U.S. And U.K. Navies Help Ship "Harassed" By Iran Armed Fast-Attack Vessels In Strait Of Hormuz


U.S. And U.K. Navies Help Ship "Harassed" By Iran Armed Fast-Attack Vessels In Strait Of Hormuz | Associated Press

The U.S. Navy said Monday its sailors and the United Kingdom Royal Navy came to the aid of a ship in the crucial Strait of Hormuz after Iran's Revolutionary Guard "harassed" it. Three fast-attack Guard vessels with armed troops aboard approached the merchant ship at a close distance Sunday afternoon, the U.S. Navy said in a statement. It offered black-and-white images it said came from a U.S. Navy Boeing P-8 Poseidon overhead, which showed three small ships close to the commercial ship. The U.S. Navy's guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul and the Royal Navy's frigate HMS Lancaster responded to the incident, with the Lancaster launching a helicopter.  

US Sanctions Target Iran's Internet Censorship Amid Protests | Reuters 

The United States said on Friday it imposed sanctions on Iranian technology company Arvan Cloud, two employees and an affiliated Emirati firm for helping Tehran censor the internet in Iran as part of the government's attempts to crush domestic protests. Arvan Cloud has a close relationship with Iran's intelligence services and its executives have ties to senior Iranian government officials, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement. "The ... government has regularly used Internet restrictions and the throttling of Internet speeds to suppress dissent, surveil and punish Iranians for exercising their freedom of expression and assembly both online and offline," it said.

Iran Frees 3 Europeans In Prisoner Swap As Detained American's Lawyer Denies Rumors Of Imminent Release | CBS News 

Two Austrian citizens and a Danish national who were held in Iran were being released and allowed to return home, officials in Austria and Belgium said Friday. Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said he was "very relieved" that Kamran Ghaderi and Massud Mossaheb were being brought back to their home country after "years of arduous detention in Iran." He thanked the foreign ministers of Belgium and Oman for providing "valuable support," without elaborating on what form it took. The Reuters news agency cited a Belgian government statement as saying a Danish person arrested in Iran in November 2022 in connection with women's rights demonstrations was the third individual being released Friday as part of a prisoner swap.


Iran Oil Exports Reach Record Levels In May | Lloyds List 

Iran's oil exports reached new highs last month, with preliminary figures from monitoring group United Against Nuclear Iran showing Tehran shipped more than 1.5m barrels per day. Barring any significant downward revision, this would be the most oil exported by Iran since early 2019, when waivers issued by the Trump administration following the reimposition of sanctions expired. "Iran is competing with Russia to sell its oil and is succeeding, with last month’s oil exports reaching record levels,” UANI chief of staff Claire Jungman told Lloyd’s List. “We have not seen any sanctions from the US administration since March 2023, despite secretary of state Anthony Blinken’s commitment to enforce sanctions against Iran. There are several vessels to be sanctioned, owners and operators. Instead, we see the same vessels shuttle Iranian oil back and forth over and over again.”


Netanyahu Convenes Iran War Drill, Scorns UN Nuclear Watchdog | Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ramped up threats to attack Iranian nuclear facilities on Sunday, convening a rare cabinet war drill after he accused U.N. inspectors of failing to confront Tehran. With Iran having enriched enough uranium to 60% fissile purity for two nuclear bombs, if refined further - something it denies wanting or planning - Israel has redoubled threats to launch preemptive military strikes if international diplomacy fails. Israel has long maintained that for diplomacy to succeed, Iran must be faced with a credible military threat. "We are committed to acting against Iran's nuclear (drive), against missile attacks on Israel and the possibility of these fronts joining up," Netanyahu said in a video statement from Israel's underground command bunker at its military headquarters in Tel Aviv.  

Iran Blends Compromise And Confrontation Ahead Of UN Nuclear Watchdog Report | The National  

Iran is rapidly increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium while co-operating on a number of unresolved nuclear issues, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s forthcoming report is expected to say. Copies of the UN’s nuclear watchdog's quarterly report have been distributed to IAEA board member states ahead of the organisation's meeting on Monday. Experts tell The National that the combination of co-operation and continued nuclear research – which could be used for military purposes – is part of a grand negotiation tactic. “Iran's engagement with the IAEA has avoided a step back, but it doesn't necessarily mean a step forward,” says Naysan Rafati, an Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group.  


Foreign Minister Claims Iran ‘Completely Safe’ For Tourists | Iran International  

After Tehran exchanged Western hostages with its convicted diplomat, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian claims Iran is "completely safe" for tourists. He wrote on Twitter Saturday that “if some European citizens are not exploited by foreign security services, there is no reason to arrest them.” Over the years Iran has detained and accused dozens of Western visitors of espionage, while using them effectively as hostages to squeeze concessions from the West. Detainees do not receive fair legal protection and face sham trials.  


Iran’s Top Leader Defends Hard-Line Approach Toward West, Blames Protests On ‘Thugs And Villains’ | Associated Press 

Iran’s supreme leader on Sunday defended his tough approach to the West, saying compromise would only invite further hostility from Iran’s enemies and blaming recent anti-government protests on “thugs and villains.” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s remarks come amid an intensifying standoff with Western countries over Iran’s nuclear program, which has made major advances in the five years since then-President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from an international accord that restricted it. Trump restored crippling sanctions on Iran that have contributed to a severe economic crisis without forcing any concessions from its leaders.  


Life 'In Danger' Of German Jailed In Iran, Activist Says | Voice Of America 

The life of a German Iranian detained in Iran is in danger and she is in such pain she can barely move, a fellow prisoner who is a prominent rights activist said Sunday. Nahid Taghavi, 68, was sentenced to 10 years and eight months in jail in August 2021 after being arrested at her Tehran apartment in October 2020, and is being held in solitary confinement at Tehran's Evin prison. Even after recent releases, more than a dozen Western passport holders remain detained in Iran, held according to rights groups as part of a deliberate policy of hostage-taking by Tehran to extract concessions.

 Iranian Security Forces Open Fire On Protest Sparked By Death Of Student: Activists | Al-Arabiya 

Iranian security forces opened fire on a protest sparked by the death of a student recently released from custody, rights groups and monitors said Friday, with several people reported wounded. The protests erupted late Thursday in the town of Abdanan, in the Kurdish-populated western province of Ilam, prompted by the death late last month of Bamshad Soleimankhani, 21, just days after his release from prison. The Norway-based Hengaw group published images reported to be of protesters showing wounds from birdshot pellets, along with footage showing people in the streets with gunshots audible.


Russia Has Enough Iranian Suicide Drones To Launch Attacks Every Day To Deplete Ukraine's Air Defenses | Business Insider 

Russia has enough Iranian-made suicide drones to keep up attacks on Ukraine every day, a Ukrainian Air Force official warned. Air Force spokesperson Yurii Ihnat said Russian forces have more than enough supply of Shahed-136 drones to keep up the attack, Ukrainian news outlet NV reported. "Shaheds are now launched so often that it is not clear whether they are (supposed to be) detecting or depleting our air defense," Ihnat said, according to NV. "It's all in one: both detecting and, surely, depleting."

Arms Contract Shows Iran Has Sold Russia Ammunition For Ukraine War, Says Security Source | Sky News 

A purported arms contract seen by Sky News offers the first hard evidence that Iran has sold ammunition to Russia for its war in Ukraine, an informed security source has claimed. If authentic, the 16-page document, dated 14 September 2022, appears to be for samples of varying sizes of artillery, tank shells and rockets worth just over $1m (£800,000). It was shared by the source along with five pages of an allegedly linked contract that includes barrels of a T72 tank and barrels of a Howitzer artillery piece, as well as ammunition shells. That deal was worth about $740,000 (£590,000).  


Iran’s Growing Rift Between Theocrats And Security Elites | Foreign Policy

One consequence of the nationwide protests in Iran sparked by the tragic death of Mahsa Amini in police custody in September 2022 has been the widely celebrated retreat of the morality police responsible for enforcing Iran’s mandatory hijab law from the country’s streets. Another result has gone less noticed but may prove to be far more important: the increasingly open rift between Iran’s hardline ruling elites and the military-security establishment. It was opposition to compulsory hijab that formed the epicenter of the protests, and given the symbolic significance of the intrusive Guidance Patrols, their disappearance was no small victory for the protesters.  


Progress Reported In Negotiations Over Iran-Afghanistan Water Dispute | Voice Of America 

After weeks of tensions over water rights to the Helmand River that escalated to a deadly clash last week, Iran says it has made progress in negotiations with Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers over the shared waterway. On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian told Iranian state media, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, that his government had “good negotiations” with the Taliban. “We have the water rights issue on the agenda, and the [Iranian] president has assigned Hassan Kazemi Qomi [Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan] to follow up on the matter, with the view that the issues between the two countries should go in the direct direction and be resolved,” said Amir Abdollahian.