News Briefs

April 14, 2022
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) installed monitoring equipment at Iran's new underground centrifuge component manufacturing plant in Natanz. It also unsealed equipment at the plant. Iranian officials said that production would begin immediately but did not reveal the exact location of the new operation within the large Natanz facility. They also reaffirmed that Iran will withhold the monitoring equipment's data until a deal over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is reached.
-- Associated Press
April 13, 2022
The Combined Maritime Forces command, a 34-country coalition led by the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, will launch a task force focused on protecting commercial routes in the Red Sea. Two to eight ships at a time will patrol for coal, arms, and narcotics smuggling, as well as human trafficking. The Iran-backed Houthis have attacked vessels and conducted smuggling operations in the Red Sea for years.
-- Associated Press
April 11, 2022
Iraqi militias are working with Iran to send weapons to Russia for use against Ukraine, according to unnamed militia and regional intelligence sources. Hashd al-Shaabi, one of the most influential Iran-backed militias, reportedly transported rocket-propelled grenades, antitank guided missiles, and multiple-launch rocket systems to the Iranian border in late March. The Iranian military then sent the shipment across Iran and via the Caspian Sea to the Russian port of Astrakhan. According to sources involved in the transportation scheme, Iran has also returned an S-300 air defense system to Russia and donated an Iranian-made Bavar-373 air defense system.
-- The Guardian
April 6, 2022
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) announced it had completed the first step of its agreement with the IAEA to resolve outstanding issues relating to three nuclear sites. Tehran sent the IAEA a document on March 20 with its explanation for the presence of nuclear material at the sites. The Agency will review the document and submit follow-up questions before issuing a final report by June. AEOI head Mohammad Eslami claimed that one radioactive particle detected by the IAEA does not exist in Iran, and blamed Israel for "sowing doubts" about Iran's nuclear program.
-- Associated Press
April 6, 2022
Iran has moved machinery for manufacturing centrifuge components from the TESA Karaj plant to Natanz. The IAEA verified that the machines remained under seal and nonoperational. Iran had earlier established a new facility in Isfahan to take over centrifuge part production from the Karaj plant, which was closed in January. 
-- Reuters
April 5, 2022
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its allies have replaced Russian forces that withdrew from the second-largest arms and ammunition depot in Syria, located east of the city of Homs. Lebanese Hizballah and the Syrian Army's Fourth Division, led by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's brother Maher, deployed to the Mahin depot alongside the IRGC. Approximately 40 military vehicles were seen moving into the area.
-- Asharq Al-Awsat
April 1, 2022
The major factions in Yemen's civil war have agreed to a country-wide ceasefire for the first time since 2016. The agreement between the Saudi Arabian-led coalition and the Houthis will last for two months and facilitate fuel imports into Houthi-controlled areas. It also allows for some flights to leave Sana'a airport. The parties also agreed to discuss a prisoner swap and opening roads that have become impassable due to fighting. United Nations mediators helped broker the truce.
-- Reuters
March 29, 2022
The U.S. State Department granted Iraq a new 120-day sanctions waiver to import electricity from Iran. Iraq has received waivers since the United States re-imposed sanctions targeting Iran's energy exports in 2018. According to Western and Iraqi sources, Washington allows Iraq to pay Iran through a Swiss bank account.
-- Rudaw
March 18, 2022
According to a confidential International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report, Iran has taken the first step in converting 2.1 kilograms of its 60%-enriched uranium into a form used for medicine. The isotope that will result once the process is completed, molybdenum-99, cannot be processed further into nuclear fuel. Iranian media outlet Mehr News publicly reported the conversion. The IAEA estimated Iran's stockpile of 60%-enriched uranium to be 33.2 kilograms as of February 19.
-- Associated Press
March 16, 2022
An Iranian missile strike on a residential compound in northern Iraq was meant to retaliate against an Israeli airstrike on an Iranian drone factory in February, according to unnamed intelligence officials. Israel reportedly sent six "suicide drones" to detonate on the Iranian military's main drone manufacturing facility in Kermanshah, Iran. The attack destroyed dozens of Iranian drones, according to the officials. Iranian officials have said that the Kermanshah facility is an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) base. Iran has not publicly stated that its missile strike on Erbil was linked to the Kermanshah attack.
-- The New York Times