News Digest: Week of September 25

September 25

International: The State Department had denied Iran’s request for Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to travel to Washington, D.C. “Given Iran’s wrongful detention of U.S. citizens, given Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism, we did not believe it was either appropriate or necessary in this instance to grant that request,” spokesperson Matthew Miller said. Amir-Abdollahian, however, was granted a visa to attend the opening of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. 

International: The State Department denied reports that Faramarz Javidzad, 60, who died at Evin prison in Tehran was a U.S. citizen. “He’s not a U.S. citizen, to our knowledge. We have no records that he was a Green Card holder, a lawful permanent resident. As you might imagine, we are not tracking the status of every person in Iranian custody,” spokesperson Matthew Miller said. 

Security: Local residents reported an explosion in Khorramabad in western Lorestan province near a missile base. But authorities denied that an explosion had taken place.

Domestic: One person died and four were injured at a refinery near the southern city of Bandar Abbas, the oil ministry’s Shana news agency reported. But the incident did not slow oil production.


September 26

Economy: Russia’s diplomatic mission to Islamabad verified the delivery of 100,000 metric tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to Pakistan through Iran’s Sarakhs Special Economic Zone. The delivery was a result of the government-to-government deal made on June 11. Pakistan had made plans to import approximately 20 percent of its crude oil from Russia at discounted rates in order to meet increasing energy demands.


September 27

International: Israel’s Shin Bet security service arrested five Palestinians involved in a plot to spy on senior Israeli politicians, including the National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and far-right activist and former member of parliament Yehuda Glick. The Shin Bet alleged that the operation was devised by Iran’s government and that an Iranian security official based in Jordan had recruited three Palestinian men from the West Bank and two Palestinian citizens in Israel to collect intelligence on these politicians. The men from the West Bank allegedly smuggled weapons into Israel. Ben-Gvir said that the “terrorist squad” intended to assassinate a minister.  

International: IRGC Naval vessels flashed a laser multiple times at a U.S. Viper attack helicopter during routine operations in the Persian Gulf. No injuries or damage resulted from the interaction. “This unsafe, unprofessional, and irresponsible behavior by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy risks U.S. and partner nation lives and needs to cease immediately,” U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Spokesman Cmdr. Rick Chernitzer said. 

Military: The IRGC’s aerospace division launched a third military imaging satellite into orbit, according to  Minister of Communications Issa Zarepour. A three-stage Qased rocket carried the Noor-3 into orbit about 280 miles above the earth’s surface. Western officials have long expressed concern that the technology used to launch satellites could be applied to ballistic missiles, including the kind that could carry nuclear warheads. 


September 28

International: The U.S. Department of Defense assessed that Iran was not pursuing nuclear weapons but warned that it could produce enough fuel for a bomb in less than two weeks. The 2023 Strategy for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction also noted that Iran was not compliant with its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention. 

Domestic: Iranian media reported the second fire at a car battery factory north of Tehran in a week. The factory was owned by the defense ministry. No casualties or injuries were reported. The cause of the fire was not determined.


September 29

Domestic: President Ebrahim Raisi visited Isfahan province to inspect the first phase of the water transportation system from the Sea of Oman to Isfahan, major city in central Iran. The president ordered the launch of the second phase. The first phase involved 70 million cubic meters of water being transferred and the second phase 400 million cubic meters. The completed pipeline will be 609 miles long. President Raisi also visited the Foulad Mobarake power plant for its inauguration.