#AceNewsReport – June.14: Mohsen Rezaei, a conservative candidate for the Iranian Presidency, said in a recent interview that his plan to boost the country’s ailing economy was to kidnap 1,000 Americans and demand several million dollars in ransom per hostage:
Iranian presidential candidate: Fix economy by taking 1,000 Americans hostage,” by Dan Verbin, Arutz Sheva, June 11, 2021: Iranian journalist and activist Masih Alinejad posted a video of Rezaei’s statement to Twitter.
“This is surreal. Mohsen Rezaei candidate for Iran presidential elections said he’d take 1000 more American hostages to boost iran’s economy. For every hostage he’d ask several (million dollars) as a solution to Iran’s failing economy,” she tweeted along with the hashtags #IraniansBoycottElections and #NotVotingForIR.
In the video, an anchor said in Farsi, “So he’d take hostages to extort money.”
The video cuts to a clip Rezaei who said, “We’ll take 1,000 Americans hostage. America will have to pay several billions to get every single one freed.”
“This is how we can solve our economic problems,” he added.
Rezaei was described by Saeid Jafari writing for the Atlantic Council as a “perpetual candidate” for the presidency.
He first ran for president in 2005. He also ran in 2009 and 2013.
Reza [sic] was the Iranian Republican Guard Corps commander-in-chief for 17 years….
#AceNewsReport – May.24: Discussions were held and decisions made yesterday. The law passed by the Parliament will be implemented. The Leader has underlined the importance of this issue as well,” Qalibaf said:
TEHRAN: Qalibaf: ‘IAEA no longer to access images of Iran nuclear sites: He said the Majlis is fully resolved to implement its Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions, which has tasked the administration with suspending extra commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal’
Sunday, 23 May 2021 11:35 AM [ Last Update: Sunday, 23 May 2021 11:35 AM ]
“From May 22 and with the end of the three-month agreement, the agency will have no access to data collected by cameras inside the nuclear facilities agreed under the agreement, and cannot transfer them,” Qalibaf told the parliament Sunday.
The decision, Qalibaf said, is backed by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Last December, Iranian lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of the Strategic Action Plan to Counter Sanctions.
The law tasked the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) with producing and storing at least 120 kilograms of enriched uranium with a 20-percent purity level every year and raising enrichment beyond 20 percent according to the country’s needs.
In February, Iran and the IAEA reached a technical understanding under which Iran agreed to keep the camera footage of its nuclear sites for three months in a goodwill gesture, waiting to see if the other parties to the nuclear deal can bring the US back into full compliance with the accord.
That deadline expired on Saturday, with the prospects of bringing Washington back to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal is officially known, looking uncertain.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who is the head of the Iranian delegation to the Vienna talks, told Japan’s NHK channel on Friday that the Islamic Republic may consider extending the deal with the IAEA on inspection of its nuclear sites.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi is going to hold a news conference on Sunday afternoon.
Senior diplomats from Iran and the remaining parties to the JCPOA are in Vienna for negotiations on a potential revitalization of the deal, and an effective removal of the US sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.
The United States, under former president Donald Trump, left the JCPOA in May 2018 and restored the economic sanctions that the accord had lifted on Iran.
Tehran responded to the US noncompliance through taking a series of remedial measures envisaged in the nuclear deal if in case the other side did not observe its obligations.
Iran has insisted that it would observe its commitments only after the US removed all its sanctions in one step and Tehran could verify it.
#AceNewsReport – May.15: Meetings and consultations among the Iranian and the G4+1 countries in the framework of trilateral, bilateral and multilateral meetings continue in Vienna aimed at contributing to the faster resolving of the issue:
TEHRAN: May 14, IRNA – Head of the Iranian and Chinese delegations to Vienna reviewed important issues regarding Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA): Earlier, heads of diplomatic delegations of Iran, Russia and China to the JCPOA Joint Commission held a trilateral meeting in Vienna on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the head of the Iranian delegation Abbas Araghchi had a meeting with Enrique Mora, the deputy secretary general of the EU foreign relations office and the heads of the three EU delegations in the negotiations.
#AceNewsReport – May.14: This is the second time within the last month that U.S. military vessels have had to fire warning shots because of what they said was unsafe behavior by Iranian vessels in the region, after a relative lull in such interactions over the past year:
Iranian vessels ‘acting very aggressively’ harass US ships in Strait of Hormuz, US ship fires 30 warning shots
“U.S. military ship fires 30 warning shots after encounter with Iranian vessels,” by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart, Reuters, May 11, 2021:
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the warning shots were fired after the Iranian fast boats came as close as 150 yards (450 feet) of six U.S. military vessels, including the USS Monterey, that were escorting the guided-missile submarine Georgia.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Maui fired the warning shots from a .50-caliber machine gun before the Iranian vessels left, Kirby said.
“It’s significant… and they were acting very aggressively,” he said, adding that the number of Iranian vessels was more than in the recent past….
#AceNewsReport – May.09: According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Mehrdad Ansari, 39, of Iran, attempted to transship and transshipped cargo obtained from the U.S. by co-defendants Taiwanese citizen Susan Yip, aka Susan Yeh, and Iranian citizen Mehrdad Foomanie, aka Frank Foomanie, using Ansari’s company Gulf Gate Sea Cargo LLC, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates:
WASHINGTON: ‘Jury Convicts Iranian National for Illegally Exporting Military Sensitive Items: These parts had dual-use military and civilian capability and could be used in systems such as nuclear weapons, missile guidance and development, secure tactical radio communications, offensive electronic warfare, military electronic countermeasures (radio jamming), and radar warning and surveillance systems’
From Oct. 9, 2007 to June 15, 2011, the defendants obtained or attempted to obtain from companies worldwide over 105,000 parts valued at approximately $2,630,800 involving more than 1,250 transactions. The defendants conducted 599 transactions with 63 different U.S. companies in which they obtained or attempted to obtain parts from U.S. companies without notifying the companies these parts were being shipped to Iran or getting the required U.S. government license to ship these parts to Iran.
At no time did Yip, Foomanie or Ansari, individually or through any of their companies, ever apply for or receive either a required U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) license or Department of Commerce export license to ship any item listed in this indictment to the Republic of Iran.
Iranian Transaction Regulations prohibit, among other things, the exportation, re-exportation, sale or supply, directly or indirectly, to Iran or the Government of Iran, of any goods, technology or services from the U.S. or by a U.S. person. The embargo also prohibits any transaction by any U.S. person or within the U.S. that evades or avoids, or has the purpose of evading or avoiding, any prohibition set forth in the Executive Orders.
Ansari was convicted of one count of conspiracy to violate the Iranian Transaction Regulations (ITR), one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of the Treasury and two counts of aiding and abetting the making of false statements. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 1 and faces a up to 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to violate Iranian Trade Regulations; up to 5 years for conspiracy to commit wire fraud; up to 5 years for conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Department of the Treasury; and up to 5 years on each count of the aiding and abetting the making of false statements. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
In October 2012, Yip was sentenced to two years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to violate the ITR by acting as a broker and conduit for Foomanie to buy items in the U.S. and have them unlawfully shipped to Iran. Mehrdad Foomanie remains a fugitive.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Roomberg, William R. Harris and Kelly Stevenson are prosecuting the case, with valuable assistance provided by Deputy Chief for Export Control and Sanctions Elizabeth Cannon of the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.
#AceNewsReport – May.02: A German intelligence agency for the state of Bavaria said last week in its new report that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not ceased its drive to obtain weapons of mass destruction during 2020.” Iran has never slowed down, and no deal will stop it:
German intelligence: Iran, Syria, and Pakistan are producing weapons of mass destruction: The Jerusalem Post reviewed the 380-page intelligence document which contains 28 references to the Islamic Republic. The report lists additional threats to Bavaria’s democracy.
“Iran still seeks mass destruction weapons – German intelligence report,” by Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post, April 28, 2021:
The German intelligence agency for the state of Bavaria said last week in its new report that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not ceased its drive to obtain weapons of mass destruction during 2020.
“Proliferation-relevant states like Iran, North Korea, Syria and Pakistan are making efforts to expand their conventional arsenal of weapons through the production or constant modernization of weapons of mass destruction,” wrote the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the formal name for the domestic intelligence agency.
“In order to obtain the necessary know-how and corresponding components, these states are trying to establish business contacts to companies in high-technology countries like Germany,” said the Bavarian intelligence report in its section on weapons of mass destruction.
The German agency is the rough equivalent of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
The intelligence report defines proliferation as “the unauthorized spread of atomic, biological, chemical weapons of mass destruction or the products used for their manufacture as well as the corresponding weapon carrier systems, including the necessary know-how.”
With respect to the section of the report on the Islamic Republic’s espionage activities, the intelligence document stated that “Germany remains in the focus of intelligence activities. This includes information from foreign and security policy as well as business and science. An additional focus [of Iran’s intelligence services] is the observation of, and fight against, opposition groups domestically and abroad.”
Hezbollah, the Iranian regime’s chief strategic ally in the Middle East, has 30 members in Bavaria….
#AceNewsReport – Apr.29: The Iranians are only amputating fingers. They’re moderate: In any case, this is the Sharia. When you suggest it is not compatible with Western values, you’re guilty of “bigotry.”
Sharia in action in Iran: Five men to have fingers amputated for theft: “Five men face having their fingers amputated for stealing under brutal Islamic penal code in Iran,” by Adam Barnett, MailOnline, April 22, 2021 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):
Five men in Iran could have their fingers amputated as a punishment for stealing under the country’s brutal Islamic penal code.
Behnam Sina and four others were found guilty of breaking into 22 homes across Tehran, the capital city.
The men are being held at Branch Ten of the Criminal Court of Tehran and have contested the charges, admitting to only a few of the burglaries.
But under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code, amputation of limbs is considered a suitable punishment for theft.
Of the 22 households burgled, eight were present during the court hearing.
Six of the households demanded the return of their stolen property and called for the amputation of the thieves’ fingers if the property could not be returned.
At least one other victim might seek amputation as punishment in place of the return of their stolen money and gold.
The final decision on sentencing has yet to be made by the Tehran court….
#AceNewsReport – Apr.23: The new strategic alliance between Iran and China represents a serious threat to the West, particularly at a time where America is bereft of leadership. The Biden Administration is a global laughingstock, which has offered Iran and China a clear path to expanding their influence.
JCPOA Meeting: Chinese envoy at nuke talks urges all parties to immediately lift sanctions on Iran: ‘The red-green axis has been consistently undermining Western democracies for years. Recently, Iran and China signed a 25-year strategic deal which virtually neutralizes American pressure on Iran to curtail its efforts toward a nuclear bomb. The deal heightens Iran’s ambitions for regional hegemony and beyond’
Lifting sanctions on Iran will speed up Iran’s efforts toward a nuclear bomb. Iran has openly admitted to breaching the Obama nuke deal, and Netanyahu provided extensive evidence that the Iran deal was based on lies.
“Chinese envoy urges parties to Iran nuke deal to immediately start negotiating sanction-lifting formula,” Xinhua, April 17, 2021:
Wang Qun, Chinese envoy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna, made the appeal here after attending a new round of meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission.
“China has drawn much encouragement that the Joint Commission has, over the two days, come back to its normal track with productive and constructive work,” he said.
“China maintains that all U.S. sanctions should be lifted immediately,” be it sanctions against Iran, or its long-arm jurisdiction measures on third-party entities and individuals, including those on the Chinese, he noted.
China believes that the Joint Commission should continue to focus on the “more substantive work” of sanction-lifting through the two major processes — the nuclear implementation and sanctions-lifting working groups’ work, and the “proximity talks” with the United States, said the envoy.
According to him, China will continue to work with all parties concerned to push the U.S. and Iran to resume negotiations on the implementation of the JCPOA for early and tangible results……
#AceNewsReport – Apr.22: And the Iranians were quick to announce that they had launched an attack on what they describe as a Mossad intelligence center in Kurdish Iraq, and caused many casualties among its “Israeli forces.” It was an attempt to persuade both its own people, and the rest of the world, that Iran was able to strike back at once and inflict significant damage on Israel.
Iran, Humiliated By Natanz, Claims It Hit ‘Mossad’ Site In Iraq: The Iranians are smarting from the latest Mossad attack, which destroyed much of its new centrifuge plant, built 50 meters underground, at Natanz. There have been dire threats from Iran about taking its revenge on Israel. The report on the supposed attack is here: “Iranian media spreads report of attack on alleged Mossad center in Iraq,” by Tzvi Joffre, Jerusalem Post, April 14, 2021:
On Tuesday night, a number of semi-official and official Iranian media sources shared a report claiming that an intelligence and special operations center in northern Iraq allegedly belonging to the Mossad was attacked by an “unidentified group.”
The Iranian reports claimed that “Israeli forces” were injured or killed in the alleged attack and promised to release more details and footage “soon.” As of Wednesday [April 14] morning, no further details nor footage has been released.
A report on the alleged incident shared by the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency claimed that “Iraqi media and sources have repeatedly warned about the activities of Zionist elements” in the Iraqi Kurdistan area.
The report was not confirmed by any official sources, but has been published by the semi-official Fars News Agency, Al-Alam News, which is owned by Iran’s state media corporation, and Press TV, an English-language news network run by the Iranian government.
The Iranian reports gave no details, only reporting that an attack on “an intelligence and special operations center” belonging to Mossad had taken place. According to Iraqi Kurdish sources, such baseless claims about the existence of a “Mossad center” in Iraqi Kurdistan have been made before. In Iran’s brief report, nothing was revealed about the attackers, described only as an “unidentified group.” Nothing was said about where the attack took place beyond “northern Iraq.” Nothing further has been said to support the claim that there have been casualties among “Israeli forces,” even though the Iranian government promised to release “more details and footage.” There has been no release of any footage – not of the building that was supposedly Iran’s target, and not of the killed and wounded Israelis. There was no mention of how the attack took place – was it a bombing, drones, cyberwarfare, Iranian agents on the ground? It was, of course, a fantasy produced by the Iranians to save face, to let their own people and the world know that they had dealt a heavy blow to the Jewish state as retaliation for its attack on the underground facility at Natanz.
It took less than a day for the Iraqi Kurds to deny the story. Just a day after the Iranian Fars news agency had reported on that attack on a “Mossad center” in northern Iraq, the Iraqi Kurds announced that there had been no such attack. A spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government denied reports of an alleged attack on a Mossad center in northern Iraq as “completely false” on Wednesday morning, stating that this isn’t the first time claims have been made that an Israeli intelligence center is located in Kurdistan, according to Iraqi media.
“The purpose of publishing such reports is clearly a conspiracy against the region and its political process,” added the spokesman.
That unambiguous denial of any such Iranian attack on a “Mossad center” by the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq apparently convinced the Iranians to drop their claim – it was being received with too much skepticism in the region, and outright denial in Iraqi Kurdistan, making Iran look ridiculous.
President Rouhani took a different tack. He said at a televised cabinet meeting that the answer to Israel’s Natanz attack would not take the form of violent retaliation; Iran had another, better way to strike back: “Of course, the security and intelligence officials must give the final reports, but apparently it is the crime of the Zionists, and if the Zionists act against our nation, we will answer it. Our response to their malice is replacing the damaged centrifuges with more advanced ones and ramping up the enrichment to 60% at the Natanz facility.”
Such an “answer,” in the form of uranium enriched to a level of 60%, relieves Iran of the need to strike back violently against the Jewish state, which would only prompt Israel to respond with a far more devastating blow, to which the Iranians would not dare to respond. Enriching uranium to that higher level of purity is a move that will satisfy the Iranian public that “something is being done to answer the Zionists” and yet should not trigger a violent response from Israel. And another calculation by Iran might be this: the Biden Administration, already so disposed to appeasing the Islamic Republic, will want to reward Iran for its “restraint” in its non-violent answer to Israel’s latest devastating blow at Natanz. What better way to reward Iran for holding back than to accede to its demand that some U.S. sanctions be removed before Iran re-commits to any part of the 2015 nuclear deal?
#AceNewsReport – Apr.22: Weakness is an open-season invitation to bullies. With the Biden Administration in power, US troops abroad are under more risks from jihadists, particularly those linked to Iran.
Iraq: Five injured as jihadis with suspected ties to Iran launch rockets on airbase housing Americans: Shadowy Shiite armed groups aligned with Iran,” demanding a pullout date for American troops in Iraq, are the key suspects Five injured as rockets hit Iraqi air base housing by Mahmoud Saleh, AFP, April 18, 2021:
Two of the rockets fired at Balad airbase, north of Baghdad, crashed into a dormitory and a canteen of US company Sallyport, a security source told AFP.
Two foreign contractors and three Iraqi soldiers were wounded, the source added.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the United States routinely blames Iran-linked Iraqi factions for such attacks on its troops and diplomats.
F-16 fighters are stationed at the Balad airbase, and several maintenance companies are present there, employing Iraqi and foreign staff.
There have been around 20 bomb or rocket attacks against American interests, including bases hosting US soldiers, since US President Joe Biden took office in January.
Dozens of others took place from the autumn of 2019 under the administration of Donald Trump.
Two Americans and an Iraqi civilian have been killed in such attacks since late 2019.
An Iraqi civilian working for a firm maintaining US fighter jets for the Iraq air force was also wounded in one attack.
The Balad base was also targeted earlier this month, without causing any casualties.
The attacks are sometimes claimed by shadowy Shiite armed groups aligned with Iran who are demanding the Biden administration set a pullout date for Iraq as it has for Afghanistan.
On Wednesday, an explosives-packed drone slammed into Iraq’s Arbil airport in the first reported use of such a weapon against a base used by US-led coalition troops in the country, officials said….
On Saturday, Iranian television published a picture of the person involved in the attack on the Natanz nuclear facility, indicating that Karimi was an Iranian citizen, and that he was 43 years old.
On Monday, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, said that his country would respond to Israel at the appropriate time and place to the Natanz attack, indicating that the incident would have led to a disaster and a crime against humanity if it led to radioactive contamination.
The Israeli public radio reported, citing intelligence sources, as saying that the Mossad behind the Natanz incident.
A spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Behrouz Kamalondi, confirmed that the electricity distribution network at the Natanz facility had had an incident, while the head of the organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, said that the incident was an act of sabotage, describing it as “a heinous move and condemned nuclear terrorism.”
In the wake of the Natanz attack, Iran announced that it would raise the level of uranium enrichment to 60%, and the Atomic Energy Organization confirmed that this would start last Friday.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.19: In a meeting with Lavrov, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran wishes to expand regional cooperation with Russia on Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen in order to help establish stability and combat American interventions.
Iran and Russia engage in high-level talks, discuss combating US interventions in Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen: Iran which has been boasting of its military might, insisting that the US lift sanctions. It has signed a 25-year strategic deal with China, and is now engaging in high-level talks with Russia “in order to help establish stability and combat American interventions.” America is losing its global influence, with results that could be catastrophic.
“Iran and Russia discuss ties, the Middle East, and nuclear deal,” by Maziar Motamedi, Al Jazeera, April 13, 2021:
He also called for more defence and military cooperation,especially as a United Nations Security Council arms embargo on Iran ended in October 2020.
“Opening the Zionist regime’s foothold to the Persian Gulf region as a destabilising and tension-creating element will be a dangerous act,” Rouhani said of Israel, which Iran has accused of orchestrating “nuclear terrorism” on its facilities at Natanz on Sunday.
The president further said Iran and Russia should also boost bilateral economic activity, especially using private companies, in the oil, energy, transportation, and nuclear sectors.
He called on Russia to accelerate the process of delivering more doses of the Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 to Iran and said Iran is eager to finalise a plan to establish a joint vaccine manufacturing line with Russia.
Iran has so far received more than half a million doses of the vaccine, and has had difficulty in administering it as the first and second doses of Sputnik V – that need to be injected 21 days apart – are different.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, was also a main topic of talks as multilateral talks in Vienna to restore the deal the US abandoned in 2018 will continue on Wednesday.
Rouhani said Iran wants conditions of the landmark accord to be restored to what they were in 2015 when it was originally signed.
“We are neither willing to accept anything less nor wish to achieve anything more,” the president said.
Lavrov told Rouhani that Russia is of the same opinion as Iran on the fact the US must come back into full compliance with the JCPOA, and that trying to add new conditions to the deal would not be acceptable, according to the president’s website….
#AceNewsReport – Apr.18: The attack Sunday, suspected to have been carried out by Israel, has inflamed a shadow war between the two nations. Iran has begun enriching a small amount of uranium up to 60% purity — its highest level ever — in response amid talks in Vienna aimed at saving its tattered nuclear deal with world powers:
Iran names suspect in Natanz nuclear site attack, says he fled country: ‘State television named the suspect as 43-year-old Reza Karimi. It showed a passport-style photograph of a man it identified as Karimi, saying he was born in the nearby city of Kashan, Iran’
The report did not elaborate how Karimi would have gotten access to one of the most secure facilities in the Islamic Republic: The report also aired what appeared to be an Interpol “red notice” seeking his arrest.
The arrest notice was not immediately accessible on Interpol’s public-facing database. Interpol, based in Lyon, France, did not immediately respond to a request for comment: The TV report said “necessary actions” are underway to bring him back to Iran through legal channels, without elaborating. The supposed Interpol “red notice” listed his travel history as including Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Ethiopia, Qatar, Turkey, Uganda, Romania and another country that was illegible. The report also showed centrifuges in a hall, as well as what appeared to be caution tape up at the Natanz facility.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.12: Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Iran Atomic Energy Organisation (IAEO), condemned a “futile” act, while urging the international community to “confront this anti-nuclear terrorism”, in a statement carried by state television:
Iran atomic agency says nuclear facility hit by act of ‘terrorism’ The episode came a day after the Islamic republic said it had started up advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges at the site, in a breach of its commitments under a troubled 2015 deal with world powers according to the Jordan Times
The attack was carried out by “opponents of the country’s industrial and political progress, who aim to prevent development of a thriving nuclear industry”, he said, without specifying what country or entity might be behind the alleged sabotage.
IAEO spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi had earlier reported an accident at the enrichment facility caused by a “power failure”. No-one was injured and there was no radioactive release, the official Fars news agency reported, citing the spokesman.
Kamalvandi said there had been “an accident in part of the electrical circuit of the enrichment facility” at the Natanz complex near Tehran.
“The causes of the accident are under investigation and more details will be released later,” he added, before the later statement put out by the agency’s chief.
He did not say whether power was cut only in the enrichment facility or across other installations at the site.
Malek Chariati, spokesman for the Iranian parliament’s energy commission, took to Twitter to allege sabotage.
“This incident, coming [the day after] National Nuclear Technology Day, as Iran endeavours to press the West into lifting sanctions, is strongly suspected to be sabotage or infiltration,” Chariati said.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani had on Saturday inaugurated a cascade of centrifuges for enriching uranium and two test cascades at Natanz, in a ceremony broadcast by state television.
An Israeli public broadcast journalist, Amichai Stein, said on Twitter “the assessment is that the fault” at Natanz is the “result of an Israeli cyber operation”, without elaborating or providing evidence to corroborate his claim.
Iran’s president had on Saturday also inaugurated a replacement factory at Natanz, after an explosion at a facility making advanced centrifuges there last July.
Iranian authorities likewise blamed the July incident on “sabotage” by “terrorists”, but have not released the results of their investigation into it.
The equipment inaugurated on Saturday enables quicker enrichment of uranium and in higher quantities, to levels that violate Iran’s commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal it agreed with the five permanent United Nations Security Council powers, plus Germany.
The administration of then-US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from this multilateral nuclear accord in 2018 and reimposed biting sanctions on Iran.
Iran later responded by progressively rolling back its own commitments under the agreement.
Trump’s successor Joe Biden has said he is prepared to return to the deal, arguing it had — until Washington’s withdrawal — been successful in dramatically scaling back Iran’s nuclear activities.
Iran’s latest move to step up uranium enrichment follows an opening round of talks in Vienna Tuesday with representatives of the remaining parties to the nuclear deal on bringing the US back into it.
The Vienna talks are focused not only on lifting the crippling economic sanctions Trump reimposed, but also on bringing Iran back into compliance.
Iran’s nemesis Israel has always been implacably opposed to the 2015 accord.
In November last year, Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed by machine gun fire while travelling on a highway outside Tehran.
Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said a satellite-controlled gun with “artificial intelligence” was used in the attack, which Tehran blamed on Israel.
Uranium enrichment can produce the fuel for a nuclear reactor, or in highly extended form, the fissile core of an atomic warhead. It is one of the most sensitive nuclear activities carried out by Iran.
Rouhani had again underlined at Saturday’s ceremony that Tehran’s nuclear programme is solely for “peaceful” purposes.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.10: Imam Khamenei’s Instagram account also released a video in which His Eminence reiterated that Tehran is in no hurry for Washington to come back to the nuclear agreement.
Imam Khamenei: Verification of US Sanctions Removal Means Iran Should Be Able to Sell Its Oil: The talks, taking place in Vienna in the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are chaired by an official appointed by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell.
Imam Khamenei’s remarks came in a post on his Instagram page on Thursday as an Iranian negotiating team is in the Austrian capital city of Vienna to discuss conditions for the revival of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], with other signatories to the deal: https://t.me/reuters_news_agency/72596 Reuters Wire News, [Apr 9, 2021 at 12:35 PM]
Iran nuclear deal participants to continue talks next week- EU BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Officials from Iran, China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain will continue talks on the return of the United States to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran next week, after “constructive exchanges” this week, the European Union said on Friday.
“Verification [of US sanctions removal] means [being capable of] selling oil in an official manner, with ease and under normal conditions, and its money be received by Iran,” His Eminence added.
His Eminence added that the signatories of the nuclear agreement failed to abide by their commitments under the deal, noting that the decision by the Iranian government and parliament to rollback Tehran’s nuclear commitments was right.
Imam Khamenei stated that commitment on one side should be reciprocated by commitment on the other side and the US must remove all sanctions if the West wants Iran to return to JCPOA compliance.
His Eminence also noted that Tehran will return to full compliance with the nuclear deal once it verifies sanctions have been really removed by the US.
Imam Khamenei said other signatories to the deal have no right to set conditions for Tehran as long as they have not fulfilled their obligations, emphasizing that this is Iran’s definitive policy from which Tehran will not step back.
The United States began imposing heavy economic sanctions against Iran in 2018 after former US President Donald Trump scrapped the JCPOA, which was signed by Iran and world powers, as a result of which Iran was barred from economic transactions with the rest of the world, including selling its oil and receiving its money.
While the Trump administration described its anti-Iran measures as the “maximum pressure” policy, Tehran slammed the measures as “economic war,” “economic terrorism” and also “medical terrorism,” maintaining that the sanctions have severely harmed Iranians but failed to bring the nation to its knees.
The new US administration of Joe Biden has conceded that the so-called maximum pressure campaign has failed, promising to replace it with a new policy, but it has so far failed to take any practical steps in that direction and has actually followed suit with Trump-era policies toward Iran.
Iran remained fully compliant with the deal for an entire year but as the remaining European parties failed to fulfill their end of the bargain, Tehran began in May 2019 to scale back its JCPOA commitments in several steps under Articles 26 and 36 of the accord covering Tehran’s legal rights.
#AceNewsReport – Apr.07: Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “As alleged, Michael Rose participated in a years-long scheme to violate our sanctions by surreptitiously exporting cosmetics to Iran via front company intermediaries in the Middle East. Today’s charges underscore that those who violate our sanctions on Iran will be investigated and prosecuted.”
‘Michael Rose Allegedly Sold More Than $350,000 in Goods to an Iranian Importer in Violation of U.S. Sanctions and Allegedly Committed Related Money Laundering and Bank Fraud Crimes’
Southern District of New York:
According to the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:
MICHAEL ROSE is the president of a Long Island-based cosmetics manufacturer and supplier (“Company-1”). In that role, ROSE manages, among other things, Company-1’s operations and its international sales business. Between 2015 and 2018, ROSE participated in a conspiracy to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran by causing Company-1 to export from the United States more than $350,000 worth of cosmetics to an importer in Iran (“Importer-1”). In or about June 2015, ROSE signed a contract with Importer-1 establishing that Importer-1’s Iran-based company would be the exclusive distributor for Company-1’s products in Iran. Importer-1 then used front companies based outside Iran to make payments to Company-1 in New York and to arrange for the transshipment of Company-1’s goods to Iran via the United Arab Emirates. In addition to shipping goods and accepting payments in violation of U.S. sanctions, ROSE also filed false and misleading information on United States Department of Commerce Shipper’s Export Declaration forms in connection with the illegal shipments. The forms falsely represented that the “ultimate consignee” for the goods was in the United Arab Emirates, not Iran, and also falsely lowered the purchase price for the goods purchased by Importer-1 in order to evade customs payments.
ROSE, 50, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, is charged in the Indictment with (1) conspiring to violate IEEPA, in violation of 50 U.S.C. § 1705, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; (2) conspiring to launder money, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h), which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and (3) conspiring to commit bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The statutory penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.
Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding efforts of the FBI and the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) for their assistance.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office’s Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sam Adelsberg is in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Trial Attorney Scott Claffee of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division.
Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Jonathan Carson, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement (“DOC-OEE”), announced today the unsealing of charges against MICHAEL ROSE for conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”), and participating in bank fraud and money laundering conspiracies. ROSE was arrested by the FBI and OEE today, and he will be presented later today in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron.
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Whatever his motivation – greed or something more sinister – we allege Mr. Rose intentionally disguised his products’ ultimate destination and lied about those products’ prices to limit his customs liability. It’s a federal crime to violate sanctions the United States put in place to protect our national interests from Iran and other designated nation states. Mr. Rose may have thought the rules didn’t apply to him, but, if he did, today’s action demonstrates otherwise.”
DOC-OEE Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Carson said: “The Office of Export Enforcement will vigorously enforce sanctions violations involving Iran, including actions by exporters to undermine the integrity of our export control system through the submission of false or misleading information. The Office of Export Enforcement will continue applying the investigative resources and authorities necessary to protect and promote U.S. national security, foreign policy, and economic interests.”
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description of the Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.
This will prop up the mullahs, who are so unpopular among the Iranian people that the Islamic regime might otherwise have fallen’
“Urdu-Language Daily: ‘More Than 5,000 Chinese Troops Will Be Deployed In Iran, And A [Military] Base Will Be Built,’” MEMRI, April 2, 2021:
The article in the Urdu daily Roznama Ummat.
Pakistani analysts are also watching how China’s new focus on Iran will influence Chinese investment in Pakistan. In a report, the Urdu daily Roznama Ummat tried to assess the impact of the Chinese agreement with Iran.
The report is titled: “The Deployment Of 5,000 Chinese Troops In Iran [is] Part Of The Agreement.” The Roznama Ummat report sees the deployment of 5,000 Chinese troops in Iran in positive terms for regional stability. Following is the text of the report.
“More Than 5,000 Chinese Troops Will Be Deployed In Iran, And A [Military] Base Will Be Built For Them”
“In the agreement with Iran regarding the investment project, China has also included a clause for deployment of its troops there; and more than 5,000 Chinese troops will be deployed in Iran, and a [military] base will be built for them. Before this, China has also put its signature on investment projects with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which shows that China is implementing a plan to increase its influence in the Middle East.
“Contrary to the general impression, analysts are also seeing positive impact of the Chinese investment in Iran on the CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor] project underway in Pakistan… China is going to get cheap oil from Iran which will go to China via Pakistan. Similarly, China’s [investment projects] with Pakistan are, instead of financial benefits, of strategic nature.
“Pakistani experts and analysts who observe these matters deeply completely reject the general concern in Pakistan that China is now moving in the direction of Iran [thereby abandoning Pakistan]. They say that the recent pact between China and Iran for economic cooperation will not be an alternative to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and will be rather nourishing it.
“According to experts, China has tried to wriggle itself out of the consequences of the American sanctions by cooperating with Iran in long-term economic and infrastructure construction and security matters. Iran has agreed to sell its oil to China at a price cheaper than international rates to get an assured source of income and so that the sale of its oil can continue without any obstacles. The documents of this [China-Iran] agreement have not yet emerged, but as per the known details, during the next 25 years Chinese projects worth $400 billion can significantly help in creating economic stability in Iran’s damaged economy. In exchange for it, China will get oil, gas, and petrochemical products at cheaper prices from Iran.”
Former Pakistani Ambassador Iqbal Ahmed Khan: “America Has Sidelined Both Pakistan And Iran Which Forced Us To Look Toward Others; China’s Cooperation With Iran Will Benefit Pakistan Directly”
“According to the agreement signed between the two countries, 5,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army of China will also be deployed in Iran which is being opposed in Iran – at the forefront of which is the former President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. An analyst… has written that that this agreement, giving China an opportunity to deploy 5,000 security and military officials on the Iran territory, is a regional game-changer.
“Meanwhile, as per Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, the chairman of the Pakistan-China Institute, the Iran-China agreement is positive for the interests of Pakistan and the region because this will nourish a regional economic cooperation whose center is Pakistan, that is CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor]. Mushahid Hussain expressed the hope that it will help in providing stability to the role of [Chinese-built] Gwadar port in promoting regional cooperation between China, Afghanistan, Iran, and the countries of the Middle East and in stabilizing Baluchistan [the insurgency-affected Pakistani province along Iran’s border].
“Former Pakistani ambassador Iqbal Ahmed Khan, who is the professor of international affairs at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), says that China’s investment project with Iran is part of its $8 trillion Border and Road Initiative (BRI) projects, the CPEC being one of them. It is not correct to compare China’s investment in Iran with the CPEC in Pakistan because both of them are Chinese investments and the two will be aiding each other, and its benefits will reach all the three countries [China, Pakistan, and Iran].
“The former ambassador [Iqbal Ahmed Khan] said that China’s investment in Iran is not at the cost of Pakistan. He said that America has sidelined both Pakistan and Iran, which forced us to look toward others; China’s cooperation with Iran will benefit Pakistan directly. Iran’s oil, which currently travels 13,000 miles to reach China, will now travel 1,500 miles through the safe passage in Pakistan to reach China…”
#AceNewsReport – Mar.31: The last three Jewish families in Yemen were deported by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, leaving only four elderly Jews in the country, after heavy pressure by the Houthis, the London-based Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat reported over the weekend:
Yemen: ‘The families, totaling 13 people, told Asharq Al-Awsat that they were now searching for a new home and had resisted leaving their home, but finally agreed to leave after the Houthis made their departure a condition for the release of Levi Salem Marhabi, a Jew who was captured by the Houthis about six years ago’
“Almost all remaining Jews in Yemen deported – Saudi media,” by Tzvi Joffre, Jerusalem Post, March 29, 2021:
“They gave us a choice between staying in the midst of harassment and keeping Salem a prisoner or leaving and having him released,” one of the deported Jews told Asharq Al-Awsat. “History will remember us as the last of Yemeni Jews who were still clinging to their homeland until the last moment.”
Marhabi was arrested by the Houthis for helping a Yemeni Jewish family move an old Torah scroll out of the country. Despite a court ruling that he was innocent and should be released, he was reportedly held as a bargaining chip, according to the daily…..
#AceNewsReport – Mar.28: Speaking to IRIB TV Channel 1, Khatibzadeh said that China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting Iran on the verge of the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries and the document would be signed in this trip:
Iran-China partnership foundation of new ‘world order’: Envoy: Tehran, March 27, IRNA – Iranian Ambassador to Brazil Hossein Gharibi said on Saturday that the Iran-China partnership could set the foundation of a new “world order”, with high respect for oriental values: The cooperation document had for the first time been discussed in 2015, when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran, to lead bilateral ties to a comprehensive and strategic level.
“Today in Tehran: Iran and China finalized their first 25-year strategic framework, under which, they outlined their long-term economic and other interests. This is presenting a fine model for constructive engagement to serve people as the end beneficiaries,” Gharibi wrote in his Twitter message
Gharibi added that the maximum pressure on Iranians at the time of COVID-1 9, the worst human tragedy of our time, was also the moral failure of its supporters, adding that since it was not quickly reprimanded and corrected by the Biden administration, it cannot be labeled as merely an isolated policy of former US President Donald Trump.
“China-Iran partnership could set the foundation of a new ‘world order’, with high respect for oriental values rather than the current failed ones that have been, in recent years, becoming extremely and aggressive.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi signed the Iran-China comprehensive cooperation document in a meeting in Tehran on Saturday.
In addition to his Iranian counterpart, Wang met Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Ali Larijani, the advisor to Supreme Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry also inaugurated today an exhibition of historical documents on Iran-China cooperation in the wake of the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties.
Iran, China to sign cooperation document, says Spox: Tehran, March 27, IRNA – Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Friday night that Iran and China would sign the 25-year Cooperation document on Saturday after the Chinese Foreign Minister, who arrived in Tehran Friday night, is also going to have meetings with a number of Iranian authorities, according to the Spokesman’
The spokesman of Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affair said on Friday evening that the relations between Iran and China are multi-layered, deep, and have different dimensions, which necessitates them to be included in a document. Therefore, the document has been exchanged between the two states several times and it would eventually be signed on Saturday by foreign ministers.
He also said that the cooperation document was discussed in 2015, when the Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran, to lead bilateral ties to a comprehensive and strategic level.
“Relations between Iran and China are multi-layered, deep and having different dimension and this necessitates them to be included in a document. Therefore, the document has been exchanged between the two states for several times and it will eventually be signed on Saturday by Foreign Ministers,” Khatibzadeh went on to say.
The document has a comprehensive road-map, said the diplomat, adding that the economic dimension, as the main axis of the document, includes cooperation in different, as well as Iran’s participation in One Road, One Belt initiative and special focus on the private sector in both countries.
“No comprehensive strategic participation is established unless the exact cultural, popular and media basis is formed. This has been addressed in the cultural part of the document,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman said, adding “We expect the document to serve as a road-map for Iran-China relation in the next 25 years.”
#AceNewsReport – May.08: Editor says this is what we know so far: Vice President Pence is notifying Hill leaders that President Trump will announce withdrawal, according to a senior congressional source: President Trump’s final decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal was made over the weekend, according to a person familiar with the discussions, though it was long considered a foregone conclusion inside the White House #AceNewsDesk reports
National security adviser John Bolton — an Iran hawk who nonetheless told people he was committed to providing all options to Trump — offered a variety of paths, including reimposing all sanctions, applying new sanctions or allowing for more time to negotiate with the Europeans.
Trump determined that more time would not bridge disagreements, most pointedly his demand that Iran’s nuclear program be curbed past the current deal’s sunset.
In his talks with Macron and Merkel, Trump left little doubt that he was planning to withdraw, according to Western diplomats. But he insisted he hadn’t made a final decision and kept his plans very close to the vest in the lead-up to today’s announcement.
We’re waiting for President Trump’s 2 p.m. ET announcement on the Iran deal. Vice President Pence is notifying Hill leaders that Trump will withdraw from it, a congressional source says.