News Briefs

January 29, 2023
Israel carried out a strike against an Iranian military facility in Isfahan using several small quadcopter drones, according to U.S. officials. The facility's exact purpose was not clear, although Iran said that it was an ammunition manufacturing plant. Iran also claimed that the attack caused little damage.
-- New York Times
January 27, 2023
An Iranian businessman who sits on the board of directors of Safiran Airport Services, a company subject to Canadian and U.S. sanctions, also has business interests in British Colombia, according to an investigative report by CBC. The businessman, Mohammad Bagher Nahvi, is listed as a director of Solabest Development Inc. and has an address in Vancouver. His daughter, Ensieh Nahvi, is also a director of Solabest Development Inc. Nahvi is not personally covered by the Canadian sanctions against Safiran Airport Services.
-- CBC
January 25, 2023
Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that Iran has amassed 70 kilograms of uranium enriched to 60 percent fissile purity and 1,000 kilograms enriched to 20 percent, enough for "several nuclear weapons." Grossi plans to travel to Iran in February.
-- CNN
January 19, 2023
The European Parliament adopted a nonbinding resolution calling for EU sanctions against all Iranian entities linked to human rights violations, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi. Earlier, the parliament passed a similar resolution calling for the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization.
-- Reuters
January 18, 2023
Panama's Maritime Authority said in a statement that it has canceled the registry of 136 ships directly linked to Iran's National Iranian Oil Company since 2019. The statement was issued in response to an opinion article authored by former Florida governor Jeb Bush that accused Panama of helping Iran evade sanctions. The chief executive of United Against Nuclear Iran, where Bush is an advisory board member, suggested that Panama's efforts had been insufficient.
-- Reuters
January 17, 2023
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she supports designating Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, which some European Union member states have called for. The United Kingdom is also considering listing the IRGC as a terrorist group and is expected to make a decision in the coming weeks.
-- Reuters
January 15, 2023
Iran's oil exports in averaged 1.137 million barrels per day in December, the highest figure for 2022, according to SVB International, a company that tracks Iran's oil trade. By some estimates, Iranian crude exports have reached their highest level since April 2019. China remains Iran's biggest customer.
-- Reuters
January 10, 2023
The U.S. Navy seized over 2,100 assault rifles aboard a dhow in the Gulf of Oman that it says came from Iran and were intended for Yemen's Houthi rebels. A spokesman for the Fifth Fleet said that the boat was following a route typically used for smuggling cargo to the Houthis and that the Yemeni crew "corroborated the origin" of the weapons. The seized rifles were Chinese- and Russian-made models.
-- Associated Press
January 9, 2023
Behrouz Mokhtari, a naturalized U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty to two conspiracies to violate sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran. In one scheme, Mokhtari and his associates used multiple businesses in Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to provide services to Iranian entities in the petrochemical sector. His businesses were referred to as “the FSR Network” and included UAE-based Bitubiz FZE and Iran-based Ayegh Isfahan Manufacturing Company. In another scheme, Mokhtari created a Panama-based front company, East & West Shipping Inc., to purchase two tankers to transport petrochemical products on behalf of entities associated with the Iranian government. Mokhtari controlled the vessels through two companies - Greenline Shipholding Inc. and Russell Shipping Inc. - and processed payments using bank accounts held by another company he owned, Mori Construction.
-- U.S. Department of Justice
January 7, 2023
German police arrested an Iranian national living in Castrop-Rauxel, in western Germany, on the suspicion that he was preparing an "Islamist-motivated attack" involving chemical weapons. The suspect is believed to have procured cyanide and ricin in preparation for the attack, but it was unclear how far his plans had progressed.
-- The New York Times