White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told his Israeli counterpart Eyal Hulata on Tuesday that President Joe Biden’s administration believes diplomacy is the best way to make sure Iran never gets a nuclear weapon, the White House said. Sullivan also noted at the White House meeting that Biden “has made clear that if diplomacy fails, the United States is prepared to turn to other options,” the White House said.
The Iranian civil rights lawyer Soheila Hejab started a hunger strike in prison over two weeks ago to protest the Islamic Republic’s harassment of her and her family members. Hejab suffers from severe health problems and Iranians on social media are urging the regime to release the attorney.
The family of Amer Fakhoury, an American and former hostage imprisoned on the orders of Hezbollah in Lebanon, wants the Iranian regime to pay for his suffering in detention just months before his death last year. During his imprisonment in Beirut, Fakhoury, of New Hampshire, was tortured and held in poor conditions without proper medical treatment. His family said he developed cancer which went untreated until his dramatic rescue and return to the U.S. He died from a cancer linked to the Epstein-Barr virus in June 2020, and relatives said they want justice and to send a clear message to the Iranians.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Israel’s military chief on Tuesday vowed to step up actions, including covert operations, against Iran and its nuclear program. Speaking at a ceremony, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi said Israel and its intelligence community “is working against Iranian regional entrenchment throughout the Middle East.” “Operations to destroy Iranian capabilities will continue — in various arenas and at any time,” he told the ceremony, in which the army appointed Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva as its new intelligence chief. “The operational plans against Iran’s nuclear program will continue to evolve and improve,” he added.
Iran urges the UN atomic agency to clearly condemn a “sabotage” attack on a nuclear facility west of Tehran that it has accused Israel of carrying out. Tehran says on June 23 that it had thwarted the attack on the building belonging to its own nuclear agency near Karaj, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the capital. At the time, it did not identify the nature of the attack, with state television saying only that “saboteurs failed to carry out their plan.”
Talks between Iran and the global powers seeking to reinstate the 2015 nuclear accord may resume by early November, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said Monday. Talks in Vienna to revive the deal have been stalled since June. “The government of (President) Ebrahim Raisi has been in power for less than 55 days... I don't think that the return to talks will take as much as 90 days,” foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said. His remarks were made during a press conference in response to a question about what Iranian officials mean by “very soon” when talking about resuming negotiations, AFP reported.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
“Iran is ready to resolve the ongoing fuel crisis in the world and make up for the shortages,” declared Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji. To that end, he said, the United States ought to lift onerous sanctions that have targeted the Islamic Republic’s vital oil industry. Owji made the comments following a virtual meeting of OPEC. His statement referenced fuel shortages, which have hit the United Kingdom particularly hard in recent weeks amid soaring prices and long queues at petrol stations across the country.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
A health insurer for United Nations staff is refusing to pay medical fees in Iran for a gravely ill 84-year-old who cannot leave the country after serving part of a 10-year jail-term on trumped up espionage charges. Baquer Namazi, a former senior Unicef official, needs surgery within days to fix a blocked artery to his brain but has been barred by Iran from leaving the country and his insurer refuses to pay medical fees for fear of breaking US-imposed sanctions. The family appealed to US President Joe Biden and the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to do everything they could to get Mr Namazi out of the country for treatment.
MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS
During much-anticipated testimony Tuesday before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen repeatedly pointed outside of the country for examples of how the social network could be used to dangerous ends -- so much so that lawmakers wondered during the hearing if they should meet to specifically discuss national security concerns. The former product manager referenced a series of links between activity on Facebook and deadly violence in Myanmar and Ethiopia, and spying by China and Iran.
GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN
The nominee for US ambassador to Bahrain told Congress on Tuesday that Iran poses a security threat to Manama and said safeguarding Americans in the kingdom would be his highest priority if confirmed. Steven Bondy, a career foreign service diplomat who previously worked in the UAE and Afghanistan, singled out the Iranian threat while addressing US-Bahraini joint security co-ordination. “The United States works collaboratively with the Bahraini government to address threats to the internal security of the kingdom, particularly from Iran,” he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at his confirmation hearing.
OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Iran affirmed its "good" relations with Azerbaijan, despite Tehran's accusation that the military maneuvers on the border are being used to launch Israeli activity, which Baku denies. The Iranian Foreign Ministry warned Azerbaijan against allowing "third parties" to act against it, saying it knows "how to maintain its security." Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said that Armenia shares Iran's concern about the alleged Israeli presence in Azerbaijan.