France Seizes Iran Assault Rifles, Missiles Heading To Yemen | Associated Press
French naval forces in January seized thousands of assault rifles, machine guns and anti-tank missiles in the Gulf of Oman coming from Iran and heading to Yemen’s Houthi rebels, officials said Thursday. While Iran denied being involved, images of the weapons released by the U.S. military’s Central Command showed them to be similar to others captured by American forces in other shipments tied to Tehran. The announcement comes as Iran faces increasing Western pressure over its shipment of drones to arm Russia during its war on Ukraine, as well as for its violent monthslong crackdown targeting protesters.
Iran Blames Israel For Drone Attack, Threatens Retaliation | Associated Press
Iran on Thursday blamed Israel for a drone attack that targeted a military workshop in its central city of Isfahan over the weekend, warning it “reserves its legitimate and inherent right” to retaliate. Iran’s mission to the United Nations, in a letter it published on its website, attributed the attack late Saturday to Israel. “Early investigations suggest that the Israeli regime was responsible for this attempted act of aggression,” the letter signed by Iranian ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani said. The letter did not elaborate on what evidence supported Iran’s suspicion. Israeli officials declined to comment. However, Israel has carried out a series of attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear program and other sites since the collapse of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers as part of a yearslong shadow war between the Mideast rivals.
Protest-Hit Iran Says Whatsapp, Instagram To Remain Blocked | AFP
Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi has vowed that WhatsApp and Instagram will remain blocked in the country, blaming the online platforms for stoking protests that started over four months ago. The Islamic republic was rocked by major demonstrations after the mid-September death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, after her arrest for allegedly breaching the country's dress code for women. Raisi charged that the two platforms, owned by US internet giant Meta, "were at the root of the insecurity in the country during the recent riots", speaking on national television Tuesday evening.
UANI IN THE NEWS
The Possibility Of The IRGC Being Recognized As A Terrorist By Europe | UANI Policy Director Jason Brodsky Interview On Iran International
US Adds Sanctions To Iran For Russian Drone Sales | UANI Policy Director Jason Brodsky Interview On i24News
On February 1, 2023, UANI Policy Director Jason M. Brodsky appeared on i24NEWS to discuss the latest U.S. action targeting Iran's transfer of drones to Russia, and other topics regarding the Islamic Republic. "The entities that were listed by the Department of Commerce, most of them had already been listed or sanctioned by the Department of the Treasury. So this is just a tightening of the US sanctions architecture, particularly export controls and those equities that the Department of Commerce oversees. But on their own, they will not further deter the Iranian system from providing Russia with lethal weaponry. The United States, the international community, is going to have to start increasing the pain on Iranian soil and unless and until they do that, that is not going to change the calculation in Tehran as to whether to arm Russia in Ukraine."
The European Union Should Add The IRGC To Its Terrorism List | UANI Policy Director Jason Brodsky For 19FortyFive
The EU’s foreign policy chief was dismissive in January when asked about adding Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to the European Union’s terrorist list. During an EU Foreign Affairs Council in January, Josep Borrell warned, “It is something that cannot be decided without a court decision first. You cannot say I consider you a terrorist because I don’t like you.” Well, the growing calls to add the IRGC to the EU’s terrorist list are not based on dislike. They are based on four decades’ worth of evidence that the Guard Corps is implicated in terrorism.
Is Israel Waging A Secret War Against Putin's Friends? | Bild
… Iran expert Jason Brodsky from the US think tank United Against Nuclear Iran told BILD: "I think it is very likely that Israel is doing more for Ukraine than is publicly known, despite public complaints that Jerusalem does not deliver everything that the Ukrainian president wants.” AND: "Last night's operation could be an example of Israel's capabilities without risking Russian retaliation since the target is on Iranian soil and is indirect - so this is an ideal target for Israel." According to Brodsky, the strike against the arms factory is a "reminder" to the Iranians: if they deliver arms to Moscow, the US and Israel will strike.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
IAEA Chides Iran For Undeclared Change To Fordow Uranium Enrichment Setup | Reuters
The U.N. nuclear watchdog criticised Iran on Wednesday for making an undeclared change to the interconnection between the two clusters of advanced machines enriching uranium to up to 60% purity, close to weapons grade, at its Fordow plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency found the change during an unannounced inspection on Jan. 21 at the Fordow Fuel enrichment Plant (FFEP), a site dug into a mountain where inspectors are stepping up checks after Iran said it would dramatically expand enrichment. Fordow is so sensitive that the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers banned enrichment there. Since the United States pulled out of the deal in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions against Iran, the Islamic Republic has breached many of the deal's restrictions on its nuclear activities.
Iran Is Showing Off Its ‘Saqr’ Missile – Analysis | Jerusalem Post
Iranian pro-government media reported extensively on Wednesday about the Saqr missile, noting that it had been used in Yemen by the Iran-backed Houthi group, as well as in Iraq, to target US forces and also in Syria. This links Iran to all these attacks, without explicitly taking credit for them. The Tasnim report noted that this “mysterious” missile has been used in many places, all of them linked to pro-Iran forces around the Middle East. It explains how the missile behaves like a cruise missile and a “loitering” munition, that it can detect targets with optical and thermal systems.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
Jailed Iran Filmmaker Jafar Panahi Says On Hunger Strike | AFP
Acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who has been jailed for the last six months, said he has begun a hunger strike to protest his continued detention, according to a statement published by his wife Thursday. Panahi, whose films have won prizes at all of Europe's main film festivals, was arrested in July even before the current wave of protests that have shaken the regime started in September. There were expectations last month that the judiciary could order his release, but he remains behind bars in Tehran's Evin prison.
Iran May Criminalise Social Media Comments | Middle East Monitor
The Iranian parliament is planning to introduce new articles to the Islamic Penal Code which would criminalise "expressing opinions on social networks". If approved, this will further limit freedom of speech in the Islamic Republic. According to Iran's reformist daily newspaper Etemad in an article headlined "Be careful with your comments; If it is against the official reading, you will be punished!", lawmakers at the Judiciary Committee have made plans to add an article to Chapter five of the Penal Code. At the moment, Article 512 states: "Anyone who entices or incites people to fight and kill each other with the intention of disrupting the security of the country, regardless of whether or not it causes murder and looting, will be sentenced to one to five years in prison." It is believed that the amendments could target well-known and influential people in Iran who are deemed by the authorities to instigate civil strife or violence, especially if their comments go against the official line on a matter.
Stay Of Execution For Iran Protester On Death Row: Judiciary | AFP
An Iranian, sentenced to death for his actions during protests triggered by last year's death in custody of Mahsa Amini, has been given a stay of execution, the judiciary said Wednesday. Mohammad Ghobadlou was sentenced to death in November after being convicted of "corruption on earth for attacking police in Tehran with a car, resulting in the death of one officer and injuries to five others." In December, the Supreme Court rejected Ghobadlou's appeal and upheld his death sentence, which had been expected to go ahead any day.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
Tehran Slams 'Ridiculous', Hostile Anti-Iran Remarks By US, Israel | Middle East Monitor
The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday rejected "anti-Iran remarks" made by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, describing them as "ridiculous". The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanaani, said on Twitter that the United States was the first country to use a nuclear bomb, while Israel possesses a dangerous nuclear arsenal, adding that both officials stood side by side and talked about the dangers of Iran's nuclear programme, while Tehran is a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). During a joint press conference with Blinken, Netanyahu accused Iran of "exporting violence" outside its borders and spreading it across the Middle East region.
Iran Blames Cyberattack For Internet Disruption, ISNA Says | Bloomberg
A nationwide drop in Iranian internet traffic last week was caused by a cyberattack, the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency reported. Investigations are ongoing into the origin of the Jan. 25 attack, which disrupted networks for ten minutes, ISNA reported, citing Communications Minister Eisa Zarepour. Iran has restricted internet access since September as part of its crackdown on nationwide anti-government protests.