News Briefs

November 21, 2011
The United States, Britain, and Canada announced coordinated sanctions targeting Iran's central bank and commercial banks, aimed at shutting off Iran's access to foreign banks and credit. The United States designated Iran's entire banking sector as a "primary money laundering concern." The United States also imposed sanctions on companies supporting Iran's nuclear activities as well as on Iran's petrochemical and oil sectors.
-- New York Times
November 20, 2011
U.S. officials are investigating whether chemical weapon-capable artillery shells found in Libya were provided by Iran. The shells, which Libya filled with mustard gas, were found at two different sites in central Libya. Iran has denied supplying the shells to Libya.
-- Washington Post
November 18, 2011
Switzerland sanctioned 116 Iranian entities (five individuals and 111 organizations) in response to mounting concern over Iran's nuclear program. The sanctions take effect immediately.
-- Reuters
November 13, 2011
Brigadier General Hassan Moghaddam, a commander in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, was killed in an explosion at a military site outside of Bidganeh, about 25 miles from Tehran, along with 16 other Revolutionary Guards members. The explosion took place while soldiers were transporting munitions, according to Iranian officials. General Moghaddam was a top commander in Iran's missile program; he oversaw the development of the Shahab-3 missile.
-- New York Times
November 8, 2011
The International Atomic Energy Agency reported new evidence that Iran has undertaken activities relevant to the production of a nuclear weapon, some of which may be ongoing.  The evidence came from more than ten countries and from independent sources.  According to the IAEA report, Iran created computer simulations and built a testing site to study how conventional explosives can be used to trigger a nuclear device.  The report also says that Iran may have sought uranium for an undisclosed enrichment program, obtained nuclear explosive design information, and explored a number of missile warhead designs suitable for delivering a nuclear payload.  Iran has rejected the report's findings.
-- New York Times
October 25, 2011
Russia has delivered Avtobaza truck-mounted radar jammers to Iran in a move that the Russian government argues does not contravene United Nations sanctions. It is unclear when and how many jammers were sent.
-- Agence France-Presse via Defense News
October 13, 2011
The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Iran's Mahan Air, charging that it had flown members of Iran's Qods Force and Hezbollah around the Middle East. Under the sanctions, Mahan's assets in the United States are frozen and U.S. firms are barred from doing business with it.
-- Agence France-Presse
October 11, 2011
According to U.S. officials, elements of the Iranian government planned to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States as well as bomb the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C. and the Saudi and Israeli Embassies in Argentina, with the help of Los Zetas, a Mexican drug cartel.  The alleged plot was planned by Mansour J. Arbabsiar, an Iranian-American living in the United States, and Gholam Shakuri, an officer in Iran's Quds Force, which is part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.  Mr. Arabsiar was arrested in New York on September 29, 2011; Mr. Shakuri remains at large.  Iran has denied the allegations.
-- New York Times
September 28, 2011
Iran's Navy and Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Naval Force received a large supply of Qader (Mighty) anti-ship cruise missiles from the country's Defense Ministry. According to Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, the missiles have a 200 kilometer range, can be launched on short notice, and can hit both naval vessels and onshore targets.
-- Fars News Agency
September 15, 2011
Belarus is suspected of helping Iran procure missile technology, especially navigation and guidance products, in violation of U.N. sanctions. According to intelligence information, a Belorussian businessman named Yuri Charniauski has been trying to purchase an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) for his company, TM Services, from a Russian firm named Optolink in order to sell it to Iran. Members of the U.N. panel of experts will discuss the implementation of U.N. sanctions on Iran with Belorussian officials during a visit to Belarus this month.
-- Reuters