A document recovered from a computer found inside a Hamas pickup truck outside Gaza, obtained by CNN from Israeli officials, shows a Hamas military commander requesting a scholarship for Hamas operatives to study engineering, physics and technology at universities in Iran. While it is widely known that Iran provides financial and military support to Hamas, Israeli officials and some former US intelligence officials say the document is evidence that in the run up to the October 7 attack on southern Israel, Iran was seeking to provide technical training that would help Hamas produce its own weaponry. The Israeli government declined to comment on the document, though sources in the government confirmed its authenticity on background.
A powerful, Iran-aligned militia in Yemen already conducting an unprecedented missile and drone campaign against Israel has declared its readiness to open new land and sea fronts amid the ongoing war 1,000 miles away in Gaza. Abdul-Malek al-Houthi, head of Yemen's Ansar Allah movement also known as the Houthis, issued a statement Tuesday calling on the nations located between Yemen and Israel to open a corridor to allow the group's considerable military force fight Israeli troops directly, and warning that Israeli ships in the Red Sea between the two countries would also be targeted. Hours later, Ansar Allah Deputy Information Secretary Nasreddin Amer told Newsweek that geography was the only thing keeping a massive reserve of fighters away from entering a conflict that has consumed the region.
The Biden administration has extended by four months a sanctions waiver that will allow Iraq to continue to purchase electricity from Iran and gives Iran limited access to the proceeds to buy humanitarian goods. Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed the 120-day waiver extension and it was transmitted to Congress on Tuesday, U.S. officials said. The move is likely to draw criticism from Iran hawks on Capitol Hill and elsewhere who believe the extension will reward Iran at a time when it is coming under increasing pressure to end its support for proxy groups, including Hamas, that are destabilizing the Middle East. There is roughly $10 billion in Iraqi payments for Iranian electricity currently being held in escrow accounts in Iraq, and the waiver will allow Baghdad to maintain its energy imports without fear of U.S. penalties for violating sanctions on Iran.
UANI IN THE NEWS
…Iran exported nearly 1.4 million barrels of oil per day in October, sustaining its average for 2023. This is up 80% from the 775,000 barrels per day Iran averaged under the Trump Administration’s “maximum pressure” strategy, according to United Against Nuclear Iran, the group of former U.S. Ambassador Mark Wallace and Sen. Joe Lieberman, whose Tanker Tracker generates the best public data we have. The Iranian surge in oil exports since President Biden took over has brought Iran an additional $32 billion to $35 billion, according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
…Yet Iran’s production has ramped up to 1.4 million barrels a day in October. Iran holds massive petroleum and natural gas reserves. “Since the start of the Biden administration, Iran has exported well north of $80 billion worth of its oil. Billions are, in turn, given to terror proxies. Hamas alone receives $100 million each year from its Iranian patrons, with horrific results,” cites the monitoring group United Against Nuclear Iran. Such revenues support research and development of Iran’s long-sought nuclear weapons program. U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) slammed President Biden for his refusal to enforce existing sanctions, lining the pockets of the Iranian regime with more than $80 billion. Sen. Ernst is fighting to enforce existing U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil exports.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
The Biden administration on Tuesday reapproved a sanctions waiver that will allow Iran to access upward of $10 billion in frozen assets, the State Department confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon. The sanctions waiver, which was set to expire today after first being authorized for a period of 120 days in July, allows Iraq to pay Iran for multibillion-dollar electricity purchases. This is the first time the Biden administration has renewed the waiver since the Iran-backed terror group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel that was reported to have been planned with Tehran's support. Renewal of the waiver "allows Iraq to use its own funds to render payment for Iranian electricity imports into restricted Iranian accounts in Iraq," a State Department official told the Free Beacon, speaking only on background.
The United States on Tuesday announced a third round of sanctions along with the United Kingdom, targeting Hamas-affiliated individuals and entities in connection with the October 7 massacre in Israel. The measures target “key Hamas officials and the mechanisms by which Iran provides support to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” another terror group operating in the Gaza Strip, the US Treasury Department said. The terrorists rampaged across southern communities on October 7, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, in their homes and at a music festival, and abducting at least 240 people to the Gaza Strip. Israel subsequently declared war on Hamas, vowing to eliminate its military infrastructure and government in the enclave.
TERRORISM & EXTREMISM
The Canadian opposition leader has called for immediate action against the Iranian regime, following revelations detailing its interference in Canada. The report released by the Canadian outlet Global News focused on the ongoing threat against Iranian dissidents given the number of regime insiders operating in Canada. Pierre Poilievre called the immense scope of the problem “shocking” and the number of agents mentioned in the report, which is approximately 700, “staggering”. “To think that we might have terrorist-linked Iranian regime thugs operating with impunity, spending stolen money and intimidating Canadian Jews and Iranians is appalling,” he told Global News. The situation necessitates “immediate action to kick them out of this country,” the prime ministerial candidate added.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
The London-based Persian television network Manoto announced in a surprise statement on Monday that it will terminate operations in Iran in about two months due to financial circumstances. The statement cited its shrinking ad revenue, yet suggested that it could be back on air if it acquired new sponsors. In its 14-year history, the news channel has also earned popularity among Iranians for its exclusive archive videos, documentaries and diverse entertainment shows. It has formed a close bond with viewers, giving significant air time to ordinary Iranians and broadcasting their user-generated footage that mostly reflect their grievances with the Iranian establishment. In recent years, Manoto had turned increasingly critical of the Islamic Republic. Its coverage of protests in 2017 and 2019 drew the ire of officials in Tehran, who accuse it of seeking regime change. The rage was further intensified by Manoto's focus on last year's unrest after the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran's morality police.
Iranian authorities have arrested 300 men and women for participating in a mixed-gender party in the northeastern city of Shahrud. The deputy police commander of Semnan province, Ali Mirahmadi, said that security forces raided a party venue on the outskirts of the city on November 14 and found that the participants engaged in "rule-breaking behavior." Mirahmadi also stated that the venue had been sealed due to "rules violation." Islamic Republic laws forbid men and women who are not related from mingling together, it is also prohibited to dance with the opposite gender.
MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS
Israel is deliberately using “disproportionate force” in Gaza and targeting “civilian infrastructure” in an effort to limit its own losses and showcase its “military force,” according to a confidential memo from the Dutch Embassy in Tel Aviv. The memo, drafted by the Dutch defense attaché in the embassy and seen by Dutch outlet NRC, analyzes Israel’s military strategy in Gaza, where Israeli forces have been launching retaliatory airstrikes for over a month straight and conducting a ground invasion, killing more than 11,000 people according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza. The defense attaché said that the Israeli army is using lethal force in an attempt to limit its own losses and “showcase credible military force to show Iran and its proxies [such as Hezbollah] that they will stop at nothing,” NRC reported.
Iran's supreme leader delivered a clear message to the head of Hamas when they met in Tehran in early November, according to three senior officials: You gave us no warning of your Oct. 7 attack on Israel and we will not enter the war on your behalf. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Ismail Haniyeh that Iran - a longtime backer of Hamas - would continue to lend the group its political and moral support, but wouldn't intervene directly, said the Iranian and Hamas officials with knowledge of the discussions who asked to remain anonymous to speak freely. The supreme leader pressed Haniyeh to silence those voices in the Palestinian group publicly calling for Iran and its powerful Lebanese ally Hezbollah to join the battle against Israel in full force, a Hamas official told Reuters. Hezbollah, too, was taken by surprise by Hamas' devastating assault last month that killed 1,200 Israelis; its fighters were not even on alert in villages near the border that were frontlines in its 2006 war with Israel, and had to be rapidly called up, three sources close to the Lebanese group said.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
The former Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is urging his country not to become embroiled in a direct war with Israel or the US. The best way to defend the Palestinian people was to avoid giving the west a reason to claim they are acting as a proxy of Iran, Zarif said, adding that Israel was trying to lure Iran into such a battle. In two interventions that have led to charges of betrayal, and in a passionate defence of his views, Zarif said the Iranian people accepted the idea of defending what is right, but that this did not mean mobilising the army. Referencing the cost of Iran’s military interventions, he claimed that the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, “seeks to drag Iran to the Gaza battlefield, while they have no proof of Iran’s involvement in the al-Aqsa storm,” he said, using Hamas’s name for the 7 October attacks in which the militant group killed approximately 1,200 people in southern Israel, leading to Israel’s military invasion of Gaza.
The Food and Drug Organization of Iran has reported a shortage of approximately 100 types of essential drugs within the country. Mohammad Peikanpour, the Director-General of Drugs and Controlled Substances, highlighted the severity of the situation, noting that certain medications are in short supply due to a lack of specific currency allocations. Peikanpour further addressed the life-threatening challenges in the availability of plasma-derived drugs, including albumin, which comes amidst already dire nursing and doctor shortages. Mazyar Nourbakhsh, the head of the Commission for Transformation, Innovation, and Productivity at the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, shed light on the currency allocation dilemma in an interview with ILNA News Agency on Tuesday, stating, "If the delay in currency allocation and the clearance issues persist, goods will expire, leading to a loss of functionality."
CONGRESS & IRAN
Today, the House Financial Services Committee passed eleven bipartisan pieces of legislation in the wake of the barbaric attack on Israel by Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists and ongoing geopolitical turmoil. Included among the bills reported to the House for consideration are measures to further penalize Hamas and Iran for their role in perpetuating violence against Israeli civilians, conduct oversight of the Biden Administration’s sanctions against and dealings with the Iranian regime, and ensure that any humanitarian assistance to Iran is not used to finance acts of terror.