•As U.S. Tightens Sanctions, Iran’s Network Of Allies Feels The Pain
The New York Times: Syrian militiamen paid by Iran have seen their salaries slashed. Projects Iran promised to help Syria’s ailing economy have stalled. Even employees of Hezbollah, the Lebanese group that has long served as Iran’s closest Arab ally, say they have missed paychecks and lost other perks. Iran’s financial crisis, exacerbated by American sanctions, appears to be undermining its support for militant groups and political allies who bolster Iranian influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.
• Israel Strike Kills 7 Iranian, Iran-Backed Fighters In Syria
Associated Press: A Syrian war monitoring group says an Israeli airstrike the night before killed seven Iranian and Iranian-backed fighters in northern Syria. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday that the airstrike targeted an Iranian weapons depot and also wounded several other fighters. Syrian state media said the country’s air defenses responded to an “Israeli air aggression” targeting positions in an industrial area northeast of the city of Aleppo city, causing material damage only.
• Uncovering Iran’s Sanctions-Busting Sale Of Fuel Oil On The High Seas
Reuters: It was a quiet day in January, and many oil traders were still on holiday, when two sources in the industry called to alert me to something unusual – a supertanker that had gone off radar for two weeks appeared off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and was pumping out fuel oil to two smaller vessels. The sources said it appeared that the supertanker was selling Iranian oil in violation of U.S. sanctions. If confirmed, the sale would shine a rare light on how traders and shippers were evading the sanctions.
• Stanley Black & Decker Settles Iran Sanctions Case For $1.9 Million
The Wall Street Journal: Stanley Black & Decker Inc. and Chinese subsidiary Jiangsu Guoqiang Tools Co. agreed to pay roughly $1.9 million to settle allegations they violated U.S. sanctions against Iran, the Treasury Department said Wednesday. The settlement between Stanley and the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control is the fifth enforcement action by the agency this year.
• US Envoy To Iran: More Sanctions, No New Oil Waivers
Voice Of America: The United States will redraw government maps consistent with Washington’s decision to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The move comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump signed a proclamation Monday officially granting U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. VOA’s State Department correspondent Nike Ching sat down Wednesday with Brian Hook, the State Department’s special representative for Iran, to discuss U.S. actions affecting Israel and Iran.
• Iran Media: 10 People Die From Drinking Tainted Alcohol
Associated Press: Iran’s state-run news agency says 10 people have died from tainted alcohol in northwestern Azarbaijan province while 240 were hospitalized. IRNA says the alcohol poisoning took place over the past six weeks in the city of Tabriz. Hodjat Pourfathi, an official with the Health Ministry, is quoted as saying three of the victims were blinded and several were in a coma. He says the fatalities are likely to rise.
• Microsoft Seizes Websites It Traces To Iranian Hackers
The New York Times: Microsoft took control of 99 websites that it said Iranian hackers had used to try to steal sensitive information from targets in the United States, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday. By taking over the sites, Microsoft can stop future cyberattacks and monitor how previously infected computers were compromised, the company said. The hackers “specifically directed” their attacks on people in Washington, Microsoft said in the filing.