News Digest: Week of August 21

August 21 

International: The U.S. Defense Department rejected Tehran’s claim that the Iranian Navy had intercepted U.S. Navy vessels, based on edited footage. “That report is not true,” said Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh. “So I don’t know where that’s coming from, but we’ve seen this from them before pushing out, I don’t know if it’s propaganda, but I would say untrue statements, and that just is not accurate.” 

International: Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nasser Kanaani announced that the recently announced prisoner swap between Iran and the United States would be completed by the end of October. “A specific time frame has been announced by relevant authorities, and it will take a maximum of two months for this process to take place,” said Kanaani. 

International: South Korean media reported that Iran’s previously-frozen assets in South Korea had been moved to Switzerland’s National Bank for transfer to Iran, as part of the recent Iran-United States agreement. 

International: Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian held a phone call with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, to discuss improving bilateral ties and cooperation agreements, as well as relations with Saudi Arabia. China will “continue to support countries in the Middle East in exploring a development path that suits their own national conditions, strengthening communication and dialogue,” said Yi during the call. 

International: Malaysian Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir began a four-day visit to Iran. Kadir met with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, to enhance bilateral relations and expand Malaysia’s cooperation with other Muslim-majority countries. 

Domestic: Sistan and Baluchistan’s provincial justice department arrested Iranian Sunni cleric Mawlawi Fat’hi Mohammad Naghshbandi for “deliver[ing] false speeches far from reality” and “inciting tensions and endangering national security.” Naghshbandi had allegedly encouraged citizens in the province to participate in riots.


August 22

International: U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan announced that the prisoner deal between Washington and Tehran was “on track.” The deal, which involved a prisoner swap and unfreezing of Iran’s foreign assets, is “proceeding according to the understanding that we’ve reached with Iran,” said Sullivan. 

Military: The defense ministry revealed a new drone capable of reaching Israel, according to Iranian state media. The drone, called the Mohajer-10, could stay airborne for 24 hours and reach speeds of up to 130 miles per hour. “Today, we can firmly introduce Iran as an advanced and technologic nation to the world,” said President Ebrahim Raisi in regards to the drone. 



August 23

Domestic: Seven men and a woman were sentenced to prison for their involvement in the death of a paramilitary volunteer during the 2022 protests. The individuals had committed “warfare” and “corruption on Earth,” according to Iranian state media. 


August 24

International: BRICS, a group of emerging economies consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, welcomed Iran and five other countries into its fold during a summit in Johannesburg. “The full membership in the group of world’s emerging economies is a history-making development and a strategic achievement for the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy,” said the Iranian President’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Political Affairs, Mohammad Jamshidi. 

Diplomacy: Russian Defense Minister Alexander Fomin received the Commander of the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces Kiumars Heydari in Moscow to strengthen security cooperation. “They exchanged views on the issues of bilateral security… and reaffirmed their intention to deepen dialogue and increase the level of development of contact in the defense sphere,” said the Russian defense ministry. 


August 26

International: Exiled prince Reza Pahlavi, who resides in the United States, encouraged Iranians around the world to protest in commemoration of Mahsa Amini’s death. “We have more than eight million Iranians living abroad; if you take 10 percent of those to be active participants in the movement, it will change the entire dynamic,” said Pahlavi. 

International: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov reiterated Moscow’s intention to continue purchasing drones from Tehran. “There are no changes, and cooperation with Iran will continue… We are independent states and do not succumb to the dictates of the United States and its satellites,” said Ryabkov. 


August 27

Diplomacy: Foreign Minister Amir-Abdollahian held a phone call with his Afghan counterpart, Amir Khan Muttaqi, to discuss bilateral water rights. The discussion also pertained to “trafficking, border management, and trade,” according to Muttaqi.


Picture Credits: Mohajer-10 via