Iran reportedly deploys Russian-made S-300 missiles at its Fordow nuclear site

The Japan Times

ANKARA – Iran has deployed the Russian-supplied S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system around its Fordow underground uranium enrichment facility, Iranian state media reported Monday. Iranian state TV on Sunday aired footage of deployment of the recently delivered missile system to the nuclear site in the central Iran. "Our main priority is to protect Iran's nuclear facilities under any circumstances," Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) air defense force told state TV. Iran and the six major powers reached a landmark nuclear deal in 2015 aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Tehran over its disputed nuclear work.


In a first since the Iran nuclear deal, Tehran will invite foreign firms to bid on oil and gas projects

Los Angeles Times

Iran will invite foreign companies to bid for oil and gas projects for the first time since last year's landmark nuclear deal with world powers, the country's Ministry of Petroleum said Sunday. The ministry did not say how many projects would be involved but said they include exploration and production in oil and gas fields, with the bidding process opening on Monday. It will be the first time Iran offers an international tender for oil and gas projects since the nuclear deal went into effect in January. The ministry's website said foreign companies should submit their applications by Nov. 19 and that successful companies would be announced on Dec. 7. Iran had previously said that priority for exploration and production for foreign companies would be given to neighboring countries with which it shares border fields.


Iran warns enduring sanctions threatening nuclear deal

Al Jazeera

The head of Iran's atomic energy agency has warned his country's landmark nuclear deal with five world powers could be jeopardised by foot-dragging on a pledge of sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran's commitment to curb atomic activities. Ali Akbar Salehi said on Monday that "comprehensive and expeditious removal of all sanctions" outlined in the agreement "have yet to be met," even though his country is honouring all its obligations under the historic pact. But other Iranian officials have faulted the United States for delays in lifting financial sanctions. Salehi said the deal's "durability" depended on the other side's "reciprocal and full implementation". Iran complains that international financial sanctions are not being lifted quickly enough under the agreement that stipulates a removal of these and other penalties imposed over Tehran's nuclear programme, in exchange for its agreement to curb atomic pursuits that could be used to make a bomb.


Bomb-laden drones of Yemen's Houthi rebels seen threatening Arabian Peninsula

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - A Yemen rebel drone strike this week on a critical Saudi oil pipeline shows that the otherwise-peaceful sandy reaches of the Arabian Peninsula now are at risk of similar assault, including an under-construction nuclear power plant and Dubai International Airport, among the world's busiest. U.N. investigators said the Houthis' new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 km (930 miles). That puts the far reaches of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the two main opponents of the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, within reach of drones difficult to detect and track. Their relatively simple design, coupled with readily available information online, makes targeting even easier, analysts say. "These installations are easily findable, like on Google Earth," said Tim Michetti, an expert on illicit weapons technology with experience in Yemen.


Group that promoted Iran nuclear deal also funded media reports

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – A group that the White House recently identified as a key surrogate in promoting the Iran nuclear deal gave National Public Radio 100,000 last year to help it report on the pact and related issues, according to the group's annual report. It also funded reporters and partnerships with other news outlets. The Ploughshares Fund's mission is to "build a safe, secure world by developing and investing in initiatives to reduce and ultimately eliminate the world's nuclear stockpiles," one that dovetails with President Barack Obama's arms control efforts. But its behind-the-scenes role advocating for the Iran agreement got more attention this month following a candid profile of Ben Rhodes, one of the president's top foreign policy aides, in The New York Times Magazine. In the article, Rhodes explained how the administration worked with nongovernmental organizations, proliferation experts and reporters to build support for the seven-nation accord, which curtailed Iran's nuclear activity and softened international financial penalties on Tehran.