The U.S. warned Greece against hosting the Iranian tanker released by Gibraltar, as it continues efforts to block the vessel and further drags its allies in escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran. "We have conveyed our strong position to the Greek government on the matter, as well as all ports in the Mediterranean that should be forewarned about facilitating this vessel," the State Department said.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday said Iran is not interested in talks with Washington, but any mediation should focus on bringing the United States back to the 2015 nuclear deal which it left last year. Zarif was speaking in Finland after meeting Foreign Affairs Minister Pekka Haavisto, who said Europe was doing its best to salvage the deal.
A top Iranian official and close adviser to Iran's supreme leader says his country should never have signed the international nuclear deal that has now been renounced by President Donald Trump. In an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News, the official, Ali Shamkhani, who rarely speaks to the Western press, said that there were people in Iran who felt that signing the 2015 nuclear pact, known as the JCPOA, was a mistake.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Paris supports the easing of tensions over the Iranian nuclear issue, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday ahead of negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "France is interested in the de-escalation of the crisis over the Iran nuclear issue," he noted. The French leader said this issue will be discussed, in particular, during the negotiations with the Russian president.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
Like most other American businesses, Apple doesn't have a store in Iran and doesn't sell its products in a country targeted with tough economic sanctions by President Donald Trump. But at a shop in Tehran, Iranians can buy an array of Apple tech gadgets, including iPhones and Mac laptops. It's not an official Apple store approved by the Silicon Valley tech giant, but the company's sleek smartphones and watches make their way into the country anyway.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
Disguised as men, a group of Iranian women attempted to do the impossible - watch a men's soccer match in Iran. As a result, they were arrested last week for violating Iran's ban on women entering soccer and other stadiums, Radio Farda reported. Following international pressure, the women were released on Saturday. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, women are banned from entering a stadium where a men's soccer match is taking place.
Days after accusations of large-scale corruption in Iran's car industry, the CEO of Iran Khodro was arrested in his office after being fired hours earlier. Iran Khodro is one of the biggest vehicle manufacturers in Iran partnering with the French conglomerate PSA Peugeot Citroen. The reason for Monday's actions of firing and then arresting Mr. Hashen Yekke Zare'e has not been announced. He has led the company for the past seven years and at the same time was chairman of Parsyan Bank's board of directors.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
As the Iranian tanker impounded by Gibraltar leaves the overseas British territory, it exits one tangled mess and sails into a set of new complications. Gibraltar impounded the tanker, formerly known as Grace 1 and renamed the Adrian Darya 1, on allegations that it was bound to deliver oil in Syria, a violation of European sanctions. Iran denies the claim.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a television interview on Monday that it was unfortunate an Iranian oil tanker detained off Gibraltar had been allowed to leave. "It's unfortunate that that happened," Pompeo told Fox News Channel. He added that if Iran is successful in making profit from the tanker's oil cargo, its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps will have "more money, more wealth, more resources to continue their terror campaign."
Earlier this summer, after Iran downed an unmanned U.S. military aircraft, President Trump said he had approved - then put a stop to - a U.S. missile strike on Iran. Polling showed most Americans supported aborting the mission. One Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey found that 57 percent of voters opposed "military confrontation with Iran" unless Iran had attacked the United States. Only five percent of respondents wanted the United States to "declare war on Iran."
Though the U.S. and Iran have lived in a state of hostility for decades, rarely have relations been as tense as in recent months. The U.S. is trying to deprive Iran of oil revenue, the lifeblood of its economy. Iran's been accused of responding by sabotaging oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. With the U.S. stepping up its military presence in the region, and Iran exceeding limits it agreed to on its nuclear program, the risk is that a miscalculation could lead to a war that neither the U.S. nor Iran say they want.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
A prominent Iranian TV commentator's move to the United Kingdom to join an opposition station after a long career at Iran's state TV has revived a longstanding debate over the public approval of IRIB, the sole national broadcaster holding a monopoly over domestic radio and television services in Iran. Mazdak Mirzaei is a 48-year-old soccer commentator and TV show host who has moved to the UK to work with Iran International, a London-based TV channel launched in May 2017...
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday hinted that Israel was behind recent airstrikes on Iranian targets in Iraq, stressing that the Jewish state will continue to act militarily whenever and wherever there is a need to do so. "Iran has no immunity, anywhere," he told reporters during a briefing in his Kyiv hotel, responding to a question about various recent attacks on military installations in Iraq, which are attributed to Israel.
GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN
On Saturday, 10 explosive drones targeted the Shaybah oil field and a refinery in eastern Saudi Arabia. Were they launched from Yemen, as claimed by the Iran-backed Houthi militia... or from somewhere else, as last time, when investigations revealed that the drones were launched by Iranian militias in Iraq? Were they Chinese, as was the case with some previous aircraft ... or Iranian? These questions will be answered once the ongoing investigations are complete. However, the political and military aspects may be ambiguous.
OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The Iranian tanker seized by the United Kingdom off of the coast of Gibraltar has been released despite US objections. The UK had originally seized the Iranian tanker, called Grace 1, after claiming that the ship was headed to Syria, a country under EU sanctions. In response, Iran seized a UK tanker in the Persian Gulf for "shipping violations" while traveling through the Strait of Hormuz. After the UK released the Iranian tanker, the United States issued a warrant for the tanker.