Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission in a statement issued September 13 strongly condemned the decisions of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to normalize relations with Israel.
Since the announcement of Bahrain’s decision to establish normal relations with Israel, Iran’s foreign ministry and the Revolutionary Guard have attacked the small Arab country, which has a Shiite majority population.
The parliamentary commission’s statement repeated the Islamic Republic’s rhetoric that Bahrain’s al-Khalifa ruling family has based its survival on assistance from the United States and “the child-killing Zionist regime”, reported Fars news, close to the Revolutionary Guard. Iran’s clerical government never uses the word Israel.
The statement also repeats the Revolutionary Guard’s threat that “the Zionist regime” will be destroyed at the hands of “pious Muslim youth”.
Both Bahrain and the UAE are also threatened to be held directly responsible for any tensions in the Persian Gulf region created by Israel. “Alliance with the Zionist regime will put the security of Bahrain and the Emirates at a greater risk than in the past”.
Iranian officials have periodically called for the annihilation of Israel, although when pressed by Western journalists, Iranian diplomats try to deny such statements.
Iran’s Arab neighbors, Israel and the United States accuse the Islamic Republic of sowing instability in the region and plotting to expand their influence through proxy forces.
Iranian Labor Associations Urge Regime Not To Sacrifice People's Health To Ideology
A week after Leader Khamenei’s order banning the import of American and European coronavirus vaccines, seven labor associations and unions have released statements blaming the regime for any possible consequences of its delay in the purchase of vaccine.
In recent days, workers, teachers, and retiree associations have joined the national movement demanding coronavirus vaccine and released statements criticizing Ali Khamenei’s ban on the purchase of American and European vaccines.
The teachers’ association of Marivan, the teachers’ association of Gilan province, Retiree Alliance, Iranian Workers’ Free Union, teachers’ association of Qazvin province, National Retirees’ Association, and Tehran Bus Company Workers’ Association, are among these groups.
The Retirees’ Association statement reads: “The officials and leaders of our country have just talked until now; without any scientific expertise they have ordered a ban on American and the joint British and Swedish vaccine.”
Teachers’ association of Gilan province also urged the regime not to sacrifice people’s health over ideological views and regular political conflicts.
World Health Organization has also criticized the regime of Iran for “politicizing” the issue of the vaccine.
Teachers’ association of Marivan in Kurdistan province warned about the consequences of any delay in importing the vaccine and said the responsibility will be on the government.
IRGC General Busts Myth About Iranian Military In Syria To Fight ISIS
An IRGC General has effectively busted the Islamic Republic of Iran and its leader Ali Khamenei's claims about Iranian forces under the command of General Qasem Soleimani were dispatched to Syria to fight ISIS.
General Mahmoud Chaharbaghi, the commander of IRGC's artillery in 2011-2012 said in a live program on Channel five of Iran's state television on January 2 that "The Supreme Leader told General Soleimani to go to Syria to protect Syrian leader Bashar Assad. His mission was to prevent Assad's fall."
Chaharbaghi stressed: "This was long before the emergence of ISIS. Assad's armed opposition were fighting his forces." In Fact, Soleimani's mission in Syria started in 2011 while, ISIS emerged in Syria as recently as 2014.
Chaharbaghi said that when he first saw Soleimani in Syria, he was based at a chamber in a Shiite Shrine planning his military moves against Bashar's opposition whose forces had reached the walls of Assad's palace in Damascus.
Iranian opposition abroad have welcomed the statement by Chaharbaghi who busted the myth of Iranian forces going to Syria to fight ISIS or defend Shiite Shrines. The Iranian opposition charges that Soleimani killed hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians mainly women and children.
An Iranian opposition account said on Twitter: "Soleimani created a stigma by killing children in Syria that will hardly ever be wiped off history books."
Since 2011 Iran has spent between $17 to $30 billion dollars on its military operations in Syria according to various Iranian officials including IRGC's coordinating commander Mohammad Reza Naghdi and former Majles Foreign Policy Committee Chief Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh.
Angry Losers In Iran's Stock Market Chant 'Death To Rouhani'
As steep losses at the Tehran Stock Market (TSE) continued Monday, more investors held a protest outside the stock exchange chanting slogans against President Hassan Rouhani.
The stock market, which roared to 2 million points last August amid US sanctions and a economic crisis began shedding value in the fall and has now reached just over 1.1 million points. Many ordinary Iranians who invested money hoping to protect their rial savings have sustained serious losses.
Social media postings Monday showed dozens of investors outside the TSE chanting “Death to Rouhani” and “Death to economic corruption”. They were burned the flag of the stock market and chanted, “The Islamic casino is right here.” The market lost another 36,000 points on Monday.
Protesters allege that the government has failed to stop institutional investors from using their influence to manipulate prices. They blame the government for encouraging people to buy shares in what they now see as a bubble that has now burst and reduced the value of their investments.
Stocks of petrochemical, steel production and mining experienced the biggest losses. One reason can be attributed to the rise in the value of Iran’s currency rial, which would mean less export revenues for these sectors. The rial which lost its twofold against the US dollar last year has somewhat rebounded due to hopes that US President-elect Joe Biden will reduce sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump.
Government Daily Calls For Revoking Licenses For Iran’s Cryptocurrency Farms
The Islamic Republic Daily, an official government newspaper, on Monday demanded the revoking of all licenses issued to cryptocurrency farms to assure the public the government is willing “to defend the national interest.”
Cryptocurrency mining depends on large computer ‘farms’ that solve complex problems and record data in exchange for earning bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies. The farms use high levels of electricity, and have been blamed for recent nationwide power outages.
Public outcry has been increased by information published in the media and social media showing unknown Chinese individuals or companies involved in the mining business, taking advantage of electricity being cheaper in Iran than elsewhere and especially subsidized in certain sectors.
The Islamic Republic Daily in its editorial headlined “Red Farms” says that published documents and additional evidence show an “extraordinary amount of electricity” used by cryptocurrency farms and blames officials who have issued licenses. The newspaper argues that the situation will undermine public trust in the government, a more serious issue than the loss of energy to “Chinese” cryptocurrency mining farms.
Zarif Attacks France, Germany, UK For Criticizing Iran's Nuclear Escalation
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has lambasted his French counterpart Jean-Yves La Drian and three major European countries for criticizing Iran’s escalation of its nuclear program.
“Dear colleague: You kick-started your cabinet career with arms sales to Saudi war criminals. Avoid absurd nonsense about Iran. Reality check: YOU are destabilizing OUR region. Stop protecting criminals who chainsaw their critics and use YOUR arms to slaughter children in Yemen”, Zarif told La Drian in a tweet on Sunday.
The French foreign minister in an interview on Saturday said, "This has to stop because Iran and - I say this clearly - is in the process of acquiring nuclear (weapons) capacity", referring to Iran's escalatory steps.
The French foreign minister in an interview on Saturday said, “Iran is in the process of building up its nuclear weapons capacity,” and added, "This has to stop because Iran and - I say this clearly - is in the process of acquiring nuclear (weapons) capacity."
Zarif also in a similar tweet attacked Germany, the United Kingdom and France who on Saturday had issued a joint statement urging Iran not to proceed with producing uranium metal, which can be use in the core of nuclear bombs.
“3 leaders—who rely on signature of OFAC functionaries to carry out their obligations under JCPOA—have done ZILCH to maintain JCPOA”, Zarif tweeted, referring to the Office of Foreign Asset Controls that often issues sanctions against Iran.
Iran has accelerated its uranium enrichment and threatened other actions after the US presidential elections, as Joe Biden has indicated he would return to the 2015 nuclear deal that Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.
British-Iranian Woman Detained In Iran Hoping To Be Freed Within Weeks
The husband of a British-Iranian dual national who is under house arrest in her parents’ house in Tehran has said that she is hoping to be freed in seven weeks when her five-year jail term comes to an end.
Richard Ratcliffe, Nazain Zaghri-Ratcliffe's husband, said that he has written to the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office asking for further details about the end of her jail term and arrangements for receiving the correct documentation.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News on Saturday that he would leave “no stone unturned” to have Zagahri-Ratcliffe released on time. Britain is "pushing as hard as we can to get the immediate release, not in seven weeks, but as soon as possible, of Nazanin and all of our other dual nationals", Raab said on Sunday.
The jail sentence of the 42-year-old mother and former project coordinator at Thomson Reuters Foundation will officially end on March 7. She has been under house arrest since March 17 due to the coronavirus pandemic and has been living at her parents' house in Tehran. She must wear a electronic tag and remain within 300 meters of the house. She spent nearly four years in prison in Iran after being arrested while visiting her family in 2016 and sentenced on political charges without a fair trial.
On September 8 Iranian state media said new charges had been brought against Zaghari-ratcliffe. She attended a court hearing on November 5 during which she was again accused of engaging in "propaganda against the regime" but she has not been sentenced for the new charges.
Asked about reports Zaghari-Ratcliffe is set to be freed, Raab said: “I think that’s based on the existing sentence."
FBI Says Iran Cyber Actors Still Threatening US Election Officials
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation on Saturday issued another alert about continued threats to US election officials by Iranian actors "to create fear, divisions, and mistrust in the United States and undermine public confidence in the US electoral process.".
"The FBI is issuing this announcement to help the public recognize Iranian activity intended to create fear, divisions, and mistrust in the United States and undermine public confidence in the US electoral process," the alert said.
Iranian cyber actors are continuing their "Enemies of the People" (EOTP) online operations by using direct email and text messaging to threaten the lives of these officials and intimidate them and are exposing officials' personal information and photographs on websites, the statement said.
The cyber actors are also using social media sites "to promote and disseminate messaging about the EOTP operation," the FBI claimed.
On December 23, US security agencies said they had highly credible information indicating that Iranian cyber actors were responsible for creating a website featuring death threats aimed at US election officials.
"The post-election creation of the 'Enemies of the People' website demonstrates an ongoing Iranian intent to create divisions and mistrust in the United States and undermine public confidence in the US electoral process," the FBI had said in an earlier alert on December 23.
Iranian officials have vehemently denied claims over election interference in the US. The Iranian foreign ministry on October 22 summoned the Swiss ambassador, who heads the US Interest Section in the Iranian capital, and told him that it made no difference to Iran who won the election in the United States.
Iran Asks IAEA Not To Publish 'Unnecessary' Details About Its Nuclear Program
The Islamic Republic has urged the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog not to publish “unnecessary” details on its nuclear program, a day after France, Germany and the United Kingdom warned Iran not to produce uranium metal, which has “no credible civilian use”.
Iran’s state TV quoted [Jan. 17] a statement Sunday from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) that asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to avoid publishing details on Iran’s nuclear program that may cause confusion.
“It is expected the international atomic energy agency avoid providing unnecessary details and prevent paving ground for misunderstanding” in the international community, the statement said, without elaboration.
Iran announced on January 13 that it intends to produce uranium metal as fuel for a research reactor, prompting concern. Uranium metal is also used in the core of nuclear bombs.
The three European signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran on Saturday called Iran’s move, “the latest planned violation” of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
“Iran has no credible civilian use for uranium metal,” they said in a joint statement. “The production of uranium metal has potentially grave military implications.”
Tehran reacted to the European statement Sunday saying Iran informed the IAEA nearly two decades ago of its plans for the “peaceful and conventional” production of uranium metal. It also said it provided updated information to the agency two years ago about its plans to produce silicide advanced fuel.
The statement said uranium metal is an “intermediate product” in the manufacture of uranium silicide, a fuel used in nuclear reactors that is safer and has more power capability than uranium oxide-based fuel, which Iran currently produces.
With reporting by AP
Iranian Long-Range Missile Lands 20 Miles From Commercial Vessel
Fox News reported that at least one Iranian missile landed 20 miles from a commercial ship and 100 miles away from the American aircraft career USS Nimitz currently located in the Indian Ocean.
American officials have not offered any further information but a source said that although 20 miles distance from a commercial ship is concerning, the United States Navy does not consider it a threat.
According to Fox News, at least once long-range Iranian ballistic missile hit about 20 miles from the commercial ship and two other missiles exploded after hitting the ocean about 100 miles from the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group.
One American official told Fox News: We were expecting the missile launch, but there was concern about just how close Iran was willing to push its limits.”
January 3 marked the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Pentagon had put American forces in the Middle East on alert about the possibility of retaliation from the Islamic Republic.
Earlier this week, in a show of force, an American guided-missile submarine armed with more than 150 Tomahawk cruise missiles cam eclose to Iranian naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz.
Nimitz has remained in the northern Arabian Sea on the orders of President Donald Trump.
“Due to the recent threats issued by Iranian leaders against President Trump and other US government officials, I have ordered the USS Nimitz to halt its routine redeployment,” Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller said on January 3.