News Digest: Week of June 24

June 24

International: Jordanian police discovered and detonated explosives hidden in a commercial warehouse southeast of Amman. Security sources told Reuters that Iran was behind a plot to destabilize the kingdom, a key ally of the United States in the region. On June 22, police had found explosives near a military airport in the capital used by U.S. warplanes. The same suspects had hidden both caches.  

Nuclear: The United States was fully committed to peacefully resolve concerns about Tehran’s nuclear advances but was also “prepared to use all means necessary to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran,” Ambassador Robert Wood warned at a U.N. Security Council briefing on Resolution 2231, which enshrined the 2015 nuclear deal.  

Britain, France and Germany called for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear crisis. They warned that the window for diplomacy with Iran could close when Resolution 2231 terminates in October 2025. When the resolution sunsets, they will no longer be able to snapback U.N. sanctions for Iran’s noncompliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. “Our governments have diligently pursued a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue over many years and would continue to support diplomatic efforts that ensure Iran never develops a nuclear weapon, the E3 said in a joint statement after the Security Council briefing. But Iran “must seriously and urgently honour its commitments to diplomacy and legally binding obligations in the remaining 16 months before the expiry of this resolution.” 

Iran’s U.N. ambassador, Amir Saeid Iravani, said that Tehran was not responsible for the failure of the nuclear deal. He blamed the United States for withdrawing in 2018 and alleged that the European powers did not honor their commitments. 


June 25

Domestic: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei urged “maximum turnout” to “overcome the enemy” in the upcoming presidential election on June 28. “The one who has the slightest opposition to the revolution…or the Islamic system, is not useful to you,” Khamenei said, in what appeared to be criticism of the lone reformist candidate, Masoud Pezeshkian. In contrast to the five other candidates, all conservatives, he favored improving relations with the West.   

Supreme Leader Khamenei


International: The United States sanctioned a network, including 44 companies and four men, that illicitly moved billions of dollars and generated revenue for Iran’s defense ministry and Revolutionary Guards. The firms, including shell companies and exchange houses, were spread across Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong and the Marshall Islands. “The United States is taking action against a vast shadow banking system used by Iran’s military to launder billions of dollars of oil proceeds and other illicit revenue,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “We have sanctioned hundreds of targets involved in Iran’s illicit oil and petrochemical-related activity since President Biden took office, and we will continue to pursue those who seek to finance Iran’s destabilizing terrorist activities.”


June 26

International: Russian energy company Gazprom signed a memorandum with the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) to provide Iran with natural gas via a pipeline. Russian companies have been looking for new customers since European countries have cut Russian imports in response to the invasion of Ukraine. 

International: Israel’s National Cyber Directorate Gaby Portnoy raised concerns over escalating cyber attacks linked to Iran since the Hamas assault on Israel on Oct. 7, 2023. Iran-backed hackers have allegedly targeted the United States, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and many other countries. “We have identified that Iran is attacking its allies and other countries for information extortion and damaging digital services. The information stolen from government systems is then used for Iranian cyber-terrorism,” Portnoy said.