Monday, June 4, 2018

Eye on Iran: Iran Still Seeking Tech for Weapons of Mass Destruction: German Intel



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Iran's regime has not stopped its drive to secure technology and scientific knowledge to produce weapon of mass destruction, the intelligence agency of the German state of Baden-W├╝rttemberg disclosed in a report last week. "Iran continued to undertake, as did Pakistan and Syria, efforts to obtain goods and know-how to be used for the development of weapons of mass destruction and to optimize corresponding missile delivery systems," said the intelligence document...


The head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog is renewing calls for Iran to provide "timely and proactive cooperation" in inspections that are part of the deal meant to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. 


Iran's two leaders have often been perceived to be at loggerheads as Mr Rouhani has drawn the ire of hardliners for attempting to ease social restrictions and open up the economy. But as the Islamic republic grapples with the fallout from US president Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Tehran, Mr Khamenei is determined to demonstrate that hardliners and reformers are united in the face of what Iran's rulers see as an existential threat to their survival.

NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM


The world should stand up to Washington's bullying behavior, Iran's foreign minister was quoted as saying on Sunday by state media in a letter to counterparts, as the top diplomat intensifies efforts to save a nuclear deal after a U.S. exit.

SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS


Indian state refiner Bharat Petroleum Corp has requested an extra one million barrels of oil from the National Iranian Oil Co. (NIOC) for June, two industry sources said, amid a looming threat of stringent U.S. sanctions. The move by BPCL indicates that refiners will try to frontload their purchases from Iran ahead of a November U.S. deadline for re-imposing sanctions on the country's petroleum sector.


Numerous individual aircraft and front companies were added to the Treasury sanctions list, but naming even more of them could boost U.S. efforts to pressure Iran and close the IRGC's Syrian air bridge.

MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS


The U.S. military has floated the possibility of stationing a new missile defense system in Germany that would have the capability of protecting Europe from both Russia and Iran, according to reports. 


Iran's security chief, General Ali Shamkhani, says his country "has no military presence whatsoever in southern Syria." This comes as Russia's UN envoy tells reporters about Moscow's agreement with Tel Aviv on the withdrawal of Iranian forces from southern Syria. Shamkhani's statement was made after Russian officials, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, stressed that Iranian forces and Lebanese Hezballah militia should leave southwestern Syria as soon as possible.

SYRIA, RUSSIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN


Well-informed military sources said on Friday that Iranian forces and Lebanese Hezbollah militias have begun withdrawing from areas in Southern Syria and Daraa. The military source said that only a small number of forces are left behind and are expected to continue their withdrawal in the coming few days. Iran's withdrawal comes in response to Israeli demands and as a prelude to a Russian deal that could allow Assad's forces to control the southern border in exchange for Iran's removal.


Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said Friday he believed Israel and his country had reached an agreement on the withdrawal of Iranian forces from the Syrian-Israeli border.


Western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday that Washington expressed its reservations on the Russian-Israeli agreements that allow Syrian regime forces to control three strategic positions south the country, because "the US administration wants to continue exerting pressures on the regime."


A top Iranian general denied reports his military and Tehran-backed militias were withdrawing from Syria, Iranian media reported Sunday. "Iran and Syria enjoy deep relations that would not be influenced by the propaganda measures of anyone," Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri told the private Iranian news agency Tasnim.


Israeli officials have denied claims by Russia's ambassador to the UN that it has reached an agreement with Moscow on the withdrawal of Iranian forces from southwest Syria, Chanel 10 reported Saturday. 


Since Iran and Russia reached an agreement in the summer of 2015 to coordinate a military campaign to save the regime of Syria's dictator, that war has held together an unholy alliance of those three states. It worked. Bashar al-Assad has withstood the uprising. Now, as that war comes to a close, the Iranian-Russian alliance that saved the Assad regime appears to be fraying.

PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS


While Iran's environmental challenges have reached crisis level, the country's judicial and security authorities have stepped up crackdown on the very experts and activists who are leading efforts to address the country's growing water scarcity and environmental problems, adversely affecting tens of millions of Iranians on a daily basis.


Several Iranians posted screenshots on their social media accounts May 26-May 29, 2018, stating that accounts in their names had been created without their consent on the Iran-based, state-approved messaging app, Soroush. 

IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS


It sounds like the days of Ayatollah Mohammad-Taghi Mesbah Yazdi leading Iran's hard-liners are coming to a close. At 83, he appears ready to step aside for a new ayatollah. It has recently been reported by local news agencies that Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, plans to appoint Mohammad-Mahdi Mir-Baqeri, 57, as Tehran's Friday prayer leader. Remarkably, Mir-Baqeri has not denied the rumors.


Sixty wetlands in Iran, including nearly 44 percent of the country's total marshlands, have dried up, according to the deputy head of the Department of Environment (DOE) for wetlands.


The taboo issue of sexual abuse in Iran has reignited after allegations that a string of indecent activities involving more than a dozen students were carried out by an adult at an all-boys high school in Tehran... In the wake of this case and previous similar incidents, Iranians have taken to social media using the global hashtag #MeToo, sharing stories of their own experiences - and confessions.

GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN


A senior Qatari official said Sunday his country will not be dragged into any conflict with Iran.


The Trump administration is weighing an appeal from the United Arab Emirates for direct U.S. support to seize Yemen's main port for humanitarian aid from Iranian-backed Houthi fighters, according to U.S. officials, a move they worry could have catastrophic effects on the country.

IRAQ & IRAN


Iraq and Iran have begun exchanging crude oil, the Iranian oil ministry's news agency SHANA said on Sunday, in a deal that will position Tehran to expand its interests in its most important Arab ally in the face of growing pressure from Washington.


Two pro-Iranian militias active in Iraq and Syria declared that possible US sanctions targeting them would be ineffective and claimed that such sanctions would actually strengthen their presence and expansion in the Middle East. The US House of Representatives on May 24 passed sanctions against Asaib Ahl al-Haq and Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba as an amendment to annual defense legislation.

FOREIGN AFFAIRS


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is heading to Europe in a bid to rally support from key allies for amending the international nuclear deal with Iran and for pushing Iranian forces out of neighboring Syria. 


NATO's secretary-general says the alliance wouldn't come to Israel's defense in case of attack by arch enemy Iran. Jens Stoltenberg told the magazine Der Spiegel in comments published Saturday that Israel is a partner, but not a member and that NATO's "security guarantee" doesn't apply to Israel.


NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg's remark that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would not come to Israel's aid in a war with Iran is "strange" considering that Israel has never requested or expected this type of assistance, former Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold said on Sunday.


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, held a telephone call with British Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss the latest regional developments. A statement from the British premier's office said that the two officials stressed "the need to tackle Iranian destabilizing activity in the (Middle East) region," reported Reuters on Sunday. "As part of this the Prime Minister noted the importance of cooperation between their two countries to protect Saudi Arabia from ballistic missile attacks" launched by the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen.

MISCELLANEOUS


An Argentine federal appeals court confirmed Friday that special prosecutor Alberto Nisman, found dead in 2015 while investigating a 1994 Jewish center bombing, was murdered. The Federal Court of Buenos Aires said there was no doubt that Nisman's death was a homicide rather than suicide, El Pais reported, and came as a "direct consequence" of his accusations that then-president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner covered up Iran's role in the attack on the Buenos Aires AMIA center that left 85 dead and hundreds wounded.






Eye on Iran is a periodic news summary from United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) a program of the American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran, Inc., a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Eye on Iran is not intended as a comprehensive media clips summary but rather a selection of media elements with discreet analysis in a PDA friendly format. For more information please email press@uani.com.

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a non-partisan, broad-based coalition that is united in a commitment to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons.  UANI is an issue-based coalition in which each coalition member will have its own interests as well as the collective goal of advancing an Iran free of nuclear weapons.

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