News Briefs

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
June 21, 2018
A newly unsealed federal indictment charges Iranian businessman Saeed Valadbaigi of plotting to send export-controlled items to Iran. In 2011, Valadbaigi schemed to bypass U.S. controls by shipping from Illinois to Iran, via Belgium and Malaysia, U.S.-origin 7075 T6 aluminum tubing--which has missile and aerospace applications and is controlled for nuclear nonproliferation purposes. In addition, in 2009, Valadbaigi exported titanium sheets from Illinois to Iran via Georgia, the United Arab Emirates, and Malaysia using companies in these countries under his control. Valadbaigi also allegedly ordered acrylic sheets from a Connecticut-based company in 2012 and transshipped them to Iran, while claiming Hong Kong as the end destination. A warrant was issued for his arrest in 2016; Valadbaigi remains at large. 
-- U.S. Department of Justice Press Release
June 5, 2018
A report by the U.N. Secretary General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 2231 found that the debris from five ballistic missiles launched by Yemen’s Houthis into Saudi Arabia shares characteristics with an Iranian missile and contain components made in Iran. However, the United Nations could not determine if Iran transferred the parts before or after January 2016, when the resolution came into force. In addition, the U.N. reported claims by two countries that Iran received dual-use items in violation of the resolution and noted that Ukraine had prevented two Iranians from procuring and transferring to Iran components of a Kh-31 air-to-surface missile and related technical documents. 
-- Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty