The United States imposed sanctions on Tuesday on more than a dozen people and entities in China, Hong Kong and Iran, including Iran's defense attache in Beijing, over accusations they helped procure parts and technology for key actors in Iran's ballistic missile development. Earlier on Tuesday, the official IRNA news agency reported Iran had presented what officials described as its first domestically made hypersonic ballistic missile, an announcement likely to heighten Western concerns about Tehran's missile capabilities. “The United States will continue to target illicit transnational procurement networks that covertly support Iran’s ballistic missile production and other military programs," Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in a statement.
Since the aftermath of the Islamic revolution of 1979, women have been required to cover their hair and neck in public places, with offenders facing fines or prison terms of up to two months. But a growing number are defying the law and appearing bareheaded in the streets. The trend accelerated during the nationwide protests sparked by the September death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman arrested for allegedly violating the law. The protests rocked Iran, provoking a crackdown by authorities that claimed the lives of hundreds of people, including dozens of security personnel, and saw thousands more arrested.
Russia is seeking to copy Iran’s tactics in evading Western sanctions imposed on Moscow since its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, according to a report from Britain’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), published June 6. Ukraine’s allies, including the United States, the European Union, Britain, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, have imposed successively tougher sanctions on Russia, initially since its forceful annexation of Crimea in 2014. The measures have been significantly tightened since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, targeting the Russian Central Bank, its finance and military-industrial sectors, alongside the country’s significant oil and gas exports.
UANI IN THE NEWS
…“How are the U.S. and the E-3 planning to deal with that expiration?” the policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran, Jason Brodsky, asks while speaking with the Sun. While all eyes are on the nuclear program, he notes, Tehran’s race to perfect missiles, including those that can deliver nuclear weapons, receives little attention.
Iran is steadily eviscerating the political and economic constraints the U.S. has marshalled against it. Tehran’s unprecedented coordination with the Beijing-Moscow axis has converged with President Biden’s apparent disdain for key Middle East allies, his obsession with reviving the 2015 nuclear deal and his lax sanctions enforcement. We now face geostrategic realignment and instability in the region as well as more terrorism and nuclear proliferation around the world. Absent visible American resolve against Tehran’s nuclear program, the odds are increasing that, as Benjamin Netanyahu has always reserved as a last resort, Israel will act on its own.
… Iran’s oil exports reached record levels in May at over 1.5m barrels per day, according to preliminary figures by monitoring group United Against Nuclear Iran.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
In an effort to reach an agreement on a nuclear deal, the contacts between the United States and Iran have made major progress in the past few days. Israeli defense officials say the talks are moving forward more rapidly than expected, with the possibility that the two sides will reach an agreement within weeks. The consensus supposedly includes a concession from Iran to stop the process of enriching uranium to high levels. In return, the regime in Tehran expects the alleviation of the international sanctions spearheaded by the United States. In the first stage, this would include the releasing of some $20 billion in Iranian assets from frozen bank accounts outside of Iran – located in South Korea, Iraq, and at the International Monetary Fund.
As the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors began its quarterly meeting Tuesday, countries expressed concerns over Iran’s activities The United States delivered a statement on verification and monitoring of Iran’s activities before France, Germany and the UK (E3) also issued a joint statement on Tehran’s implementation of its nuclear commitments under the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal, which is considered defunct. Despite criticism by Israel accusing the IAEA of watering down its investigation into Iran's activities, both statements – by the US and the E3 – expressed gratitude to the Agency for its objective reporting on Iran’s nuclear program.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
Western efforts to stop the flow of Iranian weapons into Russia for use in Ukraine are running into a 3,300-foot-deep problem: the Caspian Sea. American officials told Semafor that Tehran has stepped up its movement of arms to Moscow via the landlocked body of water — often described as the world’s largest lake — which has prevented interdiction efforts by putting shipments beyond the reach of U.S. and NATO naval power. The U.S. has successfully intercepted seabound shipments of Iranian weapons to other war zones, such as Yemen.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
The Iranian government changed working hours at its offices and agencies on Tuesday, causing many problems for employees and citizens. According to the decision, government working hours in the country will begin at 06:00 local time (GMT 3:30) and end at 13:00 for three months. As there are many people commuting daily from the suburbs to mega cities like the capital Tehran, countless employees must get up at least two hours earlier which affects their sleep routine.
CONGRESS & IRAN
Senate and House lawmakers from both parties are set to urge President Joe Biden to step up efforts to deter Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, including working with European allies to prepare to initiate the snapback of United Nations sanctions on Iran. Two as-yet-unreleased congressional letters, led by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and James Lankford (R-OK) and Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) and Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), are a lobbying priority for AIPAC’s Policy Summit in Washington. The letters, which vary somewhat in their precise content but carry a consistent message, were obtained by Jewish Insider.