U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Censures Iran And Demands Access For Inspectors

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U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Censures Iran And Demands Access For Inspectors | New York Times 

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency on Wednesday censured Iran over its refusal to grant inspectors access to its uranium enrichment program, passing a carefully worded resolution after the United States toned it down in a bid to avoid provoking a crisis at a time in which the Middle East is already roiling. The resolution was sponsored by France, Britain and Germany in response to advances in Iran’s nuclear program over the past year and the Iranian’s government's refusal to cooperate with the agency. By most estimates Tehran is now just days or weeks away from being able to produce bomb-grade fuel for roughly three nuclear weapons, though actually fashioning them into warheads could take a year or more. The resolution passed in a vote of the 35-member board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a United Nations body, with 20 votes in favor, 12 abstentions and two against.  

Iran Warns Israel Will Face 'Formidable Defeat' Against Hezbollah | Newsweek 

Iranian officials have shared with Newsweek a warning to Israel over potential plans to conduct a major offensive against the Lebanese Hezbollah movement amid intensive cross-border clashes taking place on the sidelines of the ongoing war with the Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip. The comments came a day after Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of the General Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi told personnel near the northern border on Tuesday that "we are approaching the point where a decision will have to be made" regarding "an offensive in the north." The comment was the latest in a series of remarks by Israel officials hinting at military action in Lebanon since the outbreak of the war in Gaza last October.  

IAEA Board Passes Resolution Against Iran On Cooperation, Inspectors | Reuters 

The U.N. nuclear watchdog's 35-nation Board of Governors passed a resolution on Wednesday calling on Iran to step up cooperation with the watchdog and reverse its recent barring of inspectors despite concerns Tehran would respond with atomic escalation.Twenty countries voted in favour and two against - Russia and China - with 12 abstentions, diplomats said. It follows up on the last resolution 18 months ago that ordered Iran to comply with a years-long International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) investigation into uranium traces found at undeclared sites.While the number of sites under investigation has been narrowed to two from three, Iran still has yet to give the IAEA satisfactory answers on how the traces got there. "The need for the Board to hold Iran accountable to its legal obligations is long overdue. Iran must urgently, fully and unambiguously co-operate with the Agency," Britain, France and Germany said in a statement to the Board on the resolution they proposed. Since the last resolution the list of problems the IAEA faces in Iran has grown, and the new text also called on Iran to address several of those issues.  

UANI IN THE NEWS 

Will Atomic Agency’s Censuring Of Iran Be Sufficient To Curb Tehran’s Alarming Aims? | The New York Sun 

[…] “The three Europeans are right to pursue the resolution, and I think it was pretty embarrassing that the U.S. was so hesitant,” the policy director of United Against Nuclear Iran, Jason Brodsky, tells the Sun. In itself, he says, a censure at Vienna might not mean much, but it “sets the table for a snapback” at the UN Security Council, which could be more serious. In endorsing the 2015 nuclear deal, the UN Security Council set a timeline for gradually removing mandated global sanctions against Iran while the Iranians phased out their nuclear program. The council resolution also allowed each of the deal’s six parties to cancel it and snap back all sanctions. That option, though, is set to expire in October next year.Unless the Security Council’s resolution is snapped back before then, Iran would be able to legally become a nuclear-armed state by the end of this decade. Any snapback process, though, is unlikely to be initiated prior to America’s presidential election. The slow pace of diplomacy and politics, though, contrasts with Iran’s rapid nuclearization, and is most worrisome for Israelis and their supporters. 

NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM 

Iran Warns US, Allies On UN Atomic Agency Censure Vote | Newsmax 

Iran said Wednesday a decision by the International Atomic Energy Agency to censure Iran over advances in its nuclear program and failure to cooperate with the U.N. group was "hasty and unwise" and will have a "detrimental effect" on further diplomacy.Despite reservations from the Biden administration, the U.S. voted for the censure measure, which was led mostly by European nations, The Wall Street Journal reported. It was the first formal censure resolution of Iran by the IAEA's board of member states since November 2022. Russia and China opposed the resolution, but they have no veto on the 35-member board, the Journal reported. The measure passed by a 20-2 vote, with 12 abstentions and one member not voting.  

Iranian Mission to UN Calls IAEA Resolution Against Iran 'Hasty and Unwise,' State TV Says | Reuters 

Iran's mission to the United Nations said the decision to pass a resolution against Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board of governors was "hasty and unwise," the Iranian State TV reported on Wednesday. The U.N. nuclear watchdog's 35-nation Board of Governors passed a resolution calling on Iran to step up cooperation with the watchdog and reverse its recent barring of inspectors despite concerns Tehran would respond with atomic escalation. "The decision of the Western countries was hasty and unwise, and it will undoubtedly have a detrimental impact on the process of diplomatic engagement and constructive cooperation (between Iran and the opposing parties)," state TV cited Iran's mission to the UN.  

SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS 

US Targets Iran Guard Finance Network With Sanctions | Asharq Al-Awsat 

The US Treasury took fresh aim Tuesday at the international network funneling dollars and euros to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), naming 25 individuals and entities for financial sanctions. The targets were front companies of the IRGC-controlled Ansar Bank and Ansar Exchange that have collectively been able to move more than $1 billion for the Tehran regime, the Treasury said. The funds have benefitted both the IRGC and the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, according to a Treasury announcement. "We are exposing an extensive sanctions evasion network that was established by the Iranian regime to evade American sanctions," US special envoy for Iran Brian Hook told reporters. "With this action today we are increasing our pressure even further on the Iranian regime."  

TERRORISM & EXTREMISM 

Yemen’s Houthi Rebels Unveil Solid-Fuel ‘Palestine’ Missile That Resembles Iranian Hypersonic | Associated Press 

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have unveiled a new, solid-fuel missile in their arsenal that resembles aspects of one earlier displayed by Iran that Tehran described as flying at hypersonic speeds. The rebels fired its new “Palestine” missile, complete with a warhead painted like a Palestinian keffiyeh checkered scarf, at the southern Gulf of Aqaba port of Eilat in Israel on Monday. The attack set off air raid sirens but caused no reported damage or injuries. Footage released by the Houthis late Wednesday showed the Palestine being raised on what appeared to be a mobile launcher and rising quickly into the air with plumes of white smoke coming from its engine. White smoke is common with solid-fuel missiles.Solid-fuel missiles can be set up and fired faster than those containing liquid fuel. That’s a key concern for the Houthis as their missile launch sites have been repeatedly targeted by U.S. and allied forces in recent months over the rebels’ attacks on shipping through the Red Sea corridor. 

Yemen Clashes Kill 18 Fighters In Fresh Flare-Up: Military Officials | AFP 

The clashes on Wednesday were triggered by a Huthi attack on a frontline area between government-controlled parts of Lahij governorate and Huthi-run parts of Taez province, said Mohammed al-Naqib, a spokesperson for the Southern Transitional Council, a separatist group allied with the government. The attack came despite a lull in fighting that has largely held since the expiry of a six-month truce brokered by the United Nations in April 2022. Yemeni government "forces succeeded in repelling the attack, but five soldiers were martyred and others wounded", Naqib told AFP. A Huthi military official in Taez told AFP that 13 rebels, including a senior commander, were also killed in the fighting.  

Iran-Backed Hezbollah Raises The Stakes In Its War Against Israel | Iran International  

The Lebanese group Hezbollah escalated its ongoing conflict with Israel into a potential full-scale war on Monday by launching drones and missiles into Israeli territory, causing massive fires in the north. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday morning that the Jewish state is "prepared for an extremely powerful action in the north" in response to Hezbollah's attacks. Estimates by Israel suggest that Hezbollah has amassed an estimated 150,000 rockets and missiles that are aimed at Israel from southern Lebanon. At an address at the northern Israeli military base Kiryat Shmona on Wednesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated his pledge made at the beginning of the war with Hamas to restore security in both the southern and northern regions of Israel.  

PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS 

Arrested For A Dot, Iranian Author Accused Of Disrespecting The Leader | Iran Wire 

Hossein Shanbehzadeh, a prominent social media activist, editor, and translator, was arrested in Iran's Ardabil on Tuesday. Hossein confirmed his arrest during a brief phone call with his family. His brother, Abbas Shanbehzadeh, had previously expressed concerns on social media about failed attempts to contact Hossein and his unknown whereabouts. The arrest came shortly after Hossein's account on social media platform X, previously Twitter, was disabled. Abbas noted, "He clearly did not publish the last tweet," suggesting potential interference with his brother's account. Authorities have not officially disclosed the reason for Hossein's arrest, but many point to a recent interaction on X as the catalyst behind it. The incident involves Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's account posting his photo with the national student volleyball team. Shanbezadeh replied to Khamenei's tweet with a single character: a period.  

US Lawmakers Demand Sanctions For Iranian Rapper's Death Sentence | Iran International  

Twelve bipartisan members of Congress, led by Brad Sherman (D-CA), have written to US President Joe Biden urging him to "swiftly apply all available sanctions" to those involved in the death sentence of dissident Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi. The legislators asked Mohammad Reza Tavakoli and Morteza Barati, the judges in charge of both courts against Salehi, to be sanctioned in the US, noting that the UK and Canada had already sanctioned Barati. “Toomaj Salehi's death sentence is the Islamic Republic's latest act of repression towards the Iranian people and cannot go unanswered,” the letter read.  

Jailed Nobel Laureate Targets Sex Abuse In Iranian Prisons | Voice Of America 

Imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate and activist Narges Mohammadi is urging support for a newly launched campaign targeting sexual abuse of activists and protesters detained in Iranian prisons. "Sexual harassment, assault and rape serve as instruments of torture, intimidation and coerced confessions by governments seeking to suppress popular protest movements," she wrote in a Tuesday Instagram post calling for victims to "share personal stories." Mohammadi's post referenced widely reported accounts of torture at Kahrizak Prison in the 1980s, in which "some officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran admitted to sexually abusing prisoners and detainees,” her statement said. Located in southern Tehran, Kahrizak Prison again drew attention for the alleged torture and rape of detainees following the June 2009 post-election protests.  

RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN 

Netanyahu Says Israel ‘Prepared for Very Intense Action’ Against Iran-Backed Hezbollah Amid Rising Tensions | Fox News 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Wednesday morning that the Jewish state is "prepared for very intense action in the north" in response to the Lebanese terrorist movement Hezbollah's continued rocket and drone attacks into northern Israel. Speaking from an Israeli military base in Kiryat Shmona, Netanyahu declared, "We said, at the start of the war, that we would restore security in both the south and the north – and this is what we are doing. Today I am on the northern border with our heroic fighters and commanders, as well as with our firefighters. Yesterday the ground burned here, and I am pleased that you have extinguished it, but ground also burned in Lebanon."  

Iran Commander Says Israel Will ‘Pay’ For Killing Of IRGC Advisor In Syria | Al Arabiya  

The head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on Wednesday that Israel will “pay” for the recent killing of an IRGC officer in Syria. Saeed Abyar was killed in an Israeli strike on Syria’s northern city of Aleppo early Monday, according to Iranian media. “Zionist child-killing criminals should know that they will pay for the pure blood shed in this crime - they should await a response,” the IRGC’s commander-in-chief, Hossein Salami, said in a statement carried by the state-affiliated Tasnim news agency. Salami said that Abyar was in Syria on an “advisory mission.” Iran has been a major ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, providing economic, political, and military support during Syria’s 13-year civil war. While IRGC-affiliated militias have a significant presence in Syria, Tehran maintains that it has only sent military advisors to the conflict. On Monday, the Britian-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that an Israeli strike in Aleppo killed 16 pro-Iran fighters, including Syrian and foreign fighters.  

CYBERWARFARE 

Canada Reveals Iran One Of Country’s Top Foreign Cyber Threats | Iran International 

Canada has named Iran as one of the top four countries which gathers information to "harm and threaten Canadian citizens" and to "interfere with political systems and critical infrastructure." As per the official statement released on Monday, three Canadian ministers identified Iran as one of four countries - China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea - engaged in extensive campaigns to compromise government and private sector computer systems. "Foreign interference, enabled by sophisticated cyber tools, poses one of the most serious threats to Canada’s national security, economic prosperity and sovereignty, as well as our way of life," the statement read. In its annual report released in May, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) highlighted the cyber attacks by the Islamic Republic that target Canada.