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Iran News in Brief – December 5, 2023

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THIS PAGE WILL BE UPDATED WITH THE LATEST NEWS

UPDATE: 10:00 PM CET

Series of Unexplained Events Plague Swiss Diplomats in Iran

swiss embassy tehran (1)

On December 4, Swiss media reported on a series of mysterious events involving Swiss embassy staff in Tehran.

The latest incident, occurring in September this year, involved an employee from the visa section of the Swiss embassy who was attacked with a knife on his way to work, sustaining injuries. Diplomats mentioned that the victim was fortunate to escape with his life. The Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the event in response to inquiries from CH Media, stating that the embassy staff member in Tehran was injured in the hand and has since returned to work. The ministry added that investigations into the matter are still ongoing.

In a separate incident in June, a Swiss citizen, identified as a defense attaché of the embassy and an employee of the Swiss Ministry of Defense, was found in a Tehran hotel room with significant injuries to the head, knees, chest, and abdomen. In July, a spokesperson for the Swiss army confirmed to CH Media that the defense attaché, on a business trip, became unconscious in his hotel room, fell, and suffered head injuries. After receiving treatment in a Tehran hospital from June 11 to June 15, he returned to Switzerland, reportedly in good health.

In May 2021, a Swiss diplomat, Sylvie Brunner, fell from the seventeenth-floor balcony of her Tehran apartment and died instantly. Reports indicated that she was separated from her husband, had two children, and her body was found in the green area of a tower near Kamranieh in Tehran.


UPDATE: 2:30 PM CET

Us Kills 5 Iran-Backed Militia Members in Drone Strike in Iraq

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US forces killed at least five Iran-backed militia members in a drone strike after the US “identified an imminent attack” was likely to be launched by militia forces in Kirkuk, Iraq, on Sunday, a US official said.

It wasn’t immediately clear which group the forces killed on Sunday belonged to. Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said Monday that the militia members were “preparing to launch a one-way attack drone,” and the US responded with “an armed US uncrewed aerial system killing all five militants and destroying the drone.” Iraqi security forces were notified of the strike, Singh said, and she confirmed the death of the militants and the destruction of the drone.

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UPDATE: 1:00 PM CET

State-affiliated Economist: Officials Use Dubious Statistics to Boost Morale

farshad momeni economist (1)

In an interview with the Shafaqna website on December 4, Farshad Momeni, a state-affiliated economist, stated, “Some officials use inaccurate, non-transparent, and unofficial statistics as a tool to boost their own and others’ morale. They should know that the truth is never permanently concealed. Discussions, whether through official documents or through these insincere dialogues among power elements, will eventually become evident.”

Momeni also said, “In the International Monetary Fund report on the level of government accountability in governance matters covering until the end of 2022, it explicitly stated that Iran is among the six countries with the lowest ratios of government accountability indices for human and material development infrastructure. This index reflects the degree of attention the power structure pays to development-supporting issues such as nutrition, housing, education, and public health, as well as the physical infrastructure needed to encourage producers.”


Chairman McCaul Issues Statement On Houthi Threat

us house foreign affairs committee chairman mccaul logo

Washington, D.C. — Today, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul issued the following statement in response to Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

“By prioritizing politics over security, this administration emboldened the Houthis, enabling them to develop more advanced weapons, deepen ties with Iran, and further entrench their control over millions of innocent Yemenis. It is clear that the Houthis are a threat to Yemen, our partners across the Middle East, U.S. servicemembers and citizens in the region, and freedom of navigation and global commerce. We must end this policy of appeasement and get serious about actually responding to, rather than enabling, the Houthi threat, including through an FTO designation.”

Source


US, Allies in Talks on Naval Task Force To Protect Shipping in Red Sea After Houthi Attacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House said Monday that the U.S. may establish a naval task force to escort commercial ships in the Red Sea, a day after three vessels were struck by missiles fired by Iranian-back Houthis in Yemen.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. has been in active conversations with allies about setting up the escorts though nothing is finalized, describing it as a “natural” response to that sort of incident.

Sullivan said that while the Houthis had “their finger on the trigger,” the group’s Iranian sponsors were ultimately responsible.

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Wicker, Scott, Colleagues Demand Answers From Biden Administration on Latest Iran Sanctions Waiver

senator roger wicker logo (1)

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined Senator Tim Scott, R-S.C., and 23 other senators in calling out the Biden administration’s lack of a cohesive Iran strategy and its decision to extend a sanctions waiver. The November 13 waiver will provide Iran access to approximately $10 billion as Israel continues to battle Iranian-backed Hamas and the regime’s proxies increase their attacks against U.S. personnel in the region.

“A strong signal of deterrence—utilizing military, economic, and diplomatic tools—is needed if we want to stop the attacks against U.S. personnel and prevent the war in Gaza from expanding into a protracted regional conflict. Unfortunately, the administration’s military and economic responses to Iran and its proxies have not only been disproportionate, they appear to be completely disjointed,” the senators wrote.

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Air Quality Crisis Prompts School Closures in Tehran, Isfahan, and Beyond

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According to state media reports, schools in Tehran province will remain closed until the end of the week, due to elevated air pollution levels. The current average air quality in Tehran is measured at 175, indicating an unhealthy level. District 18 is identified as the most polluted area, with an air pollution index reaching 208, classified as hazardous and marked in purple. Additionally, on Wednesday, schools and universities in Isfahan, Arak, Alborz, and Semnan are also closed due to air pollution.

In Isfahan, educational institutions, including universities and all academic levels in specific areas of Isfahan city and surrounding regions, will conduct remote operations until Wednesday, December 6.

A member of the regime’s parliament, Mohammad Hassan Asafari, acknowledged that the use of Mazut fuel is a significant contributor to air pollution. “Those who deny it themselves know that, after vehicles in the country, burning mazut creates the most pollution. The use of mazut in our power plants exacerbates pollution, making it the second most impactful contributor after vehicles. The most credible assessors of anyone denying mazut combustion are the individuals passing by power plants.”


UPDATE: 8:00 AM CET

Iranian Officials Acknowledge That the Regime Needs the War in Gaza to Survive

palestine gaza bombing

Nearly two months into the tragic Gaza war, with 16,000 killed, 35,000 injured, 6,000 missing, and over two million people displaced, the Iranian regime now speaks more openly about its warmongering objectives in Gaza. Its officials refer to this reality with various statements, indicating that Iranian regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei is fanning the flames of war in Gaza to escape from the threat of nationwide uprisings.

In a speech, Javad Enayat, the governor of the regime in South Khorasan province, said, “Whenever there are disturbances or instability in the Islamic Republic of Iran, there are no conflicts or problems in Yemen, Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, and other countries that are on the frontline of resistance. There, the United States and its allies enjoy peace and tranquility. Why? Because the Islamic Republic of Iran is facing problems internally. Whenever we see stability, security, peace, unity, and coherence within Iran, the opposite becomes evident. At that time, the forces of resistance can engage with the United States and its allies”.

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IRGC’s Control of Iran’s Oil Industry

Irans oil pipes industry

In the upcoming budget bill for Iran in the next year, the General Staff of the Armed Forces has been granted permission to sell crude oil and gas condensate, up to a monthly limit of 134 trillion tomans, with the aim of fortifying the defense base. This monthly allowance is equivalent to the sale of 104 million barrels of oil, constituting 21% of the country’s total oil exports.

As reported by Tejarat News, this authorization is outlined in paragraph b of note 4 within the bill. In the 2024-2025 budget bill, it is specified that if the government fails to allocate the designated budget to military institutions, the National Iranian Oil Company is obligated, under the Planning and Budget Organization’s announcement, to compensate for the shortfall by delivering crude oil or gas condensate to the relevant legal entities, to be reimbursed by the General Staff.

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Stop Executions in Iran: 120 Executed in November 2023

november execution iran

The number of executions in November 2023 has shown a significant increase compared to previous months. In October 2023, the number of executions had reached 86 individuals, while in November, this number rose to 120.

In November, the Iranian judiciary executed seven political prisoners. Among those executed were individuals who had participated in the protests of November 2019. These executions were carried out after four years of silence. The three political prisoners executed from the 2019 protests were Kamran Rezaei, Hani Shahbazi, and Gholam Rasoul Heydari.

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Iran’s Nurses in 2024: Struggles, Demands, and the Quest for Change

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Iran recently observed Nurses’ protests, an event marked by Islamic Republic officials trying to quell by visiting hospitals and nurse work centers. However, these visits which typically involve superficial gestures like presenting flowers and making promises that often remain unfulfilled. This year was no different, leaving nurses disillusioned as they saw no improvements associated with this significant day honoring their profession.

Reports and media coverage have highlighted nurses in cities such as Yasuj, Tehran, West Islamabad, Yazd, Babol, Arak, Qazvin, Mashhad, Sanandaj, Kermanshah, Rasht, Kashan, and Urmia taking to the streets to voice their protests and concerns. Their protests mainly revolve around issues like low salaries, delayed payments, discriminatory practices, and excessive workloads without fair compensation.

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Negin Chaparian, 34, Sentenced to One Year in Jail for Walking Dog

Negin Chaparian

Negin Chaparian, a 34-year-old Iranian citizen, faced a distressing situation after being sentenced to one year in prison by the 29th Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. Her offense? Walking her dog in a park while not covering her hair—a seemingly ordinary activity in many parts of the world. The incident occurred in May 2023 when she was attacked by unidentified individuals, purportedly Basij or plainclothes agents. She filed a complaint against the assailants with a forensic medical certificate and confirmation of the bruises and testimony of the local people, but the judge declared her complaint closed.

Later, she shared a video clip of the assault, which led to her subsequent arrest by the Ministry of Intelligence on August 6, 2023.

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More Than 6,000 People Dead from Air Pollution in Tehran in 2021

Air pollution in Tehran, the capital of Iran

Mehdi Pirhadi, the head of the Health, Environment, and Municipal Services Commission of the Tehran City Council, criticized regime officials for “concealing the burning of Mazut” in power plants. Pirhadi stated that in 2021, the number of deaths caused by air pollution in Tehran was 6,398.

On December 3, Mehdi Pirhadi said that some might want to deny the reality, but the Ministry of Oil did not adhere to fuel standards, and fuels were not supplied according to the national standard.

While Tehran experienced only three days of clean air last year, Iranian regime officials have consistently denied the burning of Mazut in Tehran province and other major cities in the country. However, according to a confidential report from the Ministry of Oil, an average of 25 million liters of high-sulfur Mazut, along with 110 million liters of diesel, were consumed daily in the country last year.

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Oslo, Norway—December 2, 2023: MEK Supporters Rally in Solidarity With the Iran Revolution, Condemning the Brutal Executions in Iran

Oslo—Dec 2, 2023: MEK Supporters Held a Rally in Solidarity With the Iranian Revolution.

Oslo, Norway—December 2, 2023: Freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) organized a rally to support the Iranian Revolution. They also condemned the wave of brutal executions in Iran.

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Bern — December 2, 2023: MEK Supporters Exhibition in Solidarity With the Iran Revolution, Condemning the Brutal Executions in Iran

Bern—Dec 2, 2023: MEK Supporters Held an Exhibition in Solidarity With the Iranian Revolution.

Bern, Switzerland — December 2, 2023: Freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) organized a photo exhibition in solidarity with the Iranian Revolution. This exhibition served as a tribute to the martyrs of the nationwide Iranian uprising. They also condemned the wave of brutal executions in Iran.

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Paris—December 2, 2023: MEK Supporters Exhibition in Solidarity With the Iran Revolution, Condemning the Brutal Executions in Iran

Paris—Dec 2, 2023: MEK Supporters Held an Exhibition in Solidarity With the Iranian Revolution.

Paris, France—December 2, 2023: Freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) held a photo exhibition in solidarity with the Iranian Revolution. This exhibition served as a tribute to the martyrs of the nationwide Iranian uprising. They also condemned the wave of brutal executions in Iran.

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Also, read Iran News in Brief – December 4, 2023