US Promises New Sanctions On Iran For Its Support Of Russia’s War In Ukraine, Potential Missile Sale


US Promises New Sanctions On Iran For Its Support Of Russia’s War In Ukraine, Potential Missile Sale | Politico 

The White House is promising to unveil new sanctions on Iran in the coming days in retaliation for its arms sales that have bolstered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and threatening a “swift” and “severe” response if Tehran moves forward with selling ballistic missiles to Moscow. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Thursday that the U.S. will be “imposing additional sanctions on Iran in the coming days” for its efforts to supply Russia with drones and other technology for the war against Ukraine. And he issued a new warning to Iran that providing ballistic missiles to Russia for use against Kyiv would be met with even more sanctions and actions at the United Nations. The U.S. has been warning for months of Russia’s efforts to acquire ballistic missiles from Iran in return for providing Tehran with enhanced military cooperation. “We have not seen any confirmation that missiles have actually moved from Iran to Russia,” Kirby said, but said that at the same time, “we have no reason to believe that they will not follow through.”  

US Warns Iran Against Providing Ballistic Missiles To Russia | Reuters 

The Biden administration on Thursday warned Iran of a "swift and severe" response from the international community if Tehran provided ballistic missiles to Russia, after Reuters reported earlier this week that the Islamic Republic shipped the powerful weapons to Moscow Speaking at a virtual briefing with reporters, White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby said Washington has yet to see confirmation that missiles have moved from Iran to Russia. Reuters exclusively reported on Wednesday that Iran has provided Russia with a large number of powerful surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, citing six sources, a move that illustrated the deepening military cooperation between the two U.S.-sanctioned countries.  

4 Charged In Transporting Suspected Iranian-Made Weapons. 2 Seals Died In Intercepting The Ship | Associated Press 

Four foreign nationals were arrested and charged Thursday with transporting suspected Iranian-made weapons on a vessel intercepted by U.S. naval forces in the Arabian Sea last month. Two Navy SEALs died during the mission. The criminal complaint unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Richmond alleges that the four defendants — who were all carrying Pakistani identification cards — were transporting suspected Iranian-made missile components for the type of weapons used by Houthi rebel forces in recent attacks. “The flow of missiles and other advanced weaponry from Iran to Houthi rebel forces in Yemen threatens the people and interests of America and our partners in the region,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a news release. U.S. officials said that Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers was boarding the boat on Jan. 11 and slipped into the gap created by high waves between the vessel and the SEALs’ combatant craft.  


US Blasts Iran’s Decision To Ban VPNs | Iran International 

The United States has called Iran's decision to ban the use of virtual private network (VPN) services a "reminder of how much the Iranian regime fears its people". Spokesman Matthew Miller made the comments amid Iran's lowest ebb, when on the eve of next month's elections, turnout is expected to be the lowest in the history of the Islamic Republic. Miller said the government fears "what they [Iranians] are capable of when they are given unfettered access to the internet and information", the 2022 uprising and its subsequent rejection of the government reflecting the power of the people in the face of the country's tyrannical regime. Blaming Tehran for “choking off information that people need to make decisions about their lives and decisions about their futures,” Miller stressed that the regime’s policies to restrict the virtual space have harmed businesses and cost Iran’s economy billions of dollars.  


UK Journalists Union Demands Action Against Iran For Secret Trials | Iran International 

UK’s National Union of Journalists (NUJ) demands action against Iran after documents reveal secret trials of journalists working for Persian language media abroad. The documents, released by the hacker group Edalat-e Ali, have identified 44 journalists and media activists accused by Iran's judiciary of engaging in "propaganda against the Islamic Republic system." Among those implicated are ten journalists affiliated with BBC Persian in London, along with others associated with Iran International, Manoto TV, Gem TV, Voice of America, and Prague-based Radio Farda (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty). Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary of the NUJ, strongly condemned Iran's actions, characterizing them as part of an aggressive campaign against Iranian journalists both domestically and internationally. “It is deeply shocking that a state can act in this abhorrent way, putting journalists and their families in real danger in a flagrant abuse of press freedom. Once again, we will be contacting the UK’s government and the UN and we ask that the wider international community speak out against this outrageous weaponizing of journalists,” she added.  

Hacktivist Group Publishes Leaked Documents Showing Iran's Judiciary Targeting Journalists | Radio Free Europe 

Documents leaked by the hacktivist group Edalat-e Ali (Ali's Justice) appear to show clandestine actions against journalists of Persian-language media operating outside of Iran, including those affiliated with RFE/RL's Radio Farda, by the Iranian judiciary. The leaked documents list 44 journalists and media activists who have been targeted for allegedly undermining the regime. The findings were part of a broader expose by the hacker group -- which released more than 3 million documents -- shedding light on the judicial proceedings conducted in secrecy within Branch 26 of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran. "In this hack, we infiltrated the court case management system and managed to access millions of documents and files," the group said in a post on Telegram where many of the documents were posted. Edalat-e Ali says it is composed of Iranians living and working inside Iran and its intent is to expose alleged human rights abuses in the country while seeking the release of political prisoners.  

Iran’s “Hijab And Chastity Bill” Goes Back To Guardian Council | Iran Wire 

The Islamic Republic's parliament has once again forwarded the contentious "Hijab and Chastity Bill" to the Guardian Council, after President Ebrahim Raisi's administration committed to allocate the necessary budget for its implementation. The review of the proposed legislation in parliament has been marked by controversy and delays.  The bill, aimed at enforcing stricter adherence to mandatory hijab rules, has faced repeated rejections from the Guardian Council due to inconsistencies, ambiguities and over 142 errors. Hassan Nowrozi, a member of the parliament’s legal and judicial commission, deemed the bill not to be the handiwork of the chamber and said: "Some people and movements have manipulated this bill." Morteza Agha Tehrani, head of the parliament’s cultural commission, told ILNA news agency that "concerning the ‘Hijab and Chastity Bill,’ we have imposed a budget on the government."  "Finally, Mr. Raisi accepted, signed and delivered it, making it possible to proceed to the final stage," he added.  


Iran Participates In Indian Naval Drill Amid Red Sea Tensions | Al-Monitor 

Iran is participating in a major Indian naval exercise this week as India seeks to boost security near the Red Sea. The Indian naval exercise Milan 2024 began on Monday. The sea phase starts on Saturday, during which participating countries will conduct air defense, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare drills. The exercise will conclude on Feb. 27, the Indian Navy said in a statement. The Iranian navy sent its Dena destroyer ship to participate in the exercise. Adm. Jalil Moqaddam said that the Islamic Republic’s participation in Milan 2024 demonstrates “very good and growing relations” between the two countries’ naval forces, the semiofficial Tasnim News Agency reported. The list of participating countries also includes the United States, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Japan and Iraq, according to a series of posts by the Indian Navy on X.  


It’s Election Season In Iran | GZERO 

Campaigning for Iran’s legislative election officially got underway on Thursday, with over 15,000 candidates vying for a seat. But will ordinary folks bother going to the polls on March 1? The 2020 election saw Iran’s lowest-ever turnout of 42%, and higher ups in Tehran are worried about an even more embarrassing figure next month. The regime’s legitimacy has suffered so much, according to Eurasia Group Iran expert Greg Brew, that there’s talk of straight-up fudging the numbers, which has not been common practice until now.nBut given that election authorities sidelined all but a handful of reformist politicians – not to mention the violent crackdown on protesters in the wake of Mahsa Amini’s death – many voters are likely to stay home to express their discontent. The real question: Who will succeed Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the real center of power, who’s now 84 years old? There’s no clear answer, but Brew says the establishment’s goal in these elections is “to maintain hardliner control over the key aspects of government to create as much consistency as possible, so that when a succession crisis happens it can be handled with a minimum of disruption.”  

Iran's Ex-President Demands Reasons For Disqualification | Iran International 

Iran's former president, Hassan Rouhani, has again appealed to the Guardian Council to demand answers as to his disqualification in the upcoming Assembly of Experts elections. According to Rouhani's official website, he submitted his request on Wednesday, underscoring the lack of response to his two previous inquiries as the basis for his latest request. The announcement of Rouhani's disqualification was made on January 24th, as he currently holds a position as a member of the Assembly of Experts, the deliberative body empowered to appoint the Supreme Leader of Iran. In response to his disqualification, Rouhani had previously called on the public to actively participate in the forthcoming elections and cast what he termed a "protest vote." Hadi Tahan Nazif, spokesperson for the Guardian Council, addressed the council's silence regarding Rouhani's letters, claiming that their priority is to review the eligibility of those who have lodged complaints. He said that they will address Rouhani's inquiry, emphasizing it as his legal right.  

Iran's Clerical Rulers Face 'Legitimacy Crisis' Ahead Of Elections | Radio Free Europe 

For decades, Iran's clerical establishment has used voter turnout in elections as proof of its legitimacy, especially to the outside world. But with anti-establishment sentiment among the public rising and unprecedented protests erupting against the authorities in recent years, the legitimacy of Iran's rulers has been severely undermined. That has coincided with record-low turnouts in recent presidential and parliamentary elections. Now, as Iranians prepare to go to the polls on March 1, the authorities have been urging the public to vote amid fears of another poor turnout. Sanam Vakil, the director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at the London-based think tank Chatham House, said the clerical establishment is "facing a legitimacy crisis," adding that the authorities "can't hide it anymore without stuffing the ballots."  


Hungarian Foreign Minister Visiting Iran For Trade Negotiations "Forgot" That Tehran Supplies Russia With Weapons | Ukrainska Pravda 

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó visited Tehran on 22 February and met with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, despite the fact that Iran is actively supporting Russia in its war against Ukraine. Source: European Pravda, citing Hungarian media outlet MTI Details: Szijjártó, who was taking part in a Hungarian-Iranian business forum in Tehran, said the two countries are interested in developing economic cooperation in areas that are not affected by sanctions, such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, the food industry, and water management. He announced on Facebook that he had signed a bilateral agreement that would "open up even greater access to the Iranian market for high-quality Hungarian agricultural technology and food products".At a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Szijjártó said he had come to Tehran to prevent an escalation of the conflict in the Middle East, which would pose a "huge threat to global security."  

'We're Running Out Of Patience': Israel Warns UNSC Iran Giving Weapons To Hezbollah | Jerusalem Post 

Foreign Minister Israel Katz warned that Iran has accelerated its shipments of weapons to Hezbollah through Syria since the war in Gaza began, stressing that Israel has an "inherent defend its territory and its citizens" in a letter to the United Nations Security Council on Thursday. Katz stated that Iran was committing "gross violations" of UNSC resolution 1701, as well as violations of UNSC resolutions 2231 and 1540. "Over the past months, while Israel is engaged in an ongoing armed conflict on numerous fronts, Iran is accelerating the pace of its weapons transfers to Hezbollah," wrote the foreign minister. "Iran is doing so by ground, using the porous Syrian-Lebanese border, as well as by air and sea, in violation of UNSCR 1701."  


Pompeo Says West Must Return To Imposing Cost On Iran’s ‘Malign Activity’ To Restore Mideast Stability | Eurasia Group 

Taking away Iran’s ability to create instability in the Middle East was the driving force behind the 2020 Abraham Accords, and US policy needs to move back toward imposing a cost on Tehran’s malign actions, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday. The accords were agreements signed by the UAE and Bahrain to normalize relations with Israel, brokered by then-US President Donald Trump. Sudan and Morocco also later agreed to establish ties with Israel. Pompeo told the Future Investment Initiative Priority forum in Miami that the process of formulation to signing the accords happened due to a “central thesis” held by all involved that Tehran was the “malign actor” in the region. “You should know, I’m hopelessly biased as they’re still trying to kill me. If you see me walking around with a security team, it’s not because I enjoy it but because I still need it,” he said.