◢ The trial of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's brother, who was arrested two years ago on charges of financial violations, opened Tuesday in Tehran, the judiciary's news website Mizan Online reported. Hossein Fereydoun, a key adviser to Rouhani, was arrested in July 2017 following long-running corruption allegations, with the judiciary saying at the time that he was the subject of "multiple investigations.”
◢ Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said Monday it has arrested three "terrorists" involved in last week's deadly suicide bomb attack on security forces in a region bordering Pakistan. "Safe houses in (the cities of) Saravan and Khash were identified and eliminated, and the terrorists based in them were arrested," the force said on its official Sepah news agency.
◢ Iran's foreign minister on Sunday launched a blistering attack on US Vice President Mike Pence, saying his allegations that Tehran was plotting a "new Holocaust" were "hateful" and "ignorant.” Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Munich Security Conference that Pence's demands for the EU to follow the US in abandoning the 2015 Iran nuclear deal amounted to asking Europe to undermine its own security.
◢ Iran on Sunday launched a new locally-made submarine capable of firing cruise missiles, state TV said, in the country's latest show of military might at a time of heightened tensions with the US. The launch ceremony, led by President Hassan Rouhani, took place in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas.
◢ Tens of thousands of Iranians called for "revenge" Saturday at the funeral of 27 Revolutionary Guards killed in a suicide attack perpetrated by jihadists that Tehran accuses Pakistan of supporting. "The Islamic Republic of Iran will no longer observe the previous reservations and will directly act to counter such acts," Jafari told mourners gathered at the city of Isfahan's Bozorgmehr Square.
◢ Germany on Friday rejected an appeal by US Vice President Mike Pence for Europeans to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal and isolate Tehran. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas defended the 2015 agreement under which Iran drastically scaled back its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.
◢ US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday demanded that European Union allies leave the Iran nuclear deal and warned of further US sanctions on Tehran. Speaking at a conference in Poland attended by Israel and senior Arab leaders, Pence denounced Iran as the "greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East" and accused the clerical regime of plotting a "new Holocaust" with its regional ambitions.
◢ President Hassan Rouhani vowed revenge Thursday against the "mercenary group" behind a suicide bombing which killed 27 people in southeastern Iran and accused the US and Israel of supporting "terrorism.” Rouhani was speaking at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport before leaving for the Russian resort of Sochi for a summit with his Russian and Turkish counterparts Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the future of war-battered Syria.
◢ A suicide car bombing on a Revolutionary Guards bus in southeastern Iran killed 27 troops on Wednesday, in one of the deadliest attacks on the elite forces in years. The assault came as the troops were returning from a border patrol mission, the Guards said in a statement.
◢ The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Wednesday that Iran can proceed with a bid to recover billions of dollars in frozen assets the United States says must go to victims of attacks blamed on Tehran. Judges of the UN's top court rejected US claims that the case should be thrown out because Iran had "unclean hands" due to alleged links to terrorism, and that the tribunal in The Hague did not have jurisdiction in the lawsuit.
◢ The International Court of Justice will on Wednesday give its decision on a bid by Iran to recover $2 billion in frozen assets that the United States says must be paid to victims of attacks blamed on Tehran. The case threatens to cause further bad blood after a decision in October when the Hague-based tribunal ordered Washington to lift nuclear-related sanctions on humanitarian goods for Iran.
◢ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran Tuesday that Israeli missiles can travel "very far", on the eve of a conference in Poland about peace and security in the Middle East. Speaking during a visit to a naval base in the northern port of Haifa, Netanyahu said: "The missiles you see behind me can go very far, against any enemy, including Iran's proxies in our region"—an apparent reference to Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah movement.
◢ Iran's president on Monday blasted a US "conspiracy" against the country as vast crowds marked 40 years since the Islamic revolution at a time of heightened tensions with Washington. "The presence of people today on the streets all over Islamic Iran... means that the enemy will never reach its evil objectives," President Hassan Rouhan.
◢ Iran's main political parties are on rocky ground as the Islamic Republic marks its 40th birthday, with reformists in disarray and conservatives seeking a new identity. Even though key reformist leaders have been forcibly sidelined, Mohammad Ali Abtahi, a former reformist vice-president in the 1990s, still believes gradual change is the only option for his country.
◢ Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday that Europe "cannot be trusted", a week after the EU launched a trade mechanism to bypass US sanctions on Tehran. “These days there's talk of the Europeans and their proposals. My advice is that they shouldn't be trusted, just like the Americans," he said at a meeting with air force officials, his website reported.
◢ The United States slapped sanctions on aTurkish businessman on Thursday for violating US sanctions on Iran. Evren Kayakiran, 39, was the managing director from 2013-2015 of a Turkish company that distributes motion control products, the Treasury Department said in a statement.
◢ Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Thursday unveiled a new ballistic missile with a range of 1,000 kilometres, their official news agency Sepah News reported. The move was the latest show of military might by the country as it celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution at a time of heightened tensions with the United States.
◢ Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday his country would be ready to establish "friendly relations" with the United States if it apologized for past wrongs. "Our slogan is friendly relations with the whole world," he said. That would even include "America, if it repents... and apologizes for its previous interferences in Iran, and is prepared to accept the greatness and dignity of the nation of Iran and the great Islamic Revolution.”
◢ Iran on Tuesday ruled out linkage between a new EU mechanism to trade with Tehran bypassing US sanctions and an anti-money laundering bill. “Linking implementation of this mechanism... with the requirements of institutions such as the FATF is unacceptable," the foreign ministry said, referring to the international Financial Action Task Force.
◢ The EU warned Tehran over its ballistic missile program and interference in the Syria conflict Monday, while welcoming a new mechanism to trade with Iran while bypassing US sanctions. In a long-awaited statement on Iran that has been the subject of more than a week of wrangling in Brussels, the EU restated its commitment to saving the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and took aim at Washington for abandoning the pact and reimposing sanctions.
◢ Iran's parliament Monday gave an overwhelming vote of confidence to President Hassan Rouhani's pick as health minister, after his predecessor resigned over budget cuts and criticism of the allocation of state funds. Saeed Namaki was voted into office with 229 votes out of a total 259. He had been appointed as caretaker by Rouhani after the former minister Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi resigned on December 3.
◢ As the Islamic republic marks its 40th birthday, few issues are more politically sensitive or full of contradictions than the status of women. After the revolution, Islamic laws gave women a lower legal status than men, requiring them, for example, in many cases to gain permission from their father or husband to leave the country.
◢ Iran announced the "successful test" of a new cruise missile with a range of over 1,350 kilometres on Saturday, coinciding with celebrations for the country's 1979 Islamic revolution. “The test of the Hoveizeh cruise missile was carried out successfully at a range of 1,200 kilometres (840 miles) and accurately hit the set target," Defence Minister Amir Hatami said, quoted on state television which broadcast footage of its launch.
◢ Tehran on Thursday cautiously welcomed as a "first step" the expected launch of an EU trade entity aimed at saving Iran's nuclear deal by bypassing US sanctions. The special payment mechanism "is the first step within the set of commitments the Europeans have made to Iran which I hope will be fully implemented and not be incomplete," said deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi, according to state news agency IRNA.
◢ Britain, France and Germany will launch a special payment mechanism Thursday that the EU hopes will help save the Iran nuclear deal by bypassing US sanctions, European sources told AFP. The entity, to be registered in France with German governance and finance from all three countries, will allow Iran to trade with EU companies despite Washington reimposing sanctions after President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 accord.
◢ President Donald Trump on Wednesday attacked the US intelligence services as "naive" and "wrong" on the threat he says is posed by Iran. "Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!" Trump said in a blistering tweet. "The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!" Trump tweeted.
◢ Iran's President Hassan Rouhani slammed his critics on Wednesday, defending the political achievements of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal and calling the US an "oath-breaker". Hardliners have repeatedly hammered the 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers since the early stages of negotiations, calling it a fool's errand and a deception.
◢ Iran has "no intention of increasing the range" of its missiles, a senior defense official said Tuesday, amid threats of European as well as US sanctions over its ballistic program. Iran has voluntarily limited the range of its missiles to 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles), sufficient to reach Israel and Western bases in the Middle East. But Washington and its allies have accused Tehran of pursuing enhanced missile capabilities that also threaten Europe.
◢ Iran is still abiding by the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal despite the US pullout from the multinational agreement, Central Intelligence chief Gina Haspel said Tuesday. "At the moment technically they are in compliance" with they Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Haspel told the Senate Intelligence Committee.
◢ Iran's information technology minister said Tuesday that blocking the photo- and video-sharing application Instagram would only create new problems for the Islamic republic. "We believe the strategy of filtering Instagram is not an efficient one to neutralize its threats and might even intensify them," Mohammad-Javad Azari-Jahromi told ISNA news agency on the sidelines of a conference on electronic banking in Tehran.
◢ The US Justice Department on Monday unveiled sweeping charges against Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in two cases likely to ratchet up tensions between the two superpowers—including that of a top executive arrested in Canada on a US warrant. Meng’s case has sparked a major crisis between Beijing and Ottawa, which is accused of doing Washington’s bidding.