Albania Weighed Invoking NATO’s Article 5 Over Iranian Cyberattack

TOP STORIES

Albania Weighed Invoking NATO’s Article 5 Over Iranian Cyberattack | Politico 

Albania was hit by cyberattacks earlier this year so debilitating that the government considered invoking a NATO declaration that could have pulled all member states into confrontation with Iran, Prime Minister Edi Rama said. It would have been the first time a NATO member state used a cyberattack to invoke Article Five — which treats an attack against one member as an “attack against them all,” requiring collective defense. Ultimately Albania decided against taking that action rather than risk escalation — and antagonizing powerful allies, Rama said in an interview from his office in the Albanian capital.  

School Girls Join Iran’s Protests As Classrooms Stage Rebellions | Bloomberg 

Teenage school girls are joining women-led protests in Iran over the country’s Islamic dress code in what’s emerging as one of the largest feminist uprisings in the history of the modern Middle East. The demonstrations were triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who collapsed into a coma and died after being arrested by Iran’s so-called morality police for allegedly flouting strict rules on what women can wear. So far in weeks of protests the bravest displays of defiance, including burning headscarves and cutting hair in public, have come from Amini’s own cohort, Iran’s Generation Z. But in the past few days, an even younger group has made itself heard.  

Iran Airs Video With 2 French Citizens Accused Of Spying | Associated Press 

Iran on Thursday published video showing two detained French citizens accused of spying amid ongoing protests roiling the country that Tehran has sought to describe as a foreign plot instead of local anger over the death of a 22-year-old detained by the country’s morality police. The video released by the state-run IRNA news agency showed two French citizens, Cecile Kohler and Jacque Paris, who are unionists associated with France’s National Federation of Education, Culture and Vocational Training. Iran, which long has used detained Westerners as bargaining chips in negotiations, previously has offered no public evidence to support the spying accusations.  

UANI IN THE NEWS 

Sanctions-Evading Tankers Switch From Iranian To Russian Trade | Lloyd’s List 

The involvement of a growing number of suspected sanctions-busting vessels illustrates the difficulties of enforcement as further sanctions on Russia’s oil sector loom. A FLEET of 26 tankers suspected of previously carrying sanctioned Iranian oil have switched to Russian trades, according to United Against Nuclear Iran. At least half of the 26 tankers delivered Russian oil and products to Asia, primarily to Dongjiakou, China and Mundra, India, data from UANI and Lloyd’s List Intelligence shows. Three of the very large crude carriers made ship-to-ship transfers in the notorious mid-Atlantic transfer hub in June, while the waters near Kavkaz and featured as transfer destinations for the smaller vessels.

Iranian Protests Gain Momentum As Students Demand ‘Revolution’ | Times Higher Education 

Jason Brodsky, policy director of United Against Nuclear Iran, a US-based non-profit organisation, told Times Higher Education that the opposition was gathering momentum. “These protests are not going away,” he said. “Iran’s security apparatus will try to repress with all its might, but it cannot wipe out the underlying sentiment. “Iran’s Generation Z is fed up – with oppression, denial of opportunity, economic stagnation, and not being able to live a normal life under the Khamenei revolutionary autocracy.” While Iran’s president recently put on a confident facade, saying that Iran has been successful at thwarting past uprisings, there are signs the country’s leaders are beginning to show concern, he said. “The response from Iran’s speaker of parliament a few days ago was telling – he is eyeing these protests warily, acknowledging in public that the protesters want regime change, not reform. He was also pleading with them not to destabilise the country,” said Mr Brodsky.  

NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM 

The Takeaway: As Protests Rage, Is Iran Moving Toward Nuclear Deal? | Al Monitor 

As protests against Iran’s government continue over its treatment of women and civil liberties, Tehran may be signaling that it is closer to accepting the latest version of the Iranian nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). There are several reasons to think a deal may be closer than it was less than two weeks ago. 1. Iran on course to settle IAEA dispute. The European Union and United States thought they were close to a deal with Iran in August, but Iran insisted that it wouldn’t proceed until an investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the global watchdog overseeing Iran’s nuclear program, was stopped.  

SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS   

EU Foreign Ministers Will Discuss Additional Sanctions On Iran - Top Diplomat | Reuters 

The European Union is considering slapping additional sanctions on Iran, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Thursday, as rights groups say thousands have been arrested and hundreds injured in a crackdown by Iranian security forces. EU foreign ministers will discuss further sanctions on Iran at their next meeting, Borrell told reporters in Prague. 

PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS 

Iranian Police Deploy At Universities As Unrest Over Mahsa Amini's Death Churns On | Reuters 

Iranian security forces deployed at universities in several cities on Wednesday, witnesses said, stepping up efforts to quell more than two weeks of protests ignited by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of morality police. The nationwide unrest sparked by her death has spiralled into the biggest challenge to Iran's clerical leaders in years, with protesters calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic founded in 1979. Riot police fanned out in the cities of Urmia, Tabriz, Rasht and the capital Tehran, particularly around universities which have been a focal point of protests in recent days, the witnesses said.

The Battle Of Narratives On Iran Is Being Fought On Social Media | CNN 

As anti-government protests enter their third week in Iran, the Islamic Republic has imposed a near total blackout of independent information coming out of the country. A fierce battle to control the narrative is now being fought online, where supporters and opponents of the government alike are taking to social media to tell their version of the truth and, in some cases, go beyond the truth. With access to Twitter blocked in Iran, that battle is primarily being fought outside the country.  

Iran Says Average Age Of Arrested Protesters Is 15 | Al Monitor 

According to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the latest protests in Iran are being attended by some of the youngest age groups ever to attend protests in the country. Ali Fadavi, deputy commander of the IRGC, said today that the average age of the arrests from the protests is 15. He claimed these youths are being encouraged by social media and foreign media to “sacrifice themselves” in the protests. Fadavi did not go into details, but the number is not necessarily shocking. Looking at images of protests in Iran, especially at schools, one can see a predominance of young girls — many not even college-age.  

U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS 

U.S. Encourages Women-Driven Protests In Iran | The Washington Post 

The Daily 202 pointed out 10 days ago how President Biden has gone farther, faster in supporting protests in Iran than Barack Obama did in 2009. Since then, the administration has gone farther — and promises even more to help demonstrators and punish the regime. So far, things seem to be moving on three fronts: Rhetorical encouragement for Iranians who took to the streets after the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, in custody of the so-called Morality Police. The authorities grabbed her for supposedly covering her hair improperly. Sanctions on officials and entities seen as repressing the demonstrations.

IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS 

Iranians Mourn Dozens Of Teens, Youths Slain In Protests | Iran International 

Amid ongoing protests, many Iranians are mourning dozens of teens and young people, as names and details of the brutality against them emerge on social media. Iran Human Rights, a Norway-based rights organization, said Tuesday that at least 154 protesters, including nine children have been killed by security forces during the recent protests. Very little is known about most of the victims as families are pressured to stay silent if they want the bodies of their loved ones to be handed over to them. On Monday security forces stole the body of a teen victim, Nika Shakarami, from the morgue while her family were waiting at a cemetery in her late father’s hometown of Khorramabad for the body to arrive. They buried the young girl in a village about forty kilometers away, supposedly to prevent her funeral from turning into protests.  

CONGRESS & IRAN 

US Senator Discusses Iran Protests, Attacks On Iraq’s Kurdistan Region | Voice Of America 

Ongoing anti-government protests in Iran since the death in September of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody have drawn worldwide attention. Iran’s president has pledged an investigation into her death, but that has done little to appease demonstrators who continue to denounce Iran’s leadership and its laws requiring women to completely cover their hair in public. In the weeks since Amini’s death, security forces using live rounds and tear gas have failed to put down the demonstrations. New U.S. sanctions have targeted security forces blamed for cracking down on the protesters.  

RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN 

Hezbollah Joins Iran's Effort To Sow Doubt In Mahsa Amini's Death | Iran International

Iranian officials have been trying to question whether Mahsa Amini was killed in police custody and this attempt has reached Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Nasrallah, whose militant movement was created by Iran in early 1980s and has been receiving money and weapons from Iran ever since, told media in Lebanon that Amini’s death was a “vague incident”, and it was a plot to weaken the Islamic Republic and create regional tensions. “The Iranian state is a target and so any incident is exploited to incite people against this state,” Nasrallah claimed.

IRAQ & IRAN 

Iran Continues To Attack Kurds In Response To Protests | The Jerusalem Post 

Iran has continued to target Kurds in response to protests in Iran. As the protests continued for weeks the regime, decided to try to placate some of the protests at home; while striking out at the Kurdistan region of Iran and the Kurdistan region of Iraq. The Kurdistan region of Iraq is an autonomous region and Iran is seeking to destabilize it and also target Kurdish opposition groups. Many Kurds from Iran have fled to Iraq over the years and some of them joined opposition groups, such as the PAK, PDKI and PJAK.

OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS     

Iran Summons UK Envoy, Again, Over Anti-Crackdown Complaints | Associated Press 

Iran summoned the British ambassador, again, for what it said were “provocative” statements made by London over Tehran’s crackdown on widespread protests, Iran’s state news reported on Wednesday. Iranian authorities summoned Simon Shercliff for the second time in less than 10 days and “strongly condemned the interventionist statements resorting to provocative and fake interpretations” by London, the official IRNA news agency reported.