Eye on Iran: Iran Planning Gulf 'Swarm' Drill Involving 100 Gun Boats Within Days, US Officials Say

TOP STORIES

Iran Planning Gulf 'Swarm' Drill Involving 100 Gun Boats Within Days, US Officials Say | Fox News

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard is expected to put 100 gun boats in the Persian Gulf sometime in the next 48 hours to practice "swarm" tactics simulating actions which could potentially shut down the Strait of Hormuz, where roughly 10 percent of the world’s oil passes through each year, two U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Multiple Protests in Iran Over Currency Drop, Economic Woes | Associated Press

Scattered protests broke out in several Iranian cities on Thursday over the dramatic drop of the country's currency and other economic problems ahead of the imposition of renewed American sanctions, Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported.

Russia Says Iranian Forces Pulled Back from Golan in Syria; Israel Unsatisfied | Reuters

Iranian forces have withdrawn their heavy weapons in Syria to a distance of 85 km (53 miles) from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, TASS quoted a Russian envoy as saying on Wednesday, but Israel deemed the pullback inadequate

UANI IN THE NEWS

Iran’s Next Ayatollah | UANI Senior Adviser Norman Roule & Policy Director Jason Brodsky for the Cipher Brief

On July 28, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei marked 29 years since a referendum made his election official. Today, at 79 years old, he is still relatively young in the Islamic Republic’s gerontocracy. The chairman of Iran’s Assembly of Experts and Guardian Council, Ahmad Jannati, is 91. But persistent rumors of cancer have plagued Khamenei for years and he has publicly acknowledged his mortality. For him, these must be difficult and disappointing days. Iran’s revolution is fraying, and the jockeying among his potential successors tends to spike whenever his health appears to decline.

SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS

France Hopes to Get US 'Permission' to Supply Jets to Iran | Mehr News Agency (Iran)

Speaking to the French broadcaster BFMTV, France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire voiced hope that the United States would allow the Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR to deliver its regional planes to Iran before the August 6 deadline, when the first batch of sanctions will be introduced.

Iran's Gold Demand at Four-Year High Days Before Sanctions | Bloomberg

Iran’s demand for gold bars and coins may remain strong for the rest of the year and even increase as the U.S. reimposes sanctions, pummeling the value of the rial.

A Deadly Plague for Iran | Jerusalem Post

It seems a week does not pass in which more European companies announce that they are avoiding Iranian markets like a deadly plague. And the divestment from Iran’s dangerous economy comes without any tangible saber rattling on the ground from the Trump administration. Put simply, the US government’s industrial market strength – and the nature of interconnected capitalism – is compelling foreign companies to abandon the Islamic Republic of Iran.

MISSILE PROGRAM

Heathrow Airport border staff 'seize missile parts after thwarting attempt to fly the warhead components to Iran' | Mail (U.K.)

Heathrow Airport border staff have thwarted a suspected attempt to fly missile parts from Britain to Iran.

PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS

Iranians Call for Khamenei to Quit During Overnight Protests | Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia / UAE)

Protests resumed Wednesday night in Iran’s city of Karaj, in Alborz Province, over the high cost of living, inflation and the deteriorating value of the Iranian currency rial. During the protests, many Iranians called for the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to leave.

Iranian Provincial Capital Hit by Second Night of Protests | Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Protesters have taken to the streets of an Iranian provincial capital near Tehran for a second consecutive night to voice anger over the country's growing economic difficulties, social-media posts suggest.

Iran: Drought Epidemic Fuels Water Crisis | Al Jazeera (Qatar)

Iran has a chronic shortage of water. It is estimated there is some form of drought in 97 percent of the country.

Iran Death Penalty Charges In Economic Crisis ‘Breach International Law’: Amnesty | Arab News

Iran’s application of the death penalty to individuals arrested during the country’s economic crisis would be in “direct breach of international law,” the world’s leading human-rights organization has said.

A Wrenching Choice for Families: Go Public or Stay Quiet? | Reuters

After Siamak Namazi was arrested in Tehran in 2015, his family faced a wrenching choice: involve the diplomatic machinery of the U.S. government, speak out publicly about the arrest, or quietly work for his release through Iranian officials. It’s the same dilemma diplomats and relatives grapple with each time a U.S. citizen is imprisoned in Iran.

Nasrin Sotoudeh’s Detention Order Extended Under Two National Security Charges | Center for Human Rights In Iran

Iran’s judiciary has extended the detention of prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is facing two national security charges for peacefully engaging in her profession.

MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS

Iran Is Seen Readying Major Exercise As Tensions with U.S. Simmer | Reuters

The United States believes Iran is preparing to carry out a major exercise in the Gulf in the coming days, apparently moving up the timing of annual drills amid heightened tensions with Washington, U.S. officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

Israel Warns Iran of Military Response If It Closed Key Red Sea Strait | Reuters

Israel would deploy its military if Iran were to try to block the Bab al-Mandeb strait that links the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.

America's Mighty A-10 Warthog Vs. Iran's 'Swarm' Boats: Who Wins? | National Interest

Defeating swarms with A-10 Warthogs isn’t exactly revolutionary but that isn’t so much a problem. The plane isn’t a high-tech laser, but it doesn’t need to be.

U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS

America’s Unending Hostage Crisis with Iran | Reuters

A year before leaving office, Barack Obama stunned the world with a prisoner trade with Iran. After more than a year of secret negotiations, the U.S. president announced that five Americans were freed from captivity, closing a deal he dubbed a “one-time gesture.” But even before Obama stepped down, American diplomats were back at the negotiating table, struggling to secure the release of more prisoners.

RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN.

Fearing Hezbollah Attacks, Israeli Military Insists Gas Rigs Be Close to Shore | Haaretz (Israel)

Energy Ministry unmoved as army recommends to situate natural gas rigs differently than initially planned. What Israel's next war with Hezbollah will look like…

2 Israelis and an Iranian Go for Goal Together in English Top-Flight Soccer | Times of Israel

Ignoring the political animosity between the two countries, an Iranian-born player made his debut alongside two Israeli players in the top English soccer league on Tuesday evening.

IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS

Iranian Government Spokesman Resigns Amid Calls for Cabinet Shake-Up | Reuters

Iran's government spokesman resigned on Tuesday, he said in a tweet, as President Hassan Rouhani comes under pressure from hardline rivals to change his cabinet following a deterioration in relations with the United States.

New Generation of Hard-Liners Move to Seize Control of Iran's State Broadcaster | Al Monitor

The recent appointments of new managers at Iran's conservative-dominated state broadcaster may indicate that the organization is about to adopt a more hard-line position. This comes as a number of powerful moderate officials at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) have been weakened lately.

GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN

UN Panel Finds Further Evidence of Iran Link to Houthi Missiles | Agence France-Presse

Yemen’s Houthi rebels are still arming themselves with ballistic missiles and drones that “show characteristics similar” to Iranian-made weapons, a report by a UN panel of experts has found.

AFGHANISTAN & IRAN

Pakistan and Iran Keep Fueling Taliban Terror Tactics | Sabera Azizi for the National Interest

Riyadh and Tehran are destabilizing actors in Afghanistan and play a large role in supporting the country's ongoing conflict

Things Are So Bad in Iran That Afghan Migrants Are Going Home | Radio Free Europe | Radio Liberty

More than 400,000 undocumented Afghan migrants left Iran in 2018, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) -- a massive increase from 2017, when 187,000 returned over the course of the entire year. The mass exodus has been "largely driven by recent political and economic issues in Iran, including massive currency devaluation," according to the IOM's July report.

TURKEY & IRAN

Will Russia, Iran Dash Turkey's Hopes of Becoming Energy Corridor? | Al Monitor

As Turkey’s relations with the West have been deteriorating, it has been trying to deepen its ties with Russia. Yet Ankara is about to suffer a major setback as the five Caspian littoral states (Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan) are getting ready to conclude their 27-year dispute.