China, Russia, Iran Hold Joint Naval Drills In Gulf Of Oman


China, Russia, Iran Hold Joint Naval Drills In Gulf Of Oman | Associated Press 

Naval forces from China, Iran and Russia — all countries at varying degrees of odds with the United States — are staging joint drills in the Gulf of Oman this week, China’s Defense Ministry has announced. Other countries are also taking part in the “Security Bond-2023” exercises, the ministry said Tuesday without giving details. Iran, Pakistan, Oman and the United Arab Emirates all have coastline along the waterbody lying at the mouth of the strategic Persian Gulf. “This exercise will help deepen practical cooperation between the participating countries’ navies ... and inject positive energy into regional peace and stability,” the ministry statement said.  

Iranians Use Annual Fire Festival To Renew Anti-Government Protests | Washington Post 

Anti-government protests broke out in several cities across Iran on Tuesday, spurred by an annual festival linked to the Persian new year next week. Protesters used the occasion of Chaharshanbe Suri — a celebration with Zoroastrian roots that includes jumping over a fire — to take to the streets and chant anti-government slogans, according to videos posted online. The Washington Post could not independently verify the authenticity of the videos, which showed protests in Tehran, Rasht, Karaj, Gorgan, Arak and several cities in the Kurdish region of western Iran. One video showed a handful of women burning their scarves on a bonfire in Tehran, while another showed people throwing fireworks at a group of security forces on motorcycles. In a separate video, a group also in the capital is burning a picture of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, chanting, “freedom, freedom, freedom.”  

France Says Iran Breaching International Treaty With Prisoner Detentions | Reuters  

France accused Iran on Tuesday of breaking an international treaty defining consular relations between states and said Tehran had demonstrated publicly that it was holding foreign nationals arbitrarily. Relations between France and Iran have deteriorated in recent months with Tehran detaining seven French nationals in what Paris has said is state hostage taking. One of those, Iranian-French academic Fariba Adelkhah, was released, but it is still unclear how much longer she will have to stay in Iran before returning to France. Speaking to reporters on Monday, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said the French government had interfered and taken "destructive" positions regarding events in Iran.  


When A Flag Is More Than Just A Symbol: African Flags Being Used To Deceive Authorities | TFIGlobal  

… Tanzanian registry had removed four flag-hopping tankers in the past after letters from the  US-based NGO United Against Nuclear Iran showed satellite imagery of tankers undertaking ship-to-ship transfers with Iranian-owned ships. Cameroon has launched an investigation and asked for assistance from the US and the EU to verify the origin of the tankers flying the East African country’s flag. Satellite images obtained by United Against Nuclear Iran revealed that VLCC Roza, a crude oil tanker in Cameroon received a cargo of Iranian oil from another tanker in the waters of Jask, Iran.  


Iran Witnessed Unprecedented Inflation In Past Nine Months: Statistics | Iran International  

Official figures show there was a sharp increase in food prices in Iran in the past nine months and most items witnessed a more-than 50 price inflation. The Islamic Republic has been struggling with high inflation since 2019, but the raging inflation in the past Iranian year which ends on March 20, was seriously different from previous years. Last May the government eliminated an annual food import subsidy of at least $10 billion, that immediately led to steep price increases. This was followed by a fall in the value of the national currency, making imports more expensive for the population. According to Diegan website, the Raisi administration's refusal to provide cheap dollars for food imports had a serious impact, while the country was already witnessing an annual inflation rate above 40%. However, the authorities emphasized that part of the galloping inflation was due to the subsidy that was a strain on government subsidies.  


Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Is Responsible For Shooting At German Synagogue, Officials Say | Jewish Telegraphic Agency 

After a century-old synagogue in Essen, Germany, was struck by two bullets last November, news reports connected it to the shooting at a synagogue in Halle three years earlier that had been perpetrated by a far-right German extremist. But authorities quickly connected the Essen shooting to a different kind of perpetrator: Ramin Yektaparast, a biker gang leader wanted on suspicion of murder in Germany who now lives in Iran and is accused of directing antisemitic attacks from there. German intelligence officials revealed in December that they believed the Essen shooting and two other synagogue attacks at the same time had ties to Iran. Last week, The Washington Post quoted anonymous German and U.S. intelligence sources who named Yektarapast as a suspect, and as an alleged asset of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. The United States considers the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, though Germany does not.  

Activist On Hunger Strike Warns UK 'In Race Against Time' To Proscribe Iran's IRGC | The National  

An Iranian-British activist on hunger strike in London has said he is determined to pressure the UK government to proscribe Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organisation. Speaking to The National on day 20 of his campaign, Vahid Beheshti appeared resolute as he vowed to continue declining food until his goal is achieved. “The IRGC belongs on the list” of terrorist organisation, he said from his encampment on the pavement opposite the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office in Whitehall on Tuesday. “Inside of my heart, I have a fire which is giving me warmth and feeds me. Until my heart [stops] beating, I am prepared to go, until we achieve this great goal for humanity.”  


Iran Bans 53 Public Figures From Property Transactions For Supporting Protests | Iran International  

The Iranian government has imposed a property ban on 53 individuals, including artists for expressing support for the antigovernment protest movement, a document published this week shows. Mehdi Yarahi, a singer who supported the nationwide protests, in a post on his Instagram Monday published a picture of an order which belongs to Deeds and Properties Registration Organization of Iran showing that he is banned from buying and selling property. Yarahi also announced that he along with famous actress Taraneh Alidousti, film director Asghar Farhadi and prominent musician Kayhan Kalhor were banned from transactions that need to be registered officially. Within the past six months and during uprising against the clerical rulers, the government mounted pressure on many artists by arrests, summons, and imprisonment to force them to stop expressing support for the movement.  

Concern Grows For Iranian Women Dancing Unveiled In Viral ‘Calm Down’ Video | Times Of Israel  

Concern grew on Tuesday over the well-being of five young Iranian women who filmed themselves dancing without headscarves in a viral video, after allegations they had been arrested and forced into confessing. The footage showed the women dancing with bare midriffs beneath highrises in the Tehran residential district of Ekbatan to the song “Calm Down” by Nigerian Afrobeats singer and rapper Rema. It spread widely on TikTok and other social media channels last week around International Women’s Day on March 8. Activists, apparently from the Ekbatan area, first posted the video on Telegram and Twitter. They said authorities had been asking residents in the area if they knew the women, based on the footage.  

Iran Protesters Torch Soleimani Monument As Crackdown Intensifies | Al-Monitor 

The Iranian government made nationwide arrests on Monday and Tuesday following more protests marking the Chaharshanbe Suri, the ancient festival of fire that falls on the eve of the last Wednesday of the year on the Persian calendar. Videos posted by activists on social media showed litter bins on fire amid chants of "women, life, freedom" in the southern districts of the capital, Tehran, in the southeastern flashpoint city of Zahedan and in several Kurdish cities, where security forces had been deployed en masse.  Opposition activist collective 1500 Tasvir released photos it said had been sent from Iranians preparing Molotov cocktails to target government and military buildings. The footage went viral of a monument of slain Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in the city of Zanjan burning in flames after being hit with one such weapon.   


Iran Prosecutes Celebrities For ‘Lies and Rumors’ About School Poisonings | Iran International  

Iran's judiciary has indicted dozens of artists, reformist politicians, and journalists for “spreading rumors and lies” in media and social media about gas attacks on girls’ schools. Judiciary Spokesman Masoud Setayeshi said Tuesday at a press briefing that around thirty celebrities have been indicted by courts, and he threatened them with harsh repercussions if they continued such activities. The interior ministry said Saturday that over 100 people in eleven provinces were arrested in connection with the poisonings that started in the religious city of Qom in central Iran in late November and spread to dozens of schools across the country. The accused, authorities claim, were connected to “terrorist groups” and foreign governments. The government, however, has not revealed any details about these alleged arrests, as the public remains skeptical about the government’s role in the attacks.  


Iran's Top Security Official Shamkhani To Visit The UAE | Reuters  

Iran's Supreme National Security Council secretary will visit the United Arab Emirates soon, Iran's Etemad newspaper reported on Wednesday. The visit by the Iranian official, Ali Shamkhani, comes at a time of growing rapprochement between Iran and Gulf countries. The United Arab Emirates sent an ambassador back to Iran in September, more than six years after the Gulf Arab state downgraded ties with the Islamic Republic. "Shamkhani will meet with his Emirati counterpart to discuss the status of negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal and other security-political issues," Etemad reported on its Telegram channel. The UAE downgraded its ties with Iran after Saudi Arabia severed its relations with Iran in January 2016 following the storming of the Saudi embassy in Tehran by Iranian protesters after Riyadh executed a prominent Shi'ite cleric.