Fdd's overnight brief

November 1, 2022

In The News


Iranian student protesters defied a call to halt demonstrations from one of the country’s top military commanders, facing down security forces at universities and on the streets in multiple cities on Monday. – Wall Street Journal

Canada on Monday imposed fresh sanctions on Iran, marking the fourth package of sanctions it has implemented for alleged human rights violations in that country, the foreign ministry said in a statement. – Reuters

Iran on Monday urged countries not to attend a U.S.-organized meeting at the United Nations on protests in Iran sparked by the death of a young woman in police custody, according to a letter seen by Reuters that accused Washington of politicizing human rights. – Reuters

Iran’s hardline judiciary will hold public trials of about 1,000 people indicted for unrest in Tehran, a semi-official news agency said on Monday, intensifying efforts to crush weeks of protests ignited by Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody. – Reuters

Iran announced on Monday new sanctions on United States entities and individuals including the CIA, accusing them of “inciting terrorist acts” in the Islamic republic. It comes days after the US placed more than a dozen Iranian officials on its sanctions blacklist for the crackdown on protests over the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. – Agence France-Presse

The German government is considering further measures against Iran following the imposition of sanctions over a deadly crackdown on protests triggered by the death of a young Iranian woman, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said. – Bloomberg

A top Biden administration official on Monday pushed back against growing criticism from Iranian American activists who are calling on the White House to abandon its efforts to resurrect the Iran nuclear deal. – Associated Press 

The US Special Envoy for Iran on Monday said the United States is focused on matters on Iran “where we can be useful,” and is not currently going to “waste our time” on the nuclear deal “if nothing’s going to happen.” – CNN

An Iranian girl in middle school was beaten to death after police officers found a torn-up photo of former Iranian Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini in one of her schoolbooks, local news outlet in the Sistan and Baluchestan Province Haalvsh reported on Sunday night. – Jerusalem Post

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) threatened to unleash its offensive drones on Israeli and American targets in the Middle East, in a video posted Monday to the group’s Telegram channel. – Times of Israel

US Special Envoy to Iran Robert Malley on Monday said that there has not been any progress in nuclear talks with Iran since August, and that the Biden Administration was currently focused on other priorities. – Algemeiner

The US State Department has placed sanctions on an Iranian organization that put a multi-million dollar bounty on Salman Rushdie. – Arutz Sheva

David Albright, Sarah Burkhard, and Spencer Faragasso write: Open-source information analyzed by the Institute indicates that downed and captured Iranian drones contain parts and accessories designed or produced by Western companies. Countries of origin for the sourced commodities and designs appear to include Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. – Institute for Science and International Security

Nicholas Carl, Kitaneh Fitzpatrick, Dana Alexander Gray, Johanna Moore, and Frederick W. Kagan write: The regime has begun indicting and sentencing arrested protesters as part of the increasingly harsh and uncompromising stance that the regime has adopted toward the ongoing protests. – Institute for the Study of War

Ray Takeyh writes: It is led by a corrupt and out-of-touch elite that relies on conspiracy theories to justify its conduct. It has pursued a foreign policy whose costs are more apparent than its benefits. And the mullahs have forgotten the most essential lesson of their revolutionary triumph: Persian armies don’t like killing their people en masse. The new Iranian revolution has begun, we just don’t know it yet. – Commentary Magazine

Russia & Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pledged to continue exporting grain from his country’s Black Sea ports, and accused Russia of exacerbating a global food crisis by suspending a United Nations-brokered shipping deal and threatening to block grain vessels. – Washington Post

Russia unleashed a fresh wave of attacks across Ukraine on Monday, damaging more than a dozen critical infrastructure facilities and causing sustained power outages, Ukrainian officials said. – Washington Post

Thunderous explosions hit Kyiv and regions across Ukraine on Monday morning, leaving many without power or water as Russia launched a fresh barrage of airstrikes on critical infrastructure — its strongest and widest-spread attack since the opening salvo in a new aerial bombardment strategy on Oct. 10. – Washington Post

The small boat speeds toward a much larger ship in the distance, cutting through choppy waves and dodging gunfire, presumably from a helicopter shown hovering above. A now-viral video of its journey ends inconclusively, without showing its fate or what happened to what is suspected to be its intended target: Russia’s strategically important Black Sea Fleet. – New York Times

Debris from a Russian missile shot down by Ukrainian air defenses landed in a border village in Moldova, officials in the country said on Monday, in one of the clearest instances of violence from the war spilling into another European nation. – New York Times

Grain prices jumped Monday, after Russia said over the weekend it would suspend participation in a deal that allowed Ukraine to ship grain via the Black Sea. Chicago wheat futures advanced 3.5% to $8.59 a bushel and corn rose 1% to $6.87 a bushel, with the jump representing growing uncertainty amongst traders about the future global food supply. – Wall Street Journal

Russian banking tycoon Oleg Tinkov renounced his Russian citizenship in a public rebuke of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, saying he “can’t and won’t be associated with a fascist country.” – Washington Post

Russia said on Monday it was “unacceptable” for shipping to pass through a Black Sea security corridor after it suspended its participation in a Turkish- and U.N.-brokered deal that had allowed Ukraine to resume grain exports. – Reuters

Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure on Monday were in part a response to a drone attacks on the Black Sea fleet over the weekend, President Vladimir Putin said, indicating more action could follow. “That’s not all we could have done,” he told a televised news conference. – Reuters

A small number of U.S. military forces inside Ukraine have recently begun doing onsite inspections to ensure that Ukrainian troops are properly accounting for the Western-provided weapons they receive, a senior U.S. defense official told Pentagon reporters Monday. – Associated Press

Israel will provide Ukraine with military communication systems that the country requested months ago, N12’s Uvda investigative program reported on Monday evening. – Jerusalem Post

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky conveyed his frustration and exasperation with Israel’s perceived neutrality in Russia’s ongoing war on Ukraine and suggested a possible change in stance may be in the offing after Jerusalem finally agreed to supply the country with advanced communications systems, he told Israeli TV. – Times of Israel

Olesya Khromeychuk writes: Against those tempted to marvel at the apparent awakening of the Ukrainian nation, there are the words of Lesia Ukrainka, a pen name meaning “Ukrainian woman.” “To suffer in chains is a great humiliation,” she wrote in 1903, when the country had yet to taste self-rule. “But to forget those chains without having broken them is the worst kind of shame.” For much longer than Russia’s war, Ukrainians have fought for — and achieved — freedom and sovereignty. – New York Times

Karolina Hird, Katherine Lawlor, George Barros, and Frederick W. Kagan write: Russian forces conducted another massive wave of missiles strikes targeting critical Ukrainian infrastructure across the country on October 31, likely in an attempt to degrade Ukraine’s will to fight as temperatures drop. – Institute for the Study of War

Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan write: To be clear, this was not the first step that Russian society took as it began to slide towards its acceptance of authoritarianism. But it was one of the most significant advances along that road, a road that eventually led to a war of aggression, exclusion from the international community, and the beginnings of the complete collapse of Russian society. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Tanisha M. Fazal writes: Although the war ultimately ended with a Soviet victory, medicine was nonetheless a force multiplier for the Finns, who had a much smaller population and were able to compromise the Soviet victory instead of being overrun. In a war where numbers matter, the side that has better medicine holds a distinct advantage. – Foreign Policy


In Israel, though, winning elections is only half the battle. After Tuesday’s contest, a party leader tapped by the president will have four weeks to attempt to cobble together a 61-seat majority coalition. – Washington Post

When an Israeli military patrol was secretly filmed beating two young Palestinian men in August, the 14-second video posted on TikTok triggered a new furor for Israel. The soldiers were quickly suspended from duty. Israel’s top military officer denounced the men as unworthy of wearing their uniforms after the army opened a criminal investigation. And a prominent Israeli minister called for the battalion whose members were responsible for the beating to be dissolved. – Wall Street Journal

Israeli security forces arrested two Palestinian men suspected of smuggling weapons into the West Bank from Jordan on Monday morning, confiscating 25 handguns in the process, the military and police said. – Times of Israel

The Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip have reinforced security measures around figures in the Strip linked to terrorism in the West Bank, due to concerns of Israeli strikes against these figures, the Lebanese al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Monday. – Jerusalem Post


Afghan special forces soldiers who fought alongside American troops and then fled to Iran after the chaotic U.S. withdrawal last year are now being recruited by the Russian military to fight in Ukraine, three former Afghan generals told The Associated Press. – Associated Press

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has authorized its chief prosecutor to resume its investigation into possible atrocities committed in Afghanistan. The original investigation was halted in early 2020 when the Western-backed administration asked to do its own probe, but the ICC said in a statement on October 31 that the current Taliban rulers, who took over as international forces left the country at the end of August 2021, show “no interest” in carrying out an investigation. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The chant “Women, life, freedom,” one of the central slogans in the protests sweeping Iran in recent weeks, has now been heard in Afghanistan as women protested against being blocked from universities for not wearing burkas on Sunday, according to footage shared on social media. – Jerusalem Post


Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said a natural gas hub could be set up in Turkey fairly quickly and predicted many customers in Europe would want to sign contracts. Putin proposed Turkey as a base for gas supplies earlier this month after the Nord Stream pipelines under the Baltic Sea were damaged in September by blasts. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says he agrees with the idea. – Reuters

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected Turkey’s bid to shut down lawsuits in U.S. courts stemming from a violent brawl outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington more than five years ago that left anti-government protesters badly beaten. – Associated Press

Turkey isn’t satisfied with promises made by Sweden to crack down on Kurdish separatists and is unlikely to lift its objections to the nation’s NATO membership bid unless it takes more definitive steps, Turkey’s ruling AK Party spokesman Omer Celik said. – Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia

Democratic U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said on Monday he wants a U.S. national security review of a Saudi Arabian conglomerate’s stake in Twitter Inc after Elon Musk’s takeover of the social media company. – Reuters

Eric R. Mandel writes: This is a bargain the Saudis likely would accept, because they see Iran as an existential threat. Unfortunately, it may well be that the president, after the midterm elections, will continue to chase after Iran’s Supreme Leader to make a deal. The U.S.-Saudi relationship has been a keystone in the interest of both nations, and it’s up to the leader of both to secure it once again. – The Hill 

Karen E. Young writes: Oil will continue to be a part of foreign policy for both countries. But they are certainly headed in different directions. Riyadh and Washington may soon find that they are more often competitors—in oil markets and models of economic development—than partners. – Foreign Affairs

Middle East & North Africa

Algeria is hosting the 31st summit of the largest annual Arab conference on Tuesday and Wednesday as the region battles to find common ground over a series of divisive issues. – Associated Press

A rights group accused Syrian government forces Monday of burning bodies inside pits in an effort to make the corpses unidentifiable — the latest in a slew of accusations of crimes by Damascus. – Agence France-Presse

Israel and Bahrain hope to sign a free trade agreement by the end of 2022 in a bid to jump-start bilateral business ties two years after the normalization of diplomatic relations between the two countries. – Algemeiner

Following reports that Russia is using Iranian-made drones to attack targets in Ukraine, articles in the Saudi and Emirati press accused the West of hypocrisy and of employing a double standard in the context of Iran’s aggression. The U.S. and Europe, say the articles, have for years been ignoring the Iranian drones launched by the Houthis against Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and tolerating Iran’s destructive actions in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

The Afghan Taliban delegation led by Zabihullah Mujahid met with Ismail Haniyeh and other Hamas leaders in Istanbul, where leaders of the Taliban and Hamas attended a conference of Islamic religious scholars, the report by Payam Aftab news agency noted. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Korean Peninsula

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry criticized the United States for expanding joint military exercises with South Korea that it claims are practice for a potential invasion, and it warned Tuesday of “more powerful follow-up measures” in response. – Associated Press

The prospect of a new North Korean nuclear test underscores the limited options for Washington and its allies, who have embraced “deterring” Pyongyang through major military drills that some current and former officials say may exacerbate tensions. – Reuters

South Korea’s government vowed on Tuesday to make every effort to boost export growth in semiconductors, rechargeable batteries and areas promising new growth, after preliminary government data showed exports fell the most in 26 months in October. – Reuters


Completing the space station is the latest step in Beijing’s broad effort to match and eventually surpass the United States in the exploration of space, and to build a broad base of knowledge for China’s large and ever-growing scientific community. – New York Times

The volatility extended the recent turbulence for Chinese stocks, which were battered last week after Mr. Xi was confirmed for a third term as China’s leader. Under Mr. Xi, China has shifted its approach to how it manages the economy, exerting more state control after years of allowing markets a freer hand. – New York Times

A sedition trial opened in Hong Kong on Monday for two former top editors of a shuttered online media outlet who have been detained without bail for 10 months. Stand News editor-in-chief Chung Pui-kuen and acting editor-in-chief Patrick Lam were arrested last December during a crackdown on dissent following widespread anti-government protests in 2019. – Associated Press

Fifty mainly Western countries urged China on Monday to fully implement all recommendations in a U.N. report accusing the country of possible “crimes against humanity” against Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups, including taking prompt steps to release all those “arbitrarily deprived of their liberty” in the far western province of Xinjiang. – Associated Press

Washington’s restrictions on US citizens assisting China’s chip industry will be more narrowly enforced than feared, suggesting a smaller-than-expected impact on semiconductor companies doing business in the world’s second largest economy. – Bloomberg

China lashed out at a report about a lab in the city of Wuhan where the coronavirus first appeared, saying it was driven by politics in the US. “US politicians are rehashing the lab-leak theory to smear China in disregard of facts,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Monday at a regular press briefing in Beijing. – Bloomberg

Editorial: The U.S. must put pressure on all the nations listed in the Safeguard Defenders report to investigate these extraterritorial Chinese police stations. It should put extra pressure on Germany to turn away from becoming dependent on Beijing before it is too late. – Washington Examiner

Anjani Trivedi writes: Over a decade later, the US still wasn’t able to meet its own goals that included dominating green sectors and technologies, nor has it been able to get ahead of China. That’s because it never sharpened its mish-mash of a policy and failed to target core areas it could have established a firm grip on. – Bloomberg

Michael J. Green writes: If anything, the administration may have to temper congressional eagerness to go after China, judging from the recent promises of Republican House leadership. Biden should seize these opportunities and fill in the missing pieces of his China and Indo-Pacific strategies. – Foreign Policy

South Asia

Leading the pack and waving to thousands of supporters lining the route was Imran Khan, wearing sunglasses and a neatly pressed white Pakistani salwar suit. The country’s ousted prime minister and former cricket star has embarked on a week-long march through Pakistan’s largest province, Punjab, to the capital Islamabad, hoping to whip up a large enough show of support to topple the government of rival Shehbaz Sharif and force early elections. – Financial Times

A team of Chinese officials travelled to Pakistan to assist in investigations, the interior ministry said, a sign of the seriousness Beijing attaches to the attack. The visit has not been previously reported. – Reuters

Ronak D. Desai writes: The status quo is unsustainable. The Biden administration should strike a deal with the Senate to confirm Garcetti and invest the necessary political capital to ensure bilateral ties remain bipartisan. The U.S.-India relationship is far too important for the helm of our mission in Delhi to remain vacant any longer. – Washington Post


Chinese President Xi Jinping told the visiting leader of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party on Monday that both countries and parties should “never let anyone interfere” with their progress, state broadcaster CCTV reported. – Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday he hopes for “normalisation” of ties between rivals Armenia and Azerbaijan who pledged not to resort to force in their territorial dispute after tripartite talks, reasserting Moscow’s role as Caucasus powerbroker. – Agence France-Presse

Japan is looking 6,000 meters under the sea for rare earths to counter China’s dominance of the critical minerals that are used in everything from smartphones to weapons, according to the Yomiuri newspaper. – Bloomberg

Australia’s resources minister said it was a “pipe dream” that Western countries could soon end their reliance on China for rare earths and critical minerals — vital for the defense, aerospace and automotive industries — due to the Asian powerhouse’s existing grip on global markets. – Bloomberg


One of the first closely watched seasonal outlooks for what the European winter holds sees colder and drier weather than usual across the U.K. and Northern Europe, conditions that could add pressure on governments and companies managing the continent’s supply of natural gas. – Wall Street Journal

Polish and South Korean officials have signed initial agreements to develop a nuclear power plant in Poland, part of an effort by Poland to lower its carbon emissions and seek energy security. For South Korea, engagement in the Polish project is a way to revive the country’s nuclear power industry. The country’s last export deal, to the United Arab Emirates, was in 2009. – Associated Press

The European Union’s industry chief said on Monday that European governments and companies must realise China is a rival to the EU and they should not be naive whenever they approve Chinese investment. – Reuters

Norway, a NATO member that shares a border with Russia in the Arctic, will raise its military readiness, the prime minister said Monday, stressing no direct threat had been detected. – Agence France-Presse

Northern Irish politics are in gridlock — again. The UK government has said it will call fresh elections after a legal deadline to form an executive passed on Friday. But London has delayed setting a date for a new poll and political parties warn that fresh elections may not restore the executive. Glyn Roberts, head of lobby group Retail NI, describes the situation as “political instability on steroids”. – Financial Times

Rarely has a deal encountered such strong government opposition. Six German ministries came out last month against Chinese shipper Cosco’s planned acquisition of a stake in a Hamburg container terminal. But it went through anyway. – Financial Times

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the Dutch ambassador, Gilles Beschoor Plug, to protest an allegation that the British intelligence community attempted to recruit a Russian military diplomat in The Hague. – The Daily Beast

Therese Raphael writes: Sunak doesn’t seem ready to go that far. While he may not be able to change the raw reality of Brexit, if he can detoxify it and take the heat out of Brexit as a cultural issue, he can perhaps make way for a real debate over how to mitigate the consequences. That will prove a test of his much-vaunted pragmatism, but also his ability to manage his own party on an issue that has tripped up a long list of predecessors. – Bloomberg

Edward Lucas writes: Huge dangers and difficulties still lie ahead in an era where Europe’s strategic nakedness is starkly displayed. Germany’s economic, political and military clout will be vital, first in ensuring Ukraine’s victory and then in rebuilding European security. Outsiders realize this. I am not sure Germans do. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Thorsten Benner writes: Instead of presiding over the signing of new business deals, Scholz should clearly address the concerns German companies have about dealing with an increasingly totalitarian system that puts ideologies over economic interests. All this will make sure that next time, nobody gets the idea of greeting him with “Welcome back, Ms. Merkel.” – Foreign Policy


An oil refinery in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum resumed operations following a brief halt due to an act of “sabotage” on one of its pipelines, state-run media said on Monday […] The report comes as Sudan’s ruling generals and the pro-democracy movement’s main factions continue negotiations toward finding a political settlement. – Associated Press

The death toll from twin car bombings in Somalia’s capital has reached 120 and could rise further because some people are still missing, the country’s health minister said Monday. – Associated Press

Thousands joined anti-Rwanda protests in the east Congolese city of Goma on Monday, denouncing Rwanda’s alleged support of M23 rebels as Kinshasa recalled its interim acting ambassador from Kigali in a further souring of relations. – Reuters

The African Union called for a cease-fire in Democratic Republic of Congo’s fight against the M23 rebel movement before peace talks scheduled for this week. More than 186,000 people have fled fighting since March between Congo’s army and the rebels, who Congo and United Nations experts say are backed by neighboring Rwanda. – Bloomberg

James Jay Carafano writes: Since none of these challenges are likely to generate significant security threats to the U.S. or Europe or endanger vital interests, the world can expect only minimal investment from Washington in economic engagement, energy development and security affairs in the region. U.S. attention in North Africa will likely remain focused on Morocco. – Heritage Foundation

Latin America

In the tightest presidential election in Brazilian history, following a bitterly fought campaign that deepened divisions in Latin America’s largest nation, President Jair Bolsonaro has remained out of public view since 8 p.m. Sunday, when the Superior Electoral Court declared Lula the winner of the second and final round. Bolsonaro, a close ally of former president Donald Trump, known for his fiery rhetoric and incendiary missives on social media, has opted for a response that for him has been extremely uncommon: silence. – Washington Post

Colombian President Gustavo Petro and his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro will meet in Caracas on Tuesday to discuss their countries’ recently-thawed bilateral ties and expanded trade, the Colombian government said on Monday. – Reuters

After being relegated to the back pages of Washington’s foreign policy briefs for some time, Latin America now stands to emerge as a top arena where America and China compete for influence. Leftist Latin leaders may opt for neutrality, but doing so increasingly could become difficult. – New York Sun

Editorial: A better arena for Mr. da Silva’s diplomatic influence would be his own hemisphere, where the most pressing issue might be the restoration of democracy in neighboring Venezuela. As a veteran leftist, Mr. da Silva has the ideological heritage and connections to engage with Caracas; as a democrat, he has a duty to do so. The Biden administration should explore the possibilities to work with him. Enabling a transition to free and fair elections in Venezuela could be the crowning achievement of Mr. da Silva’s long career. – Washington Post

Mac Margolis writes: Leftist partisans can rightly celebrate their unprecedented democratic coalition as a firewall against right-wing extremism. Yet to hold that compact together Lula will need to summon all his pragmatism and political acumen, both conspicuously absent in Bolsonaro’s Brazil. – Washington Post

Lahav Harkov writes: Both presidential candidates were highly controversial in areas unrelated to Israel. Bolsonaro has made anti-gay comments, praised Brazil’s former military regime and allowed deforestation in the Amazon. Da Silva spent a year and a half in prison on corruption charges, but the ruling was later overturned on grounds of judicial misconduct. He also pushed for greater government control of the media, raising concerns over limiting free speech. Iran is only one of several dictatorships he supported. – Jerusalem Post

Jonathan M. Katz writes: But it will do nothing to prevent the violence and inequality that rive Haitian society. Only forcing the unpopular and manifestly undemocratic Henry government to share or cede power, preparing the ground for eventual elections and a return to Haitian democracy, and ending a century of destructive U.S. interference in their affairs, will give ordinary Haitians a shot at survival. – Foreign Policy


Elon Musk has become Twitter’s sole director after finalizing his $44 billion purchase of the social media site and dissolving its corporate board, documents filed Monday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed. – Agence France-Presse

The U.S. Navy this month highlighted the values the service is using to shape its cyberspace investments and improve its day-to-day digital posture, including what one official described as the ability to “fight hurt.” – Defense News

The U.S. said it will send Ukraine satellite communications antennas that can work without Elon Musk’s Starlink network to assist the battered country in its fight against Russia. – Defense News

The White House is convening a ransomware summit on Monday to increase global and private sector cooperation to confront a problem that continues to bedevil law enforcement agencies around the world. – CyberScoop


The Air Force is moving forward with experiments to test whether a two-person crew could safely fly a KC-46 Pegasus tanker in an emergency. – Defense News

John G. Ferrari and Charles Rahr write: For the Army, it needs to buy more systems now and spend less on development in order to be prepared for the threats this decade. The future of the Army’s main battle tank doesn’t lie in untested, unproven and far-off platforms. It instead lies with the Abrams X and other existing platforms like it. – Breaking Defense

Michael Rubin writes: For the Congress to dilute Somaliland provisions within the NDAA, in contrast, is to enable the State Department to cover up decades of policy failure. Oversight requires recognizing mistakes and recalibrating policy in favor of freedom. – 19FortyFive

Mark F. Cancian writes: Budget documents give some indication, as indicated earlier, but budget numbers are not necessarily long-term strategic goals. It may be that the classified version of the NDS, which went to Congress in the spring, has answers to all these questions. However, that does not help the public discussion about defense and strategy. Such are the frustrations of outside analysts who no longer have a security clearance. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Long War

Iran announced Monday a suspected accomplice of the shooter who carried out a deadly attack on a Shiite Muslim shrine in Shiraz has been arrested, state news agency IRNA reported. – Agence France-Presse

Opposition lawmakers have condemned the repatriation to Australia of 17 women and children from the al-Roj refugee camp in Northern Syria. They are the wives, sons and daughters of dead or jailed Islamic State militants. – VOA News

Aaron Y. Zelin writes: Of course, even this limited option would be largely symbolic—Tehran is unlikely to listen to anything Washington has to say about its internal unrest, and many in the streets will not be satisfied with any outcome short of toppling the regime. Either way, IS views both the protesters and the regime as apostates. – Washington Institute