News Digest: Week of June 27

June 27

Security: State-owned Khuzestan Steel Co. said that it halted production due to a cyber attack that also targeted two other plants. A hacker group known as “Predatory Sparrow” claimed responsibility and shared footage of what appeared to be a fire on a production line. “These companies are subject to international sanctions and continue their operations despite the restrictions,” the group said in a statement.


June 28

Nuclear: After a three-month pause, Iran and the United States resumed indirect talks on restoring the 2015 nuclear deal. E.U. diplomat Enrique Mora shuttled messages back and forth between the sides in Doha, Qatar.

Economy: Iran applied to join the group known as the "BRICS", which stands Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Members of the BRICS account for about 26 percent of the world's economy and more than 40 percent of the world's population.

Diplomacy: In a joint statement, leaders of the G7 countries condemned Iran for its nuclear escalation and destabilizing interventions in the Middle East. Tehran called the statement “baseless, one-sided, and unjust.”


June 29

Nuclear: The talks in Doha ended with no breakthrough. “Unfortunately, not yet the progress the EU team as coordinator had hoped-for,” Mora tweeted. “We will keep working with even greater urgency to bring back on track a key deal for non-proliferation and regional stability.” A U.S. official said that the Iranians “raised old issues that have been settled for months, and even raised new issues that are unrelated to the 2015 nuclear agreement.”


Domestic: The Reform Front, an umbrella for several reformist parties, urged President Ebrahim Raisi to reach an agreement on restoring the 2015 nuclear deal and implement economic reforms to avert a crisis. The open letter also called for “détente” in foreign policy to end Iran’s isolation.

Cyber: Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz alleged that Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah conducted a cyberattack against the U.N. peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon. “The leader of global, conventional terrorism is Iran. This is also true for cyberterrorism,” Gantz said at the Cyber Week conference in Tel Aviv.

Diplomacy: The presidents of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan met at the sixth round of the Caspian Littoral Summit in Ashgabat. The leaders were slated to discuss cooperation on trade, transit, energy, ecology, agriculture, and tourism.


Security: Mohammad Sayyad, an Iranian border guard, was killed in an ‘incident’ at the Milak crossing on the Iran-Afghanistan border, in Sistan-Baluchestan province. “Officials in Afghanistan's caretaker government are expected to take serious action to clarify the dimensions of the issue, punish the perpetrators and take the necessary measures to prevent similar incidents,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanani said.