Iran Denies Involvement In Rushdie Attack, Says He Brought It On Himself

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Iran Denies Involvement In Rushdie Attack, Says He Brought It On Himself | The Washington Post 

Iran denied any involvement Monday in last week’s attack that left author Salman Rushdie with severe injuries after he was stabbed in the neck and abdomen onstage at an event in western New York. In its first public reaction to the stabbing, Iran said Rushdie and his supporters were to blame for the attack, more than three decades after Tehran issued a directive for Muslims to kill Rushdie because of his book “The Satanic Verses,” published in 1988. “We do not blame, or recognize worthy of condemnation, anyone except himself and his supporters,” Nasser Kanaani, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, said of the stabbing, which has been condemned by world leaders and has rocked the literary world.  

Execution Rate Doubled In Iran, Says Amnesty | Deutsche Welle 

Statistically speaking, Iran executed at least one person a day in the first half of 2022. According to a recent report by human rights organization Amnesty International, Iranian executioners have killed some 251 people since the beginning of the year. That's about twice as many as the same time last year, Amnesty said. In 2021, Iran was responsible for the second-highest per-capita rate of executions worldwide, with an estimated 314 individuals killed. The country was likely only surpassed by China. However, as the People's Republic handles executions as state secrets, independent verification is impossible.  

Iran May Accept EU Proposal To Revive Nuclear Deal If Demands Met, IRNA Reports | Reuters 

A European Union proposal to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal “can be acceptable if it provides assurances" on Tehran's key demands, the state news agency IRNA said on Friday, quoting a senior Iranian diplomat. The EU said on Monday it had put forward a "final" text following four days of indirect talks between U.S. and Iranian officials in Vienna. A senior EU official said no more changes could be made to the text, which has been under negotiation for 15 months. He said he expected a final decision from the parties within a "very, very few weeks.”

UANI IN THE NEWS 

Iranian Tanker Reloads Oil Confiscated By U.S. In Greece | Reuters 

…The removal of oil from the Lana prompted Iranian forces in May to seize two Greek tankers in the Middle East Gulf, which have not yet been released. Claire Jungman, chief of staff with U.S. advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran, which monitors Iran-related tanker traffic, said Greece "had an opportunity to take a stance". "Instead, this decision by the Greek courts tells Iran that there are no repercussions for its hijacking of tankers," Jungman told Reuters. 

Operation Starts To Reload Confiscated Oil Onto Iranian Tanker In Greece | Lloyd’s List 

…Data from US lobby group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) showed the vessels within 11 metres of each other on August 11. UANI also obtained a warning issued by the Greek Ministry of Shipping on August 10 banning anchorage or movement of vessels within a radius of 0.1 nautical miles from Lana and Ice Energy as the STS takes place. It warned that violators would be punished. The sanctioned oil was seized by US authorities in May off the Greek island of Evia, but ordered to be returned by Greek courts after months of diplomatic wrangling.  

Iranian Praise For Attack On Rushdie Leads To Outcry | Iran International 

…Biden’s critics have pointed out that nowhere in the statement has he mentioned Iran or its bounty on Rushdie. “Finally, POTUSweighs in with a statement on Salman Rushdie, as he should. But again, there is no addressing of Iran's incitement or policy consequences. The question remains: How will the US deter Tehran-directed or inspired attacks against Americans?” Policy Director at United Against Nuclear Iran, tweeted Saturday.

Iran Says Tanker Is Heading Home With Cargo Returned From US Seizure | The Maritime Executive 

…Late last week, the independent watchdog group UANI (United Against Nuclear Iran) alerted that the return of the oil had begun after the Greek courts ruled against the United States. The courts had previously confirmed the seizure of the oil cargo. The group reported that the transfer was likely to be completed over the weekend. “The operation involving transfer of Iran’s stolen oil to the Lana vessel is underway in Greece’s waters, and the vessel will soon head to the country (Iran) with its complete cargo of oil,” Iran’s Embassy in Greece said in a Tweet on Friday.  

Ports & Shipping | Pakistan & Gulf Economist 

…Iran’s tankers become more active. Iran is overcoming trade barriers and sustaining a high level of crude oil exports by deploying more of its own sanctioned tankers, according to watchdog United Against Nuclear Iran. The nation’s petroleum industry is heavily sanctioned by the United States, but it continues to export a steady flow of about one million barrels a day into the global market; in fact, it is earning more money than it has in years thanks to rising oil prices. Its clandestine trading network relies on a small number of private shipowners who are willing to violate U.S. sanctions and evade detection in exchange for outsize financial returns.  

Nikki Haley Calls On Biden Admin To Deny Iranian President Visa After Assassination Plots | Fox News 

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is calling on the Biden administration to deny a visa for the Iranian president to travel to attend the United Nations General Assembly next month -- after it emerged that Iranian operatives had plotted to kill top U.S. officials. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is seeking a visa to attend the gathering of world leaders in New York next month. But after the Justice Department announced charges against an Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) member for an alleged plot to kill former national security advisor John Bolton, Haley says that request must be denied.

Background Of Rushdie Attacker Sheds Light On Khomeini Sympathizers In US | Arab News 

...“The attack on Salman Rushdie by a reportedly pro-Khomenei individual would seem to qualify as an act of terrorism. The documented threats to Americans by Iran are certainly terrorism,” Norman Roule, an adviser to the United Against Nuclear Iran coalition, based in Washington, posted on Twitter. “How would we have responded if these were AQ-related attacks? Why the difference?” 

NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM 

Iran Vows To Give Response On Nuclear Deal Text On Monday | Bloomberg 

Iran said it will inform the European Union of its official position on a draft text to revive the 2015 nuclear accord by Monday night, signaling it may be nearer an agreement with the US over a deal that could restore its oil exports to global markets.  “If the US shows a realistic approach and flexibility, we can reach the point of an agreement in the next few days,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said. Oil extended losses as traders weighed the prospect of more Iranian supply against concerns about Chinese demand. West Texas Intermediate dropped near $88 a barrel, falling as much as 4.3%.  

Analysis: Iranian Nuclear Deal Limbo May Serve Interests Of Both U.S. And Iran | Reuters

Whether or not Tehran and Washington accept a European Union "final" offer to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, neither is likely to declare the pact dead because keeping it alive serves both sides' interests, diplomats, analysts and officials said. Their reasons, however, are radically different. For U.S. President Joe Biden's administration, there are no obvious or easy ways to rein in Iran's nuclear program other than the agreement, under which Iran had restrained its atomic program in return for relief from U.S., U.N. and EU economic sanctions.  

Alleged Iranian Murder Plot Complicates Biden’s Path To Nuclear Deal | Politico 

President Joe Biden is tantalizingly close to reviving the Iran nuclear deal. The latest alleged Iranian murder plot is not helping. News this week that the Justice Department has charged an Iranian operative in a suspected scheme to kill former Trump administration national security adviser John Bolton is leading to renewed calls in Washington for Biden to abandon the nuclear talks. The Bolton case comes after U.S. officials recently arrested a man amid suspicion that he was part of an Iranian effort to kidnap Masih Alinejad, an Iranian-American critic of the Tehran regime.  

SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS   

Oil Extends Losses As Traders Weigh China Outlook, Iran Supply | Bloomberg 

Oil extended losses at the start of the week as traders weighed concerns about Chinese demand and the prospect for more Iranian supply. West Texas Intermediate fell toward $91 a barrel after closing 2.4% lower on Friday. China’s central bank unexpectedly cut its key interest rates as it boosts support for an economy hit by virus lockdowns and property woes. European Union proposals to revive a nuclear agreement are acceptable if Tehran can be reassured on various issues including sanctions, Iran’s state-run IRNA said.

Iran's Top Automaker Eyes Russian Market Following Western Pullout | Radio Free Europe 

Iran's leading automaker is seeking to grab a share of the Russian market after Western producers halted output or exited the market following sanctions. Iran Khodro CEO Mehdi Khatibi made the announcement on August 14 as he unveiled the company's latest model -- the crossover Rira. "We are going to pay special attention to the Russian market, and we are also thinking of partnering with Russian investors," he said. 

How Iran Is Sidestepping Sanctions Using Crypto | Oil Price 

In a groundbreaking development, Iran has made its first-ever import arrangement using cryptocurrency, according to Iran's Tasnim News Agency. “This week, the first official import order registration worth $10 million was successfully completed using cryptocurrency," said Alireza Peyman-Pak, the head of Iran's Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade. He didn't provide any other details about the transaction, such as which cryptocurrency was used or where the imports were coming from. This week's $10 million import order is just the beginning, as Iran works to sidestep sanctions and pursue trade with other U.S.-targeted economies.”  

TERRORISM & EXTREMISM 

Salman Rushdie Stabbing Suspect ‘Had Contact With Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’ | Vice 

The 24-year-old man accused of stabbing author Salman Rushdie had been in direct contact with members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on social media, European and Middle Eastern intelligence officials told VICE World News. Hadi Matar has been charged with attempted murder after Rushdie, 75, was repeatedly stabbed on stage ahead of a speaking event in Chautauqua, New York, on Friday. On Sunday, Rushdie’s son Zafar Rushdie said that his father was in a critical condition and had sustained “life changing” injuries, but had been taken off a ventilator and had been able to speak.

Rushdie Has Lived Under An Iranian Death Sentence Since 1989 | The New York Times 

Salman Rushdie has been living under a death sentence since 1989, about six months after the publication of his novel “The Satanic Verses,” which fictionalized parts of the life of the Prophet Muhammad with depictions that many Muslims found offensive and some considered blasphemous. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran after the 1979 Iranian Revolution, issued a fatwa on Feb. 14, 1989, ordering Muslims to kill Mr. Rushdie and putting a price on his head of several million dollars.  

New York Man Indicted For Having Rifle Outside Home Of Iranian Journalist | Reuters 

A New York man has been indicted on charges he possessed a loaded AK-47 rifle outside the home of an Iranian-American journalist and rights activist, court records showed on Friday. The defendant, Khalid Mehdiyev, spent two days in late July outside the Brooklyn home of journalist Masih Alinejad, and once tried opening the door, an FBI agent wrote in a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court. A lawyer for Mehdiyev declined to comment. Alinejad has been a critic of Iran's headcovering laws and has promoted videos of women violating the laws to her millions of social media followers.  

PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS 

French Academic Back In Iran Prison After 5-Day Leave: Supporters | AFP 

A French-Iranian academic held in Iran for the past three years in a case that has raised tensions between Tehran and Paris has returned to prison after a brief furlough, her supporters said. Fariba Adelkhah was last week allowed to leave Tehran's Evin prison for five days. Hopes that the measure may be extended were not fulfilled, her support group said in a statement published late Sunday. "Unfortunately, Fariba's five-day leave was not extended, or transformed into house arrest," it said. "It gave her a break, but it's still bad news." Activists say that at least 20 foreign and dual nationals are being held by Tehran on baseless charges, in a deliberate policy of hostage diplomacy aimed at extracting concessions from the West.  

U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS 

U.S. Secretly Bolstered Security At Federal Buildings Against Possible Iranian Attacks After Soleimani Killing | The Wall Street Journal 

Longstanding U.S. worries about the threat that Iran and its agents pose on U.S. soil intensified in the hours after the 2020 assassination of a prominent Iranian military commander, when the Department of Homeland Security bolstered security at thousands of federal buildings against the possibility of retaliation, according to current and former senior U.S. officials. That effort, code-named Operation Resilience according to one of the officials, was premised in large part on the concern that Iran would use its proxy Hezbollah to attack the U.S. homeland in response to the killing in a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad.

MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS 

Iran Seeks 3 More Khayyam Satellites | AFP 

Iran plans to commission three more versions of a satellite launched this week by Russia, Tehran's government spokesman said Friday. The Khayyam blasted into orbit on Tuesday, prompting US accusations that it is intended for spying. Iran dismissed Washington's claim as "childish." "The construction of three other Khayyam satellites with the participation of Iranian scientists is on the government's agenda," its spokesman Ali Bahadori-Jahromi said on Twitter. A Soyuz-2.1b rocket sent the satellite into orbit from the Moscow-controlled Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.  

RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN 

Israeli Strikes Hit Iranian Targets Near Russia's Mediterranean Bases | Reuters 

Israel hit Iranian targets in a series of strikes on Sunday near the ancestral home region of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, and close to Russia's main Syrian bases on the Mediterranean coast, regional intelligence and Syrian military sources said. The Syrian army earlier said three servicemen were killed and three were wounded in two simultaneous Israeli attacks south of the province of Tartous, and another on the capital of Damascus. It gave no details of the specific locations.  

GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN 

Kuwait Names First Ambassador To Iran In Over Six Years | Reuters 

Kuwait has appointed an ambassador to Iran, both countries said on Sunday, more than six years after recalling its top envoy to Tehran in solidarity with Saudi Arabia after it severed ties with the Islamic Republic in 2016. Ambassador Bader Abdullah Al-Munaikh handed his credentials to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in Tehran on Saturday, Iran's foreign ministry said on its website. Kuwait's foreign ministry confirmed Munaikh was appointed envoy to Iran.