Iranian-Backed Rocket Attacks On US Increase In Iraq | The Jerusalem Post
On Tuesday two rockets landed at Ain Al-Asad air base in western Iraq. On Monday three to six rockets fell near Balad Air Base in Iraq according to various reports. The base houses US contractors and has been targeted numerous times in the past by pro-Iranian militias targeting Americans. This appears to be the third attack in three days, an increase in these pro-Iranian attacks on US forces in Iraq. The attackers frequently use 107mm rockets supplied by Iran, although they have also used drones in a new escalation. The attacks are designed to provide Iran leverage, to harass the US and to create plausible deniability for Iran.
Dutch Intel Proves Iran Sought Weapons Of Mass Destruction Tech In 2020 | The Jerusalem Post
A damning new report authored by the Netherland’s General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) asserts that the Islamic Republic of Iran attempted to obtain technology in 2020 for weapons of mass destruction. The Dutch intelligence document, which was published in April, says the security service "investigated networks that tried to obtain the knowledge and materials to develop weapons of mass destruction. Multiple acquisition attempts have been frustrated by the intervention of the services.”
House Republicans Sound Alarm On Iran's Secretive Nuclear Program As Inspectors Face Hurdles | Fox News
Top Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken Tuesday, asking he provide a detailed strategy to ensure Iran’s nuclear transparency as the two nations engage in indirect nuclear talks. In a February deal with United Nation’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran agreed to allow inspections of its nuclear sites for three months – extending an Iranian deadline tied to U.S. sanction relief.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
White House Insists Iran Nuclear Negotiations ‘Separate’ From US Hostage Talks | New York Post
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that US efforts to free Americans detained in Iran are “separate” from negotiations to curb the country’s nuclear program. Psaki said the issues aren’t linked after the US denied an Iran state media report that the US will unfreeze $7 billion in Iranian assets for the release of four Americans. Four Iranians also would be freed. “Our policy as the US government has not changed on ransom. But I will tell you that discussions to bring home Americans who are held in Iran are something that are raised — that is raised at the highest level through discussions,” Psaki said at her daily press briefing.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
US Legislators Warn Against Lifting Iran Sanctions After Chilling Fake Propaganda Video | Asharq Al-Awsat
A chilling fake propaganda video depicting Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) blowing up the US Capitol has enraged officials in Washington, where Congress legislators are increasingly opposing the Biden administration’s efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. The video was broadcast on Iranian state-run television only a few days after the leak of an audio recording of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif bemoaning the crushing influence the IRGC enjoys over diplomacy.
Iran’s Growing Missile Threat | Peter Brooks For The Heritage Foundation
One of the key shortfalls in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—also known as the Iran nuclear deal—is that the deal does not address the growing threat of Iran’s missile programs. The U.S. cannot forget that a little over a year ago more than 10 Iranian ballistic missiles armed with high explosives struck the Ain al-Asad base in Iraq, injuring a significant number of U.S. troops posted there. Attention to this issue is critical. The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) estimates that Iran has the largest missile arsenal in the Middle East.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
Iranian Authorities Break Up Mixed-Gender Party, Arrest 16 | Associated Press
Iranian police arrested 16 men and women at a mixed-gender party in the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Tuesday. Such parties are illegal under Iranian law. Drinking alcohol in is also illegal and Muslim men and women who are not related cannot mingle or dance together in public.
UN Experts Say Jailed Iranian Filmmaker Risks 'Possible Death' | Radio Free Europe
Six United Nations rights experts are calling for the immediate release of imprisoned dissident Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad, who they say is reportedly so ill he risks "serious complications and possible death.” "We are seriously concerned at the mistreatment of Mohammad Nourizad and his continued imprisonment for expressing his opinion," the independent UN experts said in a joint statement issued on May 4. “It is clear that Mohammad Nourizad is not in a medical state to remain in prison,” they said, adding that his continued detention and the denial of adequate medical care “may amount to torture.”
Dozens Of Former UN Officials Call For Inquiry Into 1988 Iran Massacre | The Hill
Dozens of human rights experts, including former United Nations officials, in a Tuesday letter called on the UN to open an inquiry into a series of killings of Iranian political dissidents by Iran's government in 1988. An open letter signed by more than 150 international legal and human rights experts, including former UN High Commissioner Mary Robinson and former deputy UN Secretary-General Mark Malloch-Brown, urges the "establishment of an international investigation" looking into the killings of followers of the People's Mujahedin of Iran which occurred throughout 1988 on an order from Iran's then-supreme leader.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
Iranian Forces Blow Up 'U.S. Capitol' In New Video Clip As Nuclear Deal Negotiations Continue | Newsweek
Amid continued talks about a revived nuclear agreement between Washington and Tehran, Iran released a video clip on Sunday depicting fake attack of its military blowing up the U.S. Capitol. The video came out on state-controlled Iranian television before the nation's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, gave a speech on Sunday, according to The Washington Free Beacon. In his talk, Khamenei praised the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), who have carried out operations against the U.S. and whose leader, Qassem Soleimani, was killed by a drone strike by the Trump administration.
Opinion: John Kerry Must Be Investigated For The Zarif Tape | Marc Thiessen For The Washington Post
News that former secretary of state John F. Kerry may have shared classified intelligence with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif about Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria has elicited yawns from the media and among congressional Democrats. The revelation (which Kerry denies) was buried 22 paragraphs deep in a New York Times article about a leaked audio recording of Zarif. According to the Times, Zarif said that “Kerry informed him that Israel had attacked Iranian interests in Syria at least 200 times, to his astonishment.”
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Despite Asking For Forgiveness, Zarif Faces Mounting Pressure | Asharq Al-Awsat
Despite his apology for bemoaning the influence Iran’s military enjoys over diplomacy in a leaked audio, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif continues to face mounting pressure over his controversial remarks. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei labeled Zarif’s comments as a “big mistake” and slammed the top diplomat for parroting the “words of the enemy” in his criticism of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force. “The country’s policies are made of different economic, military, social, scientific and cultural plans, including foreign relations and diplomacy,” Khamenei said in televised remarks.
Iranian Regime Set To Address Deep Internal Divisions | Arab News
When the Iranian regime assumed power following the events of 1979, the theocratic establishment was mainly governed by one political faction: The Islamic Republican Party, ruled by the founder of the regime, Ayatollah Khomeini. Almost all political leaders were united under the leadership of the supreme leader at the time. However, after the death of Khomeini, new political parties began emerging and labels such as “reformists,” “moderates,” “pragmatists” and “principlists” began circulating in media outlets. These became a popular way to characterize Iranian politicians domestically and internationally.
CHINA & IRAN
China-Iran Pact Lays Bare Their Ambitions | Jayadeva Ranade For The Tribune
WITH tensions between the US and China rising, both countries are trying to consolidate their relationship with other nations. After the high-level US-China talks in Alaska earlier this year did not go as well as China had hoped, Beijing has increased its moves in the Middle East, the Gulf and Africa. Barely a few days after the Alaska meeting, China signed an agreement with Iran to increase cooperation and trade over the next 25 years. The deal, signed in late March, grabbed global attention because it coincided with the Vienna talks to revive the US-Iran nuclear deal.
GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN
U.S. Calls Iran And Saudi Arabia Talking To Ease Tensions 'A Good Thing' | Newsweek
President Joe Biden's top diplomat has said that talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia geared toward easing tensions in the Middle East would be a welcome development, as Washington pursues its own diplomacy with Tehran in order to reinvigorate a multilateral nuclear agreement. Secretary of State Antony Blinken would not confirm widespread reports of quiet talks held between regional rivals Tehran and Riyadh, but told the Financial Times on Tuesday that, "if they're talking, I think that's generally a good thing."
Iran Says It Wants Peace With Saudis, But Sends Houthi Drones Instead | The Jerusalem Post
What is Iran’s strategy now that discussions of an Iran-Saudi Arabia warming of relations have become well known? First, it is interesting that while Turkey’s regime has been pretending it wants reconciliation with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the real substantive discussion may involve the kingdom and Iran. That is because Turkey can be more of a threat to Saudi Arabia’s leadership role in the region, while Iran is an antagonist that might be quieted by discussions.
OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Iran Police Probe Death Of Swiss Embassy Staffer In Tehran | Associated Press
Iranian police on Tuesday started investigating the death of a Swiss diplomat who died after reportedly falling from a high rise in the capital of Tehran. The Swiss woman, in her 50s, fell from the upper floors of a 20-story building in which she lived in northern Tehran, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. A worker discovered her missing on Tuesday morning and called authorities. The Swiss Foreign Ministry in Bern acknowledged in a statement that an employee “died in a fatal incident on Tuesday.”
Iranian Gets 20 Years For Bomb Plot, First Official Tried Since 1979 Revolution | Jerusalem Post
An Iranian diplomat sentenced to 20 years in prison for planning a bomb attack in France has dropped an appeal in Belgium and will serve his sentence, lawyers said on Wednesday. Belgian authorities have said they will oppose any potential swap deal with Western prisoners, prosecution lawyers said.
The Iranians Are Here: What We Know About Recent Anti-Israel Cyberattacks | Haaretz
The last several days have seen another wave of attacks on Israel’s cyber-homefront. The source, according to experts: Iran. The background: The shadow war between the two countries that’s taking place on the ground in Iran and includes mysterious explosions and assassinations, as well as attacks on ships and in cyberspace.