Iran in August 2023

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Iran in August 2023

August 1, 2023

  1.  Iranian Hardliners Exposed US Envoy Robert Malley’s Alleged Secret Contacts, Says Tehran Editor (Iran International). Iranian hardliners, known as the “merchants of sanctions,” are claimed to have exposed US envoy Robert Malley’s alleged secret negotiations with Iranian officials. Masih Mohajeri, an influential conservative newspaper editor in Tehran, accuses the hardliners of sabotaging the talks and interfering in domestic politics. Malley was suspended from his position as US envoy for Iran, and his security clearance is under investigation, but official details remain undisclosed, adding to the mystery surrounding the situation.
  2.  IRGC to Reveal New Strategic Capabilities and Systems, Emphasizes Defense and Deterrence Priority (Mehr News). The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is set to showcase its enhanced defense and deterrent power this year. Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif reaffirms the priority of protecting national security and peace and emphasizes unveiling new strategic capabilities in various forces and departments, including maritime defense. The preparations and qualifications of the IRGC and other armed forces are essential in guaranteeing deterrence and bolstering the country’s security.
  3.  Iran Operates 45 Trade Centers Globally, Government to Increase Commerce Attaché in Embassies (IRNA). Iran has 45 trade centers established in various countries, which have been active in previous years but lacked sufficient support. Additionally, there are 20 commerce attaché in Iranian embassies abroad, and the government plans to double this number to 40. The administration of President Ebrahim Raisi aims to enhance support for the Iranian private sector’s trade potential.
  4. Iran Holds 4.9% Share of World’s Nanotechnology Articles, Ranks Fourth Globally (Tehran Times). Iran has secured the fourth position among the top 20 countries in nanotechnology, with 4.9% of the world’s nanotech articles published by Iranian scholars. The country’s nanotechnology sector has experienced significant growth and success, with a rising number of articles published and collaborations with other nations. Iran’s nanotechnology products have been exported to 49 countries, and efforts are being made to promote the application of nanotechnology with a ten-year plan focusing on various industrial areas.
  5. Iran Reaffirms Support for Syria’s Territorial Integrity and Strengthening Bilateral Cooperation (Mehr News). Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abollahian, and his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad, discussed following up on agreements between their presidents during a joint press conference. They emphasized progress in implementing economic, commercial, and technological agreements and explored ways to boost cooperation between their private sectors. Iran condemned terrorist attacks in Syria and Pakistan, expressing support for the region’s peace, stability, and security. Both countries called for an end to foreign military presence in Syria and praised efforts to promote unity among Arabs and Muslims. 
  6. Suspected Iran-Linked Plot to Attack Jewish Center Foiled in India (Iran International). Indian authorities recently detained two men in Pune for planning a series of bombings, including at the Chabad House Jewish Center in Mumbai. The suspects are believed to have ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The Chabad House was previously targeted in a deadly attack in 2008. Israel has warned of Iran’s continued attempts to target Israelis in various countries, and there have been previous terror attacks on Israeli and Jewish targets in India. The incident highlights concerns over Iran-affiliated agents organizing attacks in different regions to harm citizens of Jewish origin.

August 2, 2023

  1. Iranian Hardline Paydari Party Accused of Manipulating Elections and Controlling Assembly of Experts Selection (Iran International). Iranian reformists are warning that the hardliner Paydari party aims to manipulate upcoming elections and influence the selection of the next Supreme Leader through its “purification” project. The hardliners seek to exclude moderates and reformists from the parliamentary election, potentially leading to an all-conservative parliament. Centrist politician Gholamhossein Karbaschi warns this could discourage voter participation. Some reformist groups may align with moderate conservative Ali Larijani, but overall dissatisfaction with the economic crisis may contribute to low voter turnout.

August 3, 2023

  1. Iran’s July Executions Reach Over 60, Including Political Prisoners; Crackdown on Dissent Persists (New Arab). Iran’s executions exceeded 60 in July, marking an increase from the previous month, according to Hengaw Organization for Human Rights. The victims included Baluchis, Kurds, Turks, and Afghanis, with some being political prisoners. The country has witnessed a rise in executions, with 354 people hanged in the first half of 2023, a 36% increase from the same period in 2022. Additionally, the crackdown on journalists and activists continues, as two female journalists receive prison sentences for participating in protests sparked by the death of Kurdish-Iranian teenager Mahsa Amini. These actions are seen as attempts to quell potential protests around the anniversary of the 2022 nationwide demonstrations.
  2. Iran Conducts Naval Drill on Disputed Island, Asserts Gas Field Rights Amidst Rising Gulf Tensions (Al Monitor). Iran carried out a naval exercise on the disputed Abu Musa island, contested with the UAE, focusing on the defense of its Gulf islands. Simultaneously, Iran’s oil minister affirmed the country’s claim to the Durra gas field, despite disputes with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The naval drill involved combat troops, drones, missiles, vessels, and electromagnetic warfare, while tensions over the islands and the gas field escalate, potentially straining relations with Arab Gulf states despite recent diplomatic improvements. Iran’s assertive actions could further destabilize the region.
  3. Iran’s Ambitions over Syria’s Chemical Weapons Industry Raise Concerns Amid Human Rights Abuses (Syrian Observer). Reports indicate Iran’s attempts to gain control over Syria’s chemical weapons industry. Concerns arise over potential use of chemical weapons by Hezbollah in a confrontation with Israel. The Syrian Network for Human Rights documents 197 arbitrary arrests and detentions in July 2023, including women and children. Family of Australian teen presumed dead celebrate news of his survival 18 months after being assumed killed in Syria. Iranian expansion in Syria’s defense sector and human rights abuses remain concerning for regional stability and security.
  4. Canadian Court Orders Iran to Pay $142 Million to Families of Victims in Ukrainian Plane PS752 Downing (Bayan Media). A Canadian court has ruled that Iran must pay $142 million in compensation to the families of eight victims of the Ukrainian plane PS752 downing by IRGC missiles. The court found Iran liable for “terrorist acts, injury, and loss of life.” This follows a previous ruling for $107 million in compensation to six families. The challenge now is to receive the money from Iran, as the country might lack sufficient assets in Canada. Canada and other countries also filed a lawsuit against Iran in the Hague over the incident

August 4, 2023

  1. Iranian Foreign Minister Discusses Cooperation and Border Security During Pakistan Visit (Tehran Times). Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian held talks with his Pakistani counterpart, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, focusing on enhancing border security and fostering cooperation between the two countries. Emphasizing the importance of agreements for border security, Abdollahian highlighted the potential for stronger relations. The meeting aimed to facilitate the implementation of over 190 signed documents and establish a long-term cooperation deal. Bhutto Zardari suggested the formation of a strategic committee to oversee agreements, including in defense and commerce. Additionally, Iran urged Pakistan to complete its part of the delayed gas pipeline project, while also advocating for an end to weapons supplies to Ukraine.
  2. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Runs Drill on Disputed Islands as US Military Presence in Region Grows (Associated Press). Iran’s Revolutionary Guard conducted a surprise military drill on disputed islands in the Persian Gulf, including Abu Musa Island. The drill involved small boats, paratroopers, drones, and missile systems. This comes as the US increases its presence in the region due to ship seizures by Tehran. The Pentagon stated the deployment is in response to Iran’s attempts to threaten the free flow of commerce in the Strait of Hormuz.

August 7, 2023

  1. Iran Bolsters Navy with Missiles and Drones as US Proposes Guards for Gulf Ships (New Arab). Iran has announced arming its Revolutionary Guards’ navy with drones and missiles, including those with a range of 300 to 1,000 km. This move comes as the US considers placing guards on commercial ships passing through the Gulf to counter potential Iranian threats. The increased naval capabilities could escalate tensions in the region, especially in the Strait of Hormuz, a critical waterway for global oil shipments.
  2. Iran Expands Intelligence Apparatus to Quell Domestic Opposition (Iran International). The Islamic Republic of Iran is poised to create a fourth central intelligence agency in response to mounting domestic opposition and potential protests. The government intends to elevate its judiciary’s current “protection and intelligence” department to an official intelligence “Organization,” providing it with increased authority and funding for internal repression…This new intelligence organization will join the Ministry of Intelligence, the IRGC’s intelligence division, and the police intelligence organization in surveilling citizens and curbing dissent. 
  3. Ukraine and European Allies Enforce Sanctions on Iran Amid Stalled Diplomatic Talks in Saudi Arabia (Bayan Media). Simultaneously with the escalation of mutual attacks between Russia and Ukraine, including against each other’s fleets in the Black Sea, and in a situation where the Jeddah meeting is underway to review ways to end the war, Ukraine and seven other countries in the European economic sphere have imposed EU sanctions against the Iranian regime for arming Russia. Ukrainian media quoted the statement of the Council of Europe and announced that the government of Kiev, together with the countries of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, together with the European Union, supported Iran in a “war of aggression”. They called it “unreasonable and illegal”.
  4. Iran’s IRGC Navy Claims to Have Advanced AI-Powered Missiles and Drones (Fars News). Iran’s IRGC Navy showcases advanced indigenous military gear including AI-powered missiles, drones, and electronic warfare systems. The weaponry boasts longer endurance for drones, AI-enhanced cruise missiles, and precise targeting. As tensions escalate with the United States in the Strait of Hormuz, Iran has provided its Revolutionary Guard’s navy with drones and missiles boasting a range of 1,000 kilometers.
  5. UK Home Secretary Warns of Iran’s Growing Threat to National Security (Arab News). Suella Braverman, the British Home Secretary, has cautioned that Iran poses a significant threat to UK national security. Concerns have arisen about Iranian intelligence agents reportedly collaborating with criminal gangs to target regime opponents. Recent reports indicate that Iran’s aggression is increasing, with halted assassination plots and intimidations within the UK. The regime’s links with organizations such as the Islamic Students Association of Britain have also raised concerns. Despite debate over proscribing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, the UK government has chosen to focus on targeted sanctions against key decision makers in Iran.

August 8, 2023

  1. Iran’s Foreign Minister Visits Japan Amidst Concerns Over Arms Supplies to Russia (New Arab). Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s foreign minister, has embarked on a rare trip to Japan, marking his first visit to a G7 member country since 2019. The purpose of the visit to the G7’s current chair has not been officially disclosed; however, reports suggest that Japan aims to address Iran’s alleged supply of arms to Russia. The visit comes as Iran’s role in the supply of attack drones to Ukraine’s Odesa region raises concerns. Amir-Abdollahian’s discussions with Japanese officials also touched on the Iran nuclear accord, regional security, and diplomatic relations. This visit highlights the complex geopolitical landscape and diplomatic efforts between Iran and global powers.
  2. 3,000 US Forces Deployed to the Middle East Amid Escalating Tensions with Iran (Iran International). Over 3,000 US sailors and marines from the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit have arrived in the Middle East in response to heightened tensions with Iran. The deployment aims to showcase maritime strength and deter potential aggression. As Iran showcases new maritime weaponry and tensions rise, the US Navy’s assertive posture reinforces security in the volatile region, including the vital Strait of Hormuz. Additionally, the Biden administration’s push to address Iranian drone supplies to Russia contributes to the mounting pressure and geopolitical complexity in the area.

August 9, 2023

  1. IRGC Threatens Retaliation If US Seizes Iranian Vessels (Amwaj Media). The IRGC has threatened retaliation if the United States seizes Iranian vessels as tensions escalate in the Persian Gulf. IRGC spokesman Ramazan Sharif asserted Iran’s military capability to confront threats and warned that American actions would be met with reciprocal measures. The US has recently bolstered its military presence in the region and offered armed protection to commercial vessels.
  2. Iran Divulges Correspondence with U.S. Via Qatar and Oman Regarding Prisoner Exchanges (Step News). Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said Tuesday that his country does not consider preconditions regarding the exchange of prisoners with Washington…Abdollahian explained that messages were exchanged with the United States about the prisoner file through the Sultanate of Oman and Qatar, according to the Iranian Tasnim Agency…He also affirmed Tehran’s welcome to diplomatic initiatives that help lift US sanctions on the country.
  3. Iran Nuclear Chief Says Tehran is Producing Heavy Water Derivatives (Iran International). The Islamic Republic is successfully producing heavy water derivatives, a groundbreaking achievement in nuclear technology and medical research, Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami has announced. Eslami told IRIB News that the AEO has been pursuing a “combination of laser and biotechnology” to work on heavy water derivatives for deuterated drugs. He added that this cutting-edge approach has already commenced in laboratory settings and holds promising prospects for widespread implementation.
  4. Iran Bought Spy Tech From German, Chinese, and Other Firms (Iran International). The scandal involving German corporation Bosch’s sale of surveillance technology to Iran has expanded to include Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, and China. The United States and the European Union had previously sanctioned the Chinese company Tiandy for supplying surveillance equipment to Iran. Danish security company Milestone Systems is reported to have delivered video analysis software to Iran, while the Iranian regime also uses cameras from Sweden and the Netherlands. Bosch sold 8,000 security cameras to Iran between 2016 and 2018, claiming they cannot be used for fully automatic facial recognition. The controversy raises questions about export control decisions.
  5. UK Sanctions Entities in Turkey, UAE, and Iran for Alleged Role in Ukraine War (Al Monitor). Britain has imposed sanctions on entities and individuals from Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran, accusing them of supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine. The sanctions target those supporting Russia’s military efforts, including companies exporting microelectronics essential for Russian military activity in Ukraine. Turkik Union and Azu International were designated for this role, and UAE’s Dubai-based Aeromotus Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Trading LLC was sanctioned for supplying drones to Russia. Iran, which has provided drones to Russia for use in Ukraine, also faced sanctions targeting entities developing uncrewed aerial vehicles. This action is part of Britain’s efforts to reduce support for Russia’s military activities in Ukraine.
  6. Canada Targets Senior Iran Officials with New Sanctions (Reuters). Canada has imposed new sanctions on seven individuals, including a former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander, accusing them of activities that threaten international peace and security. These measures also target senior Iranian officials involved in entities supplying materials to Iran’s national Law Enforcement Command. Additionally, individuals holding critical positions in state-directed firms producing combat drones for Iran’s armed forces or exporting to Russia are also under sanctions. The measures entail travel bans, and asset freezes for the designated individuals within Canada.

August 10, 2023

  1. Iran Says Daily Oil Output to Hit 3.5M Barrels in September (Al Monitor). Iran’s National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) CEO, Mohsen Khojastehmehr, has announced that the country’s oil output will reach 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd) by September 22. This increase from the current 2.2 million bpd is expected to come from both onshore and offshore fields, with an additional 150,000 bpd added within the next two weeks. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has extended its 1 million bpd oil cut into August and may deepen it further for stability in oil markets. 
  2. Iran Says it Has Technology to Build Supersonic Cruise Missile (Reuters). Iran has announced that it possesses the technology to build a supersonic cruise missile, a development that could raise concerns about Tehran’s missile capabilities in Western countries. The rocket is said to be undergoing tests and is expected to be difficult to intercept due to its supersonic speeds. Iran has a significant missile program and claims that its missiles can reach the bases of its adversaries, including Israel and the United States. Western analysts have noted that the country sometimes exaggerates its missile capabilities despite Iran’s assertions. This announcement comes amid heightened tensions in the region, with recent reports of U.S. warships arriving in the Red Sea to deter potential actions by Iran.
  3. Iran to Host Conference on Ties with BRICS (Tasnim News Agency). Iran is set to host a conference focusing on the collaboration between Iran and BRICS nations, according to Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani. The “Iran and BRICS, prospect for Cooperation” meeting is scheduled in Tehran. Senior BRICS officials, including Russia’s deputy foreign minister, will participate in one of the panels. Kanaani highlighted the significance of Iran’s diplomatic ties with Russia and the potential for bilateral dialogue, particularly in light of Russia’s role in the JCPOA and its revival negotiations. 
  4. Islamabad Temporarily Halts Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline (Iran International). Pakistan has temporarily halted the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, initially a joint endeavor between India, Pakistan, and Iran, which later evolved into a bilateral initiative between Pakistan and Iran. The decision is reportedly influenced by pressure from the United States due to its sanctions against Iran over nuclear concerns. Pakistan issued Iran a ‘Force Majeure and Excusing Event’ notice, suspending its obligations under the project until US sanctions are lifted or Washington permits the project’s resumption. While Iran continues its pipeline segment, Pakistan’s section has faced delays and setbacks due to international sanctions.

August 11, 2023

  1. U.S. Reaches Deal With Iran to Free Americans for Jailed Iranians and Funds (New York Times). The United States and Iran have reached an agreement to win the freedom of five imprisoned Americans in exchange for several jailed Iranians and eventual access to about $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue…As a first step in the agreement, which comes after more than two years of quiet negotiations, Iran has released into house arrest five Iranian American dual citizens, according to officials at the State Department and the National Security Council.
  2.  Massive Explosion Reported at Steel Complex in Northern Iran, 8 Injured (I24). The blast happened at 11 a.m. (local time) in the melting section of the complex due to a ‘momentary water leak.’ A massive explosion was reported at the Esfarayen Industrial Complex in Iran’s northern province of North Khorasan. According to the semi-official ISNA news agency, at least eight people were injured. The report added that the blast happened at 11 a.m. (local time) in the melting section of the complex due to a “momentary water leak.”
  3.  Electoral Roll Cyber Attack Could Have Been Work of China, Iran, or North Korea (The Telegraph). Downing Street is looking at whether China, Iran, or North Korea was behind a cyber attack that exposed the data of up to 40 million British voters. The Telegraph understands security services are widening the net in the search for the “hostile actors” who hacked the Electoral Commission database. Russia remains a prime suspect, but ministers are not ruling out the involvement of another state that may wish to undermine British democracy. One source said the UK was in a “grey zone” cyber conflict with Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea, adding that they were all “testing our defenses”…The Electoral Commission revealed on Tuesday that it had been the victim of a “complex cyber attack” and said it had called in experts from GCHQ.
  4. Germany Warns Iranian Dissidents over Hackers Threat (Iran Wire). The German domestic intelligence agency has warned critics of the Iranian leadership living in Germany about the threat of cyberespionage against them. Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) on August 10 warned Iranian dissidents that the Charming Kitten online espionage group might target them. Charming Kitten works by building trust with victims to the extent that they expose data on themselves and their online contacts in Iran, the BfV said. The attacks are mainly directed at dissident organizations and professionals who have contact with them, including legal practitioners, journalists, or human rights activists in Iran and abroad.
  5. Iran’s Government Threatens People Ahead Of Protest Anniversary (Iran International). As the anniversary of last year’s protests approaches in September, Iran’s security agencies, including the intelligence ministry and the Revolutionary Guards, have employed intimidation tactics and threats to dissuade people from participating in demonstrations. Individuals previously arrested during the anti-regime protests have been contacted and warned against joining any anniversary protests, with some being asked to sign pledges to stay home and take time off work. The regime has also intensified pressure on the families of those killed in the protests and their lawyers. The government’s crackdown on peaceful protesters and the potential for renewed protests on the anniversary have raised concerns, with the regime blaming foreign involvement and claiming a strategy to disrupt upcoming elections.
  6. Iran and South Africa Sign Cooperation Document (Islamic Republic News Agency). Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and his South African counterpart, Naledi Pandor, have signed a cooperation document establishing the Joint Commission of Cooperation between the two countries. The signing occurred during the first South Africa-Iran Joint Commission of Cooperation session in Pretoria. This move comes as part of Amir-Abdollahian’s official visit to South Africa, where discussions are focused on bilateral issues and the resumption of the Joint Commission after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid pandemic. Additionally, preparations are being made for Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s attendance at the Friends of BRICS summit in South Africa on August 24.

August 14, 2023

  1. Shippers Warned to Stay Away from Iranian Waters Due to Threat of Seizure (Associated Press). Western-backed maritime forces in the Middle East have issued a stark advisory for shippers to stay away from Iranian territorial waters in the strategic Strait of Hormuz due to the risk of being seized. This warning comes amid escalated tensions between Iran and the United States. Earlier this year, a similar warning was issued before Iran took two tankers near the strait, a critical passage for 20% of global oil trade. Despite ongoing negotiations between Iran and the U.S. to unfreeze Iranian assets and release detained individuals, the advisory highlights the persistent maritime tensions. The U.S. also considers placing armed troops on commercial ships in the strait to deter potential Iranian actions.
  2. Iran Reportedly Slows Accumulation of Enriched Uranium (Al Arabiya). According to sources, Iran has reportedly slowed the pace of accumulating near weapons-grade enriched uranium and has diluted some of its stockpiles. This development comes shortly after the US and Iran reached a deal to release American detainees and unfreeze Iranian funds. While the Biden administration has emphasized that the prisoner exchange and efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal are separate, there seems to be a connection between the two. The Wall Street Journal noted that Iran has diluted a small amount of its 60 percent enriched uranium and has reduced the accumulation rate. Despite recent developments, the US has deployed military forces to the Middle East after Iran attempted to seize commercial tankers.
  3. OPEC Figures Contradict Iran’s Oil Production Claims (Iran International). Recent figures released by OPEC have revealed a significant inconsistency between Iran’s claims about its oil production and actual data. Iran’s National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Managing Director stated that the country’s daily oil production would reach 3.5 million barrels by the end of summer. Still, OPEC statistics indicate an output of 2.828 million barrels, a difference of 422,000. While Iran’s oil production grew by 11% in the first seven months of the year, the country’s oil price dropped by over 24%. Iran’s oil exports to China have increased, but US banking sanctions challenge revenue collection.
  4. Iran to Use $6 Billion in Unfrozen Funds to Purchase Commodities Exempted from US Sanctions: Central Bank Head (Yeni Safak). Iran’s Central Bank head, Mohammad Reza Farzin, announced the release of frozen funds from South Korea following a prisoner swap deal with the US. The released amount, approximately $6 billion, will be deposited into Iranian bank accounts in Qatar and used to purchase commodities exempted from US sanctions. The prisoner exchange deal, mediated by Qatar and Oman, ended two years of negotiations and involved the release of five prisoners from each side. The funds will be transferred to Iran’s accounts in Qatar before American prisoners are freed from Evin Prison. The White House stated there would be restrictions on using the funds, ensuring transparency.

August 15, 2023

  1. European Intel Agencies Assess Iran Close to Testing Nuclear Weapons for First Time (Jerusalem Post). The Islamic Republic of Iran is close to possibly testing a nuclear weapons device and has sought to obtain illicit technology for its active atomic weapons program, according to a series of shocking European intelligence reports released in 2023. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) first published translations of the intelligence documents on its website. The Jerusalem Post is the first Israeli newspaper to report on intelligence findings from the Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany. The most unsettling revelation from the batch of intelligence data comes from the Netherlands General and Intelligence Security Service (AVID).
  2. Iran FM to Visit Saudi Arabia on Thursday (Tehran Times). Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian is reportedly set to visit Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in response to the recent diplomatic visit by Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan to Tehran. The visit is expected to focus on bilateral issues and is scheduled for Thursday, August 17. This move comes as the Saudi embassy in Tehran, and its Consulate General in Mashhad have resumed their activities.
  3. MAPNA is Investing €6.5b in Power Projects Overseas (Newstral). Iran’s MAPNA Group, a principal contractor for steam, gas, and renewable power plants, has invested €6.5 billion in overseas projects, including power plants, renewable energy, transportation, and industries. The company’s activities in neighboring countries, particularly Iraq, focus on constructing and repairing power plants, with completed contracts for supplying 3,500 megawatts of electricity in Iraq. MAPNA is also engaged in projects and maintenance programs in Oman, Indonesia, and Pakistan, with plans to provide electricity in Syria and export large turbines. Iran’s advanced capabilities in constructing power plants are ready for export to regional countries.
  4. Taliban Lay Claim to Stretch of Iranian Border Area (Iran International). Aerial photos on social media have raised concerns over the Iranian government “conceding” thousands of hectares of land to the Taliban. The images depict a 130 km security wall built by Iran at a distance from the Afghan border along the Hirmand River. The Taliban now claim the frame corresponds to the wall, leading to clashes with Iranian border guards. The wall, constructed in the early 2000s to combat drug trafficking and illegal immigration, has disrupted farmers’ access to agricultural land. The situation has escalated amid a water dispute and increased military presence in the region.
  5. Iran Using Strategic Gasoline Reserves As Consumption Hits Record (Iran International). Iran uses its strategic gasoline reserves to address a significant gap between production and consumption as fuel consumption hits a record high. The Iranian Oil Ministry has scaled back distribution and released around 900 million liters of strategic gasoline reserves to the market to compensate for the deficit. The move aims to curb smuggling and prevent potential protests from raising fuel prices. The daily gasoline consumption has seen a 20% increase compared to the previous year, leading to challenges in gasoline imports and distribution…Rumors of an impending gasoline price increase have prompted panic buying at gas stations.
  6. Prisoner Swap and Release of Iran’s Assets Unrelated, Says FM (Tasnim News Agency). Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has dismissed any connection between exchanging prisoners with the US and releasing Iran’s frozen assets abroad. He emphasized that the prisoner swap and the release of assets are separate agendas in the agreement between Iran and the US, mediated by a third country. Amirabdollahian highlighted that Iran’s assets in South Korea were frozen based on Washington’s order and clarified that the released money would be exchanged for euros before being deposited into Iran’s bank account in a regional country. He also mentioned the upcoming resumption of diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with both countries reopening embassies after seven years of estrangement.
  7. Iran Arrests 9 Bahais Over Corruption Charges (New Arab). Iranian authorities have arrested nine followers of the Bahai faith on corruption charges, including money laundering and tax evasion. The Bahais, Iran’s most significant non-Muslim minority, are considered “heretics” by the Islamic Republic and are often targeted due to alleged ties to Israel. The arrests were conducted in Tehran and targeted group members allegedly involved in owning pharmacies, cosmetic companies, and unauthorized warehouses. The Bahai community has long faced discrimination in Iran, where their faith is not recognized, and they have been subject to persecution and arrests.

August 16, 2023

  1. Iran Offers Free Land for Construction on Disputed Gulf Island (The New Arab). Amid a tense discord between Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) regarding three islands in the gulf, Iranian authorities have unveiled plans to provide free land for construction on Abu Musa Island. The move, part of the National Accommodation Campaign, aims to encourage Iranians to build homes on the island, which, alongside two other nearby islands, has been a focal point of dispute between Iran and the UAE for decades.
  2.  Russia Stops Fuel Supply to Iran (Iran International). Russia has ceased its gasoline exports to Iran for the past few months; an informed Iranian oil ministry official told Iran International.  The source said the Ministry intended to import up to 10 million liters daily from Russia to compensate for the gasoline production and consumption gap. However, the Russian authorities, aware of Iran’s needs, have halted the sale of gasoline to Iran, disrupting the planned efforts to address the fuel deficit. The expected volume from Russia would constitute 10 percent of Iran’s daily consumption in 2022. The shortage has reduced gasoline shipments to gas stations, and long lines formed with cars rushing to fill their tanks. According to the source, several other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries have also been pushed by Moscow not to sell gasoline to Iran, further compounding the challenges faced by Iran. 
  3. Iran Exports Non-Oil Goods Worth Over $4.6b to China in 4 Months (Newstral). Iran has exported non-oil goods worth $4.644 billion to China in the first four months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-July 22), making China the top export destination for Iranian non-oil goods. Additionally, China was Iran’s second source of imports, with non-oil goods worth $5.558 billion imported from China during the same timeframe. The two countries traded $15.795 billion worth of commodities in 2022, and their trade relations have been strengthened through various cooperation agreements, including a 25-year comprehensive cooperation agreement signed in 2021. China remains a significant trade partner for Iran despite international sanctions.
  4. Iran to Increase Gas Export to Armenia (Tasnim News Agency). Iran has signed a new contract to increase its gas exports to Armenia. The contract, signed in Yerevan, extends the duration of the agreement to 2030 and corrects the ratio of bartering gas with electricity in favor of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC). The initial agreement was reached in November 2022 during a visit by Armenia’s Prime Minister to Tehran, and the final document was finalized in August 2023. The new contract boosts Iran’s gas export volume to Armenia and falls under a bartering energy contract framework between the two nations, utilizing a gas export pipeline with an annual capacity of over one billion cubic meters.
  5. Iran Keeps Details Of Tehran-Washington Deal Under Wraps (Iran International). The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran is withholding details of the recent Tehran-Washington agreement involving prisoner release and access to frozen funds. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani stated that disclosing specifics to the media would not be “helpful” now, despite increasing criticism and protests against the agreement domestically and internationally. The deal focuses on releasing Iranian citizens unjustly detained by the US and partially releasing Iran’s blocked assets, with no mention of American hostages imprisoned in Iran. The timeline for implementation has been set through mediation with the US government, and reports of released Iranian assets, including $23 billion and $5 billion from Japan, were refuted by Kanaani. The frozen funds are primarily located in banks across South Korea, Iraq, Japan, China, and India.

August 17, 2023

  1. Iran’s Oil Exports to China Hit 10-Year High (Al Monitor). Iran’s oil exports to China have reached a 10-year high, with August seeing 1.5 million barrels per day of crude oil exported, the highest level since 2013. This export increase comes as Iran and China grow closer politically and economically. China has become Iran’s top trading partner since 2022, and Iran’s oil output, affected by US sanctions, is now rising again. China is Iran’s largest oil customer, and the increase in exports is also attributed to China easing its probe into imports of bitumen, sometimes disguised as Iranian crude.
  2. China Ready to Boost Military Cooperation with Iran (Islamic Republic News Agency). Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu has expressed China’s willingness to enhance military cooperation with Iran as part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). He stated that China is prepared to strengthen security and defense collaboration with Iran and Belarus within the framework of the SCO. Shangfu also mentioned the potential for joint military drills, exercises, and increased international cooperation in arms control and non-proliferation. He emphasized that the Sino-Russian army alliance is not directed against any third country. The remarks were made at the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security, where an Iranian military delegation participated.
  3. Iran’s Space Organization to Carry Out 30 Launches in 7th Development Program (Tasnim News Agency). The Iranian Space Organization has announced its plan, approved by the Seventh Development Program Commission, to carry out 30 launches during the seventh program. The spokesperson, Hossein Dalirian, stated that the organization is focused on revitalizing and advancing space programs to achieve 30 research and operational launches within five years. He highlighted the successful execution of 7 launches under the thirteenth administration and emphasized the importance of support from the administration and parliament for realizing space initiatives. The plan aims to solidify space technology and align with the country’s 10-year space program.
  4. Iran Prisoner Deal ‘Dangerous Precedent,’ Warns Ex-Secretary Pompeo (Iran International). The former US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has expressed concern over Iran’s recent prisoner release deal, stating that it sets a “dangerous precedent.” The deal involves the release of five US citizens unlawfully held in Iran in exchange for at least $6 billion of funds from South Korea. Pompeo believes such a deal will encourage more hostage-taking by Iran and strengthen the Iranian economy. He warns that the Biden administration’s approach to dealing with Iran is bending towards appeasement. Additionally, there are concerns that the deal could embolden Iran and potentially lead to further hostage-taking. 
  5. Iranian Minister Confirms Suspension Of Petrol Imports From Russia (Iran International). Iran’s Minister of Petroleum, Javad Owji, has confirmed the suspension of gasoline imports from Russia, leading to a domestic production and supply focus for Iran’s gasoline needs. This move follows initial plans to import up to 10 million liters of gasoline daily from Russia to address supply-demand gaps. Despite the suspension and existing petrol shortage crisis, Owji claimed there is no supply issue and mentioned a parliamentary requirement for individuals to use personal cards for refueling. The result of this suspension has led to reduced gasoline shipments to gas stations, long queues, and a black market for gasoline at inflated prices.
  6. Congestion at Gas Stations as Iran’s Fuel Crisis Deepens (Iran International). Shortages of gasoline in Iran, refueling limits, and rumors of an impending price hike have led to long queues at gas stations across the country. Despite repeated denials of a fuel crisis by government media — which blame the disruption in the supply chain on summer travels — Iranians see the long lines of cars as a prelude to protests that may engulf the country even before the anniversary of last year’s protests in mid-September. The congestion at gas stations started in small towns and cities earlier in the month. Still, as of Tuesday, numerous videos have emerged on social media showing long queues of vehicles waiting to fill up in the capital Tehran, Kerman, Karaj, and Kermanshah, and several cities in border provinces.

August 18, 2023

  1. Iranian Regime’s Science Network Targets UK Academics for Dual-Use Technologies (Jewish Chronicles). An Iranian scientific network led by an individual with links to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is reportedly attempting to engage UK-based academics specializing in dual-use technologies. The network director, Mohammad Hussain Ataee Dolat Abadi, has reportedly persuaded experts from universities, including Cambridge, Birmingham, Glasgow Caledonian, and University College London, to participate in conferences and share their expertise in Tehran. 
  2. Iran Faces Worsening Water Crisis as Hundreds of Cities Experience Water Stress (Iran Focus). Iran is grappling with a severe water crisis as approximately 269 cities face water stress, according to Iran’s water industry spokesperson. Water supply sources in various regions, including dams and groundwater reservoirs, are threatened due to drought and mismanagement. The situation is particularly dire in cities such as Mashhad, Tabriz, Zanjan, and Tabas, with water sources like the Chahnimeh wells in Sistan and Baluchestan province at risk of depletion. Despite acknowledging the crisis, the spokesperson emphasized launching new water supply projects and denied a severe water shortage.
  3. Iran’s Support for Palestinian Terror Groups Raises Concerns in the Region (JNS). The recent decision by the U.S. administration to provide Iran with access to funds, including billions of dollars held in South Korea, as part of a prisoner exchange deal has raised concerns about the potential impact on Iran’s support for Palestinian terrorist organizations, particularly Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. These groups, designated as terrorist organizations by multiple countries, have historically received financial and military assistance from Iran.
  4. Iran’s Supreme Leader Praises Revolutionary Guard Amidst Growing Concerns of Protests (Iran International). Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has praised the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as “the largest counter-terrorist organization in the world” during a meeting with senior IRGC officers and Basij paramilitary leaders. This statement comes amidst international calls to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. This move was implemented by the United States in 2019 but has not been uniformly adopted by other countries…Despite international concerns and domestic challenges, Khamenei continues to view the IRGC as a powerful and capable organization that serves his interests. The IRGC’s activities, both within Iran and across the region, have generated controversy and have raised concerns about regional stability, terrorism, and human rights violations. Designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization remains a contentious issue in international politics, balancing concerns over security with diplomatic considerations.

August 21, 2023

  1. Iranian President Meets Diplomat Convicted of Bomb Plot, Freed by Belgium in Swap (Times of Israel). Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has met with diplomat Assadollah Assadi, recently freed by Belgium in a high-profile prisoner swap case in May, the presidency’s site said Saturday. “The claimants of human rights have shown once again that they do not adhere to any law,” Raisi said in reference to Western countries during the meeting, which took place on Friday. They “breached the international rules, regulations and principles by violating the diplomatic immunity of the Iranian diplomat in a clear and unprecedented manner,” he added.
  2. Iran Claims to Have Produced Key Engine for Supersonic Missile Tech (Al Monitor). Iran’s defense minister, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, announced the country’s successful development of “ramjet” engines for supersonic cruise missiles. These engines can boost a missile’s speed to five times the speed of sound. Iran claims to be able to mass-produce these engines domestically, a development that could enable the mass-production of cruise missiles. This announcement follows Iran’s recent claim of acquiring the capability to produce supersonic missiles named “Fattah”…Additionally, the minister noted a doubling of production in solid-fuel ballistic and cruise missiles and a 45% growth in missile air defense systems. 
  3. Iran Says Natural Gas Exports Rise by 16% (Tehran Times). Iran’s natural gas exports have increased by 16% in the current Iranian calendar year compared to the previous year, as the managing director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) reported. The country’s annual liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) exports also rose 22% this year. Over 5,297 villages and 41 cities have been connected to the national gas network, and over 98.6% of the urban population and 86.3% of the rural population now enjoy natural gas through the national grid. The NIGC has invested about $1.4 billion in various gas industry areas and sectors.
  4. Amid Fuel Crisis, Iranian Government Likely to Raise Price of Gasoline (Bayan Media). The Iranian Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Commission has indicated that the Iranian government may increase the price of gasoline due to a situation similar to that of 2018. Hamidreza Salehi, the head of the commission, pointed out the parallels between the current situation and that of 2018, when the government tripled the price of gasoline to compensate for reduced income during international sanctions. Salehi emphasized the need for gradual adjustments to fuel prices to avoid negative social impacts and discussed the mismatch between gasoline consumption and production in Iran and the lack of investment in the country’s refineries and automobile industry.
  5. Iran and Brazil to Launch Direct Shipping Line to Bolster Ties: TPOI Chief (Tasnim News Agency). Iran and Brazil are set to establish a direct shipping line to enhance their trade relations, as announced by the head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPOI). Iran’s commercial envoy to Brazil has been chosen and will soon be stationed in São Paulo. The TPOI is committed to participating in specialized exhibitions in Brazil to promote trade between the two countries further. This move marks Iran’s first commercial envoy to Brazil, with hopes for significant growth in business and economic ties.
  6. US-Seized Iranian Oil Offloaded Near Texas (Iran International). A tanker, the Suez Rajan, seized by the US for carrying sanctioned Iranian crude oil, is currently offloading its cargo near Galveston, Texas, despite threats from Iran against shipping companies. The tanker-tracking data indicates that the oil transfer is taking place off the coast of Texas. The Los Angeles-based private equity firm Oaktree Capital Management, owners of the Suez Rajan, has yet to provide immediate comments regarding the ship-to-ship transfer. A bipartisan group of US lawmakers had recently urged the Biden administration to address Iran’s tactics that hindered American firms from unloading the confiscated oil. The seized Iranian crude had yet to be offloaded due to challenges in auctioning it off, with an estimated value of $56 million. Concerns about potential Iranian reprisals, including threats from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, have made US companies hesitant to unload the oil. The US Navy has been increasing its presence in the Middle East amid these developments.
  7. Iran’s Ultraconservatives Gear Up To Win Parliamentary Elections (Iran International). Iran’s ultraconservatives are poised to strengthen their control over the country’s political system in the upcoming parliamentary elections, given their dominance in both the presidential administration and the parliament since 2021. The traditional conservatives, including the Islamic Coalition Party, find it challenging to compete against the ultraconservatives. The political landscape is marked by a confrontation between the ultraconservatives, particularly the Paydari Party advocating for a religious state, and the neo-cons around Majles Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who have a background in the Revolutionary Guard and academia. The elections are anticipated to have a low voter turnout due to disillusionment amid the economic crisis and protests.

August 22, 2023

  1. Iranian Foreign Minister Warns Sweden and Denmark over Qur’an Desecration, Urges Policy Reevaluation (Press TV). Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has reiterated his condemnation of the desecration of the Holy Qur’an in Sweden and Denmark, cautioning the two Nordic nations to reconsider their “misguided policies” before potential consequences become irreversible. Following their bilateral meeting, amir-Abdollahian made these statements during a joint press conference with Malaysian Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir in Tehran.
  2.  IRGC Commander Declares Iran’s Breakthrough in Military Capabilities, Elevating Global Standing (Mehr News). Major General Hossein Salami, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), has declared Iran’s successful rupture of the monopoly on military capabilities, leading to an enhanced global status bolstered by its formidable defense prowess. In a statement, the IRGC commander commended Iran’s remarkable strides in defense, attained despite severe sanctions and substantial limitations

August 23, 2023

  1. Iran Unveils Armed Drone, Claims It Could Reach Israel (Times of Israel). Iran’s Defense Ministry unveiled a drone on Tuesday resembling America’s armed MQ-9 Reaper, claiming that the aircraft is capable of staying airborne for 24 hours and has the range to reach the country’s archenemy Israel. Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency published a photograph of the drone, called the Mohajer-10, on display at a conference marking Defense Industry Day with what appeared to be smoke-machine fog underneath it. “Mohajer” means “immigrant” in Farsi and has been a drone line manufactured by the Islamic Republic since 1985.
  2. Iranian Banks Liquidating as Regime Seeks to Avert Panic (Iran International). Islamic Republic’s officials are in damage control mode over the Central Bank of Iran’s decision to dissolve several banks and financial institutions by October. The liquidation of Tosse-eh (Development) Credit Institution is in its final stages while the order to dissolve Ayandeh (Future) Bank was given to the Central Bank earlier this week. There are several other financial institutions, such as Caspian and Nour, that are set to dissolve or merge with other banks. Reports of the liquidation of the unprofitable banks have been circulating in recent years, with Tosse-eh sending messages to its customers asking them to close their accounts until mid-March 2022. The institution has 30 branches all over Iran.

August 24, 2023

  1. Iran Boosts Oil Production and Exports Despite Sanctions (Iran International). Iran’s crude oil output will reach 3.4 million barrels per day (bpd) by the end of September, the country’s oil minister was quoted as saying on Wednesday, despite US sanctions remaining in place. “Our current crude oil production is 3.3 million barrels per day and by the end of September this amount will increase to 3.4 million,” Javad Owji said. The increase in crude production coincides with a steady rise in Iran’s exports., which monitors global oil shipments, reported that in the initial 20 days of August, Iran dispatched an average of over two million barrels of oil daily, marking a more than 30-percent surge compared to the past few months.
  2. Iran Sentences 8 to Prison Over Paramilitary’s Death During Last Year’s Nationwide Protests (VOA). Iran sentenced seven men and a woman to prison after their convictions over allegedly aiding two men who were earlier executed for killing a paramilitary volunteer during the nationwide protests last year that followed Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody, state media reported Wednesday. The sentences come just ahead of the one-year anniversary of Amini’s Sept. 16 death, as authorities have been rounding up activists and others in an apparent attempt to tamp down any dissent ahead of it…The defendants were found guilty of committing “warfare” and of “corruption on Earth,” a term often used to describe attempts to undermine the Iranian government.
  3. Iranian Politicians Blame ‘Infiltrators’ for Obstructing Foreign Relations (Iran International). A former senior official of Iran’s Foreign Ministry and a lawmaker have warned that “infiltrators” in the upper echelons of the government pose a threat to national interests. A former Director General for the Middle East, Mohammad Ali Sobhani, has said in an interview with Entekhab website last week that “a radical group of infiltrators are furthering measures that prevent the Iranian government from normalizing its relations with other countries.” In April 2021, former Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had said that Russia interfered in Iran’s domestic affairs particularly by dictating ideas to the top-level commanders of the revolutionary Guards (IRGC). Zarif said that Russia summoned former IRGC Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani to Moscow on a few occasions.

August 25, 2023

  1. Iran, 5 Other States to Become New Members of BRICS (Mehr News). South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Thursday that the BRICS member states agreed to admit Iran, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia as new members. The five current member states have reached a “consensus on the first phase of this expansion process” and have invited the six states to become new members of the BRICS group from January 1, 2024, he said at the group’s leader’s summit in Johannesburg.
  2. Iran Supports BRICS Efforts to De-Dollarize: Raisi (Alarabiya News). Iran supports efforts by the BRICS group of emerging economies to move away from dependence on the US dollar. President Ebrahim Raisi told the BRICS summit in Johannesburg on Thursday after Iran was invited to join the group. “The Islamic Republic of Iran very resolutely supports the successful endeavors of BRICS in line with de-dollarization from the trade and economic interactions between the members and also using local currencies,” he said.
  3. Iran Looks For Its Lost Billions In Syria (Iran International). The release of Iran’s $6 billion frozen funds from South Korea has prompted a website in Tehran to ask: What about over $30 billion owed by the Syrian regime? Aftab News, a website relatively independent of the current rulers and said to be close to other regime insiders, argued in an article published Thursday that the outlook for Syria to pay Iran back looks bleak. Iran has a small share of Syria’s trade, roughly one-tenth of Turkey’s exports. Annual Iranian exports are less than $1.5 billion.

August 28, 2023

  1. Iran’s Uranium Enrichment Persists Despite Reports (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Iran’s uranium enrichment continues, though reports suggest a potential slowdown in 60% enrichment, possibly easing tensions.
  2. World Bank Highlights Iran’s Economic Risks (Iran International). World Bank warns of escalating internal and external threats to Iran’s economy, including social tensions, manufacturing strikes, and global oil challenges.
  3. Iranian Officials Wary of Renewed Protests (Iran International). Iranian Supreme Leader’s aide, Gen. Javani, reaffirms the regime’s strength against potential protests, highlighting the role of the Basij militia

August 29, 2023

  1. Iran and Iraq Agree to Disarm “Terrorist Groups” (Anadolu Ajansi). Iran announced an agreement with Iraq to disarm “terrorist groups” in northern Iraq by September 19. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani stated the groups would be moved from military barracks to unspecified camps.
  2. Macron Urges Tehran to Release French Detainees (Al Sharq Al Awsat). French President Emmanuel Macron called on Iran to release four French citizens held in “unacceptable conditions,” stating “nothing justifies the detention.”
  3. Iran Publishes Leaked US Memo, Deepening Controversy Over Malley (Iran International).Iran’s Tehran Times published an “sensitive but unclassified” US memo purportedly showing violations by suspended Iran envoy Rob Malley, as stated by Erin Smart, Director of the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

August 30, 2023

  1. Iran’s Covert Infiltration Challenges Russia in Syria (Syria TV). The Alma website uncovered Iran’s bid to infiltrate Syria’s communication networks through telecom, with the Revolutionary Guards overseeing Vatel. Key equipment from PASNA and Iran Electronic Industries enhances monitoring. Assad supports Vatel, as Iran competes for intelligence and economic benefits, challenging Russian influence. 
  2. Iran’s Trade Balance Records $5 Billion Deficit Amid Petrochemical Export Drop (Iran International). Iran’s foreign trade balance reports a deficit of nearly $5 billion for the first five months of 2023, attributed to a decline in petrochemical exports despite an overall increase in exports by 27%. The deficit is primarily due to falling global prices of petrochemicals, a major component of Iran’s exports.
  3. Hacktivists Expose Iranian Surveillance Software (Forbes). GhostSec Breaches Iranian Surveillance Software, Exposing Extensive Data: Facial Recognition, GPS Tracking, and More. The hacktivist group infiltrated Fanap Behnama, uncovering 20GB of source codes and tools for face recognition, motion detection, and citizen monitoring. GhostSec plans to share findings via ‘Iran Exposed’ Telegram channel.
  4. Iran, Russia Exploit Quran Burning Controversy in Sweden (Jerusalem Post). Swedish Minister Cautions on Iran and Russia Exploiting Quran Burnings for Misinformation, Amplifying Extremist Threats. Iran and Russia target Sweden, linking Iran to operations. Government reinforces defenses, Psychological Defense Agency counters influence, and fosters global collaboration against campaigns sowing anti-Sweden sentiments and implicating extremism. Concerns persist over Iran’s European involvement.

August 31, 2023

  1. Iran Ramps Up Arrests Ahead of Amini Anniversary (Arab News). Ahead of the anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death, Iran intensifies a crackdown, detaining activists, campaigners, and relatives of those killed in protests. Amini’s 2022 death while in custody sparked widespread protests, demanding an end to Iran’s Islamic system due to her arrest for violating dress rules.
  2. Iran Can Secure Strait of Hormuz, Says Rear Admiral (Mehr News). Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari states that Iran and regional countries can ensure the security of the Strait of Hormuz for merchant ships and oil tankers, asserting that extra-regional countries have only brought instability.


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