Saturday’s Iran Mini Report – January 26, 2019

France is ready to impose further sanctions against Iran if no progress is made in talks over its ballistic missile program, the French foreign minister said on Friday.

“We are ready, if the talks don’t yield results, to apply sanctions firmly, and they know it,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters.

Diplomats previously told Reuters in private that France, Britain and other EU countries were considering new economic sanctions against Tehran.

• Iran Regime ‘Angry’ over Failure to Activate S-300 System in Syria

An Iranian official on Thursday expressed “anger” at Russia’s failure to activate the S-300 air defense system deployed in Syria during a recent Israeli airstrike near Damascus.

Head of parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee Heshmatollah Falahat-Pisheh told IRNA there was serious criticism in Tehran for not activating Russia’s S-300 during the Israeli attacks.

He said if the system had operated correctly, the Israelis would not have attacked Syria that easily.

• UK to attend US summit on Iran

The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has agreed to attend a summit organised by the US in Warsaw originally billed as an alliance to confront Iranian aggression, but only on the condition that the US secretary of state hosts a meeting on Yemen on the summit’s margins.

• Government departments on alert over suspected Iran-linked cyber-hijacking campaign

Government departments, the public sector and business were put on alert on Friday to protect their computer networks against a worldwide cyber-hijacking campaign suspected to be linked to Iran.

GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) issued a rare warning that it was investigating a “large-scale hijacking campaign that has reportedly affected government and commercial organisations worldwide.”

• Slow Death of Nurses in Iran Under Unbearable Work Pressure

A 24-year-old nurse died from a “ruptured aorta” due to fatigue caused by excessive working hours, according to the National Nursing Organization.

The young man, Saeed Alian was a nurse in the medical ward of Emam Reza Hospital of Lar, in the southern Fars Province.

the National Nursing Organization said:

In an open letter to Hassan Rouhani, Asghar Dalvandi, the head of the Nursing Organization, recently expressed concern over the officials negligence of the situation of nurses and lack of adequate budget allocation to address their problems.

• Torturing prisoners by denying medical care

Majid Asadi, a prisoner in Rajaee Shahr in Karaj was denied urgent medical care. He is suffering from severe gastrointestinal diseases such as Stomach ulcer and Herniated disc, and Ankylosing spondylitis which is a type of arthritis of the spine. He wrote an open letter about torture, mistreatment, humiliation and abuse in prison on January 16, 2019. He has been arrested in February 2017 and sentenced to six years prison term on the charge of “assembly and collusion against national security”.

• U.S. Sanctions Hit Iran-Backed Airlines, Fighters In Syria

Reuters: The United States on Thursday targeted two Iran-backed foreign fighter militias in Syria and two airlines that help send weapons to Syria in fresh sanctions as Washington prepares for a military withdrawal from the war-torn country. All four groups are linked to Iran’s Mahan Air and Iran’s elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, both of which are already blacklisted, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement.

• Iranian Nuclear Chief: We Bought Nuke Spare Parts To Rebuild Later

Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi spoke on Channel 4 TV in Iran on Tuesday and revealed Iran bought spare parts to replace the items it seemed to destroy during the steps made to ensure a deal with the West, MEMRI reported. “We told no one but the top man of the regime [Khamenei],” he said, “when our team was in the midst of the negotiations, we knew that [the Westerners] would ultimately renege on their promises.”

• South Korea Stays Off Iranian Crude For Four Months

|Oil Price: South Korea imported no Iranian crude oil for the fourth month in a row in December, S&P Global Platts reports, citing information from Korea National Oil Corp. During that month, one of the world’s top oil importers increased its intake of crude from Kazakhstan and the United States. Iranian oil exports to South Korea for full-2018 dived by more than 60 percent to 58.2 million barrels, according to the Korea National Oil Corp. data, from 147.87 million barrels a year earlier.

• Iran’s Space Odyssey Raises Red Flags For Nuclear Community

The National Interest: In mid-January, Iran launched satellite into orbit. The launch took place at Khomeini Space Center. The two-hundred-pound satellite, called Payam (message in Farsi), was designed and produced at Tehran’s Amirkabir University of Technology. According to Telecommunications Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, the rocket carrying the Payam satellite failed to reach the “necessary speed” in the third stage of its launch. Iranian scientists will analyze this failed attempt and will try again.

• After Iranian Terror On European Soil, Why Does Europe Still Support The Nuclear Deal?

The Algemeiner: Ahead of next month’s international meeting in Poland to discuss threats to the stability of the Middle East, The Financial Times is reporting that Germany, France, and the UK are seeking to shore up support for the 2015 nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran. And yet, according to a recent Reuters report, Iran appears to be doing all it can to alienate these champions of the deal.

• U.S. Sanctions Two Airline Companies For Aiding Iran

The Wall Street Journal: The Treasury Department added two private airline companies to its sanctions blacklist on Thursday for allegedly aiding Iran, including ferrying weapons from Tehran into Syria. The move, which also targets an Iran-backed militia composed of foreign fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan, underscores the role regional actors play in the Syria conflict and evasion of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

• American Held In Iran Investigated On Security-Related Charges: Prosecutor

Reuters: An American detained in Iran in July 2018 is being investigated on possible security charges, an Iranian prosecutor was quoted as saying on Friday, in a case that could further strain turbulent relations between Iran and the United States. Ties between Tehran and Washington took a turn for the worse following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision last May to pull out of an international nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran.

• Arab Coalition: Houthis Blocking Passage Of Four Aid Ships Since 34 Days

Al Arabiya: The Arab Coalition in Yemen said on Thursday that Houthis have been blocking the passage of four aid ships since 34 days. The ships heading towards the Hodeidah port carry oil and food aid, said the Coalition, stressing on the fact that preventing the ships from unloading will affect the lives of the Yemeni people.

• Iran’s Former Envoy To Germany Slams ‘Rogue Operations’ Abroad

Al Monitor: Amidst a backdrop of accusations against Iran of attempting assassinations in Europe, a former Iranian ambassador has caused an uproar by calling those charges hard to deny and suggesting the possibility that they could be at the hands of rogue agents. During a Jan. 22 interview with ISNA, Ali Majedi – a former ambassador to Germany recently forced to retire due to an Iranian law barring the employment of those who are technically retired for senior positions…

• U.S. Issues Emergency Cyber Security Directive As Iran-Linked Hackers Strike During Shutdown

Sky News: The US has issued an emergency cyber security directive in response to an ongoing attack attributed to Iran-linked hackers striking during the government shutdown. Prompted by disagreements over President Donald Trump’s $5.6bn (£4bn) budget request for a border wall with Mexico, the shutdown has now stretched into its 34th day and become the longest in US history. As no budget has been passed, many federal employees have been furloughed from their jobs, left unpaid and effectively ordered to not come into work, including those who maintain the security of IT systems.

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