Three minors charged with crimes related to recent protests in Iran could face the death penalty in what rights groups say is new escalation in a brutal campaign to keep young people from participating in the uprising. The three teenagers are on trial in a Tehran suburb with a dozen others on charges of killing a police officer, state media reported. Prosecutors with the Revolutionary Court system, a special branch of the judiciary that tries national security crimes, have also accused the defendants of “corruption on earth.” Both crimes carry the death penalty in Iran. “These are grossly unfair trials that are designed to instill fear among the population,” Raha Bahreini, an Iran researcher at Amnesty International, said of recent legal proceedings involving protesters.
As Iran tries to stifle anti-regime protests, human rights advocates and lawmakers are concerned Iranian authorities can draw on sophisticated video surveillance technology provided by a Chinese company that uses U.S. manufactured chips. Tiandy Technologies has sold its surveillance cameras to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and other security services, according to a Tiandy website and social media posts. Intel Corp., one of America’s major semiconductor firms, lists the Chinese company as a partner, providing Intel-made processors for some of Tiandy’s video recording equipment.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi touted development projects in the restive Kurdish region where Tehran has carried out its harshest crackdown since antigovernment protests erupted in September. Mr. Raisi spoke Thursday at a ceremony marking the completion of a water project and promised action on other infrastructure improvements in Kurdistan, a shift in government tactics after the violent means used so far to quell the biggest threat to the Islamic Republic in its four decades of rule. “Enemies want to stop the train of the progress of our country from moving, and this depends on the will of you managers and people, and the process of improvement should never be slowed down,” he said in a speech to “clerics and elites” in Sanandaj, the capital of Iran’s Kurdistan province, according to the state-run television new agency.
UANI IN THE NEWS
On December 1, 2022, UANI Policy Director Jason Brodsky joined i24NEWS to discuss recent remarks by U.S. Envoy on Iran Rob Malley and if enough is being done by the United States and European Union to support Iranian protesters.
…“Action speaks louder than words,” the director of United Against Nuclear Iran, Jason Brodsky, told the Sun. Despite numerous Iranian attacks and assassination attempts on the continent, the European Union is yet to join America in listing the IRGC as a terrorist organization. In some respects, France is even more timid in pushing back against Tehran than the other EU pillar, Germany, Mr. Brodsky says. The EU as a whole has not sanctioned a single Iranian group since 2019, when it listed Tehran’s ministry of intelligence following a plot to bomb a gathering of an anti-regime Iranian group, Mujahideen-e Khalq, near Paris. Although it could have killed numerous Parisians, that incident, as well as the attempt on Mr. Levy’s life, failed to prompt Mr. Macron to action. France has not yet downgraded diplomatic relations or cut trade relations with the Islamic Republic.
AN IRAN-Flagged aframax that was at the centre of a dispute between the US and Iran has arrived in Syria to unload its cargo of about 700,000 barrels of crude oil, according to data from US monitoring group United Against Nuclear Iran. The Russian-owned Lana (IMO: 9256860) turned off its automatic identification system transponder on November 21, west of the Syrian port of Baniyas, Lloyd’s List Intelligence data shows. The vessel and its cargo was confiscated by the US earlier this year off the coast of Piraeus, only to be returned after Iran’s military detained two Greek tankers in the Middle East Gulf, using them and their 49 crew members as bargaining chips. “Greece’s decision to allow Lana to be released, after reversing its decision to let the US seize the ship’s cargo, was unfortunate and disappointing,” said Claire Jungman, chief of staff at UANI. “Instead of working with an ally, Greece sided with Iran to ultimately benefit Iran’s proxy, Syria. Iran’s oil shipments to the regime are regarded as a way of strengthening the country’s regional position and are also a major part of the regime’s survival strategy.”
… The company was sanctioned in September this year after the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) said it was part of a network of companies involved in the sale of “hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum products to end users in South and East Asia”. Ofac put Cosco Dalian, a CSET subsidiary, on its sanctions list in 2019 for allegedly transporting Iranian oil. It lifted the sanctions on the company four months later. CSET and Clara Shipping have both been approached for comment. The Afra Crown featured on a list of 257 ships suspected to have been involved in transporting Iranian crude by tanker trackers from United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI). UANI identified the tanker in June as one that had made the switch from shipping Iranian to Russian oil, attracted by high rates and a shortage of tonnage.
… Windward has highlighted a series of techniques used by movers of sanctioned products to dupe investigators from AIS tampering — ranging from switching them off to more sophisticated techniques like the ‘handshake’. A new tactic was revealed this month by pressure group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), which said one shipowner had asked for data to be removed from a ship-tracking platform. The data was reinstated after UANI highlighted the change, according to the group’s blog. You don’t any longer have to be a big government with a billion-dollar budget to gain that data and to get insights from it. Thomas Leira, Vake CEO The examples highlight the shortcomings of AIS as a tool that was designed to protect life at sea rather than for tracking rogue operators. “If a ship is out in the ocean, or somewhere where AIS is poor, it’s quite easy to hide,” Leira said. “But that’s getting harder and harder with everything that is happening. “What we’re seeing is that you don’t any longer have to be a big government with a billion-dollar budget to gain that data and to get insights from it.”
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
The US should not be negotiating with Iran “on anything right now,” including a nuclear agreement, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday. “I would not be negotiating with Iran on anything right now, including the nuclear agreement,” Clinton told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday, adding that the horse is “out of the barn.” “When [former President Donald] Trump pulled us out,” she said, “we lost the eyes that we had on what they were doing inside Iran. And I believe that they started those centrifuges spinning again.”
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
People in Iran’s Sunni city of Zahedan held big rallies Thursday to support their religious leader after a leaked audio revealed regime’s plan to defame him. Earlier this week the hacktivist group Black Reward targeted the data servers of Fars news agency, a media network affiliated with the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guard, and released several documents to media indicating that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is dismayed by the remarks made by Mowlavi Abdolhamid, the most prominent religious leader of Iran's largely Sunni Baluch population living in Sistan-Baluchistan province. However, the documents also revealed that instead of arresting or harming him, Khamenei ordered underlings to tarnish Abdolhamid’s reputation so that his influence would decrease among the Sunni population of the country, about 15 million people who are mainly Baluch or Kurd.
MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS
Iran has conducted at least 16 separate attacks on international vessels in the Gulf and Red Sea in the past five years and can reach a significant quantity of enriched uranium for one nuclear bomb (SQ1) at 90% in only two weeks, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Thursday. “Just this month we saw an attack on a commercial vessel using a Shahed 136 UAV, which was launched from the Chabahar region of southern Iran,” Gantz said. This is the same area I discussed a year ago with your ambassadors, as a hotspot of terrorism. In fact, in the last five years, Iran has conducted at least 16 separate attacks on civilian international vessels in the Gulf and the Red Sea.”
CONGRESS & IRAN
The Biden Administration does not care about Iranian protesters, a Republican Senator has said, while a Democrat demanded more action by the United States. Senator Rick Scott of Florida told Iran International’s Arash Alaei that “We shouldn't be having any conversation with Iran other than on when are they going to stop killing their own citizens and stop trying to develop a nuclear weapon to be able to annihilate Israel.” As he was asked to comment on the US response to popular protests and the killing of hundreds of civilians in Iran, he accused the Biden Administration of being indifferent. “I'm disgusted that Biden admin does nothing about it,” he said.
IRAQ & IRAN
Iran and Iraq signed an export agreement today. Iran signed a $4 billion contract related to the export of technical and engineering services with Iraq. The purpose of the agreement is to make up for the decrease in Iranian non-electricity exports to Iraq. From March to November of this year, such exports decreased $1.4 billion to $4.7 billion. The reason for the decrease was the delay in forming an Iraqi government, the Iranian state-run Press TV reported.
Despite repeated denials by IRGC's Fras news agency about a recent hack of its data servers, Iran's judiciary has started an investigation into damaging leaks. Prosecutor General of Tehran Ali Alghasi-Mehr said on Wednesday that the probe into the cyberattack against Fars news, a cultural propaganda machine with close links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, is because a significant database of personal information of journalists and employees has been leaked. However, it seems that the investigation has been launched because the authorities are not sure what has been hacked and what database has been breached.