Iran Spotlight (December 15, 2022 – December 29, 2022) – The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Meeting of the Syrian Minister of Internal Trade with the delegation of the Iran-Syria Friendship Association.Source: IRNA, December 25th
Meeting of a delegation of Syrian media personalities with Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance.Source: SANA, December 24th
Meeting between the Iranian Ambassador and Cultural Officer in Baghdad and the President of Iraq. Source: IRNA, 21 December.
Commander of the Quds Force, Esmail Khani. Source: Tasnim, 20 December.
- Additional strikes attributed to Israel took place in the area of the Al-Quseir military airport west of Damascus and the cities of Homs. The al-Arabiya TV channel reported that the attack hit an Iranian air defense battery and the base of Hezbollah’s air force, which is engaged in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in Lebanon.
- Syrian opposition-linked websites reported that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has significantly increased the salaries of fighters and civilians serving within pro-Iranian militias in eastern Syria. This is due to increased competition among Iranian, Russian and local militias in recruiting personnel in the region. According to another Syrian report, a delegation of pro-Iranian militias and Shiite clerics recently cleared a road between a number of Shia holy sites and a number of clerics on the outskirts of al-Seida Zainab, south of Damascus. We are working on reopening. towns in the region to enhance tourism and real estate investment in the region.
- A Lebanese news website reported, citing a senior Iranian source, that Iran was willing to provide fuel to Lebanon and was preparing a contract pending approval by the Lebanese government. But Lebanese leaders have avoided signing it for fear of US sanctions.
- Esmail Qa’ani, commander of the IRGC’s Qods forces, declared at a ceremony in Tehran that Israel was in dire straits and that the Palestinians would soon expel Israel from Palestine. He claimed that 40 to 50 operations were conducted against Israel every day in the West Bank alone, and that the “Zionist regime” was under tremendous pressure.
Iranian involvement in Syria and Lebanon
- On the night of December 19, the Syrian Arab Army reported that the Israeli Air Force fired missiles from locations northeast of the Tiberian Sea toward several points around Damascus. The attack injured two of his soldiers and damaged infrastructure, according to a Syrian statement. Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya TV channel reported (20 December) that the Israeli strike was aimed at an Iranian air defense battery recently deployed in the area of Damascus International Airport. According to the report, the attack took place shortly after an Iranian cargo plane landed at Damascus airport. On December 22, the Al-Arabiya Channel reported that Israel’s air force (Unit 127) at Al-Quseir military airport, an area bordering Lebanon known to be under Hezbollah control. ) base was attacked. A Syrian opposition website reported that the target attacked was a storage facility at a military airport in the Akraba region, used by pro-Iranian militias to store advanced weapons and drones. In addition, targets were attacked in the Najah area on the road leading to al-Badarya village (Ayn al-Furat, 20 December).
- A Syrian opposition news website reported that the IRGC had significantly increased the monthly salaries of fighters and local civilians affiliated with pro-Iranian militias in Deir Ezzor governorate. According to the report, the salaries of civilians serving in the militia increased by 100,000 Syrian pounds, currently reaching 490,000 (about $74 at the current black market exchange rate), and the salaries of military personnel serving in the militia increased by 50,000 pounds. Did. It now totals 350,000 Syrian pounds (about $53). The website claims the main reason for the increase in salaries is increased competition between Iran, Russia and local pro-regime militias seeking to outwit each other in recruiting local personnel. ing. It controls trade in fuel from northeastern Syria and the militia of Muhammad Hamsho, which is closely linked to 4.th Syrian army division (Deir Ezzor 24, 16 December).
- A Syrian opposition website reported that in recent weeks, delegations of pro-Iranian militias and Shia cleric groups have visited the towns of Babila, Yalda and Beit Sahem, south of Damascus. According to the report, the visit focused on opening a road from the outskirts of Seyeda Zainab to the town of Babila.In 2018, the town was recaptured by the Assad regime after a prolonged siege. Members of the delegation met with the local council chiefs of the three towns and other dignitaries of the region to discuss the reopening of the road for the benefit of local residents, commercial activities and religious tourism.Seyeda Zainab Shrine. The report says traders working with Iran are buying property along the road from Babila to Seyedah Zainab temple with the aim of expanding the tourism and real estate sectors, with plans to build hotels and residential complexes. claims to have established Shia foreign pilgrims visiting the area (Ain al-Furat, December 21).
- On December 18, Iranian Ambassador to Syria Mehdi Sobhani met with Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad. According to a statement from the Iranian embassy, the two discussed bilateral relations (ISNA, December 19). Meanwhile, the Middle East News website (December 18), citing sources from the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Ambassador Sobani would soon end his tenure in Damascus and replace him with Hossein Akbari as Iran’s new ambassador. reportedly appointed. to Syria. Akbari previously served as Iran’s ambassador to Libya and is considered an expert on the Arab world.
- On December 25, Amr Nazir Salem, Syria’s Minister of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection, met with a delegation of the Iranian-Syrian Friendship Association to discuss how to increase trade between the two countries and how the U.S. Department of Internal Trade and Friendship Association can work together. . Both sides agreed to create a mechanism early next year to complete the necessary steps to implement joint investment projects. These measures are aimed at strengthening cooperation in the fields of economy, trade and investment between the two countries. Earlier, Syrian Prime Minister Hussein Arnos met with Hassan Akhtari, president of the Iran-Syria Friendship Association, to discuss ways to expand economic, trade, cultural and social ties between the two countries. Both countries face challenges and economic sanctions (IRNA, 25 Dec).
- A delegation of Syrian media personalities, led by Ahmed Dawa, Syria’s deputy minister of information and head of the Syrian Film Fund, met in Tehran with Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Mohammad Medhi Esmaili discussed the expansion of cooperation between in the media sphere. Iran’s Islamic Guidance Minister stressed the importance of cooperation between the two countries, especially in light of the campaign he claimed was being carried out by the Western media against Iran and Syria. Mohammad Kazai Cinematic Affairs, Deputy Minister of Culture, to discuss ways to work together on co-production of films and TV shows (SANA, 24 December).
- Lebanese news website al-Nashra has published a report (19 December) based on senior Iranian sources, claiming Iran is willing to provide fuel to Lebanon, pending Lebanese government approval It even said it had prepared a contract, which the government signed for fear of the US sanctions it is evading. The report said Iran was ready to send 600,000 tons of fuel to the Lebanese government, and the matter was handled by Iran’s Lebanese ambassador. The sources also say Iran is intervening in the election process for the next Lebanese president because it knows the situation in the country better than Tehran and has allies in the country, including Hezbollah and Amal, who will make their own decisions about this. claimed no. matter.
Iranian involvement in Iraq
- On December 18, Mohammad Hossein Sugi, director of the Iran Tourism Automobile Club, met with Nasser Abdul Mosen Abdullah, Iraqi ambassador to Tehran, to discuss ways and needs to reduce the cost of traveling by car from Iran to Iraq. talked about sex. Strengthen cooperation in the ground transportation sector. The Iraqi ambassador said at the conference that his country was ready to act to reduce the cost of pilgrims visiting Iraq and facilitate the movement of travelers between the two countries. The meeting was aimed at furthering measures to promote tourism and pilgrimage visits between Iraq and Iran (ISNA, 20 December).
- On December 21, Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad Mohammad Kazem Al-e-Sadeq and Baghdad’s Iranian Cultural Attache Hodjat-ul-Islam Shoramreza Abazari met with Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid. During the talks, Iranian representatives spoke about former IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani in his two volumes, which include interviews with senior Iraqi politicians, religious leaders, cultural figures, experts and commentators. I presented a copy of the book to the President of Iraq. Qods Force, assassinated by the US in early January 2020, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, leader of the pro-Iranian Shiite militia (IRNA, Dec. 21).
Iranian involvement in the Palestinian arena
- Esmail Qa’ani, commander of the IRGC’s Qods forces, said at a ceremony commemorating Iran’s ambassador to Yemen, Hassan Irlou, that Israel is in dire straits and the day will soon come when the Palestinians will expel the humiliated Israelis. declared. Originally from Palestine. Qa’ani claimed that with 40 to 50 operations taking place every day in the Israeli West Bank alone, the “Zionist regime” had become hopeless and was under great pressure. He added that as Israel and the US ramp up pressure on Iran, they will find themselves under twice as much pressure as he did (Tasnim, 20 December).