Struggling to maintain a steady supply of arms for its war in Ukraine, Moscow is looking to Iran once again to resupply the Russian military with drones and surface-to-surface missiles, according to two officials familiar with the matter. There is growing U.S. concern that Russia may seek to acquire additional advanced conventional weapons from Iran, according to a National Security Council official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss U.S. intelligence. The official said the administration is particularly concerned that Russia may seek to acquire surface-to-surface missiles from Iran.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday approved a bipartisan resolution reaffirming U.S. support for Iranian protesters and calling on the Biden administration to impose additional sanctions on Iranian officials and entities responsible for repressing the protests. Mass protests have taken place across Iran for nearly three months after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in the custody of Iran’s morality police, who detained her for allegedly improperly wearing her hijab.
A series of dramatic interviews with Iranians from within Iran amid the massive protests unfolding against the highly repressive Islamic Republic of Iran reveal their burning desire for President Biden to recognize their revolution. As the protests hit day 82, activists say the implication is clear: If the White House issues a stamp of approval to the revolutionary sentiments to topple the Iranian regime, the U.S. will be providing unconditional solidarity instead of standing largely on the sidelines. "This is a constitutional revolution for the basic rights of the Iranian people," Shagha, a designer and painter, told Fox News Digital through an encrypted line.
UANI IN THE NEWS
Britain is being urged to expel Iranian diplomats after politicians in Westminster were said to have been put on alert over possible cyberattacks from the regime. MPs have reportedly been urged to improve the security of their mobile devices in a letter that warned of Tehran’s “strong offensive cyber capabilities”. Jason Brodsky, policy director of the United Against Nuclear Iran (Uani) advocacy group, told The National that the UK’s response to Iranian threat has been sluggish thus far as he called for efforts to be stepped up. The US-based organisation has a stated aim of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. He said it is now “very important” that the UK should designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group. The speakers of the UK’s House of Commons and the House of Lords wrote to politicians on November 21 warning them to “stay vigilant” against potential attacks from Iranian operatives, according to CNN.
An Iranian tanker carrying about 2 million barrels of ultra light-oil arrived this week in Venezuelan waters, non-government organisation, United Against Nuclear Iran, said on Tuesday, Reuters reports. Venezuela and Iran have recently expanded cooperation mainly through a swap that provides Venezuela's state-run oil company, PDVSA, with light oil for refining and diluents to produce exportable crude grades. PDVSA, in return, supplies Iran with Venezuelan heavy oil and fuel.
… At least 21 tankers have switched to shipping Russian oil after previously being used for Iranian shipments, said Claire Jungman, chief of staff at U.S. advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), which monitors Iran-related tanker traffic through ship and satellite tracking. Of those vessels, at least have four changed ownership in recent months. Ship broker Braemar also said that some of the vessels involved in shipping Iranian and Venezuelan oil were shifting to transporting Russian oil.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Several U.N. Security Council resolutions adopted between 2006 and 2010 required Iran to cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) investigation of its nuclear activities, suspend its uranium enrichment program, suspend its construction of a heavy-water reactor and related projects, and ratify the Additional Protocol to its IAEA safeguards agreement. Iran did not comply with most of the resolutions’ provisions. However, Tehran has implemented various restrictions on, and provided the IAEA with additional information about, the government’s nuclear program pursuant to the July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which Tehran concluded with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
False earthquake alerts went off Wednesday on Android smartphones in Iran as the country continues to grapple with nationwide protests. Authorities offered conflicting accounts as to why the incident happened. Col. Ramin Pashaei, deputy chief of Iran’s cyber police, told Iranian state television that only Android phones received the false alert. He blamed testing at state-owned service provider Iran Mobile Communications Co. for the alert. Meanwhile, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency described the incident as a hack and said: “This message is fake; do not leave your homes.”
Many Iranian workers went on strike and students boycotted classes Wednesday, rights groups said, as a former president publicly supported protests sparked by Mahsa Amini's death. Demonstrations have swept Iran for nearly three months since Amini died after her arrest by the notorious morality police in Tehran for an alleged breach of the country's strict hijab dress code for women. The authorities, who have struggled to contain the protests, describe them as "riots" fomented by Iran's arch foe the United States and its allies, including Britain and Israel.
Iranian authorities have executed more than 500 people this year, according to data released by Iran Human Rights. Up more than 50 percent on 2021’s figure of 333, the spike in executions marks a dramatic shift following years of decline, with numbers only likely to climb amidst the government’s brutal response to protests in the wake of the death of Mahsa Amini while in police custody. Five further death sentences were handed out to protesters yesterday, for killing a member of the security forces, bringing to 11 the total number arising from the protests.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
Top US lawmakers on Wednesday approved a bipartisan resolution affirming American support for Iranian protesters and condemning Iran’s security apparatuses for their violent crackdown. “It is my hope that Congressional approval of this bipartisan, bicameral resolution will help amplify the voices of the hundreds of thousands of women and men of Iran who are protesting against the brutality of one of the world’s most repressive regimes,” Senator Bob Menendez said in a statement.
The world’s media appears to believe that the Iranian judiciary is poised to abolish the country’s Guidance Patrol, the so-called morality police that beat Mahsa Amini to death in September. This claim was reported in The Times of London and on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. It was reported that Mohammed Jafar Montazeri, the country’s attorney general, was quoted in Iranian state media as saying that “the law requiring veils, known as hijabs, was under review by Iran’s parliament and judiciary, and that the morality police had been abolished.”
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
Official sources in Ukraine said that "Russia has temporarily stopped using Iran-made drones" on Tuesday, according to Business Insider. According to the report, Russia stopped using the drones because they cannot stand the cold of the Ukrainian winter. The report said that Ukrainian sources claimed that Russia hasn't used an Iran-made drone since November 17, the first day it began to snow in Ukraine, and the weather sank below zero degrees. Speaker of the Joint Forces Command for Strategic Communications of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Yevgeny Silkin said that "the plastic materials and other materials [used in the drones] cannot stand the freezing climate in Ukraine."