explanation was pending the completion of forensic examinations. However, according to accounts by other inmates at the same jail, the day before his death Naseri had been summoned by intelligence interrogators and taken to solitary confinement. “He was neither suicidal nor suffering from any medical condition,” the prisoners were quoted as saying by the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights Organization. (Al-Monitor)

09-22-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran’s demands for US forces to withdraw from a critical air base in Iraqi Kurdistan coupled with threats to expand operations against “American and Zionist mercenaries” are sending jitters across the Kurdish enclave.

Iran’s demands for US forces to withdraw from a critical air base in Iraqi Kurdistan coupled with threats to expand operations against “American and Zionist mercenaries” are sending jitters across the Kurdish enclave, with many asking how far Tehran will go and what, if anything, the United States will do to stop it. Mohammed Bagheri, senior commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, appeared to be emboldened by America’s controversial withdrawal from Afghanistan, calling it “a defeat and an embarrassment worse than Vietnam.” In comments to Iran TV on Sunday, Bagheri said, “Iraq and its northern [Kurdish] region should not allow America and the Zionist regime and armed counter-revolutionary groups to have training bases, TV and radio stations, camps [and] military training, then attack our border regions and assassinate our officers.” (Al-Monitor)

09-22-2021
Terrorism

A supposed ransomware attack against the Israeli call center service company Voicenter point to motives beyond money, experts said, including possible Iranian involvement.

A supposed ransomware attack against the Israeli call center service company Voicenter earlier this week point to motives beyond money, experts said, including possible Iranian involvement.  In a widely distributed text message, the company said that on Saturday "a cyberattack on our systems was discovered which was executed by a group of foreign hackers, but to the best of our knowledge no data was leaked from the organization during the incident."  Though the company’s announcement stated that none of the company’s information was breached, that turned out to be inaccurate. The hacker posted online that he is offering to sell some 15 terabytes of information from the company’s servers. The cloud-based call center service provider counts companies like MobileEye, eToro, Check Point and Similar Web among its clients. (Ha’aretz)

09-21-2021
Anti-Americanism

Iran has “built power” to confront the United States, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said, while dismissing Israel’s regional clout.

Iran has “built power” to confront the United States, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said on Tuesday, while dismissing Israel’s regional clout. “We have built power to defeat the US. When we build power for man’s largest military empire, i.e. the US, small powers like the Zionist regime are no longer counted in our equations,” Gen. Hossein Salami was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency. He claimed that Iran no longer saw the US as a threat after it withdrew forces from the region, in an apparent reference to the recent chaotic pullout of American forces from Afghanistan. (Times of Israel)

09-20-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps attacked Iranian Kurdish insurgents in northern Iraq with artillery, destroying four headquarters belonging to the militants, one of the Iranian paramilitary group's commanders said.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Monday attacked Iranian Kurdish insurgents in northern Iraq with artillery, destroying four headquarters belonging to the militants, one of the Iranian paramilitary group's commanders said. The attack on Iraqi territory was an act of retaliation, the spokesman said. “We gave the Iraqi government the necessary warnings and told them that if we see any hostile activity from these dissident groups we will respond harshly. Since the hostile activity did not stop, we destroyed four of the headquarters,” said Gen Majid Arjomandfar, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps commander, according to Iranian news agency Tasnim. (The National)

09-19-2021
Extremism

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iranian athletes that they must continue to refrain from playing competitive sports against Israelis, even if they are disciplined by international bodies for it.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iranian athletes that they must continue to refrain from playing competitive sports against Israelis, even if they are disciplined by international bodies for it. "Any Iranian athlete worthy of the name cannot shake hands with a representative of the criminal regime in order to win a medal," Khamenei told a reception for Iran's medalists from the Tokyo Games on September 18. “The genocidal, illegal Zionist regime attempts to gain some legitimacy by appearing in international athletic competitions. The world’s arrogant powers and their cohorts [the West] assist and support them in this,” he added. (RFE/RL)

09-19-2021
Nuclear Program

The new head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has said he wants to speed up the conversion of the country’s Arak heavy water reactor into a research facility.

The new head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has said he wants to speed up the conversion of the country’s Arak heavy water reactor into a research facility. Iran removed the core of the Arak facility and filled part of it with cement as part of a 2015 deal that gave the country relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear program. As part of the agreement, the Islamic Republic agreed to modify the Arak reactor so that it could not produce military-grade plutonium, with Tehran saying it has been working on redesigning it for medical and agricultural use. “This project must be reconfigured and returned to operation as soon as possible,” Iranian media on Saturday quoted Mohammad Eslami as saying during a visit to the site this week. (Times of Israel)

09-18-2021
Human Rights

Iranian security agents in the city of Isfahan arrested the popular rapper Toomaj Salehi for his songs highlighting corruption within the Islamic Republic’s regime.

Iranian security agents in the city of Isfahan arrested the popular rapper Toomaj Salehi for his songs highlighting corruption within the Islamic Republic’s regime. Salehi’s uncle Eghbal Eghbali announced on Instagram the arrest of Salehi, writing, “They arrested my nephew... The Islamic government cannot stand the voice of protest of dissident youth. We will not be indifferent to this dirty action of the rulers.” Salehi wrote lyrics criticizing the Iranian regime in two new songs titled “Normal Life” and “Mouse Hole.” (Jerusalem Post)

09-17-2021
Syria Conflict

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Iranian fuel shipments imported by the Hezbollah movement constitute a breach of Lebanon's sovereignty, according to comments published by his office.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Iranian fuel shipments imported by the Hezbollah movement constitute a breach of Lebanon's sovereignty, according to comments published by his office. "The violation of Lebanon's sovereignty makes me sad," Mikati told CNN in an interview, his office said in a posting on Twitter. He added: "But I'm not concerned that sanctions can be imposed" on Lebanon "because the operation was carried out without the involvement of the Lebanese government." (Reuters)

09-16-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran dismissed the U.N. nuclear watchdog's work as "unprofessional" and "unfair" shortly before the two sides are due to hold talks aimed at resolving a standoff over the origin of uranium particles found at old but undeclared sites in Iran.

Iran on Thursday dismissed the U.N. nuclear watchdog's work as "unprofessional" and "unfair" shortly before the two sides are due to hold talks aimed at resolving a standoff over the origin of uranium particles found at old but undeclared sites in Iran. The issue is a thorn in the side of both Tehran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since the particles suggest Iran once had undeclared nuclear material at three different locations, but the IAEA has yet to obtain satisfactory answers from Iran on how the material got there or where it went. read more "The statement of the Agency in its report is completely unprofessional, illusory and unfair," Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, said in a statement to a meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors. (Reuters)

09-15-2021
Human Rights

Human rights groups and the family of Kurdish political activist Yasser Mangouri said he has died after being summoned by members of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry.

Human rights groups and the family of Kurdish political activist Yasser Mangouri said he has died after being summoned by members of Iran’s Intelligence Ministry. Mangouri’s arrest occurred on July 17, but his death was officially conveyed to his family over 50 days later. According to the Iranian Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), the body has yet to be handed over to the family, which continues to be kept in the dark about the exact circumstances surrounding his death. Since Mangouri was summoned and held incommunicado by Iran’s intelligence forces, his family had repeatedly approached the authorities for news on his whereabouts, but to no avail. Hengaw, another advocacy website that monitors developments in Iranian Kurdistan, quoted sources as saying that Mangouri had been “killed under torture.” According to a tally recorded by the same outlet, at least 23 Kurdish prisoners, including 15 political detainees, have been tortured to death in Iranian jails since 2017. (Al-Monitor)

09-15-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran acknowledged that it had removed several surveillance cameras installed by U.N. nuclear inspectors at a centrifuge assembly site that came under a mysterious attack earlier this year.

Iran acknowledged on Wednesday that it had removed several surveillance cameras installed by U.N. nuclear inspectors at a centrifuge assembly site that came under a mysterious attack earlier this year. The chief of the country’s nuclear program, Mohammad Eslami, sought to portray the removal of cameras as Tehran’s response to world powers reneging on their commitments under the tattered 2015 nuclear deal. “The parties did not implement their commitments so there were no necessity for the cameras’ existence,” Eslami said after a meeting with lawmakers — remarks apparently aimed at his own domestic audience under the country’s new hard-line President Ebrahim Raisi. (AP)

09-14-2021
Nuclear Program

German police arrested a German-Iranian man suspected of exporting equipment to be used in Iran's nuclear and missile programs in breach of European Union sanctions, Germany's federal prosecutor said.

German police arrested a German-Iranian man suspected of exporting equipment to be used in Iran's nuclear and missile programmes in breach of European Union sanctions, Germany's federal prosecutor said on Tuesday. Police searched 11 locations, including apartments and offices in the states of Hamburg, Schleswig Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia linked to the suspect, the prosecutor said. The suspect, identified only as Alexander J. under privacy rules, had shipped equipment worth 1.1 million euros to an Iranian whose company in Iran was blacklisted by the EU as a front to procure equipment for nuclear and rocket programmes. (Reuters)

09-14-2021
Nuclear Program

Iranian security guards have physically harassed several female United Nations atomic agency inspectors at a nuclear facility over the past few months, diplomats say, and the U.S. has demanded that Iran stop the behavior immediately.

Iranian security guards have physically harassed several female United Nations atomic agency inspectors at a nuclear facility over the past few months, diplomats say, and the U.S. has demanded that Iran stop the behavior immediately. The previously unreported incidents at Iran’s main nuclear facility, Natanz, allegedly included inappropriate touching of female inspectors by male security guards and orders to remove some clothing, the diplomats said. One of the diplomats said there had been at least four separate incidents of harassment. A second diplomat said there had been five to seven. (Wall Street Journal)

09-13-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has come within roughly a month of having enough material to fuel a single nuclear weapon, crossing a threshold that may raise pressure on the United States and its allies to improve the terms of a potential deal to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement

Iran has come within roughly a month of having enough material to fuel a single nuclear weapon, crossing a threshold that may raise pressure on the United States and its allies to improve the terms of a potential deal to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement. Experts studying new data contained in reports last week by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ atomic inspection group, say that by enriching nuclear fuel in recent months to near bomb-grade levels, Tehran has gained the capability to produce the fuel needed for a single nuclear warhead within a month or so, under the most extreme timeline. Federal officials who have seen classified estimates are prevented from discussing official assessments but conceded in background conversations that they believed it would take Iran only a few months. Manufacturing an actual warhead — one that could fit atop an Iranian missile and survive the fiery re-entry into the atmosphere, a technology the Iranians were actively studying 20 years ago — would take considerably longer. Iran continues to insist it has no desire for a nuclear arsenal. (New York Times)

09-12-2021
Syria Conflict

Israel's defence minister accused Iran of providing foreign militias with drone training at an airbase near the city of Isfahan, a month after Tehran came under global scrutiny over a suspected drone attack on an Israeli-managed tanker off Oman.

Israel's defence minister accused Iran on Sunday of providing foreign militias with drone training at an airbase near the city of Isfahan, a month after Tehran came under global scrutiny over a suspected drone attack on an Israeli-managed tanker off Oman. Israel has combined military strikes with diplomatic pressure to beat back what it describes as an effort by its arch-foe, whose nuclear negotiations with the West are deadlocked, to beef up regional clout through allied guerrillas. In what his office described as a new disclosure, Defence Minister Benny Gantz said Iran was using Kashan airbase north of Isfahan to train "terror operatives from Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in flying Iranian-made UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)". (Reuters)

09-12-2021
Syria Conflict

U.S. forces shot down a pair of Iranian drones that attacked the Irbil airport in Kurdish-held northern Iraq.

U.S. forces shot down a pair of Iranian drones that attacked the Irbil airport in Kurdish-held northern Iraq late on 20th anniversary of Sept. 11. There were no injuries or damage, according to a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. The U.S. counter-rocket, artillery and mortar system (C-RAM) engaged the two bomb-laden drones which were made in Iran, a separate U.S. official told Fox News. (Fox News)

09-09-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards used artillery and drones to strike Kurdish militants based in neighbouring Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region, the Iranian state broadcaster IRIB reported.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards on Thursday used artillery and drones to strike Kurdish militants based in neighbouring Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region, the Iranian state broadcaster IRIB reported. "In this operation, the headquarters of those conspiring against Iran's national security was destroyed," IRIB quoted the Revolutionary Guards as saying about the latest attack on the rebels based in neighbouring Iraq. There are frequent clashes in the remote and mountainous border region between Iranian security forces and Iranian Kurdish militant groups opposed to the Tehran government, such as the Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), linked to Kurdish PKK insurgents in Turkey, and the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI). (Reuters)

09-08-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran is refusing to allow inspectors access to nuclear-related sites and hindering a probe by the United Nations atomic agency while continuing to expand its nuclear activities.

Iran is refusing to allow inspectors access to nuclear-related sites and hindering a probe by the United Nations atomic agency while continuing to expand its nuclear activities, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in two confidential reports Tuesday, casting doubt on efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. The reports leave the Biden administration and its European allies facing a choice between pushing for a formal rebuke of Iran—which Tehran’s new hard-line government has warned could scuttle the resumption of nuclear talks—or refraining from action, potentially undercutting the authority of the IAEA and its leadership. The future of the nuclear deal is already in the balance. New Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, pressed by European and U.S. officials to quickly resume the talks on restoring the deal, has said his government is prepared to return to the Vienna negotiations but refused to fix a date. The last talks took place in June. (Wall Street Journal)

09-02-2021
Human Rights

An Iranian man died after he was submitted to a lashing penalty inside a jail in Iran's Turkish-majority eastern Azerbaijan province after being charged with alcohol possession one and a half years ago.

An Iranian man died after he was submitted to a lashing penalty inside a jail in Iran's Turkish-majority eastern Azerbaijan province. The inmate, identified as Hadi Atazadeh, had been handed an unspecified prison sentence and lashes after being charged with alcohol possession one and a half years ago. Under the Islamic Republic's strict penal code, consumption and possession of alcoholic drinks are punishable by up to 80 lashes and/or varying imprisonment terms in some cases. Atazadeh's relatives released videos of what seemed to be a morgue in his hometown, Ahar, where the black and blue body with obvious lash marks was being washed as part of the Islamic pre-burial ritual. The growing backlash drew reactions from local justice department authorities who offered different explanations and denied the lashing had caused the man's death. (Al-Monitor)

08-31-2021
Syria Conflict

At least eight people were wounded on Monday in Houthi drone strikes on Saudi Arabia's Abha airport that also damaged a civilian airplane, Saudi officials said.

At least eight people were wounded on Monday in Houthi drone strikes on Saudi Arabia's Abha airport that also damaged a civilian airplane, Saudi officials said. Earlier, the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi group in Yemen said it intercepted a Houthi drone that was targeting Abha International Airport. Shrapnel was scattered in the vicinity of the airport, the coalition said. (Reuters)

08-29-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran and Syria vowed to take “mighty steps” to confront U.S. sanctions imposed on the two regional allies, saying their relations will strengthen under Iran’s new leadership.

Iran and Syria vowed on Sunday to take “mighty steps” to confront U.S. sanctions imposed on the two regional allies, saying their relations will strengthen under Iran’s new leadership. The announcement was made by Iran’s new Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who was received at the airport a visit to Damascus by his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad. Iran has been one of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s strongest backers, sending thousands of fighters from around the region to help his troops in Syria’s 10-year conflict that has killed half a million and displaced half the country’s pre-war population of 23 million. (AP)

08-25-2021
Syria Conflict

Citing images shared on the internet, several media outlets have reported that the Ethiopian National Defence Force is using Iranian-made Mohajer-6 combat unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as it fights a civil war.

Citing images shared on the internet, several media outlets have reported that the Ethiopian National Defence Force is using Iranian-made Mohajer-6 combat unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as it fights a civil war. Who took the photos remains unknown. However, they show the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed visiting an airport with what appears to be the drone in the background. The fact-checking website Bellingcat and some open-source researchers independently geo-located the images, indicating that they were taken at the government-controlled Semara Airport. Semara is the capital city of the country’s Afar province, which abuts the Tigray region where government forces are battling the anti-government Tigray Defense Forces (TDF). (The Defense Post)

08-25-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran this week restarted fuel exports to Afghanistan that had been disrupted by fighting between the Taliban and forces under the now deposed Afghan government.

Iran this week restarted fuel exports to Afghanistan that had been disrupted by fighting between the Taliban and forces under the now deposed Afghan government, traders in Tehran and former U.S. officials say, with the Taliban now providing critical dollars to the sanctions-crushed Iranian economy from its lucrative narcotics operations. The burgeoning trade relationship between Tehran and the Taliban threatens to undermine key U.S. pressure campaigns against both. Iran has been cut off from the global market for the greenback by U.S. sanctions, and the Taliban’s willingness to trade with their neighbor gives Iran rare access to U.S. dollars it needs to import essential goods and bolster its depreciated currency. (Wall Street Journal)

08-24-2021
Human Rights

The head of Iran's prisons apologized for "bitter events" in Tehran's Evin prison after videos leaked by hackers showed beatings of prisoners, a rare admission of abuse by authorities.

The head of Iran's prisons apologised on Tuesday for "bitter events" in Tehran's Evin prison after videos leaked by hackers showed beatings of prisoners, a rare admission of abuse by authorities. A hacking group calling itself Edalat-e Ali (Ali's Justice) issued on social media videos that appear to be from the prison's surveillance cameras and show guards beating prisoners and dragging an unconscious detainee on the floor. Guards and prisoners are seen fighting among themselves in other videos. "Regarding the pictures from Evin prison, I accept responsibility for such unacceptable behaviour and pledge to try to prevent any repeat of these bitter events and to deal seriously with the wrongdoers," Mohammad Mehdi Hajmohammadi, head of Iran's prisons, wrote in a tweet reported by state media. (Reuters)

08-23-2021
Syria Conflict

A US warplane shot down an Iranian drone over eastern Syria after flying ‘too close’ to some of the 900 U.S. troops deployed there.

US warplane shot down a drone in Syria on Saturday. It is a rare occurrence when fighter jets are used to shoot down drones, although Israel has shot down drones with warplanes, and a US F-15E Strike Eagle shot down a drone in June 2017 in Syria, one of two US downings of Syrian regime drones. The latest report was made by Reuters, Fox News and Aviation Week. Reuters said the incident happened in eastern Syria when the unmanned system was deemed a threat.

“Coalition aircraft successfully engaged and defeated a US [unmanned aircraft system] through air-to-air engagement in the vicinity of Mission Support Site Green Village,” said coalition spokesperson US Army Col. Wayne Marotto, according to Reuters. Fox News Lucas Tomlinson wrote that the “US Air Force F-15E shot down Iranian drone over eastern Syria yesterday after flying ‘too close’ to some of the 900 US troops deployed there,” basing his report on US officials. (Jerusalem Post)

08-21-2021
Military

The Iranian Defense Ministry said that it was expanding its defense efforts beyond the borders of the country, in an apparent message of deterrence to Israel and the West.

The Iranian Defense Ministry said on Saturday that it was expanding its defense efforts beyond the borders of the country, in an apparent message of deterrence to Israel and the West, as hopes for a return to the 2015 nuclear deal continue to fade. “Our country has an important role to play in strengthening the resistance front and expanding the radius of defense of national security beyond the borders of the country,” the ministry said in a message for Defense Industries Day, the Moj News Agency reported. The ministry stated that Iran’s military plan includes “strengthening the defensive force and constantly updating the ability to deal with the threats of our enemies.” (Times of Israel)

08-20-2021
Human Rights

Iranian officials have reported an increase in the overall number of child marriages last year compared to 2019. According to the Statistics Center of Iran, the marriage rate of girls aged 10-14 last year increased by 10.5 percent compared to 2019.

Iranian officials have reported an increase in the overall number of child marriages last year compared to 2019. According to the Statistics Center of Iran, the marriage rate of girls aged 10-14 last year increased by 10.5 percent compared to 2019. It says 31,379 girls in that age bracket were married in 2020 compared to 28,373 cases the previous year. The legal age for marriage in Iran is 13 years for girls and 15 years for boys, though it is acceptable for children younger to be married with a father's permission. (RFE/RL)

08-19-2021
Terrorism

An Iranian Kurdish party is blaming Tehran for the killing this month of a senior party member in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

An Iranian Kurdish party is blaming Tehran for the killing this month of a senior party member in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region. Mousa Babakhani was found dead in a hotel room in Erbil on August 5, the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDP-I) said. "With great sorrow we confirm that on the evening of Thursday, August 5, Mr Mousa Babakhani, member of Kurdistan Democratic Party’s Central Committee, was assassinated by the Islamic Republic of Iran’s terrorists in Erbil,” the party said on its website. (The National)

08-19-2021
Terrorism

Militant group Hezbollah appeared to warn Israel and the U.S. against intercepting an Iranian ship carrying fuel for Lebanon as the country reels from a crippling power crisis.

Militant group Hezbollah appeared to warn Israel and the U.S. against intercepting an Iranian ship carrying fuel for Lebanon as the country reels from a crippling power crisis. The vessel would sail “in hours,” the Iran-backed group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah was cited as saying by Al Jazeera Thursday. “I tell the Americans and the Israelis that as soon as the ship sails, it becomes Lebanese territory.” More such ships would follow, he said.  Iranian and Israeli-operated ships have in recent months been targeted in regional waters in unclaimed attacks widely believed to be tit-for-tat actions by the Middle Eastern rivals. Iran’s oil exports are under U.S. sanctions. (Bloomberg)

08-18-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has nearly doubled its enrichment capacity dedicated to purifying uranium close to the levels required for nuclear weapons, signaling it won’t de-escalate its atomic activities before meeting again with world powers.

Iran has nearly doubled its enrichment capacity dedicated to purifying uranium close to the levels required for nuclear weapons, signaling it won’t de-escalate its atomic activities before meeting again with world powers.  Inspectors verified on Aug. 15 that Iran introduced a second cascade of nuclear centrifuges to produced uranium enriched to 60% purity at a fuel plant in Natanz, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in reply to questions. The machines spin at supersonic speeds to separate the uranium isotopes needed to induce fission. Iran had originally taken that added enrichment capacity off line in April, at the start of now-stalled negotiations to bring Washington back into the deal. Its 2015 agreement with world powers had capped the activity in exchange for sanctions relief, but former U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2018 withdrawal from the accord triggered Iranian breaches. (Bloomberg)

08-16-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has made progress in its work on enriched uranium metal, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report to member states seen by Reuters, despite Western warnings that such work threatens talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal.

Iran has made progress in its work on enriched uranium metal, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report to member states on Monday seen by Reuters, despite Western warnings that such work threatens talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal. "On 14 August 2021, the Agency verified ... that Iran had used 257 g of uranium enriched up to 20% U-235 in the form of UF4 (uranium tetrafluoride) to produce 200 g of uranium metal enriched up to 20% U-235," the International Atomic Energy Agency said, adding that this was step three in a four-step plan by Iran. The fourth includes producing a reactor fuel plate. Iran's work on enriched uranium metal has angered Europe's three top powers and the United States because that technology, and knowledge of how to produce it, can be used to make the core of a nuclear bomb. Iran insists its aims are entirely peaceful and it is developing a new type of reactor fuel. (Reuters)

08-12-2021
Military

Iranian air defenses fired a warning shot at a General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper belonging to the US military near the Strait of Hormuz near the Iranian border, according to the Iranian semi-official Nour News.

Iranian air defenses fired a warning shot at a General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper belonging to the US military near the Strait of Hormuz near the Iranian border on Thursday, according to the Iranian semi-official Nour News. The news outlet published what it said was footage of the control room as the warning shot was fired. Independent news source Aurora Intel discovered that the clip shared by Nour News had aired on Iranian television on Wednesday, raising questions when the incident actually took place. (Jerusalem Post)

08-11-2021
Syria Conflict

Tehran has been sending increasingly complex weapons to Yemen’s Houthi rebels even as Iranian officials have engaged in separate talks with the United States and Saudi Arabia about reducing tensions in the region, a top Pentagon official said.

Tehran has been sending increasingly complex weapons to Yemen’s Houthi rebels even as Iranian officials have engaged in separate talks with the United States and Saudi Arabia about reducing tensions in the region, a top Pentagon official said Tuesday. “In the Yemen context, we have seen more attacks from the Houthis launched at Saudi Arabia in the first half of this year than we have for several prior years,” Dana Stroul, the Pentagon’s top official for policy in the Middle East, told lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday. “Iran is increasing the lethality and complexity of both the equipment and the knowledge it transfers to the Houthis so that they can attack Saudi territory [and] Saudi civilians,” Stroul told lawmakers. (Al-Monitor)

08-11-2021
Politics

Iran’s new president presented a cabinet dominated by hardliners, among them a foreign minister known for close ties to Hezbollah and an interior minister wanted by Interpol over his alleged role in the 1994 bombing.

Iran’s new president presented a cabinet dominated by hardliners on Wednesday, state TV reported, among them a foreign minister known for close ties to Hezbollah and an interior minister wanted by Interpol over his alleged role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires. The conservative cleric and former judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi nominated hardline career diplomat Hossein Amirabdollahian to the crucial post of foreign minister as Iran and the US seek to resuscitate Tehran’s landmark nuclear deal with world powers. Amirabdollahian, 56, has served in a range of administrations over the decades. He was deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs under former populist hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known in the West for his Holocaust denial and disputed reelection in 2009. (Times of Israel)

08-11-2021
Human Rights

Amnesty International says Iran’s security forces have resorted to unlawful use of force to “ruthlessly” crackdown on mainly peaceful protesters who have taken to the streets across the country over the past weeks.

Amnesty International says Iran’s security forces have resorted to unlawful use of force to “ruthlessly” crackdown on mainly peaceful protesters who have taken to the streets across the country over the past weeks. Protesters, bystanders, and activists -- including children -- have been subjected to birdshot, mass arrests, enforced disappearance, torture, and other ill-treatment, the London-based human rights watchdog said in a statement on August 11. Iranian authorities “have yet again given their security forces free rein to inflict severe bodily injury on protesters to maintain their iron grip on power and crush dissent,” said Diana Eltahawy, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. (RFE/RL)

08-11-2021
Politics

Iran’s new president picked a hawkish Foreign Ministry veteran with close ties to the military elite to replace Mohammad Javad Zarif as the nation’s top diplomat.

Iran’s new president picked a hawkish Foreign Ministry veteran with close ties to the military elite to replace Mohammad Javad Zarif as the nation’s top diplomat, underscoring the shift in power that’s clouding the resumption of nuclear talks with world powers. Hossein Amirabdollahian, a fluent Arabic speaker and previously deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, was proposed for the role in a list of cabinet ministers presented to lawmakers on Wednesday by President Ebrahim Raisi. Parliament will debate the choices for a week before voting to approve or reject the nominees. Other candidates include Javad Owji as oil minister. (Bloomberg)

08-10-2021
Syria Conflict

Joint forces from the Saudi-backed coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen dismantled two networks of naval mines laid by the Houthis in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb Strait.

Joint Forces on the western coast of Yemen dismantled two networks of naval mines in June in the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandeb Strait—which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and is a vital global energy gateway. Engineering teams said on June 17 that they discovered and dismantled two missile warheads and dozens of mines and explosive devices planted by Houthi forces in the coastal area of al-Durayhimi district, south of the city of al-Hodeidah. Earlier on June 7, joint forces also discovered a network of maritime mines south of the Great Hanish Islands in the southern Red Sea, near Bab al-Mandeb. The Houthis planted the Iranian-made naval mines, using training provided by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said Yemeni Deputy Minister of Human Rights Nabil Abdul Hafeez. (Al Mashareq)

08-06-2021
Terrorism

The Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah fired rockets towards Israeli forces, drawing retaliatory fire from Israel into south Lebanon, in a third day of cross-border salvoes amid wider regional tensions with Iran.

The Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah fired rockets towards Israeli forces on Friday, drawing retaliatory fire from Israel into south Lebanon, in a third day of cross-border salvoes amid wider regional tensions with Iran. Suggesting its attack was calibrated to avoid further escalation, Hezbollah said it had targeted open ground near Israeli forces in retaliation for Israeli air strikes that had also struck open areas. Israel said it did not wish to escalate to a full war, though it was ready for one. (Wall Street Journal)

08-06-2021
Syria Conflict

The U.S. military said Friday that drone fragments recovered from an Israeli-linked merchant vessel damaged in a fatal attack in the Arabian Sea last week prove Iran was behind the incident.

The U.S. military said Friday that drone fragments recovered from an Israeli-linked merchant vessel damaged in a fatal attack in the Arabian Sea last week prove Iran was behind the incident. U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan, released photographs of the drone parts, and said the debris, the proximity of the strikes to Iran, and the sophistication of the attack point to Iran’s culpability. Meanwhile, the Group of Seven leading economies and the European Union also placed blame on Iran on Friday, calling it a “deliberate and targeted attack, and a clear violation of international law.” (Wall Street Journal)

08-06-2021
Terrorism

The Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah fired barrages of rockets towards Israeli forces, drawing retaliatory fire from Israel into south Lebanon, in a third day of cross-border salvoes amid wider regional tensions with Iran.

The Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah fired barrages of rockets towards Israeli forces on Friday, drawing retaliatory fire from Israel into south Lebanon, in a third day of cross-border salvoes amid wider regional tensions with Iran. Suggesting its attack was calibrated to avoid further escalation, Hezbollah said it had targeted open ground near Israeli forces in retaliation for Israeli air strikes that had also struck open areas. Israel said it did not wish to escalate to a full war, though it was ready for one. "Our understanding is that Hezbollah deliberately aimed at open areas in order not to escalate the situation," Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Amnon Shefler told reporters. (Reuters)

08-05-2021
Human Rights

Amnesty International says Iran executed a man who was 15 at the time of his arrest over a fatal stabbing and spent nearly a decade on death row.

Amnesty International says Iran this week executed a man who was 15 at the time of his arrest over a fatal stabbing and spent nearly a decade on death row. In a statement released on August 4, the London-based rights group said Sajad Sanjari was hanged on August 2 in Dizelabad prison in the western province of Kermanshah. His family learned of Sanjari’s hanging only after a prison official told them to collect the body, Amnesty said. "With the secret execution of Sajad Sanjari, the Iranian authorities have yet again demonstrated the utter cruelty of their juvenile justice system," said Diana Eltahawy, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. (RFE/RL)

08-04-2021
Syria Conflict

A tanker ship in the Gulf of Oman was seized by suspected Iranian gunmen, Western officials said.

A tanker ship in the Gulf of Oman was seized Tuesday by suspected Iranian gunmen, Western officials said, amid rising regional tensions following a fatal drone attack on another vessel that the U.S. and its allies have blamed on the Islamic Republic. The tanker was boarded near the port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, according to the U.K. Maritime Trade Operations, which is affiliated with the British Defense Ministry. In a statement early Wednesday, the UKMTO said the “boarders” had left the vessel and the ship was now safe. In recent years, Iran’s Navy has often seized oil tankers it accuses of smuggling oil in its waters. But the latest incident comes on the heels of last week’s attack on an Israeli-linked tanker in the nearby Arabian Sea, which the U.S., the U.K. and Israel blamed on Iran. (Wall Street Journal)

08-04-2021
Human Rights

An Iranian Revolutionary Court has sentenced two dual nationals, German-Iranian Nahid Taghavi and British-Iranian Mehran Raouf, to more than 10 years in prison, each on national security charges, their lawyer said.

An Iranian Revolutionary Court has sentenced two dual nationals, German-Iranian Nahid Taghavi and British-Iranian Mehran Raouf, to more than 10 years in prison, each on national security charges, their lawyer said on Wednesday. Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have arrested dozens of dual nationals and foreigners in recent years, mostly on espionage and security-related charges. They have accused the Islamic Republic of trying to win concessions from other countries through arrests on security charges that may have been trumped up. Tehran, which does not recognise dual nationality, say such arrests are based on its criminal code and denies holding people for political reasons. (Reuters)

08-01-2021
Syria Conflict

The United States, Britain and Israel all accused Iran of carrying out a drone attack last week on an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea that killed two people on board, raising fears of an escalating maritime war in the Middle East.

The United States, Britain and Israel on Sunday all accused Iran of carrying out a drone attack last week on an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea that killed two people on board, raising fears of an escalating maritime war in the Middle East, as Tehran denied responsibility for the strike. ­American and Israeli officials had previously said that Thursday’s attack on the Liberian-flagged Mercer Street bore the hallmarks of an operation by Iran, which has been accused of deploying attack drones in the past. The Mercer Street is managed by Zodiac Maritime, a London-based company owned by an Israeli billionaire. Those killed included a British national and a Romanian citizen, the company said. (Washington Post)

07-30-2021
Human Rights

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Iranian authorities to "immediately and unconditionally" release those detained during protests against water shortages and economic hardships in Khuzestan and other provinces.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Iranian authorities to "immediately and unconditionally" release those detained during protests against water shortages and economic hardships in Khuzestan and other provinces and to investigate the abusive use of lethal force. Demonstrations than began on July 15 in dozens of towns and cities in Khuzestan, a province with a large ethnic Arab population, later expanded to other regions of Iran, including parts of Tehran, amid the worst drought in Iran in at least 50 years that has triggered weeks of power blackouts. Thousands of workers in Iran's oil industry have also launched strikes for better wages and working conditions. (RFE/RL)

07-28-2021
Terrorism

Cybersecurity researchers said that hackers with ties to the Iranian government targeted U.S. defense contractors in attempts to install malware, including by posing as a United Kingdom-based aerobics instructor.

Cybersecurity researchers said that hackers with ties to the Iranian government targeted U.S. defense contractors in attempts to install malware, including by posing as a United Kingdom-based aerobics instructor.  Security software firm Proofpoint said in a Wednesday report that researchers had identified “a years-long social engineering and targeted malware campaign by the Iranian-state aligned threat actor TA456,” also known as “Tortoiseshell.”  The California-based cybersecurity firm said that “TA456 built a relationship across corporate and personal communication platforms with an employee of a small subsidiary of an aerospace defense contractor,” by using the social media persona "Marcella 'Marcy' Flores." (The Hill)

07-27-2021
Terrorism

Five secret documents allegedly showing Iranian plans to hack infrastructure in Western countries, including in Europe, were publicized by Sky News.

Five secret documents allegedly showing Iranian plans to hack infrastructure in Western countries, including in Europe, were publicized by Sky News late Monday night. Although there have been reports of such hacks by Iran and others in the past, it is unusual for a media organization to obtain actual internal planning documents for Unit 13, the cyber unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Some of the potential hacks the IRGC cyber group might be planning would target a cargo ship’s ballast water system, which could cause irreparable damage, according to the report. (Jerusalem Post)

07-25-2021
Human Rights

At least three people have been killed during violent protests over water shortages in Iran, according to state media.

At least three people have been killed during violent protests over water shortages in Iran, according to state media. The protests started in southwest Khuzestan province and spread to the nearby city of Aligoodarz in western Lorestan province. Authorities are blaming the deaths in Aligoordarz on "suspicious bullets shot by some unknown people who penetrated among peaceful protesters," state media said. (CNN)

07-20-2021
Nuclear Program

Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said that a high-ranking committee has decided that an Iran-US agreement on the revival of the multilateral Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has to be rejected.

Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said July 20 that a high-ranking committee has decided that an Iran-US agreement on the revival of the multilateral Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has to be rejected. Rabiei said the decision was made despite an "agreement in principle" that has already been reached between Iran and American negotiators, who have been indirectly discussing their return to the JCPOA during six rounds of talks in Vienna. The other JCPOA parties present in the negotiations have been China, Russia, the UK, France and Germany. The spokesman said the committee within Iran's Supreme National Security Council dismissed the new deal on the grounds of "noncompliance" with a contentious parliamentary bill. (Al-Monitor)

07-15-2021
Terrorism

Facebook said it had taken down about 200 accounts run by a group of hackers in Iran as part of a cyber-spying operation that targeted mostly U.S. military personnel and people working at defense and aerospace companies.

Facebook said on Thursday it had taken down about 200 accounts run by a group of hackers in Iran as part of a cyber-spying operation that targeted mostly U.S. military personnel and people working at defense and aerospace companies. The social media giant said the group, dubbed 'Tortoiseshell' by security experts, used fake online personas to connect with targets, build trust sometimes over the course of several months and drive them onto other sites where they were tricked into clicking malicious links that would infect their devices with spying malware. "This activity had the hallmarks of a well-resourced and persistent operation, while relying on relatively strong operational security measures to hide who's behind it," Facebook's investigations team said in a blog post. (Reuters)

07-13-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran’s outgoing president warned his country could enrich uranium at weapons-grade levels of 90% if it chose, though it still wanted to save its tattered nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran’s outgoing president on Wednesday warned his country could enrich uranium at weapons-grade levels of 90% if it chose, though it still wanted to save its tattered nuclear deal with world powers. President Hassan Rouhani’s comments, carried by the state-run IRNA news agency, came as he also criticized Iran’s wider theocracy for not allowing his government to reach a deal soon to restore the 2015 atomic accord. Rouhani’s powers have waned as the public soured on his government amid an economy suffering under U.S. sanctions. But his remarks signal Iran could take a more belligerent approach with the West as hard-line President-elect Ebrahim Raisi is due to take office next month. (Associated Press)

07-13-2021
Terrorism

An Iranian American journalist living in Brooklyn who has been a sharp critic of the Iranian government, Masih Alinejad, was the target of an international kidnapping plot orchestrated by an intelligence network in Iran, federal prosecutors said.

An Iranian American journalist living in Brooklyn who has been a sharp critic of the Iranian government was the target of an international kidnapping plot orchestrated by an intelligence network in Iran, federal prosecutors said Tuesday. In an indictment unsealed in federal court in Manhattan, four Iranians were charged with conspiring to kidnap the journalist and author, Masih Alinejad. Ms. Alinejad was not identified by prosecutors, but confirmed in an interview that she was the intended target of the plot. Last year, Ms. Alinejad wrote in a newspaper article that Iranian government officials had unleashed a social media campaign calling for her abduction. (New York Times)

07-13-2021
Syria Conflict

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander urged Iraqi Shi'ite militias to step up attacks on U.S. targets during a meeting in Baghdad last week, three militia sources and two Iraqi security sources familiar with the gathering said.

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander urged Iraqi Shi'ite militias to step up attacks on U.S. targets during a meeting in Baghdad last week, three militia sources and two Iraqi security sources familiar with the gathering said. American forces in Iraq and Syria were attacked several times following the visit by an Iranian delegation led by Revolutionary Guards intelligence chief Hossein Taeb, which came after deadly U.S. air strikes against Iran-backed militias at the Syrian-Iraqi border on June 27. While encouraging retaliation, the Iranians advised the Iraqis not to go too far to avoid a big escalation, three militia sources briefed on the meeting said. (Reuters)

07-12-2021
Syria Conflict

Iraqi officials have accused Iran of reducing water flow from rivers shared by the two countries, violating international law and endangering Iraq’s agricultural sector and in some cases the populations drinking water supply.

Iraqi officials have accused Iran in recent days of reducing water flow from rivers shared by the two countries, violating international law and endangering Iraq’s agricultural sector and in some cases the populations drinking water supply. Minister of Water Resources, Mahdi Rashid Hamedani on Sunday that water flow from Iran to Iraq has completely stopped and Baghdad considers to lodge a complaint with United Nations entities for breach of international laws and inflicting damage by cutting off rivers flowing across the border. Iran was accused last year of cutting off two main tributaries flowing into Tigris River also in the peak of summer, denying much needed water for two dams in Iraq. (Iran International)

07-08-2021
Syria Conflict

Rockets landed in and around the heavily fortified Green Zone in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, which houses the U.S. Embassy, causing material damage, Iraqi security forces said.

Rockets landed in and around the heavily fortified Green Zone in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, which houses the U.S. Embassy, causing material damage early Thursday, Iraqi security forces said. Two Katuysha rockets fell near the national security building, and in an open courtyard inside the Green Zone. A third rocket fell in a nearby residential area, damaging a civilian vehicle, the statement by the Iraqi security media cell said. The attack which came shortly before daybreak followed two separate attacks on bases housing U.S. troops in western Iraq and across the border in Syria, where U.S-led coalition forces are based. The drone attack Wednesday in eastern Syria was foiled while 14 rockets landed in Al-Assad Air Base in western Iraq, lightly wounding two personnel. (Associated Press)

07-07-2021
Human Rights

Iran imprisoned a journalist for reporting on the true extent of the country's COVID-19 outbreak, according to free-press watchdogs.

Iran imprisoned a journalist for reporting on the true extent of the country's COVID-19 outbreak, according to free-press watchdogs. Shahram Safari, a Kurdish freelance reporter, was sentenced to three months in prison on June 16 by a municipal court in Kermanshah, western Iran, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency. Safari ran the local news Telegram channel, "Rawezh Press," in which he documented the number of COVID-19 cases in Iran, HRANA said. (Yahoo News)

07-04-2021
Syria Conflict

Israeli security officials said Iran is likely behind an alleged attack on a cargo ship in the northern Indian Ocean, Arabic TV stations reported Sunday, with the vessel having been hit by an "unknown weapon" which started a fire.

Israeli security officials said Iran is likely behind an alleged attack on a cargo ship in the northern Indian Ocean, Arabic TV stations reported Sunday, with the vessel having been hit by an "unknown weapon" which started a fire. The Al-Mayadeen Lebanese television channel reported early Sunday that the Liberian-flagged cargo ship, the Tyndall, was damaged this weekend in the wake of a series of sabotage incidents between Israeli and Iranian ships in the region. Although some outlets initially reported that the cargo ship was owned by Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer, sources later confirmed that it had been recently sold and the crew was not from Israel. The ship currently flies the Liberian flag, and defense officials from several countries in the region are still investigating the Sunday incident. (Newsweek)

07-02-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran plans to prevent inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog reviewing video footage of some nuclear sites until there is an agreement to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, a senior Iranian official told CNN.

Iran plans to prevent inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog reviewing video footage of some nuclear sites until there is an agreement to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, a senior Iranian official told CNN. The decision puts pressure on talks taking place in Vienna which are seeking to bring the US and Iran back into compliance with the 2015 deal. "If the talks succeed Iran will surely show the tapes to the IAEA," the official said. "Sharing the tapes depends on the way that the negotiations will proceed. The key to the question is the agreement. If they agree on something that will open the door for cooperation and better understanding including in the area of transparency." (CNN)

07-01-2021
Politics

Iran’s supreme leader promoted a hardline cleric to serve as head of the judiciary on Thursday, amid international calls for investigations into allegations of abuses.

Iran’s supreme leader promoted a hardline cleric to serve as head of the judiciary on Thursday, amid international calls for investigations into allegations of abuses. Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, now the judiciary's deputy head, will replace Ebrahim Raisi, who takes office in August as president after winning a June 18 election. Ejei was put on U.S. and EU sanctions blacklists a decade ago for his role in a crackdown on a popular uprising when he served as intelligence minister during a disputed election. (Reuters)

07-01-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has been restricting U.N. nuclear inspectors' access to its main uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, citing security concerns after what it says was an attack on the site by Israel in April, diplomats say.

Iran has been restricting U.N. nuclear inspectors' access to its main uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, citing security concerns after what it says was an attack on the site by Israel in April, diplomats say. The standoff, which one official said has been going on for weeks, is in the course of being resolved, diplomats said, but it has also raised tensions with the West just as indirect talks between Iran and the United States on reviving the Iran nuclear deal have adjourned without a date set for their resumption. It follows various moves by Iran that breach the 2015 nuclear deal or have angered Washington and its allies, ranging from enriching uranium to close to weapons-grade to failing to explain the origin of uranium particles that the U.N. nuclear watchdog found at several undeclared sites. (Reuters)

06-29-2021
Human Rights

Three Christians from the Church of Iran denomination have each been sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of "engaging in propaganda against the Islamic regime" and fined four million Rials ($95).

Three Christians from the Church of Iran denomination have each been sentenced to five years in prison and fined four million Rials ($95) on Saturday. They were sentenced by the Revolutionary Court in Karaj, in the area of northern Iran, after being convicted of "engaging in propaganda against the Islamic regime." The three men, named as Amin Khaki, Milad Goudarzi and Alireza Nourmohammadi, are all appealing their sentences. They were charged with “sectarian activities” during the trial, valid under a new amendment to the Iranian penal code. (Jerusalem Post)

06-25-2021
Human Rights

The BBC has complained to the UN about Iran's harassment of staff at the BBC Persian service.

The BBC has complained to the UN about Iran's harassment of staff at the BBC Persian service. It says Iranian intelligence agents have threatened to kidnap London staff and take them to Iran. This is not the first time the BBC has taken the rare step of appealing to the UN for their safety. Iran has previously denied the allegations, and accused BBC Persian of spreading false information to encourage its government's overthrow. (BBC)

06-23-2021
Human Rights

Rights groups have called on Iran to halt the execution of a man for a murder committed while he was still a child.

Rights groups have called on Iran to halt the execution of a man for a murder committed while he was still a child. Hossein Shahbazi is due to be hanged on Monday following the death of a teenager during a group fight when he was 17. He would be the first person to be executed this year in Iran after committing a crime as a minor, according to Amnesty International. (The National)

06-21-2021
Extremism

Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi said the Islamic Republic wouldn’t stop supporting Shiite militia groups fighting across the Middle East or rein in its missile program.

Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi on Monday said the Islamic Republic wouldn’t stop supporting Shiite militia groups fighting across the Middle East or rein in its missile program, rebuffing a key goal of the Biden administration as it negotiates a revival of the 2015 nuclear deal. President Biden has said he wants any fresh agreement on Iran’s nuclear activities to lead to broader discussions on how to reduce its military footprint in the Middle East. But in his first press conference in Tehran after winning Friday’s election, Mr. Raisi ruled out such an approach. “Regional and missile issues are not negotiable,” said the 60-year-old senior cleric. (Wall Street Journal)

06-20-2021
Politics

Iran’s hard-line judiciary chief won a landslide victory in the country’s presidential election, a vote that both propelled the supreme leader’s protege into Tehran’s highest civilian position and saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history.

Iran’s hard-line judiciary chief won a landslide victory in the country’s presidential election, a vote that both propelled the supreme leader’s protege into Tehran’s highest civilian position and saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history. The election of Ebrahim Raisi, already sanctioned by the U.S. in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, became more of a coronation after his strongest competition found themselves disqualified from running in Saturday’s vote. That sparked calls for a boycott and many apparently did stay home — out of over 59 million eligible voters, only 28.9 million voted. Of those voting, some 3.7 million people either accidentally or intentionally voided their ballots, far beyond the amount seen in previous elections and suggesting some wanted none of the four candidates. (AP)

06-17-2021
Military

The Iranian navy ships believed to be originally headed toward Venezuela changed course early this week and are now steaming north up the west coast of Africa, U.S. officials said.

The Iranian navy ships believed to be originally headed toward Venezuela changed course early this week and are now steaming north up the west coast of Africa, U.S. officials said. The ships, which U.S. officials believe may have been preparing to conduct an arms transfer, have appeared to change course several times during their journey from Iran — and could do so again. But after the course change early this week, they are likely now headed either into the Mediterranean — potentially planning to sail off of Syria — or north toward Russia, according to a defense official briefed on the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive subject. U.S. officials believe the course change indicates that a diplomatic campaign to urge governments in the Western Hemisphere to turn away the ships was successful, the official said. The Iranian frigate Sahand and afloat staging base Makran charted a new course after Biden administration officials publicly and privately urged the governments of Venezuela, Cuba and other countries in the region not to allow them to dock, POLITICO reported. (Politico)

06-15-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has made 6.5 kg (14 lb) of uranium enriched to up to 60%, the government said on Tuesday, detailing a move that rattled the country's nuclear talks with world powers by taking the fissile material a step towards nuclear weapons-grade of 90%.

Iran has made 6.5 kg (14 lb) of uranium enriched to up to 60%, the government said on Tuesday, detailing a move that rattled the country's nuclear talks with world powers by taking the fissile material a step towards nuclear weapons-grade of 90%. Government spokesman Ali Rabiei was quoted by state media as saying the country had also produced 108 kg of uranium enriched to 20% purity, indicating quicker output than the rate required by the Iranian law that created the process. Iran said in April it would begin enriching uranium to 60% purity, a move that would take the uranium much closer to the 90% suitable for a nuclear bomb, after Tehran accused arch-foe Israel of sabotaging a key nuclear site. (Asharq al-Awsat)

06-15-2021
Nuclear Program

Germany’s federal intelligence agency released a report detailing security threats faced by the federal republic in 2020, including Iran’s drive to obtain illicit technology for its nuclear weapons program.

Germany’s federal intelligence agency on Tuesday released a report detailing security threats faced by the federal republic in 2020, ranging from Iran’s drive to obtain illicit technology for its nuclear weapons program to its increased attempts to secure material for its missile program. The report revealed a significant increase in membership and support for Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah, who are active in Germany. The Jerusalem Post examined the 420-page German-language report for The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution—the formal name for the national intelligence agency. According to the report, “the indications of proliferation-relevant procurement attempts by the Islamic Republic for its nuclear program increased in 2020.” (Jerusalem Post)

06-14-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran-backed militias in Iraq have revealed a collection of long-range drones that could hit other countries in the region, including Israel.

Iran-backed militias in Iraq have revealed a collection of long-range drones that could hit other countries in the region, including Israel. On Sunday, video footage emerged of Iraqi groups in the Popular Mobilisation Forces, an umbrella organisation of militias, parading an array of apparently new unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Most PMF groups are trained, advised and equipped by Iran, although they have formal status in Iraq's armed forces. (The National)

06-10-2021
Military

An Iranian destroyer and support vessel are now sailing in the Atlantic Ocean in a rare mission far from the Islamic Republic, Iran's state TV reported, without offering the vessels’ final destination.

An Iranian destroyer and support vessel are now sailing in the Atlantic Ocean in a rare mission far from the Islamic Republic, Iran's state TV reported on Thursday, without offering the vessels’ final destination. The trip by the new domestically built destroyer Sahand and the intelligence-gathering vessel Makran comes amid U.S. media reports, citing anonymous American officials, saying the ships were bound for Venezuela. The Associated Press could not immediately confirm the ships' destination. The vessels departed last month from Iran’s southern port of Bandar Abbas, said Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, Iran's deputy army chief. He described their mission as the Iranian navy's longest and most challenging voyage yet, without elaborating. (ABC News)

06-10-2021
Military

Russia is preparing to supply Iran with an advanced satellite system that will give Tehran an unprecedented ability to track potential military targets across the Middle East and beyond.

Russia is preparing to supply Iran with an advanced satellite system that will give Tehran an unprecedented ability to track potential military targets across the Middle East and beyond, according to current and former U.S. and Middle Eastern officials briefed on details of the arrangement. The plan would deliver to the Iranians a Russian-made Kanopus-V satellite equipped with a high-resolution camera that would greatly enhance Iran’s spying capabilities, allowing continuous monitoring of facilities ranging from Persian Gulf oil refineries and Israeli military bases to Iraqi barracks that house U.S. troops, the officials said. The launch could happen within months, they said. While the Kanopus-V is marketed for civilian use, Iranian military officials have been heavily involved in the acquisition, and leaders of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have made multiple trips to Russia since 2018 to help negotiate the terms of the agreement, the officials said. (Washington Post)

06-09-2021
Syria Conflict

Iraq's government suffered an embarrassment after a rare move to limit impunity among Iran-linked militias instead resulted in a commander accused of several killings walking free from custody and into a hero's welcome.

Iraq's government suffered an embarrassment Wednesday after a rare move to limit impunity among Iran-linked militias instead resulted in a commander accused of several killings walking free from custody and into a hero's welcome. Although Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s government issued no statement about the May 26 arrest of Qasim Musleh, a militia commander from the southern city of Karbala, the fallout from it has dominated news broadcasts and underscored the administration’s weakness as militias kill and intimidate members of a protest movement that brought Kadhimi to power. The arrest had sparked immediate controversy. Iran-linked militiamen arrived at the gates of Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone within hours. The army was deployed. That standoff ended only when one of Kadhimi’s predecessors and political foes, Nouri al-Maliki, stepped in to defuse tensions, officials say. (Washington Post)

06-08-2021
Human Rights

A man serving a five-year jail sentence on political charges in Iran has died in custody, activists said, accusing the authorities of contributing to his death by neglecting his medical conditions.

A man serving a five-year jail sentence on political charges in Iran has died in custody, activists said, accusing the authorities of contributing to his death by neglecting his medical conditions. Sasan Niknafs had since July 2020 been serving a sentence on charges including disseminating “propaganda” against the state and Iran’s leadership, the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) and Oslo-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) said in separate statements late Monday. Both said that they held the head of the Iranian judiciary Ebrahim Raisi responsible for his death, the cause of which was not specified. (AFP)

06-07-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has failed to answer questions about the discovery of uranium particles at former undeclared sites in the country, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said, calling on Tehran to provide information “without further delay.”

Iran has failed to answer questions about the discovery of uranium particles at former undeclared sites in the country, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Monday, calling on Tehran to provide information “without further delay.” Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has been pushing Iran for answers on three sites dating back many years where inspections had revealed traces of uranium of man-made origin, suggesting they were once connected to Iran’s nuclear program. The issue is separate from the ongoing negotiations aimed at bringing the United States back into Iran's 2015 nuclear accord with world powers. (AP)

06-02-2021
Terrorism

The Iranian regime has reportedly begun to restock its Islamist proxy in the Gaza Strip - Hamas, which entirely controls the enclave - with the resources to produce thousands of new rockets.

The Iranian regime has reportedly begun to restock its Islamist proxy in the Gaza Strip - Hamas, which entirely controls the enclave - with the resources to produce thousands of new rockets, according to a report on Tehran state TV. In the recent 11-day conflict, which ended last month and for which a fragile Egyptian-brokered ceasefire still holds, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired more than 4,300 rockets toward Israel's population centers. For nearly two weeks, Israel's citizens were forced to sporadically seek refuge in bomb shelters as terrorists fired rockets indiscriminately. "With the end of the Israeli regime’s latest aggression, the Palestinian resistance has resumed the process of rocket production," Fathi Hamad, a member of Hamas’ politburo, was quoted as saying over the Memorial Day weekend by Iran’s state-run Fars News Agency, reported The Washington Free Beacon. (i24 News)

05-31-2021
Nuclear Program

The United Nations' atomic watchdog hasn't been able to access data important to monitoring Iran's nuclear program since late February when the Islamic Republic started restricting international inspections of its facilities, the agency said.

The United Nations' atomic watchdog hasn't been able to access data important to monitoring Iran's nuclear program since late February when the Islamic Republic started restricting international inspections of its facilities, the agency said Monday. In its May 31 report, obtained by CBS News, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that it has "not had access" to several key pieces of information since February 23. These include data on Iran's stockpiles and production of heavy water, "the data and recordings collected" by equipment designed to monitor centrifuges and "the data from [the Agency's] online enrichment monitors and electronic seals" as well as "the measurement recordings registered by its installed measurement devices."  Since February, although the IAEA had access to relevant buildings at Iran's Fordow and Natanz nuclear sites, "it has not been able to perform daily access upon request," the report said. The most troubling point in the report is that the international watchdog agency has been unable to verify what Iran is doing at some of the sites. (AP)

05-31-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has failed to explain traces of uranium found at several undeclared sites, a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog showed possibly setting up a fresh diplomatic clash between Tehran and the West that could derail wider nuclear talks.

Iran has failed to explain traces of uranium found at several undeclared sites, a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog showed on Monday, possibly setting up a fresh diplomatic clash between Tehran and the West that could derail wider nuclear talks. Three months ago Britain, France and Germany scrapped a U.S.-backed plan for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 35-nation Board of Governors to criticise Iran for failing to fully explain the origin of the particles; the three backed off as IAEA chief Rafael Grossi announced fresh talks with Iran. "After many months, Iran has not provided the necessary explanation for the presence of the nuclear material particles at any of the three locations where the Agency has conducted complementary accesses (inspections)," a report by Grossi to member states seen by Reuters said. (Reuters)

05-29-2021
Syria Conflict

U.S. military officials in Iraq have grown increasingly alarmed over attacks by Iran-backed militias using drones to evade detection systems around military bases and diplomatic facilities.

U.S. military officials in Iraq have grown increasingly alarmed over attacks by Iran-backed militias using drones to evade detection systems around military bases and diplomatic facilities. In place of rockets, militiamen have turned at times to small, fixed-wing drones that fly too low to be picked up by defensive systems, military officials and diplomats say. An official with the U.S.-led coalition described the evolving drone threat as the military mission’s biggest concern in Iraq. In April, a drone strike targeted a CIA hangar inside the airport complex in the northern city of Irbil, according to officials familiar with the matter. The drone’s flight was tracked to within 10 miles of the site, but its path was then lost as it moved into a civilian flight path, the coalition official said. (Washington Post)

05-27-2021
Terrorism

Hamas’s chief in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar has said his organization has sufficient financial resources mostly provided by the Islamic Republic of Iran and will not touch aid money sent for reconstruction.

Hamas’s chief in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar has said his organization has sufficient financial resources mostly provided by the Islamic Republic of Iran and will not touch aid money sent for reconstruction. Palestinian groups in Gaza and Iranian officials more openly admit the degree of Iran’s support in providing arms, weapons know-how, training and cash to enable militants to fire rockets and missiles at Israel, after a ten-day-long military confrontation earlier this month. Militants fired thousands of projectiles at civilian targets in Israel. Sinwar said, “We have sufficient financial resources… a large part of which are from Iran, and another part comes from Arab and Muslim donors and free people of the world who stand in solidarity with our people and their rights.” (Iran International)

05-27-2021
Syria Conflict

After Iraqi government forces arrested a paramilitary commander, Iraqi militias backed by Iran mounted a show of force in and around the heavily guarded Green Zone in Baghdad, in a confrontation that goes to the heart of who controls security in Iraq.

Iraq’s leader has been under intense pressure to rein in the dozens of paramilitary groups that are nominally under the command of the Iraqi government but have proved seemingly impossible for him to control. That was made abundantly clear this week, when Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi ordered a move against one militia leader and quickly paid a price. After government forces arrested a paramilitary commander on Wednesday, Iraqi militias backed by Iran mounted a show of force in and around the heavily guarded Green Zone in Baghdad, in a confrontation that goes to the heart of who controls security in Iraq. (New York Times)

05-27-2021
Politics

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei endorsed the rejection of heavyweight moderate and conservative candidates for Iran's June presidential election, in which two leading hardliners fiercely loyal to him will stand against each other.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday endorsed the rejection of heavyweight moderate and conservative candidates for Iran's June presidential election, in which two leading hardliners fiercely loyal to him will stand against each other. The Guardian Council, a hardline vetting body that approves candidates, has qualified just seven of the 590 candidates for the June 18 election, including hardline judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi and former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. "The honorable Guardian Council, in accordance with its duty, did what it had to do and what it deemed necessary to do and identified the candidates," Khamenei said, according to state television. (Reuters)

05-27-2021
Human Rights

Iranian authorities waged a campaign of harassment and abuse against the families of people who died in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s (IRGC) downing of a Ukrainian airliner in January last year.

Iranian authorities waged a campaign of harassment and abuse against the families of people who died in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s (IRGC) downing of a Ukrainian airliner in January last year, Human Rights Watch claimed on Thursday. The organization spoke to 31 family members of victims and those with direct knowledge of the authorities’ treatment of the families between October, and January this year. It said: “Iran’s security agencies had arbitrarily detained, summoned, abusively interrogated, tortured, and otherwise mistreated victims’ family members.” (Arab News)

05-26-2021
Nuclear Program

The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog has warned that Iran is enriching uranium at purity levels that “only countries making bombs are reaching”.

The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog has warned that Iran is enriching uranium at purity levels that “only countries making bombs are reaching”. Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the Financial Times the situation was “very concerning” as Iran’s nuclear programme had become more sophisticated over the past two years. (Financial Times)

05-25-2021
Politics

Iran’s electoral body disqualified dozens of candidates for the country’s June presidential election, including nearly all moderates and reformists.

Iran’s electoral body disqualified dozens of candidates for the country’s June presidential election, including nearly all moderates and reformists, a step that narrows the spectrum for political participation at a time when the Islamic Republic faces growing domestic discontent. The culling of candidates near the center of Iranian politics helps smooth a path to victory for Ebrahim Raisi, a leading hard-line cleric who was defeated in the 2017 election. Analysts warn the move risks reducing voter turnout and further diminishing the popularity of a clerical-led system that has suppressed repeated bouts of political and economic unrest. “It seems the hard-liners’ plan to fully monopolize power in their hands very much overshadows any desire to present elections in the Islamic Republic as proof of the system’s legitimacy,” said Ali Fathollah-Nejad, a scholar affiliated with Freie Universität Berlin. (Wall Street Journal)

05-23-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has increased its stockpile of 60% enriched uranium to 25 kilograms (55 pounds), Iranian state media reported.

Iran has increased its stockpile of 60% enriched uranium to 25 kilograms (55 pounds), Iranian state media reported, potentially adding to complications dogging efforts to revive Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. "So far, we have produced 25 kilograms of 60% uranium, which, except for countries with nuclear weapons, no other country is able to produce," Iranian media quoted Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, as saying. (Reuters)

05-23-2021
Extremism

The leadership of Iran, engaged in a long shadow war with Israel on land, air and sea, did not try to conceal the pleasure it took in the most recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The leadership of Iran, engaged in a long shadow war with Israel on land, air and sea, did not try to conceal the pleasure it took in the most recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Over the 11 days of fighting this month, Tehran praised the damage being done to its enemy, and the state news media and conservative commentators highlighted Iran’s role in providing weaponry and military training to Palestinian militants in Gaza to hammer Israeli communities. Iran has for decades supported Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls Gaza and whose own interests in battling Israel align with Iran’s. Experts say that over the years, Iran has provided Hamas with financial and political support, weapons and technology and training to build its own arsenal of advanced rockets that can reach deep into Israeli territory. (New York Times)

05-21-2021
Military

Iran displayed a home-built combat drone that it said had a range of 2,000 km (1,250 miles), naming it "Gaza" in honour of the Palestinians' struggle against Israel.

Iran displayed a home-built combat drone that it said had a range of 2,000 km (1,250 miles), naming it "Gaza" in honour of the Palestinians' struggle against Israel, state media reported. Iran has a large missile and drone programme, regarding such weapons as an important deterrent and retaliatory force against the United States and other adversaries in the event of war. The West sees Iran's missiles both as a conventional military threat to regional stability and a possible delivery mechanism for nuclear weapons should Tehran develop them. Iran denies trying to build nuclear arms. (Reuters)

05-21-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran has hand-picked hundreds of trusted fighters from among the cadres of its most powerful militia allies in Iraq, forming smaller, elite and fiercely loyal factions in a shift away from relying on large groups with which it once exerted influence.

Iran has hand-picked hundreds of trusted fighters from among the cadres of its most powerful militia allies in Iraq, forming smaller, elite and fiercely loyal factions in a shift away from relying on large groups with which it once exerted influence. The new covert groups were trained last year in drone warfare, surveillance and online propaganda and answer directly to officers in Iran's Quds Force, the arm of its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) that controls its allied militia abroad. They have been responsible for a series of increasingly sophisticated attacks against the United States and its allies, according to accounts by Iraqi security officials, militia commanders and Western diplomatic and military sources. (Reuters)

05-20-2021
Extremism

The commander of Iran’s IRGC-Corps Quds Force Brig.-Gen. Esmail Qaani sent a letter to Mohammed Deif, the supreme commander of Hamas’s military wing, Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, in which he pledged that Tehran would not abandon the Palestinians.

As Israel and Hamas were reported on Thursday to be close to reaching a ceasefire agreement, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force Brig.-Gen. Esmail Qaani sent a letter to Mohammed Deif, the supreme commander of Hamas’s military wing, Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, in which he pledged that Tehran would not abandon the Palestinians. The latest round of fighting with Israel, Qaani said, “has opened a new era in the conflict with the Zionist enemy.” Qaani praised Hamas and the Gaza-based terrorist groups for engaging in a “great battle that once again proved the weakness of the enemy.” (Jerusalem Post)

05-20-2021
Terrorism

Ontario's Superior Court of Justice has ruled that the shooting down of Flight PS752 by Iran was an intentional act of terrorism.

Ontario's Superior Court of Justice has ruled that the shooting down of Flight PS752 by Iran was an intentional act of terrorism. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight with two surface-to-air missiles shortly after takeoff in Tehran on Jan. 8, 2020, killing all 176 passengers onboard. There were 138 passengers onboard with ties to Canada, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents. "The plaintiffs have established that the shooting down of Flight 752 by the defendants was an act of terrorism and constitutes 'terrorist activity'..."Justice Edward Belobaba wrote in his decision issued Thursday. (CBC)

05-20-2021
Terrorism

Over the past 10 days, Palestinian militants have unleashed one of the most intense attacks on Israel in decades, firing more than 4,000 short-range rockets and deploying a new, explosive drone intended to evade the country’s Iron Dome air-defense system.

Over the past 10 days, Palestinian militants have unleashed one of the most intense attacks on Israel in decades, firing more than 4,000 short-range rockets and deploying a new, explosive drone intended to evade the country’s Iron Dome air-defense system. Behind this onslaught, defense officials in Israel and security analysts say, is an extensive arsenal built with technical expertise from Iran and growing local skills in arms manufacturing. Israeli military leaders say they have destroyed more than two dozen missile-building factories in Gaza with airstrikes in recent days. But they estimate that the militants still have thousands of rockets left and the technical capacity to begin building more when the fighting stops. (Wall Street Journal)

05-19-2021
Human Rights

A British-Iranian labour activist arrested in Iran faces a minimum 10-year jail term after being accused of being the leader of a communist cell, his supporters have learned.

A British-Iranian labour activist arrested in Iran faces a minimum 10-year jail term after being accused of being the leader of a communist cell, his supporters have learned. Mehran Raoof, 64, has been held in solitary confinement at Tehran’s Evin jail since he was detained in October last year, along with other labour and human rights activists who gathered in a Tehran café. He has only been seen once by his lawyer at a hearing last month when he was accused of unspecified security offences, but a 200-page file seen by his legal team now accuses him of being the leader of a banned communist group. (The National)

05-14-2021
Extremism

A group of pro-Iran Twitter accounts flooded the platform with "massive surges of unmitigated antisemitism" and disinformation, enough to get it trending, as Israel stepped up military strikes against the Tehran-backed Hamas terrorists in Gaza responsible

A group of pro-Iran Twitter accounts flooded the platform with "massive surges of unmitigated antisemitism" and disinformation, enough to get it trending, as Israel stepped up military strikes against the Tehran-backed Hamas terrorists in Gaza responsible for launching hundreds of rockets at civilian targets this week, according to a nonprofit, politically neutral research institution. The Network Contagion Research Institute, or NCRI, has unveiled its findings, showing a coordinated effort to push hateful content that called for "Death to Israel" and claimed "Hitler was right." "What you have are enemy regimes that are utilizing the means of open discourse, free speech, in order to undermine democracy, even as they're funding terrorist organizations that are attacking democracy," Joel Finkelstein, the NCRI’s director and co-founder, told Fox News Friday. (Fox Business)

05-12-2021
Terrorism

Berlin security services say Iranian hackers were behind a cyber attack that targeted German companies by duping their employees into installing malware.

Berlin security services say Iranian hackers were behind a cyber attack that targeted German companies by duping their employees into installing malware. The attack was part of a wider effort by Iranian operatives to gain access to sensitive information in Germany, an intelligence report said. In the latest breach, workers at German companies received phishing emails that purported to be messages offering them a job.  When they clicked on the corresponding links, they unwittingly installed malware on their computer. (The National)

05-12-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has enriched uranium to slightly higher purity than previously thought due to “fluctuations” in the process, the United Nations’ atomic watchdog said.

Iran has enriched uranium to slightly higher purity than previously thought due to “fluctuations” in the process, the United Nations’ atomic watchdog said Wednesday. The report underscores the challenges diplomats face in ongoing talks, that began in April, to bring the United States back into the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, which is supported by U.S. President Joe Biden. The initial announcement from Iran that it would start enriching to 60% — which is not yet weapon’s grade but its highest purity yet — came just as the talks were to begin in Vienna. International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi reported to member agencies on Tuesday that the latest inspections confirmed Iran continues to enrich uranium at up to 60% purity in its Natanz plant. (AP)

05-11-2021
Extremism

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Palestinians to build up their fighting power to stop Israel's "brutality", saying Israelis "only understand the language of force", Iran's state TV reported.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on Palestinians on Tuesday to build up their fighting power to stop Israel's "brutality", saying Israelis "only understand the language of force", Iran's state TV reported. "Zionists understand nothing but the language of force, so the Palestinians must increase their power and resistance to force the criminals to surrender and stop their brutal acts," Ayatollah Khamenei said. Israel intensified its air strikes on Gaza on Tuesday as rocket barrages hit Israeli towns for a second day in a deepening conflict in which at least 28 people in the Palestinian enclave and two in Israel have been killed. (Reuters)

05-10-2021
Military

A U.S. Coast Guard cutter fired about 30 warning shots after Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats came close to U.S. Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz, the Defense Department said.

A U.S. Coast Guard cutter fired about 30 warning shots after Iranian Revolutionary Guard speedboats came close to U.S. Navy ships in the Strait of Hormuz, the Defense Department said Monday. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the Coast Guard cutter Maui fired two volleys from a .50-caliber machine gun Monday when two Revolutionary Guard fast boats "operated in an unsafe and unprofessional manner in close proximity" to six U.S. vessels, including the submarine USS Georgia. Two Revolutionary Guard speedboats broke away from a group of 13, according to the Pentagon, and went to the opposite side of the U.S. formation. They approached Maui and a Navy ship, the USS Squall, at more than 32 knots with their weapons uncovered and manned. (NBC News)

05-09-2021
Syria Conflict

The U.S. Navy announced it seized an arms shipment of thousands of assault weapons, machines guns and sniper rifles hidden aboard a ship in the Arabian Sea, apparently bound for Yemen to support the country's Houthi rebels.

The U.S. Navy announced Sunday it seized an arms shipment of thousands of assault weapons, machines guns and sniper rifles hidden aboard a ship in the Arabian Sea, apparently bound for Yemen to support the country's Houthi rebels. An American defense official told The Associated Press that the Navy's initial investigation found the vessel came from Iran, again tying the Islamic Republic to arming the Houthis despite a United Nations arms embargo. Iran's mission to the U.N. did not immediately respond to a request for comment, though Tehran has denied in the past giving the rebels weapons. The seizure, one of several amid the yearslong war in Yemen, comes as the U.S. and others try to end a conflict that spawned one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters. The arms shipment, described as sizeable, shows that the war may still have far to run. (AP)

05-07-2021
Extremism

Iran's Supreme Leader called on Muslim nations to keep fighting against Israel, which he said was not a state but a "terrorist garrison" against the Palestinians.

Iran's Supreme Leader called on Muslim nations on Friday to keep fighting against Israel, which he said was not a state but a "terrorist garrison" against the Palestinians. "The fight against this despotic regime is the fight against oppression and the fight against terrorism. And this is a public duty to fight against this regime," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech. Khamenei was speaking on Iran's annual Quds Day, which uses the Arabic name for Jerusalem, held on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. (Reuters)

05-07-2021
Nuclear Program

An intelligence report from Germany disclosed detailed information about secretive methods which the Islamic Republic of Iran uses to cover up its attempts to secure illicit technology for the world’s most deadly weapons.

A new intelligence report from Germany’s northernmost state Schleswig-Holstein disclosed detailed information on Tuesday about the secretive methods which the Islamic Republic of Iran uses to cover up its attempts to secure illicit technology for the world’s most deadly weapons. “Proliferation-relevant countries such as Iran, North Korea and Syria, but also Pakistan, try to circumvent safety precautions and legal export regulations and to disguise illegal procurement activities. To do this, they turn to mostly conspiratorial means and methods,” wrote the intelligence agency. … The Iranian regime’s methods to obtain illicit weapons of mass destruction technology, according to the intelligence report, include “The creation of a neutral firm to deceive the buyer about the true nature of the sale through a state-controlled company; the establishment of illegal procurement networks which belong to the front companies and middlemen.” (Jerusalem Post)

05-06-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran’s Quds Force commander, Hassan Erlo, is acting as de facto ruler of areas controlled by the Houthi militia, a senior Yemeni official has said.

Iran’s Quds Force commander, Hassan Erlo, is acting as de facto ruler of areas controlled by the Houthi militia, a senior Yemeni official has said. Erlo’s movements are highlighted by the Houthis’ media outfit, which confirms that he is acting as a leader, Muammar Al-Eryani, Yemen’s minister of information, culture and tourism, said on Wednesday. Eryani was quoted by state news agency SABA as saying that the Quds Force commander’s actions show that the Houthi leadership takes political, military and administrative orders from the Tehran regime. (Arab News)

05-06-2021
Extremism

"Israel could be blown up in a single operation," said the commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami.

"Israel could be blown up in a single operation," said the commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami. Known for his harsh anti-Israeli rhetoric, Salami downplayed the Jewish state's defenses as a security "bulb" that has been "burst" following a series of recent incidents. The Iranian commander enumerated Israel's "vulnerabilities" in "domino-style" attacks, for which he suggested the Islamic Republic's responsibility. Salami referred to a powerful explosion at an Israeli plant for advanced weapons April 21. Israeli media, however, have reported that the blast took place during a routine test and left no casualties. The general included in his list the explosion at a big refinery in the city of Haifa, which Israeli officials described as a "fire" that they quickly contained. (Al-Monitor)

05-06-2021
Politics

Iran's election-vetting body has spelt out conditions for running in the presidential poll, potentially barring several high-profile candidates.

Iran's election-vetting body has spelt out conditions for running in next month's presidential poll, potentially barring several high-profile candidates, local media reported Thursday. The conservative-dominated Guardian Council complained earlier this week of the "unpleasant situation" that allowed would-be candidates lacking basic requirements to register to run in the election held every four years. Under the Islamic republic's constitution, candidates for the presidency require vague qualifications such as being among "political and religious" figures. (AFP)

05-05-2021
Nuclear Program

A report authored by the Netherlands' General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) asserts that the Islamic Republic of Iran attempted to obtain technology in 2020 for weapons of mass destruction.

A damning new report authored by the Netherlands' General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) asserts that the Islamic Republic of Iran attempted to obtain technology in 2020 for weapons of mass destruction. The Dutch intelligence document, which was published in April, says the security service "investigated networks that tried to obtain the knowledge and materials to develop weapons of mass destruction. Multiple acquisition attempts have been frustrated by the intervention of the services.” According to the Dutch report, "The joint Counter-Proliferation Unit [UCP] of the AIVD and the MIVD [the country’s Military Intelligence and Security Service] is investigating how countries try to obtain the knowledge and goods they need to make weapons of mass destruction. Countries such as Syria, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea also tried to acquire such goods and technology in Europe and the Netherlands last year." (Jerusalem Post)

05-05-2021
Syria Conflict

Two rockets landed at Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq, the third such attack in three days, representing an increase in pro-Iranian rocket attacks on US forces in Iraq.

On Tuesday two rockets landed at Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq. On Monday three to six rockets fell near Balad air base in Iraq, according to various reports. The base houses US contractors and has been targeted numerous times in the past by pro-Iranian militias targeting Americans. This appears to be the third attack in three days, representing an increase in pro-Iranian rocket attacks on US forces in Iraq. The attackers frequently use 107-mm. rockets supplied by Iran, although they have also used drones in a new escalation. The attacks are designed to provide Iran leverage, to harass the US and to create plausible deniability for Iran. (Jerusalem Post)

05-05-2021
Military

Analysis of satellite imagery obtained by the International Institute for Strategic Studies revealed the construction of a new set of seven silos storing advanced new missiles in southern Iran.

Analysis of satellite imagery obtained by the International Institute for Strategic Studies revealed the construction of a new set of seven silos storing advanced new missiles in southern Iran. Defence analysts at the IISS told The National the storage facility is placed on a steep mountainside and is designed to hold dozens of the weapons at a particular slant, for precision targeting of the missiles. A missile being fired by Iran during testing of a new generation of cruise missiles in June 2020, capable of hitting targets at a distance of 280 kilometres. The imagery given to The National shows the bank of launch sites set into mountainous terrain close to the southern Iranian town of Haji Abad. The steep mountainside and particular slant of the seven silos strongly point to a limited direction that would cause concern for military airbases in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. (The National)

05-04-2021
Human Rights

Six United Nations rights experts are calling for the immediate release of imprisoned dissident Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad, who they say is reportedly so ill he risks "serious complications and possible death.”

Six United Nations rights experts are calling for the immediate release of imprisoned dissident Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad, who they say is reportedly so ill he risks "serious complications and possible death.” "We are seriously concerned at the mistreatment of Mohammad Nourizad and his continued imprisonment for expressing his opinion," the independent UN experts said in a joint statement issued on May 4. “It is clear that Mohammad Nourizad is not in a medical state to remain in prison,” they said, adding that his continued detention and the denial of adequate medical care “may amount to torture.” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

05-04-2021
Anti-Americanism

Iran released a video clip depicting a fake attack of its military blowing up the U.S. Capitol.

Amid continued talks about a revived nuclear agreement between Washington and Tehran, Iran released a video clip on Sunday depicting fake attack of its military blowing up the U.S. Capitol. The video came out on state-controlled Iranian television before the nation's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, gave a speech on Sunday, according to The Washington Free Beacon. In his talk, Khamenei praised the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), who have carried out operations against the U.S. and whose leader, Qassem Soleimani, was killed by a drone strike by the Trump administration. The footage of the fake attack also came out the same day Iran's President Hassan Rouhani declared the U.S. had lost its "economic war" against his country, saying that sanctions against Tehran are at the "brink of extermination," his rhetoric painting a grim picture for the prospect of the two nations reaching a mutual agreement on a revived Iran nuclear deal. (Newsweek)

05-02-2021
Politics

Iran's supreme leader criticised its foreign minister, who said in a leaked interview that the elite Revolutionary Guards had more influence in foreign affairs and Tehran's nuclear dossier than him.

Iran's supreme leader on Sunday criticised its foreign minister, who said in a leaked interview that the elite Revolutionary Guards had more influence in foreign affairs and Tehran's nuclear dossier than him. In the interview, aired by the London-based Iran International Persian-language satellite news channel last week, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he had "zero" influence over Iran’s foreign policy. Zarif has been the public face of Iranian diplomacy as it deals with a host of issues, including talks with world powers on how to revive Iran's 2015 nuclear accord that Washington abandoned three years ago. (Reuters)

04-29-2021
Human Rights

Iranian authorities are banning members of the persecuted Baha’i minority from burying their loved ones in empty plots at a cemetery near Tehran that they have used for decades.

Iranian authorities are banning members of the persecuted Baha’i minority from burying their loved ones in empty plots at a cemetery near Tehran that they have used for decades, instead insisting they bury them between existing graves within the cemetery or at the nearby Khavaran mass grave site for victims of the 1988 prison massacres, said Amnesty International today. The Khavaran mass grave site, which is believed to contain the remains of up to several hundred victims of the mass enforced disappearances and secret extrajudicial executions of 1988, has been bulldozed multiple times in recent decades and has gained national significance in the struggle for truth and justice. By pressuring Baha’i families to bury their loved ones there, Iranian authorities are putting the mass grave site at further risk of destruction, tampering with vital forensic evidence, and continuing to commit the crimes against humanity of enforced disappearance, torture and other inhumane acts against the families of those forcibly disappeared and secretly killed. (Amnesty International)

04-27-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran appears to have moved its weapons shipments to Syria and Lebanon from the land to ships that may be receiving protection from Russian vessels in the Mediterranean.

Amid confused reports of a drone attack on an Iranian ship in the Mediterranean on its way to Syria, Iran appears to have moved its weapons shipments to Syria and Lebanon from the land — where Israel has regularly tracked and destroyed them — to ships that may be receiving protection from Russian vessels in the Mediterranean. The Russian news agency Sputnik reported on April 17 from “special sources” that a triple, Russian-Iranian-Syrian battalion would be established in the Mediterranean to ensure the safe arrival in Syria of oil and flour shipments and other goods to Syrian ports. The defense sources say the ships documents claim they carry only oil, but there are indications that “oil is not the only cargo.” (Breaking Defense)

04-27-2021
Military

A U.S. Navy patrol boat fired warning shots during a confrontation with three Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf, officials said, in a second high-risk encounter between U.S. and Iranian naval forces in the past month.

A U.S. Navy patrol boat fired warning shots during a confrontation with three Iranian vessels on Monday in the Persian Gulf, officials said, in a second high-risk encounter between U.S. and Iranian naval forces in the past month. The incident on Monday and another in the region on April 2 marked the first in a year involving American warships. They occurred as the Biden administration presses for talks on renewing the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran. Talks began in Vienna earlier this month. In Monday’s standoff, Navy officials said that three small vessels commonly used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, swarmed two American ships operating in international waters in the northern area of the Persian Gulf. (Wall Street Journal)

04-25-2021
Nuclear Program

Iranian hardliners in the parliament have indicated that they will block a possible settlement in negotiations aimed at resuming the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iranian hardliners in the parliament have indicated that they will block a possible settlement in negotiations aimed at resuming the 2015 nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “The results of the nuclear negotiations in Vienna must be in line with Iranian law, otherwise they will be illegal,” warned MP Alireza Salimi. Tasnim News Agency reported that a settlement between the two sides would lead Washington to partially lift the sanctions, however it would not be legal unless approved by parliament. (Asharq al-Awsat)

04-23-2021
Syria Conflict

Yemen's Houthi movement said it had launched attacks with drones on a military air base and oil facility in Saudi Arabia.

Yemen's Houthi movement said on Friday it had launched attacks with drones on a military air base and oil facility in Saudi Arabia, the latest indication that diplomacy to end the six year conflict has so far failed to take hold. The Houthi military spokesman said on Twitter the group had targeted the King Khalid air base with two drones and had struck a facility of Saudi Arabia's oil company Aramco with a drone in the southwestern Saudi city of Jizan. He later said the Houthis had launched a third strike on the air base. Earlier on Friday, Saudi state television quoted the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen as saying it had intercepted two explosives-laden drones fired by the Houthis at the city of Khamis Mushait, where the air base is located. There was no immediate confirmation of the Jizan attack or the third attack on the air base. (Reuters)

04-22-2021
Military

Iran flew a drone over a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, capturing detailed footage of fighter jets aligned on the deck, crewmen on board and other military equipment.

Iran flew a drone over a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, capturing detailed footage of fighter jets aligned on the deck, crewmen on board and other military equipment, according to a report. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, which said its drone filmed the warship as it sailed through the Strait of Hormuz, released the footage on Wednesday, the Express reported.  At one point the drone hovered over the carrier as a US Navy helicopter prepared to take off or land. (New York Post)

04-21-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has installed extra advanced centrifuges at its underground uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, a report by the U.N. atomic watchdog showed, deepening Iran's breaches of its nuclear deal with major powers.

Iran has installed extra advanced centrifuges at its underground uranium enrichment plant at Natanz that was hit by a blast last week, a report by the U.N. atomic watchdog on Wednesday showed, deepening Iran's breaches of its nuclear deal with major powers. The explosion and a power outage damaged an unknown number of centrifuges and Iranian state TV has shown footage of machines that it says were replaced there. Iran has blamed Israel for the explosion. Israel has not commented formally on it. The International Atomic Energy Agency report was not clear on how many centrifuges are in use but it gave "up to" numbers of advanced machines installed at the plant that were higher than previously indicated. The report made no mention of the explosion or its effect on the plant's activity. (Reuters)

04-19-2021
Nuclear Program

Satellite images show that four new buildings have gone up at Iran’s Parchin military complex, where explosives experiments related to nuclear weapons were conducted in the early 2000s.

Satellite images show that four new buildings have gone up at Iran’s Parchin military complex, where explosives experiments related to nuclear weapons were conducted in the early 2000s. The structures are surrounded by steep walls made of compacted earth to deflect explosions, intelligence consultancy group The Intel Lab said. This comes after the completion of the nearby extension in November 2020, comprising a dozen new buildings surrounded by High and Thick concrete blast walls. (Asharq al-Awsat)

04-16-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said that Tehran had started 60% uranium enrichment at its Natanz site, days after an explosion at the site that Tehran blamed on Israel.

Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said on Friday that Tehran had started 60% uranium enrichment at its Natanz site, days after an explosion at the site that Tehran blamed on Israel. The Israeli security government cabinet will meet at 4:00 on Sunday to address the new announcement, Israeli media reported. Earlier the speaker of Iran’s parliament said Iranian scientists had successfully started enriching 60% uranium at 12.40 a.m. local time. "I am proud to announce that at 00:40 … Iranian scientists were able to produce 60% enriched uranium," he wrote. (Jerusalem Post)

04-10-2021
Nuclear Program

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani oversaw on live television the launch of advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, a key component for nuclear weapons, while reiterating his country’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani oversaw on live television Saturday the launch of advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, a key component for nuclear weapons, while reiterating his country’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation. Rouhani’s conflicting messages came as the country observed National Nuclear Technology Day, during which he was seen on state television ordering the injection of uranium gas into nearly 200 centrifuges and tests on other devices at the underground Natanz nuclear plant. “Once again, I stress that all our nuclear activities are peaceful and for non-military purposes,” Rouhani said during the ceremony at which more than 130 advances in its nuclear industry over the past year were unveiled, primarily in medicine, energy and agriculture. (VOA)

04-07-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has made 55 kg of uranium enriched to up to 20% - the point at which it is highly enriched - indicating quicker production than the 10 kg a month rate required by an Iranian law that created the process in January.

Iran has made 55 kg of uranium enriched to up to 20% - the point at which it is highly enriched - indicating quicker production than the 10 kg a month rate required by an Iranian law that created the process in January, Iranian authorities said on Wednesday. The disclosure comes a day after Tehran and Washington held what they described as “constructive” indirect talks in Vienna on Tuesday aimed at finding ways to revive a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. Iran’s hardline parliament passed a law last year that obliges the government to harden its nuclear stance, partly in reaction to former President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018. (Reuters)

04-06-2021
Human Rights

A German-Iranian woman was returned to solitary confinement at Tehran’s Evin jail on the eve of talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

A German-Iranian woman was returned to solitary confinement at Tehran’s Evin jail on the eve of talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. Nahid Taghavi, 66, was taken from a mainstream women’s wing to a section of the jail controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in which she was previously held for five months. Her family believes the move was intended to put pressure on Germany, one of the signatories to the nuclear accord, as Iran pushes for the lifting of US sanctions at talks in the Austrian capital, Vienna. (The National)

04-06-2021
Syria Conflict

Millions of crude oil barrels are on their way to Syria from Iran, violating U.S. sanctions.

Millions of crude oil barrels are on their way to Syria from Iran, violating U.S. sanctions. According to a civilian naval intelligence firm, there are four vessels with more than 3 million barrels combined on their way to the Baniyas oil refinery, near the Mediterranean coast. A satellite photo captured two days ago over the southern section of the Red Sea shows four vessels: Arman 114, Sam 121, Daran and Romina. The Arman 114 is formerly known as the Adrian Darya 1, a vessel in the center of the U.S.-Iran standoff in the summer of 2019. It was sanctioned by the Trump administration in August 2019, following its attempts to transfer the oil to Syria. (Fox News)

04-03-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran wants the United States to lift all sanctions and rejects any “step-by-step” easing of restrictions.

Iran wants the United States to lift all sanctions and rejects any “step-by-step” easing of restrictions, the foreign ministry said on Saturday ahead of planned talks in Vienna next week on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and global powers. The comments came as France urged Iran to show a constructive stance in the indirect talks with Washington in the Austrian capital, which will be part of broader negotiations. Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said that Tehran opposed any gradual easing of sanctions. (Reuters)

04-01-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has begun enriching uranium with a fourth cascade, or cluster, of advanced IR-2m machines at its underground Natanz plant, a report by the U.N. atomic watchdog showed, in a further breach of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran has begun enriching uranium with a fourth cascade, or cluster, of advanced IR-2m machines at its underground Natanz plant, a report by the U.N. atomic watchdog showed, in a further breach of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. It was the latest of many steps by Iran raising pressure on U.S. President Joe Biden with the two sides in a standoff over who should move first to salvage a deal that was meant to curb Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear bomb, if it so intended. The deal imposed limits on Iran’s nuclear activities that it started breaching in 2019 in response to a U.S. withdrawal from the accord under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, as well as the reimposition of U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic that had been lifted under the agreement. (Reuters)

03-31-2021
Human Rights

Iran is “obsessively” executing death row inmates despite a decline in public support for capital punishment, rights activists said as they released a report on the death penalty in the country.

Iran is “obsessively” executing death row inmates despite a decline in public support for capital punishment, rights activists said Tuesday as they released a report on the death penalty in the country. Iran executed at least 267 prisoners last year, according to the report by the Paris-based Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) and Iran Human Rights (IHR). At least four were juvenile offenders while nine were women, the annual report said. The overall figure indicates a downward trend in capital punishment in the Islamic republic since 2015, when 972 people were executed, and is the lowest number since the report was first published in 2008. (AFP)

03-31-2021
Syria Conflict

Along Iraq’s borders, a corrupt customs-evasion cartel is diverting billions of dollars away from state coffers to line the pockets of armed groups, political parties and crooked officials.

Along Iraq’s borders, a corrupt customs-evasion cartel is diverting billions of dollars away from state coffers to line the pockets of armed groups, political parties and crooked officials. The prime beneficiaries are Iran-linked Shiite paramilitaries that intimidate federal officials who dare obstruct them, sometimes through chillingly specific death threats, a six-month AFP investigation has found. The network is so well-oiled and entrenched that revenues are parceled out among rival groups with remarkably little friction, part of a parallel system that Iraq’s finance minister has described as “state plunder.” (AFP)

03-27-2021
Syria Conflict

China agreed to invest $400 billion in Iran over 25 years in exchange for a steady supply of oil to fuel its growing economy under a newly signed sweeping economic and security agreement.

China agreed to invest $400 billion in Iran over 25 years in exchange for a steady supply of oil to fuel its growing economy under a sweeping economic and security agreement signed on Saturday. The deal could deepen China’s influence in the Middle East and undercut American efforts to keep Iran isolated. But it was not immediately clear how much of the agreement can be implemented while the U.S. dispute with Iran over its nuclear program remains unresolved. President Biden has offered to resume negotiations with Iran over the 2015 nuclear accord that his predecessor, President Donald J. Trump, abrogated three years after it was signed. American officials say both countries can take synchonized steps to bring Iran into compliance with the terms of the agreement while the United States gradually lifts sanctions. (New York Times)

03-25-2021
Syria Conflict

An Iranian missile struck an Israeli ship sailing from Tanzania to India, Israel’s Channel 12 said, without saying where it got the information or how Iran was implicated.

An Iranian missile struck an Israeli ship sailing from Tanzania to India, Israel’s Channel 12 said, without saying where it got the information or how Iran was implicated. It’s the fourth time in about a month that the bitter enemies have traded allegations of attacks at sea, and comes amid heightened tensions as Israel opposes U.S. President Joe Biden’s efforts to rejoin the 2015 deal that limited Iran’s nuclear activities. Israel’s army spokesman didn’t comment, and there was no response from XT Management, the company Channel 12 cited as owning the Israeli ship. Officials in Iran, where a public holiday is being celebrated, couldn’t be reached for comment. (Bloomberg)

03-22-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran is hiding equipment from international officials that could enable it to build a nuclear bomb, according to a report in the Telegraph citing unnamed Western intelligence officials.

Iran is hiding equipment from international officials that could enable it to build a nuclear bomb, according to a Monday report. Unnamed Western intelligence officials told The Telegraph that they fear Iran is concealing essential parts and pumps for centrifuges that are used to enrich uranium to the weapons-grade level of 90 percent. The machinery is allegedly hidden at secret sites run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the report said. Iran denies its nuclear program has military goals, but has repeatedly threatened to destroy Israel and has said that it can enrich uranium to 90% quickly if it wants. (Times of Israel)

03-22-2021
Syria Conflict

Syrian opposition media outlets are reporting that the Iranian proxy militia, Kataib al-Imam Ali, has opened a new recruitment center at the heart of the regime-run northern city of Aleppo.

Syrian opposition media outlets are reporting that the Iranian proxy militia, Kataib al-Imam Ali, has opened a new recruitment center at the heart of the regime-run northern city of Aleppo. Establishing the drafting center took place with consent from the Syrian regime, said local sources. Javad al-Ghaffari, a prominent Iranian leader who is based in Aleppo, had met with officials at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Damascus to discuss and approve the operation. All those willing to join the militia, including army defectors and dodgers of compulsory military service, will be accepted, sources predicted. Regime forces will drop their pursuit of anyone drafted into the Iranian militia, even if they are ex-soldiers wanted for decamping or citizens accused of draft evasion. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

03-22-2021
Military

Iran is planning to expand its submarine fleet amid continued maritime tensions with the U.S., Israel and other powers.

Iran is planning to expand its submarine fleet amid continued maritime tensions with the U.S., Israel and other powers as President Joe Biden pushes for a diplomatic thaw between Washington, D.C. and Tehran despite regional violence. Rear-Admiral Amir Rastegari, the head of the Defense Ministry's marine industries organization arm, told the state-run IRNA on Monday that the navy is planning to provide "light and semi-heavy domestically-developed submarines" to the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC maritime area of responsibility is the Persian Gulf stretching to the Strait of Hormuz, Rastegari said. Iran's navy oversees the eastern portion of the Strait of Hormuz into the Indian Ocean. (Newsweek)

03-21-2021
Anti-Americanism

Iran has made threats against Fort McNair, an Army post in the U.S. capital, and against the Army’s vice chief of staff.

Iran has made threats against Fort McNair, an Army post in the U.S. capital, and against the Army’s vice chief of staff, two senior U.S. intelligence officials said. They said communications intercepted by the National Security Agency in January showed that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard discussed mounting “USS Cole-style attacks” against the Army post, referring to the October 2000 suicide attack in which a small boat pulled up alongside the Navy destroyer in the Yemeni port of Aden and exploded, killing 17 sailors. The intelligence also revealed threats to kill Gen. Joseph M. Martin and plans to infiltrate and surveil the installation, according to the officials, who were not authorized to publicly discuss national security matters and spoke on condition of anonymity. The Army post, one of the oldest in the country, is Martin’s official residence. (Associated Press)

03-21-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said his country was in “no hurry” to revive the nuclear deal and warned the U.S. its current policy toward the Islamic Republic was doomed to fail unless sanctions are effectively and fully removed.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said his country was in “no hurry” to revive the nuclear deal and warned the U.S. its current policy toward the Islamic Republic was doomed to fail unless sanctions are effectively and fully removed. Khamenei’s speech, marking the Persian new year in Iran, highlighted his impatience with the Biden administration’s decision to maintain sanctions and continue a standoff that started almost three years ago when former President Donald Trump abandoned the multilateral, 2015 nuclear deal. “We shouldn’t burn opportunities, but we shouldn’t hurry either,” Khamenei said, adding “we have a lot of patience and will continue to do our own thing. If they accepted and implemented our desired policy, everything will be fixed. If not, things will remain as it is and there’s nothing wrong with that.” (Bloomberg)

03-19-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran will cold test its redesigned Arak nuclear reactor as prelude to fully commissioning it later in the year, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said.

Iran will cold test its redesigned Arak nuclear reactor as prelude to fully commissioning it later in the year, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said on Friday. Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi was quoted by local media as saying the cold testing, which usually include the initial startup of fluid systems and support systems, will take place early in the Iranian new year that begins this Sunday. “In other words, we have advanced work in the field of fuel, storage, etc,” Kamalvandi said. (Reuters)

03-18-2021
Human Rights

Swedish-Iranian scientist Ahmadreza Djalali, sentenced to death in Iran on espionage charges, is in critical condition and near death after months of prolonged solitary confinement.

Swedish-Iranian scientist Ahmadreza Djalali, sentenced to death in Iran on espionage charges, is in critical condition and near death after months of prolonged solitary confinement, U.N. human rights experts said on Thursday. “Djalali’s situation is truly horrific,” the experts said. In an appeal calling on Iran to release him, they said he had been held in solitary confinement for more than 100 days, with prison officials shining bright lights in his cell round the clock to deprive him of sleep. “Medical issues have prevented him from eating properly, resulting in dramatic weight loss,” said the experts, who include the U.N. special rapporteurs on the situation in Iran, arbitrary executions, arbitrary detentions and torture. (Reuters)

03-17-2021
Military

Iran’s civil aviation body blamed a misaligned radar and an error by an air defence operator in a final report into the shooting-down of a Ukrainian passenger plane in January 2020 that killed all 176 people aboard.

Iran’s civil aviation body blamed a misaligned radar and an error by an air defence operator in a final report into the shooting-down of a Ukrainian passenger plane in January 2020 that killed all 176 people aboard. The report on Wednesday into the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 “makes no attempt to answer critical questions about what truly happened and appears incomplete,” Canada said in a statement. Many of the victims killed in the crash were Canadian citizens or permanent residents. “There will be no solace for the families because the whole story, the complete story with the hard evidence to back it up is not being provided,” added Ralph Goodale, an advisor to Canada’s prime minister on PS752. (Reuters)

03-17-2021
Military

The Iranian Khorgo underground ballistic missile site is almost operational after new launching positions were constructed.

The Iranian Khorgo underground ballistic missile site is almost operational after new launching positions were constructed, satellite images obtained by Fox News show. Images taken by Maxar Technologies reveal four holes dug into the side of a mountain. Three of the shafts are hardened vertical launch positions in their final construction phase, according to a separate analysis done by the civilian intelligence group Intel Lab. "Considering the geographic location as well as the existing topography, once this complex reaches full operational capability, it will not be an easy task to neutralize it by conventional means," said Chief Intel Lab Analyst Itay Bar-Lev. (Fox News)

03-17-2021
Terrorism

The leaders of Russia and Iran last year ordered their governments to attempt to influence U.S. voters’ choices in the presidential election and undermine the public’s faith in American democracy.

The leaders of Russia and Iran last year ordered their governments to attempt to influence U.S. voters’ choices in the presidential election and undermine the public’s faith in American democracy, a U.S. intelligence assessment released Tuesday said. Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a range of intelligence operations intended to hurt Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and support President Trump’s re-election, while Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved a digital scheme to undercut Mr. Trump’s re-election bid, the declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said. China didn’t undertake an effort to influence voters, considering but ultimately forgoing one because neither candidate appeared sufficiently favorable to Beijing to risk its being caught by the U.S., the report said. The report also found that Cuba, Venezuela and the militant group Hezbollah took some steps to influence the election as well, though it described those as generally smaller in scale to Russia’s and Iran’s meddling. (Wall Street Journal)

03-16-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has started enriching uranium at its underground Natanz plant with a second type of advanced centrifuge, the IR-4, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report reviewed by Reuters, in a further breach of Tehran’s deal with major powers.

Iran has started enriching uranium at its underground Natanz plant with a second type of advanced centrifuge, the IR-4, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report reviewed by Reuters on Tuesday, in a further breach of Tehran’s deal with major powers. Iran has recently accelerated its breaches of the deal’s restrictions on its nuclear activities in an apparent bid to pressure U.S. President Joe Biden as both sides are locked in a standoff over who should move first to save the deal. Tehran’s breaches began in 2019 in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the deal and the reimposition of U.S. economic sanctions against Iran under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, who opposed the agreement and sought to wreck it. (Reuters)

03-16-2021
Military

Iranian state TV has aired footage of what it said was a new Revolutionary Guard base, a “missile city” armed to the teeth with cruise and ballistic weapons.

Iranian state TV has aired footage of what it said was a new Revolutionary Guard base, a “missile city” armed to the teeth with cruise and ballistic weapons.  Inside the underground facility, the footage broadcast Monday shows what appear to be advanced munitions including scores of missiles lined up along concrete walls. Outside, the base hosts what the Guard said is electronic warfare equipment, including radar, monitoring devices and simulation and disruption systems. “What we see today is a small section of the great and expansive missile capability of Revolutionary Guards’ naval forces,” Guards commander Gen. Hossein Salami said on the broadcast. (CNBC)

03-16-2021
Extremism

The chief of general staff of Iran’s armed forces, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, issued a fresh warning against Israel that Iran “has acquired what it takes to blow up the Zionist regime.”

The chief of general staff of Iran’s armed forces, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri, issued a fresh warning March 16 against Israel. “Iran has acquired what it takes to blow up the Zionist regime,” Bagheri said. He said the potential “removal of the child-killing, malicious, fake regime from the political geography of the region is no illusion, but rather a genuine power that Iranian forces have gained with resolve and faith.” The statement was in apparent response a strong threat earlier this month by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who told Fox News that his country was updating plans to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. “We must stand independently and we must defend ourselves by ourselves,” Gantz warned, saying this would be the case if the world is unable to curb the Iranian nuclear program, which Israel has long considered as the top existential threat to its security. (Al-Monitor)

03-15-2021
Human Rights

Iranian authorities have charged French tourist Benjamin Briere, arrested 10 months ago, with espionage and “propaganda against the system”, one of his lawyers told Reuters.

Iranian authorities have charged French tourist Benjamin Briere, arrested 10 months ago, with espionage and “propaganda against the system”, one of his lawyers told Reuters on Monday. The news comes as the United States and European parties to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, including France, are trying to restore the pact that was abandoned in 2018 by then-U.S. president Donald Trump. Trump’s successor Joe Biden has offered to join European countries in talks to revive the accord, but Tehran says Washington should first lift sanctions imposed in 2018 by Trump. “On Sunday (Briere) was charged with two counts of espionage and propaganda against the Islamic Republic,” his lawyer Saeid Dehghan said, adding that Briere faced a lengthy jail sentence. (Reuters)

03-14-2021
Syria Conflict

Tehran supports attacks on Saudi Arabia by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ overseas Quds Force has admitted.

Tehran supports attacks on Saudi Arabia by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ overseas Quds Force has admitted. Ismail Qaani told a conference in the northeastern city of Mashhad that the Houthis had launched  “18 operations in less than 10 days” targeting the Kingdom. He said Iran supported all such armed groups around the world, which he described as “forces of resistance against global arrogance.” (Arab News)

03-14-2021
Human Rights

A trial to present new charges against a British-Iranian woman detained for five years in Iran has convened, her supporters said, casting uncertainty over her future following her release from prison.

A trial to present new charges against a British-Iranian woman detained for five years in Iran convened Sunday, her supporters said, casting uncertainty over her future following her release from prison. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe appeared in court to face charges of “spreading propaganda against the regime,” said Richard Ratcliffe, who has outspokenly campaigned for his wife’s release. Iranian authorities had introduced the new indictment months ago, but adjourned the trial until Zaghari-Ratcliffe completed her 5-year sentence on widely refuted spying charges last week. A verdict was expected within several days, he added. (Associated Press)

03-12-2021
Human Rights

An exiled Iranian Arab rights activist has revealed that three minority Arab dissidents executed by Iran’s Islamist authorities last month showed signs of torture before their death sentences were carried out.

An exiled Iranian Arab rights activist has revealed that three minority Arab dissidents executed by Iran’s Islamist authorities last month showed signs of torture before their death sentences were carried out. In a Wednesday interview with VOA Persian from London, researcher Karim Dahimi said dissidents Jasem Heidary, Ali Khasraji and Hossein Silawi had bruises when relatives were given a brief chance to see the men shortly before their Feb. 28 executions at Sepidar prison in the southwestern city of Ahvaz. The rights activist cited information he got from the relatives, whom he did not name. Dahimi has a reputation as a credible source on the human rights situation of his ethnic Ahwazi Arab minority group that lives mainly in Iran’s Khuzestan province, of which Ahvaz is the capital. His research is cited by international human rights organizations such as the Washington-based Abdorrahman Boroumand Center and the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights group. (Voice of America)

03-12-2021
Human Rights

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has described her five years of torture at the hands of the Iranian regime to independent investigators for the first time.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has described her five years of torture at the hands of the Iranian regime to independent investigators for the first time. During six hours of video consultation over three days, Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 43, detailed abuse including sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, prolonged isolation, stress positions and prolonged handcuffing, chaining and blindfolding. Doctors diagnosed “serious and chronic post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression and obsessive compulsive disorder” after an evaluation conducted by the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims. The full report, which used United Nations standards for the assessment of torture, has been shared with The Times. The investigators conclude that she has no chance of recovery unless she is brought home for treatment. (The Times)

03-11-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei claimed that the Islamic Republic’s presence in countries such as Iraq and Syria is not for military control, but rather for “advisory” assistance.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei claimed that the Islamic Republic’s presence in countries such as Iraq and Syria is not for military control, but rather for “advisory” assistance. “We are there to support sovereign governments at their own behest,” he said, rejecting the US depiction of Iran as a “destabilizing” factor. Khamenei also criticized the American military for establishing bases in those two countries “without permission” from the hosts. The issue of Iran’s influence in the region has been at the core of its tensions with the West and Khamenei’s latest remarks appeared as yet another message of defiance and a clear statement that the issue is not up for negotiations. Instead, he insisted that it is the United States “that must leave Iraq and Syria.” (Al-Monitor)

03-10-2021
Human Rights

A U.N. report on the human rights situation in Iran presents a bleak picture of a society living under a system of brutal political repression and rampant violations of fundamental freedoms.

A U.N. report on the human rights situation in Iran presents a bleak picture of a society living under a system of brutal political repression and rampant violations of fundamental freedoms.  The report has been submitted to the U.N. human rights council. In his presentation to the council, U.N. special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran Javaid Rehman did not mince his words.  He urged the International community to make Iran accountable for perpetrating what he called the most egregious violations with impunity. "It is beyond belief that almost 18 months since the deadly crackdown against the November 2019 protests in Iran, the government has still not conducted a proper investigation nor held anyone accountable for the lethal force used against protestors, which caused at least 304 deaths," Rehman said. (Voice of America)

03-09-2021
Politics

Prominent members of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are lining up for this summer's presidential election.

Prominent members of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are lining up for this summer's presidential election, which marks the end of moderate President Hassan Rouhani's term and likely a pivot to a more combative and inflexible regime in Tehran. IRGC figures are hoping to capitalize on a conservative wave, buoyed by the failure of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, former President Donald Trump's punitive "maximum pressure" campaign on Tehran, and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's desire to secure the future of the Iranian theocracy. American sanctions and diplomatic isolation have choked Iran's economy, which has also struggled to stay afloat amid the chaos unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic. (Newsweek)

03-08-2021
Extremism

Iran's defense minister has responded to the suggestion of military action from Israel by threatening to "raze" the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Iran's defense minister has responded to the suggestion of military action from Israel by threatening to "raze" the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa, as regional tensions remain high amid U.S. President Joe Biden's efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal. Israel remains staunchly opposed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which it says is inadequate and will only embolden Tehran in its weapons programs, and has threatened military action against Iran's nuclear program. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last month that his country would stop Iran's nuclear program "with or without" the JCPOA, while Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Israel Defense Forces chief Aviv Kohavi have both said their troops are drawing up attack plans. (Newsweek)

03-07-2021
Syria Conflict

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels said they attacked a major Saudi Arabian oil port on the Persian Gulf with drones and missiles.

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels said they attacked a major Saudi Arabian oil port on the Persian Gulf with drones and missiles on Sunday. Saudi authorities said the strike caused no casualties or damage. The Saudi Energy Ministry said an assault “coming from the sea” had targeted petroleum tanks at the Ras Tanura port. It condemned what it called “repeated acts of sabotage and hostility” targeting energy supplies to the world. “All indications point to Iran,” said an adviser to the Saudi royal court who said he was briefed on the matter. He said it wasn’t clear whether the origin was Iran or Iraq but that it hadn’t come from the direction of Yemen. (Wall Street Journal)

03-04-2021
Terrorism

Iranian militia groups claim to have active cells of operatives stationed in Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities, according to chatter in online forums used by these groups.

Iranian militia groups claim to have active cells of operatives stationed in Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities, according to chatter in online forums used by these groups. Kawtheryoon Electronic Team, a Telegram network used by Iranian militia groups and supporters, claimed in a recent posting that Iranian "resistance cells are rooted even in America and its capital," according to a copy of the English-language posting captured by the Middle East Media Research Institute, which tracks radical groups. The group additionally claimed that terror factions associated with Iran are growing stronger and attracting more support than ever before. The group demanded the United States withdraw all of its troops from Iraq and the Middle East. The post included a picture of caskets containing U.S. soldiers. (Washington Free Beacon)

03-04-2021
Human Rights

A court in Iran has ordered the dissolution of a prominent Iranian NGO that fights poverty.

A court in Iran has ordered the dissolution of a prominent Iranian NGO that fights poverty. Imam Ali's Popular Students Relief Society (IAPSRS) announced the court decision on Twitter on March 3 without providing details, including whether it plans on appealing the ruling. The decision came after Iran's Interior Ministry filed a complaint against the NGO and called on the judiciary to order its dissolution, a move that Human Rights Watch (HRW) said "fits a broader pattern of repression faced by civil society, but with the targeting of IAPSRS, authorities are now even shuttering groups that have been officially registered with the government." (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

03-04-2021
Syria Conflict

U.S. and Iraqi officials believe that an Iran-backed group, Kata’ib Hezbollah, with a history of targeting Americans in Iraq was responsible for a rocket attack on an Iraqi air base that hosts U.S. troops.

U.S. and Iraqi officials believe that an Iran-backed group with a history of targeting Americans in Iraq was responsible for Wednesday's attack on an Iraqi air base that hosts U.S. troops. While the investigation into the attack on Ain al-Asad air base in the western province of Anbar is still ongoing, officials believe that Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed paramilitary force, or an affiliated group was responsible, according to two defense officials familiar with early intelligence. The two defense officials requested anonymity to discuss intelligence. A spokesperson for U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the Middle East, declined to offer immediate comment. (Politico)

03-03-2021
Terrorism

Israel accused Iran of being linked to a recent oil spill off its shores that caused major ecological damage, calling the incident environmental terrorism.

Israel accused Iran on Wednesday of being linked to a recent oil spill off its shores that caused major ecological damage, calling the incident environmental terrorism. The spill was caused by an oil tanker that was carrying pirated cargo from Iran to Syria last month, Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel said. The vessel sailed through the Gulf and the Red Sea without radio contact, switching its tracking devices back on before passing through Egypt’s Suez Canal, Gamliel told reporters. (Reuters)

03-01-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran rejected a European Union offer to hold direct nuclear talks with the U.S. in the coming days, risking renewed tension between Tehran and Western capitals.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday accused Iran of attacking an Israeli-owned ship in the Gulf of Oman last week, a mysterious explosion that further spiked security concerns in the region. Without offering any evidence to his claim, Netanyahu told Israeli public broadcaster Kan that “it was indeed an act by Iran, that’s clear.” “Iran is the greatest enemy of Israel, I am determined to halt it. We are hitting it in the entire region,” Netanyahu said. Iran promptly dismissed the charges. (Associated Press)

02-26-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran threatens to end a deal struck with the U.N. nuclear watchdog temporarily salvaging much monitoring of its activities if the agency’s board endorses a U.S.-led push to criticize Tehran next week.

Iran is threatening to end a deal struck with the U.N. nuclear watchdog last weekend temporarily salvaging much monitoring of its activities if the agency’s board endorses a U.S.-led push to criticise Tehran next week, an Iranian position paper shows. Tehran this week scaled back cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, ending extra inspection measures introduced by its 2015 nuclear accord with major powers. It was the latest of many steps retaliating for U.S. sanctions reimposed after the United States pulled out of that agreement in 2018. Iran and U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration are now locked in a standoff over who should move first to save the unravelling 2015 deal. Tehran says Washington should lift sanctions first.  Biden wants Iran to undo its many retaliatory breaches of the deal’s nuclear restrictions first. (Reuters)

02-25-2021
Human Rights

Iran summoned eight Baha’i citizens to begin prison terms after convicting them of security crimes for peaceful activities, including alleged communication with Western media and organizing educational programs for Baha’i children.

Iran has reportedly summoned eight Baha’i citizens to begin prison terms after convicting them of security crimes for peaceful activities, including alleged communication with Western media and organizing educational programs for Baha’i children. Speaking to VOA Persian on Monday, an Iran-based source who is familiar with the situation of the eight Baha’is residing in the southern port of Bandar Abbas said they received a court notice of the prison summons the day before. The source provided VOA an apparent copy of the document, which gives the six men and two women 10 days to turn themselves in to local authorities to start serving their sentences. VOA cannot independently verify the authenticity of the document as it is barred from reporting inside Iran. (Voice of America)

02-25-2021
Human Rights

Protesters in Iran’s impoverished southeast clashed with security forces for a third consecutive day, in the latest challenge for a government facing public resentment over widespread economic hardship in the country.

Protesters in Iran’s impoverished southeast clashed with security forces for a third consecutive day, in the latest challenge for a government facing public resentment over widespread economic hardship in the country. A crowd attacked a police station in the city of Saravan with grenades and light arms on Thursday, killing one policeman before security forces repelled the rioters, the government said. The unrest erupted earlier this week when protesters stormed a local governor’s building and another police station. Those incidents came in response to Revolutionary Guard patrols firing at alleged fuel smugglers crossing the Pakistani border, killing at least 10 people, according to rights activists in the area. (Wall Street Journal)

02-25-2021
Terrorism

Twitter has suspended hundreds of Iran-based accounts for allegedly manipulative behavior.

Twitter has suspended hundreds of Iran-based accounts for allegedly manipulative behavior. Twitter removed 238 accounts operating from Iran as part of an investigation into influence operations targeting the 2020 US presidential elections, the social media giant said in a press release on Tuesday. The investigation began in October when Twitter removed around 130 Iranian accounts. The FBI told Twitter the accounts were seeking to “disrupt the public conversation” during a presidential debate. (Al-Monitor)

02-24-2021
Syria Conflict

Venezuela and Iran, both sanctioned by the United States, have found a way to help each other as shipping companies stay away from dealings with the two oil-producing countries for fear of running afoul of the U.S.

Venezuela and Iran, both sanctioned by the United States, have found a way to help each other as shipping companies stay away from dealings with the two oil-producing countries for fear of running afoul of the U.S. Venezuela is shipping jet fuel to Iran in the same tankers in which Iran delivers gasoline and spare parts for the refineries in Venezuela, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter and documents of Venezuela’s state oil firm PDVSA it had seen. Venezuela, which has an excess of jet fuel with flights grounded in the country over the past year due to the coronavirus, is sending aviation fuel to Iran, after having received gasoline from the Islamic Republic, according to Reuters’ sources. (Oil Price)

02-23-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran officially started restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities Tuesday, a bid to pressure European countries and President Joe Biden’s administration to lift crippling economic sanctions and restore the 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran officially started restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities Tuesday, a bid to pressure European countries and President Joe Biden’s administration to lift crippling economic sanctions and restore the 2015 nuclear deal. World powers slammed the restrictions as a “dangerous” move. It came as the International Atomic Energy Agency reported in a confidential document distributed to member countries and seen by The Associated Press that Iran had added 17.6 kilograms (38.8 pounds) of uranium enriched up to 20% to its stockpile as of Feb. 16. (Associated Press)

02-22-2021
Nuclear Program

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday Iran might enrich uranium up to 60% purity if the country needed it and would never yield to U.S. pressure over its nuclear program.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday Iran might enrich uranium up to 60% purity if the country needed it and would never yield to U.S. pressure over its nuclear programme, state television reported. Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six powers, which it has been breaching since the United States withdrew in 2018, caps the fissile purity to which Tehran can refine uranium at 3.67%, well under the 20% achieved before the agreement and far below the 90% suitable for a nuclear weapon. “Iran’s uranium enrichment level will not be limited to 20%. We will increase it to whatever level the country needs ... We may increase it to 60%,” the TV quoted Khamenei as saying, upping the ante in a stand-off with U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration over the future of the fraying deal. (Reuters)

02-19-2021
Syria Conflict

Iranian-backed Iraqi militias were most likely behind a deadly rocket barrage on a U.S.-led coalition base in northern Iraq earlier this week, but it's not clear whether Iran had any role in directing the attack, experts and a U.S. official said.

Iranian-backed Iraqi militias were most likely behind a deadly rocket barrage on a U.S.-led coalition base in northern Iraq earlier this week, but it's not clear whether Iran had any role in directing the attack, experts and a U.S. official said on Friday. The attack on Irbil on Monday in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq bore the telltale signs of the Shiite militias supported by Iran, with tactics, weapons and online posts that resembled previous assaults on U.S. targets in Iraq, a current U.S. official, a former senior U.S. diplomat, and a regional expert told NBC News. Iran said on Tuesday it had no links with the group that claimed to have carried out the attack. (NBC News)

02-17-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has informed the U.N. nuclear watchdog it plans to install more of its advanced IR-2m centrifuges at an underground uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, a report by the agency said, which would deepen a breach of Iran’s nuclear deal.

Iran has informed the U.N. nuclear watchdog it plans to install more of its advanced IR-2m centrifuges at an underground uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, a report by the agency on Wednesday said, which would deepen a breach of Iran’s nuclear deal. “Iran indicated it plans to install two additional cascades of 174 IR-2m centrifuges at FEP to enrich ... up to 5% U-235. This will bring the total number of cascades of IR-2m centrifuges either planned, being installed, or operating in FEP to six,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report to member states obtained by Reuters. An IAEA report on Feb. 1 said Iran had brought a second cascade, or cluster, of IR-2m centrifuges online at the Natanz Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) and was installing two more. Iran’s deal with major powers says it can only enrich at the FEP with far less efficient, first-generation IR-1 centrifuges. (Reuters)

02-16-2021
Military

The Iranian and Russian militaries have kicked off a joint naval drill in the Indian Ocean aimed at boosting security of maritime trade in the region.

The Iranian and Russian militaries have kicked off a joint naval drill in the Indian Ocean aimed at boosting security of maritime trade in the region, Iran’s state TV reported on Tuesday. The TV said units from Iran’s Navy and the powerful Revolutionary Guard’s naval forces will take part in the exercise dubbed “Iran-Russia Maritime Security Belt 2021” in the northern part of Indian Ocean, spanning a stretch of about a 17,000 kilometers (10,600 miles). According to Iranian Adm. Gholamreza Tahani, the drill spokesman, a Russian destroyer, logistics ship and a helicopter were to participate in the drill. This is the second such joint Russia-Iran exercise since 2019, when the two nations plus China held a four-day exercise. (Associated Press)

02-15-2021
Human Rights

The UN’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran has expressed concern over reports that the country has subjected lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) children to “torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.”

The UN’s special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran has expressed concern over reports that the country has subjected lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) children to “torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.” In a report released last week, Javaid Rehman said such practices, which violate Iran’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, reportedly include “electric shocks and the administration of hormones and strong psychoactive medications.” Rehman said that members of Iran’s LGBT community “are often advised that their gender nonconformity or same-sex attraction represents so-called gender identity disorder, which necessitates ‘reparative’ therapies or sex reassignment surgeries, to ‘cure’ them.” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

02-11-2021
Military

Iran is scheduled to unveil its homegrown Kaman-22 armed drone this month, said Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh, Commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force last week.

Iran is scheduled to unveil its homegrown Kaman-22 armed drone this month, said Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh, Commander of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force last week. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will be an upgrade of the Kaman-12 drone, which was first introduced in September last year. The improved aircraft will be able to carry 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of explosives, Nasirzadeh said. Speaking during an online interview with Mehr News Agency, Nasirzadeh said professionals are being trained at Tehran’s Shahid Sattari Aeronautical University to operate the drone, and that exchange programs between Iranian students and Chinese and Pakistani institutions are underway. (Defense Post)

02-11-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has started producing uranium metal, the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency said, in a fresh breach of the limits laid out in Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran has started producing uranium metal, the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency said Wednesday, in a fresh breach of the limits laid out in Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The latest violation of the deal, which is aimed at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, came as Iran warned that time was running out for President Joe Biden's administration to save the agreement. The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a report obtained by CBS News United Nations' reporter Pamela Falk that on February 8, it verified 3.6 grams of uranium metal "had been produced" at Iran's Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant in Esfahan. IAEA director general Rafael Grossi informed member states of the new violation, the statement added. (CBS News)

02-11-2021
Extremism

Iranian schoolkids are studying anti-Semitism, hatred and conspiratorial material in their textbooks.

Iranian schoolkids are studying anti-Semitism, hatred and conspiratorial material in their textbooks, including a theory that Western media hyped up the COVID-19 pandemic to thwart large-scale attendance at last year’s celebration of the Iranian revolution, according to a comprehensive study published by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Thursday. Specific examples include teaching students to chant “Death to Israel,” a nation the books describe as a fake regime that must be eliminated. They teach that Jews have conspired against Islam from its earliest days, forging Islamic scriptures and using warfare and even Freemasonry to achieve evil aims. (The Times of Israel)

02-09-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran’s intelligence minister said persistent Western pressure could push Tehran to fight back like a “cornered cat” and seek nuclear weapons, which the Islamic Republic has for years insisted it has no intention of ever developing.

Iran’s intelligence minister said persistent Western pressure could push Tehran to fight back like a “cornered cat” and seek nuclear weapons, which the Islamic Republic has for years insisted it has no intention of ever developing. The remarks made in a television interview are a rare suggestion that Iran might have an interest in nuclear weapons, which Western nations have accused Iran of pursuing. Iranian officials have repeatedly dismissed this charge, citing a fatwa or religious decree issued in the early 2000s by the Islamic Republic’s top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that bans the development or use of nuclear arms. (Reuters)

02-08-2021
Human Rights

Iran is running two surveillance operations in cyber-space, targeting more than 1,000 dissidents, according to a leading cyber-security company.

Iran is running two surveillance operations in cyber-space, targeting more than 1,000 dissidents, according to a leading cyber-security company. The efforts were directed against individuals in Iran and 12 other countries, including the UK and US, Check Point said. It said the two groups involved were using new techniques to install spyware on targets' PCs and mobile devices. And this was then being used to steal call recordings and media files. (Newsweek)

02-08-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran and North Korea cooperated on long-range missile development projects last year, according to a confidential United Nations report that may pressure the Biden administration to respond to one of its first major geopolitical crises.

Iran and North Korea cooperated on long-range missile development projects last year, according to a confidential United Nations report that may pressure the Biden administration to respond to one of its first major geopolitical crises. “This resumed cooperation is said to have included the transfer of critical parts, with the most recent shipment associated with this relationship taking place in 2020,” an independent panel of experts monitoring sanctions on North Korea said in the report, citing a member state. Frequently on the fringes of international diplomacy, North Korea and Iran have long had a secretive, mutually beneficial relationship. The UN panel received information showing that Iran’s Shahid Haj Ali Movahed Research Center received “support and assistance” from North Korean missile specialists for a space launch vehicle, and that North Korea was involved in certain shipments to Iran. (Bloomberg)

02-06-2021
Terrorism

Iranian cyber actors are likely behind the creation of an inflammatory website called Enemies of the People and continue to be active despite earlier warnings, according to the FBI.

Iranian cyber actors are likely behind the creation of an inflammatory website called Enemies of the People and continue to be active despite earlier warnings, according to the FBI. The website contains, among other things, death threats directed toward U.S. election officials, the FBI said in a recent advisory. The intent is to "create fear, divisions, and mistrust in the United States and undermine public confidence in the US electoral process," the FBI said. The Iranian cyber group has also exposed officials' personal information and photographs, a practice known as doxing. (Fox News)

02-05-2021
Nuclear Program

United Nations inspectors have found new evidence of undeclared nuclear activities in Iran, according to three diplomats briefed on the discovery, raising new questions about the scope of the country’s atomic ambitions.

United Nations inspectors have found new evidence of undeclared nuclear activities in Iran, according to three diplomats briefed on the discovery, raising new questions about the scope of the country’s atomic ambitions. Samples taken from two sites during inspections in the fall by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency contained traces of radioactive material, the diplomats said, that could indicate Iran has undertaken work on nuclear weapons, based on where it was found. The diplomats said they didn’t know the exact nature of what was found. Last year, Iran blocked IAEA inspectors from checking the sites involved for seven months, leading to a standoff. Tehran has long denied that it has sought to make an atomic bomb and said all of its nuclear work is for peaceful purposes such as power generation and health care. There was no immediate comment from Iran on the findings. (Wall Street Journal)

02-04-2021
Human Rights

Amnesty International is urging the international community to "urgently intervene" to save the lives of four ethnic Baluch and four ethnic Arab men who are on death row following what the human rights watchdog called "flagrantly unfair trials."

Amnesty International is urging the international community to "urgently intervene" to save the lives of four ethnic Baluch and four ethnic Arab men who are on death row following what the human rights watchdog called "flagrantly unfair trials." "The recent escalation in executions of Baluchis and Ahwazi Arabs raises serious concerns that the authorities are using the death penalty to sow fear among disadvantaged ethnic minorities, as well as the wider population," Diana Eltahawy, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa at the London-based group, said in a statement on February 4. "The disproportionate use of the death penalty against Iran's ethnic minorities epitomizes the entrenched discrimination and repression they have faced for decades," Eltahawy added. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

02-04-2021
Terrorism

A Belgian court sentenced an Iranian diplomat to 20 years in prison for plotting a bomb attack against a gathering of Iranian dissidents outside Paris in 2018, in a case that has strained Tehran’s ties with Europe.

A Belgian court sentenced an Iranian diplomat to 20 years in prison for plotting a bomb attack against a gathering of Iranian dissidents outside Paris in 2018, in a case that has strained Tehran’s ties with Europe. Assadollah Assadi, a counselor at Iran’s embassy in Vienna, was Thursday convicted of organizing the foiled attack that targeted a rally held by the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella opposition group dominated by the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran, or MEK. The court in Antwerp sentenced three other Iranians to 15, 17 and 18 years respectively in prison for collusion, concluding that Iranian state intelligence had ordered the plot. (Wall Street Journal)

02-03-2021
Nuclear Program

President Hassan Rouhani ruled out changes to Iran's nuclear accord with world powers and dismissed calls to broaden the terms of the deal.

President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday ruled out changes to Iran's nuclear accord with world powers and dismissed calls to broaden the terms of the deal. US President Joe Biden has voiced support for returning to the accord, from which Donald Trump exited, but has insisted that Tehran first resume full compliance and consider expanding the deal beyond the nuclear issue. "No clause of the JCPOA will change. Know this. And no one will be added to the JCPOA," Rouhani said at a televised cabinet meeting, using the deal's official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. "This is the agreement. If they want it, everyone come into compliance. If they don't, they can go live their lives," he said. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

02-02-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has now two cascades of advanced centrifuges with almost four times the enrichment capacity of earlier ones running at its Natanz nuclear site.

Iran has now two cascades of advanced centrifuges with almost four times the enrichment capacity of earlier ones running at its Natanz nuclear site, its envoy to the U.N. atomic watchdog said on Tuesday. “Thanks to our diligent nuclear scientists, two cascades of 348 IR2m centrifuges with almost 4 times the capacity of IR1 are now running ...successfully in Natanz,” Kazem Gharibabadi said on Twitter. “Installation of 2 cascades of IR6 centrifuges has also been started in Fordow. There’s more to come soon.” (Reuters)

02-01-2021
Military

Iran tested a new rocket with improved technology that could be used in its missile program, its latest attempt to raise the stakes for the Biden administration ahead of potential negotiations over a new nuclear deal.

Iran tested a new rocket on Monday with improved technology that could be used in its missile program, its latest attempt to raise the stakes for the Biden administration ahead of potential negotiations over a new nuclear deal. The new rocket, named Zuljanah, was developed under a government-backed program to send civilian satellites into orbit 310 miles above ground, according to a spokesman for the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Space Department. The technology is easily transferable to Iran’s military missile program run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, experts say. The Zuljanah features a solid-fuel-propelled motor that is the largest yet exhibited by Iran. Motors propelled by solid fuel, rather than liquid, are a key component in intercontinental ballistic missiles, which the U.S. seeks to prevent Iran from developing. (Wall Street Journal)

02-01-2021
Terrorism

Several Iranian agents who scouted out the Israeli, American, and Emirati embassies in an unnamed East African country in preparation for a potential attack have been arrested, according to an Israeli TV report.

Several Iranian agents who scouted out the Israeli, American, and Emirati embassies in an unnamed East African country in preparation for a potential attack have been arrested, according to a Monday Israeli TV report. The agents were sent by Iran to gather intelligence on the sites for a terror attack, Kan News reported, citing Western intelligence sources. Some held dual European and Iranian citizenship, and some were arrested in the East African country, while others were apprehended in different countries. The attack was thwarted last month, according to the report. (Times of Israel)

01-30-2021
Syria Conflict

United Nations experts are warning of a "growing body of evidence" that Iran is sending weapons to Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen.

United Nations experts are warning of a "growing body of evidence" that Iran is sending weapons to Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen, in a report that warns of a deteriorating situation in the country with "devastating consequence" for the civilian population. The report by a U.N. panel of experts to the Security Council, a copy of which was obtained by Fox News, says "there is a growing body of evidence that shows that individuals or entities within the Islamic Republic of Iran are engaged in sending weapons and weapons components to the Houthis" in violation of U.N. resolutions. The evidence includes anti-tank guided missiles, sniper rifles and RPB launchers all with markings consistent with those made in Iran. (Fox News)

01-30-2021
Syria Conflict

Short and medium range surface-to-surface Iranian missiles were delivered to the Iraqi Hezbollah near the regime-controlled town of Al-Tabani in the western countryside of Syria’s Deir Ezzor province.

Short and medium range surface-to-surface Iranian missiles were delivered Friday to the Iraqi Hezbollah near the regime-controlled town of Al-Tabani in the western countryside of Syria’s Deir Ezzor province. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 56 missiles were delivered to the Hezbollah sites in civilian trucks via unofficial crossings between Syria and Iraq. Earlier this month, SOHR activists had monitored the Afghan Fatimiyoun Brigade unloading a weapons shipment from four large trucks used for transporting vegetables and fruits. The trucks were loaded with Iranian-made missiles, coming from Iraq. The shipments were stored in commercial warehouses rented from civilians in the area of Kua Ibn Aswad, located between Al-Mayadeen city and Mahakan town in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

01-29-2021
Human Rights

The United Nations human rights office condemned an alleged spree of 28 executions in Iran, including several prisoners from minority groups, and called on Tehran to halt the hanging of an ethnic Baluchi man.

The United Nations human rights office on Friday condemned an alleged spree of 28 executions in Iran, including several prisoners from minority groups, and called on Tehran to halt the hanging of an ethnic Baluchi man. Iran has often faced criticism from world bodies and Western human rights group for its rights record and high number of executions - the world’s highest after China, according to Amnesty International. Tehran has dismissed the criticism as baseless and due to a lack of understanding of its Islamic laws. “#Iran: We strongly condemn the series of executions – at least 28 – since mid-December, including of people from minority groups,” the U.N. human rights office said on Twitter. (Reuters)

01-28-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has exceeded 17 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium within a month’s time, state TV reported, moving its nuclear program closer to weapons-grade enrichment levels amid heightened tensions with the U.S.

Iran has exceeded 17 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium within a month’s time, state TV reported Thursday, moving its nuclear program closer to weapons-grade enrichment levels amid heightened tensions with the U.S. Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, during a visit to the country’s Fordo nuclear facility, said in a televised speech that in less than a month, scientists passed 17 kilograms (37.5 pounds) of 20% enriched uranium. Uranium enriched to 20% is a short technical step away from weapons-grade 90% enrichment. Western nations have criticized Iran’s enrichment activity and called on Tehran to adhere to a 2015 nuclear accord. (Associated Press)

01-26-2021
Human Rights

An Iranian-American has been sentenced to prison on spying charges, Iran's judiciary reported Tuesday, the latest dual national held in the country amid tensions with the West.

An Iranian-American has been sentenced to prison on spying charges, Iran's judiciary reported Tuesday, the latest dual national held in the country amid tensions with the West. Iran's judiciary did not name the man sentenced but said he had been free on bail and re-arrested while trying to flee the country. Iranian media said a businessman named Emad Sharghi was arrested while trying to leave the country through a western border. Iranian media said Sharghi is a dual U.S.-Iranian national, and that his wife's passport was also confiscated to prevent her leaving the country. It was the first arrest of an American or a U.S. dual national announced by Iran since President Joe Biden was sworn in earlier this month, and it may complicate Mr. Biden's efforts to bring Iran back into compliance with the nuclear accord that his predecessor pulled the U.S. out of in 2018. (CBS News)

01-26-2021
Human Rights

The Iranian regime's lethal assaults on decorated Iranian athletes continued unabated, with the execution of a second champion wrestler.

The Iranian regime's lethal assaults on decorated Iranian athletes continued unabated, with the execution of a second champion wrestler on Monday. The Jerusalem Post reported two weeks ago that the execution of wrestler Mehdi Ali Hosseini was imminent. He is from Andimeshk in the province of Khuzestan, and was arrested in 2015 and charged with pre-meditated murder, supposedly committed during a group fight. It is unclear whether the Islamic Republic authorities forced Hosseini to confess to a crime he did not commit. (Jerusalem Post)

01-19-2021
Anti-Americanism

Iran sanctioned President Trump and nine other U.S. officials, in a parting shot against an outgoing administration that has pummeled the country and its top officials with sanctions.

Iran sanctioned President Trump and nine other U.S. officials, in a parting shot against an outgoing administration that has pummeled the country and its top officials with sanctions. Iran’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the U.S. officials were designated for their role in terrorist activities against Iran, including sanctions and last year’s killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq. The Iranian sanctions also targeted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former and current special representatives for Iran Brian Hook and Elliott Abrams, as well as former national security adviser John Bolton. (Wall Street Journal)

01-18-2021
Nuclear Program

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi says the country is producing some 500 grams of uranium enriched to 20% purity a day, after beginning to do so earlier this month in breach of the 2015 nuclear accord.

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi says the country is producing some 500 grams of uranium enriched to 20% purity a day, after beginning to do so earlier this month in breach of the 2015 nuclear accord. Salehi tells the Khamenei.ir website, the official site of Iran’s supreme leader, that nuclear scientists “are producing 20 grams every hour, meaning that practically, we are producing half a kilo every day.” Salehi says if other parties to the deal return to it, “we will return to our undertakings too.” (Times of Israel)

01-17-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran urged the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog to avoid publishing “unnecessary” details on Tehran’s nuclear program, a day after Germany, France and Britain said Tehran has “no credible civilian use” for its development of uranium metal.

Iran urged the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog to avoid publishing “unnecessary” details on Tehran’s nuclear program, state TV reported Sunday, a day after Germany, France and Britain said Tehran has “no credible civilian use” for its development of uranium metal. The report quoted a statement from Iran’s nuclear department that asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to avoid publishing details on Iran’s nuclear program that may cause confusion. “It is expected the international atomic energy agency avoid providing unnecessary details and prevent paving ground for misunderstanding” in the international community, the statement said. It did not elaborate. (Associated Press)

01-16-2021
Military

Long-range missiles from Iran splashed down close to a commercial ship in the Indian Ocean Saturday and 100 miles from the Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group.

Long-range missiles from Iran splashed down close to a commercial ship in the Indian Ocean Saturday and 100 miles from the Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group, Fox News has learned, in the latest example of rising tensions in the region.  U.S. officials say at least one of the missiles landed 20 miles from the commercial vessel but refused to offer more specifics about the ship, citing privacy concerns. The officials requested anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.  Iran tests missiles frequently. Senior U.S. military officials say 100 miles was a long way from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz. Another source says these missiles did not cause alarm, and this was a fairly standard routine exercise. (Fox News)

01-15-2021
Syria Conflict

Iranian forces and affiliated militias in Deir ez-Zor province in eastern Syria carried out new redeployment and repositioning operations after their military sites and barracks were subjected to airstrikes, believed to be carried out by Israeli aircraft

Iranian forces and affiliated militias in Deir ez-Zor province in eastern Syria carried out new redeployment and repositioning operations after their military sites and barracks were subjected to airstrikes, believed to be carried out by Israeli aircraft Jan. 13.  The redeployment included evacuating the sites affected by the bombing, emptying several weapons depots, and moving weapons to other locations in various neighborhoods in the cities of Deir ez-Zor, Abu Kamal and Mayadeen. Ahed Slebi, a journalist in the Naher Media Network, which covers news about Deir ez-Zor, told Al-Monitor, “The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] and its militias in Deir ez-Zor governorate have carried out unprecedented military action, due to the violent bombing that targeted their sites. The Iranian militias transferred the bulk of their members and military equipment to residential neighborhoods in Deir ez-Zor, al-Bukamal, and al-Mayadin. The new deployments included transferring rockets and heavy weapons and hiding them inside the tunnels that Iranian forces had previously dug in the vicinity of al-Bukamal and al-Mayadin and on the outskirts of Deir ez-Zor.” (Al-Monitor)

01-13-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran has started work on uranium metal-based fuel for a research reactor, the U.N. nuclear watchdog and Tehran said on Wednesday, in the latest breach of its nuclear deal with six major powers as the country presses for a lifting of U.S. sanctions.

Iran has started work on uranium metal-based fuel for a research reactor, the U.N. nuclear watchdog and Tehran said on Wednesday, in the latest breach of its nuclear deal with six major powers as the country presses for a lifting of U.S. sanctions. Iran has been accelerating its breaches of the deal in the past two months. Some of those steps were required by a law passed in response to the killing of its top nuclear scientist in November, which Tehran has blamed on its arch-foe Israel. They are also, however, part of a process started by Tehran in 2019 of committing breaches in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2018 withdrawal from the deal and his reimposition of U.S. sanctions that the deal lifted in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities. (Reuters)

01-13-2021
Syria Conflict

Iran appears to have sent deadly drones to its allies in Yemen as Middle East tensions heat up across the Red Sea, another major flashpoint where rival forces operate, Newsweek has learned.

Iran appears to have sent deadly drones to its allies in Yemen as Middle East tensions heat up across the Red Sea, another major flashpoint where rival forces operate, Newsweek has learned. Imagery seen by Newsweek and confirmed by an expert who follows Iranian activities in the region indicate the presence of Iranian Shahed-136 loitering munitions, also called "suicide drones," deployed to the northern Yemeni province of Al-Jawf, an area of the country controlled by the Ansar Allah, or Houthi, Zaidi Shiite Muslim rebel movement. "The Iranians have delivered to their Houthi proxies in Yemen advanced UAVs," the expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Newsweek. "They are forward deploying or prepositioning these drones in order to stage an attack against a variety of targets they have within range." (Newsweek)

01-08-2021
Military

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards unveiled an underground missile base at an undisclosed Gulf location, Iranian state media reported.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards unveiled an underground missile base at an undisclosed Gulf location on Friday, Iranian state media reported, at a time of heightened tension between Tehran and the United States. “The base is one of several bases housing the Guards’ Navy’s strategic missiles,” the state media quoted the head of the Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, as saying. Last year, the Guards said Iran had built underground “missile cities” along the Gulf coastline, warning of a “nightmare for Iran’s enemies”. (Reuters)

01-08-2021
Anti-Americanism

Iran’s Supreme Leader banned the government from importing COVID-19 vaccines from the United States and Britain, labelling the Western powers “untrustworthy”, as the infection spreads in the Middle East’s hardest-hit country.

Iran’s Supreme Leader on Friday banned the government from importing COVID-19 vaccines from the United States and Britain, labeling the Western powers “untrustworthy”, as the infection spreads in the Middle East’s hardest-hit country. In a live televised speech, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei raised the prospect of the two Western countries, long-time adversaries of the Islamic Republic, possibly seeking to spread the infection to other countries. He added however that Iran could obtain vaccines “from other reliable places”. He gave no details, but China and Russia are both allies of Iran. (Reuters)

01-07-2021
Anti-Americanism

The commander of the Quds Force, Esmail Qaani, has renewed threats of retaliation against Washington over the assassination of his predecessor, Qassem Soleimani, asserting that it will be done on US soil.

The commander of the Quds Force, Esmail Qaani, has renewed threats of retaliation against Washington over the assassination of his predecessor, Qassem Soleimani, asserting that it will be done on US soil. Qaani said that his troops had already initiated their operations to avenge Soleimani’s death, adding that they will soon reach “endpoint.” Speaking during a ceremony in Soleimani’s hometown, Kerman, Qaani advised US officials to stay indoors, warning that the revenge has begun, according to local media. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

01-05-2021
Syria Conflict

Armed Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops stormed a South Korean tanker and forced the ship to change course and travel to Iran, the vessel’s owner said.

Armed Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops stormed a South Korean tanker and forced the ship to change course and travel to Iran, the vessel’s owner said Tuesday, the latest maritime seizure by Tehran amid heightened tensions with the West over its nuclear program. The military raid on Monday on the MT Hankuk Chemi was at odds with Iranian explanations that they stopped the vessel for polluting the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. Instead, it appeared the Islamic Republic sought to increase its leverage over Seoul ahead of negotiations over billions of dollars in Iranian assets frozen in South Korean banks amid a U.S. pressure campaign targeting Iran. An Iranian government spokesman, when asked on Tuesday about the seizure, offered Tehran’s bluntest acknowledgment yet of a link with the frozen assets. (Associated Press)

01-04-2021
Nuclear Program

Iran on Monday resumed 20 percent uranium enrichment at its sensitive Fordow nuclear facility, state media reported — a major step away from a 2015 nuclear deal struck with world powers.

Iran on Monday resumed 20 percent uranium enrichment at its sensitive Fordow nuclear facility, state media reported — a major step away from a 2015 nuclear deal struck with world powers. The move could complicate the incoming Biden administration's plans to restart nuclear talks with Tehran. Iranian forces also seized a South Korean-flagged ship transiting the Persian Gulf. The enrichment process at Fordow — an underground facility near the holy city of Qom — began earlier Monday, government spokesman Ali Rabie said. He said Iran had notified the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog. (Washington Post)

12-29-2020
Syria Conflict

An array of Palestinian militant groups launched rockets into the Mediterranean Sea off the Gaza Strip at the start of what they called their first-ever joint exercise, which Israeli media described as a show of force organized by Iran.

An array of Palestinian militant groups launched rockets into the Mediterranean Sea off the Gaza Strip on Tuesday at the start of what they called their first-ever joint exercise, which Israeli media described as a show of force organised by Iran. Gaza is run by Hamas and also home to other militant groups, including Islamic Jihad. The exercise was announced on behalf of a joint command set up by the groups in 2018. Eight rockets streaked through a cloudless sky in Gaza towards the Mediterranean after Abu Hamza, spokesman for Islamic Jihad, delivered a speech launching the drill. It will include land and coastal exercises described by the groups as a test of their preparedness for any future confrontation with Israel. (Reuters)

12-28-2020
Terrorism

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah said his group now has twice as many precision-guided missiles as it had a year ago, saying Israel’s efforts to prevent it from acquiring them have failed.

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah said his group now has twice as many precision-guided missiles as it had a year ago, saying Israel’s efforts to prevent it from acquiring them have failed. Hassan Nasrallah, in an end-of-year interview with the Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV, said his group has the capability to strike anywhere in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Nasrallah said that when Israel threatened through a U.S. official to target a Hezbollah facility in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa region, his group warned it would retaliate for any such attack. (Associated Press)

12-28-2020
Syria Conflict

Iran-backed factions in Iraq are increasing their threats against Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and President Barham Salih.

Iran-backed factions in Iraq are increasing their threats against Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi and President Barham Salih as the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Iran’s Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) deputy chief Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis draws near. Soleimani and Muhandis were killed in a US drone strike near Baghdad airport in January 2020. The escalation is taking place despite the outward calls for calm by the pro-Iran factions. Their actions, however, belie their words, prompting observers to speculate that they will continue to forge ahead towards a confrontation as long as relations between Washington and Tehran continue to be strained. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

12-25-2020
Terrorism

The hacking group Pay2Key, which has been linked to Iran, said it hacked the computer systems of the Israeli cyber security company Portnox, days after the same group hacked Israel Aerospace Industries.

The hacking group Pay2Key, which has been linked to Iran, said it hacked the computer systems of the Israeli cyber security company Portnox, days after the same group hacked Israel Aerospace Industries. The hacks were the latest in a series of cyberattacks on Israeli firms in recent months. The hacking group published documents related to firms using Portnox’s services, including Bezeq, Elbit, El Al, the Clalit health provider and more, according to the Ynet news site. The firms are some of Israel’s most prominent companies. (Times of Israel)

12-20-2020
Syria Conflict

Rockets targeted the US embassy in Baghdad in an escalation against US personnel and forces in Iraq.

Rockets targeted the US embassy in Baghdad on Sunday night in an escalation against US personnel and forces in Iraq. It comes a month before the US administration of President Donald Trump will leave office. In the past Iranian-backed militias have targeted US forces and facilities in Iraq with dozens of rocket attacks since May 2019. The attacks reached a crescendo over the summer and then appeared to slow down as the US threatened to close its embassy and strike at Iranian-backed groups. The volley of rockets included at least several rockets fired at the Green Zone in Baghdad. It is not the first attack of its kind but it appears more accurate and larger than past attacks. (Jerusalem Post)

12-18-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran has begun construction on a site at its underground nuclear facility at Fordo amid tensions with the U.S. over its atomic program.

Iran has begun construction on a site at its underground nuclear facility at Fordo amid tensions with the U.S. over its atomic program, satellite photos obtained Friday by The Associated Press show. Iran has not publicly acknowledged any new construction at Fordo, whose discovery by the West in 2009 came in an earlier round of brinkmanship before world powers struck the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. While the purpose of the building remains unclear, any work at Fordo likely will trigger new concern in the waning days of the Trump administration before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Already, Iran is building at its Natanz nuclear facility after a mysterious explosion in July there that Tehran described as a sabotage attack. "Any changes at this site will be carefully watched as a sign of where Iran's nuclear program is headed," said Jeffrey Lewis, an expert at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies who studies Iran. (CBS News)

12-15-2020
Terrorism

Iran is not conducting its investigation into the downing of a civilian airliner in January properly and many questions remain unanswered.

Iran is not conducting its investigation into the downing of a civilian airliner in January properly and many questions remain unanswered, an independent Canadian report into the tragedy said on Tuesday. The 79-page document is the latest expression of frustration from Western nations into how the Islamic Republic is handling the aftermath of a disaster that claimed 176 lives. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards say they accidentally shot down the Ukraine International Airlines plane shortly after take-off, mistaking it for a missile when tensions with the United States were high. Many of the victims were Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Former Canadian cabinet minister Ralph Goodale, charged with helping the victims’ families and examining how to deal with similar disasters in future, said “many of the key details of this horrific event” remain unknown. (Reuters)

12-15-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran's defense minister has announced that the organization overseeing the military's nuclear research projects will be given a 256 percent budget increase, less than a month after one of its leading scientists was assassinated near Tehran.

Iran's defense minister has announced that the organization overseeing the military's nuclear research projects will be given a 256 percent budget increase, less than a month after one of its leading scientists was assassinated near Tehran. Defense Minister Amir Hatami said Tuesday that the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research—widely known by its Farsi acronym, SPND—will have its annual budget more than trebled, according to the state-run Fars News Agency. The announcement marks another escalation in the international community's nuclear standoff with Iran, and comes despite pressure on Iran to scale back its nuclear activities, and threats from President Donald Trump's outgoing administration that it will not accept a nuclear Iran. (Newsweek)

12-15-2020
Terrorism

The United States designated the Bahrain-based Saraya al-Mukhtar group as a terrorist organization, accusing it of being backed by Iran and of having plotted attacks against U.S. personnel in the Gulf Arab state.

The United States on Tuesday designated the Bahrain-based Saraya al-Mukhtar group as a terrorist organization, accusing it of being backed by Iran and of having plotted attacks against U.S. personnel in the Gulf Arab state. The move, which comes amid a slew of sanctions announced by Washington as President Donald Trump’s term nears a close, designates Saraya al-Mukhtar, a marginal group operating underground, as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist”. Most of the group’s members are in jail or in Iran. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saraya al-Mukhtar, or Mukhtar Brigades, was designated for “posing a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States”. (Reuters)

12-14-2020
Extremism

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran’s missile programme, seen by Washington as a threat to regional stability, was non-negotiable and that U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden is “well aware of it”.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that Tehran’s missile programme, seen by Washington as a threat to regional stability, was non-negotiable and that U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden is “well aware of it”. Biden’s victory has raised the possibility that Washington could rejoin a deal Iran reached with world powers in 2015, and he appears to see a return as a prelude to wider talks on Iran’s nuclear work, its ballistic missiles and regional activities. But Tehran has ruled out halting its missile programme or changing its regional policy, and instead has demanded a change in U.S. policy, including the lifting of sanctions and compensation for the economic damage caused during the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear accord. (Reuters)

12-12-2020
Human Rights

Iran executed a dissident, Ruhollah Zam, after convicting him of encouraging a wave of antigovernment protests in 2017 through an opposition Telegram channel he ran from exile in France.

Iran executed a dissident on Saturday after convicting him of encouraging a wave of antigovernment protests in 2017 through an opposition Telegram channel he ran from exile in France, Iranian news outlets reported. Ruhollah Zam ran Amad News, a popular channel on the messaging platform Telegram, which he used to share logistical details about the protests that rocked Iran in late 2017. His posts included protesters’ videos that helped publicize the news of the uprising at a time when the country was trying to suppress information. He had been in exile in France since 2011 and lived there until 2019, when he flew to Iraq and was later captured by the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. He was hanged after being convicted in June of the crime “corruption on earth,” which is often used to describe attempts to overthrow the Iranian government. (New York Times)

12-09-2020
Nuclear Program

The mysterious July explosion that destroyed a centrifuge assembly hall at Iran’s main nuclear fuel enrichment facility in Natanz was deemed by the Iranian authorities to be enemy sabotage.

The mysterious July explosion that destroyed a centrifuge assembly hall at Iran’s main nuclear fuel enrichment facility in Natanz was deemed by the Iranian authorities to be enemy sabotage, and provoked a defiant response: The wrecked building would be rebuilt in “the heart of the mountains,” the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said. Progress on that pledge, which could shield the facility from an aerial assault or other threats, has been unclear to outside observers.  But new satellite imagery is now shedding light on the Iranian plans. The Visual Investigations team of The New York Times has tracked construction at the site using the new imagery. For the first time, new tunnel entrances for underground construction are visible under a ridge in the mountain foothills south of the Natanz facility, about 140 miles south of Tehran. (New York Times)

12-08-2020
Extremism

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran and Damascus share a common goal of confronting Israel and will continue on that path until the Golan Heights has been returned to Syria.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that Tehran and Damascus share a common goal of confronting Israel and will continue on that path until the Golan Heights has been returned to Syria. Rouhani’s website said the remarks came during a meeting with visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad. “The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue its support to the Syrian government and people as our strategic ally and we will stand by Syria until its final victory,” Rouhani said, adding that confronting “Zionist occupiers and terrorism” is the joint goal of both nations. (Times of Israel)

12-08-2020
Syria Conflict

United Nations analysis of photos of four anti-tank guided missiles in Libya found that one “had characteristics consistent with the Iranian-produced Dehlavieh” missile, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reported to the Security Council.

A United Nations analysis of photos of four anti-tank guided missiles in Libya found that one “had characteristics consistent with the Iranian-produced Dehlavieh” missile, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reported to the Security Council. However, he said in his biannual report - submitted to the council late Monday and seen by Reuters on Tuesday - that the U.N. secretariat was “unable to ascertain if this anti-tank guided missile had been transferred to Libya” in violation of Security Council sanctions on Iran. The 15-member council banned weapons exports by Iran in 2007. Under a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and key global powers, which is enshrined in a Security Council resolution, the arms restrictions were lifted in October this year. (Reuters)

12-04-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran has told the U.N. nuclear watchdog it plans to install three more cascades, or clusters, of advanced IR-2m centrifuges at its underground uranium enrichment plant at Natanz.

Iran has told the U.N. nuclear watchdog it plans to install three more cascades, or clusters, of advanced IR-2m centrifuges at its underground uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, the agency told member states on Friday in a report obtained by Reuters. “Iran informed the Agency that the operator of the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) at Natanz ‘intends to start installation of three cascades of IR-2m centrifuge machines’ at FEP,” the agency wrote, adding that the three cascades were in addition to one of IR-2m machines already used for enrichment there. (Reuters)

12-03-2020
Nuclear Program

Iranian parliament has voted to increase its uranium enrichment levels and stop International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from examining facilities if the next U.S. administration declines to lift hefty U.S. banking and oil sanctions.

Less than a week after Iran's leading nuclear scientist was assassinated on the outskirts of Tehran, the Iranian parliament has voted to increase its uranium enrichment levels and stop International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from examining facilities if the next U.S. administration declines to lift hefty U.S. banking and oil sanctions by February.  Despite objections from President Hassan Rouhani, who expressed concern over diplomatic damages, the new legislation was ratified by the parliament on Wednesday, according to reports, thus paving the way for Iran to augment its uranium arsenal to levels prior to the 2015 deal.  "The criminal enemy will not feel remorse unless we show a fierce reaction," Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, speaker of Iran's Parliament and a former commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps touted against a chorus of "death to America" and "death to Israel" chants among the lawmakers. (Fox News)

12-03-2020
Human Rights

Nasrin Sotoudeh was sent back to jail despite doctors' determination that she needed to visit a heart clinic and otherwise stay home this week to recover from various health problems.

The husband of an Iranian rights lawyer furloughed from prison last month because of poor health said authorities sent her back to jail Wednesday despite doctors' determination that she needed to visit a heart clinic and otherwise stay home this week to recover from various health problems. In a Wednesday interview with VOA Persian from their home in Tehran, Reza Khandan said his wife, Nasrin Sotoudeh, received a phone call earlier in the day from Qarchak prison in the southeast of the capital ordering her to report to the jail immediately. He said she went to the prison later Wednesday, abruptly ending a furlough that authorities granted her on November 7 to recover from respiratory and cardiac problems related to her recent hunger strikes in detention. Sotoudeh has been jailed since June 2018 for her legal work in defending women’s rights activists who were arrested for removing their hijabs in public defiance of Iran’s Islamist laws. Rights activists have said Sotoudeh is serving a prison sentence of more than 30 years and must complete 12 years before being eligible for parole. (Voice of America)

12-03-2020
Nuclear Program

Iran will not renegotiate the nuclear accord it reached with world powers, its foreign minister said, drawing a line in the sand ahead of Joe Biden’s assumption of the U.S. presidency.

Iran will not renegotiate the nuclear accord it reached with world powers, its foreign minister said, drawing a line in the sand ahead of Joe Biden’s assumption of the U.S. presidency. By walking out of an agreement anchored in a United Nations resolution, the U.S. is not in a position to impose conditions, Mohammad Javad Zarif told a virtual Rome conference on foreign affairs on Thursday. “The United States must cease its violations of international law, it doesn’t require any negotiations,” Zarif said. “We will not renegotiate a deal which we negotiated. The deal was about give and take, it wasn’t about one side asking and the other side giving.” (Bloomberg)

12-02-2020
Syria Conflict

Iran has sent arms and dispatched paramilitary operatives to help Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro maintain his hold on power, the top U.S. military commander for Central and South America said.

Iran has sent arms and dispatched paramilitary operatives to help Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro maintain his hold on power, the top U.S. military commander for Central and South America said Wednesday. “We see a growing Iranian influence in there,” Adm. Craig Faller, the head of the U.S. Southern Command, told reporters, citing the “alarming and concerning” presence of military personnel from the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Tehran has used the force to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other foreign allies and proxies. Iran’s and Venezuela’s missions to the United Nations didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. (Wall Street Journal)

12-01-2020
Human Rights

Swedish-Iranian scientist Ahmadreza Djalali, sentenced to death in Iran on espionage charges, may face imminent execution, rights groups said.

Swedish-Iranian scientist Ahmadreza Djalali, sentenced to death in Iran on espionage charges, may face imminent execution, rights groups said on Tuesday. “On 1 December, a judge said Ahmadreza was to be transferred to Rajai Shahr prison TODAY to proceed with his imminent execution,” Amnesty International said on Twitter. “His lawyer was informed that Ahmadreza would be transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison ... today (Tuesday, Dec. 1),” Iran Human Rights said in a statement, quoting his wife Vida Mehrannia. (Reuters)

11-25-2020
Human Rights

Iran is intensifying its campaign of harassment against its Baha’i religious minority, carrying out what appears to be one of the largest coordinated raids of Baha’i homes in the Islamist-ruled country this year.

Iran is intensifying its campaign of harassment against its Baha’i religious minority, carrying out what appears to be one of the largest coordinated raids of Baha’i homes in the Islamist-ruled country this year, according to knowledgeable sources. Iran-based Baha’i sources told VOA's Persian Service that security forces raided the homes of around 50 Baha’i families on Sunday. They said the raids happened in different regions of the country, including the northern cities of Tehran, Karaj and Shahriar, the northern province of Mazandaran and the central province of Isfahan. Sources said the Iranian agents searched