UN Nuclear Watchdog Chief Presses For More Access In Iran

**NOTE: UANI’s Eye On Iran will be suspended November 24-26 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. It will resume Monday, November 29.**

TOP STORIES

UN Nuclear Watchdog Chief Presses For More Access In Iran | Associated Press 

The head of the United Nations’ atomic watchdog met Tuesday with Iranian officials to press for greater access in the Islamic Republic ahead of diplomatic talks restarting over Tehran’s tattered nuclear deal with world powers. Rafael Mariano Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency yet again faces tightrope-style talks with Iranian officials as his inspectors remain unable to access surveillance footage and face greater challenges in trying to monitor Tehran’s rapidly growing uranium stockpile. In the wake of then-President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from Iran’s deal, the Islamic Republic now enriches small amounts of uranium up to 60% purity — its highest ever and close to weapons-grade levels of 90%. 

Saudi Warns Iran-Backed Rebels Using Bomb-Laden Boats in Red Sea | Bloomberg 

A Saudi-led military coalition said Iran-backed fighters were using booby-trapped boats in the southern Red Sea and that it was working to neutralize the threat to global shipping. The coalition, which is battling Houthi fighters in Yemen’s war, said it was monitoring the “hostile movements” which it described as an imminent danger to shipping, Saudi state media reported early on Monday. The coalition had taken “operational measures” against the threat, it added. There were no further details. Saudi Arabia and the United States frequently accuse Iran and its proxies of shipping attacks in narrow Middle East waterways. The latest incident came days after the Houthis said they used drones to attack Saudi Aramco refineries and airports in Saudi Arabia. 

Iran Must Pay Damages For Deaths From Taliban Hotel Bombings | Bloomberg Law 

The Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps must pay $66 million to the estates and family members of three victims killed in bombing attacks on two hotels carried out by the Taliban, a federal trial court in Washington said Monday. Jurisdiction was proper under the exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act for providing material support to a terrorist organization, here the Taliban and its military arm, the Haqqani network, the opinion by Judge Trevor N. McFadden of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia said. 

UANI IN THE NEWS 

State, Treasury Departments Designate Iranian Company, Employees For Attempting To Influence 2020 Election | JNS 

….United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) chairman former Sen. Joe Lieberman and CEO Ambassador Mark Wallace release a joint statement endorsing the Biden administration action. “UANI applauds the Biden administration for defending the integrity of U.S. elections and protecting Americans from state-sponsored attempts at intimidation and manipulation coming out of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Iranian regime has proven itself adept in carrying out sophisticated cyber attacks, but by imposing economic costs and criminal penalties on Iranian agents, the Biden administration is strengthening U.S. deterrence,” they said in a statement.

NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM 

U.S. Weighs Grim Options If Nuclear Talks With Iran Collapse | NBC News 

As Iran and world powers prepare to resume negotiations next week on reviving a nuclear deal, the U.S. and its allies are already debating a list of "Plan B" options if the negotiations collapse, Western diplomats, former U.S. officials and experts say. With chances for a breakthrough at the talks in Vienna looking remote and Iran at odds with U.N. nuclear inspectors, U.S. and European officials face a grim set of choices — from ramped-up sanctions to potential military action — as Iran’s nuclear program advances into dangerous territory. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said last month that the U.S. was "prepared to turn to other options" if the negotiations fail, and Israel has made it clear that it is ready to take military action if necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. 

US Must ‘Accept Reality’ And Lift Sanctions: Iran Negotiator | Al Jazeera

The United States must “accept reality” and agree to lift its sanctions on Iran during next week’s nuclear talks in Vienna, according to Tehran’s top negotiator. Representatives of Iran and the other signatories of its 2015 nuclear deal will be in Austria starting November 29 to try to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which the US abandoned in 2018. Iran, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany will resume six rounds of talks that stopped in June to allow Iran’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi, to form his administration. 

Herzog Urges British Lawmakers To Stay Tough On Iran Ahead Of Vienna Talks | The Times Of Israel 

President Isaac Herzog on Monday urged a group of 100 British lawmakers to make sure their government remains tough on Iran as world powers prepare to restart negotiations in Vienna next week aimed at reviving the multilateral nuclear accord between them. “Our understanding is that the Iranians are not coming [to Vienna] to do business, rather to rush toward a bomb,” Herzog told the MPs at the Palace of Westminster while on the second day of his visit in the UK. “It is the duty of the superpowers to be strong and make it clear that all options are on the table,” he added, in an apparent reference to Israel’s consistent demand that countries present a credible military threat against Iran. 

PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS 

Watchdog Denounces Iran's 'Harsh' Treatment Of Jailed University Students | Radio Free Europe

Amnesty International says two Iranian university students detained without trial for more than 1 1/2 years are at risk of being convicted in a “grossly unfair” trial on charges they deny. Ali Younesi, 21, and Amirhossein Moradi, 22, are prisoners of conscience who have been “arbitrarily” kept in custody since April 2020, the London-based group said on November 22. It said Younesi and Moradi are being kept in Tehran’s Evin prison, where they have been held in solitary confinement for two months “in harsh conditions to extract forced ‘confessions.’” 

U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS 

IRGC Admits To 9 Deaths During Clashes With US Navy | Asharq Al-Awsat 

The Commander of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri, announced that nine sailors have died in direct clashes with the US Navy in the Persian Gulf, without further details. Tangsiri said that his forces had dealt nine unforgettable blows to the US avenging the death of his troops, which made Washington realize “the sovereignty of the Iranian Republic in the maritime arena.” Speaking at a gathering of Basij students at the former US embassy compound in Tehran, the Rear Admiral indicated that Iranian youth should know “the importance of the Persian Gulf and the fact that our country is of great geographical significance,” he said. 

MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS 

Iran Publishes Photos Of Closed Hearing Into Plane Shootdown | Associated Press 

Iranian state media on Monday published photographs of the trial investigating the shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger jet in 2020 by the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, trying to tamp down criticism of the largely closed-door proceeding. The Mizan news agency, an arm of the country’s judiciary, showed pictures of the inside of the military courtroom, with at least one man and a woman holding up pictures identified as victims of the downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight No. PS752. Missile strikes killed all 176 people on board the Jan. 3, 2020 flight.

GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN

Bahrain Says It Foiled Planned Attack, Confiscated Iranian Weapons And Explosives | Reuters 

Bahrain security forces arrested a number of suspected militants ahead of a planned attack and confiscated weapons and explosives that had come from Iran, the interior ministry said on its official Twitter on Monday. The ministry did not say how many people were arrested or specify their nationalities. It described them as "linked with terrorist groups in Iran" and said they were "plotting terrorist operations against security and civil peace.” Bahrain, host to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet and other international naval operations, has often accused Shi'ite Muslim Iran of seeking to subvert the Sunni-ruled kingdom, which has a Shi'ite majority. 

IRAQ & IRAN 

Iraq: Pro-Iran Militia Dissolves One Of Armed Units After Cleric’s Call | The Irish Times 

A hard line pro-Iran Iraqi militia has announced the dissolution of one of its armed units in response to a call from populist Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr for armed groups to disband and turn their weapons over to the state. This could amount to a coup for Mr Sadr if others follow suit. Abu Ali al-Askeri, a senior official with the Kitaeb Hizbullah militia, said it had decided to dissolve its Popular Defence Brigades and had ordered them to stop all activities and close their headquarters.

OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS     

Iran Praises Better Ties With Azerbaijan, Syria’s Role In Region | The Jerusalem Post 

Iran Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh has been quoted in Iranian media as saying Iran should begin to “stay on track” for technical cooperation with the IAEA and praised regional successes that Iran believes may transpire as a result. The quotes appeared in Tasnim News report and were based on a weekly press conference.   Iran is putting on a positive face amid the visit of Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who is coming to Iran on Monday. "Tonight, we have Mr. Grossi's visit to Tehran," the spokesperson said.