The Week in Review: August.2nd – August.9th

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited reductions to the Iranian government’s defense budget and cuts to its military proxies, as a measure of the Trump administration’s success in pushing back the government’s malign activities. Pompeo said there had been a 28% cut to Iran’s military budget and a 17% cut to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), in an op-ed published on the U.S. State Department’s website.

The Iranian government agreed to increase its funding by $30 million a month to Hamas, an organization listed as a terrorist group by several countries around the world, according to a report by Israel’s Channel 12 news. The agreement, which requires Hamas to collect information on the location of Israel’s missile stockpiles in return for the funding boost, was allegedly made during a meeting between Hamas leaders and Iranian officials last month. 

And Israel was accused of attacking Iraqi territory. The strikes hit two bases which belonged to Iran-backed militias and killed at least 40 people, two of whom were IRGC members. Most of the fatalities involved members of Iraq’s Badr Organization and Hashd al Shaabi. Both organizations are militia groups supported by the Iranian government.

Meanwhile, the U.S accused Iranian officials of using Iranian vessels to pose as UK and U.S. warships, while also trying to jam GPS navigation systems to try to get ships traveling through the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf to wander into Iranian waters. Several ships reported interference as they passed through the waterways.

Finally, the Trump administration reclassified its sanctions on Iran’s iron, copper, steel and aluminum sectors, by linking them to human rights violations. The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) which issued the statement, did not explain why the sanctions had been amended to include human rights abuses. Analysts believe the new classification could be a strategic move to try to prolong the sanctions. 

  • Iran may have lost the majority of its rights over the Caspian basin after Russia hints at side-deals conducted without Iran.
    Link to source 
  • Several officials working at Sadra City council were arrested on corruption-related charges, according to Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency.
    Link to source
  • Less than 10% of eligible voters in Iran took part in the recent elections.
    → Link to source 
  • Iranians are pretending to get married in order to access wedding loans.
    Link to source