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Iran News in Brief – February 21, 2024

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

THIS PAGE WILL BE UPDATED WITH THE LATEST NEWS

UPDATE: 9:00 PM

US Voices Alarm On Alleged Iran Role In Sudan

Agence France Presse (AFP) – The United States voiced concern Wednesday at reported arms shipments by adversary Iran to Sudan’s army, which is locked in a deadly war with paramilitaries allegedly receiving Emirati and Russian support.

John Godfrey, the US ambassador to Sudan, said Washington was “deeply concerned by external support” to both the Sudan Armed Forces and rival Rapid Support Forces, known by the acronyms SAF and RSF.

“There are reports about resumed ties between Sudan and Iran that could reportedly include Iranian materiel support to SAF, which is also very troubling and a source of great concern for us,” Godfrey told reporters.

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Iran Dismisses Plan By U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Head To Visit Next Month

DUBAI, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Iran’s nuclear chief on Wednesday dismissed a suggestion that the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi would visit Iran next month but instead invited Grossi to a conference in Tehran in May.

Grossi said this week Iran was continuing to enrich uranium well beyond the needs for commercial nuclear use and said he planned to visit Tehran next month to tackle “drifting apart” relations between the IAEA and the Islamic Republic.

But Mohammad Eslami said a visit next month was unlikely due to a “busy schedule” without giving further clarification. “Iran’s interactions with the IAEA continue as normal and discussions are held to resolve ambiguities and develop cooperation,” he said at a weekly press conference in Tehran.

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UPDATE: 5:30 PM

Iran Mired In Khamenei’s Political Quagmire

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The beleaguered Supreme Leader of the Iranian regime, Ali Khamenei, is engineering another sinister consolidation of his control, marking a perilous chapter for the ruling theocracy.

With the regime gearing up for its so-called parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections in March, the decision to bar long-standing loyalists, such as former President Hassan Rouhani, acts as a stark warning of Tehran’s growing instability. This exclusion extends even to notorious figures like Mostafa Pourmohammadi, a former Minister of Justice involved in the horrific political prisoner massacre of 1988.

Since its inception in 1979, the theocracy, steeped in election manipulation, fraud, and corruption, has ruthlessly extinguished even the faintest flicker of peaceful political activity. The Iranian people, burdened by the weight of suppressed rights over four long decades, have chosen to wage an all-encompassing resistance against a regime that inexorably contracts into a tightening grip of tyranny.

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Wednesday Protests in Iran

Today, on Wednesday, February 21, a wave of protests surged through several cities in Iran. In Ahvaz, southwest Iran, retirees from the oil industry gathered for a protest demanding higher pensions in accordance with the country’s laws governing retirement benefits.

Furthermore, workers of the Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG) continued their strikes, objecting to the dismissal of their colleagues and the neglect of their demands by the authorities. The rallying cry echoed, “A worker may die, but will not accept humiliation” as they voiced their grievances against unfair labor practices.

Simultaneously, in Tehran, customers of the state-run Iran Khodro gathered outside the Ministry of Industry, expressing their discontent with the corrupt practices of the automotive company. Their chants denounced the incompetence of the minister and called for his resignation, accusing the ministry of turning a blind eye to the company’s misconduct.

In Kashan, central Iran, families and individuals who had invested in homes through the state-backed Maskan-e-Melli housing company staged a protest in front of the Kashan governorate. They accused the company of mishandling their funds and failing to deliver promised homes, urging accountability from the responsible authorities.

These protests reflect the deep-seated frustrations among various segments of Iranian society, highlighting concerns ranging from labor rights and pensions to housing and corporate corruption.


Exclusive: Iran Sends Russia Hundreds Of Ballistic Missiles

DUBAI, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Iran has provided Russia with a large number of powerful surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, six sources told Reuters, deepening the military cooperation between the two U.S.-sanctioned countries.

Iran’s provision of around 400 missiles includes many from the Fateh-110 family of short-range ballistic weapons, such as the Zolfaghar, three Iranian sources said. This road-mobile missile is capable of striking targets at a distance of between 300 and 700 km (186 and 435 miles), experts say.

Iran’s defence ministry and the Revolutionary Guards – an elite force that oversees Iran’s ballistic missile programme – declined to comment. Russia’s defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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UPDATE: 8:00 AM

How the Majlis Enables IRGC’s Terrorism and Warmongering

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The disclosure of classified documents ahead of the Iranian regime’s parliamentary elections has dealt a great blow to the crumbling regime. Some of the published documents have exposed the criminal role of the regime and the Majlis (Parliament) in repression and warmongering. For instance, in one of the “highly confidential” letters, Brigadier General Mohammad Baqeri, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, thanked Majlis Speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf for the Majlis approval of 3 billion euros for the defense infrastructure and requested an additional 500 million euros to produce naval vessels, missiles, radars, and drones.

It becomes clear that simply behind the scenes, 3 billion euros are easily spent from the pockets and empty tables of the people on the regime’s war machine to strengthen the foundation of the “defense” of the regime against the army of the hungry. And with a single written line, an additional 500 million euros are allocated to the regime’s security forces.

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Rafael Grossi: Iran Continues Uranium Enrichment at High Levels

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On February 19, Rafael Grossi, the head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog (IAEA), stated that Iran is continuing uranium enrichment at levels higher than commercial needs. He added that he intends to visit Iran next month for the first time in the past year.

Mr. Grossi, in an interview with Reuters, stated that ”while the pace of uranium enrichment had slowed slightly since the end of last year, Iran was still enriching at an elevated rate of around 7 kg of uranium per month to 60% purity.”

Enrichment of uranium to 60% is close to the level required for the production of nuclear weapons and is not necessarily applicable for commercial or non-military purposes. Iran insists that it is not pursuing nuclear weapons, but no country has undertaken uranium enrichment at this level without consideration of nuclear weapon production.

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Ahvaz Steelworkers Banned From Entering Company After Protesting Poor Work Conditions

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Following their recent round of trade union protests that began on February 13, a number of workers from the Iran National Steel Industrial Group (INSIG) in Ahvaz have had their access cards blocked, preventing them from entering the company.

Bank-e-Melli owns INSIG, and workers of this complex have repeatedly demanded a change in ownership. The confrontation with some of the workers of INSIG occurred while the protesting workers were calling for a review of the job classification plan, addressing fundamental shortcomings and deficiencies in certain aspects of it, as well as aligning wages with similar steel companies.

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Rising Inflation, Unemployment, and Rural Misery in Iran

Katak Bozorg village near Andika city, Khuzestan province, SW Iran. The poor workers of the Rural Water and Sewerage Department in the city of Andika still protest delayed paychecks

The latest statistics reveal a concerning trend: the misery index across the villages of 17 provinces in Iran surpasses the national average. Data from Echo Iran indicates a significant rise in misery levels across the villages of 15 provinces, indicating a worrying trend that spans nearly half of Iran’s rural areas.

Yazd province emerges as the frontrunner in this distressing scenario, with a staggering misery index of 61.8 units, marking a notable increase compared to previous years. The poverty index in Yazd province has surged by 10.31 points, soaring from 51.45 units in fall 2022 to 61.77 units in fall 2023. The rural regions of Yazd province are grappling with an annual inflation rate of 56.4% and an unemployment rate of 5.4%.

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Toronto, Canada—February 17, 2024: MEK Supporters Rally in Solidarity With the Iran Revolution

Toronto, Canada—February 17, 2024: MEK supporters rally to support the Iranian Revolution.

Toronto, Canada—February 17, 2024: Despite snowy and freezing weather, freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) organized a rally to express solidarity with the Iranian Revolution.

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Zurich—February 19, 2024: MEK Supporters Exhibition in Solidarity With the Iran Revolution

Zurich—February 19, 2024: MEK supporters held an exhibition to support the Iranian Revolution.

Zurich, Switzerland—February 19, 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 in Iran by the mullahs’ regime.

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Oslo, Norway—February 17, 2024: MEK Supporters Rally in Solidarity With the Iran Revolution

Oslo, Norway—February 17, 2024: MEK supporters rally in solidarity with the Iranian Revolution

Oslo, Norway—February 17, 2024: Freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) organized a rally in front of the Norwegian Parliament to express solidarity with the Iranian Revolution.

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Also, read Iran News in Brief – February 20, 2023