Eye on Iran will next be published on Monday, July 9. Happy Independence Day!
The Trump administration is weighing whether to label a powerful arm of Iran's military as a terrorist group, part of an effort to use every possible tool in the box to pressure Tehran.
The Trump administration will consider requests for waivers from economic sanctions against Iran on a “case-by-case” basis, a senior State Department official said Monday, a step back from threats to insist on zero imports by a Nov. 4 deadline. Buyers of Iranian crude oil have been hoping for relief from U.S. sanctions to have more time to reduce purchases.
An Iranian diplomat has been arrested along with two people suspected of plotting a bomb attack on a meeting of an exiled Iranian opposition group in France attended by Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Belgian authorities said on Monday.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Foreign ministers of Iran and the five world powers still party to its nuclear accord will meet in Vienna on Friday to discuss ways of maintaining the deal after the withdrawal of the United States, Iranian state news agency IRNA reported on Tuesday. “At the meeting, which will be held at the request of Iran, foreign ministers of Iran and five world powers will discuss a proposed European package and measures to protect the agreement,” IRNA said.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani goes to Switzerland and Austria this week with the landmark nuclear accord negotiated in the two Alpine countries hanging in the balance. The state visits to Bern on Tuesday and Vienna on Wednesday are likely to be Rouhani’s last before President Donald Trump begins reimposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic Aug. 6.
The Obama administration granted citizenship to 2,500 Iranians, including family members of government officials, while negotiating the Iran nuclear deal, a senior cleric and member of parliament has claimed.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said regional oil exports may be threatened if the United States tries to pressure its allies to stop buying Iranian crude oil, his website reported on Tuesday. He did not elaborate, and his comments could be open to interpretation. However, they could be seen as a tacit threat to interfere with the shipping of Iran’s neighbors.
The State Department gave an update on its pressure campaign to isolate Iran just as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is traveling through Europe to save key provisions of the nuclear deal that the U.S. left earlier this year. In a briefing at the State Department, Senior Policy Adviser Brian Hook said Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have sent teams of policy experts to explain to governments and the private sector the risks of working with Iran.
The United States aims to reduce Tehran’s oil revenue to zero in an effort to force the Iranian leadership to change its behavior in the region and believes there is enough spare global oil capacity to make up for lower supply from Iran, a senior U.S. State Department policy adviser said on Monday.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
Iran’s southwest region has experienced a shortage of drinking water in the last few days. Residents of the Khuzestan province, particularly in the cities of Khorramshahr and Abadan, have staged protests, with some protests turning violent.
The United States is not pursuing regime change in Iran, a top State Department official insisted today, even while he highlighted recent Iranian protests, the Iranian currency’s plunge in value against the dollar and the Donald Trump administration’s urging of countries around the world to drop their imports of Iranian oil to zero by November.
SYRIA, RUSSIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
During an upcoming one-on-one meeting, President Donald Trump is expected to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin to kick Iranian forces out of Syria, national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday.
Despite a recent report by UK-based Syrian Human Rights Observatory, saying that Hezbollah and Iranian troops had withdrawn from the Syrian south, accounts are emerging to the contrary.
Israel's security officials are concerned that Iran might try to target senior Israeli officials while they are abroad.
An Iranian general has accused Israel of causing climate change in the revolutionary Shiite Muslim republic by stealing the water out of clouds passing over the Mediterranean.
Israel is facing a complicated situation on its Syrian border as Iran keeps reinforcing its presence in the country, the Syrian army gets closer to Israel and refugees continue to flee the combat zones.
GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN
In late April, an anonymous but high-ranking official at the Central Bank of Iran told a pro-regime news agency that, due to its turbulent relationship with the UAE, Tehran is expanding its foreign currency relations with Qatar… The US should worry about the convergence between Iran and Qatar. If the nuclear deal implodes and sanctions return, their effectiveness will depend on preventing Tehran from developing illicit pathways to access foreign markets… The US should warn Qatar about its relations with Tehran and prepare a detailed plan on how to respond to the Qatari government’s actions in regard to such demands.
TERRORISM & EXTREMISM
Twitter has blocked two accounts belonging to Hamas and closed or blocked some 35 Hamas and Hezbollah accounts in Israel. The action comes about two weeks after Israel’s public security and strategic affairs minister, Gilad Erdan, sent a letter to the social media network’s CEO and executive chairman saying that Twitter has been “largely irresponsive to requests by the Israeli authorities to remove terrorist content and shut down terrorist accounts.”