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Iran News in Brief – February 1, 2024

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THIS PAGE WILL BE UPDATED WITH THE LATEST NEWS

UPDATE: 6:00 PM

EU Must Step up Pressure on Houthis, Says Yemen Foreign Minister

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Yemen’s foreign minister urged the European Union on Thursday to increase pressure on the Iran-aligned Houthis who are attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea, a vital global trade artery.

Houthi militants, who control the most populous parts of Yemen, have launched waves of drones and missiles at vessels heading to and from Egypt’s Suez Canal since November.

They say their actions are a demonstration of solidarity with the Palestinians amid Israel’s war against Hamas militants in Gaza but the attacks have disrupted shipping, prompting U.S. and British strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen.

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UPDATE: 2:30 PM

EU Naval Mission To Protect Ships in Red Sea Set To Be Launched on 19 February

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A European Union naval mission to protect commercial shipping in the Red Sea from missile attacks by Houthi rebels in Yemen is expected to be launched on February 19, the bloc’s top diplomat announced on Wednesday.

“Maritime security in the Red Sea has significantly deteriorated over the last weeks and we are very much advancing the work of a new maritime operation in order to act in a purely defensive mode to protect merchant vessels,” Josep Borrell confirmed after an informal meeting of defence ministers in Brussels.

“Our goal is to establish and launch this mission, Aspides, at the latest on the 19 February, I hope, and I’m sure, we will,” he added. Foreign affairs ministers from across the bloc are scheduled to meet in the Belgian capital on that date and stamp the plan with their approval.

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US Vows Accountability for Attacks on American Soldiers in Iraq

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller, the spokesperson for the US State Department, addressed reporters on Wednesday, January 31, regarding the suspension of activities by a paramilitary group affiliated with the Iranian regime in Iraq.

Miller stated, “I will echo something I heard my colleagues at the Pentagon also say with respect to KH (Kataeb Hezbollah), which is that we will judge this group as we do all of these Iranian proxy groups, not by what they say but by what they do. And this is a group that we have seen launch attacks on U.S. forces in the region, U.S. interests in the region. We have made clear for some time that those attacks need to stop. They did not stop and so, as you heard the President say, we will be holding organizations accountable. This is not to preview any specific actions that we will take but that we will be taking steps to hold accountable those who are responsible for the deaths of U.S. soldiers.”


Us Blames Group of Iran-Backed Militias for Deadly Drone Attack in Jordan as It Weighs Reprisals

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Wednesday attributed the drone attack that killed three U.S. service members in Jordan to the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias, as President Joe Biden weighs his options to respond to the strike.

Iran threatened to “decisively respond” to any U.S. attack on the Islamic Republic after the U.S. said it held Tehran responsible. The U.S. has signaled it is preparing for retaliatory strikes in the Mideast in the wake of the Sunday drone attack that also wounded more than 40 troops at Tower 22, a secretive base in northeastern Jordan that’s been crucial to the American presence in neighboring Syria.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Wednesday the U.S. believes the attack was planned, resourced, and facilitated by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group that includes the militant group Kataib Hezbollah. He said Biden “believes that it is important to respond in an appropriate way.”

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Exclusive: Iran’s Guards Pull Officers from Syria After Israeli Strikes

Feb 1 (Reuters) – Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have scaled back deployment of their senior officers in Syria due to a spate of deadly Israeli strikes and will rely more on allied Shi’ite militia to preserve their sway there, five sources familiar with the matter said.

The Guards have suffered one of their most bruising spells in Syria since arriving a decade ago to aid President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian war. Since December, Israeli strikes have killed more than half a dozen of their members, among them one of the Guards’ top intelligence generals.

As hardliners in Tehran demand retaliation, Iran’s decision to pull out senior officers is driven partly by its aversion to being sucked directly into a conflict bubbling across the Middle East, three of the sources told Reuters.

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US Lawmakers Push for Tougher Oil Sanctions on Iran

House-of-Representatives-113th-Congress

A group of United States congressional representatives, comprising members from both the Republican and Democratic parties, have called for stronger enforcement of oil sanctions against Iran.

Sixty-two members of the House of Representatives, alongside 18 senators, have collectively petitioned President Joe Biden to tighten oil sanctions against Iran. Citing increased proxy activities across the Middle East following the recent conflict between Gaza and southern Israel, lawmakers urge the Biden administration to narrow the loopholes in sanctions against the Iranian regime. They express concern over heightened attacks by Iran-backed proxies on American forces in the region and advocate for minimizing Iran’s oil exports as part of negotiations. Additionally, the senators, including five Democrats, specifically urge the Biden administration to impose further sanctions on Iranian oil-carrying vessels, ports, and refineries. Both initiatives aim to impose additional sanctions on China for purchasing oil from Iran, with senators advocating for the passage of these bills.


UPDATE: 7:30 AM

Speech at Victor Hugo Hall of the National Assembly of France

Speech National Assembly France maryam rajavi

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi’s speech at Victor Hugo Hall at the National Assembly of France: “Madame President of the Parliamentary Committee for a Democratic Iran (CPID), Dear Cécile Rilhac, Mr. Chassaigne, Mr. Saulignac, and Mr. Gosselin, Honorable Members of Parliament, esteemed dignitaries, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am delighted to be in your presence once again. Let me express my sincere gratitude to the members of the CPID for their steadfast representation of France’s values within this esteemed committee.

Today, we have gathered at a critical juncture, with the Middle East torn by war and the mullahs’ regime escalating executions to a staggering 864 in the past year. The wave of executions continued into January and included political prisoners as well as our Kurdish and Baluch compatriots.”

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Rivalries in Iran’s Sham Elections Shed Light on Carpet Embezzlement Case

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As the scheduled date for the Iranian regime’s sham parliamentary election approaches, the pure disgrace and corruption that has engulfed the foundation of the regime becomes more evident.

The more the regime tries to hide its most scandalous political corruption, the more it becomes evident. A prominent example is disqualifying rivals of Iranian regime president Ebrahim Raisi in his electoral district and turning it into a one-person show. The disgrace is so extreme that even the regime’s agents mock it.

Moreover, Raisi’s so-called “fight against corruption” has become so corrupt itself that on January 27, the state-run Etemad newspaper wrote, “It is evident that this approach is not about being anti-corruption, but rather an attempt to silence others.”

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Iran’s Global Drone Expansion: A Decade of Escalating Threats and Proxy Warfare

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Over the past decade, Iran’s regime has significantly increased its export of drones to proxies across the Middle East.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have emerged as a pivotal element in Iran regime’s policies, empowering its proxies to conduct attacks with increasing precision and lethality. A decade ago, the drone threat may not have been considered a major concern, but today it commands serious attention across the region.

Nevertheless, Iran’s regime persists in enhancing the precision and deadly effectiveness of its drone arsenal, as demonstrated by the recent attack on US forces in Jordan that resulted in three casualties and numerous injuries.

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The Nexus of Iran’s Ecological Crisis and Climate-Driven Migration

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According to experts, an assessment of Iran’s environmental situation reveals a country grappling with crises and disturbances across all environmental aspects. The unchecked growth in Iran’s population, irrespective of its capacities and resources, has led to a significant surge in the ecological footprint. Surveys conducted over the past four decades indicate that over 20 million hectares of pastures have undergone transformations, resulting in the extinction of numerous animal and plant species.

The development of agricultural land has been uneven and unsustainable, not aligning with its ecological potential. Astonishingly, more than 86 billion cubic meters of renewable water are utilized in the agricultural sector, yet the yield gap stands at approximately 60%.

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Economic Turbulence Hits Iran’s Household Appliances Market Amid Currency Fluctuations

iran shop Household

As the Nowruz market approaches, Iran’s household appliances market finds itself grappling with a lack of momentum and intensified stagnation over several months. The repercussions of this economic slowdown have led producers to adopt unconventional strategies, such as selling products in installments, in an attempt to secure financing while still stimulating sales. However, challenges in obtaining loans and ensuring liquidity have given rise to a unique trend where individuals purchase goods in installments from chain stores and resell them at discounted prices in the market.

Major stores in urban areas are now offering household appliances on an installment basis, responding to the prevailing economic challenges. The ongoing variations in the installment market, coupled with frequent discounted sales in the household appliances sector, have led manufacturers to temporarily cease selling goods to dealers, citing various pretexts. This shift underscores the complexity of the economic landscape and the creative measures businesses are taking to adapt.

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Iranian Regime To Take Advantage of Deputy UNHCR’s Visit To Justify Its Crimes

Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Neda Al Nashif min

In a surprising about face, the clerical regime has unexpectedly approved the visit of the Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to Iran, scheduled to take place from February 2 to February 5, 2024. Notably, this visit coincides with a period marked by a surge in executions and the severe suppression of basic human rights for the Iranian population.

It is noteworthy that the clerical regime has staunchly resisted such visits for an extended period of 28 years, refusing entry to UN Special Rapporteurs tasked with investigating human rights violations. This denial persisted despite numerous appeals and resolutions passed by both the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.

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Zahra Nazarian, 27, Executed in the Prison of Sabzevar

Zahra Nazarian iran

On the final day of January, the clerical regime executed a woman in the Prison of Sabzevar, in northeastern Iran. Zahra Nazarian, 27, was hanged at dawn on Wednesday, January 31, 2024. Zahra Nazarian was convicted of the murder of her brother-in-law. She had been imprisoned for four years before being executed this morning.

Zahra Nazarian, the first woman executed in 2024, is the 230th in the list of women executed by the clerical regime since 2007, according to the data compiled by the NCRI Women’s Committee.

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US, UK Impose Sanctions on Criminal Network Linked to Iran’s Regime

U.S. Sanctions Iran Regime’s Interior Minister for Human Rights Abuses

On Monday, January 29th, the United States and the United Kingdom jointly sanctioned 11 individuals for their connections to a criminal network that has been planning assassinations of dissidents abroad at the order of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

Matthew Miller, the spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, said, “

The United States and the United Kingdom are taking joint action today to impose sanctions on 11 individuals for their connection to a criminal network that has targeted foreign dissidents and Iranian regime opponents for assassination at the behest of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). The individuals designated today are believed to be involved in a network that has carried out acts of transnational repression, including numerous assassinations and kidnappings, and has also plotted operations in the United States.”

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Zurich—January 29, 2024: MEK Supporters Exhibition in Solidarity With the Iran Revolution, Condemning the Wave of Executions in Iran

Zurich, Switzerland—January 29, 2024: MEK supporters exhibition in support of the Iranian Revolution

Zurich, Switzerland—January 29, 2024: Freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran(PMOI/MEK) organized an exhibition to express support for the Iranian Revolution. Iranians strongly condemned the recent wave of brutal executions, particularly those of two political prisoners, Mohammad Ghobadlou and Farhad Salimi, who were executed on January 23, 2024.

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Paris, January 30, 2024: Exhibition by MEK Supporters in Solidarity with the Iranian Revolution

Paris—January 30, 2024: MEK supporters held an exhibition in solidarity with the Iranian Revolution.

On January 30, 2024, in Paris, France, advocates for freedom in Iran and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) collaborated to organize an exhibition, demonstrating their solidarity with the Iranian Revolution.

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Also, read Iran News in Brief – January 31, 2023