U.S. officials allegedly ignore Iranian violation of sanctions regime


U.S. officials may have deliberately looked the other way as Iran illegally violated the international sanctions regime by purchasing aviation materials, including entire planes, according to reports out of Jerusalem conveyed on Tuesday by among others Reuters. Some details of the transfers had been revealed weeks ago by Eli Lake in Bloomberg View, and Iranian Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi subsequently confirmed that Iran had obtained 15 used planes just since February. The purchase of aircraft is a violation of the sanctions regime placed on Iran. One of the airlines in question, Mahan Air, has been designated for supporting the IRGC’s ballistic missile program, as well as for assisting Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime in that country’s nearly half-decade war. Allegations that American officials knew about the transfers and allowed them to go through would deepen concerns that Western powers are willing to ignore Iranian violations in the interest of holding together ongoing negotiations with the Iranian Republic, and will similarly ignore Iranian cheating after a deal is struck in order to prevent it from unraveling. Illicit Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear-related materials – some of which would be prohibited under a deal – are known to be ongoing. Reuters reported earlier this month that the Czech government had uncovered an Iranian attempt to purchase a shipment of compressors from a U.S.-owned company based in Prague. Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the outlet that the compressors “can be used to extract enriched uranium directly from the [centrifuge] cascades.” Last month, the British reportedly informed a United Nations panel about an illicit Iranian nuclear procurement network involving two firms under sanctions for suspected links to Iran’s nuclear activities.


Jason Rezaian, the Tehran bureau chief for The Washington Post who has been imprisoned for ten months, will stand trial in Iran for espionage beginning next week, Sky News reported today. According to the report, Rezaian’s defense lawyer, Leila Ahsan, confirmed that Rezaian had “been charged with ‘espionage’ offences, but said it was unclear whether the trial would be open to the public.”

Rezaian is charged with, among other things, having ties with the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), an organization that supports stronger ties between the United States and Iran.

In a statement released today, Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, criticized the injustice of Iran’s judicial system, and revealed the paper’s efforts to send an editor to Iran to observe the trial. Rezaian, who was arrested last July, is one of three Americans known to be jailed by the Iranian government. The whereabouts of a fourth, Robert Levinson, are uncertain, but he is also believed to be held by Iran. Rezaian’s plight has prompted editorials in The Washington Post asking if his incarceration suggested that Iran could not be trusted to keep to a nuclear deal. Another editorial raised the concern that other visitors to Iran could be used as hostages by the regime. (via The Tower)


The Israeli biomed field is healthy and robust, thanks to a record year of investments in 2014 and a creative startup community of researchers, engineers and medical professionals. This year’s Israel Advanced Technology Industries (IATI) Biomed 2015 conference,  held last week on May 12-14, 2015, attracted some 6,000 people including top healthcare industrialists from 45 countries.

“Biomed 2015 offers an attractive networking venue and business opportunity for players across the biomed industry to create new partnerships and collaborations,” says IATI Biomed co-chair Ruti Alon, also general partner at Pitango Venture Capital. “This is the biggest and most established annual meeting of the Israeli life-science industry, and as such attracts senior representatives from global companies that search for innovation and groundbreaking technologies." Israel’s life-sciences figures show a record 1,380 companies active in Israel today – 53 percent of them medical devices companies, 23% pharmaceutical companies, and 20% digital or mobile healthcare companies. And indeed, nearly all the major healthcare companies have development centers in Israel, including Johnson & Johnson, Philips, General Electric, Merck Serono, Abbott, Foson Pharmaceutical and Covidien (Medtronics). Big pharmaceutical companies hunt for smaller firms with new drugs, and Israel is a good place to find them. (via Israel21c)

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