The EU’s response to Donald Trump’s sanctions on Iran is unravelling after European businesses defied their calls to maintain investment in the country. The European commission on Tuesday had used unprecedented legislation to maintain trade with Tehran and convince it to abide by the 2015 nuclear deal despite US withdrawal.
The United States is closely monitoring Iranian naval activity to ensure no disruptions occur to global shipping, a top U.S. general said Wednesday, as tensions with Tehran intensify over renewed economic pressure from the Trump administration.
Iranian hackers are developing software attacks that render computer systems inoperable until a digital ransom is paid, a new report says, a threat that comes as the U.S. moves to reimpose tough economic sanctions on the country. Over the past two years, researchers at Accenture PLC’s iDefense cybersecurity-intelligence group have tracked five new types of so-called ransomware they say were built by hackers in Iran.
UANI IN THE NEWS
At the negotiations, the so-called P5+1, including the Obama administration, gave away all that [economic pressure on Iran] for a very inadequate agreement… But then President Trump comes along and does exactly what he said he was going to do during the campaign… I think [the new sanctions] are gonna help because I think particularly they’re coming at a time when there’s more instability in Iran than there’s been in a long, long time.
Former Sen. Joe Lieberman said Wednesday he is "grateful" for President Donald Trump's tough stance and sanctions on Iran, as the Obama-era nuclear deal gave away all the pressure that was being placed on the country in exchange for a "very inadequate agreement" on nuclear weapons. "I'm chair of a group called United Against Nuclear Iran," said Lieberman on Fox News' "America's Newsroom," explaining that the bipartisan group is focused on keeping Iran from becoming a regional superpower.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said Wednesday his country is willing to consider a “more rigorous” stance toward Iran, adding that he recently asked U.S. President Donald Trump to share intelligence about Iran’s alleged nuclear program that has triggered fresh U.S. sanctions.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
The German finance ministry on Wednesday denied a media report suggesting it would give Iran permission to withdraw 300 million euros ($348 million) in cash from bank accounts held in Germany, a plan that is strongly opposed by the United States. Iran's request was still being studied, the ministry said in a statement.
An Iranian naval exercise involving at least 100 small boats in and around the Strait of Hormuz last week was meant as a message to the U.S. for re-imposing economic sanctions on Tehran, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East said Wednesday.
Iran’s utmost authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the Islamic Republic had nothing to be concerned about, a report on his official website said on Wednesday, as the country’s clerical leadership faces biting U.S. sanctions. The sanctions imposed on Tehran this week have already led banks and many companies around the world to scale back dealings with Iran.
It is still nearly three months until U.S. sanctions on Iran’s oil exports snap back into force, but they are already having a big impact on the Persian Gulf country’s trade. The nation’s outflow has fallen, and Iran is having to rely more on its own fleet of tankers to carry oil to its customers, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.
Turkey will continue to buy natural gas from Iran in line with its long-term supply contract, Turkey’s energy minister said on Wednesday, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened that anyone trading with Iran will not do business with America. NATO member Turkey is dependent on imports for almost all of its energy needs and Iran is a key supplier of Ankara’s natural gas and oil purchases.
China and Germany defended their business ties with Iran on Wednesday in the face of President Donald Trump’s warning that any companies trading with the Islamic Republic would be barred from the United States.
When the United States pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal in May, it told countries trading with Iran that they would have to stop soon or face American sanctions. As the first ninety-day wind-down period for ceasing trading with Iran comes to an end, Washington is ratcheting up the pressure on the main importers of Iranian crude oil.
Australian exporters exposed to economic sanctions imposed on Iran are being urged to seek legal advice. US president Donald Trump has reinstated sanctions against Tehran, months after withdrawing from an agreement for Iran to give up its nuclear weapons in return for increased trade ties with western countries.
A project to export cattle to Iran from Normandy in northern France has been halted due to the United States' renewed sanctions against Tehran, a French Senator said, as Washington's policy takes its toll on its European allies. The sanctions, following U.S. President Donald Trump's withdrawal from an international accord on Iran's nuclear programme, took effect on Tuesday.
Iran's oil minister said OPEC may need to hold an extraordinary meeting should the organisation of oil producers fail to prevent member countries from adjusting their crude production without approval, the Shana news agency reported on Wednesday.
In the runup to the Aug. 7 resumption of U.S. sanctions against Iran, the country’s beleaguered president, Hassan Rouhani, got stern directives from a few corners of the Islamic Republic. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, urged him to deal with corruption.
One of Iran’s biggest oil customers is buying more U.S. crude as President Donald Trump sticks to his pledge to squeeze the Persian Gulf nation’s energy trade. State-run refiner Indian Oil Corp., which had been buying U.S. crude in the spot market, signed a term tender to purchase American oil for delivery every month between November and January, according to Finance Director Arun Kumar Sharma.
The US is making history not just by violating a United Nations security council resolution it voted for three years ago, but also by penalising countries who stick to the same unanimous resolution, the Iranian ambassador to the UN has claimed.
China and Germany defended their business ties with Iran Wednesday in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump’s warning that any companies trading with the Islamic Republic would be barred from the United States. The comments from Beijing and Berlin signaled growing anger from partners of the United States, which reimposed strict sanctions against Iran Tuesday, over its threat to penalize businesses from third countries that continue to operate there.
China on Wednesday defended its business ties with Iran despite a set of U.S. sanctions targeting Tehran, potentially setting up further trade conflicts between Beijing and the Trump administration.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
An overseas-based Iranian news site says Iranian authorities have pressured relatives of the lone person killed in nationwide antigovernment protests last week to identify the slain man as a pro-government militiaman. Twenty-five-year-old Reza Otadi was killed during an antigovernment demonstration in the city of Karaj late Friday.
In a blistering criticism of the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, the four-star US general in charge of US military of operations in the Middle East said Qasem Soleimani is behind much of Iran's destabilizing activities in the region.
NORTH KOREA & IRAN
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told North Korea’s foreign minister that the United States cannot be trusted, Tehran’s state media said, as the United States seeks a deal to rein in the North’s nuclear and missile programs. Iran dismissed a last-minute offer from Washington for talks this week, saying it could not negotiate after the Trump administration reneged on a 2015 deal to lift sanctions in return for curbs on Iran’s own nuclear program.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN.
As the U.S.-led coalition winds down its fight against the Islamic State in northeastern Syria, analysts are warning that Washington’s reluctance to devote resources to stabilizing the area could allow Russia and Iran to exert greater influence over the country. Coalition forces are closing in on the last bastion of Islamic State fighters in the city of Hajin, near the Iraqi border.
An anonymous high-level Israel intel source was quoted in the Israeli media Aug. 7 as saying that the renewed US sanctions imposed this week on Iran “will bring Iran to its knees.” The source also argued that chances are good that the country will be forced to return to the negotiating table with the six world powers that cut the nuclear agreement and agree to a modification and to limitations on its continued expansion in the Middle East.
IRAQ & IRAN
Following the United States’ sanctions going into effect against the Islamic Republic on Tuesday, Iraq’s pro-Iranian militias threatened to break Iran’s blockade at all cost. In a statement, Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, an Iraqi Shiite militia, said that work is in progress to break the blockade.
AFGHANISTAN & IRAN
Migrant workers squeezed into battered taxis pull into the Four Seasons of Freedom hotel in western Afghanistan, part of a wave of Afghans forced to leave Iran after a currency implosion wiped out their earnings. A record 442,344 Afghans have voluntarily returned or been deported from Iran this year as looming US sanctions -- which began to be reimposed this week -- fuelled a run on the rial and spurred inflation.
OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
With the July arrest of an Iranian diplomat in Germany for his role in an alleged plot to bomb a rally of Iranian dissidents in Paris, U.S. officials have warned allies to be vigilant of Iranian terrorist plotting elsewhere. Indeed, there is ample precedent for such concern. For decades, Tehran has been dispatching operatives to Europe to carry out assassinations and other acts of terrorism...