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Iran in July 2023

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Iran in July 2023

July 4, 2023

  1. Clashes Between Armed Forces and Civilians in Iran’s Khorramabad Leave 15 Injured (Iran International). Clashes between security forces and protesters in Khorramabad, Iran, resulted in at least 15 citizens being injured and three shopkeepers being arrested. The Free Union of Iranian Workers shared a video showing the clash after armed forces attempted to confiscate electrical devices from shops. Earlier in the month, tensions were high during the funeral of Mansoureh Sagvand, a former police assistant who defected following nationwide protests. Sagvand had expressed concerns about her safety and warned against potential threats from intelligence officers. 
  2. EU and UK Intend to Breach JCPOA by Refusing to Lift Missile Sanctions in October (Mehr News Agency). The UK and other European powers are expected to violate the Iran nuclear deal by refusing to lift sanctions on Iran’s use of missiles in October, according to a British source. The European Union sanctions are set to expire in October…According to the source, EU and British diplomats have claimed that Iran has sold drones to Russia for its operation in Ukraine.
  3. Iran Says Iraq Released $10B in Payments to Iran (Al Iraq News). The head of the Iraqi-Iranian Chamber of Commerce, Yahya Al-Ishaq, announced Monday that Iraq had released $10 billion and transferred this amount to the Trade Bank of Iraq for non-sanctioned purchases such as essential commodities and medicines…Speaking on Monday to a gathering of Iranian merchants and representatives of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, he referred to the trade relations between Tehran and Baghdad as a semi-golden opportunity…”We live in special circumstances in the world and the region, and our constant aim is to pursue national interests and seize commercial opportunities in Iraq.”

July 5, 2023

  1. Iran Joins Shanghai Cooperation Pact, Hoping to Reduce Isolation (Iran International). Iran has joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), marking its first regional pact membership since the 1979 revolution. The SCO, consisting of Russia, China, and Central Asian nations, aims to promote cooperation against extremism. Iran sees its SCO membership as an achievement for its Eastern-oriented foreign and economic policy. However, the influence of both Russia and Iran has been challenged by diplomatic and economic isolation. While the SCO aims to expand its membership, doubts still need to be made about the impact of Iran’s inclusion.

July 6, 2023

  1.  At SCO, Raisi Calls for the Removal of Dollar Dominance to Shape a Fair International System (Shargh Daily). Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi addressed the 23rd Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and emphasized the need to remove the dominance of the US dollar to shape a fair international system. He also highlighted the importance of unity, respect for values and sanctities, and the sovereignty of nations within the SCO. Raeisi called for regional security based on cooperation among nations and expressed Iran’s commitment to fighting terrorism and extremism. He also discussed economic cooperation, strengthening links and transportation routes, and the significance of addressing environmental threats through multilateral cooperation. Finally, he condemned interference in countries’ internal affairs and supported Palestine’s freedom.  
  2.  Iran Must Stop Executions of Protesters, Says UN Fact-Finding Mission (Reuters). A UN fact-finding mission has called on Iranian authorities to halt the execution of individuals sentenced to death for participating in anti-government protests in 2022. The mission also urged releasing those detained for peacefully assembling and reporting on the protests. Iranian leaders have accused Western enemies of instigating the unrest. In response, Iran’s High Council for Human Rights criticized the establishment of the fact-finding mission as politically motivated. In May, Iran executed three men allegedly involved in the deaths of security forces during the demonstrations.
  3.  Iran’s Entry into SCO on US Independence Day Not A Coincidence  (Tasnim News Agency). A Russian expert has stated that Iran’s official entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on the United States’ Independence Day is not coincidental. The expert highlighted that Iran’s acceptance into the organization on July 4th is significant, emphasizing that Iran’s relationship with the US does not define its relationship with the world. Iran’s accession to the SCO is seen as a contribution to the shared ideals of the member states. The expert also mentioned the importance of Iran’s participation within the framework of the North-South project and the potential for economic growth and trade expansion between the countries involved.
  4.  US Navy Says it Prevented Iran From Seizing Tankers in the Gulf of Oman (Reuters). The U.S. Navy has announced that it prevented Iran from seizing two commercial tankers in the Gulf of Oman. One of the tankers involved was the Richmond Voyager, managed by U.S. oil major Chevron, and the crew onboard was reported to be safe. An Iranian navy vessel fired shots during the seizure attempt. The incidents occurred in the waters between Iran and Oman, and further details about how the U.S. Navy prevented the seizures have not been provided at this stage.
  5. Iran Tries to Seize Two Oil Tankers Near Persian Gulf  (Bloomberg). The US Navy stopped Iranian forces from seizing two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday, AP reported, increasing tensions between the countries as they seek to ease relations strained by Iran’s nuclear program and the detention of foreign nationals. The move comes days after a tanker previously seized by the US for allegedly transporting Iranian crude arrived in Texas. This year, Iran has controlled at least three oil tankers around the waterway, a key transit route for oil exports from the Persian Gulf, citing judicial complaints and forged leasing documents. 
  6. Iran Faces Legal Action Over Downing of Ukrainian Plane (Politico). Iran is being taken to the International Court of Justice over the shooting down of a Ukraine International Airlines flight in January 2020. The case has been brought by four countries — Canada, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. The four countries — who all lost citizens in the crash — argued Iran “failed to take all practicable measures to prevent the unlawful and intentional commission of an offense.” They also say that Iran failed to undertake impartial, transparent, and fair criminal investigations and prosecutions in the aftermath of the crash.
  7. IRGC Claims US Influence Weakening  (Iran International). Speaking at a rally this Wednesday, Esmail Ghaani, Iran’s IRGC Quds Force Commander, spoke of Iran’s growing influence and the United States’ waning influence in the MENA region. Pointing to the rise of China as a regional power broker, he boasted of the regime’s gains. “Let us find our place in this changing power structure … Good steps have been taken, but we must figure out when to get on the power transfer train. Moreover, “The problem is that we want to tread our own path, but the US wants to put us on a path that defines itself. The art of the Islamic revolution is to recognize its own path and move in this direction.”

July 7, 2023

  1. Iran Says it Had Court Order to Seize Chevron Tanker in Gulf Waters (Arab News). Iran said it had a court order to seize a tanker in Gulf waters a day after it collided with an Iranian vessel…[The vessel was] one of two tankers the US Navy said it had prevented Iran from commandeering. The Richmond Voyager, a Bahamas-flagged oil tanker, had collided with an Iranian vessel, and the Iranian navy had a court order to seize it, the Maritime Search and Rescue Center of Iran’s Hormozgan Province told the official IRINN news agency. The US Navy said it sent the guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul to respond to a distress call from the Richmond Voyager off the coast of Oman in international waters. It said Iranian authorities had asked the tanker to stop and had fired shots, but the Iranian navy vessel departed when McFaul arrived.
  2. Mike Pence and Liz Truss Among VIPs to Speak at MEK Rally, Despite Pressure from Tehran (The Independent). Thousands of Iranian dissidents crowded the streets of a Paris neighborhood on Saturday. At the same time, Western opponents of the government in Tehran gathered for a politically star-studded event aimed at poking a finger in the eye of the Ayatollah’s supporters. NCRI president-elect Maryam Rajavi had sharp words for the State Department, saying: “As for the advocates of appeasement within the US State Department, who concurrently backed the tragedy in [Albania], it is enough to note that the mullahs waved their turbans and lavished them with commendations,” she insisted. In attendance were former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, albeit remotely, 2024 presidential candidate Mike Pence, former Sen Joseph Lieberman, ex-House of Commons speaker John Bercow, Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton and a dozen sitting members of the US Congress from both parties. 
  3. $40 Billion Worth of Oil Deals Inked in 20 Months: Iran’s Oil Minister (Tasnim News Agency) Iran’s oil minister said the country has signed $40 billion worth of oil contracts with domestic and foreign companies over the past 20 months. Addressing Wednesday’s second ministerial session of the 8th OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) International Seminar, Javad Owji said Iran’s oil industry plans to attract $250 billion worth of capital within the next eight years.The seminar, entitled “Investments, Finance and Inclusive Petroleum Growth Strategies,” was held in the Austrian capital of Vienna. 
  4. Iraq Will Accelerate Release of Iranian Funds: Iran’s Finance Minister (Tasnim News Agency). Iran’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Seyed Ehsan Khandouzi told Iran’s official IRNA news agency on Wednesday that Iraqi officials had promised that the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) will soon have access to more than $10 billion worth of Iranian funds in Iraq. A senior Iranian businessman familiar with the issue stated on Wednesday that Iraq had made payments in the Iraqi dinar into two TBI accounts controlled by Iran’s state gas and electricity companies to settle a bulk of its debts to Iran.
  5. Russian Political Scientist Embraces Islamic Banking in Russia  (IRNA). Alexander Dugin, a senior advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin, stated on Wednesday that Moscow would soon embrace Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Islamic economic vision as it is based on the  “principles of sovereignty, independence, and multilateralism.” “Islamic banking (IB) in Russia is a great idea, sovereign and multipolar, highly patriotic. Usury is an absolute evil,” Dugin commented on Twitter.

July 10, 2023

  1. Cornered Over Drones For Russia, Iran Says Holding Talks With Europe (Iran International). Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abollahian, has stated that talks have begun with Germany, France, and England to overcome “misunderstandings” and promote better interaction and cooperation. These discussions come as Europe intends to maintain sanctions on Iran over its missile programs. The misunderstandings primarily revolve around the implementation of UN resolution 2231, which endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal. The European parties argue that Iran has violated the agreement, particularly with its ballistic missile program and arms supply to Russia during the conflict in Ukraine. 
  2. Iran-Linked Hackers Target Nuclear Security Experts (Iran International). A state-sponsored Iranian hacker group, Charming Kitten or TA453, has targeted a nuclear security expert at a US think tank. This group, linked to the IRGC, has previously targeted high-value accounts in various sectors. In their recent operation, they utilized a benign email to establish contact. Then they sent a follow-up email containing a malicious macro that directed the target to a Dropbox URL. The group’s use of different techniques and cloud platforms reflects their effort to evade detection. This incident is part of a broader trend of Iranian hackers targeting critical infrastructure and engaging in cyber campaigns to influence events like the 2020 US presidential election.

July 11, 2023

  1. IRGC Seizes Foreign Tanker Smuggling Fuel in Persian Gulf (Tasnim News Agency). The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy has seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, smuggling over one million liters of fuel. The IRGC Navy’s second naval zone commander stated that the foreign vessel was receiving military support from the US forces. Still, the IRGC Navy’s actions prevented the Americans from interfering with the seizure. The US forces took unprofessional and dangerous measures to stop the legal seizure of the fuel. Still, the IRGC forces acted professionally and brought the oil tanker to the Bushehr port for legal procedures. This incident follows a previous act of piracy by American forces targeting an Iranian fuel shipment in October 2021.
  2. Iran Accuses U.S. Navy of Defending Fuel Smuggling in Gulf Incident (Reuters). An Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander accused the U.S. Navy of defending fuel smuggling in the Gulf after Iran intercepted a ship smuggling Iranian oil and gas. The commander claimed the U.S. Navy attempted to prevent the vessel’s seizure through unprofessional and risky actions. The U.S. Navy had previously stated that it had monitored the interception but decided not to respond further. This incident is one of several recent cases involving Iranian forces and Gulf shipping.
  3. Iran Says Downed Ukrainian Airliner Case Filed With ICJ Is ‘Political’ (Iran International). Iran has dismissed a lawsuit filed with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by the UK, Canada, Ukraine, and Sweden over the downing of a Ukrainian airliner in 2020 as politically motivated. The countries accuse Iran of violating obligations under the Montreal Convention and failing to conduct a fair investigation. Iran’s foreign ministry maintains that it took necessary actions to investigate the incident, but the other countries claim that Iran has not cooperated in allowing an independent investigation. The case reflects growing frustration and fatigue among the countries seeking justice for the victims’ families.

July 12, 2023

  1. Indonesia Seizes Iran-Flagged Ship Suspected of Transferring Oil Illegally (Al Monitor). Indonesia’s coast guard seized an Iran-flagged supertanker ship, MT Arman 114, suspected of illegally moving crude oil in the country’s waters. The 26-year-old tanker was spotted in Indonesia’s North Natuna Sea, allegedly moving oil to Cameroon-flagged MT S Tinos without a permit. The vessel violated Indonesian environmental law and was detained.
  2. Iranian President Delays Africa Tour Without Explanation (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi did not depart on a three-nation tour to Africa as planned, state media reported without elaboration.Raisi was supposed to travel from Tehran on Tuesday morning, but no Iranian news outlets reported him leaving. The country’s media said repeatedly over the past week that the president planned to visit Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. State media did not elaborate on why he hadn’t departed. In a brief statement, Kenya’s foreign ministry said that the visit was delayed until Wednesday morning so key memoranda of understanding could be finalized “that are central to the furtherance of relations.” The statement said the presidents would have a bilateral meeting after Raisi arrived. It would be unusual for Iran’s president to call off a foreign trip, though domestic visits sometimes are canceled.
  3. Iran Claims Sovereignty over Persian Gulf Islands, Rejecting GCC-Russian Statement (Iran International). Iran has reasserted its sovereignty over three Persian Gulf islands after Russia and the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) once again disputed Iranian rights.In a joint Russia-GCC statement at the sixth joint ministerial meeting of the strategic dialogue between the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Russian Federation, held in Moscow on Monday, ministers affirmed their support for the United Arab Emirates, which also claims sovereignty over the islands. A statement called for “bilateral negotiations or the International Court of Justice, by the rules of international law and the United Nations Charter, to resolve this issue is under international legitimacy.”
  4. Iran Warns it Will Launch Fresh Attacks on Iraqi Kurdistan (Tasnim News Agency). Iran’s military commander warns the Iraqi government of potential fresh attacks on KRG-based terrorists if it fails to meet a September deadline for action against hostile armed groups in its northern regions. The commander warns that armed secessionist groups in northern Iraq cause insecurity at the country’s borders. The IRGC launched several rounds of military strikes in 2022, targeting Iraqi-based Komalah and Democrat terrorist groups after illegal entry into Iranian border cities.

July 13, 2023

  1. Iran in a Quest for a Foothold in Africa as Raisi Sets Out for Landmark Visits (Al Monitor). Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is embarking on a three-day tour of Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe to sign bilateral agreements and strengthen relations with African nations. This marks the first visit by an Iranian president to Africa in over a decade. Despite a significant increase in trade volume, Iran’s overall trade with Africa remains relatively low compared to other countries investing in the continent. During the tour, Iran will focus on expanding trade, particularly in mine exploration, extraterrestrial agriculture, and knowledge-based technology. Iran sees Africa as a land of opportunities and aims to establish economic influence, competing with countries like China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Turkiye. The tour is part of Raisi’s broader foreign policy agenda to mitigate the impacts of Western sanctions and explore new alliances.
  2. NATO Voices Concern Over Iranian Drones For Russia (Iran International). NATO allies have expressed serious concern over Iran’s “malicious activities” within their territories and called on Iran to stop its military support to Russia, specifically the supply of drones. The alliance called upon Iran to cease its transfer of Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), which have been used to attack critical infrastructure and cause civilian casualties. The United States and Britain have accused Iran of terror plots on their soil. Iran has supplied kamikaze drones to Russia, which have been used against civilian and military targets. The recent attack on Kyiv by Russia using drones further highlights the need for NATO countries to strengthen Ukraine’s air defenses.
  3. Iran Objects to Russia’s Support for Raising the Issue of Three Islands in the International Court of Justice (Bayan Media). Iran has objected to the recent joint statement issued by Russia and Arab countries bordering the Persian Gulf, which expressed support for the United Arab Emirates’ efforts to resolve the territorial dispute over the islands of Great Tunb, Little Tunb, and Abu Musa through bilateral negotiations or the International Court of Justice. Iranian officials, including Nasser Kanani from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized that the islands belong to Iran and criticized the statement for undermining friendly relations between Iran and its neighbors. Former Iranian officials also expressed disappointment with Russia’s stance and suggested that Iran’s unbalanced foreign policy has weakened its position on the issue. The territorial dispute between Iran and the UAE has persisted for decades.

July 14, 2023

  1. Khamenei Advisor Accuses NATO of Plots in the Caucasus (Tehran Times). Ali Akbar Velayati, senior adviser to Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, emphasizes the need for vigilance among all parties, including Iran and Russia, regarding NATO’s plots and the future of the Caucasus. In an article for the Tasnim news agency, Velayati has offered an analysis of the latest situation in the region and the international system, touching on issues ranging from recent moves by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Turkey, and the Republic of Azerbaijan in the region to the north of Iran and south of Russia.
  2. Backlash Against Russia Over GCC Statement Highlights Lingering Iranian Mistrust (Amwaj Media). Iran has criticized Russia over a joint statement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that disputes Iranian sovereignty over three Gulf islands. The controversy highlights the complexities and instability of the growing Iranian-Russian partnership. Iran’s foreign ministry summoned the Russian ambassador to protest the statement, which contested Iran’s claim over Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb. The Iranian press and social media have expressed strong reactions, with some calling for limiting engagement with Russia and preventing Russian interference in the Persian Gulf.
  3. Iran and Iraq Emphasize Broadening Cooperation in ICT Field (Tasnim News Agency). Iran and Iraq’s ICT ministers discussed expanding bilateral relations in ICT, focusing on facilitating pilgrim communications and presenting high-quality services during the Arbaeen season. Iranian private companies showcased their digital economy achievements. During the meeting, the two sides weighed plans for expanding bilateral relations in the relevant field.
  4. Africa is a Proper Market for Iranian Products (Tehran Times). Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is visiting Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe to boost Iran’s presence in Africa’s $60 billion economy. The visit will increase Iranian traders’ and businessmen’s activity in Africa. Iran has maintained its principled policy towards Africa despite sanctions and economic crises. The trade between Iran and Africa has experienced 100% growth in recent years. Iran exported 2.452 million tons of products valued at $1.183 billion to 49 African countries and imported 92,898 tons worth $95.316 million from 23 African countries.
  5. UK Scientist Revealed Advanced Jet Research in Tehran Lecture (Jewish Chronicle). A top aviation scientist from a British university linked to the Ministry of Defence shared “the latest ideas and research” on Western jet engines at an Iranian college sanctioned for its role in the regime’s nuclear weapons programme, JC revealed. Dr Soheil Jafari, who is based at the Centre for Propulsion and Thermal Power Engineering at Cranfield University, gave the lecture via videolink in December 2020 at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, despite its links with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The disclosures come as the government announced that it would impose new sanctions on the regime — including broader powers targeting its efforts to proliferate arms and weapons technology — rather than heed widespread calls to proscribe the IRGC as a terrorist group.
  6. Iran Rejects Claims in NATO Summit Communique (IFP News). Iran’s Embassy in Brussels has rejected claims made against Tehran in the final communique of the summit of NATO heads of state and government in Lithuania. In a final communique on Tuesday, the heads of state and government of NATO countries expressed concern about Iran’s “escalation of its nuclear programme,” and what they called “malicious activities within Allied territory,” support for Russia, and “destabilizing actions, including seizures of maritime vessels,” in the Persian Gulf region.
  7. Iran’s Raisi Says West Putting Independent Countries under Pressure (IFP News). Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi says Western countries use a raft of measures to put independent states under pressure. Western countries, he said, attack family values, promote “the obnoxious phenomenon” of homosexuality, support radicalism and terrorism, and exploit human rights as an instrument. Raisi, who was speaking at a joint meeting of high-ranking Iranian and Ugandan officials in the African state on Wednesday, said such independent countries as Iran and Uganda had to increase cultural cooperation to fight off enemy pressure.

July 18, 2023

  1. Iran’s Expanding Influence in Africa Despite U.S. and Israeli Ire (Tehran Times). Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi concluded a three-nation tour of Africa, aiming to diversify Iran’s economic partnerships and mitigate the impact of U.S. sanctions. Despite opposition from the United States and Israel, Iran and African nations anticipate trade to surge by over $2 billion this year. 
  2. No Accountability as Khamenei’s Ayatollahs Engage in Multi-Million Dollar Thefts (Iran International). Recent revelations of extensive economic corruption and land and forest encroachments by representatives of Ali Khamenei across Iran have ignited public outrage. Amid deep-seated fury, a few courageous politicians have dared to voice their concerns.

July 19, 2023

  1. Iran-China Non-Oil Trade Hits $7.8 Billion in Three Months (Tasnim Agency). While describing the $30 billion trade exchanges between Iran and China last year (ended March 20, 2023), Mohammad Rezvanifar, the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA), said that Iran exported $3.5 billion worth of non-oil goods to China from March 21 to June 22, 2023. Iran imported $4.3 billion worth of products from China during this period. 
  2. Tehran Lashes out at Moscow & Japan Over Emirati Islands Dispute (Al Sharq Al Awsat). In response to a recent statement of support issued by the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Moscow for the Emirati initiative aimed at resolving the issue of the disputed islands, Kamal Kharazi, the Iranian guide’s advisor on foreign affairs and head of the Strategic Committee for Diplomatic Relations, mirrored the call for a diplomatic solution to disputes between Moscow and Tokyo during his meeting with the Japanese Ambassador.
  3. Iran and India Plan to Route Russia Trade through Chabahar (Tasnim News Agency). Iran and India have laid out plans to activate the International North-South Trade Corridor (INSTC) to facilitate trade with Russia. A trial shipment will be conducted within 6-8 months to test trade links from Russia to India, utilizing the strategically significant Chabahar Port.

July 20, 2023

  1. EU Set to Retain Missile Sanctions as Iran Claims Receiving JCPOA Revival Initiatives via Oman (Al Khaleej Online). Reuters revealed that EU nations will maintain the ballistic missile sanctions on Iran with no difficulty. During the Omani Minister’s visit to Iran, Amir Abdollahian, the foreign minister, announced that “the Omani foreign minister put forward some initiatives during his recent visit to Tehran.
  2.  Iran Seeks to Exchange Elizabeth Tsurkov for Israeli-Held Iranian Operatives (New Arab). According to exclusive information from an Iraqi source with ties to the ruling elites in both Iraq and Iran, Tsurkov was allegedly kidnapped by an Iran-backed Shia militia in Iraq. The proposed deal involves exchanging Tsurkov’s release for several Iranian operatives currently held by Israel.
  3. Iran Poised to Lead Middle East’s Oil and Gas Transmission Pipeline Growth by 2027 (Global Data). Iran’s notable projection to take center stage in the Middle East’s oil and gas trunk/transmission pipeline length expansions from 2023 to 2027 is set to account for approximately 38% of the region’s planned and announced pipeline additions by 2027. 
  4. Iran-EU Trade Amounts to €1.869 Billion in 5 Months, with a 10% Year-on-Year Decline (Tehran Times). During the initial five months of 2023, trade between Iran and the European Union’s member states reached €1.869 billion, indicating a 10% decrease compared to the previous year. Notably, EU exports to Iran amounted to €1.517 billion, marking a six percent decline during this period. On the other hand, EU imports from Iran amounted to €352 million, representing a significant 24% decrease

July 21, 2023

  1. British Foreign Minister Foils 15 Iranian Kidnapping Operations, Vows Tough Stance on Aggression (Bayan Media). The British Foreign Minister exposes Iran’s attempts at multiple kidnapping operations within the UK and highlights the country’s “tough stance” towards Tehran. British security services have successfully prevented at least 15 kidnapping attempts by Islamic Republic agents. The UK plans to impose new sanctions in response to these attacks and provocative actions.
  2. European Union Implements Sanctions Package Against Iran for Supporting Russia and the Syrian Regime (Enab Baladi). The Council of the European Union introduces a comprehensive framework of restrictive measures in response to Iran’s military support for Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Additionally, the European Union enacted an export ban on drone components to Iran and includes measures such as travel restrictions and asset freezing for those supporting Iran’s drone program.

July 25, 2023

  1. Iranian Air Force Employs Modern Missiles in War Game (Tasnim News). The Iranian Air Force units launched various advanced missiles and homegrown bombs in a large-scale military exercise in the country’s central regions. The main stage of the war game codenamed Fadaeeyan-e Harim-e Velayat 11 (Devotees of Velayat Airspace 11), kicked off in the central province of Isfahan on Sunday night. The spokesman for the drills said the Sukhoi Su-24 and F-4 Phantom fighter-bombers carried out nocturnal operations and detonated the hypothetical enemy’s ground targets with Qased upgraded standoff missiles. General Alireza Roodbari said the Air Force units also utilized a range of laser-guided and thermal missiles to hit the aerial targets in various altitudes and fired diverse homegrown rockets and bombs.
  2. Iran’s Top Security Official Attends BRICS Meeting (Mehr News). Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran Ali-Akbar Ahmadian participated in the National Security Advisors (NSA) meeting of the BRICS group of emerging economies in South Africa. Ahmadian, who arrived in Pretoria, is scheduled to hold talks with some of his counterparts on the sidelines of the BRICS meeting. The 13th NSA meeting of BRICS opened in South Africa for three days. Iran is one of the countries seeking to join the group.

July 26, 2023

  1. Iran Welcomes Mediation Role of Qatar and Oman in Returning to the JCPOA (Al Khaleej). The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs praised the relations that bind Tehran with the Arab Gulf states, welcoming the efforts of Qatar and the Sultanate of Oman to mediate between the parties to the Iranian nuclear agreement. Doha is seeking, through mediation, to reach a prisoner exchange deal between the two parties, which also includes the release of frozen Iranian assets in South Korea, amounting to seven billion dollars.
  2. IRGC to Receive ‘Haj Qassem’ Ballistic Missile in Near Future (Mehr News). Afshin Naderi Sharif, the Iranian defense minister’s deputy for industrial and research affairs, made a significant announcement during a ceremony in Tehran. The event marked the delivery of the indigenous ‘Abu Mahdi’ naval cruise missiles to the naval fleets of the Iran Army and IRGC. 
  3. Bolivia Facing Questions over Shadowy Defense Pact with Iran (Times of Israel). The Argentine government and members of Bolivia’s opposition demanded answers following the sealing of an opaque defense agreement between Iran and Bolivia that raised concerns in South America’s Southern Cone that it could be a way for Tehran to boost its influence in the region.
  4. Iran Hails China’s Push for Regional Peace (Tasnim Agency). Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Akbar Ahmadian lauded China’s balanced policy towards the Middle East and its efforts to ensure regional peace. “In addition to its huge economic benefits, Iran’s cooperation with China sets the ground for regional security,” Ahmadian said in a meeting on Monday with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi on the sidelines of the 13th Meeting of BRICS National Security Advisers and Representatives in South Africa.
  5. Iran Equips Naval Forces with Long-Range AI-Powered Cruise Missiles (Tasnim Agency). A new long-range strategic cruise missile, named after Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, was delivered to the Iranian naval forces on Tuesday. With a range of over 1,000 kilometers, the precision-strike missile would expand Iran’s naval defense coverage zone by several times.
  6. Iran Tries to Quell Scandal Over Official’s Same-Sex Video (Iran International). The video that has gone viral on social media since Wednesday allegedly shows Reza Seqati (Seghati), a married man and the director general of the Islamic Culture and Guidance ministry in the northern Gilan Province who has close ties with the hardliner Paydari Front, engaging in sex with a young man, apparently at a ministry guesthouse.

July 27, 2023

  1. Millions of Iranians Sinking into Poverty as Social Risks Loom (Iran International). Experts predict that an expected hike in inflation will sink millions of Iranians deeper into poverty, with food prices being the most acutely affected. The official annual inflation rate is 47.5 percent – the highest rate in Iran for more than 30 years. 
  2. Iran Produces Yellow Cake from Phosphate (Mehr News). Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting, said a “supplementary achievement” of the Iranian scientists at the AEOI is the production of yellow cake from phosphate. 
  3. Olympic Committee Threatens Action Against Iran for Persecuting Athletes (Iran International). The International Olympic Committee observes a dramatic increase in persecution of Iranian athletes and may act before the 2024 Olympic games in Paris…Just weeks ago, Iran’s regime imposed the death penalty on school boxing champion Mohammad Javad Vafaei-Sani for allegedly setting government property, including a prison, on fire.

July 28, 2023

  1. Iran’s Government Borrows Heavily from Banks, Causing Job Losses Amid Economic Crisis (Iran International). A report from Aftab News, linked to reformists, reveals that Iran’s government borrowed about $12 billion from four central quasi-private banks in just three months until June 21. To secure the funds, the government instructed the banks to reduce lending to the private sector, resulting in the loss of 500,000 jobs during an already severe economic crisis. Bank Mellat alone provided over $8 billion to cover the government’s operating expenses and support unprofitable public and semi-public companies managed by political appointees and well-connected insiders.
  2. Iran Provides “New Details” to IAEA on Suspicious Sites to Address Concerns (Bayan Media). The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization presented “new details” to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concerning two suspicious sites, likely referring to Torquzabad and Varamin. Iran’s objective is to address the agency’s concerns and prevent the extension of international restrictions on its missile program.

 

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