News Digest: Week of December 6

December 8

Nuclear: British Foreign Minister Liz Truss urged Iran to recommit to the 2015 nuclear agreement. “This is really the last chance for Iran to sign up and I strongly urge them to do that because we are determined to work with our allies to prevent Iran securing nuclear weapons," she said Chatham House ahead of the resumption of talks on December 9.

Health: The World Health Organization donated a 166-ton shipment of IV fluid to help Iran cope with an ongoing shortage. 


December 7

Nuclear: President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a “productive discussion” on the Iranian nuclear issue, according to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. “Russia and the United States actually worked well together, even in tense circumstances back in the 2014-2015 period, to produce the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” he added. “This is an area where Russia and the United States can continue to consult closely to ensure that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon.”

Sanctions: The U.S. Treasury announced sanctions on individuals and entities in Iran - as well as Syria and Uganda - for human rights abuses. “Ahead of this week’s Summit for Democracy, Treasury is targeting over a dozen government officials across three countries in connection with serious human rights abuse that undermines democracy,” said Director of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki. The Treasury Department sanctioned the Special Units of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces, Counter-Terror Special Forces, Isfahan Central Prison, and eight officials. Most were involved in the harsh crackdown on protests in November 2019 sparked by a gas price hike.

COVID-19: Malta donated 131,000 COVID-19 vaccines to Iran.


December 6

Nuclear: Iran’s proposals from the prior week’s negotiations did not constitute “a basis for a successful end for talks,” a German foreign ministry spokesperson said. “We reviewed the proposals...carefully and thoroughly, and concluded that Iran violated almost all compromises found previously in months of hard negotiation.” 

Nuclear: The Central Intelligence Agency does not “see any evidence that Iran’s Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei] has made a decision to move to weaponize,” Director William Burns said at The Wall Street Journal’s annual Chief Executive Officer Council Summit. “The Iranians have not been taking the negotiation seriously at this point,” he added.

Regional: Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a senior Emirati national security advisor and brother of Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, met with Iranian counterpart Ali Shamkhani and President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran. “Improving ties with the regional countries is my government's priority, therefore we welcome improving ties with the UAE (United Arab Emirates),” Raisi said after the meeting. Shamkhani added that meeting will hopefully “mark the beginning of a new chapter of relations and create grounds for expansion of all ties.”

Emirati National Security Advisor Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan meets Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.
Emirati National Security Advisor Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan meets Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.