Category Archives: Iran Unrest

Uranium enrichment: Iran slams UN watchdog chief.

Iran on Saturday slammed the United Nations nuclear watchdog chief Rafael Grossi after the agency in a report raised concerns over substantial covert changes to equipment at its Fordo uranium enrichment plant without prior notice, state media reported.

The criticism of Grossi comes after the International Atomic Energy Agency director-general said he plans to visit Tehran in February for talks on getting it to increase cooperation over its activities, amid stalled negotiations to revive a landmark deal over Iran’s nuclear program.

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The IAEA said in a confidential report seen by Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Wednesday that Iran had substantially modified an interconnection between two centrifuge clusters enriching uranium to up to 60% at Fordo Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP), without giving prior notice.

Iran said later an inspector had “inadvertently” reported the changes, and that Grossi had issued the report despite the matter being resolved – a response that the United States and its allies criticized as “inadequate.”

“We gave a letter to the agency that an inspector… made a mistake and gave an incorrect report,” Mohamad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

“But yet again the director-general of the agency released this issue to the media,” he said, labelling it “unprofessional and unacceptable” behavior. “We hope that this practice will not be continued… because this is not acceptable for his reputation and the agency.”

The IAEA had said that during an unannounced Fordo inspection on Jan. 21 it found “two IR-6 centrifuge cascades… were interconnected in a way that was substantially different from the mode of operation declared by Iran to the agency.”

Since late last year, the two cascades had been used to produce uranium enriched to up to 60%, the report to member states added.

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In the report, Grossi expressed concern that Iran had “implemented a substantial change in the design information of FFEP in relation to the production of high enriched uranium without informing the agency in advance.”

In a statement on Friday, the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Germany said Iran’s response to the report was “inadequate.”

“Iranian claims that this action was carried out in error are inadequate,” they said. “We judge Iran’s actions based on the impartial and objective reports of the IAEA, not Iran’s purported intent.”

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Grossi told the European Parliament on Jan. 24 that he plans to visit Tehran this month “for a much-needed political dialogue, or reestablishment thereof, with Iran.” The IAEA chief noted the “big, big impasse” on the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The deal with world powers collapsed after the U.S. withdrew from it in 2018 under former president Donald Trump.

Negotiations that started in April 2021 to revive the agreement have since stalled.


Satellite photos show damage at Iran site hit by drone attack.

An analysis of satellite images appears to show damage to an Iranian military facility in a drone attack last week, including holes in the building’s roof, according to The Associated Press news agency.

Cloudy weather had prevented satellite pictures of the site of the facility from showing the effect of the attack on January 28.

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While Iran has offered no explanation yet of what the facility in the city of Isfahan manufactured, the assault threatened to again raise tensions in the region, with Tehran blaming Israel for the drone attack, a conclusion that was also reached by United States officials.

Video taken of the attack showed an explosion at the site after anti-aircraft fire targeted the drones, likely from one of the drones reaching the building’s roof. Iran’s military has claimed that it shot down two other drones before they reached the site.

Images taken on Thursday by Planet Labs PBC showed the facility in Isfahan, some 350km (215 miles) south of Tehran. An AP analysis of the image, compared with earlier images of the workshop, showed damage to the structure’s roof.

That damage corresponded to footage aired by Iranian state television immediately after the attack that showed at least two holes in the building’s roof.

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The Iranian state TV footage, as well as satellite photos, suggest the building’s roof also may have been built with so-called “slat armour”.

The structure resembles a cage built around roofs or armoured vehicles to stop direct detonation from rockets, missiles or bomb-carrying drones against a target.

The installation of such protection at the facility suggests Iran believed it could be a drone target.

Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence in July claimed to have broken up a plot to target sensitive sites around Isfahan.

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A segment aired on Iranian state TV in October included purported confessions by alleged members of Komala, a Kurdish opposition party that is exiled from Iran and is now based in Iraq, in which they said they planned to target a military aerospace facility in Isfahan after being trained by Israel’s Mossad intelligence service.

It remains unclear whether the military facility targeted in the drone attack was that aerospace facility.

A letter published on Thursday by Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Amir Saeid Iravani, said early investigations had suggested that Israel was responsible. The letter, however, did not elaborate on what evidence supported Iran’s suspicion.

Ongoing attacks
There have been several explosions and fires around Iranian military, nuclear and industrial facilities in the past few years.

Iran blamed Israel for the assassination of its top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in 2020, as well as an attack on its underground Natanz nuclear facility in April 2021 that damaged its centrifuges.

The attack comes as Iran’s government faces challenges both at home and abroad.

Nationwide protests have shaken the country since the September death of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman who had been detained by the country’s morality police. Its rial currency has also plummeted to new lows against the US dollar

Iran calls Ukraine envoy over top aide’s drone strike comments. (Footage)

Iran has summoned Ukraine’s chargé d’affaires to protest “biased” remarks by a presidential aide in Kyiv over a recent drone strike in Iran, the Islamic republic’s foreign ministry said.

Mykhailo Podoliak, an advisor to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, linked in a tweet on Sunday Iran’s support for Russia’s invasion of his country with the night-time strike on a military site.

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“Explosive night in Iran – drone and missile production, oil refineries,” he said. “War logic… bills the authors and accomplices strictly.”

“Ukraine did warn you,” Podoliak added.

Iran’s foreign ministry said Ukraine’s chargé d’affaires in Tehran had been summoned to provide “an official and immediate explanation from the Ukrainian government.”

It called Podoliak’s remarks “strange and biased,” adding in a statement it hoped “such positions will not be repeated.”

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Iranian authorities reported an “unsuccessful” drone attack late Saturday night that targeted a defense ministry “workshop complex” in the central Isfahan province, home to the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility.

An anti-aircraft system destroyed one drone and two others exploded, the defense ministry said, adding that there were no casualties and only minor damage to the site.

Dramatic video footage widely shared on social media and published by Iranian state media showed a fireball lighting up the night sky, with people outside seen running and emergency service vehicles speeding towards the site.

Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Iran of supplying military drones to Russia for its war in Ukraine, a claim that is denied by Tehran

Iran Jails Ex-President’s Daughter For ‘Propaganda’

Iranian activist Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has been sentenced to five years over “propaganda” and acts against national security, her lawyer told AFP on Monday.

Hashemi was arrested in the capital Tehran on September 27 for encouraging residents to demonstrate amid nationwide protests sparked by Mahsa Amini’s death.

“My client, Ms Hashemi, was sentenced to five years in prison by the preliminary court,” her lawyer Neda Shams said, adding she plans to appeal the verdict.

The 60-year-old former lawmaker and women’s rights activist was charged with “collusion against national security, propaganda against the Islamic republic and disturbing public order by participating in illegal gatherings”, the lawyer said.


“The decision, which is not final, was communicated to me on Wednesday, and we will appeal it within the time frame allowed by law,” added Shams.

Hashemi has faced similar charges before, and in 2012 was arrested and sentenced to six months in prison for “propaganda against the Islamic republic”.

Last October, judiciary spokesman Massoud Setayeshi said without elaborating she had been sentenced in March “to 15 months in prison and two years of additional punishment including the prohibition of activities on the internet”.

Hashemi’s late father, president between 1989 and 1997 who died in 2017, was considered a moderate and advocated improved ties with the West.

Iranian authorities say hundreds of people, including members of the security forces, have been killed and thousands arrested in connection with the protests, which they generally describe as “riots”.

Four people have been executed, and the judiciary has said 13 others have been sentenced to death over the unrest. Six of these defendants have been granted retrials.




Iran executes two more men in connection with protests


Iran on Saturday executed two men for killing a paramilitary force member during unprecedented protests sparked by the death in custody of a young woman.

The latest hangings double the number of executions to four over the nationwide protests, which escalated since mid-September into calls for an end to Iran’s clerical regime.

Two men were put to death in December, sparking global outrage and new Western sanctions against Iran.

Judicial news agency Mizan Online reported, “Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, the main perpetrators of the crime that led to the martyrdom of Ruhollah Ajamian, were hanged this morning.”

Prosecutors said the 27-year-old militiaman was stripped naked and killed by a group of mourners who had been paying tribute to a slain protester, Hadis Najafi.


The executions come in defiance of a campaign by international rights groups for the lives of the two men to be spared. Karami’s father had also begged the judiciary not to kill his son.

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR), said both men “were subjected to torture, sentenced after sham trials… without the minimum standards for due process.”

Like other activists, he called for stronger international action after the latest executions.

On Twitter, Amiry-Moghaddam specifically urged “new and stronger sanctions against individuals and entities.”

Authorities have arrested thousands of people in the wave of demonstrations that began with the September death in custody of Mahsa Amini, 22.

The Iranian Kurdish woman had been arrested by morality police for allegedly breaching the regime’s strict dress code for women.

– Fear for others –
Ajamian belonged to the Basij paramilitary force linked to the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

He died in Karaj, west of Tehran, on November 3 after being attacked with “knives, stones, fists, kicks” and dragged along a street, a judiciary spokesman said at the time.

The court of first instance had sentenced Karami and Hosseini to death in early December, Mizan said.


On Tuesday the Supreme Court upheld the sentence.

Karami’s parents had in December issued a video pleading with the judiciary to spare his life.

“I respectfully ask the judiciary, I beg you please, I ask you… to remove the death penalty from my son’s case,” said Mashallah Karami, describing his son as a former national karate team member.

Karami’s father told Iranian media that a family lawyer had not been able to access his son’s case file.

Mohamad Aghasi, whom the family wanted to handle the case, wrote on Twitter that Karami had not been allowed to have a final meeting with his family and had foregone food and water in protest.

IHR gave Karami’s age as 22. Hossein was 39, according to another Norway-based rights group, Hengaw.

They were among 14 people courts have sentenced to death over the unrest, according to an AFP count based on official information.

Four have now been executed, two others have had their sentences confirmed by the Supreme Court, six are awaiting new trials and two others can appeal.

Dozens of other protesters face charges punishable by death, IHR said in late December.

British actor of Iranian origin Nazanin Boniadi, an ambassador for Amnesty International in the United Kingdom, said on Twitter that the “political cost of Iran executions” must increase.

Foreign nations must withdraw their ambassadors from Iran and call for a moratorium on executions and state violence against peaceful dissent, New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said.


“We are mourning as a nation,” prominent US-based dissident Masih Alinejad said in a Twitter post. “Help us save others.”

– ‘Even more hardliners’ –
Nearly four months into the authorities’ crackdown on the unrest triggered by Amini’s death, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday appointed a new police chief.

General Ahmad-Reza Radan took over from Hossein Ashtari, said a statement posted on the leader’s official website.

Khamenei ordered the police to “improve its capabilities”.

Iran expert Mehrzad Boroujerdi said before the announcement there had been “rumours that Khamenei has severely criticised the performance of Hossein Ashtari”.

Boroujerdi, vice provost and dean of Missouri S&T’s College of Arts, Sciences, and Education, told AFP on Wednesday that he expected people like Ashtari to be replaced by “even more hardliners to maintain a tight grip of the security forces”.

The latest executions were the first linked to the demonstrations in almost a month.

Iranian officials describe the protests as “riots” and accuse hostile foreign powers and opposition groups of stoking the unrest.

On December 12 Majidreza Rahnavard, 23, was hanged publicly from a crane after his conviction for killing two members of the security forces, Mizan reported.


Rahnavard’s execution came four days after Mohsen Shekari, also 23, was put to death in connection with the wounding of a security forces member




Protesters chant ‘No going back’ as unrest hits 100 days in Iran.


The anti-government protests which began on September 17 in Iran have reached a hundred days as protesters vowed not to back down despite the government clampdown on them.

CNN reports the demonstrations which had claimed more than 500 lives including 69 children are the longest-running anti-government protests in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution has shaken the regime. (Watch Video Here)

The unrest began when a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini died in police custody on September 16 having been arrested and detained for breaching women’s hijab dress code.

Read also:

Iran hangs protester, accuses him of injuring security operative

Iran publicly hangs second protester

Iran arrests actress, Taraneh Alidoosti for supporting protests

Recently, two protesters were executed by hanging and at least 26 others face the same fate, after what Amnesty International calls “sham trials.”

Some Iranian celebrities have taken irrevocable steps to support protests, leading to their arrest or exile, as Taraneh Alidoosti, a well-known Iranian actress, is being held in the notorious Evin prison for condemning the execution of a young protester. (Watch Video Here)

Previously, she published a photo of herself without a mandatory headscarf, holding a sign with the protesters’ slogan.

Another prominent Iranian actress who has left the country, Pegah Ahangarani, told BBC Persian: “Both sides have been radicalised, the regime in its crackdown and people in the film industry in their response.

“Iran cannot go back to pre-Mahsa Amini era,” Ahangarani said. (Watch Video Here)

Hamid Farrokhnezhad, another well-known Iranian actor, moved to the US earlier this month and immediately called Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei a “dictator”, comparing him to Franco, Stalin and Mussolini.

Ali Karimi, one of Iran’s most celebrated former footballers living in Dubai, also supported the protests. He said Iranian intelligence agents threatened to kill him, eventually leading him to move to the US.

Iran’s Generation Z has been at the forefront of these protests, defying strict religious rules and setting new trends such as burning headscarves. (Watch Video Here)