Eye on Iran: Tillerson Calls on European Allies to Tackle Iranian Missile Program

TOP STORIES

Tillerson Calls on European Allies to Tackle Iranian Missile Program | Wall Street Journal

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on European allies to work with Washington to rein in Iran’s missile program and its regional activities, saying Tehran’s behavior must be challenged.

Iranian Leaders Celebrate Saleh’s Killing by Houthi Allies | Ahmad Majidyar for the Middle East Institute

Iranian leaders celebrate the killing of Ali Abdullah Saleh and some media outlets express the hope that the former Yemeni president’s death will further empower the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. Ali Akbar Salehi, a senior aide to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said Saleh got what he deserved. “The Yemeni people that are with the resistance front will ultimately emerge victorious similar to the people of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon,” he added.

Iran Asks Muslims to Disrupt Israeli Ties in Region: TV | Reuters

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged Muslims on Tuesday to disrupt what he called a plot by unnamed countries in the region to build ties with Israel.

IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

US: Rex Tillerson Vows to Hold Iran to the Nuclear Deal | Al Jazeera

The US secretary of state says pressure will continue to be applied to Iran over its commitments to the nuclear deal as the US Congress mulls over whether to re-apply economic sanctions on Tehran.

U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS

Iran Denies U.S. Accusation of Destabilizing the Region | Reuters

Iran’s foreign ministry denied on Wednesday U.S. accusations that the Islamic Republic is playing a destabilising role in the region, state media reported. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said on Tuesday that Iran is carrying out “destabilizing actions” by supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon, supplying missiles to Houthi forces in Yemen and sending weapons and militia fighters to Syria.

SANCTIONS ENFORCEMENT

Zarrab’s Take From Iran Sanctions Plot? ‘Maybe $150 Million,’ He Says | New York Times

Reza Zarrab, the government’s star witness in a trial involving a billion-dollar conspiracy to smuggle gold for oil in violation of United States sanctions on Iran, testified on Tuesday that he had made huge sums of money in the scheme — but he could not recall the precise amount.

HUMAN RIGHTS

What Happens When Sport and Politics Collide in Iran | BBC News

As Iranian sports fans sat down to watch the 2018 Fifa World Cup draw from Moscow last Friday, it was not just the fate of the their national team that was on their minds. Many were also waiting to see what the draw's Russian co-host, Maria Komandnaya, would be wearing.
Would Iranian TV censors consider her outfit modest enough to show the whole draw? Or would they cut her out, as they did when Brazilian TV host Fernanda Lima hosted the 2014 draw, forcing fans to miss crucial bits of the programme?  

NORTH KOREA & IRAN

North Korea Is Getting Weapons Help from China, Russia or Iran, Retired Nato Supreme Allied Commander Claims | Sun (U.K.)

A former NATO chief has claimed that China, Russia, and Iran could be helping tubby despot Kim Jong Un in his bid to create world-ending nuclear missiles. Retired NATO Supreme Commander James Stavridis believes the pace of Pyongyang's weapons development programme suggests that Kim's regime is receiving outside help.

CHINA & IRAN

Iran-China Traders Agree to Sideline US Dollar | Financial Tribune (Iran)

The senior officials of Iran and China emphasized on reducing the US dollar’s role in their bilateral trade.

Iran, Asian Consortium Sign Solar Joint Venture | Financial Tribune (Iran)

A consortium of Chinese and Hong Kong companies has signed an agreement with Iran's Industrial Development and Renovation Organization for a joint venture to produce solar photovoltaic panels in Iran. The preliminary deal with China's Sunshine Solar Technology and Konda Energy of Hong Kong calls for establishing an automated production line for solar panels, a statement on IDRO's website announced.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS  

Hungary Wants to Significantly Deepen Ties with Iran | Budapest Beacon (Hungary)

Magyar Idők, a pro-government propaganda daily, reports that Hungary wants to significantly deepen economic ties with Iran. According to the print daily, Minister of National Economy Mihály Varga held a joint press conference with his Irani counterpart in Tehran to announce stronger economic ties between the two countries. Hungary may be an important entry-point into Europe for Iran, Varga said.

Netanyahu Says Israel Expanding Middle East Ties, But Not with Iran | Reuters

Israel is expanding ties throughout the Middle East but not with Iran, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, accusing his country’s arch-foe of trying to dominate the region.

MILITARY MATTERS

Iranian Navy Adds New Warship to Caspian Sea Fleet | Ahmad Majidyar for the Middle East Institute

The Iranian Navy today added a new missile-launching corvette to its fleet in the Caspian Sea, the Iranian media reported.

PROXY WARS

Threat of War with Iran’s Proxies Grows by The Week, Israel Warns | Newsweek

Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, warned Monday that the threat of conflict between his country and Iranian proxies in Syria and Lebanon is increasing by the week.

SYRIA CONFLICT

Iran to Keep Its Forces in Syria in Defiance of International Pressure | Ahmad Majidyar for the Middle East Institute

Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani has said that Iranian forces will remain in Syria “as long as necessary” to continue to assist the embattled regime of Bashar al-Assad, Fars News Agency reported.

Can Saudis Tempt Moscow into Pushing Iran from Syria? | Al Monitor

Saudi Arabia hosted a conference on Nov. 22 for the Syrian opposition aimed at unifying its position ahead of the UN-backed Geneva 8 talks. At the conclusion of what became known as the Riyadh 2 meeting, the participants stressed, “[The transition in Syria] cannot happen without the departure of Bashar al-Assad and his clique of repression and tyranny at the start of the interim period.”

IRAQ CRISIS

Video Shows Protesters Tearing up Posters of Khamenei, Pro-Iran Iraqi Leaders in Najaf | Ahmad Majidyar for Middle East Institute

Iraqis in the city of Kufa of Najaf Province held a protest rally against Iran and its Iraqi proxies and attacked the offices of the Badr Organization, according a video clip circulating in social media and published in some Arab outlets.

Iraqi Government Approves More Natural Gas Imports from Iran: Statement | Reuters

Iraq’s government approved a deal to import natural gas from Iran to the eastern border province of Diyala, it said in a statement on Tuesday, increasing purchases of the Iranian fuel which started earlier this year.

GULF STATES, YEMEN, LEBANON, AND IRAN

Possible Iranian Links to the Claimed Houthi Missile Launch Against the UAE | Farzin Nadimi for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy

On December 3, Houthi rebels in Yemen announced that they had fired a "winged cruise missile" at the construction site for al-Barakah nuclear power plant, located 230 km southwest of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates… Apart from its claimed target, the nature of the weapon itself raises important questions about Iran's relationship with the Houthis. The missile bore the unmistakable shape of a Soumar cruise missile, Tehran's copy of the Russian Kh-55 (according to the SIPRI Arms Transfers Database, several Kh-55s were smuggled to Iran through Ukraine sixteen years ago).

Saudi Arabia Calls for Yemen Free Of 'Iran-Backed Militias' | Agence France-Presse

Saudi Arabia called on Tuesday for a Yemen free of "militias supported by Iran", in its first official statement since rebels killed their erstwhile ally former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Iranian Media: Yemen Ex-President's Death Result of His 'Betrayal' | Al Monitor

The death of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has received extensive coverage in Iran, with media outlets and newspapers describing his fate as the result of his “betrayal” of the Houthis.

Iranian Newspapers Renew Support for Houthi-Fired Missiles Targeting Gulf Countries | Asharq Al-Awsat (U.K.)

Iranian newspapers supported the Tehran-backed Houthi group in Yemen in their launching of a cruise missile at the Barakah nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates.

Iranian Politician: There’s No ISIS In Yemen, So Why Should We Intervene? | Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia / UAE)

Mostafa Tajzadeh, a veteran Iranian politician, has attacked the Revolutionary Guard for its intervention in Yemen, saying that there was “nothing to make of Yemeni territory that have any strategic importance for Iran.”