Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran destroyed a facility this summer where it had conducted secret nuclear-weapons experiments, the lateast volley in his campaign imploring world powers to heap more diplomatic pressure on Tehran. In a seven-minute televised address in Jerusalem in both Hebrew and English, Mr. Netanyahu showed satellite images of the alleged facility in central Iran, south of the city of Isfahan, from late June and late July that he said demonstrated that Iran destroyed the site.
The United Nations' atomic watchdog confirmed Monday that Iran has moved ahead with preparations to use more advanced centrifuges, in breach of limitations set by the unraveling 2015 nuclear deal with major powers. The International Atomic Energy Agency said its inspectors verified new centrifuges, including 30 advanced IR-6 and three IR-6s models, had been or were being installed but not yet tested. The announcement followed the return from Tehran Sunday of IAEA Acting Director General Cornel Feruta, who was expected to brief the agency's board of governors later on Monday after his trip.
Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, is playing a long game in Yemen and few in the world seem to have noticed. With Iran's patronage, the Houthis-a Shiite political movement-carried out a coup in 2014, plunging the country into chaos. Iran's support elevated the Shia Houthis from a tribal militia to a lethal fighting force. Now, the Iranian regime wants a seat at the negotiating table to help resolve a war it helped instigate.
UANI IN THE NEWS
I think we're overplaying how much Hezbollah is being impacted by both our sanctions on Iran and directly on Hezbollah itself. What I like to say about Hezbollah, it's not a terrorist organization, it's an organization that commits terrorism among many other methods it uses to grow its power.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
The U.N. nuclear watchdog's chief impressed upon Iranian officials the importance of providing swift cooperation with his agency as it seeks information on its activities, he said on Monday, a day after holding meetings in Tehran. "Time is of the essence," International Atomic Energy Agency Acting Director General Cornel Feruta told a news conference. He said he was pleased with the tone and input from the Iranian side, and his message had been "very well understood".
The U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency said Monday its inspectors confirmed Iran is installing more advanced centrifuges that can be used to refine uranium. An International Atomic Energy Agency statement said the equipment includes several types of centrifuges prohibited under the 2015 nuclear deal Iran reached with a group of world powers that limited its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The confirmation comes days after Iranian officials announced the move.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
The United States is "very concerned" about China's purchases of Iranian oil, Dan Brouillette, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, said on Monday. "We are very concerned about the purchases that the Chinese people have made, the government in particular," he said on the sidelines of an energy conference in the United Arab Emirates, adding that U.S. officials would discuss the issue with the Chinese government.
Iraq will struggle to generate enough electricity unless it continues to use Iranian gas for three to four more years, the electricity minister said on Tuesday, resisting U.S. pressure to stop the imports from its Middle East neighbour. Iranian oil exports have tumbled since the United States imposed new sanctions on Iran this year, seeking to isolate the Islamic Republic in a row over its nuclear ambitions. Iraq has a U.S. waiver to import Iranian gas, but Washington has been pressing Baghdad to phase them out.
An Iranian tanker that Western nations sought to bar from delivering its oil has docked and unloaded its cargo on the Mediterranean coast, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry said. Recent satellite images showed the tanker, the Adrian Darya 1, near the Syrian port of Tartus, suggesting that Iran had delivered the oil to the government of President Bashar al-Assad in defiance of European sanctions. But it remained unclear on Monday if the oil went to Syria.
Iran's Statistical Center says from mid-2018 to mid-2019 prices of imported goods in Iran increased by 150 percent. Iran's currency rial began losing value at the beginning of 2018, as the United States signaled its intention to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement. The devaluation picked up steam in March 2018 and by September of that year reached the point of a five-fold decline, as the U.S. imposed trade, banking and oil export sanctions against Iran.
Iran and the United States remain locked in a bitter standoff over the recently scrapped nuclear deal and the growing military brinkmanship in the Strait of Hormuz. Whilst much of the recent focus has been on Iran's future nuclear ambitions, it's the country's existing arsenal of ballistic missiles that's causing fresh alarm in Washington. Iran's stockpile of missiles is seen as a force for deterrence to counter any US threat, and adds instability to American forces in the region.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
An Iranian female soccer fan has died after setting herself on fire outside a court after learning she may have to serve a six-month sentence for trying to enter a soccer stadium. Women in Iran are banned from soccer stadiums, though they are allowed at some other sports, such as volleyball. The semi-official Shafaghna news agency reported on Tuesday that 30-year old woman identified only as Sahar died at a Tehran hospital. Sahar was known as "Blue Girl" on social media for the colors of her favorite team, Esteghlal.
Iran's Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare has praised as "timely" the decision of the country's chief judge to look into unusually harsh sentences announced last week against several labor activists. Ebrahim Raeesi the head of Iran's conservative Judiciary has personally stepped in and ordered a review of jail terms as high as 20 years for labor and union activists. Raeesi has assigned the head of Tehran Justice Department to supervise the review and report to him as quickly, as possible.
The Imam Ali Central Security Headquarters is the outcome of the Islamic Republic's trial and error experiments in suppressing the widespread urban unrest of 2009 protests. The IRGC's tactic in tackling the uprising was deploying swarming motorcyclists in groups of 50 against protesters. The method took into account Tehran's perpetually jammed traffic. The units were faster than police cars and anti-riot vehicles. In addition, as motorcycles arrived with masked riders on the back-seat whiling batons and all the noise the bikes made created havoc and intimidated the demonstrators.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
You think you have trouble at work? It could be worse. You could be the government official in charge of Iran's budget. It is becoming increasingly clear just how effectively the Trump administration's campaign of economic sanctions is shredding the Iranian government's balance sheet and damaging the underlying economy. You may agree or disagree with the strategy, and where it is taking things is unclear, but its impact is no longer in doubt.
US President Donald Trump reiterated his openness to meeting with his Iranian counterpart on Monday, telling reporters that he had no objections to holding a face-to-face negotiation with President Hassan Rouhani. "Sure, anything's possible. They would like to be able to solve their problem," Reuters reported him telling members of the White House press corps. "We could solve it in 24 hours."
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he could meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and that he had no problem with such an encounter. "It could happen. It could happen. No problem with me," Trump told reporters at the White House. Trump has stepped up sanctions against Iran since he withdrew from a 2015 nuclear pact between Iran and six world powers, saying the agreement left open a path for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and did not address what the United States calls Iran's malign activities in the region.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
Overnight airstrikes targeted an Iranian base in eastern Syria exposed last week by a Fox News report.At least 21 people were killed at the site, which was hit with eight strikes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. New satellite images Monday from Image Sat International (ISI) show eight storehouses destroyed. Another image shows a convoy of vehicles leaving the site at around 3 p.m. local time.
Iran on Monday rejected a claim by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Tehran had been developing nuclear weapons at a secret site and said he was seeking a pretext for war. "The possessor of real nukes cries wolf," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet, a reference to Israel's own presumed nuclear arsenal. Netanyahu said on Monday that Tehran had been developing nuclear weapons at a secret site in Abadeh in Iran but had destroyed the facility after learning it had been exposed.
IRAQ & IRAN
Last month's airstrikes targeting Iran-backed paramilitary groups in Iraq threaten to bring the country back into conflict shortly after the fight against the Islamic State. The coalition of paramilitary groups called al-Hashd al-Shaabi, or the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), blamed Americans and Israelis for the attacks, which targeted its weapons depots. Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the de facto leader of the PMF, threatened retaliation in coordination with the Iraqi government.