News Digest: Week of February 8

February 8

Diplomacy: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with U.N. Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths in Tehran. The two discussed backing a nationwide ceasefire in Yemen and reopening the Sanaa airport.

Military: Iran, Russia and China announced that they would conduct joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean later this month. The three navies would rehearse search and rescue operations, Reuters reported


February 9

Diplomacy: Iran summoned Belgium's ambassador to Tehran over the sentencing of an Iranian diplomat by a Belgian court last week. The Iranian diplomat had been sentenced to 20-years in prison for allegedly planning to bomb Iranian exiles living in Europe.

Health: Iran began inoculating health care workers using Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. Health Minister Namaki’s son was the first person injected, a move designed to boost public confidence in the vaccine. Intensive care unit staff at more than 600 hospitals were also vaccinated.

Nuclear: Iran's intelligence minister said that Iran could potentially pursue a nuclear weapon if it were backed into a corner. “Our nuclear program is peaceful and the fatwa [religious edict] by the supreme leader has forbidden nuclear weapons, but if they push Iran in that direction, then it wouldn’t be Iran’s fault but those who pushed it," Mahmoud Alavi told state TV. “If a cat is cornered, it may show a kind of behavior that a free cat would not.”


February 10 

Oil: The United States has sold more than a million barrels of Iranian fuel seized from tankers headed to Venezuela, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said. “The petroleum has been seized, and an interlocutory sale has preserved the cash value of the petroleum, which is now held by the U.S. Marshals Service," a DOJ spokesperson told Reuters.  

Nuclear: The world's nuclear watchdog reported that Iran has produced 3.6 grams of uranium metal. Tehran began producing the metal, a key component of a nuclear weapon, on February 6 at a nuclear facility in Isfahan. Iran would need 500 grams of enriched uranium metal for a nuclear weapon, the Wall Street Journal reported