On Aug 6, Iran's foreign minister called for a "realistic response" from the United States to Iranian proposals at in direct talks in Vienna. These talks are aimed at reviving Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, state media reported. "Hossein Amirabdollahian... stressed the need for a realistic U.S. response to Iran's constructive proposals on various issues to make the deal work," state media reported, without providing details on the plans.
Washington: On Aug 1, the United States imposed sanctions on Chinese and other companies saying it were used by one of Iran's petrochemical brokers to sell Iranian products to East Asia. The action freezes any U.S.-based assets and generally bars Americans from dealing with them. Those that engage in certain transactions with the firms also risk being hit by sanctions.
On July 30, Iran's intelligence ministry said that it had arrested a Swedish citizen on espionage charges. "The intelligence ministry announced that a citizen of the Kingdom of Sweden was arrested on espionage charges," Iran's top news agency quoted a ministry statement. It did not say when the arrest was made. "This is a known and ongoing case which the Foreign Ministry has been working on for a while," a spokeswoman said in an emailed comment.
Athens: On July 27, an Iranian-flagged tanker anchored off Piraeus port is expected this week to retrieve part of its cargo which was confiscated by the United States, and sail back to Iran. the announcement was made following a Greek top court ruling, government sources said. The case has strained relations between Athens and Tehran amid growing tensions between Iran and the United States.
On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that Pakistan was committed to strengthening its cooperation with Iran in the energy sector through the import of additional electricity. Addressing a press conference in Tehran with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Zardari elaborated on their discussion. FM Bilawal also said that he discussed with Amir-Abdollahian the possibility of exchanging prisoners under the existing legal framework so they could complete their sentences in their own countries.
Vienna: UN nuclear watchdog reported that Iran had not credibly answered the U.N. nuclear watchdog's long-standing questions on the origin of uranium particles found at three undeclared sites. The lack of development could set up a new diplomatic clash with the West when the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation Board of Governors meets next week. If Western powers seek a resolution criticizing Tehran it could deal a further blow to hampered efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, the report added.
Dubai: On May 24, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said that there had been some headway in talks with Iran but "not enough". He also assured that the kingdom's hands would remain outstretched to Tehran. Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, speaking at a World Economic Forum panel, also said that recent parliamentary elections in Lebanon "may be a positive step" but that it was too early to tell.
Dubai: On May 22, it was reported that a member of a force that fought on behalf of Iran to protect Shi'ites and their shrines in Syria or Iraq was killed in a rare assassination in Tehran, the semi-official news agency Tasnim reported. Two people on a motorcycle opened fire on "one of the defenders of the shrine", Tasnim, the semi-official news agency, cited an informed source. The term "holy shrine defender" refers to advisers and military personnel which Iran says fight on its behalf to protect Shi'ite sites in Tehran's allies Iraq and Syria from groups such as Islamic State.
London: On Monday, aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe accused Britain and Iran of treating her like a 'political pawn'. She also said that it should not have taken six years for London to secure her release from detention in Tehran. Zaghari-Ratcliffe said that she had been told shortly after her arrest that the Iranians wanted "something off the Brits", and she could not understand why it had taken six years, and five different foreign secretaries, for it to be resolved.
Washington: On March 15, a senior U.S. State Department official said that the United States would continue to engage with Russia on reviving the Iran nuclear deal. He also added that Moscow might now grasp that Ukraine-related sanctions should not affect the accord's implementation. On the other hand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said U.S. suggestions that Moscow was blocking efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal were 'untrue'.
March 14, it emerged that Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would discuss the conflict in Ukraine and ongoing international talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear pact. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian will be visiting Russia for the talks on Tuesday.
On March 13, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) took responsibility for ballistic missile attacks in Iraq’s northern Kurdish regional capital of Erbil. According to Iran’s state media, the elite forces in a statement said that it targeted the Israeli “strategic centre” in the country. “Any repetition of attacks by Israel will be met with a harsh, decisive, and destructive response,” the statement said.
Tallinn: On March 8, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during a visit to Estonia that Russia had a self-interest in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear arms. "We continue to work to see if we can come back to mutual compliance with Iran on the deal. Russia continues to be engaged in those efforts and it has its own interest in ensuring that Iran is not able to acquire a nuclear weapon," Blinken said. Moscow threw a potential spanner in the works on Saturday, just as months of indirect talks between Tehran and Washington in Vienna were to reach an agreement.
Dubai: It emerged on March 8 that Iran would send a series of military satellites into orbit over the coming years. Space Commander of the Revolutionary Guards' Aerospace Force Ali Jafarabadi made the announcement. As per the reports, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has successfully put a second military satellite, the Noor 2, into orbit.
Dubai: On March 7, Iranian officials said Russia's demands at talks on Iran's nuclear deal in Vienna are "not constructive". Russia's "interference" was aimed at ensuring its own interests, an unidentified Iranian official was cited as saying. Russia has demanded a U.S. guarantee that the sanctions it faces over the Ukraine conflict would not hurt its trade with Iran. The demand could be a stumbling block in the talks.
Islamabad: Iran’s Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi announced on Tuesday that Iran and Pakistan would form a joint working group to look after border management, including security, trade, and travel issues between the two countries. “Iran-Pakistan relations, especially in the economic field, should be stronger and broader,” Vahidi said. Both sides were also seeking to increase engagement on economic relations, he added.
VIENNA: On Feb 14, Iran is "in a hurry" to strike a new nuclear accord as long as its national interests are protected, its foreign minister said. The United States resumed indirect talks on salvaging Tehran's 2015 agreement with world powers. "Iran is in a hurry to reach agreement in Vienna..., but this should be within the framework of our national interest," Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told a news conference in Tehran.
Dubai: On Jan 27, it emerged that Qatar's top diplomat visited Iran days before Qatar's ruling emir held talks in Washington. According to state media reports, this is the crucial time for efforts by Tehran and major powers to renew a 2015 nuclear pact. "Although Doha and Tehran are experiencing good and close relations, this visit ... has fuelled some misconceptions. Some are fabricating it to facilitate direct talks with the United States," Iran's state news agency IRNA said.
Paris: It emerged on Jan 25 that an Iranian court sentenced French national Benjamin Briere to eight years in prison on spying charges. According to his Paris-based lawyer, the trial was a politically motivated travesty and his client as a "bargaining chip". Briere, 36, has been in the desert near the Turkmenistan-Iran border.
Tehran: On Wednesday, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi stated that his visit to Moscow could mark a “turning point” in bilateral relations between the two countries ahead of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “We have common interests with Russia and our collaboration and common interests could certainly create security and combat unilateralism in the region,” Raisi said taking a jibe at the United States. The United States has imposed different levels of sanctions against both countries.
London: On Jan 18, it was reported that Benchmark oil prices soared to their highest since 2014. It was caused possibly due to the supply disruption after attacks in the Mideast Gulf adding to an already tight supply outlook. After Yemen's Houthi group attacked the United Arab Emirates, supply concerns have risen escalating bitterness between the Iran-backed group and a Saudi Arabian-led coalition.
Tehran: On Jan 17, three Iranian diplomats arrived in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah to reopen Iran’s representative office to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). “The Islamic Republic of Iran is also ready to reopen its embassy in Saudi Arabia,” Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh also told a news conference in Tehran. This would hinge on “practical efforts” by the kingdom, he added.
On Jan 16, an interior ministry official said that loud blasts due to thunderstorms were heard in several cities in western Iran. "After liaising with the relevant security and military agencies, it was determined that the sounds were caused by thunder and lightning and no special incident occurred," Majid Mirahmadi told the state news agency. It is also speculated that the Iranian military was holding unannounced air defense drills amid growing adversities over Iran's nuclear program with Israel and the United States.
Moscow: It was reported on Sunday that President Vladimir Putin would host his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi for dialogue in Moscow in the coming week. The location and the issues to be discussed in the meeting between the two leaders are not disclosed yet. Russia is taking part in talks to renew a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, Germany, and the European Union.
Baghdad: On Jan 4, an official of the U.S.-led international military coalition reported that two explosive-laden drones were shot down by Iraq's air defenses on the Ain al-Asad airbase. The base, located west of Baghdad, hosts U.S. forces near Baghdad's international airport. Iraqi air defenses also downed two drones on Monday as they approached the base. The reason behind the attacks is Iran and its allies marking the second anniversary of the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
On Dec 12, a prime Iranian military official warned of a "heavy price" for assailants. The announcement came in the wake of a report of U.S. and Israeli military drills to prepare for attacks against Iran's nuclear sites in case the diplomacy fails. "Providing conditions for military commanders to test Iranian missiles with real targets will cost the aggressors a heavy price," an unnamed military official said.
Dubai: On Monday, the United Arab Emirates' senior national security adviser, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, met his Iranian peer and hardline President Ebrahim Raisi in an occasional visit to Iran. The move was aimed at confounding their long-standing discrepancies and improving cooperation. "Improving ties with the regional countries is my government's priority, hence we welcome strengthening relations with the UAE," Raisi told Sheikh Tahnoon, according to Iranian national television.
Vienna: On Wednesday, Iran accused Israel of "trumpeting lies to poison" the Vienna talks on resuscitating Tehran's 2015 nuclear agreement with major powers. The statement came as a result of derogatory remarks made by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid after meeting French President Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday. He said that Iran was making an effort to buy time to boost its nuclear program and major powers needed to have a different approach.
The Pentagon denied allegations by Iran's Revolutionary Guards that they blocked a US attempt to arrest a tanker transporting the Islamic Republic's oil in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday. "I've seen the Iranian claims, they are absolutely totally false and untrue ... it's a bogus claim," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters.