This Week in Iran Policy (March 20)
“We made a commitment to do everything we can to provide them with all that America can deliver for Iran. I hope they’ll accept that offer. That alone will contribute to Iran being able to manage this problem set for the Iranian people. I hope they’ll take us up on these humanitarian efforts, not only us but countries all around the world who want to come help the Iranian people stay healthy and mitigate the risk that’s there.”
– Secretary Pompeo, Remarks to the Press, March 17, 2020
COMMENTS BY SPOKESPERSON ORTAGUS ON THE CELEBRATION OF NOWRUZ, MARCH 20, 2020:
- “On behalf of the U.S. Department of State and the American people, it brings me great joy to wish a happy, healthy, and prosperous Nowruz to all our friends around the world who celebrate this ancient holiday. As Americans, we rejoice along with the Afghans, Albanians, Azerbaijanis, Azeris, Iranians, Iraqis, Kazakhs, Kurds, Kyrgyz, Parsis, Tajiks, Turks, Turkmen, Uyghurs, Uzbeks, and all others around the world who come together to celebrate the arrival of spring and a new year.
- Nowruz, or New Day, begins at the vernal equinox and marks the first day of spring. It is a time for reflection of the past year, sharing a meal with friends and family, and rejoicing in the promise of days to come. For the Afghan people in particular, we hope that Nowruz truly marks a new day as they pursue a historic opportunity for peace.
- Looking ahead, we hope that the spirit of Nowruz will continue to invigorate and renew all of our relationships around the world. Happy Nowruz to one and all!
- Follow the link to watch the full video here.
PRESS STATEMENT BY SECRETARY POMPEO ON THE CELEBRATION OF NOWRUZ, MARCH 20, 2020:
- “I join President Trump in wishing a happy, healthy, and prosperous Nowruz to all who celebrate this tradition across the world.
- The arrival of spring reminds us of our many blessings. Nowruz is a time to gather and recognize these blessings among friends and family by paying visits and sharing meals. Unfortunately, we must exercise more caution in our exchanges this year as the Coronavirus has affected many countries, including those that celebrate Nowruz.
- We are saddened to learn of the mounting deaths this virus has caused, particularly in Iran. We are heartened by each recovery and share hopes with the people of Iran and around the world that they can prevent the spread of this virus. To support the recovery from this especially difficult time, our offer still stands to send humanitarian and medical assistance to the people of Iran.
- As Nowruz also symbolizes rebirth, may this year serve as an opportunity to refresh our commitments to health, hope, and renewal for all!
- Happy Nowruz – Nowruz Pirooz!
PRESS STATEMENT BY SECRETARY POMPEO ON THE MEDICAL FURLOUGH OF U.S. CITIZEN MICHAEL WHITE, MARCH 19, 2020:
- “Michael White, who has been wrongfully detained by the Iranian regime since 2018 and is serving a 13-year sentence, was released today on a medical furlough. His release on humanitarian grounds was conditioned upon him staying in Iran. Michael is now in the custody of the Swiss embassy and will undergo medical testing and evaluation.”
- “The United States will continue to work for Michael’s full release as well as the release of all wrongfully detained Americans in Iran.”
- “We thank the Government of Switzerland for its continued and constructive role as our protecting power in Iran.”
- “We again call on the Iranian government to immediately release on humanitarian grounds Morad Tahbaz, Baquer Namazi, and Siamak Namazi. We also ask the regime to honor the commitment it made to work with the United States for the return of Robert Levinson.”
PRESS STATEMENT BY SECRETARY POMPEO ON FUTHER SANCTIONS TO IRAN’S PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY, MARCH 18, 2020:
- “Yesterday, the U.S. Department of State sanctioned nine entities and three individuals who have engaged in activity that could enable the Iranian regime’s violent behavior. The actions of these individuals and entities provide revenue to the regime that it may use to fund terror and other destabilizing activities, such as the recent rocket attacks on Iraqi and Coalition forces located at Camp Taji in Iraq. Our sanctions will deprive the regime of critical income from its petrochemical industry and further Iran’s economic and diplomatic isolation. The United States will continue to fully enforce our sanctions.”
SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN’S PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRY, FACT SHEET FROM THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESPERSON, MARCH 18, 2020:
- “On March 18, the U.S. Department of State imposed sanctions, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13846, on the following seven entities for knowingly engaging in a significant transaction for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of petrochemical products from Iran.
- South African company SPI International Proprietary Limited;
- Hong Kong-based companies McFly Plastic HK Limited, Saturn Oasis Co., Limited, and Sea Charming Shipping Company Limited; and
- Chinese companies Dalian Golden Sun Import & Export Co., Ltd., Tianyi International (Dalian) Co., Ltd., and Aoxing Ship Management (Shanghai) Ltd.
- The U.S. Department of State imposed sanctions, pursuant to E.O. 13846, on the following two entities, each of which owns or controls SPI International Proprietary Limited and had knowledge of its sanctionable activities.
- South African company Main Street 1095; and
- Iranian entity Armed Forces Social Security Investment Company
- The U.S. Department of State imposed sanctions, pursuant to E.O. 13846, on the following three individuals, each of which is an executive officer of one of the above entities.
- Mohammad Hassan Toulai, Managing Director of Armed Forces Social Security Investment Company;
- Hossein Tavakkoli, Director of SPI International Proprietary Limited; and
- Reza Ebadzadeh Semnani, Director of Main Street 1095
PRESS STATEMENT BY SECRETARY POMPEO ON IRANIAN CONSTRAINTS AGAINST NUCLEAR SCIENTISTS, MARCH 18, 2020:
- “On March 16, in response to the Iranian regime’s unacceptable nuclear escalations, the Department of Commerce is imposing restrictions on five Iranian nuclear scientists by adding them to the Department of Commerce’s Entity List. These five individuals were involved in Iran’s pre-2004 nuclear weapons program (the “Amad Plan”) and continue to be employed by the regime to this day. After work on the Amad Plan was stopped, Iran continued to preserve its Amad-era records and its cadre of nuclear weapons scientists, including these individuals. The Department of Commerce’s Entity List contains foreign persons who are subject to specific export licensing requirements.”
- “As the world learned from Iran’s Amad-era records, unanswered questions remain regarding Iran’s undisclosed past nuclear-related activities, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile. Today’s new listings by the Department of Commerce reaffirm the importance of demanding a full and honest accounting from Iran of its past nuclear-weapons-related activities. The Acting IAEA Director General reported in November 2019 that the IAEA is currently investigating the detection of chemically processed uranium particles at an undeclared location in Iran, and that “the presence of nuclear material particles is an indicator of possible undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.” Iran must be fully transparent with the IAEA and the international community.”
- “The individuals added to the Commerce Entity List (along with their dates and places of birth) are: Aref Bali Lashak (September 19, 1963, Nowshar, Iran) served as a senior expert within the AMAD plan, Sayyed Mohammad, Mehdi Hadavi (September 22, 1963, Tehran, Iran) was a project supervisor during the AMAD plan, Kamran Daneshjou (July 5, 1957, Damavand, Iran) served as the head of AMAD plan project 111 (which according to the IAEA was an effort to modify a Shahab-3 re-entry vehicle to house a probable nuclear device); Mehdi Teranchi (July 5, 1956, Tehran, Iran) served as project supervisor in AMAD subproject 3/30 (which was in charge of nuclear explosive testing); Ali Mehdipour Omrani (April 16, 1973, Tonekaban, Iran) served as senior expert in AMAD subproject 3/11 (the project simulation group in charge of nuclear weapons design).”
- “Individuals working for Iran’s proliferation-sensitive programs should be aware of the reputational and financial risks to which they expose themselves. Iran’s scientists and technical experts have two paths: they can use their skills pursuing work on projects that do not pose a proliferation risk, or they can work for Iranian organizations pursuing proliferation-sensitive activities, with the financial and reputational risk such work entails.”
- “Iran’s recent escalation of sensitive nuclear fuel cycle activities underscores the serious challenge the Iranian regime poses to international peace and security. The time is now for the international community to stand together against Iran’s nuclear extortion. If the world is concerned with Iran’s behavior now, it should consider how Iran would behave with a nuclear weapon.”
REMARKS TO THE PRESS BY SECRETARY POMPEO, MARCH 17, 2020:
- “Continuing on designations and our leadership in trying to staunch the flow of terror groups, the Department of State is today also sanctioning nine entities based in South Africa, in Hong Kong, and in China, as well as three Iranian individuals, all for knowingly engaging in significant transactions for the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of petrochemical products from Iran, the world’s largest leading state sponsor of terror.”
- “This action includes the designation of Iran’s armed forces social security investment company and its director for using their resources to invest in sanctioned entities.”
- “I’d also like to mention today that in response to Iran regime’s unacceptable nuclear escalations, the Department of Commerce is adding five Iranian nuclear scientists to the entities list.”
- “These five individuals were involved in Iran’s pre-2004 nuclear weapons program, known as the Amad program, and continue to be employed by the regime to this day. After work on the Amad plan was stopped, Iran continued to preserve its Amad-era records and its cadre of nuclear weapons scientists, including these individuals.”
- “Many unanswered questions remain about Iran’s undisclosed past nuclear-related activities. These new listings today by the Department of Commerce reaffirm the importance of demanding a full and honest accountability and accounting from Iran of its past nuclear weapons-related activities.”
- “I also want to call attention to the Iranian regime’s misinformation campaign surrounding the origination of the Wuhan virus. Instead of focusing on the needs of the Iranian people and accepting genuine offers of support, senior Iranians lied about the Wuhan virus outbreak for weeks.”
- “We’re trying to help. We continue to offer assistance to Iran in numerous ways and we will continue to do so.”
- “We have an open humanitarian channel to facilitate legitimate transactions even while ensuring our maximum pressure campaign denies terrorists money.”
- “We are assisting the IAEA, the nuclear watchdog, their inspectors, who are trying to ensure that Iran continues to comply with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.”
- “We’ve allocated a million dollars through the IAEA to provide member-states that requested support with coronavirus test kits and training.”
- “And in the spirit of humanitarian gestures, the United States also continues to call on Iran to immediately release all wrongfully detained Americans being held inside of that country. We will continue to hold the regime responsible for its terror and we will continue to assist the Iranian people.”
- To watch the full press briefing, follow the link.
NOTABLE TWEETS THIS WEEK
@statedeptspox March 20
Happy Nowruz! We wish health, prosperity, and renewal to all those around the world who celebrate this ancient holiday.
@StateDept March 20
Amidst the current health crisis, we extend warm wishes to all those safely celebrating #Nowruz around the world. Nowruz celebrates the arrival of Spring and a new year and marks a time for reflection and renewed hope. Nowruz Pirouz! To see how the Department celebrated, follow the link.
.@SecPompeo March 19
I join President Trump @realDonaldTrump in wishing a happy, healthy, and prosperous #Nowruz to all who celebrate this tradition across the world. As Nowruz also symbolizes rebirth, may this year serve as an opportunity to refresh our commitments to health, hope, and renewal for all!
.@SecPompeo March 19
Michael is now in the custody of the Swiss embassy and will undergo medical testing and evaluation. The United States will continue to work for Michael’s full release as well as the release of all wrongfully detained Americans in Iran.
.@SecPompeo March 19
Michael White, who has been wrongfully detained by the Iranian regime since 2018 and is serving a 13-year sentence, was released today on a medical furlough. His release on humanitarian grounds was conditioned upon him staying in Iran.
.@SecPompeo March 18
#Iran deceived the world by secretly hiding its archive of nuclear weapons records, and continues to preserve plans and its cadre of nuclear weapons scientists from its pre-2004 program. Today we are adding five of these senior Iranian officials to the @CommerceGov Entity List.
.@SecPompeo March 13
As @khamenei_ir knows, the best biological defense would’ve been to tell the Iranian people the truth about the Wuhan virus when it spread to #Iran from China. Instead, he kept Mahan Air flights coming and going to the epicenter in China, and jailed those who spoke out.
@Statedeptspox March 8
In response to #Iran’s continued nuclear escalations, the U.S. is adding five senior officials who served in Iran’s previous nuclear weapons program to the @CommerceGov Entity List. The regime’s nuclear extortion poses a serious threat to international peace and security.