News Briefs

September 14, 2023
Jalal Hajavi, a resident of Virginia, was convicted in U.S. court of exporting heavy equipment from the United States to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions laws. Hajavi used his Florida-based company JSH Heavy Equipment, LLC, to purchase a blasthole drill and other machinery in the United States and ship it to the United Arab Emirates, where the items were then transshipped to Iran. Hajavi also falisified records about the goods' final destination to conceal his activities.
-- U.S. Department of Justice
September 4, 2023
In a confidential report, the International Atomic Energy Agency stated that Iran's stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent had grown during the previous quarter, albeit at a slower pace than in the previous reporting period, and that a small amount of the material had been diluted to a lower enrichment level. A second report said that there had been no progress on resolving several safeguards issues, including an investigation into uranium particles found at two undeclared sites. The Agency also reported no progress in re-installing monitoring equipment that had been introduced at centrifuge manufacturing facilities and other sites pursuant to the 2015 nuclear deal but was removed by Iran in 2022.
-- Reuters
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