U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the world to address Iran’s nuclear escalation on Thursday, after the Iranian government began injecting uranium gas into 1,044 centrifuges at the Fordow nuclear site, taking Tehran a fourth step away from the nuclear deal. Pompeo said that, “Iran’s expansion of proliferation-sensitive activities raises concerns that Iran is positioning itself to have the option of a rapid nuclear breakout,” in a press release issued on the same day.
Iran’s detention of a U.N. nuclear watchdog inspector raised further concern around the world, after Iranian officials seized her travel documents. Tehran said the inspector may have been carrying a ‘suspicious material,’ and prevented her from entering its Nantaz site. The inspector was released a short time later.
Tehran’s move to inject gas into its centrifuges also concerned the Kremlin. Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, would like the nuclear accord to remain in place.
Meanwhile, Washington imposed a fresh round of sanctions on Tehran. The sanctions, issued by the U.S. Treasury Department, targeted nine appointees and representatives of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s armed forces general staff and the Quds force. The measures are intended to impact the financial assets of Khamenei’s inner circle.
The new round of sanctions also single out the head of Iran’s judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi.
And Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is scheduled to visit Turkey on Saturday, to take part in a Ministerial Meeting focusing on economic matters. The meeting was confirmed by Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi on Thursday.
- The anti-government demonstrations in Iraq were initially a response to poor living standards, and corruption at the highest level, but protestors are now turning their attention to Iran’s meddling in the region.
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- A think tank based in Washington has analyzed the financial interests of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s family, and unearthed what appears to be a vice-like grip on the country’s economy by elite families in Iran.
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- Iran’s hardline Kayhan newspaper — not to be confused with UK based Kayhan Life or Kayhan London — has condemned a fictional Israeli program entitled “Tehran,” which features an Israeli hacker tasked with disabling an Iranian nuclear reactor.
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