News Briefs

November 6, 2019
An FBI counterintelligence unit arrested an Iranian national in Michigan for allegedly stealing technical secrets from his employer and sending them to his brother in Iran, who has connections to the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Amin Hasanzadeh, 42, was born in Iran and holds lawful permanent resident status in the United States. From January 2015 to June 2016, he was a technical engineer at an unnamed company in the Detroit area which serves the defense, aerospace, and auto industries. Hasanzadeh allegedly stole confidential documents and technical data, including information on a secret project involving an aerospace industry supercomputer. He is charged with interstate transportation of stolen property and fraud for lying about his military service in Iran.
-- The Detroit News
November 5, 2019
Iran will restart centrifuges at the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, further reducing its commitments to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Iran's latest step away from the JCPOA involves injecting uranium gas into the 1,044 centrifuges at Fordow, which are restricted to non-nuclear uses under the terms of the agreement. President Hassan Rouhani added that the move can be easily reversed if the European signatories provide economic relief to mitigate the effects of U.S. sanctions. Iran also announced that it had doubled the number of advanced centrifuges at Natanz and is producing enriched uranium more quickly.
-- The New York Times
November 5, 2019
The Central Bank of Iran will require all Iranian banks to have an anti-money laundering unit. The move increases Iran's compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which has set a February deadline for Iran to meet certain requirements before it will be blacklisted. The new regulations came at the directive of President Hassan Rouhani and will circumvent hardliners who have blocked several bills passed by the Iranian Parliament in response to FATF requirements.
-- Radio Farda
October 30, 2019
The United States will renew waivers allowing Russian, Chinese, and European companies to continue non-proliferation work at Iranian nuclear facilities, including the Arak heavy water research reactor and the Fordow fuel enrichment plant. The waivers cover sanctions that prohibit non-U.S. entities from working with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).
-- Reuters
October 30, 2019
The United States and six Gulf countries imposed joint sanctions on entities connected with Iran's illicit financing of paramilitary groups in the Middle East. The sanctions are the largest ever undertaken by the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC), a coalition of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. The action primarily targets a multibillion-dollar network of Iranian companies, banks, and funds supporting the Basij Resistance Force, which has ties to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). All of the entities were previously blacklisted by the United States, but the new sanctions will require TFTC members to close the targets' local offices, including Iran's Mellat Bank. The TFTC also sanctioned four individuals linked to Hezbollah.
-- The Wall Street Journal
October 30, 2019
Iranians in Malaysia are facing "mass closures" of their bank accounts. In recent months, Malaysian banks, including CIMB and RHB, have ended services to many of the estimated 10,000 Iranians living in Malaysia. The banks did not give an official reason for the closures, but bank officials told some affected individuals that the move was prompted by increased scrutiny related to U.S. sanctions.
-- Reuters
October 29, 2019
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) picked Argentine diplomat Rafael Grossi to become its next director general. Grossi, 58, was selected in the third round of voting against IAEA acting director general Cornel Feruta. He previously served as the chief of cabinet to former IAEA head Yukiya Amano and as a senior official at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) before becoming Argentina's ambassador to U.N. institutions in Vienna. Grossi also recently led an international review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Backed by the United States, Grossi pledged to strictly monitor Iran's nuclear activities. He is expected to begin a four-year term by January 1, 2020.
-- The Wall Street Journal
October 25, 2019
The United States declared Iran to be a "jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern" and announced new due diligence requirements for banks and for humanitarian trade. The new policy requires U.S. banks to scrutinize foreign business relationships and identity any dealings with Iran. The United States also created a new channel for humanitarian trade with Iran that requires detailed transaction records and allows asset seizure in the case of sanctions violations. The money laundering designation is based on accusations that the Iranian government is financing U.S.-designated terrorist groups.
-- The Wall Street Journal
October 24, 2019
A U.S. national in Ohio was sentenced to 20 months in prison for supplying oil and gas equipment to Iran in violation of sanctions. Behrooz Behroozian, 64, used a Dublin computer parts business to export manifolds, valves, and connectors used in industrial gas and oil pipelines to Iran via the United Arab Emirates for more than a dozen years. Behroozian, who was born in Iran and moved to the United States in 1976, was charged in 2016 and admitted to violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).
-- The Columbus Dispatch
October 23, 2019
Albanian police announced that they have discovered an Iranian paramilitary network targeting exiled members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an opposition Iranian group seeking to overthrow Iran's government. Police chief Ardi Veliu said that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was operating an "active terrorist cell," adding that the network had ties to organized crime groups in Turkey and was fed information by a former MEK member. He also claimed that Albanian authorities stopped a planned Iranian attack in March. Approximately 2,500 MEK members moved to Albania from Iran in 2014.
-- Associated Press

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