News Briefs

June 15, 2011
Iran announced the successful launch of its second domestically-produced satellite. The Rasad micro-satellite's mission includes space imagery and the relay of telemetry information to earth stations. The 15-kilogram satellite was launched aboard the Iranian-produced Safir launch vehicle to an orbit at an altitude of 260 kilometers.
-- Islamic Republic News Agency
June 8, 2011
Iran plans to triple its output of uranium enriched to 20 percent and to move this production from the Natanz enrichment plant to the Fordo (Fordow) site near the city of Qom, according to Vice President Fereidoun Abbasi. Fordo is located inside former ammunition depots and is protected by the Revolutionary Guards. According to Abbasi, the Fordo site will be equipped with more advanced centrifuges than the P-1 type used at Natanz.
-- Associated Press
May 31, 2011
Davoud Baniameri, a California resident and Iranian national, pleaded guilty to illegally exporting radio test sets to Iran, via Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Baniameri also pleaded guilty to attempting to illegally export connector adapters for the TOW and TOW2 missile systems to Iran, also via Dubai. Also charged in the case was Andro Telemi, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Iran who has been released and is awaiting trial in the United States. Telemi allegedly assisted Baniameri with the attempted purchase of the connector adapters. The materials in question were allegedly intended for a second co-defendant, Syed Majid Mousavi, an Iranian citizen who remains at large and is believed to be living in Iran.
-- Press Release, U.S. Department of Justice
May 26, 2011
Spanish police seized nine Bell-112 military transport helicopters and aviation spare parts, and arrested five Spanish businessmen suspected of attempting to illegally export the seized materials. The police suspect the helicopters were bound for Iran, and arrested three Iranians accused of traveling to Spain to negotiate their purchase. According to police, the aviation spare parts were earmarked for transport to Venezuela.
-- Agence France-Presse
May 24, 2011
The United States sanctioned seven energy firms for supplying gasoline and other refined petroleum products to Iran in violation of U.S. law. The firms sanctioned were Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PdVSA); Petrochemical Commercial Company International (PCCI) of Jersey, United Kingdom; Royal Oyster Group and Speedy Ship of the United Arab Emirates; Tanker Pacific of Singapore; Ofer Brothers Group of Israel; and Associated Shipbroking of Monaco. According to the U.S. State Department, PdVSA supplied Iran with a blending component used to improve gasoline; PCCI, Royal Oyster and Speedy Ship for shipped refined petroleum products to Iran; and Tanker Pacific, Ofer Brothers and Associated Shipbroking helped provide Iran with a tanker. Separately, the State Department also sanctioned sixteen entities under a nonproliferation act, including entities in Belarus, China, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela.
-- Wall Street Journal
May 24, 2011
Iran has conducted research to develop nuclear triggering technologies, according to a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which claims to have evidence of the work. Iranian efforts have focused on the compression of uranium deuteride, a technique which experts believe has been used by Pakistan and China.
-- New York Times
May 22, 2011
Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi announced the delivery of Iran's domestically-manufactured Qiam missile to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Iran successfully test-fired the liquid-fueled, surface-to-surface missile on August 20, 2010.
-- Press TV
May 17, 2011
Iran's state-owned Bank of Industry and Mine (BIM) was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, freezing its assets. The Treasury Department alleged that BIM provided financial services to Bank Mellat and Europaisch Iranische Handelsbank (EIH), two banks previously designated in connection with Iran's nuclear program, enabling them to circumvent international sanctions.
-- Agence France-Presse
May 17, 2011
A San Diego federal grand jury indicted two Belgians, Willy A.E. De Greef, 70, and Frederic Roland Nicholas Depelchin, 39, for obtaining aircraft and helicopter parts from U.S. suppliers and transferring them to Iran. The parts were allegedly purchased through two Belgium-based companies, Meca Airway Ltd. and Meca Overseas Airways Ltd., which De Greef and Depelchin co-owned. De Greef was arrested in London, but Depelchin is still at large.
-- San Diego Union-Tribune
May 15, 2011
According to a leaked U.N. report, Iran and North Korea have regularly exchanged ballistic missile technology in violation of sanctions on both countries. Restricted missile-related items were suspected to have been shipped by air on regular scheduled flights of Air Koryo and Iran Air. According to several diplomats, China was used as a transhipment point for some of these shipments, and Chinese diplomats, objecting to the report, are likely to prevent its official release by the U.N. Security Council.
-- Reuters