January 25, 2022

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This Week in Iran Policy

20 min read

Office of the Spokesperson

The world needs to unite around the central idea that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the greatest threat, and when that regime changes its behavior, we have the chance to create true global stability in the region. It’s what President @realDonaldTrump asked us to do.”

– Secretary Pompeo Tweet, September 21, 2020

 Major New Human Rights-Related Listings and Accompanying Sanctions on Iran, September 24.

  • The United States sanctioned several Iranian officials and entities for gross violations of human rights. Pursuant to Section 106 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA), I determined that Judge Seyyed Mahmoud Sadati, Judge Mohammad Soltani, Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz, and Adelabad, Orumiyeh, and Vakilabad Prisons were responsible for certain gross violations of human rights. This includes prior incidence of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, arbitrary detentions, and denials of the right to liberty of those seeking only to practice their faith, peacefully assemble, or to express themselves. 
  • For more information, please see the entire statement here.

Press Availability on Iran Snapback Sanctions, September 21

Secretary of state Michael R. Pompeo

  • The President’s executive order announced today gives us a new and powerful tool to enforce the UN arms embargo and hold those who seek to evade UN sanctions accountable. Today, I will take the first action under this new executive order by sanctioning the Iranian Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, and Iran’s Defense Industries Organization and its director.”

Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin

  • “Today, the Treasury Department is designating entities that support Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs and senior officials overseeing Iran’s nuclear power ballistic missile development.  A number of our targets today are affiliated with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, which has operational and regulatory control over the nuclear program and bears responsibility for nuclear research and development.  Three of the deputy directors have been sanctioned today, as well as three entities subordinate to AEOI that are active components of Iran’s civil nuclear program.”

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper

  • “This executive order will further disrupt Iranian efforts to import and proliferate conventional weapons, helping protect U.S. forces, our allies and partners, and civilian populations until Iran complies with international norms.  We encourage Tehran to cease its malign activities throughout the region and to act like a normal country.  But we are also prepared to respond to Iranian aggression.  Our commanders have the authorities and resources they need to protect their troops and to prepare for any contingencies, and we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies and partners to counter Iran’s destabilizing behavior.  In doing so, we will protect our people and our interests and maintain the security of likeminded nations across the region.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross, jR.

  • “I’m grateful for the President’s commitment to ending Iran’s nuclear ballistic missile and conventional weapons undertakings that threaten and terrorize the rest of the world.  Today, U.S. Department of Commerce is adding five Iranian scientists to the entity list for enabling or assisting Iran’s nuclear development program.  The individuals added to the list are Ahmad Nozad Gholik, Behnam Pouremadi, Hamid Sepehrian, Mojtaba Farhadi Ganjeh, Sayyed Javad Ahmadi.  Pouremadi (inaudible) and Ganjeh are associated with Iran’s JHL laboratory, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran involved in nuclear activities and designated by the United States Security Council – by the UN Security Council in Resolution 1803 on Iran’s nuclear program.”

U.S. Representative to the United Nations AMBASSADOR Kelly Craft

  • “The actions we’re announcing today and our work in the Security Council over the last three months have been driven by a single purpose: the pursuit of peace.  What makes America unique is that we stand up for what is right.  As we have in the past, we will stand alone to protect peace and security at all times.  We don’t need a cheering section to validate our moral compass.  We do not find comfort based solely on numbers, particularly when the majority has found themselves in an uncomfortable position of underwriting terrorism, chaos, and conflict.  We refuse to be members of that club.”

National Security Advisor Robert C. O’Brien

  • “What we want is a great deal with Iran, and what the President has said is if Iran is willing to forswear regional terrorism and proxy wars and is willing to end its pursuit of a nuclear bomb, Iran could be a tremendously prosperous state.  It has tremendous oil reserves.  It could be just a beacon in the Middle East, and the Iranian people, most importantly, could enjoy prosperity and peace.  Unfortunately, the regime hasn’t chosen that route.  We’re hoping that with these renewed sanctions that will be some inducement for Iran to change its behavior.  Thank you”
  • For more information, please see all statements here.

Prepared Testimony of Special Representative Elliott Abrams for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearing on THE Middle East, September 24.

  • This administration harbors no illusions about the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is the principal driver of instability and violence in the Middle East, and it remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and anti-Semitism. It remains in power through brutal repression of the Iranian people
  • We have approached the threats from Iran with a strategy that has two primary objectives. First, to deprive the Iranian regime of the money it needs to support its destabilizing activities. Second, to bring Iran to the negotiating table to conclude a comprehensive deal, as outlined by Secretary Pompeo in May 2018.
  • The legally binding agreement we seek with the Iranian regime must address four key areas: its nuclear program, its ballistic missile development and proliferation, its support to terror groups and proxies, and its wrongful detention of U.S. citizens, including Siamak and Baquer Namazi, and Morad Tahbaz. The United States is also calling on the Iranian regime to provide a full accounting of the fate of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who went missing in Iran in 2007. The United States is open to negotiate with Iran and meet without preconditions. The regime need only meet our diplomacy with diplomacy, not with violence, bloodshed, and attempted extortions.
  • For more information, please see the entire prepared testimony here.

FACTSHEET:  Sweeping U.S. Measures to Support Return of UN Sanctions Relating to Iran’s Nuclear, Missile, and Conventional Arms Programs, September 21.

  • Now that virtually all UN sanctions have been re-imposed on Iran, stakeholders worldwide are warned that the United States will aggressively use U.S. sanctions authorities to impose consequences for failures to comply with the snapped-back UN measures on Iran and ensure that Iran does not reap the benefits of UN-prohibited activity.
  • For more information, please see the full factsheet here.

Statement: The United States Imposes Sweeping New Sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, September 21.

The Trump Administration has made clear that the United States will do whatever it takes to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and anti-Semitism, from spreading death and mayhem throughout the Middle East and the world. Rather than wait for the day that Iran threatens the world with a nuclear weapon, the United States is again fulfilling the best traditions of American global leadership and taking responsible action.

Under the leadership of President Donald J. Trump, the Departments of State, Treasury, and Commerce took significant action to counter Iranian nuclear threats as well as missile and conventional arms proliferation.

Actions include:

  • Issuance by President Trump of a new Executive Order targeting Iran-related conventional arms transfers. The UN arms embargo on Iran is now re-imposed indefinitely, and we will ensure that it remains in place until Iran changes its behavior. The new Executive Order gives us the tools to hold accountable actors who seek to evade the embargo.
  • Designation by the Department of State of Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL), Iran’s Defense Industries Organization (DIO) and its Director, Mehrdad Akhlaghi-Ketabchi, as well as Nicolas Maduro, the illegitimate dictator of Venezuela, for conventional arms-related activities pursuant to the new Iran Conventional Arms Executive Order.
  • Designation by the Departments of State and Treasury of six individuals and three entities associated with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) pursuant to Executive Order 13382 (WMD Proliferators and Their Supporters). This action includes one individual and one entity who were re-listed by the UN sanctions that returned on September 19, 2020.
  • Addition of five individuals affiliated with the AEOI to the Commerce Department’s Entity List, which will impose export control restrictions on these individuals.
  • Designation by the Department of Treasury of three individuals and four entities associated with Iran’s liquid propellant ballistic missile organization, the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group (SHIG) pursuant to Executive Order 13382, and updates to the existing sanctions listings for two SHIG individuals already designated pursuant to Executive Order 13382.
  • For more information and to view the full statement, please see here.

Outlaw Regime: A Chronicle of Iran’s Destructive Activities, 2020, September 19.

  • The report covers Iran’s support for terrorism, its missile program, illicit financial activities, threats to maritime security and cybersecurity, human rights abuses, as well as environmental exploitation.
  • For more information, please see the full factsheet here.

 NOTABLE TWEETS

@statedeptspox Sep 25

Iran has continued to defy the provisions of UNSCR 2231, and its pace of missile launches and tests has not diminished since this resolution went into force in 2016. http://go.usa.gov/xGPBs

@SecPompeo Sep 24

Navid’s death must not be in vain: peace-loving nations should condemn his execution and Iran’s egregious human rights violations, and reaffirm respect for the freedom, dignity, and equality of every person. The United States will continue to stand with the Iranian people.

@SecPompeo Sep 24

The Iranian regime has subverted its system of justice into a cruel system of repression. Today, the U.S. is sanctioning several Iranian officials and entities for gross violations of human rights, including one of the judges who reportedly sentenced #NavidAfkari to death.

@statedeptspox Sep 25

The U.S. is sanctioning an Iranian court, two judges, and three prisons for gross violations of human rights. Iran’s Revolutionary courts and their judges are tools to enforce the Iranian regime’s brutal ideology. They administer repression, not justice.

@statedeptspox Sep 24

Fact: To date, Iran has failed to fully address multiple separate questions raised by the @IAEAorg about possible undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.

@statedeptspox Sep 23

The U.S. remains deeply concerned for the well-being of Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been recently hospitalized in prison. We stand with Nasrin in her steadfast fight for human rights in Iran and call for her release. We condemn the ​regime’s barbarous use of unjust imprisonment.

@SecPompeo Sep 21

I hope Europeans will come to understand that if you really want to lead, if you really want to be part of a global coalition to reduce risk in the Middle East, then you need to join us. We need these sanctions to snap back.

@SecPompeo Sep 21

Rather than waiting for Iran to threaten the world, the U.S. is taking sweeping actions to prevent the world’s top state sponsor of terror from obtaining a nuclear weapon. This includes sanctions on 25 entities and individuals. We are keeping Americans and world citizens safe!

@statedeptspox Sep 21

Maximum pressure on the Iranian regime continues! We are sanctioning entities and officials in Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs among others. The U.S. is open to diplomacy but Iran must first end its violence, bloodshed, and nuclear extortion.

@SecPompeo Sep 20

What @realDonaldTrump has said is we’re going to deny the resources. We’re not going to send crates of cash. We’re not going to allow them to do business in the world. We’re not going to allow them to create the very wealth that destroys the opportunity for peace.

@SecPompeo Sep 20

Last night at midnight, the @UN sanctions snapped back, putting another increasing restraint on the capacity for the Islamic Republic of Iran to create harm in the Middle East. The United States has led and will prevent arms trafficking by Iran.

@statedeptspox Sep 20

2. How many children did Iran execute in the last year? Why does Iran have the highest rate (per capita) of child executions in the world? Is it true that your government killed 23 children last November? If not, what happened to them? #QuestionsforZarif

@statedeptspox Sep 20

Before your government executed Navid Afkari, he was repeatedly tortured and his confession televised on Iranian state TV. Do you torture all your political prisoners, or just when you want to televise their confessions and need to make sure they comply? #QuestionsforZarif

@SecPompeo Sep 19

Why is the Islamic Republic of Iran so dangerous? It is an outlaw regime that will do whatever it takes to maintain its grip on power and spread its violent, revolutionary ideology. Read our full report. https://t.co/shFXR2nSWu?amp=1

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As part of the preparation of the plan, section 366 required the Secretary of Defense to conduct an assessment of current and future training range requirements and an evaluation of the adequacy of current DOD resources, including virtual and constructive assets, to meet current and future training range requirements. Second, section 366 required the Secretary of Defense to report to Congress, not later than June 30, 2003, on the plans to improve DOD's system to reflect the readiness impact that training constraints caused by limitations on the use of military lands, marine areas, and airspace have on specific units of the military services. Third, section 366 required the Secretary to develop and maintain an inventory that identifies all available operational training ranges, all training range capacities and capabilities, and any training constraints caused by limitations at each training range in fiscal year 2004, and provide an updated inventory to Congress for fiscal years 2005 through 2013. Section 366(d) of the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003 requires GAO to submit to Congress an evaluation of DOD's report regarding its training range comprehensive plan and its readiness reporting improvements within 90 days of receiving the report from DOD. This report is our fourth review in response to our mandate in section 366 of the Bob Stump National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2003. This report discusses (1) the extent to which DOD's 2007 sustainable ranges report and training range inventory address the elements of section 366 that were required to be in DOD's fiscal year 2004 sustainable ranges report and (2) an opportunity for DOD to improve its comprehensive plan within the sustainable ranges report to better address the elements of section 366.Although DOD's 2007 sustainable ranges report and inventory still do not fully address all of the elements of section 366 required for DOD's original fiscal year 2004 report and inventory, DOD has continued to improve them and the current report and inventory represent an improvement over those from previous years. First, in an effort to improve the annual report and inventory, DOD has taken initial steps to provide the results of an assessment of current and future training range requirements and an evaluation of the adequacy of current DOD resources. These assessments also help improve the training range inventory by helping to identify all training capacities and capabilities available at each training range and to identify training constraints caused by limitations on the use of military lands, marine areas, and airspace at each training range. Until better criteria and a more standardized methodology are developed, DOD and the services will not be presenting a consistent and accurate picture of range capabilities and needs, and will therefore be unable to identify shortfalls or gaps in their capabilities or make informed decisions about where to invest sustainment dollars DOD-wide. Second, like previous years' reports, DOD's 2007 report does not provide new recommendations for legislative or regulatory changes to address training constraints, although DOD's original 2004 report was required by section 366 to include any recommendations that the Secretary may have for legislative or regulatory change to address training constraints identified pursuant to section 366. Third, although DOD's readiness reporting system does not yet include training ranges, DOD's 2007 sustainable ranges report describes DOD's plans to improve its reporting system to reflect the readiness impact that training constraints have on the services. DOD officials told us that workshops had been scheduled to develop the system and that it should be initially operational by the end of calendar year 2008. Even with these improvements in the sustainable range report and inventory, DOD has the opportunity to improve its comprehensive plan presented within its sustainable ranges report by including projected funding requirements for implementing planned actions. We asked the services for information about their range sustainment funding, and each service was able to provide us with an estimate of its budget for range sustainment for fiscal year 2008. According to DOD officials, this information was not included in the report because it presents only a partial picture of the money being spent on range sustainment. We believe, however, that even this partial information is important to include in the report because without it, Congress will have difficulty making informed decisions about funding range sustainment activities.
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