News Briefs

April 23, 2017
Iran and China signed a contract for the redesign of the Arak heavy water reactor. Under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran is required to redesign and rebuild the reactor to run on uranium fuel enriched up to 3.67%. According to the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran  is responsible for the new reactor design and related equipment, with China and the United States responsible for evaluating and certifying the design. 
-- Tasnim News Agency
April 18, 2017
The European Commission is embarking on a 2.5 million euro nuclear safety project with Iran. The project includes a feasibility study for the Nuclear Safety Center foreseen in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), support for the Iranian Nuclear Regulatory Authority (IRNA), help with a review of stress test results from the Bushehr nuclear power plant, and help with Iran's accession to nuclear safety conventions. A future project with Iran will include a second stress test for the Bushehr plant.
-- New Europe Online
April 10, 2017
Hungarian deputy prime minister Zsolt Semjen and the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi have signed a memorandum of understanding that includes cooperation in building nuclear reactors and investment by Hungarian banks in Iran. Citing Hungary's experience with Russian VVER reactors, Salehi proposed a project with Hungary to design and develop a 25 MWe reactor and a 100 Mwe reactor. Hungary also established an 85 million euro credit line with Iran to facilitate bi-lateral cooperation and joint ventures. 
-- World Nuclear News
April 4, 2017
Iran's Aseman Airlines, Iran's third largest airline, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Boeing to purchase at least thirty 737 MAX jets. The deal is valued at $3.4 billion and includes an option to purchase a further thirty planes. Aseman Airlines is owned by Iran's civil service pension foundation and managed as a private company. The sale would require U.S. government approval. 
-- Reuters
March 28, 2017
Bipartisan sanctions legislation on Iran has been introduced in both the House and the Senate.  The House bill targets Iranian and foreign companies involved in the ballistic missile program, including the banks that support these companies. The Senate bill imposes mandatory sanctions on entities supporting Iran's ballistic missile program, applies terrorism sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and includes measures to enforce the arms embargo.  
-- Associated Press
March 19, 2017
South Africa has applied to the U.N. Security Council to sell the Umkhonto surface-to-air missile system to Iran. The high velocity missile is capable of taking out both airborne and stationary targets and was designed to carry a 23 kg warhead. It was developed for the South African Navy's Meko A200 class frigate. The application for the sale follows a memorandum of understanding on the expansion of defense cooperation signed on December 13, 2016 between the defense ministers of South Africa and Iran. 
-- Tasnim News Agency
March 17, 2017
In a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran is arguing that it does not need to export heavy water in excess of the 130 tonne limit set by the nuclear agreement. Iran has twice exceeded this limit since the agreement took effect.  According to the IAEA, Iran will again exceed the heavy water cap in mid-May, if production continues at the current rate. 
-- Reuters
March 15, 2017
Construction and installation work on a second reactor at Bushehr have begun. Russia's Rosatom subsidiary AtomStroyExport (ASE), the general contractor for the Bushehr project, and Iran's Nuclear Power Production and Development Company (NPPD) signed a contract in November 2014 to build two VVER-1000 reactors with Generation III technology. Rosatom reactor design subsidiary Atomproek is also involved in this project, known as "Bushehr II." The first reactor is expected to be completed in 2024. 
-- World Nuclear News
March 13, 2017
In an article in al-Jarida daily, an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander claims that Iran has established numerous arms factories in Lebanon. These factories reportedly produce various types of missiles, armed drones, and fast armored boats. Control over the factories, which are allegedly in fortified underground locations, was transferred to Hezbollah three months ago. 
-- National Council of Resistance of Iran
March 7, 2017
China-based Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation (ZTE) and a subsidiary, ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications, agreed to pay a combined civil and criminal penalty of $1.19 billion for illegal shipments to Iran and North Korea.  A five-year investigation led by the U.S. Commerce Department found that ZTE conspired to ship equipment with U.S. components to Iran, in violation of a U.S. embargo.  ZTE shipped millions of dollars worth of these items from 2010 to 2016, even after becoming aware that investigations into the transactions were underway.  The company was also involved in 283 shipments of telecommunications equipment to North Korea.  The conspiracy involved an elaborate scheme by ZTE executives to evade export controls and deceive investigators, including by establishing and using "detached" or shell companies to mask involvement in transactions involving Iran.  ZTE officials also expunged the word "Iran" from internal documents and emails and used code words to hide involvement with other embargoed countries. The settlement includes a $661 million payment to Commerce, with $300 million suspended during a seven-year probationary period, and a $100 million payment to the U.S. Treasury Department.  The U.S. District Court for Northern Texas may also impose a penalty of $430.5 million in combined criminal fines and forfeitures. 
-- U.S. Department of Commerce Press Release