News Briefs

August 5, 2011
Turkey seized an Iranian shipment of arms destined for Syria. The shipment, marked "spare parts for guns," was seized by Turkish officials who suspected it violated U.N. sanctions on Iranian arms exports.
-- Today's Zaman
August 3, 2011
Iran's parliament approved Rostam Qasemi as the the country's oil minister. Qasemi is a Revolutionary Guards commander who formerly headed Khatam al-Anbia, a Guards' construction and engineering company. Qasemi has been under U.S. and EU sanctions since 2010.
-- Reuters
July 28, 2011
The man assassinated in Tehran recently was a physicist involved in Iran's nuclear weapon program named Rezaeinejad, according to a foreign government official. Rezaeinejad allegedly worked on high voltage switches that could be used to detonate a nuclear warhead. Iranian state media has claimed that the victim was a university student named Darioush Rezaeinejad.
-- Associated Press
July 15, 2011
Iran is stepping up centrifuge development work at the Natanz uranium enrichment complex, according to diplomats. Two larger cascades (164 machines each) of more advanced centrifuge models, the IR-4 and IR-2m, are being installed. Previously, these centrifuge models had only been tested individually or in small chains.
-- Reuters
July 7, 2011
On July 6, 2011, Jirair Avanessian, of Glendale, California, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in illegally shipping vacuum pump equipment, which could be used in nuclear projects, to Iran. Avanessian was arrested in January 2010 and pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges later that year.
-- Glendale News-Press
June 28, 2011
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired 14 missiles as part of its Great Prophet-6 exercises. The missiles included a Ghadhr missile with a 1,800 kilometer range, two Shahab-1 missiles, two Shahab-2 missiles, and nine Zelzal unguided surface-to-surface missiles.
-- Agence France-Presse
June 27, 2011
An Iranian state television broadcast revealed underground silos that would make Iran's missiles less vulnerable to attack. An Iranian military official quoted in the broadcast stated that the silos housed a "swift-reaction" missile force, and that the missiles were "ready to hit the predetermined targets."
-- New York Times
June 24, 2011
The U.S. Treasury Department issued new sanctions against Iran Air, Iran's largest air carrier, and Tidewater Middle East Co., a major Iranian port operator owned by Iran's Revolutionary Guard. The Treasury alleged that both firms facilitate illegal shipments in support of international terrorism and nuclear proliferation, and that Iran Air was involved in the transportation of high-tech parts for Iran's advanced missiles and nuclear program. The sanctions restrict U.S. firms from doing business with either entity.
-- Washington Post
June 23, 2011
Seven individuals and five corporate entities were indicted in the U.S. state of Georgia for allegedly conspiring to illegally export military equipment to Iran. The twelve defendants, based in the United States, France, the United Arab Emirates and Iran, are alleged to have conspired to export parts for the Bell AH-1 attack helicopter, the UH-1 Huey attack helicopter, as well as the F-5 and F-4 fighter jets, without the required U.S. export licenses. Defendants Hamid Seifi, Galaxy Aviation, Michael Edward Todd and The Parts Guys have pleaded guilty to the charges; the remaining defendants are still at large.
-- Wall Street Journal
June 20, 2011
Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and 15 other defendants were indicted in New York for illegally funneling more than $60 million through the American banking system since 2008. According to the indictment, IRISL and its co-defendants were able to avoid U.S. sanctions by transacting through shell companies established in countries such as Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. Prosecutors said IRISL needed access to U.S. banks to compete in the shipping sector, which primarily does business in U.S. currency.
-- New York Times