April 14 – Iranian officials held secret talks with China and Russia to restock the Islamic Republic’s supply of ammonium perchlorate, a chemical compound used in missile production, according to diplomats familiar with the matter.

The move — which would allow for the production of thousands of rockets, according to the sources — would be in breach of United Sanctions on Iran.

The diplomats added that the rockets could be used in Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, amid growing ties between Iran, Russia and China.

Iran’s President Ibrahim Raisi replaced two cabinet members in a reshuffle following ongoing criticisms of the government’s performance by Iranians in the country.

Raisi replaced the lead official for the country’s budget and planning, and the agriculture minister.

Significant government corruption and mismanagement, chronic inflation and sanctions have battered Iran’s economy, leading to nationwide anger.

And Iran’s executions reached their highest level since 2015, with at least 582 people executed in 2022, according to the Norway-based watchdog Iran Human Rights.

The rise in executions was attributed to the regime’s attempts at curbing countrywide anti-government protests, which began in September, following the death of Kurdish-Iranian 22 year-old Jina Mahsa Amini while in police custody.

The prolific use of the death penalty in Iran has been heavily criticized by the United Nations, which called the policy “state sanctioned killing,” designed to “punish people for exercising their basic rights.”

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