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Monday’s Iran Mini Report – March 25, 2019

Monday's Iran Mini Report - March 25, 2019

• Violent Flash Floods Hit Shiraz Killing at Least 17

Flood disaster in Iran reached a new level on Monday as Flash floods inundated the historic city of Shiraz in south-central part of the country, killing at least 17 people.

According to ISNA news agency, Saeed Gholamzadeh the general manager of the Fars Province forensic: one girl, three boys, seven women and six men are among the deceased.

Heavy rain began falling in the morning and one of the main thoroughfares of the city became a flood water route, sweeping away hundreds of cars in its path. Shiraz is the capital city of Fars Province.

The flood also inundated the historic Vakil Bazaar. A spokesman of the fire department in Shiraz said that water levels might still increase and flood many residential and commercial buildings. Floods in the north of the country led to multiple local crises since March 22. The floods have hit Iran at a time when schools and many offices are closed due to the Nowruz New Year holidays. But at the same time, many people are traveling on roads that can be swept away by water. Latest reports raised the alarm about the Tehran-Qom highway, as strong rainstorms hit the area. A dam in the region was inundated by floods and water surpassed the dam.

• U.S. Says Iran Poised To Resume Work On Nuclear Weapons
The Wall Street Journal: Iran’s Ministry of Defense unit responsible for developing nuclear weapons is poised to restart work and is using front companies to buy materials from Russia and China that could be used to reactivate its banned bomb program, U.S. officials alleged Friday. The Trump administration leveled the charges as the Treasury and State Departments sanctioned more than two dozen Iranian officials, scientists and alleged front companies connected to the Tehran-based Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, or SPND, as it is known by its Farsi initials.
• Pompeo Urges Lebanon To Move Away From ‘Dark’ Iran And Hezbollah
AFP: U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday urged Lebanon to pick a side as he visited the country on a regional tour to build a united front against Iran. He especially expressed concern over the role of Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Shiite movement that is targeted by US sanctions but holds three cabinet posts in Lebanon. Pompeo flew in from Israel a day after he became the first high-ranking American official to visit the Western Wall with an Israeli prime minister.
• With An Eye On Iran, U.S. Clinches Strategic Port Deal With Oman
Reuters: The United States clinched a strategic port deal with Oman on Sunday which U.S. officials say will allow the U.S. military better access the Gulf region and reduce the need to send ships through the Strait of Hormuz, a maritime choke point off Iran. The U.S. embassy in Oman said in a statement that the agreement governed U.S. access to facilities and ports in Duqm as well as in Salalah and “reaffirms the commitment of both countries to promoting mutual security goals.”
• Brian Hook To Asharq Al-Awsat: Sanctions Curbed Iran’s Ability To Finance Terrorism
Asharq Al-Awsat: Since the announcement of its withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal in May last year, the United States has sought to tighten the grip on Tehran’s sources of income to prevent it from spending on its hostile activities and financing terrorism in the region. The administration is currently considering listing Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its Quds Force as terrorist organizations, but there are fears that such a move would affect US forces in Iraq.
• France Bans Iran’s Mahan Air For Flying Arms, Troops To Syria, Elsewhere
Reuters: France has banned flights in and out of the country by Iran’s Mahan Air, accusing it of transporting military equipment and personnel to Syria and other Middle East war zones, diplomats said on Monday, after heavy U.S. pressure on Paris to act. The decision to revoke Mahan’s license to operate in France was made after Germany banned the airline in January.
• UN Iran Human Rights Rapporteur Mandate Extended
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has extended the mandate of its special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran for another year. During a session on March 22, the representatives of 22 governments voted for and seven (Afghanistan, China, Cuba, Eritrea, India, Iraq, and Pakistan) voted against a resolution for the extension of Javaid Rehman’s mandate, while 18 abstained.

• Political Prisoner’s Family Faces Homelessness in Iran Due to State Confiscation of Properties

The family of two political prisoners is facing homelessness now that they’ve received notice that their family home and only remaining property will be confiscated by the Iranian regime.

Fatemeh Mossanna and Hassan Sadeqi were supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran before they get married and were both imprisoned in the 1980s.

• Peaceful Labor Activist Sentenced to Prison in 10-Minute Trial

Labor activist As’ad Behnam Ebrahimzadeh has been sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to copy three books by hand for engaging in peaceful activities including attending protests by sugar mill workers in southwestern Iran.
• Omani Ports Give U.S. Navy Greater Control Over Strategic Waterway Near Iran
The Wall Street Journal: The U.S. signed an agreement with Oman that gives its navy access to two Arabian Sea ports, allowing American warships and aircraft carriers greater control over a strategic international waterway threatened by nearby Iran. The Omani ports of Duqm and Salalah are located just outside the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow outlet through which about a fifth of the world’s oil trade exits the Persian Gulf. Tehran has often said it would block the channel in retaliation for U.S. sanctions that are hurting its economy.
• US Ready To Impose New Hezbollah Sanctions If Needed: Pompeo
The Daily Star: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview with MTV news channel Saturday that his country was prepared to use all the “peaceful tools” available, including imposing more sanctions, to curb the influence of Hezbollah in Lebanon.
• Iran Bans Personalities From Raising Money For Flood Victims
Iran regime’s Deputy Attorney General has announced that raising funds by celebrities to help victims of floods in Iran “is banned” and he warned that any bank account opened for this purpose will be closed. Javid Javidnia told the Judiciary’s online news service March 24 that so far 60 accounts have been opened and some of them have already been closed. He also told another news site that any crowd funding by individuals and organizations must be done through the Red Crescent Society or the official Aid Committee.