• Pompeo Announces International Summit on Iran
Fox News: The United States will host an international summit next month to promote stability and freedom in the Middle East, focusing on Iran’s regional influence, said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in an exclusive Fox News interview, while traveling in the Middle East. “We’ll bring together dozens of countries from all around the world,” said Pompeo, announcing the February 13-14 event in Poland. “Countries will all come together to focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence.”
• US To Expel Every Last Iranian Boot from Syria – Pompeo
BBC News: The US will work with allies to “expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says. Mr Pompeo warned there would be no US reconstruction aid for areas controlled by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad until Iran and its proxies had left. He also criticised ex-President Barack Obama’s Middle East policy, saying he had made “dire misjudgements”.
• Public execution in Iran
A prisoner was publicly executed in Kazerun on January 10, 2019.
In 2018, at least 236 people were executed, and 195 people were sentenced to death in Iran.
• Political Prisoner Hunger Strikes Protesting Authorities Insulting Family
Political prisoner Ghassemzadeh has been taken to solitary confinement since Saturday after he protested the authorities insulting his family in the visitation hall of the Urmia Central Prison.
Reports indicate that Mr. Ghassemzadeh has started a hunger strike ever since.
On Saturday, January 5, 2019 the prison guard, Hossein Sobhani insulted and disrespected the political prisoner’s wife and daughters in the visitations hall in front of him and during the family meetings. This angered and upset Mr. Ghassemzadeh and led to a physical encounter between the political prisoner and the prison guard.
• Iran: Life of political prisoner Sohail Arabi in danger
Political prisoner Sohail Arabi, held in the Greater Tehran Prison, is currently in critical condition, suffering from intense bleeding due to a broken nose. Regime officials are refusing to allow this political prisoner to seek medical treatment despite this life threatening status and continuous pains from his broken nose. For months, Arabi has been deprived from any medical care or surgery, literally placing him under torture for several months now.
• Iran’s Crude Exports Stay Subdued In January despite Waivers: Sources
Reuters: Iran will see its crude exports severely curtailed for a third month in January as it is struggling to find new buyers amid fresh U.S. sanctions even though its traditional customers secured waivers, according to tanker data and industry sources. Iran’s crude exports in November plummeted to below 1 million barrels per day, from regular sales of 2.5 million bpd before sanctions were imposed in May, and taking them back to where they stood during the previous round of sanctions in 2012-2016.
• U.S. Sanctions Reduced Iran’s Trade with EU And Other Countries
Radio Farda: EU trade turnover has declined significantly since the United States reimposed stringent sanctions on Iran, including oil exports and banking. According to official statistics, released by Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization, European Union’s exports to the country declined 19% year-on-year to $6.792 billion during nine months of current Iranian fiscal year, which started on March 21, 2018. Iran’s non-oil exports to EU also shrank 19% to $868 million.
• Iran Enters Deep Recession, Admits 27% Unemployment
Breitbart News: The government of Iran is prone to belligerent defiance about the resilience of its economy in the face of U.S. sanctions, but Radio Farda noted on Wednesday that even the dubious data officially released by Tehran depicts a country in “deep recession” with staggering unemployment rates.
• Pompeo Takes US Anti-Iran Message To Gulf Arab States
Associated Press: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought the Trump administration’s anti-Iran message to Gulf Arab states on Friday, arriving in Bahrain to continue a nine-nation tour of the Middle East aimed at reassuring America’s partners that withdrawing troops from Syria does not mean Washington is abandoning the region. Pompeo was traveling to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates where he will call for increasing pressure on Iran and push for unity among Gulf neighbors still embroiled in a festering dispute with Qatar.
• US Won’t Accept Hezbollah as ‘Major Presence’ In Lebanon: Pompeo
Reuters: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday Hezbollah is a major presence in Lebanon, but the U.S. won’t accept this as the status quo. Pompeo also described the United States was a “force for good” in the Middle East and remained committed to the “complete dismantling” of the Daesh (ISIS) threat despite its decision to withdraw troops from Syria.
• Report: US to Leave Troops In Southern Syria As Bulwark Against Iran
Middle East Eye: A draft paper outlining US plans for withdrawing from Syria includes leaving troops in place at a position near the Iraqi and Jordanian border seen as a key stopgap against Iranian entrenchment in the country. The document, described as a proposal, was presented to Turkish officials as US National Security Adviser John Bolton visited Ankara earlier this week to discuss the planned pull-out, according to London-based news website Middle East Eye, citing an unnamed Turkish official.
• Top Iranian General Vows to ‘Annihilate’ Israel
A top Iranian general has said Iran will annihilate Israel, boasted that Iran could easily defeat Saudi Arabia, and threatened to overrun American military bases in the Middle East. Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Deputy Commander for Cultural and Social Affairs, said in a December 28 interview with the Iraqi television network Al-Nujaba that the “Islamic revolution in Iran will not back down” from the goal of “wiping out” the Jewish state.
• Houthis ‘Target’ Peace Efforts with Iranian-Made Drone
Asharq Al-Awsat: A bomb-laden drone launched by the Houthi rebels, which exploded on Thursday over a Yemeni military parade at al-Anad Air Base in the southern province of Lahj, was most likely manufactured by Iran, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat. The attack, 50 kilometers north of Aden, left four troops dead and another 20 injured. The government described the attack as “a message of blatant defiance to the international community and outright rejection to peace efforts.”
• Yemen Government Denounces Iran’s Disobeying Of UN Resolutions
Al Arabiya: The Yemeni Council of Ministers denounced Iran’s disobeying of UN resolutions on Thursday, saying that “it won’t stop until it is strongly deterred by the International Community.” The Yemeni legitimate government said that Houthi militias are challenging the international community and its decisions, in a press release.
• Report: Iran Is Likely Setting Stage For International Phishing Campaign
Defense One: Phishing attacks only work when the target takes the bait. The email containing the link or attachment that will compromise the target’s computer has to look legitimate, from a recognizable domain. A new report says that someone – likely Iran – has been hijacking domains related to entities across the Middle East and North America, which could allow Iran to launch more, and more successful, cyber-attacks.