ACLS

Iran in November 2023

Table of Contents

November 1, 2023

  1. Iran’s Supreme Leader Urges Muslim Nations to Boycott Israel. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has called upon Muslim countries to halt oil and food exports to Israel in a bid to end its bombardment of Gaza. Khamenei’s statement comes in response to ongoing violence between Israel and Hamas, with Iran warning of potential escalation if the aggression continues (Haaretz).
  2. Iran’s Regime Denies Proxy Involvement Amidst Ongoing Regional Tensions. Iran’s regime has continued to deny its involvement with proxy forces in the region, despite recent attacks by its militant allies targeting Israel and US forces. While Tehran has historically supported various militant groups, including Hezbollah and the Houthis, Iranian officials maintain they have no control over these factions and disavow any direct role in their actions (Iran International).
  3. Iranian Foreign Minister Visits Ankara for Gaza Crisis Talks. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, has traveled to Ankara for discussions with Turkish officials regarding the ongoing crisis in Gaza. He will meet with Turkiye’s Foreign Minister and President to explore potential solutions. This diplomatic effort follows his recent visit to Doha, where discussions with Qatari leaders focused on ending the violence in Gaza (Tasnim News).
  4. Supreme Leader Warns of Zionist Regime’s Vulnerability Without US Support. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, spoke to a group of students in Tehran, emphasizing that the Zionist regime’s actions are born out of desperation. He called on Islamic governments to halt the relentless Israeli bombardment of Gaza, characterizing the conflict as a battle between truth and falsehood. Khamenei also reflected on the 1979 US embassy takeover in Tehran as a significant moment in Iran’s history, challenging the United States (Irna).

 

November 2, 2023

  1. Iran’s Supreme Leader Urges Muslim States to Blockade Israel. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has called on Muslim states to halt exports of oil, food, and goods to Israel in response to the ongoing conflict with Gaza. He also condemned Israel’s actions and expressed support for the Palestinian cause. Khamenei’s remarks come amidst escalating tensions between Iran and Israel, with threats of retaliation from Tehran and an increase in attacks against US bases in the region by Iran-backed militias (Iran International).
  2. Iranian Commander Visits Lebanon to Coordinate with Hezbollah. Esmail Qaani, the commander of the IRGC Quds Force, visited Lebanon to coordinate with Hezbollah regarding the conflict with Israel. The Iranian Foreign Minister stated that Iran is not giving direct orders to its proxies in the region. This visit coincides with Hezbollah’s leader’s upcoming public comments. Hamas received training from the Quds Force before the recent conflict (Jerusalem Post).
  3. Global Unity Against US: IRGC Chief’s Message. Major General Hossein Salami, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), emphasized that countries worldwide are more united than ever against the United States due to its perceived malicious policies. He also discussed the US, the UK, and the Zionist regime as integral parts of a global conspiracy, highlighting the changing geopolitics of the Islamic world and the challenges it faces (Tasnim News).
  4. Ayatollah Raeisi: America the Root of Crimes in Gaza. Ayatollah Raeisi, Iran’s president, denounced the tragic events in Gaza, calling them crimes against humanity. He highlighted the resilience of Gaza’s people in their struggle for rights and independence, stating that America is the foundation of these crimes. Raeisi praised the unity between Shia and Sunni communities in Kurdistan and credited the revolution for positive changes in the region. He emphasized the bright future that lies ahead for the Iranian people (Fars News).

 

November 3, 2023

  1. Critics accuse Iran of ‘shadow games’ to conceal ‘inaction’ against Israel’s war on Gaza. Iran’s support for Hamas during the Gaza conflict has come under scrutiny as it refrains from direct military action, leading to criticism and propaganda campaigns within Iran. Despite warnings, Iran’s actions have been limited, prompting both critics and supporters to question the authenticity of its commitment (New Arab).
  2. UK-Based Groups Linked to Iranian Regime Raise Concerns. An investigation by The Times of London revealed over six UK-based groups with ties to the Iranian regime, actively participating in pro-Hamas rallies. The report highlights concerns about deepening Iranian influence on UK soil, as evidenced by Tehran-linked groups fueling pro-Palestine/Hamas protests. UK security authorities continue to express concerns about the Iranian threat, while calls for designating Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist organization persist (Iran International).
  3. Controversy Over Iran Chairing UN Rights Meeting. Iran’s appointment to chair a UN human rights council meeting draws criticism from the United States and rights groups due to alleged human rights violations, particularly against women. The lack of other nominations for the chair position adds to the controversy (Jerusalem Post).

 

November 6, 2023

  1. Iranian Foreign Minister on Gaza Conflict: “Inevitable Expansion”. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian believes that the Gaza conflict’s expansion is “inevitable” due to the escalating attacks on civilians. He cites U.S. support for Israel as the main reason behind the crisis. Amirabdollahian and the Iraqi Foreign Minister discussed their support for the Palestinian people during a phone call. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, hosted Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh in Tehran, underscoring Iran’s ongoing relations with Hamas. The details of the meeting remain secret (Sharq Awsat).
  2. Raisi Condemns Israeli Genocide in Gaza, Calls for International Action. Iranian President Raisi condemns Israel’s actions in Gaza, emphasizing the need for international efforts to end the conflict, lift the siege on Gaza, and investigate Israeli war crimes. Norway expresses appreciation for Iran’s role in the region and seeks cooperation to resolve the Palestinian crisis (Irna).
  3. Iran and Russia Discuss Gaza Crisis and Regional Concerns. Iranian and Russian foreign ministers, Amirabdollahian and Lavrov, discuss the need to end the Gaza conflict and express concerns about its regional impact. They also address a UN Security Council resolution proposed by Brazil and emphasize the importance of expanding bilateral relations (Tasnim News).
  4. Iranian media Claims Disruption of Mossad’s Drone Attack in Eastern Iran. Without much explanation, Fars News agency reported an attempted drone attack by Mossad was thwarted in eastern Iran through joint efforts of the Iranian Ministry of Security and Taliban. Three Iranians were accused of being Mossad agents and arrested while planning suicide drone missions from Afghanistan towards specific targets within Iran (Fars News).
  5. Tehran Threatens Washington: Stop Gaza War or Face Consequences. Iranian Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani warns that the United States will face severe consequences if it does not enforce an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Iran considers the U.S. militarily involved in the conflict following a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel (Al Nahar).
  6. Iran and Egypt Discuss Sending Humanitarian Aid to Gaza. The Iranian Red Crescent Society expressed its readiness to send humanitarian aid and relief shipments to Egypt to assist Gaza residents (Mehr News).
  7. Taliban Economic Delegation Visits Tehran. A 30-member Taliban “economic delegation,” led by Abdul Ghani Baradar, visited Tehran to discuss trade, transit, and regional development. The visit also touches on security issues and concerns about Afghan migrants in Iran (Iran International).
  8. Iran Moves To Spread Its Foreign Policy Wings. Iran’s new development plan proposes granting foreign policy authority to the armed forces, intelligence ministry, and nuclear agency, separate from the foreign ministry, potentially weakening its traditional role in diplomacy. This move reflects Iran’s aim to maintain its anti-Western stance while pursuing diplomacy, in line with Supreme Leader Khamenei’s vision of diplomacy and battleground as complementary strategies (Iran International).
  9. Iran and Iraq Unite on Palestine Issue. Iranian President Raisi and Iraqi Prime Minister al-Sudani emphasize their shared stance on the Palestine issue, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and condemning Israeli actions. They express support for actions to prevent further harm to Gaza’s people and discuss bilateral projects like the Shalamcheh-Basra railway (Irna).
  10. Iranian Foreign Minister Calls for Disarmament of Israel. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, urges the UN Security Council and the International Atomic Energy Agency to take immediate and continuous actions for the disarmament of Israel’s nuclear weapons. This call comes in response to a Zionist minister’s threat to use nuclear bombs against Palestinians in Gaza (Fars News).

 

November 7, 2023

  1. Iran’s President Raisi to Attend OIC Summit in Riyadh. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s historic visit to Saudi Arabia for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit on the Gaza crisis signals thawing relations between the two nations. The summit aims to address the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict (Jerusalem Post).
  2. Khamenei: Iraq is capable of ending the war in Gaza. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei emphasized Iraq’s pivotal role in potentially ending the Gaza crisis during a meeting with Sudan’s Prime Minister in Tehran, discussing the tragic events in Gaza and the need to stop Israeli aggression and provide humanitarian aid. Khamenei highlighted Iraq’s ability to create a new path in the Arab and Islamic world (Mawazin).
  3. Iran’s President Raisi to Visit Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi will visit Tajikistan at the invitation of President Emomali Rahmon and attend an Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) summit in Uzbekistan. Discussions will include trade cooperation and international issues like the Gaza crisis during the two-day trip (Irna).

 

November 8, 2023

  1. The Syrian theater of conflict remains fraught with human rights concerns as Human Rights Watch (HRW) casts a spotlight on the Syrian regime’s use of cluster munitions in Idlib. Supported by Russian forces, this campaign has inflicted harm upon the civilian populace, igniting discourse on the urgent need for a ban on such weapons due to their indiscriminate nature and the enduring dangers they pose (MEM).
  2. The dynamics of U.S. military operations have further evolved in response to heightened threats from Iran-aligned militias. In a move reflective of the escalating regional tension, U.S. patrols in northeastern Syria have been halted, prioritizing the protection of logistical movements and reinforcing coalition bases. This adjustment reflects the precariousness of the situation, with an uptick in aggression posing a stark challenge against the backdrop of the Gaza hostilities (Syria TV).
  3. Within Syria’s own borders, the volatility continues unabated. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have engaged in lethal confrontations with pro-Assad militias, resulting in fatalities and a spate of arrests in areas like Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor. This internal strife is mirrored by the targeting of opposition-held territories by pro-regime forces, further stoking the fires of a conflict far from resolution (Orient).
  4. The specter of ISIS looms large as well, with recent attacks by the group claiming the lives of 30 members of the Syrian military, including a significant number from the National Defense Forces. In retaliation, Russian air power has been brought to bear on ISIS positions, leading to additional militant casualties. The toll of the ongoing operations in the Syrian Badia underscores the relentless nature of the conflict, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting a significant number of fatalities (Alhadath).

 

November 9, 2023

  1. U.S. House Committee Passes ‘Captagon 2’ Bill to Sanction Assad Regime’s Drug Network. The U.S. Congress introduced a bill to impose sanctions on individuals linked to the Captagon drug trade, directly pressuring the Assad regime and its affiliates, who reportedly earn $5.7 billion annually from this illicit business. The ‘Captagon 2’ bill mandates the U.S. President to evaluate sanctions within six months against key figures linked to the Syrian regime’s drug trade, including Maher al-Assad and seven others, intensifying the crackdown on Captagon trafficking. The ‘Captagon 2’ bill compels the U.S. administration to consider sanctions against Syrian regime affiliates within six months, including Maher al-Assad. A report to Congress is due within 30 days post-decision. The bill highlights the vast Captagon production under regime control as a threat to regional and global security (Sham News).
  2. US Strikes IRGC-linked Site in Syria Following Attacks. In response to assaults on American forces, US F-15s targeted an IRGC-affiliated weapons storage in Syria. The Pentagon emphasized its commitment to defending US personnel and interests, signaling readiness for further action to deter aggression from Iran-backed groups. Russian media platform, Sputnik, reported that according to their sources on ground, the American strikes were targeted towards a bakery and empty warehouses (Iran International).
  3. Israeli Strikes Hit Military Sites in Southern Syria. Israel conducted an aerial assault on military targets in southern Syria, resulting in material damages. The operation, which involved missiles launched over Lebanon, struck air defense and radar stations. This action continues Israel’s long-standing policy of targeting sites associated with Iranian influence in the region (Syria TV).

 

November 10, 2023

  1. Trial of Syrian War Criminal Scheduled in The Hague. A significant trial is set to commence on November 30, 2023, in The Hague, Netherlands, focusing on war crimes committed in Syria. The accused, M.D., a member of the Liwa al-Quds militia allied with the Syrian regime, was arrested by Dutch police in May 2022. Liwa al-Quds, originating from the Neirab Palestinian refugee camp near Aleppo, has been closely working with Syrian intelligence and armed forces. The case involves the January 2013 arrest of a civilian from the Neirab camp, who was reportedly subjected to ill-treatment and torture in Syrian Air Force Intelligence prison. The Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research has been instrumental in gathering testimony and evidence for the trial, which is expected to shed light on the broader issue of human rights violations during the Syrian conflict (Dstouria). 
  2. Assad to Attend Emergency Arab Summit on Gaza in Riyadh. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is set to participate in the emergency Arab summit scheduled for Saturday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This summit, an extraordinary session of the Arab League Council, aims to discuss and devise strategies to address the ongoing escalation in the Palestinian territories. The announcement from the Syrian presidency, shared on their official accounts, confirms Assad’s involvement in these crucial discussions. This development follows Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Al-Miqdad’s attendance at the preparatory meeting of the Arab League Council at the ministerial level in Riyadh (North Press).
  3. Syrian Intelligence Officials Arrested for Alleged Ties with Israel. Syrian Military Intelligence, especially the Sa’sa branch, witnessed a major shakeup amid allegations of cooperation with Israeli intelligence, as reported by Israeli journalist Aydi Cohen. President Bashar al-Assad’s regime responded by arresting numerous branch officers, including its head. These developments align with Cohen’s previous claims about Assad’s regime protecting Israeli borders and resisting regime change. Asaad Al-Zoubi, a political analyst, questioned the regime’s involvement in a Military College bombing and subsequent actions. In parallel, the regime initiated an anti-corruption campaign, leading to multiple arrests and investigations, revealing deeper issues within the regime (Shaam News). 
  4. SDF Cadres, Including Leaders, Killed in Manbij Explosion. An explosion at the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Youth Council headquarters in Manbij, east of Aleppo, caused casualties, including fatalities and injuries among SDF members. The blast also inflicted significant damage to the building. The exact cause remains uncertain, but speculation suggests a potential Turkish drone strike during a military meeting. This incident follows a series of similar attacks in the region, including one that killed three SDF military figures. Northern Syria, under SDF control, has seen frequent airstrikes, resulting in casualties among their ranks (Shaam News). 
  5. Damascus Official Reports Public Drug Trade in City Market. Jalal Qasas from the Damascus Governorate Council revealed widespread drug sales in Damascus’s bird market, causing public disturbances and safety concerns. Efforts are underway to regulate the market and possibly relocate it to reduce these issues. Despite the Syrian regime’s anti-drug stance, reports suggest regime complicity in the drug trade, especially in areas under its control (Shaam News).
  6. Suwayda Continues Anti-Regime Protests for 11th Consecutive Friday. Hundreds in Suwayda, Syria, continued their demonstrations for the 11th Friday in a row, demanding the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The latest protest saw the participation of doctors and health workers, advocating for political change and adherence to UN Resolution 2254, which calls for a political transition in Syria. The demonstration, marked by an atmosphere of unity and enthusiasm, is part of a peaceful uprising that began over two months ago due to worsening living conditions and security, also demanding Iran’s withdrawal from Syria (Syria TV). 

 

November 14, 2023

  1. Russian Airstrikes in Idlib Kill 34 Fighters, Wound Over 60. Russian forces conducted airstrikes in Syria’s Idlib province, resulting in the death of 34 fighters and injuring over 60. Admiral Vadim Collet of the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria stated these strikes targeted illegal armed groups accused of attacking Syrian government forces. The Syrian army alleges opposition fighters in Idlib and Aleppo provinces are launching these attacks. Opposition officials claim Moscow and Damascus are intensifying bombings in the region, home to over 3 million people, amidst global focus on Gaza. Collett also mentioned violations of Syrian airspace by US-led coalition aircraft (Asharq). 
  2. Political Power Play: Al-Jolani College Merges Media and Politics in Syria. The Abu Muhammad Al-Jolani College of Political Science and Media, not officially linked to Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, emerges as a significant player in Syria’s political landscape. Ahmed Muwaffaq Zaidan, a key figure in the college’s establishment, emphasizes its role in shaping future Syrian governance. The college, amidst controversies and secrecy, aims to be a breeding ground for loyalists and leaders under the banner of a new Sunni entity in Idlib, reflecting a strategic blend of military and educational influence (Syria TV).
  3.  Iranian Cargo Plane Lands at Palmyra Military Airport. An Iranian Airlines cargo plane landed at Palmyra Airport in central Syria, reportedly carrying Iranian leadership figures. This event follows information about the Iranian forces’ use of the airport, previously received by Russian Wagner forces. The cargo’s unloading and transportation were delayed due to ISIS attacks in the Homs desert. The Iranian supply routes in Syria have been impacted by recent Israeli airstrikes on Damascus and Aleppo airports. The cargo was eventually moved to warehouses along the Hama-Raqqa road and in Al-Dhahabiya, Aleppo (North Press).

 

November 15, 2023

  1. France Issues Arrest Warrants for Bashar al-Assad and Brother Over Chemical Weapons Use. French judges have issued arrest warrants for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, his brother Maher al-Assad, and two aides on charges related to the use of chemical weapons in Ghouta, Damascus, in 2013. The warrants come after a lawsuit filed by human rights organizations, citing testimonies from survivors of the attacks. The Association of Victims of Chemical Weapons in Syria welcomed the decision, highlighting the historic move to not grant immunity to the President, as the use of chemical weapons requires direct approval from the head of state (Zaman Al Wasl). 
  2. Tension in Al-Hawl Camp as Women Arrested Following Protests. Security forces in northeastern Syria’s Al-Hawl camp detained several women who protested against the separation of their children from the camp. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been transferring children aged 12 to 15 to special centers for rehabilitation, fearing they might be influenced by ISIS ideology. The arrests come after families staged a sit-in protest (Syria TV).

 

November 16, 2023

  1. Iranian FM Slams US Interference in Syria; Terrorist Threats Persist. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, criticized the United States for complicating the situation in Syria through its interference. During a meeting with the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria, Geir O. Pedersen, they discussed the political developments in Syria and explored ways to resolve the country’s issues. Amirabdollahian emphasized Iran’s commitment to assisting the UN envoy’s mission and supporting the Syrian government in its fight against terrorism. He called for the lifting of US economic sanctions on Syria, describing them as harmful to the Syrian people. Pedersen outlined his efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis and reduce tensions in the region, expressing hope for a positive impact from developments in Palestine on Syria’s situation (Tasnim Agency). 
  2. Tribal Fighters Escalate Attacks on SDF, Assad Sends Reinforcements to Syrian Desert. Tribal fighters intensify assaults on SDF positions in Deir ez-Zor as clashes with Assad militia and ISIS persist in the Syrian desert. The Assad regime deploys reinforcements while military aircraft conduct airstrikes in the region. Multiple incidents result in casualties, including attacks on SDF, landmine explosions, missile bombardments, and more. Tensions escalate with potential implications for the ongoing conflict in Syria (Orient).

 

November 17, 2023

  1. Iran Criticizes Western Nations for Anti-Iran Resolution, Accuses Them of Ignoring Israeli Actions in Gaza. Nasser Kanaani, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, condemned Western countries for passing a human rights resolution against Iran while allegedly overlooking Israel’s actions in Gaza. He labeled the resolution as politically motivated, one-sided, and unrealistic, asserting it disregards Israel’s “atrocities” in Gaza. Kanaani emphasized Iran’s commitment to human rights and its willingness to engage in constructive dialogues, criticizing the West for hypocrisy and dishonesty in human rights defense (Tasnim Agency). 
  2. Iran’s Quds Force Vows Full Support to Hamas in Conflict with Israel. Esmail Qaani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, pledged unwavering support to Hamas in its conflict against Israel. This commitment was conveyed in a letter to Muhammad Deif, head of Hamas’s military wing, following reports of Iran’s initial reluctance to join the war due to lack of prior notice. Qaani emphasized the unity of the resistance axis, which includes groups like Hezbollah, in standing against Israel. The letter comes amid ongoing tensions and attacks in the region, with Iran’s involvement in the conflict being debated internationally (Times of Israel). 
  3. Ayatollah Khamenei Urges Guardian Council to Ensure Vibrant Parliamentary Elections. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, has emphasized the need for the Guardian Council to facilitate the groundwork for dynamic parliamentary elections. Meeting with jurists, legal experts, and members of the Guardian Council, he expressed gratitude for their efforts and highlighted the Council’s role in overseeing the electoral process. Khamenei underscored the collective responsibility to ensure an enthusiastic election atmosphere for the upcoming Islamic Shura Council (Parliament) elections, set to commence on March 1 (Fars News).

 

November 23, 2023

  1. IAEA Chief Alarmed by Iran’s Nuclear Moves: Bars Inspectors and Continues Enrichment. Rafael Mariano Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has raised serious concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, signaling a critical phase in regional and international security. Grossi underscored Iran’s alarming decision to prohibit experienced U.N. inspectors from monitoring its nuclear sites. This exclusion, which specifically targeted inspectors with significant expertise in enrichment processes, affects a substantial portion of the team designated for Iran. This move is seen as a significant obstacle, impeding the IAEA’s ability to effectively oversee Iran’s nuclear activities.
    Compounding these concerns, Grossi has also expressed alarm over Iran’s continued progress in uranium enrichment, noting a troubling lack of advancement since March. He has called on Iran to adhere to its commitments and provide necessary technical details about its uranium particles. Emphasizing the escalating tensions in the region, Grossi has stressed the urgency of establishing the Middle East as a nuclear-free zone. These developments pose a challenge to international efforts aimed at maintaining peace and stability in the region (AP,Iran International).
  2. Binance Faces Record $4.4 Billion Fine Over Alleged Iran Sanctions Violation and Terrorist Funding. Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has been hit with a historic $4.4 billion fine by the US government for its alleged involvement in breaching Iran sanctions and funding terrorism. The charges include money laundering, aiding terrorist networks, and violating sanctions on multiple countries, raising significant legal concerns for the crypto giant (Iran International).
  3. Iranian Leadership Criticizes Israeli Actions, Warns of Escalating Conflict. In a series of strong statements, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and the country’s Foreign Minister have voiced serious concerns and criticisms regarding Israel’s actions in the Gaza conflict. President Raisi has openly condemned what he describes as Israel’s desperation in the face of Palestinian resistance, asserting that the Israeli regime has failed to achieve its objectives in Gaza. He strongly emphasized the defense of Palestinian rights and decried the killing of women and children, stating that such actions do not equate to victory. President Raisi also pointed out the rising global anti-Zionist sentiment that has been fueled by the ongoing conflict. Simultaneously, Iran’s Foreign Minister, in a meeting with Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister, underscored the urgent need for intensified diplomatic efforts to establish a lasting ceasefire in Gaza. He issued a warning about the potential for drastic changes in the regional situation if Israel continues and expands its military actions. The Lebanese Prime Minister joined in criticizing what he sees as double standards in the international community’s responses to the conflict, while also acknowledging and praising Iran’s unwavering support for Palestine over the last 45 days. These statements from Iran’s top officials highlight the country’s stance on the conflict and its potential implications for regional stability. (Tasnim News, IRNA). 
  4. IRGC Spy Ship Allegedly Assists Houthis in Seizing Red Sea Cargo Vessel. The IRGC’s Behshad spy ship is implicated in aiding Houthi rebels in capturing the Galaxy Leader cargo vessel in the Red Sea. The involvement of IRGC Quds Force commander Brig Gen Abdolreza Shahlaei, who is under a $15 million US bounty for attacks against Americans and allies, raises concerns. This incident is especially troubling as the Houthis, possibly mistaking the vessel for Israeli, aim to escalate tensions during the Gaza conflict (Iran International).
  5. Iran’s Secret Weapon: The Professors Basij Organization’s Suppression of Academic Dissent. The Professors Basij Organization (PBO), a shadowy IRGC-linked entity, actively targets Iranian university professors critical of the regime. Emerging as a potent force, it engages in surveillance, influences administrative committees, and promotes ideological indoctrination. The PBO’s recent expansion signals a concerning escalation in the regime’s crackdown on dissent within academic circles (Atlantic Council).

 

November 24, 2023

  1. Iran’s Veiled Threats: Orchestrating Conflict Dynamics in Gaza. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei‘s stark warning to the Israeli Defense Forces, delivered in Hebrew, signals a formidable escalation in Iran’s stance on the Israeli-Hamas conflict. Khamenei vows retaliation for Israel’s military operations in Gaza, a threat echoed by Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who suggest expanding the conflict through proxies. This aggressive posture is further underscored by Amirabdollahian’s diplomatic engagements with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, indicating Iran’s deepening influence and strategic support for Hamas. The significance of Iran’s involvement is highlighted by the unveiling of the “Fateh-2” hypersonic cruise missile, showcasing advanced military capabilities and raising alarms over Iran’s growing regional power and its potential North Korea ties. These developments, coupled with Amirabdollahian’s portrayal of Hamas as a freedom-seeking movement and warnings of heightened tensions with Israel post-ceasefire, reveal Iran’s strategic orchestration in the volatile Gaza-Israel dynamics. 
  2. Iran’s Reign of Terror: Secret Executions and Minority Persecutions Escalate. In a stark display of authoritarian brutality, Iran’s regime intensifies its crackdown on dissent and minority groups. The clandestine execution of 21-year-old protester Milad Zohrevand, accused of killing an IRGC officer and hastily executed without a fair trial, has ignited widespread condemnation, highlighting a surge in state-sanctioned killings. Concurrently, Iran’s relentless oppression of the Baha’i community escalates, with the recent coercion of Muslim individuals to falsely incriminate 10 detained Baha’i women, underscoring the regime’s systematic abuse of human rights. These acts of state violence and religious persecution reflect a deepening crisis in Iran, where fear and suppression dominate the socio-political landscape. 

 

November 28, 2023

  1. Iranian President Reisi Delays Turkey Visit Amid Rising Regional Tensions. Iranian President Ibrahim Reisi has postponed his planned visit to Turkey, as reported by Reuters citing Iran’s Tasnim news agency. The trip was originally scheduled for Wednesday but has been delayed to a later date, impacting talks on Gaza, according to Turkish President Erdogan. Reisi’s absence from a summit in Ankara, declared by Erdogan earlier, highlights tensions between the regional powers despite their common stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict. The move raises questions about the complex relations between Iran and Turkey, involving economic ties, regional conflicts, and differing approaches to geopolitical issues.
  2. Iran Fortifies Military Capabilities with Russian Aircraft Deal. Iran, under a new agreement, is set to bolster its military prowess by acquiring advanced Russian Su-35 fighter jets and Mi-28 attack helicopters. The collaboration signals a significant upgrade in Iran’s aerial defense capabilities, with the inclusion of sophisticated aircraft aimed at enhancing combat readiness and pilot training.

 

November 29, 2023

  1. Iranian Media Criticizes Senator Cotton’s Hawkish Stance on Foreign Policy. Iranian media targets U.S. Senator Tom Cotton for advocating ‘massive retaliation against Iran,’ highlighting his military background and political career marked by warmongering views. The report emphasizes Cotton’s support for aggressive policies, including sanctions on Iran and backing for Israeli actions in Gaza, while criticizing U.S. foreign policy in West Asia and its repercussions. The piece suggests that such policies only foster global resentment towards America.
  2. Cybersecurity Concerns Rise as Iranian-Linked Hackers Target Pennsylvania Water Utility. Pro-Iran hackers, identified as the CyberAv3ngers, breach the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, prompting a federal investigation. The cyberattack, linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, forces manual operation of a pump station. Amid concerns about critical infrastructure vulnerabilities, the utility plans to replace Israeli-made equipment. While the water authority assures the public of no immediate water safety threat, experts caution against overstating the incident’s significance due to the hacking group’s history of false claims.
  3. Debate Over Rouhani’s Election Role Sparks Tensions. Tensions rise in Tehran as the March 1 elections approach, focusing on the contested role of former President Hassan Rouhani. Disqualifications by hardliner-controlled authorities stir controversy, with Rouhani’s potential candidacy creating a political divide. Amid hardline efforts to sideline him, Rouhani’s influence on social media emerges as a significant factor, shaping the dynamics of the upcoming elections.
  4. Iran and Syria to Exclude Dollar in Bilateral Trade. The Central Bank of Iran’s governor, Mohammad Reza Farzin, announced the intention to exclude the US dollar from trade between Tehran and Damascus. Discussions during his visit to Syria emphasized strengthening monetary-banking ties and joint investments. Farzin highlighted the importance of using national currencies, anticipating increased trade volumes and the opening of an Iranian bank branch in Syria soon. Syrian counterparts expressed the necessity of boosting trade exchanges and forming a joint working group for technological collaboration in communication and banking.
  5. Iranian Delegation Misses UNSC Palestine Meeting Due to US Visa Delay. Iran faced a setback as US visa delays prevented its delegation from attending the scheduled UNSC meeting on Palestine. Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian, highlighted ongoing efforts for a Gaza ceasefire and emphasized discussions with Hamas for sustainable peace. The meeting’s significance led to the rescheduling of President Raisi’s visit to Ankara. Continuous communication with Qatar’s Prime Minister focuses on mediating the exchange of prisoners in the Gaza conflict.

 

November 30, 2023

  1. Escalation in Attacks on US Troops by Iranian Proxies. Following a brief ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Iranian proxies resumed attacks on US forces in the Middle East. Incidents include targeting troops in Syria and a US destroyer intercepting an Iranian-made drone near the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. Critics argue that Biden’s Iran policy has emboldened these proxy forces, while the administration maintains its right to defend American troops. Iranian officials deny direct involvement, despite evidence of support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
  2. Israeli Spies Exposed After Al-Aqsa Operation, Says Islamic Jihad. Islamic Jihad claims that spies working for Israel, even within Iran, were identified after the Al-Aqsa Storm operation in October. The resistance forces reportedly accessed Israeli data servers during the operation, revealing the names of numerous spies, leading to heightened tensions in the region.
  3. Iran Declares US-Proposed Trade Route to India Null After Al-Aqsa Uprising. Iranian Assistant Army Commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announces the complete cancellation of the trade route proposed by the US to India, passing through Saudi Arabia and reaching the port of Tel Aviv. Sayyari emphasizes the impact of the Al-Aqsa Uprising on altering regional dynamics, leading to the withdrawal of Zionist forces from the South Caucasus during the Gaza conflict. The operation’s achievements include garnering global support for Palestine and challenging the Zionist regime’s dominance, reviving the Palestinian cause on the world stage.
  4. UK Sends Warship to Gulf, US Warns of Iran’s “Unsafe” Behavior. The UK dispatches the HMS Diamond to the Gulf amid rising tensions. The move follows an Iranian drone’s approach to the USS Eisenhower. The UK aims to deter malign actions, ensuring maritime security and trade flow. The US warns of Iran’s unsafe conduct, emphasizing the need to address threats.

 

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