**NOTE: UANI’s Eye On Iran will be suspended on Monday, September 6 in observance of Labor Day. It will resume Tuesday, September 7.**
U.S. and European efforts to coax Iran back into nuclear negotiations as soon as this month are being blunted by support the Islamic Republic’s already emboldened leaders are receiving from China and Russia. The result is that three years after former President Donald Trump imposed his “maximum pressure” policy, Iran has enriched uranium close to weapons grade while its economy is showing some signs of stabilizing with the help of Beijing and Moscow, even as crucial oil exports remain heavily sanctioned.
As the Taliban try to unite all Afghans behind them, one of the biggest obstacles the Sunni Islamist movement faces is how to persuade the Shiite Hazara community, roughly one-fifth of the nation’s population, that it has a place under the new regime. When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan in 1996-2001, they committed a series of massacres against the Hazaras and openly discriminated against the community. Since seizing Kabul on Aug. 15, the Taliban haven’t interfered with a Shiite religious festival, and has assured the Hazaras—targeted by a series of Islamic State bombings in recent years—of their safety.
The first Iranian fuel oil cargo secured through Lebanon's armed group Hezbollah will be delivered via Syria by truck to avoid complications related to sanctions, two sources with knowledge of the mater said on Thursday. Hezbollah, a heavily armed group founded by Iran's Revolutionary Guards in 1982, announced last month that a shipment of Iranian fuel oil was on its way to help ease crippling shortages in Lebanon. Hezbollah's foes in Lebanon have warned of dire consequences from the purchase, saying it risked sanctions being imposed on a country whose economy has been in meltdown for nearly two years.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Last week’s meeting between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington enabled the Israeli leader to start a substantive, even somewhat cordial, relationship with his U.S. counterpart. Bennett managed to extract from his host a statement that matched Israel’s prior ambitions regarding his most pressing issue. Biden promised that Iran will never be a nuclear state (and not only on “my watch,” as he said in the past) and promised that, in order to achieve this, all possible options will remain open.
U.S and Iranian negotiators took a break earlier this summer after six rounds of indirect talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). While Washington has made it clear that it is willing to make significant concessions to Tehran, so far this has not been reciprocated. And there is little to suggest that this will change now that the country’s recently elected president, Ebrahim Raisi, and his newly appointed foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, have been sworn in.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
Iran’s new Oil Minister, Javad Owji, met on Thursday with a top official from the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in Tehran to discuss cooperation and expansion of bilateral relations. Owji met today with Libin Zhang, the deputy head of CNPC’s Middle Eastern division, to talk about boosting cooperation, Iranian media report. CNPC has developed the North Azadegan oilfield in Iran, which is located along the border with Iraq. The new Iranian president and administration continue to work on close ties with China, which were forged during the previous administration.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
An Iranian man died after he was submitted to a lashing penalty inside a jail in Iran's Turkish-majority eastern Azerbaijan province. The inmate, identified as Hadi Atazadeh, had been handed an unspecified prison sentence and lashes after being charged with alcohol possession one and a half years ago. Under the Islamic Republic's strict penal code, consumption and possession of alcoholic drinks are punishable by up to 80 lashes and/or varying imprisonment terms in some cases.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is urging Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release a financial reporter who was reportedly arrested this week on security charges, saying that the jailing of journalists for doing their jobs is “an outrageous form of censorship that must end.” The New-York-based media freedom watchdog made the call in a statement on September 1 after Amir-Abbas Azarmvand, who works for the state run Iranian economic newspaper SMT, was arrested at his parents’ home in Tehran by security agents of the Intelligence Ministry, according to exile-run outlets.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Iran's Revolutionary Court has started the trial of two Swedish men charged with drug trafficking, Iranian state news reported. This comes weeks after a former Iranian official accused of war crimes went on trial in Stockholm. The judiciary's official Mizan news agency said Stephen Kevin Gilbert and Simon Kasper Brown appeared before Branch 15 of Iran’s Revolutionary Court. Iranian prosecutors said the pair entered Iran as tourists, with Gilbert carrying more than 9 grams of opium resin and Brown with 21,000 tablets of the painkiller tramadol.
Iran’s state TV is reporting that the country’s Interior Ministry has approved a new hard-line mayor for the capital, Tehran, after a city council election. Alireza Zakani, 55 heads a parliamentary research center, and he was one of the seven approved 2021 presidential candidates. He withdrew from the race to support the eventual winner, fellow hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi. Zakani previously served as a lawmaker. He was also the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s volunteer unit at Tehran University in 1999.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
The Islamic Republic of Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has told a Lebanese politician that Tehran is ready to sell more fuel to new customers, after reports said an Iranian tanker reached Syria with fuel for Lebanon. Official government IRNA news website quoted the foreign ministry that Aamir-Abdollahian spoke on phone with Gebran Bassil, former Lebanese foreign minister who thanked Iran for the shipment. In August, Iran-backed militant Hezbollah organization announced that it has worked out a deal to bring Iranian fuel to Lebanon, which is experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis. Hezbollah and Iran claim that Lebanese merchants paid for the fuel but this cannot be verified. Iranian officials have said they have to send assistance to allies and proxies such as Syria and Hezbollah.
The recent attacks on Israeli-owned and operated shipping in the Arab Gulf served as a valuable lesson for Israel. It proved the limitations of using military power in its campaign against Iran, especially when carried out far from home in Iran’s “backyard.” Having overextended its independent military capabilities in confronting Iran in its sphere of influence, Israel found itself in a vulnerable position. But while Israel might have erred in choosing the field of military engagement, Iran’s retaliatory moves offer a window of opportunity for an effective diplomatic campaign.
is a clerk at a branch of a major bank in the center of the country. One day he arrived at work to find a surprise awaiting him – a new keyboard. Truthfully, if he were going to get a present, Y. would have preferred a raise or a restaurant voucher to a keyboard. But as the saying goes, if they give you something, take it. The old keyboard was tossed in the trash and Y. connected the new one to the computer.