Scoop: Iran Enriching Uranium Above 60% Could Trigger Strike, Israeli Official Says


Scoop: Iran Enriching Uranium Above 60% Could Trigger Strike, Israeli Official Says | Axios

Israel told the Biden administration and several European countries that Iran would be entering dangerous territory that could trigger an Israeli military strike if it enriches uranium above the 60% level, a senior Israeli official told Axios. The big picture: Increasingly concerned about advances in Iran's nuclear program, Israel has in recent months ramped up its private and public threats of military action against Tehran in an apparent attempt to deter the country from escalating its nuclear program even further, according to Israeli officials. State of play: Iran has amassed 87.5 kilograms of 60% enriched uranium, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency report from late February. Experts say that if that uranium is enriched to 90% weapons grade, it would be a sufficient quantity to produce at least one nuclear bomb. The IAEA is continuing to investigate Iranian activity in its underground nuclear facility in Fordow, which included enriching at least small amounts of uranium to 84% purity.  

Iran’s Finance Minister Trumpets Surge In Investment From Russia | Financial Times

Russia has become the largest foreign investor in Iran over the past year, according to Iranian officials, as the two heavily sanctioned nations have stepped up co-operation since Russian forces invaded Ukraine. Ehsan Khandouzi, Iran’s finance minister, said Russia had invested $2.76bn in the country during the current financial year that ended this week, citing projects in the industrial, mining and transport sectors. “We define our relations with Russia as strategic and we are working together in many aspects, especially economic relations,” Khandouzi told the Financial Times. “China and Russia are our two main economic partners [and] Iran is going to expand its relations with them through implementing strategic agreements.” His comments underscore how Tehran and Moscow have ramped up their ties since the west imposed waves of sanctions on Russia after President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a year ago.  

U.S. Judge Orders $1.68 Bln Payout To Families Over 1983 Beirut Bombing | Reuters 

A federal judge in New York ordered Iran's central bank and a European intermediary on Wednesday to pay out $1.68 billion to family members of troops killed in the 1983 car bombing of the U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Lebanon. U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said a 2019 federal law stripped Bank Markazi, the Iran central bank, of sovereign immunity from the lawsuit, which sought to enforce a judgment against Iran for providing material support to the attackers. The lawsuit also names Luxembourg-based Clearstream Banking SA, which is holding the assets in a client account. Clearstream parent company Deutsche Boerse AG (DB1Gn.DE) said on Wednesday that it is considering appealing against the decision. Clearstream will "weigh all relevant interests and responsibilities" and comply with its legal and regulatory obligations in handling the funds, Deutsche Boerse said. The exchange said that it does not view the ruling as increasing the risk from the lawsuit in a way that would require the companies to make financial provisions. Attorneys for the parties did not immediately respond to requests for comment.  


Oil Spills And Near Misses: More Ghost Tankers Ship Sanctioned Fuel | Reuters

…The number of tankers transporting Iranian crude and products – excluding the state's own fleet – has risen to above 300 this month from 70 in November 2020, said Claire Jungman, chief of staff at U.S. advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), which tracks Iranian-related tanker traffic via satellite data. 


Iranian Activists Want Tech Companies To Ban The Ayatollah | Bloomberg

Maryam Shafipour spent two years in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, more than three months of it in solitary confinement, as the Iranian regime tried to break her. Years later, she’s in exile in Canada, and the regime, or its supporter base, appears to be trying a different tack: a steady barrage of online abuse and innuendo. On Instagram, Telegram, Twitter and WhatsApp, a quick search of Shafipour’s name in Farsi finds dozens of posts featuring a video that she says sketches out lies about her finances and sexual activities. On Instagram, someone paid to promote one of the posts like an ad, showing the video to more people. Worse, accounts that sort of look like they belong to Iranian progressives regularly imply that she’s been compromised and switched sides. The aim is “to isolate me from my community,” Shafipour says. “They don’t do it for just a short period of time. They do it for years. They continue telling lies about you, and it really works, after years.” She has struggled with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, linked in part to time she spent in prison starting in 2014 on charges of “propaganda against the regime” and “assembly and collusion against national security.”  


Russia Launches Swarm Of Iranian Drones At Ukraine Civilian Targets | Iran International  

Russia launched 21 Iranian drones against civilian targets in Ukraine Wednesday, one day after China’s President Xi Jinping concluded a visit to Moscow. At least four people were killed in the north of the country as sirens blared across the capital Kyiv and swaths of northern Ukraine overnight. The military said that it shot down 16 of the Iranian Shahed kamikaze drones but the rest got though. Two housing blocks and an educational facility in the riverside town of Rzhyshchiv south of the capital had been partially destroyed, the State Emergency Service said on the Telegram messaging app. "Over 20 Iranian murderous drones, plus missiles, numerous shelling incidents, and that's just in one last night of Russian terror against Ukraine," President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Twitter. In an apparent reference to the Chinese leader's visit, he added: "Every time someone tries to hear the word 'peace' in Moscow, another order is given there for such criminal strikes."  


Tennessee Congressmen Work On Bill That Would Sanction Iran Over Women's Rights | News Channel 5 Nashville  

A bill that would require the president to impose property and visa-blocking sanctions on certain people affiliated with Iran has been reintroduced. The “MASHA Act,” inspired by Masha Amini, the young woman killed by Iran’s morality police, is already gaining a lot of support. Emily Sharif has been very outspoken about the protests and killings happening in Iran. "A month or two ago, a lot of the students — women and girls specifically — all poured out into the streets because they have been protesting for their basic human rights back," Sharif said. Hundreds of Iranians have been killed and thousands more detained by the regime it’s why Sharif wants to see the MAHSA Act become law. "It never went through the Senate. It got reintroduced in January. Basically what it would do is it imposes sanctions on the supreme leader, President of Iran, and their office due to their basic human rights violations and their support for terrorism," Sharif explained. There are partial sanctions, but that’s only through an executive order. These orders can be taken away from us at anytime," She added. Sharif and dozens more have been calling members of Congress asking them to cosponsor the bill.  


Saudi, Iran Foreign Ministers In Ramadan Call, Agree To Meet Soon | Al Jazeera 

The Saudi Arabian and Iranian foreign ministers spoke by phone to mark the beginning of Ramadan and have agreed to meet “soon” to start the process of re-opening embassies and consulates, according to Saudi Arabia’s foreign affairs ministry. The Saudi foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, had a call with his counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and the pair “exchanged greetings and congratulations on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan”, which begins on Thursday in both countries, the ministry said. “The two ministers agreed to hold a bilateral meeting soon, to pave the way for the reopening of embassies and consulates between the two countries,” the Saudi Arabian foreign ministry said in a statement on Twitter.  


Former Iran Hostages Are Divided On Jimmy Carter And A Sabotage Claim | New York Times

They are the last survivors of an international crisis that hobbled Jimmy Carter’s presidency and may have cost him re-election. Many are now in their 80s. With the former president gravely ill in hospice care, some of the 52 Americans who were held hostage in Iran for 444 days are looking back on Mr. Carter’s legacy with a mix of frustration, sadness and gratitude. Many feel neglected by the government, which has paid them only about a quarter of the $4.4 million that they were each promised by Congress in 2015, after decades of lobbying for compensation, said their lawyer, V. Thomas Lankford. Some endured physical and mental abuse, including mock executions, during the hostage crisis. About half have died. Last week, their ordeal was thrust back into the news with the account of a covert effort to delay their release until after the 1980 presidential election in a bid to help the campaign of Mr. Carter’s Republican challenger, Ronald Reagan.