News Briefs

October 25, 2021
U.S. officials have accused Iran of orchestrating and supplying materials for a drone attack launched against U.S. and coalition forces in Syria in mid-October. While the drones were not launched from Iran, according to the officials, they were Iranian-made and Iran allegedly "faciliated" their use. U.S. and coalition troops use the al-Tanf base to train local forces and conduct counter-ISIS operations. The attack, which used as many as five explosive-packed drones, did not cause any injuries or deaths.
-- Associated Press
October 25, 2021
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported on October 25 that Iran plans to feed 20% enriched uranium into additional centrifuges at its Natanz enrichment plant. While this process would normally produce high-enriched uranium (HEU) of greater than 20% purity, the IAEA said Iran is not preserving the HEU. Instead, it is reportedly mixing the HEU with waste and disposing of it. Iran is likely taking these steps to study the enrichment process. Iran began the process on October 25 using one IR-6 centrifuge, according to the IAEA.
-- Reuters
October 22, 2021
A U.S. appellate court ruled that Halkbank, a Turkish bank, is not shielded from criminal charges related to a $20 billion Iran sanctions evasion scheme that took place between 2011 and 2015. The October 22 ruling comes after the bank argued its conduct was protected by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. The court found that the Act exempts crimes committed during commercial activity, so prosecutors may proceed with criminal charges first pressed in 2019. Earlier criminal cases against the individuals who used Halkbank to channel funds to Iran, Reza Zarrab and Mehmet Hakan Atilla, resulted in guilty pleas and convictions. 
-- Associated Press
October 19, 2021
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Raphael Grossi said on October 18 that he has not been able to speak directly with Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabddollahian and that he needs to do so urgently. Meanwhile, Grossi said Iran's breakout time to having enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon is down to "a few months" and is becoming shorter as Iran employs more advanced centrifuges. He added that IAEA's monitoring system is "not intact" due to Iran's continued refusal to allow new cameras at a centrifuge manufacturing plant in Karaj. The plant was damaged in a June attack that Iran blames on Israel. 
-- Financial Times
October 11, 2021
An Iranian hacking group targeted U.S. and Israeli firms in the aerospace, maritime, and defense sectors from at least July through October 2021, according to Microsoft. Approximately 250 companies were targeted and fewer than 20 were breached. Microsoft announced that some companies are still vulnerable to repeat attacks. Several of the targeted companies have contracted with the U.S., European Union, and Israeli governments and have developed satellite systems, drone technology and radars. 
-- CNN
October 10, 2021
In September, the IAEA estimated that Iran's stockpile of 20% enriched uranium amounted to 84.3 kilograms. Iran's nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami told Iranian state media on October 9th that Iran actually possesses over 120 kilograms of the material. Eslami claimed that the additional production was necessary because other parties to the JCPOA have not delivered fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor as promised by the 2015 agreement.
-- Associated Press
October 8, 2021
Germany's financial regulator banned Bank Melli's Hamburg branch from issuing new loans on October 7. According to the regulator, BaFin, the bank had violated the "four-eyes principle," a transparency rule to increase regulatory oversight over certain decisions. 
-- Reuters
October 8, 2021
The U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control removed an Iranian industrial corporation and its subsidiary from its Specially Designated Nationals list on October 8, after the businesses challenged their designation in U.S. court. Mammut Industrial Group and its subsidiary, Mammut Diesel, had been designated in September 2020 for allegedly supplying Iran’s missile programs. Three individuals associated with the companies had also been designated at the time but were delisted in July 2021. A Treasury Department spokesperson claimed that the delistings were unrelated to negotiations to return Iran and the United States to compliance with the JCPOA nuclear agreement.
-- Al-Monitor
October 5, 2021
Iran called on the IAEA to publicly condemn what it said was an attack on one of its nuclear facilities. In June, Iranian authorities claimed to have thwarted a sabotage attempt at a centrifuge plant in Karaj, but on October 3 the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Mohammad Eslami, said that the attack "severely damaged" the Karaj site and accused Israel of carrying it out. In September, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated that Iran had denied its investigators access to the Karaj plant contrary to an agreement between the Agency and Iran. Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, said that such access was never agreed upon, but Gharibabadi admitted that some IAEA monitoring equipment was damaged during the June incident and added that it was "unfortunate" that the IAEA would not put blame on Israel.  
-- Agence France-Presse
October 5, 2021
At a ceremony on October 5, Israel's top military commander signaled that the country may escalate operations against Iran and hinted at covert actions. Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi said that "operations to destroy Iranian capabilities will continue". The same day, Israel and the United States held a bilateral meeting in Washington in which U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told his counterpart, Eyal Hulata, that diplomacy remains the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb but that the United States was "prepared to turn to other options" if negotiations fail. 
-- Associated Press

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