News Briefs

January 23, 2012
The European Union agreed to impose a phased ban on oil purchases from Iran. E.U. countries may not sign new oil contracts with Iran and existing oil contracts must end by July 1, 2012. The ban includes imports of crude oil, petroleum products, and petrochemical products, and exports of major equipment and technology in the petroleum sector. Within the E.U., assets of Iran's Central Bank will be frozen.
-- New York Times
January 20, 2012
Turkish officials reportedly seized four Iranian trucks bound for Syria containing parts to make ballistic missiles. The cargo, which was listed as being shipped from a company in Tehran called Rock Chemie, reportedly included four large cylindrical tanks measuring six meters in length, heat resistant materials, and 66 tons of sodium sulfate. Shipping documents listed the cargo as tanning chemicals. The trucks were held while Turkish authorities examined the seized materials.
-- Taraf Online
January 11, 2012
Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a 32-year-old nuclear scientist working at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant, was killed on January 11.  According to Iran’s Mehr news agency, Mr. Roshan was deputy director of commercial affairs at Natanz in charge of procurement.  Mr. Roshan is one of five known scientists with connections to Iran’s nuclear program to be killed since 2007.  These deaths are allegedly part of a covert campaign of assassinations carried out by Israel and intended to set back Iran's nuclear program.
-- New York Times
January 10, 2012
Iran has started enriching uranium up to 20 percent at the Fordo Fuel Enrichment Plant near the city of Qom, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Located south of Tehran, the Fordo facility is a fortified nuclear site built into the side of a mountain.
-- Bloomberg
January 6, 2012
Iran successfully test fired the Qader anti-ship cruise missile during a 10-day naval exercise in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, according to Iran's Fars news agency. During the exercise, codenamed 'Velayat 90,' Iran also test-fired both the Nasr, a shorter-ranged anti-ship missile, and the Mehrab, a naval surface-to-air missile. Both the Qader and the Mehrab are reported to be designed with radar-absorbent coatings.
-- Jane's Missiles and Rockets
January 4, 2012
President Barack Obama signed into law sanctions penalizing foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran's central bank. Part of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, the sanctions target anyone doing business with Iran's central bank, Bank Markazi. Some measures will begin to take effect in 60 days. Other measures, including those involving transactions from "governments purchasing Iranian oil and selling petroleum products," won't take effect for at least six months.
-- Wall Street Journal
January 1, 2012
Iran claims to have successfully tested a domestically produced nuclear fuel rod in the Tehran Research Reactor for the first time. The fuel rod was produced using uranium enriched to 20 percent.  Iran's permanent representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asqar Soltaniyeh has said that the reactor requires 120 kg of 20 percent enriched uranium.
-- Fars News Agency
December 20, 2011
The United States sanctioned 10 Malta-based shipping and front companies and one individual for their links to Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL). U.S. Treasury Department official David Cohen stated that the shippers are accused of "involvement in Iran's efforts to advance its missile programs and transport military cargoes," and of trying to skirt sanctions via front companies.
-- Agence France-Presse
December 16, 2011
Russia's customs agency seized 18 pieces of radioactive metal at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport from the luggage of an Iranian passenger bound for Tehran. The pieces of metal, packed in steel pencil cases, contained large quantities of a radioactive isotope of Sodium-22. Although its intended use was unknown, experts noted that the material, while unsuitable for use in a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb, could be used as a calibration source for radiation instrumentation.
-- Associated Press
December 13, 2011
At least seven people were killed in an explosion at the Ghadir steel mill in Yazd, possibly including North Korean nuclear arms experts. The facility was inaugurated about six months ago by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
-- Haaretz

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