News Briefs

September 1, 2018
A federal indictment unsealed on August 27, 2018 charges Johnny Paul Tourino, the owner of California-based Spectra Equipment, Inc., with conspiracy to procure and illicitly ship export-controlled computer servers to Iran. Between January 2014 and July 2017, Tourino arranged for the servers to be transshipped from Australia and New York via Hong Kong to Iran for use by Bank Mellat. In 2017, Tourino falsely asserted to a U.S. company that the end-user was a bank in Africa. He also falsely stated to the U.S. Department of the Treasury that the end-user was in Slovenia. Tourino was arrested in February 2018. His trial is scheduled for March 2019.
-- Export Practitioner
August 31, 2018
Iran has reportedly transferred "tens" of short-range ballistic missiles to Shi'ite proxies in Iraq and is helping these groups  develop the capacity to produce more. The missiles transferred allegedly include the Zelzal, Fateh-110, and Zolfaqar, which have ranges of between 200-700 kilometers, along with missile launchers. Factories in Iraq being used for missile development are located in al-Zafaraniya, Jurf al-Sakhar, and Iraqi Kurdistan. The al-Zafaraniya factory was used by Saddam Hussein to produce warheads and ceramic missile molds. The site at Jurf al-Sakhar has been used for missile testing. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani is overseeing the program.
-- Reuters
August 30, 2018
New satellite photographs taken by ImageSat International purportedly show an Iranian surface-to-surface missile production facility outside Wadi Jahannam, in northwest Syria. The photographs indicate that the facility resembles Iran's Parchin facility and that there has been a surge in construction at the site. 
-- The Times of Israel
August 29, 2018
The United States and Israel have agreed to establish a joint team to work on enforcing economic sanctions on Iran. The team will be staffed by Israeli and American professionals and will include a focus on sanctions enforcement in the high-tech sector.
-- Ynetnews
August 22, 2018
The head of Iran’s nuclear agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, has indicated that the United Kingdom would replace the United States in assisting Iran with the redesign of the Arak heavy water reactor in light of the U.S. withdrawal from the deal. Previously, under the nuclear accord, U.S. and Chinese experts were tasked with assisting Iran in redesigning the reactor to limit the amount of plutonium created as a byproduct. 
-- Associated Press
August 2, 2018
The United Kingdom’s HM Revenue and Customs has opened an investigation after the UK’s Border Force thwarted a suspected attempt to send missile warhead components to Iran via Heathrow airport. While inspecting freight departing from the airport, authorities identified at least two “O rings,” which are pieces of rubber that can be used to form seals in rockets. The parts were supposedly destined for use at an Iranian oil refinery; however, Border Force authorities suspected that they were actually intended for use in missiles. 
-- MSN News
July 18, 2018
Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi announced that Iran has constructed a factory capable of producing rotors for up to 60 IR-6 centrifuges per day. The new factory, Salehi added, did not violate the Iran nuclear accord. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that it was aware of the announcement. Salehi also recently said that Iran had accumulated a stockpile of up to 950 tons of uranium -- 550 tons of which were imported before the nuclear agreement was finalized. Salehi did not clarify where the additional 400 tons of uranium originated.
-- Reuters
July 18, 2018
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has inspected two Iranian universities with the approval of the Supreme National Security Council. Iranian state media reported that the IAEA had already visited the Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST) in Tehran and Sharif University of Technology. The IAEA reportedly requested a visit to Shahid Beheshti University, but the request was denied. 
-- Mehr News Agency
June 27, 2018
Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency (AEOI) said that Iran has re-opened a uranium hexafluoride (UF6) plant in preparation to boost enrichment should the nuclear accord collapse. The plant, which has been idle for nine years, is part of the uranium conversion facility at Isfahan. A barrel of yellowcake has been delivered to the plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said earlier this month that it had been notified by the AEOI of its “tentative” plans to resume UF6 production. 
-- Reuters
June 22, 2018
China-based telecommunications firm ZTE has paid a $1 billion fine to the United States as part of a deal to end an export ban enacted in April in response to ZTE's violations of a 2017 agreement, in which the company admitted to evading sanctions on Iran and North Korea.  ZTE will also put $400 million in an escrow account, which will serve as an incentive to comply with U.S. trade rules going forward, according to a Commerce Department official.  The payment comes after lawmakers in Congress attempted to block the administration from lifting the ban on ZTE, citing national security concerns. 
-- CNN