News Briefs

January 11, 2018
A United Nations report on Yemen's civil war found "strong indications" that Iran supplied Houthi rebels with weapons and ballistic missiles in violation of a U.N. embargo. The Houthis have launched at least four missiles into Saudi Arabia capable of a range "beyond that normally expected of [the Houthis'] known missiles," according to the report. U.N. experts examined remnants of missiles fired on July 22 and November 4 and concluded that the missile designs were consistent with Iranian missiles and "almost certainly produced by the same manufacturer." The report could not conclude how the missiles were transported to the Houthis or who the supplier was. 
-- Washington Post
January 3, 2018
Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the deputy general manager for international banking at Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank, was convicted of bank fraud and conspiracies to violate Iran sanctions and defraud the United States. In 2012, Attila helped Iran circumvent sanctions and access restricted petrodollar funds being held at Halkbank. Co-defendant Reza Zarrab, who pled guilty before becoming the prosecution's star witness, said the scheme used false documents and front companies, and had support from Halkbank and Turkish and Iranian officials. Zarab admitted to paying bribes to two of the seven defendants who remain at large: Turkey’s economy minister Zafer Caglayan and Halkbank’s general manager Suleyman Aslan. Turkish officials continue to press the United States to drop the case. 
-- New York Times
December 24, 2017
Kazakh company Kazatomprom has delayed a natural uranium concentrate delivery to Iran pending approval from the P5+1 countries party to the nuclear agreement. Kazakhstan first signed a contract with Iran in April 2016 to supply the uranium concentrate and had planned to begin delivery this year. The firm has extended its contract with Iran through 2020 and has rescheduled the delivery to take place during the 2018-2020 period, if approved by the P5+1.
-- Xinhua
December 15, 2017
Ali Soofi, a 63-year-old dual Canadian-Iranian citizen, was sentenced to 32 months prison after pleading guilty in September 2017 to one count of conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Between 2014 and December 2016, Soofi conspired to export U.S.-origin military items to Iran without a license, both directly and through intermediary countries. Soofi attempted to illegally procure and ship helicopters, tank and machine gun parts, and military vehicles, among other items. Soofi’s clients included a high-ranking Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander responsible for procuring parts and weapons for Iran’s Ministry of Defense.
-- U.S. Department of Justice Press Release
December 14, 2017
At a press conference, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley presented remnants recovered from a short-range ballistic missile launched by Iranian-backed Houthi militants in Yemen into Saudi Arabia. According to Haley, the missile shared unique features with Iran’s Qiam missile, including the absence of stabilizer fins. In addition, missile debris was stamped with a logo of Iran’s Shahid Bagheri Industries. Citing the U.N. Secretary General's fourth report evaluating Iran's compliance with Security Council resolution 2231, Haley underscored the dangers surrounding Iran's weapons transfers and ballistic missile activity and reaffirmed the need to address Iran's "destabilizing behavior." 
-- United States Mission to the United Nations
December 4, 2017
Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia. The missile was believed to be a Burqan-2, a variant of the Scud. It was launched from Yemen, traveling approximately 600 miles and landing in Riyadh, the Saudi capital. Part of the missile, possibly the warhead, hit near a runway at King Khalid International Airport. The Saudi government claims that it shot down the missile with the U.S.-supplied Patriot missile defense system, although the evidence suggests that the interceptors failed to stop the missile. Iran is suspected of supplying the Houthis with the Burqan-2, a charge which Tehran denies.
-- New York Times
November 20, 2017
The U.S. Department of the Treasury has designated a network of individuals and entities for helping Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) counterfeit Yemeni banknotes to support its activities. The IRGC-QF was previously designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. The two individuals designated, Reza Heidari and Mahmoud Seif, used front companies to circumvent European export control restrictions and procure equipment and materials to support the counterfeiting campaign. Pardavesh Tasvir Rayan Co. (Rayan Printing) and German-based ForEnt Technik GmbH, headed by Heidari, and Rayan Printing’s parent company, Tejarat Almas Mobin, controlled by Seif, were also designated. Seif was also previously involved in procuring weapons for the IRGC-QF.
-- U.S. Department of the Treasury
November 17, 2017
Saudi Arabian defense forces intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen on November 4. It was identified by rebels as the Burkan-2H. This missile (and another launched from Yemen in July 2017) has a range of 900 km and was made in Iran, according to Saudi Arabia. Photographs of one of the recovered missiles shows the same markings as those seen on Iran's Qiam missile, according to a report by the Saudi-led coalition. Separately, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir claimed that the missile intercepted on November 4 had a guidance system and aluminum originating in Iran. 
-- Jane's Defence Weekly
November 7, 2017
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano said that the Agency has “had access to all the locations that we needed to visit,” and that while inspectors may visit military sites the value of such access is "overly exaggerated."  Amano also said "greater clarity relating to Section T" of the nuclear agreement would be "very helpful," for instance if Iran provided a baseline declaration related to technology used to develop a nuclear explosive device.
-- Financial Times
November 1, 2017
Ali Eslamian, the owner of London-based Equipco Ltd and Skyco Ltd, agreed on September 28, 2017 to pay the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) a $250,000 penalty for violating a Temporary Denial Order (TDO) issued against Iran's Mahan Airlines and 14 other entities, including himself. Between October 2011 and February 2012, Eslamian negotiated the order of a controlled U.S.-origin International Aero Engine (IAE) aircraft engine with a Brazilian airline. Concerns mounted in January 2012 about Eslamian being listed on a U.S. government sanctions list, but Eslamian falsely claimed that he had only been recently added to the TDO and that he was not subject to sanctions.
-- Export Practitioner

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