News Briefs

September 14, 2017
On July 17, 2017, Portuguese citizen Joao Pereira da Fonseca pled guilty to conspiring to unlawfully export U.S.-origin goods and technology to Iran and to defraud the United States. He was sentenced to 20 months in prison, after which he will face deportation proceedings. Between October 2014 and April 2016, Fonseca, a mechanical engineer, used a Portuguese company as a front company to purchase technology with commercial and military applications from two U.S. companies on behalf of an Iranian client. One U.S. company manufactures machinery for the production of optical lenses; the other produces machines that test inertial guidance system components. Fonseca misled the U.S. companies as to the end-user and ultimate destination of the technology, which the companies believed to be Fonseca’s employer in Portugal. Fonseca traveled to the United States twice between 2015 and 2016 for training on how to install and maintain the technology. He was detained when leaving the United States in April 2016 and has been in U.S custody since then. None of the technology was exported to Iran.
-- United States Department of Justice
September 14, 2017
The U.S. State Department approved waivers of some sanctions on Iran as part of the 2015 nuclear accord in order to "maintain flexibility" in its Iran policy. The most recent sanctions waivers were issued as the U.S Treasury Department sanctioned 11 individuals and entities supporting Iran's ballistic missile program, Quds Force, or Iranian cyber attacks. 
-- Reuters
September 7, 2017
U.S. prosecutors have brought charges against Zafer Caglayan, Turkey's former economy minister, and Suleyman Aslan, the former General Manager of Turkish state-owned bank Halkbank, for "conspiring to use the U.S. financial system to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of transactions" on behalf of the Iranian government and other Iranian entities.  Two others were charged alongside Caglayan and Aslan.  The four individuals also are accused of laundering funds, lying to U.S. officials about the transactions, and defrauding financial institutions.  The charges stem from a sanctions evasion case against Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who was arrested in the United States last year.
-- Reuters
September 3, 2017
Commander of Iran's Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base, Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, claimed that the country has successfully built and tested its Bavar-373 air defense system, which will be deployed by March 2018 alongside the Russian S-300 system.  Esmaili also announced the manufacture of an over-the-horizon radar with a range of 3,000 km. 
-- PressTV
September 2, 2017
A Minnesota electronics company, identified as Digi-Key in unsealed court filings, was deceived into exporting dual-use electronics components to Iran by Green Wave Telecommunications, a company based in Malaysia. Digi-Key believed that it was sending the components to Green Wave for end-use in Kuala Lumpur, but the items were instead forwarded to Tehran-based Fanavari Moj Khavar. The indictment charged Alireza Jalali, Green Wave's former head of purchasing, and Negar Ghodskani, who worked for both Green Wave and Fanavari, with conspiracy to defraud the United States, smuggling, making false statements, and money laundering. Ghodskani allegedly manipulated her email signature when communicating with U.S. companies to give the appearance that she was working out of Malaysia, while Jalali is accused of repackaging components and misrepresenting transactions with Fanavari in order to conceal the shipment of American goods. Jalali, the only defendant in custody, is currently awaiting trial in the United States.
-- Star Tribune
August 31, 2017
The International Atomic Energy Agency published its quarterly report on Thursday verifying that Iran is in compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and has kept its uranium stockpile and enrichment capacity below set thresholds. Iran's stockpile of 3.7 percent low-enriched uranium stood at 88.4 kilograms as of August 21, 2017, below the 300 kilogram limit set by the agreement, while its number of operating centrifuges was below the 5,060 limit set by the accord. 
-- Bloomberg
August 28, 2017
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of building missile production sites in Syria and Lebanon during a meeting in Israel with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Netanyahu claimed that Iran was building the sites as part of a strategy to turn Syria into a "base of military entrenchment as part of its declared goal to eradicate Israel." 
-- The Guardian
August 1, 2017
Western and regional sources claimed that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been covertly transferring arms, cash, and drugs to Houthi rebels in Yemen for the past six months, using smaller craft and routes further up the Gulf of Oman between Kuwait and Iraq to avoid scrutiny from international naval vessels on patrol. Western sources said that since March there has been an increase in suspicious activity involving Iranian-flagged ships in waters near Kuwait, and that these vessels often switch off their identification transponders in order to avoid detection, then rendezvous with other ships to transfer supplies. Iranian officials have confirmed the activity and acknowledge that it could not occur without IRGC involvement, while Kuwait has denied that Iran was using its waters to smuggle equipment to Houthi forces. 
-- Reuters
July 27, 2017
Iran’s Imam Khomeini Space Center successfully launched the Simorgh carrier rocket, with a mission of placing Iranian satellites into low orbit. The Simorgh is capable of delivering satellites weighing as much as 250 kilograms to an orbit of 500 kilometers above the Earth. The launch signals the official inauguration of the Imam Khomeini Space Center, which will be responsible for all operations related to satellite carriers, including preparation, launch, control, and guidance.
-- PressTV
July 22, 2017
Iran inaugurated a mass production line for the Sayyad (Hunter) 3 air defense missile.  The Sayyad 3 has a maximum range of 120 kilometers and was designed by the Defense Ministry’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO).  Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan and Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Khatam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base, attended the inauguration.  The Sayyad 3 has infrared capability and features to counter electronic warfare tactics, according to the Defense Minister.
-- Press TV