05272019Mon

Iran: Khamenei calls for Fight against ‘enemy infiltration' via Internet and Social Media

Iran Focus

London, 29 Oct - In a speech on Sunday to officials in charge of cyber defense, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called for the stepping up of efforts to fight enemy “infiltration”, according to reports on state television. “In the face of the enemy’s complex practices, our civil defense should ... confront infiltration through scientific, accurate, and up-to-date ... action,” he told civil defense officials, including those involved in cyber defense.

Western cultural influences, such as entertainment, social media, and the Internet are seen as a threat against Islamic and revolutionary values by officials.

Iran-FATF

Iran Focus

London, 20 Oct - Iran is among the cases scheduled to be reviewed in this week’s FATF (Financial Action Task Force) summit. More than 800 officials representing 204 jurisdictions, the IMF, UN, World Bank and others came to Paris for FATF Week to discuss the global combat of financing terrorism. Meanwhile, factions within Iran argue whether the Islamic Republic should join the FATF or not.

FATF Week began on Sunday, October 14th, and continues through Friday, October 19th. Important issues to protect the integrity of the global financial system, and to improve safety and security across the world, are on the agenda. Three out of the four laws that are necessary to avoid being black listed by the global anti-money laundering body, are still unclear.

Trump v Congress Over Iran Sanctions

Iran Focus

London, 29 Oct - There is a battle brewing between Donald Trump and Iran hawks in Congress over the next round of US sanctions on Iran, with many conservative lawmakers believing that the sanctions returning on November 5 do not go far enough.

These sanctions, originally lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal that Trump exited earlier this year, will target Iran’s central bank and oil industry, but Republican lawmakers fear that they are not strong enough to fulfil Trump’s promise of putting “maximum pressure” on Iran.

Ali Khamenei and Hassan Rouhani

Iran Focus

London, 20 Oct - Iran is currently facing their biggest challenge to date – reimposed US sanctions – and they are looking for any allies to help them evade the impact of this.

The mullahs have crafted a plan with three objectives:

• Make sure Iranian oil exports can finance “essential expenditure”, i.e. salaries of civil service and military personnel

• Ensure that there is enough foreign currency in the domestic market to slow down the fall of the national currency and avoid inflation

• Make sure that crucial items, i.e. industrial parts to keep major factories going, remain available

iran-nuclear-deal-reinstating-sanctions

Iran Focus

London, 26 Oct - On November 5th U.S. sanctions are set to be re-imposed on Iran. These sanctions will exert more pressure on an already struggling economy. It is likely that Iran will attempt to circumvent these sanctions through cyber-enabled money laundering — and banks will be a prime target.

To cyber-enable money laundering, hackers alter critical information or disable anti-money laundering controls using a bank’s own computer system, thereby allowing them to execute a prohibited financial transaction. The illicit purpose or sanctioned participant is disguised, so the transaction is allowed.

Twitter

Iran Focus

London, 19 Oct - Iran has tried to follow suit with Russia’s social media campaign to provide false information over social media, albeit in a more clumsy manner.

Social media giant Twitter released data showing the activity of the two nations on its platform earlier this week. There were over two million images and 10 million tweets. Iran was responsible for more than one million tweets and hundreds of profiles.

Twitter called on experts and analysts to look into the data it had released in its efforts to understand just how the two countries were able to misuse the platform on such a large scale.

Trump and  Merkel

Iran Focus

London, 25 Oct - German bank Varengold is still conducting business with Iran Air, an airline that will come under US sanctions from November 4 for its role in helping Iran to aid Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

The business links were confirmed by a highly reliable source and the Iran Air website.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies reports that members of Fatemiyoun, an Afghan militia under control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps – a US-sanctioned terrorism group - are being flown on Iran Air to Syria, but the Iran Air website hides this by not listing Damascus on its official flight logs.

US-EU-Iran

Iran Focus

London, 19 Oct - Tensions are rising between the US and the EU over the issue of Iran sanctions – Europe has announced a “special purpose vehicle” to evade US sanctions and the US has threatened to blacklist any company that uses it – but they need to come back together to fight the real and present danger of the Iranian Regime.

Europe's special purpose vehicle to handle transactions between Iranian and European companies will not help evade sanctions on the Iranian Regime. First, no company wants to be blacklisted by the US and face all of the problems that brings.

Saudi Energy Iran’s oil shortfalls

Iran Focus

London, 25 Oct - The Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih has said on Tuesday that his country, the leading member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), is ready to increase its crude oil production and spare capacity to help maintain balance in the global market and prevent a sharp price rise.

At an investment conference in Riyadh, Falih said that OPEC and non-OPEC producers are expected to sign an "open-ended" agreement in December to continue cooperation in the energy markets.

Twitter Logo

Iran Focus

London, 18 Oct - Earlier this year, Twitter had to suspend 770 accounts for engaging in “coordinated manipulation” that appeared to originate in Iran. According to research published on Wednesday, the accounts were made to appear as those of foreign journalists and concerned U.S. citizens, and were being used to spread political propaganda.

YouTube, which is co-owned by Facebook and Google similarly spotted and took down Iranian content, some of which had been linked to state-owned media, according to an analysis by FireEye, a security firm that first uncovered the activity.

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Iran Focus

London, 24 Oct - On Tuesday, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty published an article discussing the Iranian reaction to the apparent killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by agents of the Saudi Arabian government. The article began by stating that “Tehran spent weeks watching quietly as the international crisis unfolded over the killing.” It noted that Sadegh Larijani, the head of the Iranian judiciary, finally condemned the incident on Monday, but that this effectively broke the government’s weeks-long silence, standing as an exception to its strategy of simply allowing other international voices to take the lead in criticizing Iran’s leading regional adversary.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei

Iran Focus

London, 17 Oct - In a document published on his official website, his vision for the Islamic Republic in the year 2065 was outlined by Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The document is officially called the "Islamic-Iranian Blueprint for Progress" (IIBP), and according to Khamenei, "has laid the main foundations and ideals of progress and has drafted the ideal horizon of the country for the five decades to come."

Bank of Kunlun

Iran Focus

London, 23 Oct - The official channel for money transfers between China and Iran, Bank of Kunlun, will stop handling payments from the Islamic Republic as U.S. sanctions loom, according to what sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The sources, who include external loan agents and business officials who trade with Iran, claim that Kunlun verbally informed clients that it will stop accepting yuan-denominated Iranian payments to China beginning November 1st.

The financial arm of Chinese state energy group CNPC controls the bank, and had already suspended euro-denominated payments from Iran in late August, said the sources, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Iran teachers strike

Iran Focus

London, 17 Oct - Teachers across Iran went on strike on October 14 and 15, holding sit-ins at their schools to demand better pay and conditions and an end to the detention of education activists. They are also demanding equal access to education for all Iranian children.

Social media has been flooded with pictures of striking teachers from all over Iran, including Amol, Eslam Abad, Garmeh, Gonabad, Hamadan, Ilam, Isfahan, Kermanshah, Marivan, Mashhad, Sanandaj, Sarvabad, Semirom, Tabriz, Torbat Heidarieh, Yasouj, Zarin Shahr, and Tehran, all using the hashtags #nationwide teachers' sit-in, #teachers_sitin and #nationwide_strike.. The videos and photos being shared show teachers holding up placards and banners with their demands on them.

The tomb of Cyrus the Great

Iran Focus

London, 23 Oct - An Iranian MP from the city of Shiraz blasted President Hassan Rouhani in a speech to parliament on October 21 for suppressing Iran’s pre-Islamic history.

Bahram Parsaei, whose city is home to the 2,500-year-old ruins of Pasargadae, the capital of the Achaemenid Empire, and the mausoleum of Cyrus the Great, proposed that October 29 should be named in honour of Cyrus, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire.

U.S. Sanctions

Iran Focus

London, 21 Oct - The second round of U.S. sanctions against Iran's oil exports and international banking operations will be ineffective, claims the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), Abdolnasser Hemmati.

However, the first round of sanctions that followed the United States' exit from the nuclear deal with Iran had a devastating impact. The second round is expected to increase the impact on Iran’s rising unemployment and poverty.

The next round of sanctions, beginning in early November, targets Iran's oil exports, among other important aspects of its economy.

Iran’s oil

Iran Focus

London, 14 Oct - According to State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, India has decided to continue buying Iranian oil, and to purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system, just days after President Trump warned that New Delhi may be facing punitive measures. Responding to questions on reports that India will continue to purchase oil from Iran after November 4th, Nauert said this was "not helpful".

Following Trump's decision to exit the 2015 multilateral deal that eased global sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran's suspected nuclear programmes and malign activities, the US seeks to reduce Iran’s oil imports to zero by the November 4th deadline.

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