News Briefs

November 16, 2012
In its most recent quarterly report, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that Iran is ready to increase its production of 20% enriched uranium in its underground facility at Fordow by feeding uranium hexafluoride gas into 700 new centrifuges. The new report also detailed satellite evidence collected by the IAEA of Iranian activities at Parchin, where it is suspected that a cleanup operation is underway to remove evidence of high-explosives testing conducted at the site.
-- Associated Press
November 1, 2012
Christopher Tappin, a British businessman,  pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to illegally exporting batteries for Hawk surface-to-air missiles to Iran.  Tappin was indicted in 2007 on charges of conspiracy to illegally export defense articles, aiding and abetting the illegal export of defense articles, and conspiracy to conduct illegal financial transactions.  He was sentenced to 33 months in prison, but will be allowed to serve his sentence in Britain.
-- Associated Press
October 15, 2012
The European Union announced the tightening of sanctions on Iran. The new measures restrict trade in the natural gas, metals, software, and financial sectors, and prohibit unauthorized transactions between European and Iranian banks.
-- New York Times
October 14, 2012
Iranian defense minister Ahmad Vahidi inaugurated eight explosives production units, including an emulsion explosives production line, a phosphate pelletizing plant, a phosphoric acid production unit, and a micro polymer balloons unit.
-- Fars News Agency
September 28, 2012
Moldova deregistered twelve Iranian ships in July and no longer has any Iranian vessels on its registry. Mongolia has also decided to cancel the registration for five Iranian ships, which had been registered in August and September. Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) has repeatedly shifted flag registrations in an effort to evade sanctions.
-- Wall Street Journal
September 28, 2012
The Korean Register of Shipping stopped providing classification services for Iranian ships in early August. Without access to such services, ships have difficulty securing insurance coverage and cannot call at most major ports.
-- Reuters
September 25, 2012
The U.S. Department of the Treasury classified the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) as "an agent or affiliate" of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).  The move enables the United States to sanction foreign banks that conduct business with NIOC.
-- Reuters
September 21, 2012
In an annual military parade, Iran displayed its Raad air defense system. The system is capable of hitting targets at 22,000 meters, according to Iranian officials. Iran also displayed the Sajjil-2 (Sejil-2) and Ghadr F-1 missiles, both of which have a range of about 2,000 kilometers.
-- Associated Press via Today's Zaman
September 8, 2012
The Maritime Administration of Sierra Leone announced that it had removed nine ships from its shipping register after finding that they were registered by subsidiaries of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL).
-- Reuters
September 7, 2012
Canada announced the closure of its embassy in Iran. Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird said the decision was prompted by safety concerns and by Iran's support for Syrian President al-Assad and its refusal to comply with United Nations inspectors.
-- BBC News