U.S. Eyes Sanctions Against Global Network It Believes Is Shipping Iranian Oil

TOP STORIES 

U.S. Eyes Sanctions Against Global Network It Believes Is Shipping Iranian Oil | The Wall Street Journal 

The U.S. is considering sanctions that would target a United Arab Emirates-based businessman and a network of companies suspected of helping export Iran’s oil, part of a broader effort to escalate diplomatic pressure on Tehran as U.S. officials push to reach a deal on Iran’s nuclear program. The firms and individuals under scrutiny have been using ship-to-ship transfers of oil in waters that lie between Iraq and Iran and then forging documents to hide the origin of the cargo, according to corporate documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, shipping data and people familiar with the matter.  

Iran Nuclear Chief: We Have Technical Means To Produce Atom Bomb, No Intention Of Doing So | Reuters 

Iran has the technical capability to produce an atomic bomb but has no intention of doing so, Mohammad Eslami, head of the country's atomic energy organisation, said on Monday, according to the semi-official Fars news agency. Eslami reiterated comments made by Kamal Kharrazi, a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in July. Kharrazi's remarks amounted to a rare suggestion that the Islamic Republic might have an interest in nuclear weapons, which it has long denied seeking.  

Iran Arrests Swedish Citizen On Espionage Charges | Reuters 

Iran said on Saturday that it had arrested a Swedish citizen on espionage charges, the official IRNA news agency reported, after a court in Stockholm sentenced a former Iranian official for war crimes earlier this month. Iran has arrested dozens of foreigners and dual nationals in recent years, mostly on espionage and security-related accusations. Rights groups call that a tactic to win concessions from abroad by inventing charges, which Tehran denies. 

UANI IN THE NEWS 

Iran Fails To Sell Its Oil Rebranded As Asian Crude To EU | Iran International 

Iran has failed to sell a cargo of 700,000 barrels of its rebranded oil as Asian crude to Croatia, bringing back the full tanker to Malaysia again this week. The Panama-flagged tanker, Arc 1, with Iranian oil now is in Malaysian Pengerang port, according to the latest satellite photos. United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) for first time reported in May that Arc 1, registered in the name of a Marshall Islands shell company, Silver Coast, has been carrying Iranian oil to Croatia. UANI had attached satellite photos to show that Arc 1 had loaded Iranian crude on April 2 through a ship-to-ship transfer from another tanker, the Vigor, off Malaysia.  

Man With Loaded AK-47 Seized by NYPD After Lurking Near Brooklyn Home of Iranian Dissident | The New York Sun 

…“Interestingly Khalid Mehdiyev is reportedly from #Azerbaijan, and #Iran has employed Azeri hitmen to target Israelis in Cyprus before,” United Against Nuclear Iran’s policy chief, Jason Brodsky, tweeted. Ms. Alinejad’s campaign in support of Iranians defying the Islamic Republic’s dictat that all women and girls must cover their heads in public has irked the regime for a long time. The campaign, and defiance, has gathered new steam recently, as dissatisfaction with the regime is becoming widespread in the country. Women arrested for removing their hijabs often videotape themselves saying, “You can arrest me, but I’ll send this video to Masih.” Ms. Alinejad’s social media following in Iran and beyond has made her a target of the regime, and Tehran politicians often portray her as public enemy no. 1.    

NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM 

Iran Lawmaker Says Nuclear Talks Likely To Resume In Days | Bloomberg 

Talks to revive the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers will “probably” resume within days in Vienna, according to a senior Iranian lawmaker, a rare positive intervention with the sides deadlocked for months. The potential resumption of indirect negotiations between Iran and the US follows “efforts by the European parties to conclude the negotiations,” National Security Commission member Yaqoub Rezazadeh told the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency. European Union envoy Josep Borrell said Saturday the “time to decide is now.” That sense of urgency, shared by United Nations nuclear inspectors, contrasts with Iran’s insistence that it won’t be rushed into a deal after more than a year of talks.

Iran Says It Responded To EU Proposal Aimed At Salvaging 2015 Nuclear Deal | Reuters 

Iran has responded to top European Union diplomat Josep Borrell's proposal aimed at salvaging Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, and seeks a swift conclusion to negotiations, the top Iranian nuclear negotiator said on Sunday. "We shared our proposed ideas, both on substance & form, to pave the way for a swift conclusion of Vienna negotiations," Ali Bagheri Kani tweeted, without giving any more details on Iran's position. "As Iran, we stand ready to conclude the negotiations in a short order, should the other side be ready to do the same."  

Iran Nuclear Deal's Fate Uncertain As EU Makes Final Push | Al Monitor 

A compromise to restore the landmark Iranian nuclear accord that the European Union says is the best possible offer for both parties is being considered by decision-makers in Washington and Tehran. More than a year of delicate diplomacy aimed at reviving the tattered 2015 accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has come down to a draft text recently put forward by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.  The EU has acted as an intermediary in the indirect talks between the United States and Iran.  

SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS   

Could Iran Become A Gas Hub With Russian Support? | The Jerusalem Post 

Iranian media predict that Russian investment could help Iran become a regional gas hub. The investment by Gazprom in Iran’s National Iranian Oil Company was announced during a recent visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Analyst and energy expert Habibollah Zafarian was quoted in an article at Iran’s Fars News arguing that the country could become a gas hub based on gas trade with neighboring countries. “Iran's gas reserves and privileged geographical location allow the country to play an influential role in the gas trade of the region.”  

PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS 

New Case Filed Against Jailed Dissident Meysami For Supporting Protests Against Iran's Hijab Law | Radio Free Europe 

Jailed Iranian activist Farhad Meysami faces new charges over his criticism and hunger strike to protest against the threatened execution of Swedish-Iranian doctor Ahmedreza Djalali. Mohammad Moghimi, Meysami's lawyer, told Radio Farda that his client refused to participate in a meeting over the case because he had not been given proper notification. Meysami, a medical doctor, has been in prison since August 2018 after being sentenced to six years for supporting women protesting against the hijab law that forces them to cover their hair and bodies in public.  

IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS 

Iran Flash Flooding And Mudslides Leave At Least 69 People Dead | CNN 

At least 69 people have been killed in flooding and landslides that hit cities across Iran, Iran's Crisis Management Organization said on Sunday. Nezhad Jahani, a senior official at the organization, said at least 45 people are still missing in Tehran and three other provinces following the recent floods, which damaged at least 20,000 residential homes. More than 20 provinces, including the Tehran province, have been affected by the floods that were caused by heavy rainfall, semi-official Fars news agency said. Several airports and main highways were closed and thousands of people evacuated.  

AFGHANISTAN & IRAN 

Iran Says Border Guards Have Clashed With Afghan Taliban | Associated Press 

Iranian border guards clashed Sunday with the Afghan Taliban, Iranian media reported, the latest cross-border exchange since the former insurgents seized power in neighboring Afghanistan a year ago. The official IRNA news agency quoted Meisam Barazandeh, governor of the border country of Hirmand in eastern Iran, as saying that the incident is under investigation. He did not provide details about the clash or report any casualties. There was no immediate comment from the Taliban.