Wednesday's Iran Mini Report - January 23, 2019
• US urges coalitions against Iran Regime’s ‘malign meddling’
The US wants to build more coalitions in the Middle East to counter the “very real” threat of Iran’s malign meddling in the region, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday.
Speaking via video link, Pompeo said the US was committed to a “secure and stable” Middle East and had assembled a “global coalition of nations to confront Iran and support the aspirations of the Iranian people.”
“Those are places where Iran is truly the malign actor, and that is why we are so happy with the coalition we have built,” he said.
• Iran: Retirees protesting in Tehran, raising significant demands
Retirees rallied outside the Iranian regime’s Labor Ministry in Tehran on Tuesday, protesting the authorities’ refusal to reply to their demands. The protesters were chanting:
“Political prisoners must be released”
“Cannons, tanks, documentaries are no longer effective,” referring to the regime’s domestic crackdown and a so-called documentary aired by state TV of two activists supposedly “confessing to their crimes.”
Iranians inside the country and abroad have condemned these broadcasts, accusing the regime of resorting to its known practice of obtaining “confessions” under torture.
Retirees in Iran have a long history of holding major rallies against the mullahs’ regime.
• Iran Arrests 72 Young Partygoers for Dancing
At least 72 people have been detained at a mixed-gender party, in Sari, the capital city of Mazandaran province, the local Prosecutor General has disclosed.
The state-run ILNA news agency quoting Younes Hosseini reported Tuesday that the young partygoers were arrested while dancing in a mixed party.
“Holding of a mixed party, non-observance of religious standards, consuming alcoholic beverages, etc. are criminalized, and such cases would be quickly dealt with.” Hosseini said.
• Under U.S. Pressure, Germany Bans Iranian Airline | The Wall Street Journal
Germany's government banned an Iranian airline from operating in the country following U.S. allegations that its aircraft transported weapons and fighters to war-torn Syria.
U.S. officials say the move against Mahan Air is the result of longstanding pressure from the Trump administration. Mahan Air, which operates three flights a week from Tehran to Düsseldorf and Munich, had its permit revoked with immediate effect on Monday. A German government spokesman said that the ban was necessary to protect the interests of the federal government.
• Israel Hits Iranian Targets In Syria After Attack On Golan Heights
The Wall Street Journal: Israel said Monday it struck several Iranian targets in Syria in response to a missile attack, sending what appeared to be an increasingly forceful public message to Tehran to stay away from its borders as U.S. troops prepare to leave Syria. Israel's military said it hit Iranian targets including munition storage sites, a military training camp and a site at the Damascus International Airport in overnight strikes. Israel also struck several Syrian aerial-defense batteries after Syria fired dozens of missiles at its jets, the military added.
• Iran Fails To Find Any Buyers For Crude Offered On Exchange
Reuters: Iran failed to find any buyers on Monday in its latest attempt to sell oil to private companies for export on the energy exchange, state media reported, in a setback to Tehran's efforts to bypass U.S. sanctions. Crude oil trade is state-controlled in Iran, but to try to work around U.S. sanctions, the government last year started to sell crude to private buyers through the exchange.
• Oil Prices In 2019 May Hinge On U.S.-Iran Showdown
The Wall Street Journal: The number of electric vehicles is growing. Consumer discomfort with plastic bottles is rising. Diplomats are pushing global action to curb greenhouse-gas emissions. The price of renewable energy continues to fall. While none of these trends bode well for the oil industry, they aren't even the major forces expected to weigh on oil in 2019. This year, the factors that will most likely drive the price of oil are the Trump administration's showdown with Iran and the strength of the global economy.
• Journalist For Iranian TV Is Detained As Witness In U.S. Investigation
New York Times: An American-born journalist who works for an Iranian state-run television channel was arrested in the United States as a material witness in an undisclosed investigation, according to a federal court order unsealed on Friday. The journalist, Marzieh Hashemi, was arrested at the St. Louis airport on Sunday and was transferred by the F.B.I. to Washington, according to Press TV, where she works as an anchor.
anchor for Iran's English-language Press TV news channel.
• Military Officials Sent To NY To Brief U.N. On Hezbollah Tunnels
The J Post: Israel sent Military Intelligence officials to New York in recent weeks to meet with senior UN officials and representatives of the UN Security Council states to present intelligence information on Hezbollah's tunnel network to keep the issue on the diplomatic agenda, Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said on Monday. Danon said the IDF officials were sent following a special Security Council discussion in late December on the tunnels, during which certain member states asked to see more information.
• Israel Strikes In Syria In More Open Assault On Iran
Reuters: Israel struck in Syria early on Monday, the latest salvo in its increasingly open assault on Iran's presence there, shaking the night sky over Damascus with an hour of loud explosions in a second consecutive night of military action. Damascus did not say what damage or casualties resulted from the strikes. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said 11 people were killed.
• Illegal Iran Fuel Shipments Financing Houthis In Yemen, UN Experts Say
The National: Iran is financing Yemen's Houthi rebels through illegal shipments of fuel, UN experts said in a new report to the Security Council that also described how such funding is allowing the rebels to deploy increasingly sophisticated weaponry in the years-long civil war. In the 85-page report to the Security Council seen on Friday by The Associated Press, the panel of experts monitoring UN sanctions against Yemen said "the Houthi leadership has continued to consolidate its hold over government and non-government institutions".
• UN Experts: Fuel From Iran Is Financing Yemen Rebels' War
|Associated Press Fuel is being shipped illegally from Iran to Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen to finance their war against the government, and both sides are violating international law with their military campaigns and arbitrary detention of rivals, U.N. experts said in a new report. The experts painted a grim picture of a "deeply fractured" country sliding toward "humanitarian and economic catastrophe" with no sign of victory by either side in a conflict that many view as a proxy war between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.
• Iran regime’s Suppression of Minorities
A Baha’i citizen, Soheil Haghdoost, was sentenced to four months imprisonment on the charge of “propaganda against the state” for announcing and following up regarding his business’s forced closure. Also, he has been sentenced to a year in prison in March 2018.
• Belgium extends sentence for Iranian regime terrorist involved in plot against opposition conference
According to Belga news agency, the verdict was given by the first branch of Antwerp’s criminal court. The verdict underlines that Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian regime diplomat, and three other Iranian agents were complicit in an attempt against the yearly gathering of the PMOI/MEK.
Before his arrest, Assadi was serving in the Iranian regime’s embassy in Vienna, Austria, where he had been coordinating the regime’s spying and terrorist activities since 2014. Assadi was arrested in Germany in the course of a failed attack on the June 30 Iran Freedom rally. He was subsequently stripped of his diplomatic immunity and extradited to Belgium to be tried for orchestrating the attack and personally handing 500 grams of TATP explosives to the supposed hit team.