The Week in Review: September.13th – September.20th

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif threatened “all out war” if a military strike on Iran was launched, following last weekend’s strikes on one of Saudi Arabia’s most important oil facilities. Saudi Arabia released images of drone and missile pieces which it said proved Iran’s involvement in the attacks. However, conclusive evidence has yet to emerge, as questions over where the missiles were fired from and who launched them remained unanswered this week.

U.S. President Donald Trump imposed a raft of sanctions on Iran after the attack on the Saudi oil facilities, which Washington also believes Iran instigated. Trump said he would release further details about the sanctions within 48 hours, saying the measures would be extensive. 

European parties to the JCPOA called on the Iranian government to return to the agreement as Tehran continued to violate the terms of the nuclear deal. Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities did not help Europe’s efforts to ease tensions, calling for a strategy that focused on de-escalation.

International football governing body FIFA urged the Iranian government to allow Iranian women to watch football matches following the death of Sahar Khodayari, a football fan who set herself on fire in protest, after she was arrested for entering a stadium. FIFA president Gianni Infantino said, “Our position is clear and firm. Women have to be allowed into football stadiums in Iran. Now is the moment to change things and FIFA is expecting positive developments starting in the next Iran home match in October.” 

According to a report by the Center for Human Rights in Iran, British-Australian and Australian detainees Jolie King and Mark Firkin were issued indictments for flying a drone in Tehran. British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert was accused of espionage and is now awaiting trial.

  • The attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities may look like just another act of sabotage in the Middle East, but the choice of target represents a new dynamic in the conflict between Washington and Tehran.
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  • Judicial spokesman Gholam Hossein Ismaili announced that the three Australian nationals detained in Iran were charged with espionage and taking video footage in restricted areas, which he said included military bases.
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  • Iranian authorities said they would be investigating claims published in the western media that Dutch intelligence officials were responsible for placing the Stuxnet virus into operating systems at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant.
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  • A spokesman for the Iranian government said President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet supported women’s rights to attend football matches. Mahmoud Vaezi, President Rouhani’s Chief of Staff told Mehr news agency, “We have no objection to women attending football matches at large sports stadiums if the conditions are right.”
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