Iran Displays Missiles Amid Nuclear Talks With World Powers

TOP STORIES 

Iran Displays Missiles Amid Nuclear Talks With World Powers | Associated Press 

Iran put three ballistic missiles on display at an outdoor prayer esplanade in central Tehran on Friday, as talks in Vienna aimed at reviving Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers flounder. The missiles, known as Dezful, Qiam and Zolfaghar and with official ranges of up to 1000-km (620 miles), were already-known models, the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard said. Diplomats from countries that remain in the 2015 nuclear deal — Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — are working with Tehran to revive the accord, which had sought to limit Iran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for trade. 

Statue Of Iranian Commander Soleimani Torched Hours After Being Unveiled | Radio Free Europe 

A statue erected to honor top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani has been torched by unknown assailants hours after it was unveiled in southwestern Iran, domestic media reported on January 6. Soleimani, who headed the elite Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, was killed on January 3, 2020, in a U.S. drone strike at Baghdad airport. Earlier this week, a statue to honor him was unveiled in the southwestern Iranian city of Shahrekord. But it was set on fire in the evening, Iranian media reported. 

Canada, Other Nations Vow Action Against Iran Over Reparations For Downed Jet | Reuters 

Canada, Britain, Sweden and Ukraine on Thursday said they had abandoned efforts to talk to Tehran about reparations for an airliner downed by Iran and would try to settle the matter according to international law. Most of the 176 people killed when Iran shot down the Ukrainian jet in January 2020 were citizens from those four countries, which created a coordination group that seeks to hold Tehran to account. "Despite our best efforts over the past two years and multiple attempts to resolve this matter through negotiations, the Coordination Group has determined that further attempts to negotiate with Iran ... are futile," it said in a statement. 

NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM 

France Sees Progress In Iran Nuclear Talks, But Time Pressing | Reuters

Progress has been made regarding the Iran nuclear talks although time is running out, France's foreign minister said on Friday. Indirect talks between Iran and the United States on salvaging the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed on Monday. Western diplomats have indicated they are hoping to have a breakthrough by the end of January or early February, but sharp differences remain with the toughest issues still unresolved. Iran has rejected any deadline imposed by Western powers.

Iran Says Nuclear Agreement Can Be Reached If US Sanctions Lifted | Al Jazeera 

Iran’s foreign minister has said an agreement can be reached with world powers over its nuclear deal if Western parties have the will and intention to do so. In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera broadcast on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said an agreement could be reached if all sanctions were lifted. An eighth round of negotiations aimed at restoring Iran’s landmark 2015 nuclear deal is under way in Vienna, where Iran is still looking for guarantees that US sanctions will be lifted. 

Washington Calls On Tehran To Exercise 'Nuclear Restraint' | Asharq Al-Awsat 

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the eighth round of talks in Vienna, which are aimed at reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, had made only “modest progress.” He called on Tehran to “exercise restraint” because its accelerated nuclear steps will diminish the benefits of the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). In a daily press briefing on Tuesday evening, Price said: “There was some modest progress in the talks last week. We hope to build on that this week.” 

MISSILE PROGRAM 

Iran Claims New Missiles Forced Israel To Halt Threats | Al Monitor 

The spokesman for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said last week's military drills in his country sent a message to Israel and made it end its war threats against the Islamic Republic. "The Zionists [Israeli government] were under the impression that they were capable of neutralizing some of our ballistic missiles," Ramezan Sharif told the state-run Arabic language Al-Alam TV. "But thanks to our spectacular advances … [Israel's anti-missile] Iron Dome system fails to detect our projectiles."  The spokesman was referring to ballistic missiles Iran showed off last week in a major military exercise, dubbed Great Prophet 17. 

U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS

Iran Wrestling Chief, US Green Card Holder, Calls For A Violent ‘Death To America’ | Fox News 

The president of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s wrestling federation, Alireza Dabir, urged "Death to America" in a television interview on Wednesday, a little over a month before a wrestling dual meet slated to be held between the national teams of the U.S. and Iran in Arlington, Texas on February 12.  In addition to Dabir's shocking anti-American statement, Fox News Digital can reveal that Dabir is a U.S. green card holder, according to Iran's former Greco-Roman national team wrestling coach. "We always chant ‘Death to America’ but importantly is showing it in action," said Dabir, who won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the Olympics in Sydney in 2000.

MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS 

Coalition Hits Back At Iran-Backed Groups | Al Monitor 

A barrage of attacks have been carried out on facilities in Iraq and eastern Syria hosting forces from the US-led international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) in recent days in Iraq and Syria, with the coalition firing back on Jan. 5. Six artillery rounds were shot by coalition forces in Syria at groups explicitly referred to as “Iran-supported malign actors” in a coalition press release. Though missile and drone defense systems have repeatedly been activated in recent days and forces remain on alert, no major damage to facilities or injuries have been reported among the coalition. 

RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN 

Lapid, Blinken Discuss ‘Challenges Posed By Iran’ In Overnight Phone Call | The Times Of Israel 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Israeli counterpart, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, spoke overnight, the US State Department announced Thursday morning. The two discussed a range of regional and global issues including the “challenges posed by Iran,” a statement from State Department spokesperson Ned Price read. While it wasn’t clear what Israel’s relation to the issue is, the two men also discussed “the risks of further Russian aggression against Ukraine,” the readout said. “Blinken reiterated the Administration’s ironclad commitment to Israel’s security,” the statement concluded.