News Briefs

June 21, 2023
The United Kingdom launched an investigation into allegations that researchers at British universities have contributed to research that could aid Iran's military drone program. The investigation followed a report by the Jewish Chronicle that scientists at universities including Imperial College London and Cranfield University, which has a partnership with the UK Ministry of Defence, worked with Iranian counterparts to publish studies on drone engine performance and aircraft control systems. At least one of the studies, published in 2019, was supported by Iran's Ministry of Science.
-- Financial Times
June 16, 2023
Iran's crude oil exports exceeded 1.5 million barrels per day in May, the highest monthly rate since the United States reimposed sanctions against Iran in 2018, according to the commodities tracking firm Kpler. Although Iran is selling oil to Syria and Venezuela, China is its biggest customer.
-- Reuters
June 9, 2023
U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that Iran is helping Russia build a drone factory in the Yelabuga region east of Moscow, and that the facility could be operational by early 2024. The White House released a satellite image of the factory's probable location. Kirby also said that Iran continues to supply Russia with complete drones via a shipping route across the Caspian Sea.
-- Associated Press
June 8, 2023
Based on an analysis of papers published in scientific journals since 2017, the Jewish Chronicle found that researchers affiliated with at least 11 British universities collaborated with Iranian counterparts on at least 16 studies that have potential military applications, particularly for Iran's drone program. The studies' topics included optimizing drone engine performance, testing new jet engine control systems, and employing drones as mobile communication relays. UK-based universities whose researchers were involved in the studies included Cranfield University, Imperial College London, Cambridge University, the University of Liverpool, Northumbria University, and University of Glasgow, while Iran-based universities included Shahrood University of Technology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran University of Science and Technology, Sharif University of Technology, Shahid Beheshti University.
-- The Jewish Chronicle
June 6, 2023
Iran unveiled a new ballistic missile, called "Fattah," which the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) characterized as a hypersonic missile. The missile's separating warhead has a solid fueled motor and can conduct terminal maneuvers. The commander of Iran's missile force claimed the missile can reach speeds of Mach 13 and has a maximum range of 1,400 km.
-- Tasnim News Agency
May 31, 2023
In a confidential report, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that it had closed two safeguards-related inquiries with Iran. One was related to inspectors' discovery of uranium particles enriched to 83.7% purity at Iran's Fordow enrichment site earlier in the year. The IAEA said Iran's explanation that the particles were a byproduct of fluctuations in the enrichment process was "not inconsistent" with data reviewed by the Agency. The other inquiry was related to traces of man-made uranium found at Marivan, a site linked to Iran's early-2000s secret military nuclear program. The IAEA said Iran's claim that the uranium traces were left by instruments used at a mine operated in the area by a foreign entity in the 1960s and 70s was "possible." The Agency also reported that it had re-installed enrichment monitoring devices at Fordow and Natanz and had installed cameras at a centrifuge workshop in Isfahan.
-- Associated Press
May 25, 2023
Iran unveiled the fourth generation of its Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile, dubbed Kheibar. The liquid-fueled missile has a re-entry vehicle capable of making mid-course maneuvers and can deliver a 1,500 kilogram warhead to a range of 2,000 kilometers.
May 17, 2023
The Russian state-owned bank VTB opened a representative office in Iran. The Iranian government is also planning to allow consumers to use Russia's Mir card payment system within Iran. Russian state-owned Promsvyazbank is already present in Iran. Sberbank, another large Russian financial institution, discussed strengthening its ties with Iran but has not yet entered the Iranian market.
-- Reuters
May 16, 2023
A U.S. federal court unsealed an indictment against Chinese national Xiangjiang Qiao, also known as Joe Hansen, charging him with sanctions evasion, money laundering, and bank fraud. According to court documents, Qiao is an employee of the China-based company Sinotech Dalian Carbon and Graphite Manufacturing Corporation (Sinotech Dalian) and an associate of Li Fangwei, also known as Karl Lee. Qiao is accused of supplying isostatic graphite to Iran between March 2019 and September 2022 and using front companies to conceal Sinotech Dalian's involvement.
-- U.S. Department of Justice
May 15, 2023
Russia has received more than 400 unmanned aerial vehicles from Iran since August 2022 and is seeking more advanced versions, according to U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. In return, Iran is seeking helicopters, radars, and combat trainer aircraft. According to Kirby, the United States has not seen evidence of Iranian ballistic missile transfers to Russia.
-- Wall Street Journal