News Briefs

July 22, 2017
Iran inaugurated a mass production line for the Sayyad (Hunter) 3 air defense missile.  The Sayyad 3 has a maximum range of 120 kilometers and was designed by the Defense Ministry’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO).  Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan and Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base, attended the inauguration.  The Sayyad 3 has infrared capability and features to counter electronic warfare tactics, according to the Defense Minister.
-- Press TV
July 19, 2017
The Abu Dhabi Federal Appeals Court adjourned a hearing in the case of an Iranian oilfield services manager accused of exporting U.S.-origin dual-use technology via China to Iran, without the required license. The man, identified as H.M.R.H., was denied a license but re-exported the equipment to Iran anyway. The defendant’s lawyer argued that the equipment was intended for oilfield maintenance, not the manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction. A ruling in the case is expected on August 9, 2017.
-- Gulf News
July 17, 2017
The Trump administration notified Congress that Iran is in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), allowing for the continued suspension of nuclear-related sanctions. The administration is required to notify Congress of Iran's compliance every 90 days and this marks the second time that the Trump administration has done so. In certifying Iran's compliance, administration officials emphasized that they intend to toughen JCPOA enforcement and apply new sanctions on Iran for its support of terrorism and other destabilizing activities. The president told his security team that he would not certify Iran's compliance with the JCPOA indefinitely.
-- New York Times
July 7, 2017
Three German intelligence reports indicate that Iran continues efforts to illegally obtain technology for its weapons of mass destruction programs. According to a report from the state of Hamburg, "Iran sought missile carrier technology necessary for its rocket program," and procured 51 special valves for its Arak heavy water reactor from German citizens. A report from the state of Baden-Wurttemberg highlights Iran’s efforts to procure "complex metal producing machines" from a German manufacturer via a Chinese front company. A third intelligence report noted that Iran was among several countries that contacted German firms located in Rhineland-Palatinate in an effort to procure controlled items.
-- The Weekly Standard
July 3, 2017
Iran’s Petropars signed a $2 billion deal with French oil firm Total and Chinese state oil company CNPC to develop Iran’s South Pars gas field. The agreement marks the first major investment in Iran by a Western firm since sanctions were eased in early 2016. Total is taking a 50.1% stake in the project, while CNPC and Petropars will own 30% and 19.9% respectively. Iran’s energy ministry predicts the project will produce $54 billion worth of gas products beginning in 2021 based on current prices.
-- CNN
June 29, 2017
A New York jury found that the U.S. government can seize a Manhattan office building perhaps worth nearly $1 billion from the Alavi Foundation because the property was involved in money laundering. In 1989, the Alavi Foundation entered into a partnership with Iran's Bank Melli, in which the Bank took on a minority share of the building through a subsidiary, Assa Corp. U.S. lawyers argued that Alavi knowingly distributed rental income to Assa Corp after 1995, in violation of U.S. sanctions enacted that year.
-- Reuters
June 23, 2017
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) announced its decision to continue suspending counter-measures against Iran as the country takes steps to address deficiencies related to money laundering and terrorism financing as part of a national Action Plan. However, the FATF still recommends that financial institutions exercise "enhanced due diligence" in business relationships and transactions with Iran because of the terrorist financing risk from Iran and the threat this poses to the international financial system.
-- Financial Action Task Force
June 20, 2017
In a new report, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) claims that Iran has received assistance from North Korea in constructing missile sites in Iran. The report states that Iran has served as permanent hosts to North Korean experts, who have helped Iran build underground facilities and tunnels to produce, store, and maintain missiles. These facilities and other Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) missile sites are based on North Korean models and blueprints, according to NCRI. NCRI claims that there has been a frequent exchange of personnel between Iran and North Korea, with members of the IRGC Aerospace Force traveling to North Korea to exchange information with North Korean specialists. The report also presents evidence of work at 42 missile sites in Iran, twelve of which were previously undisclosed, according to NCRI. In addition, the report highlights the work done at the Semnan missile center, where NCRI states that missile work and nuclear research by the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (SPND) is integrated.
-- Washington Times
June 19, 2017
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched six Zolfaghar ballistic missiles at Deir el-Zour in eastern Syria. The missiles targeted an ISIS command center and suicide car bomb operation, according to the IRGC. The IRGC stated that the strike was a response to ISIS attacks on Tehran earlier in June and a message to Saudi Arabia and the United States. When it was unveiled in September 2016, the Zolfaghar was described as having a 700 km range and carrying a cluster warhead. 
-- Associated Press via the Washington Post
June 15, 2017
The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill to increase sanctions on Russia and Iran by a vote of 98-2.  The measure would impose mandatory sanctions on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and those who do business with them.  The bill would also apply terrorism sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and enforce an arms embargo. Separately, the bill targets Russia with new sanctions and codifies executive orders signed by former President Barack Obama in response to the 2014 annexation of Crimea and Russian support for seperatists operating in Eastern Ukraine. The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives.
-- Associated Press