Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)
April 17,2016 – A report from inside Iran indicates the mullahs’ regime on Thursday hanged five men and two women in a prison in Birjand, north-east Iran.
Two of the victims were identified as Mohammad Niazi and Moheb Rahmati. The names of the other prisoners were not given. They were accused of drugs-related offences.
The hangings bring to at least 24 the number of people executed in Iran in the past week alone, while European officials have been paying visits to Tehran. Three of those executed were women.
London, 17 Apr – Three women were executed last week in Iran, all on the same day, just as European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was about to lead a trade delegation to Tehran.
According to reports received from Iran, a woman was sent to the gallows in Kashmar, north-eastern Iran, on Thursday, 14 April.
Ameneh Rezaiyan, 43, from Taybad in eastern Iran, was sentenced to death two years ago.
Another two women are also believed to have been among a group of seven prisoners who were hanged collectively in a prison in Birjand, north-east Iran, on Thursday.
Shahindokht Mowlaverdi, Iran’s vice president for Women and Family Affairs, has been summoned to the Judiciary to explain a comment she made in February about all the men in a village being executed for drug offenses.
“Officials in Sistan and Baluchistan province have transferred this case to Tehran and Ms. Mowlaverdi has been summoned to the prosecutor’s office to give explanations and respond to the complaint,” said Judiciary Spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, during a press conference on April 10, 2016.
Mowlaverdi criticized the lack of social support for the families of executed drug traffickers during an interview with the semi-official Mehr News Agency published on February 23, 2016, and said: “We have a village in Sistan and Baluchistan province where all the men have been executed.”
Washington, DC, April 12, 2016 – Organization of Iranian American Communities expresses solidarity with the thousands of striking truck drivers across Iran who are protesting inordinate government taxation, wage manipulations, government corruption, and inhumane work conditions.
Iranian regime’s Road Maintenance & Transportation Organization is at the center of striking driver’s problems. Its agents systematically utilize extortion, bribes, and favoritism during the loading and unloading processes. Additionally, Hassan Rouhani’s government has imposed new crippling taxes on drivers and is requiring them to pay additional commissions.
The Iranian supreme leader’s high representative in the city of Mashhad had stated in one of his speeches that plundering, embezzlement and thievery are more acceptable behaviors than violation of the regime’s expectations concerning veiling and feminine attire.
Alam al-Hoda said on April 8: “The one who usurps other people’s belongings, says something forbidden or takes a look that is not permissible has committed crimes that only mislead him, but the one who is not veiled correctly turns man into a tool for evil to mislead others.”
MYTILENE, Greece – For the hundreds of thousands of desperate migrants who have made landfall on this verdant jewel in the Aegean Sea over the past year, there had been only two ways off the island: a ferry bound for a new life deeper in Europe or a deportation order that led straight back across the sea.
But that was before Saturday, when Pope Francis whisked in and pioneered a third: a ride with him on a jet bound for Rome.
The Pope’s visit to the Greek island of Lesbos had already been emotional, provocative and deeply symbolic before he gave it a dramatic and unexpected twist in its closing minutes on Saturday.
Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle-East)
Leaders from more than 50 Muslim nations accused Iran on Friday of supporting terrorism and interfering in the affairs of regional states, including Syria and Yemen, a condemnation that may widen the divide between Iran and its main rival, Saudi Arabia.
The leaders, including Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, have been attending a summit in Istanbul this week of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to discuss a such issues as the humanitarian fall-out from Syria’s civil war.
“The conference deplored Iran’s interference in the internal affairs of the States of the region and other member states including Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, and Somalia, and its continued support for terrorism,” the OIC said in its final summit communique.
The European Union and Iran have “turned a new page” in their diplomatic relations, the EU’s foreign policy chief said on a visit to Tehran.
Federica Mogherini said they had agreed to work on closer ties in a number of areas, including the economy, energy, education, migration and transport.
The visit follows last year’s historic nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.
She said the results of their talks would “make a real difference” to the lives of Iranians and Europeans.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been holding talks with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the presidential palace in Ankara.
TEHRAN – An opposition leader long under house arrest has written a letter to President Hassan Rouhani demanding a public trial, putting the president in a difficult spot and highlighting a deepening rift in Iran’s reformist wing.
In the letter, published Sunday on a foreign-based Persian-language website, Saham News, the opposition leader, Mehdi Karroubi, does not ask the president to grant him his release, “since this is not in your power.”
Iran- Nuclear Activities
WASHINGTON-U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) today introduced the Iran Cyber Sanctions Act, which would require the president to submit a report to Congress detailing significant activities conducted by Iranians to undermine U.S. cybersecurity.
“Some of the most serious threats facing the United States today are cyber-attacks,” said Rounds. “Iran and our other enemies currently use sophisticated technology to carry out cyber-attacks against U.S. businesses and our government. By reporting and sanctioning perpetrators, we can stop additional cyber-attacks before they happen and identify where future threats may come from.”
THE West was put on red alert today as Russia and Iran officially cemented a worrying military alliance which could provide a boost to Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
Officials from Moscow travelled to the Islamic Republic to finalise a deal to purchase jets and tanks in a move that has sparked alarm in Britain and America.
The move is being hailed by Western analysts as offering a major boost to Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and comes amid a consolidated effort from Vladimir Putin to extend his powerbase in the Middle East.
Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile systems will form part of the new deal as well as an agreement to encourage further military cooperation between the rogue states.
Iranian and European officials say that they are pushing the United States to grant the Islamic Republic unprecedented access to American financial markets and the U.S. dollar, working against promises by top Obama administration officials who had claimed Iran would never be granted such access, according to recent remarks.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, speaking at a joint press conference this weekend with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, said that officials are pressuring the U.S. to grant Iran access to American markets.
BRUSSELS – Almost six years ago, the European Union sharply curtailed access to its airspace for Iran’s aging airline fleet. But officials in Brussels say they are now prepared to loosen some of those restrictions as the easing of Western sanctions gradually allows new planes and spare parts to enter Iran after decades of isolation.
The overture follows the nuclear accord reached with the United States and other world powers in January, and it will be presented during a visit to Tehran this weekend by a delegation from the European Commission, the bloc’s executive branch, officials said. It forms part of a broader European effort to revive economic ties between Iran and the 28-member bloc, which was once one of Iran’s largest trading partners.