The U.S. has shared a draft resolution with members of the United Nations Security Council that would extend an arms embargo on Iran indefinitely, according to diplomats. With the ban on arms transactions with Iran set to expire in October under terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, the U.S. draft calls on all countries to “prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer” of weapons to and from the Islamic Republic unless a Security Council committee approves it at least 30 days in advance on a case-by-case basis, according to a copy of the text obtained by Bloomberg News.
Saudi Arabia announced early on Tuesday that Houthi rebels in Yemen unleashed a ballistic missile and bomb-laden drone attack on various targets in the kingdom, including the cities of Najran and Jizan. According the Saudi statement its air defenses intercepted three ballistic missiles, and eight booby-trapped drones fired from Yemen. It appears that not all drones were intercepted but the statement did not say how many got through and where they might have exploded.
Iran’s currency on Monday dropped to its lowest value ever against the dollar and officials warned Iranian exporters to bring their foreign earnings home from abroad. Money exchange shops briefly traded the Iranian rial 200,000 for a dollar and later in the day, the currency was valued at 198,000 rials against the dollar. The lows were a new record after the rial on Saturday traded at 190,000 for the dollar. The plunge of the rial comes amid severe U.S. sanctions imposed on Tehran. Iran's Senior Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri on Monday urged Iranian exporters to bring home their earnings from abroad.
UANI IN THE NEWS
… “I’m concerned about the precedent that it sets, especially if it’s linked to the broader Iran hostage swaps,” said Jason Brodsky, a policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran. “Previous prisoner exchanges involved sanctions evaders but Mr Tajideen is a specially designated global terrorist.” Mr Brodsky said Tajideen’s work and experience in African countries was further evidence of the importance Iran and Hezbollah placed on the continent.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant has been reconnected to the national grid after maintenance and an overhaul. Relevant tests were conducted and it was reconnected, the country's Tasnim media. This is an achievement, Tehran says. It takes place during the COVID-19 crisis and shows that Iran can continue to advance despite difficulties. The plant will help meet summertime peak electricity consumption.
The media barely noticed, but the world on Friday called out Iran for blocking nuclear inspections unrelated to President Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal. This problem will continue no matter who is the American President in 2021. Iran has been a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons since 1970. As a signatory, the country has committed to use nuclear material and technology only for peaceful purposes—and to cooperate with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency. On Friday the IAEA’s board of governors called Iran out.
In a development that was expected by many but that perhaps surprised Iran, the three European signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — France, Germany and the UK — on Friday released a statement on Iran’s violations of the nuclear deal. The statement also touched on Iran’s obstruction of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from visiting Iran and inspecting sites. In the aftermath of this statement, the US emphasized its commitment to stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
Iran’s Defense Ministry revealed on Tuesday that the country produces 70 percent of the products needed for aircraft and helicopters locally. This has enabled it to keep building drones and missiles, and replacing aircraft even under tough sanctions. This means that the US maximum pressure campaign can only go so far in breaking Iran when it comes to its export of precision missiles to Hezbollah or drones to Yemen. The recent report was from Fars News in Iran.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
Workers at one of Iran’s most restive industrial units, the Haft Tapeh sugarcane complex resumed their strike for the eighth consecutive day on Monday, June 22. They are demanding three-month overdue wages and protesting the non-renewal of their social welfare and medical insurance, as well as lack of job security. According to the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Workers' Union, the protesting workers have held two rallies. One of the assemblies took place in front of the company’s administration office and the other outside the governor's building in the city of Shush in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, southwest Iran.
In a message recorded in prison and delivered to the UK Prime Minister by his wife, a British-Iranian businessman jailed in Iran since August 2017 has pleaded with Boris Johnson to get him and his fellow British citizens out of prison. "I am appealing to you to take action and get me and my fellow British citizens out of Evin prison, where the threat of COVID-19 is as strong as ever," Anoush Ashoori urged Johnson in the recording shared with AFP. "My fear is that we have been forgotten by the British government," he said in his message.
On the night of June 15, Reyhaneh Ameri, a 22-year-old Iranian woman living with her parents in the Kerman province of south-central Iran, came home late, enraging her father. Ameri was a young, fashionable woman who, like many her age, liked to go out and socialize, which included socializing with men. Her conservative father had hated it. The following day, when Ameri was home alone with her father, he attacked her with an iron bar, put her bleeding body in a car and left her in a nearby village. She died in pain two hours later.
MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is seeking to establish a new permanent base to increase security in the Gulf of Oman and the entry to the Indian Ocean, according to its top admiral. The base would help counter pirates and foreign vessels, and could be completed by the end of the Iranian calendar year next March, Alireza Tangsiri told Fars News Agency on Monday, without elaborating on the planned location. The Gulf of Oman is at the eastern end of the Persian Gulf and flows into the Arabian Sea. Waters around Iran have sporadically become flashpoints as the U.S. tightened its economic offensive on the Islamic Republic.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
The Islamic Republic of Iran has ignited a new round of violent persecution toward the Baha’i minority religious group over the last month. Bahá'í World News Service (BWNS) reported on June 11 that "Baha’is in the provinces of Fars, South Khorasan, Mazandaran, Isfahan, Alborz, Kerman, Kermanshah, and Yazd have been arrested, summoned to court, tried, sentenced to jail or imprisoned, all under baseless accusations.”
Iranian officials are seeking answers from Romanian authorities after former Iranian judge Gholamreza Mansouri, who was facing corruption charges in Iran, fell out of an upper window Friday at the Duke Hotel in Bucharest, Romania. Mansouri, a former member of Iran’s Supreme Court, was facing extradition to Iran on charges that he allegedly took about 500,000 euros in bribes. He had been staying at the Duke Hotel for 10 days before his death.
CONGRESS & IRAN
Two vulnerable Senate Republican incumbents up for re-election in November found themselves under attack over their support for President Donald Trump’s Iran policies in new social media ads that began airing in their states today. The J Street Education Fund — the nonprofit arm of the liberal lobby group — is targeting Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Marth McSally, R-Ariz., who voted against a war powers resolution limiting Trump’s ability to conduct offensive military action against Iran following the president’s January strike that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
After Iran reportedly tried to hack Israel’s water supply earlier this year, attention has turned to Israel’s efforts to safeguard its civilian infrastructure with the National Cyber Directorate now taking overall responsibility for protecting the water system, Channel 12 reported Monday. Alongside the skills brought by the directorate, together with the already advanced water monitoring systems in place, the report revealed that Israel also employs several dozen fish to watch over the water
OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Iran will send the black boxes from a downed Ukrainian airliner to France for analysis, the countries said on Monday. Iran shot down the Ukraine International Airlines flight on Jan. 8 with a ground-to-air missile, killing 176 people, in what Tehran later acknowledged as a “disastrous mistake” by forces on high alert during a confrontation with the United States. “The Islamic Republic of Iran will send the black box of the Ukrainian airplane to France in the coming few days in order to read its information,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, according to the official IRNA news agency.