Eye on Iran: U.S.-Iran Tensions Rise over Oil Route as EU Tries to Save Nuclear Deal

TOP STORIES

U.S.-Iran Tensions Rise over Oil Route as EU Tries to Save Nuclear Deal | Reuters

The U.S. Navy stands ready to ensure free navigation and the flow of commerce, the U.S. military’s Central Command said on Thursday, as Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned they would block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if necessary.

French Shipping Firm CMA CGM Ends Iran Ops Due to U.S. Sanctions Threat | Reuters

French shipping group CMA CGM has decided to pull out of Iran following the Trump administration’s decision to renew sanctions on companies operating in the country, its chief executive said on Saturday.

Iran Nuclear Deal in Doubt as World Powers Fall Short on Tehran's Demands | Telegraph (U.K.)

The Iran nuclear deal looked in doubt on Friday as European powers failed to convince Tehran that they would be able to fully compensate for economic losses caused by the US's exit. The signatories to the landmark accord met for the first time since Donald Trump, the US president, withdrew in May to discuss how they could salvage the deal in the face of a reimposition of US sanctions.

UANI IN THE NEWS

Yemen's Houthi Want To Talk—But Coalition Forces Shouldn't Be Fooled | UANI Senior Adviser Norman Roule for the National Interest

The scale of the Yemen tragedy will rightly be a stain on this generation. But the United States should ensure that its actions meaningfully contribute to an end to this conflict and do not inadvertently extend the war or Iran’s malign influence. Doing so offers the best prospect of ending the suffering of Yemen’s people and ensuring the stability of the region and America’s interest requires.

NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM

Iran Threatens to Cut Cooperation with Nuclear Body after Trump Move | Reuters

Iran could reduce its co-operation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog, President Hassan Rouhani told the body’s head on Wednesday, after he warned U.S. President Donald Trump of “consequences” of fresh sanctions against Iranian oil sales.

SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS

South Korea Suspends Iranian Oil Loading in July for First Time Since 2012: Sources | Reuters

South Korea will not lift any Iranian crude and condensate in July, halting all shipments for the first time in six years amid U.S. pressure to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November, three sources familiar with the matter said on Friday. Japanese customers, however, are continuing to import for now, with multiple buyers considering buying Iranian oil through September loading, said a North Asia trading source familiar with Iranian oil shipping arrangements.

Dutch Carrier KLM Says It Will Halt Flights to Iran | Associated Press

Dutch airline KLM says it will halt flights to Tehran “as a result of the negative results and financial outlook” following the U.S. withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear accord.

EU Lawmakers Back Plan for European Investment Bank Work in Iran | Reuters

EU lawmakers gave approval on Wednesday for the European Investment Bank (EIB) to do business in Iran, overcoming a blocking attempt and keeping alive plans to save the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran that Washington has abandoned… However, the EU lawmakers’ decision does not oblige the EIB to work with Iran, a move that could jeopardize its ability to raise money on U.S. markets and so have far reaching consequences for its operations.

World Powers Back Iran Oil Exports Despite US Sanctions Threat | Agence France-Presse

Iran’s remaining partners in the 2015 nuclear deal vowed Friday to keep the energy exporter plugged into the global economy despite the US withdrawal and sanctions threat.

Iran Access to Oil, Financial Markets Unresolved in Vienna Talks | Bloomberg

World powers agreed to keep looking for ways to ensure Iran gets the financial and energy benefits it signed up for under a landmark nuclear deal after they fell short of providing tangible guarantees sought by the Islamic Republic.

President Trump Is Putting Huge Pressure on Europe to Reinstate Sanctions on Iran. He's In for A Tough Sell at the NATO Summit | Time

After ripping up the Iran nuclear deal in May, the Trump Administration is fanning out across the globe to rally support for a return to economy-crippling sanctions against Tehran. The effort comes ahead of President Donald Trump’s trip next week to Europe, where he is expected to pressure leaders into joining the far-reaching campaign to handcuff major aspects of Iran’s economy, including driving oil exports to zero.

Why Iran Is Threatening to Close the Strait of Hormuz | Real Clear Defense

Recently, Iran's government has been revisiting a familiar refrain: the threat to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

ZTE Gets Temporary Reprieve from U.S. Ban over Iran Sanctions Violations | Radio Free Europe

U.S. authorities are allowing China's ZTE Corp. to resume some business with American companies, temporarily easing a ban imposed over the telecom giant's export of sensitive technology to Iran and North Korea.

Iran Links Continued Oil Exports to Keeping the Nuclear Deal | Radio Farda

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh says his country’s Foreign Ministry officials are not happy with the details of the package of economic measures offered to Tehran in order to make sure that Iran stays in the nuclear deal with the West.

Iran Tells Trump to Stop Tweeting About Oil Prices | Associated Press

Iran's representative to OPEC says U.S. President Donald Trump should stop tweeting about wanting lower oil prices, saying that doing so has the opposite effect. Hossein Kazempour Ardebili was quoted by the oil ministry's website Thursday as telling Trump to "please stop," adding that "with your frequent and indecent tweets oil prices have gone up 10 dollars."

Trump Envoy Seeks to Sweet Talk Germany Inc. Out Of Iran | Politico

Donald Trump’s new envoy to Berlin is on a campaign to remind Germans that the business of America is business. In a bid to coax small- and medium-sized German companies active in Iran away from the Islamic Republic, Ambassador Richard Grenell has quietly begun engaging business executives with an offer to help them tap the much larger and lucrative U.S. market, according to people briefed on the talks.

The Economic Roots of Iran’s Unrest | James Robbins for the National Interest

The fresh outbreaks of street protests in Tehran that have taken place in recent days raise the question of whether this will be just a temporary disturbance or a sign of more significant changes to come.

The US Must Put Minister of Justice on Sanctions List | Tzvi Kahn for Iran WIre

In February 2018, as Iran’s clerical regime continued to suppress nationwide protests, Tehran’s minister of justice ascended the dais of the UN Human Rights Council and accused Western countries of hypocrisy. “Arrogating to themselves a leading global human rights advocacy,” declared Seyyed Alireza Avaei, “these states have exploited human rights for political ends.”

PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS

Woman Arrested in Iran for Instagram Video of Her Dancing | Guardian (U.K.)

Iran has arrested a number of people for posting videos on Instagram, including a young woman whose targeting for her clips of her dancing to music has prompted outrage. According to activists, Maedeh Hojabri, who appears to be in her late teenage years, was one of a number of users behind popular Instagram accounts who have been arrested.

New Protests in Southern Iran over Water Shortages | Radio Farda

Thousands of residents of Borazjan, the center of Dashtestan County in Bushehr province, southern Iran, poured into the streets on Saturday, July 7, to protest “shortage” and “chaotic” distribution of water.

Rights Groups: Iran Sentences 4 Dervish Women to 5-Year Terms | Voice Of America

Iranian rights groups say a court has sentenced four women of Iran's Gonadabi Dervish minority to five years in prison each for participating in an anti-government protest that turned violent in Tehran.

Dozens of Arrests Reported Ahead of an Annual Gathering in Iran | Radio Farda

Up to fifty persons have been arrested in northwestern Iran, days ahead of the annual gathering at a historic fortress in Eastern Azerbaijan province, human rights activists report.

Iranian Kurds Increase Campaign against Tehran Regime | Jerusalem Post

As Iran suffers from economic stagnation, the country is ripe for more sustained protests and armed opposition to the regime.

Iran’s Persistent Protests | Wall Street Journal Editorial

Iranians are protesting in the streets again, only a few months after the regime crushed nationwide demonstrations over the country’s sagging economy and widespread corruption. The periodic eruptions are a sign of discontent that may spread as the pressure from renewed U.S. sanctions increases.

Iran Fails to Act Against Human Trafficking | Voice of America Editorial

Once again, Iran is ranked with some of the worst places in the world in terms of the fight against human trafficking – the buying and selling of men, women and children in the labor and commercial sex markets.

MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS

Trump Says Harassment of US Ships by Iran Has Ended | New York Post

President Trump on Sunday noted that harassment of United States warships by the Iranian navy in the Persian Gulf has stopped in the second year of his administration.

 

SYRIA, RUSSIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN

Syria Says Israel Has Struck Airbase with Missiles for Third Time in Five Months | Agence France-Presse

Syria on Sunday accused Israel of targeting an airbase in the central province of Homs, saying its defences hit a jet involved in the third such attack in five months.

Top Iranian General: Forces in Syria ‘Awaiting Orders’ to Destroy Israel | Times of Israel

In a recent speech, the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) boasted that the “Islamic army in Syria” in the Golan Heights was awaiting orders to eradicate the “evil regime” of Israel. He also said the Tehran-backed Hezbollah terror group had 100,000 missiles aimed at Israel.

Hezbollah Allegedly Training Nigerian Shiites to Expand Influence In West Africa | Mona Alami for the Middle East Institute

While Hezbollah’s military expansion across the Middle East, particularly since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, has drawn a great deal of attention, the Lebanese organization’s efforts to increase its presence and influence in Africa has largely been overlooked. Nigeria is a case in point. Sources close to Hezbollah say the organization provides ideological and military training to Nigerian Shiites inside Lebanon.

Hezbollah Role in Syrian South Exposes Limits of U.S. Policy | Reuters

Hezbollah is helping to lead a Russian-backed offensive in southern Syria, pro-Damascus sources said, exposing the limits of U.S. policy that hopes Moscow can get Iran and groups it backs out of the country.

 

Hezbollah Has ‘Significantly Cut’ Troops on Syrian Soil, Sources Say | Times Of Israel

 

The Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah has significantly cut back the number of its troops on Syrian soil, according to Arab media reports confirmed by Israeli sources.

As War Edges Toward End, Iran Faces Hard Fight to Keep Its Influence in Syria | Times Of Israel

Israel and the US are actively trying to force Tehran out, and even its allies Russia and the Assad regime don't seem eager for the Islamic Republic to stay

 

RUSSIA & IRAN

 

Russia's Lavrov: Trade with Iran Will Not Depend on U.S. 'Whim' – Ifax | Reuters

 

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that other parties to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal had agreed to work out ways of trading with Iran independently of the United States’ “whim”, Interfax news agency reported.

GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN

Inside Qatar's Charm Offensive to Win Over Washington | Reuters

Qatar has managed to persuade certain lawmakers and influential Americans that it is a U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism and victim of an unfair boycott, interviews with advisers on both sides show…[S]ince the boycott Iran and Qatar ties have improved. Tehran opened its airspace to Qatar Airways when Saudis and others closed theirs, while Qatar restored full diplomatic relations with Iran.

Iran-backed Iraqi Militia Declares Support for Houthis | National (UAE)

The leader of an Iran-backed militia in Iraq has declared support for Houthi rebels in Yemen, strengthening Tehran's influence in the region.

OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Japan's Abe to Cancel Iran Trip Over U.S. Pressure on Tehran: Kyodo | Reuters

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has given up on a plan to visit Iran this summer, Kyodo News said on Wednesday, as U.S. President Donald Trump has taken an increasingly tough line against Tehran.

Netherlands Expels Two Iranian Embassy Staff: Dutch Intelligence Service | Reuters

The Netherlands has expelled two Iranian embassy staff, the Dutch Intelligence service AIVD said on Friday.

Iran Threatens to Retaliate After Dutch Expel Two Diplomats | AFP

Iran protested on Sunday against the Netherlands' expulsion of two of its diplomats and threatened to retaliate for the "unfriendly and destructive move.”