News Briefs

June 25, 2020
The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned nine entities operating in or supporting Iran's metals sector. Revenue from this sector funds the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to Treasury. The sanctioned companies include a German-based subsidiary of Mobarakeh Steel Company, Iran's largest steel producer, as well as three Mobarakeh sales agents and trading companies based in the United Arab Emirates. The sanctions also target the Iranian aluminum producer South Aluminum Co., steel and iron producer Sirjan Jahan Steel Complex, and iron producer Iran Central Iron Ore Co. In a joint action, the U.S. State Department sanctioned Global Industrial and Engineering Supply Ltd., located in China and Hong Kong, for allegedly providing graphite to Iran.
-- The Wall Street Journal
June 25, 2020
Iranian authorities are investigating an explosion at or near the Parchin military base, a large complex east of Tehran that develops and produces missiles, rockets, and ammunition. Iranian Defense Ministry officials say the explosion came from a gas tank. Another military site, the Khojir missile base, is also located in the vicinity of the blast.
-- The Wall Street Journal
June 24, 2020
According to information from a former Iranian official, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) established a facility near the city of Jarjam in 2011 to produce aluminum powder for Iran's missile program. Iran Alumina Company (IAC), a subsidiary of the state-owned enterprise Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development (IMIDRO), runs the facility. Aluminum powder is a key ingredient in solid fuel missile propellant. In a letter to Iran's Supreme Leader from an IRGC commander, the facility was described as key to "improving the country's self-sufficiency in production of solid fuel for missiles." IAC may have acquired equipment for the facility from China Nonferrous Metal Industry’s Foreign Engineering and Construction Co, Ltd (NFC), whose assistant president Li Xiaofeng allegedly coordinated the supply from German and Japanese firms. According to the former Iranian official, who is now living in France, the facility was still operating in 2018 when he left Iran. U.S. sanctions target Iran's aluminum sector, as well as the IRGC and third parties that do business with the Guards.
-- Reuters
June 23, 2020
The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant has been reconnected to Iran's electrical grid after maintenance, inspection, and fuel reloading, which included replacing a third of the reactor's fuel.
-- Tasnim News Agency
June 23, 2020
Iran's Ministry of Defense claims to produce 70 percent of the parts needed for its aircraft and helicopters domestically. This domestic production has enabled Iran to continue building drones and missiles despite international sanctions.
-- The Jerusalem Post
June 18, 2020
During a military exercise in the Gulf of Oman and the northern Indian Ocean, the Iranian Navy tested cruise missiles with a range of at least 270 kilometers. Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, head of Iran's Navy, described the missiles as more accurate than previous models and resistant to "electronic warfare." According to Khanzadi, the missiles have improved guidance systems that allow for improved targeting.
-- Associated Press
June 16, 2020
An annual report by the intelligence service for the southern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg concludes that Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan are pursuing weapons of mass destruction programs through illegal procurement from Germany. According to the report, which covers activity in 2019, these countries seek "products and relevant known-how." The report describes Iran's effort to bypass German trade rules by employing front companies and shipping goods through third countries such as China, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. The report further warns that Iran might infiltrate German research centers and universities in a bid to obtain proliferation know-how.
-- Fox News
June 12, 2020
The United Nations confirmed the Iranian origin of cruise missiles launched at airports and oil refineries in Saudi Arabia in 2019 as well as of weapons seized by the United States in November 2019 and February 2020. Cruise missile debris from the attacks on Saudi Arabia "were identical or similar" to some of the items in the U.S. seizures, according to a U.N. report on the implementation of a 2015 Security Council resolution that enshrines the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The United Nations noted that the acquisition and transfer of these weapons may have been "inconsistent" with the 2015 resolution. Iran denied any involvement in the attacks, for which the Houthis in Yemen claimed responsibility.
-- Al-Jazeera
June 10, 2020
Iranian and Turkmen officials inaugurated a car bridge going from the Iranian province of Khorasan Razavi to the Turkmen region of Ahal. Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami noted that the initiative would increase cross-border trade and strengthen Iran's economic links to Central Asia.
-- Caspian News
June 9, 2020
The United States withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and cannot use the agreement to extend a United Nations arms embargo on Iran, according to European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. He said the United States "cannot claim that they are still part of the JCPOA in order to deal with this issue from the JCPOA agreement." Russia also expressed opposition to U.S. attempts to extend the arms embargo.
-- Associated Press