News Briefs

January 18, 2024
Pakistan launched a missile attack against separatist militants inside Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan Province killing at least nine people, two days after Iran carried out a similar operation inside Pakistan. Both countries characterized their strikes as aimed against terrorist groups.
-- Reuters
January 17, 2024
Iran conducted a missile and drone attack against what it claimed were two strongholds of the Jaish al-Adl militant group in the Balochistan province of Pakistan. The strike killed two children and injured several others, according to Pakistani authorities. Pakistan responded by recalling its ambassador from Iran, expelling the Iranian ambassador to Pakistan, and warning Iran of "serious consequences."
-- CNN
January 16, 2024
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) carried out cross-border missile strikes in Syria and Iraq. The attacks were aimed against what the IRGC said were Islamic State-linked targets in Idlib, Syria, and Israeli Mossad-linked targets in Erbil, Iraq. The strikes were in retaliation for an Islamic State terrorist attack in Kerman in January and the suspected Israeli killing of IRGC general Seyed Razi Mousavi in Damascus in December. The operation involved the launch of four Kheibar Shekan ballistic missiles from Khuzestan province, four unspecified missiles from Kermanshah province, and seven missiles from West Azerbaijan province.
-- Tasnim News Agency
January 16, 2024
Iraq recalled its ambassador to Iran and summoned the Iranian charge d'affaires in Baghdad following an Iranian missile strike targeting a residence in Erbil. Iraq's prime minister characterized the strike as "aggression" against Iraq.
-- Reuters
January 11, 2024
Iran seized an oil tanker carrying Iraqi crude and destined for Turkey. The Marshall Islands-flagged vessel, named St Nikolas and owned by the Greek company Empire Navigation, was boarded by Iranian forces in the Gulf of Oman. The tanker is the same vessel that the United States seized in a sanctions enforcement operation in 2023, when it was transporting Iranian oil. At that time the ship was named Suez Rajan.
-- Reuters
January 9, 2024
The Dutch newspaper Volkskrant reported that it had identified the individual responsible for planting the Stuxnet computer virus at the Natanz nuclear complex. According to the report, Erik Van Sabben, a Dutch national, was recruited by Dutch intelligence services in 2005 and installed equipment containing the malware at Natanz in 2007. He was working as an engineer in Dubai at the time of the sabotage. The Dutch government was reportedly unaware of Van Sabben's actions at the time.
-- Anadolu Agency
January 4, 2024
The United States carried out an airstrike on a headquarters in Baghdad of the Iran-aligned Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba militia group, killing one of its leaders, Mushtaq Talib al-Saidi, also known as Abu Taqwa. Iraq's military spokesman condemned the strike as a "dangerous escalation" and said that the United States did not have authorization for it.
-- Washington Post
December 27, 2023
Iran and Russia have finalized an agreement to conduct trade in their own currencies rather than use the U.S. dollar, according to Iranian state media. The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), led by Russia, also signed a free-trade agreement with Iran.
-- Reuters
December 26, 2023
Iran tripled the rate at which it is enriching uranium to 60 percent purity, according to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The production rate reached nine kilograms per month, where it stood in early 2023 before Iran slowed its pace of enrichment beginning in June. The IAEA also said that Iran had once again connected two cascades of advanced centrifuges using modified subheaders, a modification that would allow it to produce weapons-grade uranium faster if it chose to do so.
-- Wall Street Journal
December 23, 2023
The United States said a one-way attack drone that struck a chemical tanker in the Indian Ocean was launched from Iran. The tanker, the Chem Pluto, is flagged in Liberia but is owned by the Japanese company Rio Brilliante and managed by the Netherlands-based Ace-Quantum Chemical Tankers, which is connected to Israeli businessman Idan Ofer. Iran declined to comment on the attack. The Houthis, an Iranian allay that has recently attacked commercial ships in the Red Sea, neither denied nor confirmed involvement, though the attack took place nearly out of range of drones known to be possessed by the Houthis in Yemen.
-- Wall Street Journal