Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)
18 civil rights defenders, who were arrested while peacefully protesting outside Evin Prison in November 2015, have each been issued prison and lashing sentences.
Branch 1060 of Tehran’s criminal court has sentenced each of the 18 individuals to 91 days in prison and 74 lashes. Based on the information received by Iran Human Rights, the court sentenced two of the individuals to an additional two-year suspended prison term. The names of the 18 are: Simin Ayvaz-Zadeh (mother of civil rights activist Omid Alishenas), Hashem Zeinali (father of missing student Saeed Zeinali), Reza Malek (former political prisoner), Ehsan Kheybar, Abdolazim Oruji, Mohsen Haseli, Mohsen Shojah, Khadijeh (Leyla) Mirghaffari, Azam Najafi, Parvin Soleimani, Shermin Yemeni, Sara Saiee, Arshia Rahmati, Massoud Hamidi, Ali Babaiee, Esmaeil Hosseini, Farideh Tousi, and Zahra Modarreszadeh.
The fate of five Ahwazi Arab men has been predetermined by Farhad Afsharnia, the head of Judiciary in the Khuzestan province of Iran, prior to a trial or verdict.
Afsharnia tells Iranian official sources, including Mehr News and IRNA, that he predicts the prisoners will be hanged to death in public. However, Afsharnia admits they have not been issued sentences for the alleged crime of killing Iranian security agents by gunfire. According to Afsharnia, the men were arrested at a checkpoint in a vilage in the city of Hamidyeh (Khuzestan province).
Trev McKendry, CEO of Metal Nation, claimed in a post on Metal Nation News that the Iranian band Confess have been in prison since November last year on the grounds of blasphemy and running an illegal band and record label.
Two of the members of Confess, Nikan Siyanor Khosravi and Khosravi Arash Chemical Ilkhani, were reportedly held in solitary confinement until 5 February when they were released on bail. According to the Metal Nation News source, the men face between six months and six years in prison, but if they are found guilty of blasphemy they could be executed.
After the nuclear deal with Iran there is room to develop EU-Iran relations, but not at the expense of human rights, said Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs in Tuesday’s debate with Iran’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Ways to end violence in Syria and Yemen, and Iran’s relations with Saudi Arabia were also among the topics discussed.
Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle-East)
Recently the United States House of Representatives passed the “Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act,” which bars removal by the executive branch, of certain Iranian individuals and financial institutions from a restricted U.S sanctions list. Iranian government’s phony diplomatic maneuvering after the nuclear accord should be viewed with the added perspective of Iran’s categorical disregard for basic human rights of its citizens and fueling of the raging violence in Syria. Accordingly, any and all congressional effort to keep pressure on the regime is a right move, and a concrete stop towards addressing the global expansion of Islamic fundamentalism.
They may dress in clerical garb or call themselves the “Seals of the Prophet,” but their focus is on a different kind of profit. Religious foundations and the Revolutionary Guard are running Iran’s business.
Every traveler that lands in Tehran becomes a customer of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. That’s because the elite troops of the Islamic republic operate the Imam Khomeini International Airport, making extremely lucrative business through entry and landing fees alone. With control of the country’s other air and seaports, the Revolutionary Guard – also known the “Sepah Pasdaran” – monopolizes Iran’s borders. They pay neither tolls nor taxes. They choose which goods to allow into the country. And they aren’t questioned as to how many of these goods end up in the black market – or how much they have pocketed from them.
On February 26, the ayatollahs have scheduled two “elections” in Iran: one for the parliament and one for the Assembly of Experts, a body that is supposed to monitor the supreme leader and choose a replacement when the time comes. Some in the West tout this as the potential start of a new era of moderation. After all it is the first election since the conclusion of nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world powers.
Iran- Nuclear Activities
The United States has the authority to block new multi-billion dollar arms deals between Iran and Russia though the administration is not expected to exercise this authority, which was granted under United Nations Security Councilresolutions pertaining to the recently implemented nuclear agreement.
Senior Iranian and Russian officials held discussions this week about inking a new arms pact expected to be worth about $8 billion. Iran has reportedly sent Moscow a “shopping list” of various arms and military hardware it is seeking to purchase.