Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday his country will not negotiate with the United States because America would only use talks for propaganda purposes. The Trump administration has said it is willing to talk with Iran “with no preconditions,” but that the U.S. will continue its campaign of pressure against the Islamic Republic. In a televise speech marking the Eid al-Adha holiday, Khamenei said President Donald Trump would benefit from talks, saying Trump wants to “use negotiations with us for propaganda like negotiations with North Korea.” Khamenei was referring to talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong un.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said he was expanding the scope of Iran metals sanctions, targeting 22 specific materials that he said were used in connection with Iran’s nuclear, military or ballistic missile programs. Pompeo in a statement called it a “major expansion” of the Iran metals-related sanctions administered by the State Department, allowing Washington to blacklist those who knowingly transfer the materials to Iran. “Iran’s nuclear, ballistic missile, and military programs pose a grave threat to international peace and security,” Pompeo said in the statement.
A Swiss pharmaceutical group has delivered a cancer drug to Iran through a new humanitarian channel that conforms to US sanctions, Bern said Thursday. The Swiss economic affairs ministry (SECO) confirmed that the first transaction by a Swiss drug company had been completed under the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA) created in February. "The shipment was for a cancer drug used to treat iron overload caused by repeated blood transfusions," spokeswoman Nadine Mathys told AFP in an email.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday gave his clearest indication yet that the United States would seek to force UN sanctions on Iran if an arms embargo lapses. Russia and China, two of the Permanent Five nations that enjoy veto power on the Security Council, want the UN embargo on selling conventional weapons to Iran to end on October 18 as laid out under a 2015 resolution. Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the United States would introduce a resolution to extend the embargo "in the near future" which "we hope will be met with approval from other members of the P5."
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has said that Twitter is violating sanctions on Iran by providing the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei with account services. In a tweet on Thursday, Senator Cruz also said that he has urged The United States Attorney General William Barr to open a criminal investigation into the alleged violations including "antisemitic vitriol and hatred against America".
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
Iranian authorities will allow an Australian ambassador to meet Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a British-Australian university lecturer who was jailed for spying, according to a news agency affiliated with the country's judiciary. Moore-Gilbert, an academic at the University of Melbourne, has been detained in Iran since 2018. She was found guilty of espionage last year and sentenced to 10 years in prison; on Tuesday, she was transferred to a women's prison notorious for human rights violations.
The Islamic Republic of Iran's Supreme Court has reportedly acquitted a former member of parliament, Salman Khodadadi, of rape but sentenced him to 99 lashes, and banned him for two years from serving in public positions, for having an "illegitimate affair." Daily Etemad reported on July 30, that the report has not yet been officially confirmed or denied.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a live speech on state TV on Friday, ruled out negotiations with the United States over Tehran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programmes, calling on Iranians to resist U.S. bullying. “America’s brutal sanctions on Iran are aimed at collapsing our economy ... Their aim is to limit our influence in the region and to halt our missile and nuclear capabilities,” Khamenei said.
U.S. envoy Brian Hook’s latest travels aimed at extending a U.N. arms embargo on Iran through a prospective Security Council resolution criticized by veto-wielding world powers are raising questions about why the U.S. is pursuing such a step and what it will do if the diplomacy fails. Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran, ended a week of international travels Wednesday, meeting with British officials in London after talking with officials in Tunisia, Qatar, Kuwait and Estonia to seek support for a U.S.-sponsored U.N. resolution extending Iran’s arms embargo.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Nine months before the next presidential election in Iran, concerns over the coronavirus pandemic has pushed competition over the post of president of the Islamic Republic to backstage. Unofficial campaigning for presidential election in Iran usually starts as early as the inauguration of the second term of the incumbent President. Iranian media have lined up possible candidates several times before the pandemic overshadowed everything including the presidential race.
CHINA & IRAN
Talks between Iran and China aimed at finalizing a 25-year strategic cooperation agreement are continuing despite what Tehran dismissed as "baseless rumors" about the deal that leaked earlier this month. The draft partnership proposal leaked online to the press calls for China to invest $400 billion in Iran's energy, telecommunications, infrastructure, ports, railways and other sectors in exchange for Tehran's supplying Beijing with a heavily discounted supply of oil over the next 25 years.
OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Friday that talks with Iran about the downing of a Ukrainian airliner in January were constructive but it was too early to say how much compensation Tehran would agree to pay. “The talks ended late last night. The talks lasted 11 hours. In general, they were constructive,” Kuleba said in a video briefing after meeting with an Iranian delegation. “There is agreement and understanding that the most transparent and unbiased investigation by Iran is needed.”
A Twitter representative defended during a hearing Wednesday on anti-Semitism the social media site's decision to not flag tweets from Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei after flagging tweets from President Trump. Khamenei has several tweets on his profile that call for the "elimination" of Israel, or "Zionist regime." In a May 21 tweet, he wrote, "The only remedy until the removal of the Zionist regime is firm, armed resistance."