News Briefs

April 8, 2011
Atomstroyexport, the Russian state-run company that built the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant in Iran, announced that nuclear fuel was being loaded back into the reactor following the examination and cleansing of pipes and fuel assemblies. The fuel was removed from the reactor for safety concerns in February, when broken pumps sent small pieces of metal into the cooling system.
-- Reuters
March 29, 2011
The U.S. State Department imposed sanctions on Belarusneft, a state-owned energy company in Belarus, pursuant to a U.S. law that mandates sanctions on foreign companies investing more than $20 million in Iran’s oil and gas sector. Belarusneft, the second company to be sanctioned by the Obama administration under this law, invested $500 million in a contract with Naftiran Intertrade Company. The sanctions ban Belarusneft from obtaining U.S. export licenses, loans, and government contracts.
-- Associated Press
March 23, 2011
Three people were arrested in connection with a U.S. federal indictment charging four Colombian family members with illegally attempting to export 22 F-5 fighter jet engines to Iran. Amparo Echeverry Valdes, Carlos Alfredo Pantoja, and Diego Echeverry are being detained in Florida, while Felipe Echeverry is believed to be in Colombia. Between January and March 2011, the family members conspired to sell the engines to an undercover agent for $320,000, and to help export the engines from Miami to Iran, via Panama.
-- Agence France-Presse
March 17, 2011
Officials in South Korea and Singapore have seized "suspect nuclear and weapons material" destined for Iran, according to diplomats familiar with a report from the United Nations Security Council's Iran Sanctions Committee. In December 2010, 400 "suspicious" tubes with potential use in nuclear facilities were seized in the cargo of a jet at an airport in Seoul. In Singapore, aluminum powder that could be used in rocket fuel was seized on a ship in Singapore harbor in September 2010.
-- Agence France-Presse
March 17, 2011
Malaysian officials seized two containers from a ship from China that was bound for Iran. Police intercepted the cargo while the Malaysian-registered vessel was at anchor in Port Klang. The containers carried disassembled equipment that is restricted under U.N. Security Council resolutions. According to Malaysian press reports, the seized parts could be used to make nuclear weapons.
-- Free Malaysia Today
March 15, 2011
Israel's Navy seized a cargo vessel, the Victoria, in the Mediterranean Sea that was flying the Liberian flag and carrying Chinese-made anti-ship missiles.  The C-704 missiles, called "Nasr" by Iran, have a range of 35 km and carry a 130 kg warhead.  Also seized were 60 mm and 120 mm mortar shells, as well as Farsi instruction manuals explaining how to operate the C-704.  Israel believes the weapons were from Iran and destined for Hamas.
-- Jerusalem Post
March 9, 2011
British special forces in Afghanistan intercepted an Iranian shipment of 48 122mm rockets to the Taliban that, according to western diplomats, would have enabled the group to double the range of its attacks to 12 miles. The rockets were discovered on February 5, 2011, when British and Afghan troops stopped a convoy in Nimruz Province in south-west Afghanistan. According to one official, an examination of the rockets showed that they were recently manufactured, but had been tampered with to conceal their Iranian origin.
-- The Guardian
February 14, 2011
Fereidoun Abbasi Davani, 52, a professor who holds a PhD in nuclear physics and is a laser specialist, was appointed by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the new chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
-- Iranian Students News Agency
February 1, 2011
The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced sanctions targeting six individuals and five companies in Iran and Turkey for their involvement in a procurement network supporting Iran's ballistic missile program. The network, run by Iranian national Milad Jafari, his brother, Mani Jafari, and his father, Mohammad Javad Jafari, facilitated over $7 million in transactions for Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO). Also sanctioned were Macpar Makina San Ve Tic AS, STEP AS, and Multimat Ltd, all based in Istanbul, along with Turkish nationals Muammer Kuntay Duransoy and Cagri Duransoy.
-- Reuters
January 19, 2011
Switzerland announced its implementation of tightened sanctions against Iran. The new measures no longer allow Swiss companies to sell or deliver dual use goods to Iran, and extend an existing ban on "heavy war material" to all types of military goods. Additional limits include exports of products that could finance or be used in Iran's oil and gas industry and restrictions on financial services that can be provided to Iran.
-- Reuters