News Briefs

June 21, 2013
The Georgian government froze roughly 150 bank accounts connected to Iranian entities, in-line with U.N. sanctions and in response to concerns that Iran is using Georgia's financial system to evade international sanctions. Tbilisi may also change its visa policy for Iranian nationals, who do not currently need a visa in order to travel to Georgia.
-- Wall Street Journal
June 19, 2013
Britain's Supreme Court ruled against the British government’s decision to impose sanctions on Iran's Bank Mellat, saying that the sanctions were "disproportionate" and "arbitrary." This decision mirrors a decision in January by the European Union's General Court, which overturned E.U. sanctions against the bank imposed in 2010. Bank Mellat's European operations remain closed pending an appeal of the European court's decision.
-- Reuters
June 15, 2013
Hassan Rowhani has been elected President of Iran following an unexpectedly convincing victory in the country’s national elections. Mr. Rowhani defeated five other candidates to record 50.7 percent of the vote in the first round and an overall majority. A cleric whose victory is seen favorably in the West, Mr. Rowhani campaigned on a promise to deliver tangible results in domestic and foreign policy through a pragmatic and conciliatory approach. The four hard-line conservative candidates understood to be favored by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, performed poorly. Mr. Rowhani is not expected to change Iran's nuclear policies.
-- New York Times
June 13, 2013
Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, inaugurated Iran's first space monitoring and surveillance center. The center is designed for the detection, surveillance, and observation of objects in orbit, and is equipped with radar, electro-optic, and radio surveillance equipment.
-- Mehr News Agency
June 9, 2013
Iran installed the main reactor vessel at its Arak heavy water reactor. According to the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, reactor testing using "virtual fuel" will take place by the end of March 2014 and "full launch" is estimated for later next year.
-- Fars News Agency
June 3, 2013
President Obama signed an executive order approving greater sanctions on Iran's currency, the rial, and, for the first time, its automotive industry. 
-- The Hill
May 3, 2013
A Pentagon report stated that North Korea continues to supply arms to Myanmar, Iran, and Syria, effectively bypassing U.N. and U.S. sanctions. North Korea employed a worldwide network to facilitate arms transfers that involved ballistic missiles and missile technology.  According to the report, North Korea was able to avoid sanctions by falsifying end-user certificates, mislabeling crates, using front companies and intermediaries, and using air cargo for deliveries of high value exports.
-- Yonhap News
May 2, 2013
According to a classified Defense Intelligence Agency report, Iran is expanding its security agreements with countries in Latin America and Africa and its use of surrogates, including Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraqi Shia groups, and the Taliban.  The report says that "with sufficient foreign assistance" Iran could flight test an intercontinental ballistic missile by 2015 but concludes that Iran's military doctrine is "defensive."  The report also reiterates a 2007 U.S. intelligence community finding that Iran is developing the "technological capabilities" to build nuclear weapons, but has not made a decision to build such weapons.
-- Washington Free Beacon
April 29, 2013
Four men were charged in Hamburg, Germany for exporting dual-use equipment to Iran.  From 2010 to 2011, the four men, referred to in court documents only as Kianzad Ka., Gholamali Ka., Hamid Kh., and Rudolf M., shipped German and Indian-origin valves that can be used in heavy water reactors to Iran, via several Asian countries.  According to the charges, some of the valves were manufactured by a company in the German state of Thuringia owned by Rudolf M.
-- Agence France-Presse
April 11, 2013
The U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani, Malaysia's First Islamic Bank, and a network of companies for money laundering and attempting to evade international sanctions on Iran's oil industry. Zanjani is based in the United Arab Emirates and is chairman of the Sorinet Group. The Treasury Department said Zanjani, his companies, and First Islamic Bank moved billions of dollars on behalf of the Iranian government, including the National Iranian Oil Company and an engineering unit of the Revolutionary Guards. Also blacklisted was Swiss-based Nafitran Intertrade Company, which the Treasury Department said was owned or controlled by the National Iranian Oil Company.
-- Reuters