#AceNewsReport – July.14: The conspirators, who all live in Iran and remain at large, also allegedly plotted to lure a person in the UK and three others in Canada to Iran.
#AceDailyNews says Iranians ‘plotted to kidnap US, Canada and UK targets’, the indictment did not name the target, but Masih Alinejad, an Iranian-American author and activist, says it was her this is still unconfirmed
All of the targets had been critical of Iran, according to the indictment.
The US justice department says the Iranian officials sought to lure the New York-based journalist to a third country where the abduction was planned.
The plotters even offered money to the writer’s relatives in Iran to betray them, which they refused to do, the indictment contends.
They hired private investigators to spy on the target’s Brooklyn home and family, and set up a live video feed of the property.
They also researched a service offering military-style speedboats for evacuation from New York City, and maritime routes to Venezuela, an ally of Iran.
Ms Alinejad, 44, is a prominent figure on social media and hosts a programme on the US-funded satellite TV channel Voice of America Persian. She runs the My Stealthy Freedom and White Wednesdays campaigns against the mandatory wearing of headscarves for Iranian women………..Addressing the indictment on TV on Tuesday, she said: “Initially, I naturally felt shocked. Then I got worried… Then I thought about it: we have been scared of the Islamic regime for a lifetime. But now the Islamic regime is scared of me.” The indictment says the Iranian officials were aided by an Iranian resident of California, Niloufar Bahadorifar.She was arrested this month and charged with providing financial aid to the conspirators and violating sanctions against Iran. She has pleaded not guilty.William Sweeney, the head of New York’s FBI office, said it sounded a bit like “some far-fetched movie plot”. “We allege a group, backed by the Iranian government, conspired to kidnap a US-based journalist here on our soil and forcibly return her to Iran,” he said. “Not on our watch.”
In 2019, the Paris-based dissident journalist Ruhollah Zam was enticed by Iranian agents to travel to Iraq, where he was kidnapped and taken to Iran. He was executed last year after being convicted of sedition charges.You might also be interested in:Panorama investigation: The detainees held ‘hostage’ in Iran (August 2020)
#AceNewsReport – July.08: But uranium metal could also be used to make the core of a nuclear bomb: European powers said Iran’s move breached a nuclear deal and threatened talks to revive it. The US called it an “unfortunate step backwards”
TEHRAN: European powers warn Iran over enriched uranium metal production they informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the process was to develop fuel for a research reactor according Arab News sources reports
The 2015 deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saw Iran agree to restrictions its nuclear programme that were designed to minimise the risk of it developing a nuclear weapon.
In return, six world powers – China, France, Germany, Russia, the US and the UK – agreed to lift economic sanctions that were in place.Iran’s nuclear programme: What’s been happening at its key nuclear sites?
Former US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the deal in 2018 and reinstated sanctions on Iran. Iran retaliated by gradually breaching its commitments under the accord.
Mr Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has said he will rejoin the deal and lift sanctions if Iran returns to full compliance, but Iran wants him to make the first move.
Representatives of Iran and the five world powers still party to the deal have been attempting to agree a compromise at talks in Vienna, with US envoys participating indirectly.
The talks began in April and the latest round was adjourned on 20 June, with no date set for the next meeting.
In a statement on Tuesday, the IAEA said: “Today, Iran informed the agency that UO2 [uranium dioxide] enriched up to 20% U-235 would be shipped to the R&D [research and development] laboratory at the Fuel Fabrication Plant in Esfahan, where it would be converted to UF4 [uranium tetrafluoride] and then to uranium metal enriched to 20% U-235, before using it to manufacture the fuel.”
The British, French and German foreign ministers said that they had “grave concerns” about Iran’s decision.
ReutersTalks in Vienna aimed at reviving the nuclear deal talks were adjourned on 20 June
“Iran has no credible civilian need for uranium metal R&D and production, which are a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon,” the ministers said in a joint statement.
“With its latest steps, Iran is threatening a successful outcome to the Vienna talks despite the progress achieved in six rounds of negotiations.”
The statement also urged Iran to return to the talks in the Austrian capital.
US state department spokesperson Ned Price said that although they were not setting a deadline for the talks, “as time proceeds Iran’s nuclear advances will have a bearing on our view of returning to the JCPOA”.
#AceNewsReport – June.29: The Iranian parliament said on Sunday that an agreement to share images from certain nuclear sites with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has ended, state-run news agency Tasnim reported.
IRAN: Stops sharing images with nuclear watchdog (IAEA) in an announcement that effectively ends the international monitoring of their nuclear ambitions, which formed part of the landmark 2015 deal with world powers International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has ended, state-run news agency Tasnim reported.
Iran has been reducing its cooperation with the UN watchdog that formed part of the 2015 deal with world powers to contain Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
But the two sides had agreed on a three-month deal in February to share some images so as to maintain at least some monitoring of its atomic activities.
The failure to extend the deal comes as Iran holds indirect talks with Western powers about renewing the nuclear deal.
DW’s Teri Schultz on Iran nuclear talks in Vienna
The US unilaterally quit the deal in 2018 under former President Donald Trump.
Current US President Joe Biden’s administration has pursued indirect talks about a possible return, but these have been stalled by ongoing disagreements.
The ending of the IAEA image-sharing may prove a further blow to progress, but is also seen as an attempt to pressure Biden to lift devastating sanctions on Tehran.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it would be a “serious concern” for future negotiations if Iran failed to extend the information-sharing agreement.
Iran seeks end to crippling sanctions
The monitoring agreement, first signed in February, was extended on May 24 for another month.
The deal stipulated that Iran would collect data which would then be passed onto the IAEA at a later date.
In May, the nuclear watchdog said it was concerned about several cases of processed uranium particles that had been found at undeclared sites, adding that Iran had produced 2.4 kilograms (5.2 lbs) of almost weapons-grade uranium in a breach of the Iran nuclear deal.
#AceNewsReport – June.22: An official from the state electric company Tavanir, Gholamali Rakhshanimehr, said on a talk show that the Bushehr plant shutdown began on Saturday and would last “for three to four days.”
TEHRAN: Iran’s sole nuclear power plant undergoes emergency shutdown and which sits near active fault lines and was built to withstand powerful quakes, has been periodically shaken by temblors according to state TV
Without elaborating, he said that power outages could result. This is the first time Iran has reported an emergency shutdown of the plant in the southern port city of Bushehr. It went online in 2011 with help from Russia. Iran is required to send spent fuel rods from the reactor back to Russia as a nuclear nonproliferation measure.
Earlier on Sunday, Tavanir released a statement saying that the nuclear plant was being repaired, without offering further details. It said the repair work would take until Friday.
In March, nuclear official Mahmoud Jafari said the plant could stop working since Iran cannot procure parts and equipment for it from Russia due to banking sanctions imposed by the U.S. in 2018.
Bushehr is fueled by uranium produced in Russia, not Iran, and is monitored by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA acknowledged being aware of reports about the plant, but declined to comment.
Construction on Bushehr, on the coast of the northern reaches of the Persian Gulf, began under Iran’s shah in the mid-1970s. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the plant was repeatedly targeted in the Iran-Iraq war. Russia later completed construction of the facility.
The plant, which sits near active fault lines and was built to withstand powerful quakes, has been periodically shaken by temblors. There have been no significant earthquakes reported in the area in recent days.
Iran’s sole nuclear power plant has undergone an unexplained temporary emergency shutdown.
An official from state electric company Tavanir, Gholamali Rakhshanimehr, said on a talk show on Sunday that the Bushehr plant shutdown began on Saturday and would last “for three to four days”.
Without elaborating, he said that power outages could result.
This is the first time Iran has reported an emergency shutdown of the plant, located in the southern port city of Bushehr.
It went online in 2011 with help from Russia.
Iran is required to send spent fuel rods from the reactor back to Russia as a nuclear non-proliferation measure.
Earlier on Sunday, Tavanir released a statement saying the nuclear plant was being repaired, without offering further details. It said the repair work would take until Friday.
In March, nuclear official Mahmoud Jafari said the plant could stop working since Iran cannot procure parts and equipment for it from Russia due to banking sanctions imposed by the US in 2018.
The Bushehr plant is fueled by uranium produced in Russia, and is monitored by the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The IAEA did not immediately respond to request for comment on the reported shutdown.
Construction of the reactor, on the coast of the northern reaches of the Persian Gulf, began under Iran’s shah in the mid-1970s.
After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the plant was repeatedly targeted in the Iran-Iraq war. Russia later completed construction of the facility.
The plant, which sits near active fault lines and was built to withstand powerful quakes, has been periodically shaken by temblors.
There have been no significant earthquakes reported in the area in recent days.
Progress made on Iran nuclear agreement
Meanwhile, top diplomats said on Sunday that further progress had been made at talks between Iran and global powers to try to restore a landmark 2015 agreement abandoned by the Trump administration to contain Iranian nuclear development.
The agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, abolished international economic sanctions on Iran.
Some diplomats expressed concern that Iran’s election of Mr Raisi could complicate a possible return to the nuclear agreement.
Enrique Mora, the European Union official who chaired the final meeting of the sixth round of talks between Russia, China, Germany, France, Britain and Iran, told reporters that “we are closer to a deal, but we are not still there”.
“We have made progress on a number of technical issues,” Mora added.
“We have now more clarity on technical documents — all of them quite complex — and that clarity allows us to have also a great idea of what the political problems are.”
He did not elaborate.
Top Russian representative, Mikhail Ulyanov, said he expected the diplomats to return for the final round of talks in Vienna in about 10 days, and that they could finalise negotiations by mid-July.
#AceNewsReport – June.19: He beat three other candidates in a poll in which most would-be candidates were barred from standing: Iran’s president is the second-highest ranking official in the country, after the supreme leader:
Iran’s hardline judiciary chief has won the country’s presidential election in a landslide victory, propelling the Supreme Leader’s protege into Tehran’s highest civilian position in a vote that appeared to see the lowest turnout in the Islamic republic’s history.
Ebrahim Raisi will be the first Iranian president subject to US sanctions for alleged human rights abuses before taking power
Polls suggest voter turnout was 44 per cent, lower than at past Iranian elections
The quick concessions suggest the win was a landslide for Mr Raisi even amid voter apathy
Initial results showed Ebrahim Raisi won 17.8 million votes in the contest, dwarfing those of the race’s sole moderate candidate.
Mr Raisi will have significant influence over domestic policy and foreign affairs. But in Iran’s political system it is the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the top religious cleric, who has the final say on all state matters.
The country is run according to conservative religious values, and there have been curbs on political freedoms since its Islamic Revolution in 1979. Many Iranians saw this latest election as having been engineered for Mr Raisi to win, and shunned the poll.
Who is Ebrahim Raisi?
The 60-year-old cleric has served as a prosecutor for most of his career. He was appointed head of the judiciary in 2019, two years after he lost by a landslide to Hassan Rouhani in the last presidential election.
Mr Raisi has presented himself as the best person to fight corruption and solve Iran’s economic problems. “Our people’s grievances over shortcomings are real,” he said as he cast his vote in Tehran.
He is fiercely loyal to Iran’s ruling clerics, and has even been seen as a possible successor to Ayatollah Khamenei as the country’s supreme leader.
Turnout was reportedly significantly down on the previous election in 2017
Many Iranians and rights groups have pointed to Mr Raisi’s role in the mass executions of political prisoners in the 1980s. He was one of four judges who oversaw death sentences for about 5,000 prisoners, according to Amnesty International.
“That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran,” said Amnesty chief Agnès Callamard.
Iran has never acknowledged the mass executions and Mr Raisi has never addressed the allegations about his role in them.
What does his win mean for Iran and the world?
Mr Raisi has promised to ease unemployment and work to remove US sanctions that have contributed to economic hardship for ordinary Iranians and caused widespread discontent.
BBC Persian correspondent Kasra Naji adds that under Mr Raisi Iran’s hardliners will seek to reinforce a puritanical system of Islamic government, possibly meaning more controls on social activities, fewer freedoms and jobs for women, and tighter control of social media and the press.
The hardliners are suspicious of the West, but both Mr Raisi and Supreme Leader Khamenei favour a return to an international deal on Iran’s nuclear activity.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed in 2015, gave Iran relief from Western sanctions in return for limiting its nuclear activities.
The US pulled out of the deal in 2018, and President Trump’s administration re-imposed crippling limits on Iran’s ability to trade. Mr Raisi was among the officials sanctioned.
Iran has responded by re-starting nuclear operations that were banned under the deal.
Talks aimed at resurrecting the deal are ongoing in Vienna, with President Joe Biden also keen to revive it. But both sides say the other must make the first move.
Iran will be a more closed society according to an Analysis by Kasra Naji, BBC Persian: The election was engineered to pave the way for Mr Raisi to win. This has alienated a good number of Iranians already deeply discontented with their living conditions in an economy that is crippled by US sanctions but also mismanagement.
The result of the election will not help with their concerns and may even lead to more instability at home. In the past few years Iran has witnessed at least two rounds of serious nationwide protests – with hundreds, some say thousands, killed. With Mr Raisi taking the presidency the hardliners will have taken all the centres of power: the executive branch as well as the legislative and the judiciary. Iran will be a more closed society.
Freedoms will likely be curtailed even more than before.The regime will look to China to help the economy out of deep crisis. There will be more tension with the West. Indirect talks between Iran and the US in Vienna over reviving the nuclear deal may face more uncertainty. There are already reports that the talks will now break up for a few weeks, allowing all sides to take stock of the new reality in Iran.Was the election free?
With counting continuing, state TV said Mr Raisi had so far received 62% of the vote – nearly 18 million of more than 28 million votes cast. Some 59 million Iranians were eligible to vote.Almost 600 hopefuls, including 40 women, registered for the election.But in the end only seven men were approved last month by the 12 jurists and theologians on the Guardian Council, an unelected body that has the ultimate decision with regard to candidates’ qualifications.
Three of those candidates subsequently pulled out before polling day.In response to this, some dissidents and reformists vowed to boycott the election. Turnout this time appears to have been just under 50% – significantly lower than the 73% of voters who turned out for the 2017 presidential poll.Before he withdrew, reformist candidate Mohsen Mehralizadeh hinted that the vote would be a foregone conclusion, saying during a candidates’ TV debate that the ruling clerics had aligned “sun, moon and the heavens to make one particular person the president,” according to The Economist.
Meanwhile former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, one of those barred from running, said in a video message that he would not vote, declaring: “I do not want to have a part in this sin.”Iran elections: To vote or not to vote?
#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 – 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.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?
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.
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 – Apr.04: In addition to replacing domestic experts in the power plant industry, good efforts were made on investment in this sector.
Iran’s power plants output capacity rises 12-fold since the beginning of the “Islamic Revolution” according to IRNA News Agency
Tehran, April 4, IRNA – The output capacity of Iranian power plants have risen 12-fold since the beginning of the Islamic Revolution and reached over 85,000 MW where the figure was 7,024 MW 42 years ago and was only able to supply part of the country’s needs’
#AceNewsReport – Mar.15: He said Iran supported all such armed groups around the world, which he described as “forces of resistance against global arrogance.”
Quds Force commander admits Iran supporting Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia: ‘Ismail Qaani told a conference in the northeastern city of Mashhad that the Houthis had launched “18 operations in less than 10 days” targeting the Kingdom’
Qaani became head of the Quds Force after its previous leader, Qassem Soleimani, was assassinated in a US drone strike at Baghdad airport in January 2020. In his Mashhad speech, Qaani repeated threats that the US would pay a price for Soleimani’s death.
“We have made it clear that we will break the bones of the criminal US. The sound of them being fractured will be heard at the proper time,” he said.
The Quds Force leader also renewed Iranian threats against Israel. “Although Israel has all the world’s tools at its disposal, it is building a wall around itself 1 meter wide and 6 meters high, in order to remain safe,” he said. “But they must be sure that we will destroy that wall too.”
Meanwhile, Israel was probably behind an attack in the Mediterranean last week that damaged an Iranian container ship, investigators in Tehran said on Saturday. The container ship Shahr e Kord was hit by an explosive object that caused a small fire.
The incident came two weeks after the Israeli-owned MV Helios Ray was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman, which Israel has blamed on Iran.
#AceNewsReport – Mar.09: However, her husband Richard Ratcliffe has been told a new court case against her is scheduled for next Sunday: The PM said he was “pleased” about her tag, but “her continued confinement remains totally unacceptable”
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe must be released ‘permanently’, says PM: ‘Prior to the end of Nazanin’s jail sentence, her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, spoke to the BBC’s Caroline Hawley said she has had her ankle tag removed at the end of her five-year sentence’
He wrote in a tweet: “She must be released permanently so she can return to her family in the UK, and we continue to do all we can to achieve this.”
The charity worker had been under house arrest in Tehran since being moved from jail last March. She has always denied the charges against her.
Speaking after her ankle tag was removed on Sunday, Mr Ratcliffe said told the PA news agency it was “a mixed day for us” and “Nazanin is genuinely happy” to be free of her electronic bracelet.
“I’m a bit more guarded – it feels to me like they have made one blockage just as they have removed another, and we very clearly remain in the middle of this government game of chess,” he said.
He told the BBC that his wife had gone to see her grandmother and was “determined to enjoy the afternoon and not think about what it all means”.
“I don’t think we expected something clean but how muddy this is I’m not quite sure yet,” he said.
Earlier, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Iran “continues to put her and her family through a cruel and an intolerable ordeal”.
ReutersNazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is pictured on Sunday, after she was released from house arrest in Tehran
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, had been out of prison since last spring due to the coronavirus pandemic but had been confined to her parent’s house. Her sentence was due to end on Sunday.
She was arrested in April 2016 while travelling to visit her parents in Iran with her young British-born daughter, Gabriella, who is now six years old.
The dual national was sentenced to five years in prison over allegations of plotting to overthrow the Iranian government, which she denies.
She has not yet had her British passport returned to her, according to Tulip Siddiq, the Labour MP for the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency in London where her family live.
Ms Siddiq told the BBC: “She does have to go back to court and we don’t know what awaits her there.
“Nazanin is quite worried because there was talk of another case being put against her which may of course mean another sentence, and we don’t know how long for.”
However Ms Siddiq said the removal of her ankle tag meant she could visit her elderly grandmother “which is the thing she mentions every time I speak to her”.
“So on one hand they are celebrating that she has some elements of freedom in terms of not having the tracker anymore, but we just don’t know what’s going to happen in the court case,” she added.
“I know her daughter has been counting down the days on her calendar at home for her mother to return.”
Free Nazanin CampaignRichard Ratcliffe has not seen his wife in person since she left the UK in 2016
Jeremy Hunt, who served as foreign secretary while Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in jail, said Iran’s actions were “totally and utterly inhumane”.
“At the centre of this is an innocent woman, her husband and her daughter,” he told the BBC, adding that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe should be allowed to return home to the UK.
Shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said there had been “an increasing use of this totally unacceptable hostage diplomacy from Iran”, and that the government was right to condemn the use of individuals such as Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe “as a bargaining chip in this wider political game”.
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrat’s spokeswoman for foreign affairs, Layla Moran, has called for the UK to impose sanctions if she is sentenced for a second time.
“Strong words must be backed by the threat of real action if the Iranian authorities do not do the right thing,” she said.
Antonio Zappulla, chief executive of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s employer at the time of her arrest, said he had spoken to her on Sunday and she was “ecstatic” to be able to have a coffee in a café.
“Nazanin should be allowed her permanent liberty and to walk away from this appalling affront to justice; instead, for all intents and purposes, she is still held hostage,” he said.
And Kate Allen, director at Amnesty International UK, said the news that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s ankle tag had been removed was “bittersweet” and “yet another example of the calculated cruelty of the Iranian authorities”.
“Nazanin was convicted after a deeply unfair trial the first time around and this spurious new charge and possible trial is clearly designed to delay her release and exert yet more pressure on Nazanin and her family,” she said.
“This won’t be over until Nazanin has her passport and is on a flight heading home to the UK,” she added, urging the government to take “serious diplomatic action”.
HandoutGabriella has been counting down the days until her mother’s release, her father said
Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s sentence has included eight months of solitary confinement, blindfolded interrogations and hunger strikes to press for medical treatment.
Prior to her arrest, she lived in London with her husband and child.
In November, she was taken to court on fresh charges of spreading propaganda against the Iranian regime.
Her family and the UK government have always maintained her innocence and she has been given diplomatic protection by the Foreign Office – meaning the case is treated as a formal, legal dispute between Britain and Iran.
Mr Ratcliffe believes his wife and other dual nationals are being held hostage because Iran wants the UK to pay a decades-old debt over an arms deal that was never fulfilled.
‘ Detained British-Iranian women’s rights activist goes on hunger strike ‘
Iranian officials maintain she was detained for security reasons. The 25-year-old, an alumna of the School of African and Oriental Studies, went on hunger strike after she was moved to the “brutal” Evin Prison in June.
‘ Free Ghoncheh Ghavami ‘
A campaign calling for her immediate release has attracted more than 700,000 supporters to date.
Amnesty International has labelled Ms Ghavami’s continued incarceration as “appalling”, and described her as a prisoner of conscience.
Its director, Kate Allen, said: “It’s an outrage that a young woman is being locked up simply for peacefully having her say about how women are discriminated against in Iran.
“The authorities should investigate allegations that Ghoncheh was subjected to death threats by her interrogators and provide compensation for her arbitrary detention and her prolonged solitary confinement.”
A family spokesman added: “A fair and just legal process, according to Iran’s legal framework, is the basic right of every Iranian citizen. Why are these rights not upheld in Ghoncheh’s case?”
‘ Iran, women are not allowed to spectate at certain male sports ‘
Prior to the volleyball match between Iran and Italy, women were barred from attending the event altogether.
Gen Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam, chief of the national police, had said it was “not yet in the public interest” for men and women to share the stands.
Women are already banned from Iranian football matches, but authorities insist this rule is designed to protect them against inappropriate behaviour from men.
“We have concerns about the grounds for this prosecution, due process during the trial and Ms Ghavami’s treatment whilst in custody,” a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.
#AceNewsServices – TEHRAN – November 01 – The Zionist lobby in the US has begun a new wave of attacks on the Pulitzer Prize-winning black author and essayist Alice Walker for supporting the Palestinians in her new book titled ‘The Cushion in the Road’ and also writing a letter to the American singer Alicia Keys asking her not to travel to Israel.
The wave of Zionists’ attacks on Walker came after she asked Alicia Keys to stay away from a music concert in Israel and instead hold it in the Gaza Strip for the Palestinians and also compared Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians to the behaviour of the Nazis during the World War II, Eelaf news website reported.
‘ The Cushion in the Road ‘
Walker’s book titled The Cushion in the Road is a series of essays on varying topics containing 80 pages on the Israeli brutalities against the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
“I want the Israeli government to be made accountable for its behavior toward the Palestinians, and I want the people of the United States to cease acting like they don’t know what’s going on,” Walker wrote in The Cushion in the Road.
“All colonization, all occupation, all repression basically looks the same, whoever is doing it. Our heads cannot remain stuck in the sand,” the American author said in her book.
Last month walker wrote an open letter to American R&B singer Alicia Keys, urging her to boycott Israeli “apartheid”.
“It would grieve me to know you are putting yourself in danger (soul danger) by performing in an apartheid country that is being boycotted by many global conscious artists,” she wrote in her letter to Keys.
Walker, who participated in the Civil Rights Movement, has long criticized Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinian people, which she has compared to Black oppression in the United States, and has traveled to West Bank and Gaza to protest.
Last year, she refused to allow her award-winning classic, The Color Purple to be translated into Hebrew by an Israel publisher, in protest of Zionism and what she called Israel’s “apartheid” policies.
#AceWorldNews – TEHRAN – October 25 – A 26-year old Iranian woman, who was convicted of murdering a man she has accused of raping her when she was a teenager, was hanged in Tehran’s Evin Prison Saturday, the official IRNA news agency reported.
‘ Iran executes woman who killed her alleged rapist ‘