Iran / by Alistair Galloway

Iran’s judiciary indicted a member of the country’s team that negotiated the nuclear deal with world powers on suspicion of espionage. Two Iranians were sentenced to death in Iran on 12 March on charges of founding a “cult” and promoting moral corruption. On 26 March, Iran sanctioned 15 American companies, alleging they support terrorism, repression, and Israel’s occupation of land Palestinians want for a future state. Iran will not issue visas to Americans as long as the U. S. refuses to issue visas to Iranians, according to its Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht-Ravanchi. An Iranian government official claimed that its Russian-made air defences were compromised by Moscow, leaving Iran and its allies defenceless against Israeli airstrikes. Commander of the U.S. Central Command, Army Gen. Joseph Votel, told the House Armed Services Committee in the United States that Iran is one of the greatest threats to the U.S. today and has increased its "destabilizing role" in the region. A report issued by the group Conflict Armament Research (CAR) states that Houthi forces are using a type of drone probably built by Iran to attack Saudi and UAE missile defence sites in Yemen. ISIS released a video threatening Iran for supporting military campaigns against the self-proclaimed caliphate and for Tehran’s tolerant views on Jews. Iran successfully tested the Russian-made S-300 surface-to-air missile defence system. Russia signed multiple bilateral agreements with Iran on 28 March as President Vladimir Putin hosted his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani for his first official visit to Moscow. On 11 March, the second of the 100 planes Iran had purchased from Airbus following its nuclear deal with world powers landed in the capital Tehran. Iran’s oil minister confirmed the country will keep its oil production cap at 3.8 million barrels per day in the second half of 2017, as long as other OPEC members stick to the output level they agreed in November. Indonesia announced its plans to increase its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) imports from Iran. On 5 March, Azerbaijan officially launched a rail link with Iran by sending a train across the border to Iran’s northern city of Astara.