News Digest: Week of August 2

August 2

Diplomacy: The Iranian embassy in Kabul recommended all Iranians residing outside of the capital city "immediately leave" Afghanistan. Iran hosted intra-Afghan talks in early July amid a renewed military offensive by the Taliban and the withdrawal of nearly all U.S. forces. 

Health: Iran reached another all-time high of new COVID-19 infections, with more than 37,000 cases reported. Khamenei ordered the government to take all "necessary measures" to contain the Delta variant outbreak, including consideration of a two-week lockdown of the entire country. Iran received 1.1 million doses of vaccines from China out of a planned delivery of 2.2 million doses. 



August 3

Regional: Riyadh could support a "longer and stronger" nuclear deal that ensured Iran would "not now or ever gain access to nuclear weapons technology," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal al Saud told the Aspen Security Forum. But he warned that an "emboldened" Iran would continue "endangering shipping" in the Persian Gulf and arming proxies in the region. 

Sanctions: Ebrahim Raisi, the incoming president of Iran, pledged to lift "tyrannical sanctions" imposed by the United States while in office. "But we will not tie the...economy to the will of foreigners," he said. 

Human rights: Iran has dropped plans for a prisoner swap with the United States, the semi-official Nour News agency reported. "There is no incentive on Iran's part to continue this process and therefore the exchanges issue in its current form will be completely removed from its agenda," an official told the website, which has ties to the Supreme National Security Council.


August 4

Human rights: An Iranian court sentenced two dual nationals - a German-Iranian and a British-Iranian - to over 10 years in prison. Both were charged for "participating in the management of an illegal group" and "propaganda activities against the regime," according to the defendants' lawyer. 

Israel: Israel urged members of the U.N. security Council to “set clear boundaries for Iran" and urged Tehran "to cease its aggressive conduct" against merchant vessels in the Persian Gulf. “This is an attack on the world’s trade routes," Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said. "This is an attack on freedom of movement. This is an international crime."