Iran is refusing to allow inspectors access to nuclear-related sites and hindering a probe by the United Nations atomic agency while continuing to expand its nuclear activities, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in two confidential reports Tuesday, casting doubt on efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. The reports leave the Biden administration and its European allies facing a choice between pushing for a formal rebuke of Iran—which Tehran’s new hard-line government has warned could scuttle the resumption of nuclear talks—or refraining from action, potentially undercutting the authority of the IAEA and its leadership.
The commander of Iran’s navy says that two ships it sent around Africa to Russia have returned. This “most historic military event at sea was completed with authority and success by sending a combat fleet consisting of the Iranian destroyer Sahand and the ship Makran that was able to end its mission and return home,” he said. Iran now says this shows its navy can be present anywhere globally. Iran’s navy has historically not been very large and has suffered numerous setbacks recently, with one ship catching fire and sinking and another being sunk by its own naval gunners during a drill.
Iran’s new Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian had phone calls with Abdullah Abdullah and former President Hamid Karzai to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, as the Taliban unveiled a government following their takeover of the country. Abdullah Abdullah, chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, called on Iran to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. In a separate call on Tuesday, Amirabdollahian told Karzai that the new Afghan government must involve all of the country’s factions.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley will visit Moscow and Paris this week for talks with Russian and European officials on Iran's nuclear program, the State Department said in a statement on Tuesday. The talks will cover "Iran's nuclear program and the need to quickly reach and implement an understanding on a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action," it said, referring to Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with major powers. Former President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal, under which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activities in return for the lifting of sanctions.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Loathed by Iran’s moderates, television spy series “Gando” with its plots mirroring the headlines has gone back on air since ultra-conservative President Ebrahim Raisi’s election victory. Named after a local species of crocodile known to ambush its prey, “Gando” centers around counter-espionage agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, operating from a control room festooned with monitors, much like in the American thriller “24.” The series is lauded by ultra-conservatives, but the real draw for many — and the possible reason why state television pulled it for several months before its return in July — has been its attacks on former president Hassan Rouhani’s government.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
Military plans dealing with Iran’s nuclear programme have been “greatly accelerated”, Israel’s military chief warned, as questions on the ability to revive a landmark accord limiting Tehran’s weapons development continue to grow. Preparations for possible action against Iran are being intensified, Chief of General Staff Aviv Kohavi said in an interview published on Monday, adding “a significant chunk of the boost to the defence budget, as was recently agreed, was intended for this purpose”. “It’s a very complicated job with much more intelligence, much more operational capabilities, much more armaments. We’re working on all these things,” Kohavi told Walla news.
U.S. Central Command announced Sept. 1 that it has assumed responsibility for U.S. forces in Israel. This positive development reflects changes in Arab-Israeli relations and offers an opportunity to build a more unified and militarily capable American-Israeli-Arab coalition to deter aggression from Iran and its terrorist proxies — one of CENTCOM’s top priorities. Despite Israel’s location in the Middle East, when CENTCOM was created in 1983, responsibility for the Jewish state was assigned to U.S. European Command. That decision reflected Israel’s political isolation from its Arab neighbors.
IRAQ & IRAN
The commander of the Ground Forces of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) warned Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of a "decisive and harsh response" against Kurdish fighters based in the semi-autonomous Kurdish territory. "The current situation is no longer tolerable," said Gen. Mohammad Pakpour in reference to a recent uptick in border clashes between Iraq-based Iranian Kurdish opposition and IRGC forces on the rugged border.