Brief on Iran (BOI – 178)


OIAC Applauds Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Passing Iran Bill to Hold the Regime Accountable

PR-News Wire
WASHINGTON, May 26, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) applauds the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) for passing Iran Bill to hold the regime accountable for its missile development, support for terrorism and human rights violations.

The bipartisan legislation, now with 48 cosponsors, spearheaded by Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) expands sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), expands sanctions for Iranian ballistic missile development, support for terrorism, transfers of conventional weapons to or from Iran, and human rights violations.

Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)

U.S. State Department Issues Report on Human Rights Sanctions on Iran

The State Department released today its semi-annual report to Congress detailing sanctions imposed on persons involved in human rights abuses in Iran. The report cites recent sanctions against the Tehran Prisons Organization and Sohrab Soleimani, the former head of the Tehran Prisons Organization, as required by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, as amended by the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Ambassador Stuart Jones gave the following statement on the report:
“As we continue to closely scrutinize Iran’s commitment to the JCPOA and develop a comprehensive Iran policy, we will continue to hold Iran accountable for its human rights abuses with new actions. We urge our partners around the world to join us in calling out individuals and entities who violate international sanctions targeting Iran’s human rights abuses.

Iran: Resuming executions after election farce, 10 prisoners executed in two days
Freedom Messenger

The mullahs’ regime in Iran has immediately relaunched its domestic crackdown machine after the election farce, especially through executions and torture in prisons across the country. Ten inmates in the prisons of Tabriz, Zahedan, Ardebil, Kermanshah and Isfahan, and Karaj Central Prison were hanged on May 22 and 23. Nine of these cases were carried out on May 23 alone.
Authorities in Zahedan executed 30-year-old Abdulkarim Shahnavazi and placed a noose on another prisoner. After witnessing Shahnavazi’s death, the latter was brought down from the gallows and told his execution will be carried in 40 days. Seeking to rein in increasing protests and the abhorrence of the younger generation in cities across the country, the mullahs’ regime has yet again resorted to mass executions.

Iran: Prominent Wrestler Executed on Vague Charges
Iran Human Rights

Iran Human Rights (MAY 27 2017): A prominent wrestler in Iran was reportedly hanged at Kermanshah’s Dizel Abad Prison on the morning of Thursday May 25 on vague charges.
According to the state-run news agency Tabnak, the prisoner’s name is Hojatollah Tadro. Prior to his execution, he competed in multiple national championships and was a member of the national team. The official sources in Iran have not announced the reason for the execution, but Radio Zamaneh has reported that Hojatollah was sentenced to death for the “rape of an inmate”, after he was already imprisoned for several years.
A source close to Hojatollah says he was the victim of a conspiracy and never committed the crime that he was charged with. The charge that led to Hojatollah’s imprisonment is not known.
Two days before Hojatollah’s execution, two prisoners were hanged at Dizel Abad Prison. The prisoners are Mehran Ashrafi, executed on murder charges, and Mehrdad Asgari, executed on drug related charges.

Amnesty International

Atena Daemi is on hunger strike and her health is in danger.
Following more than a month of a hunger strike in Tehran’s Evin prison, Iranian human rights defender Atena Daemi is in poor health, and requires immediate hospitalisation. She has been unjustly imprisoned for her human rights activities since November 2016.
On 8 April, Atena Daemi started a hunger strike in Evin prison in protest at the suspended prison sentences imposed on her sisters Hanieh and Ensieh for “insulting public officers on duty”.
Atena’s health has seriously deteriorated. She is believed to have lost about 12 kg of her weight. She is suffering from sustained nausea, vomiting, blood pressure fluctuations, and severe kidney pain. She briefly lost consciousness on 2 May. Doctors have warned that her kidney infection has reached critical levels and she needs immediate hospitalization.

Iran’s ethnic minorities boycott presidential election
American Thinker

On May 19, Iran’s mullahs will elect the nation’s next president. While Iran’s president has executive authority, his power remains secondary to that of the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. Even with that curious arrangement, it’s not a done deal until Khamenei can solve a major riddle to ensure that his favorite candidate wins at the ballot box.
Throughout this presidential election, Khamenei faces different dilemmas, because the vast majority of Iranians reject the six hand-picked candidates for the presidential election and call it a sham. So, by fair means or foul, the mullahs will get what they want, but the role and dilemma of ethnic minorities in Iranian society is an important parameter to consider in this vote. Minorities such as Arab, Baluch, Kurd, Lor, Turk, and Turkmen make up almost 50% of the population and inhabit about 70% of Iran’s land mass. Iran’s ethnic minorities have been heavily ignored and marginalized by the theocratic government.

Quote of the Week

Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle-East)

“If Free Elections Were Held in Iran, Ayatollahs Would Be the Losers,” Says, John Bolton

John Bolton, the prominent diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations sat down for an exclusive interview with the Voice of America’s Persian service just days before the presidential election in Iran.
He said, “If free elections were held in Iran, Ayatollahs would be the losers.”
In an interview on May 17th, the former Undersecretary of State for International Security said, “I think the difference between moderates and extremists is a lie because only those can run for election whom pass Guardian Council’s screening and meet supreme leader’s approval.”
Portions of John Bolton’s interview follow:

Iran’s Presidential Election Will Render a Weaker Regime

The so-called presidential “election” that is scheduled for May 19th in Iran is in far contrast to what is witnessed in today’s democratic countries. Polls in Iran under the mullahs’ regime are neither free nor fair, and the upcoming presidential election will weaken the regime in its entirety to an unprecedented scale.
What Tehran considers a constitution prevents any possible election based on internationally recognized standards. Candidates must prove their utter loyalty to the mullahs’ regime and the Supreme Leader. As a result, the word “opposition” has no meaning in Iranian politics. As a result any assertion of “moderates” facing off against “hardliners” in Iran is completely misleading. This is a regime of various factions, not different political parties.

Trump’s Middle East Visit, New Alliances, and a Terrified Iran
The Alegmeiner

The reaction seen from Iranian state media outlets to the visit paid by US President Donald Trump last week to Saudi Arabia have been unorthodox, to say the least.
State-run IRIB TV, May 22:

Following Zarif’s undiplomatic and unprofessional remarks, Amir Abdullahian – an adviser to Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and known to be close with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei – provided a different perspective.
“First of all, they intend to strike a blow to the axis of resistance (read Iran’s coalition) in the region,” he said in remarks aired by IRIB TV. “This is a very important entity in the region as it has provided Iran’s utmost national security and interests.”
“This is the initiative pursue by the Saudis following the election of Mr. Trump,” Abdullahian continued. “In response to the existing Saudi Arabia, with a group of warmongering extremists at the helm, we must react with wisdom, power and force. We don’t consider Saudi Arabia as a strategic enemy. No. The Saudis lack such a capacity.”

Syria war: ‘At least 68 children among 126 killed’ in bus bombing

At least 68 children were among 126 people killed in Saturday’s bomb attack on buses carrying evacuees from besieged Syrian towns, activists say. A vehicle filled with explosives hit the convoy near Aleppo.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said at least 109 evacuees from government-held towns were killed, along with aid workers and rebel soldiers.
Many more were injured in the attack, the group said.The explosion shattered buses and set cars on fire, leaving a trail of bodies, as the convoy waited in rebel territory near Aleppo. Separately, several people, mostly children, are reported to have been injured by shelling in the capital, Damascus. At least three shells landed near the central Umayyad Square, state and pro-government media outlets reported. State TV blamed “terrorists”.

Iran missile program growing, not slowing, according to senior commander
Fox News

US officials: Iran tried to launch cruise missile from sub
As President Trump wrapped up his first foreign trip on Friday, Iranian leaders made another defiant declaration in the war of words unfolding between Tehran and Washington. According to a senior Revolutionary Guard commander who spoke to the semi-official Fars news agency, the regime has apparently built a third underground missile factory despite sanction by both the U.S. and the United Nations.
“Iran’s third underground factory has been built by the Guards in recent years,” Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Guard’s airspace division, was quoted as saying. He added that the regime “will continue to further develop our missile capabilities forcefully.” The announcement flies in the face of a series of statements and sanctions designed to curtail this exact kind of activity. A 2015 U.N. Security Council resolution “calls upon Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”

Concerning Iran, King Salman nailed it
Arab News

Anyone who understands and has followed the character of Iran’s political establishment for decades knows that Saudi King Salman’s recent speech articulately laid out critical truths about Iran’s government.
The first issue is linked to its role in spreading terrorism. Several US State Department reports indicate that Iran is the top state sponsor of terrorism. In addition, based on my research at Harvard, Tehran directly or indirectly supports roughly 40 percent of the world’s designated terrorist groups.
This includes financial, military, advisory and political assistance. Iran’s major organization that establishes and backs militia groups across the region is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and its affiliate branches such as the Quds Force led by Qassem Soleimani.

Iran- Nuclear Activities

Iran: Rouhani’s Second Term Will Not Improve Social or Economic Crises

The corrupt Iranian system is weaker than it has ever been following the sham presidential election. Internal disputes prove that the regime is divided and is beyond repair.
The President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, said that a second term for Hassan Rouhani will not bring any change to Iran. The regime will continue to supress the people and its failure at resolving the social problems in the country will become more and more evident.
Mrs. Rajavi said: “Crisis has precipitated at the leadership level of the religious fascism and would continue until the downfall of the regime of the velayat-e faqih (absolute rule of clergy).”

If you think a ‘moderate’ has won in Iran, think again
The Telegraph

argely missed last week was the remarkable geo-political shift which took place when President Trump lined up Saudi Arabia and Israel in what is being called “a Nato-style coalition” against the country they all agree is at the heart of most of the Middle East’s problems: Iran. Instead of his campaign rhetoric seeming to oppose the US to all Muslims, he is now allied with half the Muslim world.

This followed the ghastly farce of the Iranian presidential election, when again we were told that the victor, Hassan Rouhani, was a “moderate” against a “hardliner”. As I have reported many times, Rouhani is an utterly ruthless operator, who had presided since 2013 over a collapsing economy and what Amnesty International called “a staggering execution spree”, murdering and imprisoning so many dissidents that Iran has per capita the highest execution rate in the world.

Tehran Declares Ballistic Missile Program ‘Non-Negotiable’
Asharq Al-Awsat

London – Iranian government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said on Tuesday that his country’s policy on developing the national ballistic missiles program is not negotiable.
Nobakht’s commentary was delivered following a neat roll back on anti-ballistic-missile-program sentiment by Iran’s re-elected ‘moderate’ President Hassan Rouhani.
“The Iranian nation has decided to be powerful. Our missiles are for peace and for defense … American officials should know that whenever we need to technically test a missile, we will do so and will not wait for their permission,” Rouhani said in a news conference, broadcast live on state TV.
Second Deputy of the Parliament Ali Motahari urged the quick formation of a qualified administration that would include popular personalities like Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf.
Motahari’s suggestions come amid talks on replacing the current conservative parliament chairman Ali Larijani

Iran Claims It Built Third Underground Missile Factory
Voice of America

Iran claims to have built a third underground ballistic missile production facility and says it will continue developing its missile program, a move that will surely increase tensions between the country and the United States. Speaking with the semi-official Fars news agency Thursday, General Amir-Ali Hadjizadeh, the head of Iran’s aerospace program, said the facility had been completed in “recent years.”
“We are going to develop our ballistic power. It’s normal that our enemies, that is to say the United States and Israel, are angry when we show off our underground missile bases because they want the Iranian people to be in a position of weakness,” he said.

Iran’s Flawed Election-Only Band-Aid for Bigger Crisis Within the Regime
World News

The 2017 election of Iran’s regime has ended with Hassan Rouhani being re-elected as President for his second term. The impact of this election on Iran and its people may seem nominal on the surface, but a deeper look shows that the regime is dealing with an internal crisis. In addition, the Iranian people themselves are chafing under the continued repression of basic freedoms, such as freedom of the press, freedom to gather and the freedom of religion.
In an interview with the Chairman of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Foreign Affairs Committee, Mohammad Mohaddessin, he gave an analysis of the election, its turnout and where the regime goes from here.
Part of the disconnect for the international community is knowing what is really going on in Iran. There are conflicting reports, with some suggesting growing public discontent, while Tehran claims a high voter turnout suggests widespread support for the regime.


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