News Briefs

August 31, 2023
Iran accused Israel of trying to sabotage its missile and drone program by supplying it with defective parts. An Iranian defense ministry intelligence unit uncovered and foiled the plot, according to Iranian state media.
-- Reuters
August 22, 2023
At a ceremony marking Defense Industry Day, Iran unveiled a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) called the Mohajer-10, which it said had an operational range of 2,000 km and a payload capacity of 300 kg. During the ceremony, President Ebrahim Raisi also ordered the delivery of two ballistic missile systems, the Khorramshahr and the Haj Qassem, to the armed forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
-- Islamic Republic News Agency
August 17, 2023
According to leaked documents, Russia is making steady progress in establishing a facility to manufacture its own variant of Iranian-designed Shahed-136 one-way attack drones, which it calls the Geran-2. Russia plans for the factory, located in the Alabuga Special Economic Zone, to produce 6,000 drones by the summer of 2025, although indepdendent experts suspect the project may be slightly behind schedule. The factory has relied on students at Alabuga Polytechnic University for labor. Alabuga specialists have begun sourcing some of the drone's components and materials directly, receiving a sample of airframe material from the Chinese company Metastar. The specialists also sought a meeting with Mado, the Iranian company that currently produces the engines.
-- Washington Post
August 11, 2023
Iran has slowed the pace at which it is accumulating uranium enriched to 60 percent purity and has diluted some of its existing stockpile. The move may be part of a broader effort between the United States and Iran to reduce tensions. Iran still has enough 60 percent material for at least two nuclear weapons if it were enriched further.
-- Wall Street Journal
August 10, 2023
Iran and the United States reached a deal under which Iran will free five U.S. citizens detained in Iran and the United States will unblock $6 billion in Iranian funds held in South Korean banks. Iran took the first step in implementing the deal by releasing four of the detained individuals from Evin prison. The unfrozen funds will be transferred to an account in Qatar and may only be spent on non-sanctioned humanitarian trade. According to the Iranian mission to the United Nations, the deal also stipulates that United States will release some Iranians currently in U.S. prisons.
-- Reuters
August 10, 2023
Russia has begun producing its own variant of the Shahed-136 one-way attack drone. Specialists at Conflict Armament Research, an independent weapon tracking group, examined the wreckage of two drones in late July that appeared to be Shahed-136 models but contained different materials from those known to have been made in Iran. They also had electronic modules that matched ones previously found in other Russian-made drones.
-- New York Times
August 9, 2023
Iran claims to have developed a supersonic cruise missile that is in the testing phase. The missile will use a ramjet engine rather than one of the turbojet engines employed by existing Iranian cruise missiles.
-- Tasnim News Agency
July 31, 2023
Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Gennadievich Khrenin signed a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation with his Iranian counterpart during a visit to Tehran. Neither side provided further details on the agreement, but a delegation of Iranians had visited Belarus in May to explore the possibility of producing Shahed drones there. Russia reportedly organized the May visit.
-- Al-Monitor
July 26, 2023
Mohammad Eslami, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, claimed that Iran had given the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) new information about two sites, Turquzabad and Varamin, where inspectors had previously found traces of manmade uranium. Eslami also said that if there were any ambiguities remaining, Iran would clairfy and revise its statements.
-- Associated Press
July 25, 2023
U.S. resident Behrouz Mokhtari was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to forfeit more than $4.3 million in cash and assets for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. Mokhtari had pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economics Power Act (IEEPA). He used his Panama-based front company, East & West Shipping Inc., as well as his "FSR network" of UAE- and Iran-based companies, including Bitubiz FZE, to help Iran evade sanctions and sell petrochemical products.
-- U.S. Department of Justice