Iran said Monday that all measures it has taken to roll back its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers are “reversible.” “If the agreement is finalized in Vienna tomorrow, all the measures carried out by Iran are technically reversible,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters. Iran said on Wednesday it had disconnected some UN nuclear watchdog cameras monitoring its nuclear site. The move came as a resolution was adopted by the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors censuring the Islamic Republic for its lack of cooperation.
An Iran-flagged tanker carrying about 1 million barrels of crude from the Middle Eastern country arrived in Venezuelan waters over the weekend, according to a shipping document seen by Reuters on Monday. The cargo is the third of Iranian crude supplied by Iran's Naftiran Intertrade Co (NICO) to Venezuela's state-run oil firm PDVSA following a supply contract providing the South American nation with lighter crude. Venezuela has been processing the Iranian oil in its refineries. The Suezmax tanker Sonia I, which departed from Iran's Kharg Island port in early May, touched waters close to Venezuela's Amuay refinery on Saturday, according to an official notice of its arrival and Refinitiv Eikon vessel data.
Alleged Iranian hackers targeted the email accounts of former Israeli and American government officials, according to research published by the Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. Attackers targeted accounts by using standard hacking techniques such as email phishing and social engineering, the researchers said. The targets included Tzipi Livni, a former minister of justice and minister of foreign affairs, in addition to a unnamed former Israeli military official and a former US ambassador to Israel, Check Point researchers said in a report published Tuesday. The researchers only specified Livni by name, and gave descriptions of the other people targeted.
UANI IN THE NEWS
…The U.S.-based United Against Nuclear Iran nonprofit advocacy group recently reported that Iran's total oil exports, including products, reached 933,000 barrels per day last month, down one-third from March. According to the report, the volume of exports of oil derivatives in Iran remains stable, which means that Iran's exports of crude oil and gas condensate in May halved compared to last March. Last month, an average of 630,000 barrels of Iranian oil and its derivatives went to China, 111,000 barrels to Syria, less than 40,000 barrels to the United Arab Emirates, while the rest ended up at unknown destinations.
…Jason Brodsky, policy director of United Against Nuclear Iran, told Arab News that Lapid’s warning reflected a concrete and imminent threat to Israelis in Turkey. He said: “This is an unusual step for Israel’s Foreign Ministry to take, and it reflects the seriousness of the situation. Iran is trying to restore the deterrence equation by expanding its target list, focusing on not just Israeli diplomats and businessmen, but now civilian tourists. “This likely reflects frustration on the part of Iranian security services after repeated attacks and setbacks. Iran and its proxies have targeted Israeli tourists before, for example in July 2012 when Israeli tourists were killed in the Burgas bus bombing in Bulgaria.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
A jumbo jet-sized mystery has landed in the lap of Argentine officials, who are trying to determine what to do with a Venezuelan-owned Boeing 747 cargo plane with a load of automotive parts and an unusually large crew of 17, including at least five Iranians. The plane operated by Venezuela’s state-owned Emtrasur cargo line has been stuck since June 6 at Buenos Aires’ main international airport, unable to depart because of U.S. sanctions against Iran and suspicions about its crew. Security Minister Aníbal Fernández said Monday that the government and legal authorities are studying the situation.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
A court in Iran has sentenced 26 followers of the Baha'i faith to prison terms ranging from two to five years, as well as other measures, on charges of "conspiracy to disrupt internal and external security" in what the religion's leaders say is another sign of the persecution they face. According to reports received by Radio Farda, the verdict issued by the Revolutionary Court of the southern city of Shiraz is related to a series of arrests of Baha'is in Shiraz between July 2016 and December 2016. Several unspecified problems in the case had drawn the proceedings out for six years.
Merchants and shopkeepers at bazaars in some Iranian cities have protested a tax increase as the economy reels from U.S. sanctions and the rial weakens to historic lows against the dollar. A day after the rial fell to 33,200 per dollar and rallies were held in Tehran's bazaars, merchants in Kazerun in Fars Province closed their market on June 13 to protest the country's economic conditions. Devastated by years of harsh economic sanctions imposed by Washington since the United States pulled out of an accord with global superpowers aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear program, many Iranians have risked taking to the streets in recent months to decry the government's inability to help their lives.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
An explosion at a chemical factory in southern Iran injured scores of people, most of them lightly, the country’s state TV reported Tuesday. The report said a leak from an ammonium tank caused the blast on Monday evening in the southern city of Firouzabad in Fars province, located about 770 kilometers (480 miles) south of the capital, Tehran. Firemen were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, the report added. According to the chief of the provincial health department, Vahid Hosseini, out of 133 injured who were taken to local hospitals, mostly factory workers, 114 were later released after treatment. Authorities on Tuesday reopened a nearby major road that they had closed after the explosion. The factory went online in 2020.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
Israel raised its Istanbul travel advisory to the highest level on Monday because of what it said was a threat of Iranian attempts to kill or abduct Israelis vacationing in Turkey. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said a "huge effort" by Israel's security forces had saved "Israeli lives in recent weeks", and thanked the Turkish government for its contribution. He did not give further details. An Israeli security official told Reuters Turkey had arrested several suspected "operatives" of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
They both graduated from Iran’s top universities — young, healthy and athletic — before they suddenly fell ill in late May. The two scientists grew sicker and sicker, and ended up in the intensive care units of hospitals in two different cities nearly 400 miles apart. Then, they both died within days of each other. Iran believes Israel killed them by poisoning their food, according to an Iranian official and two other people with ties to the government who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. One of them, Ayoub Entezari, was an aeronautical engineer who worked for a military research center, and the other, Kamran Aghamolaei, was a geologist.
An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman said Monday that any “response” the Islamic Republic would make against Israel would take place inside Israel, a day after it was reported that Israeli and Turkish security agencies last month uncovered an Iranian plot to kidnap Israeli tourists in Turkey. “If we will want to respond to Israel’s activities, our answer will be given in its place and not in a third country,” Saeed Khatibzadeh said. According to Sunday’s reports in Hebrew media outlets, Israeli security officials tipped off their Turkish counterparts about the plan and asked that they take action to thwart the attack.
IRAQ & IRAN
Iran and Iraq signed an agreement today aimed at boosting tourist visits between the two neighboring countries. Iranian Tourism Minister Ezzatollah Zarghami and his Iraqi counterpart, Hassan Nazem, signed the memorandum of understanding in Tehran. The agreement specifically mentioned joint projects on religious tourism following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, such as facilitating visas, building hotels and investment in the tourism sector, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.