Eye on Iran: Iranian Official: We Protected Al-Qaeda Terrorists before 9/11

TOP STORIES

Iranian Official: We Protected Al-Qaeda Terrorists before 9/11 | New York Post

A top Iranian official has admitted for the first time that Iran knowingly helped al-Qaeda terrorists — including some of the 9/11 attackers — travel secretly through the Middle East.

 

India's Nayara Energy Begins Cutting Iran Oil Imports – Sources | Reuters

 

Indian refiner Nayara Energy, one of the country’s biggest buyers of Iranian oil, began cutting imports this month after the United States scrapped a nuclear deal with Tehran and said it would re-impose tough sanctions, three people familiar with knowledge of the matter said. Previously named Essar Oil, Nayara was bought by Russian state oil-giant Rosneft and partners in a $12.9 billion deal last year.

Iran-Backed Fighters Switch to Syrian Uniforms to Avoid Israeli Strikes, Rebels Say | Wall Street Journal

The Syrian regime is disguising Iran-allied militias as its own fighters, according to rebels, a battlefield feint that appears calculated to try to avoid further Israeli air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria.

UANI IN THE NEWS

UANI Chairman Sen. Joseph Lieberman on North Korea | Fox News

The answer is yes, [the summit] could lead to [denuclearization]...Our demands, our president has been very clear about, is permanent, irreversible end of their nuclear programs and essentially an anytime, anywhere inspection program. That’s asking a lot of a leader of a closed society. But we’ve got to be ready to give them a lot if he gives us that because that would be a tremendous breakthrough.

NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM

Iran Says Time for Europe to Save Nuke Deal Almost Over | Radio Farda

 

Iran's powerful parliament speaker Ali Larijani said Sunday that the time for Europe to show it can save the nuclear deal was coming to an end.

Tehran Urges World to Resist U.S. 'Bullying,' Compensate Iran's Losses | Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Iran's top diplomat is asking world powers that remain committed to its 2015 nuclear deal to resist what he called U.S. "bullying tactics" and ensure that Iran is compensated for economic losses that result from U.S. withdrawal from the agreement.

G7 Leaders — Except Trump — Vow to Keep Nukes Out of Iran’s Hands | Times of Israel

G7 leaders pledged Saturday to ensure Iran’s nuclear program remains peaceful in a joint statement between the US and European allies angered by Donald Trump’s pullout from an internationally-agreed accord. The agreement, though, was short lived, as Trump announced he was pulling support for the statement just as it was released.

Trump’s Iran Gambit | Walter Russell Mead for the Wall Street Journal

Despite its aggressive rhetoric, the administration is not intent on toppling the Islamic Republic. For now, Mr. Trump appears to be more interested in making a new deal with Tehran.

Iran’s Nuclear Model: Japan or North Korea? | Omer Carmi for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Given Tehran’s threat to scale up its enrichment efforts, how far might its nuclear program go post-JCPOA, and what lessons might it draw from U.S. discussions with Pyongyang?

The Four Scenarios Facing Israel As the U.S. Withdraws from the Iran Deal | Amos Yadlin and Ari Heistein for the Atlantic

President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has left Israel to reassess its policy toward Iran—and how to advance its key national-security objectives: preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, thwarting Iran’s aspirations for hegemony, changing the fundamentally hostile and radical orientation of the regime, and preventing future military conflict.

With U.S. Withdrawal from The Iran Deal, Expect India-Iran Oil Trade To Take A Hit | Ronak Desai for Forbes

With new sanctions set to take effect in November, what does President Trump’s withdrawal from JCOPA mean for India and Indian companies conducting business with Iran? The most direct consequence will likely be a reduction in Iranian oil exports to India.

 

SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS

OPEC Likely to Reject Iran Request for Discussion of U.S. Sanctions | Reuters

OPEC is likely to reject a request by Iran to discuss U.S. sanctions against Tehran at this month’s meeting of the oil producer group, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Iran's First Crude Shipment to Chile in 16 Years | Financial Tribune (Iran)

An oil tanker hauling Iranian crude is making the first delivery to Chile in at least 16 years, a sign the Persian Gulf country may be seeking out new customers for its oil in the face of renewed US sanctions.

 

NORTH KOREA & IRAN

This Is Trump's Opportunity to Uncover the Iran-North Korea Connection | James Robbins for the National Interest

Does the road to Tehran lead through Singapore? Hopes are high that next week’s summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will begin a process leading to the total, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. But North Korea can also play a major role in the broader global effort against nuclear proliferation. When it comes to illicit nuclear weapons programs, North Korea is the undisputed master.

SYRIA, RUSSIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN

Rare Tensions between Assad’s Backers As Syria’s War Unwinds | Associated Press

 

A Russian force deployment on the Syria-Lebanon border this week in a Hezbollah stronghold sparked protests by the Lebanese militant group, prompting the force to withdraw from its positions only a day later in a rare sign of tension between the allies.

Putin, Rouhani Meet, Declare Continued Cooperation in Syria | Times Of Israel

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met Saturday to discuss regional issues including both countries’ involvement in the Syrian civil war and the US withdrawal from a landmark nuclear deal with Iran.

Report: Hezbollah Is Helping Hamas Build Rocket Factories, Training Camps | Jerusalem Post

Israel has complained to the UN Security Council, saying that Hamas is working with Hezbollah to establish missile factories and training camps in southern Lebanon, the Lebanese newspaper Al Joumhouria reported Saturday.

Report: Hezbollah Rocket Division Commander Killed in Syria | Jerusalem Post

The commanding officer of the terrorist group Hezbollah's Rocket Division was killed during an operation against ISIS in the Eastern-Syrian town of Abu Kamal, close to the Syrian-Iraqi border, Hezbollah reported on Saturday.

Rouhani Says ‘Israel Can Never Feel Safe’ As Thousands in Iran Mark Quds Day | Times of Israel

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Friday that Israel “can never” feel safe, as thousands of Iranians marched in an annual day of protest against Israel.

Hezbollah Leader Says to Stay in Syria | Reuters

Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah will remain in Syria as long as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wants it there, the group’s leader said on Friday, defying renewed U.S. and Israeli pressure to force Tehran and its allies to quit the country.

Syria's Assad Denies Russia Makes Decisions For Him: Interview | Reuters

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied that military ally Russia was making decisions for him, but said it was natural for there to be differences of opinion between allies, in an interview published on Sunday by state media.

Iran’s Options in Southern Syria | Bilal Saab for the American Interest

Russia’s compromise proposal for Syria’s south appears to lack Iranian buy-in—and it is primarily Tehran’s calculations that will decide whether the Israel-Iran conflict spirals out of control.

Iran's Fighting Force in Gaza, Calling and Firing the Shots: This Is Islamic Jihad in Palestine | Haaretz (Israel)

Hamas may rule the Strip, but it’s Islamic Jihad that will determine whether rockets are directed at Israel… And yet, Islamic Jihad is not exactly the master of its own house. By providing economic and military assistance over the years, Iran has turned the organization into its own military wing in Gaza and the West Bank.

Does Hezbollah’s Electoral Victory Spell The End To Lebanon’s US Military Aid? | Defense News

Critics of long-term military aid to Lebanon from the U.S. have been bolstered by the May 6 parliamentary elections that have given Hezbollah and its allies a majority in the legislature. Opponents to the aid are specifically concerned about an apparent warming of relations between the U.S.-equipped Lebanese Armed Forces and the political party/militant group Hezbollah. Hezbollah itself and other skeptics of the U.S. assistance program in Lebanon have repeatedly emphasized a close proximity between the Lebanese Armed Forces and Hezbollah in an attempt to get the U.S. to reconsider its ties to the LAF.

Ahem: Iran Still Has Troops In Syria On Israel’s Northern Border | Critical Threats

Israel and Russia reportedly recently agreed that Iranian and Iranian-backed (a.k.a. Hezbollah and others) troops would vacate areas of operation in southwestern Syria near the Israeli border… Naturally, in light of this news, observers will be “shocked, shocked!” to hear news of an Islamic Revolutionary Guards officer killed in the area… Bottom line? Moscow, Paris, London, Berlin, and Jerusalem may want the Iranians to cool it in Syria. But they’re not going to. Not, at least, without another fight.

Gaza’s Financial Crisis Is Sending Hamas Back into the Arms of Iran | Avi Issacharoff for Times of Israel

A special iftar feast was held in Gaza City last Thursday at the end of the day’s Ramadan fast, marking the annual Quds (Jerusalem) Day — an event initiated by Iran in 1979 to express support for the Palestinians and oppose Zionism and Israel. During the event, dinner was served to families of killed and injured Gazans, in a manner similar to many other iftar meals. Nonetheless, what made Thursday’s event different was the Iranian sponsorship: The event was marked and celebrated in order to send a message of appreciation and respect to Iran.

Hamas Ditches ‘Naksa Day’ For Iran-Backed ‘Quds Day’ This Week | Jerusalem Post

Iran’s Press TV is pushing this year’s Quds Day as an annual solidarity event with Palestinians “under Israeli occupation,” as Hamas toned down protests Tuesday in line with Tehran’s agenda.

IRGC General: Hezbollah Able To Fire 100,000 Missiles at Israel | Tehran Times

Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)’s second-in-command, said on Friday that Hezbollah resistance forces are capable of firing 100,000 missiles at Israel.

Hezbollah Flags Fly at Al Quds Day Rally and Counter Protest In London | Daily Mail (U.K.)

Hezbollah flags flew in central London as supporters were locked in a noisy standoff with counter-protesters.

 

PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS

Iran’s Trucker Protests Reflect Continued Domestic Unrest | Tzvi Kahn for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Iran’s truckers have gone on strike… While the ultimate trajectory of the demonstrations remains unclear, the truckers’ revolt once again indicates that the provincial protests, which started last December, are not abating and may be expanding. Likewise, the regime’s response suggests that it still lacks a strategy to halt the protests, or address their underlying economic and political grievances, short of force… As Iran’s economy continues to decline, in part because of the Trump administration’s economic pressure campaign, the truckers’ strike – and the protests that preceded it – may become a prologue to even greater unrest.

 

CHINA & IRAN

China's Xi Backs Nuclear Deal in Talks With Iran Leader | Agence France-Presse

Chinese leader Xi Jinping called for the Iran nuclear deal to be "earnestly" implemented as he met the country's president following the US withdrawal from the pact, state media said Monday.

GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN

Yemen Government Calls for US Cooperation to Thwart Formation of New Hezbollah | Arab News (Saudi Arabia)

Yemen’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Yamani has called on the United States for cooperation to thwart any attempt of a new Hezbollah being formed in Yemen, which would threaten security and stability in the region.

TERRORISM & EXTREMISM

Iran Postpones Debate on Joining UN Convention on Terror Financing | Agence France-Presse

Iran’s parliament voted Sunday to suspend discussion of joining the UN Terrorism Financing Convention for two months, while it waits to see whether its nuclear deal with world powers will survive. The decision is part of an often furious debate among Iranian lawmakers over joining international conventions on money-laundering and terrorist financing. It is currently alone with North Korea on the blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), adding to its woes in accessing global banking.