Brief on Iran

Brief on Iran (BOI – 179)

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Organization of Iranian American Communities

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Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)

Execution of man arrested at 16 exposes Iran’s disregard for child rights
Amnesty International

Iran has demonstrated its utter disregard for children’s rights by executing a man arrested for a crime committed while he was 16 years old in a brazen violation of international human rights law, said Amnesty International.
The man, who has been identified in state media only by the name “Asqar”, was sentenced to death by public hanging nearly 30 years ago. He was executed at Karaj’s Central Prison near Tehran on 23 May 2017.
“With this execution, the Iranian authorities’ repeated claims to the UN and EU that they are moving away from the use of death penalty against juvenile offenders ring horrifically hollow. It is absolutely appalling that two decades after it ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran continues to display such a chilling disregard for children’s rights,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Iran: Women Face Bias in the Workplace
Human Rights Watch

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Laws and policies that discriminate against women interfere with Iranian women’s right to work, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Women confront an array of restrictions, such as on their ability to travel, prohibitions on entering certain jobs, and an absence of basic legal protections.
The 59-page report, “‘It’s a Men’s Club’: Discrimination Against Women in Iran’s Job Market,” examines in detail the discriminatory provisions and insufficient protections in Iran’s legal system that represent obstacles to women’s equal access to the job market. Over the past four decades, Iranian women have become half of the country’s university graduates. But, based on the most recent official statistics available, for the period between March 2016 and March 2017, only 14.9 percent of Iran’s women are in the workforce, compared with 64.1 percent of men. This rate is lower than the average of 20 percent for all women in the Middle East and North Africa. The unemployment rate for women, currently 20.7 percent, is double that for men.

Book Club Members in Iran Sentenced to Prison Time for Allegedly “Promoting Feminism”
Iran Human Rights

Eight political and civil rights activists have received sentences of up to four years in prison for allegedly reading and spreading feminist literature in Iran-two years after the charges were laid and during a mass trial that limited their defenses to three written sentences.
“For two years, there was no news until suddenly they were told to appear in court on May 14,” and informed source told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). “They all showed up with their lawyers. The judge had a pleasant demeanor, but did not allow anyone to present a defense. All he did was give every defendant a piece of paper and asked them to write only three sentences in their own defense.”
“All of them wrote they are innocent,” he added. “Then, one of the lawyers started to speak in defense of his client, but the judge said he had heard enough and ordered everyone to clear the courtroom.”

Iran: Hospitals to be inspected for women’s “proper hijab”
NCRI Women Committee

A day after the Interior Ministry spokesman stepped back from inspection of public and private sector offices and agencies for women’s veiling and hijab, a new calendar was published according to which the conduct of hospitals is going to be inspected with regards to Hijab.
According to this calendar issued to Governor Offices across the country, inspection teams have been scrutinizing the operations of various systems in terms of citizens’ rights and in terms of chastity and the veil. The calendar has been scheduled from the beginning of Ramadan on May 27, 2017.
The list contains the names of public and private hospitals which will be visited by inspection teams on July 1, 2017. The inspections are going to take place according to the 9 plans of the Citizens’ Rights program and the 10 programs dealing with chastity and the veil, and violators will be dealt with. (The state-run Mashregh website – June 1, 2017)

Arresting People for Eating in Their Cars During the Ramadan Fasting Month in Iran is Illegal
Iran Human Rights

Iranian police are not legally allowed to arrest anyone eating or drinking in their car during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan without a warrant, a legal expert told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“According to a decision by the Supreme Administrative Court, private cars are considered private spaces and a prosecutor would have to issue a warrant to enter,” said attorney Mohammad Seifzadeh.
“Eating food inside a car or not wearing the hijab properly are not obvious crimes and even if a prosecutor suspects a crime, he can only issue a warrant and would then have to follow judicial procedures to prove the crime,” he added.
Ramadan, May 26-June 24, 2017, is marked by daily fasting from dawn to sunset, ending with the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

Iran: Desecrating mass grave site would destroy crucial forensic evidence
Amnesty International

The desecration of a mass grave site in Ahvaz, southern Iran that contains the remains of at least 44 people who were extrajudicially executed would destroy vital forensic evidence and scupper opportunities for justice for the mass prisoner killings that took place across the country in 1988, said Amnesty International and Justice for Iran.
Photo and video evidence obtained by the NGO Justice for Iran and reviewed by Amnesty International shows bulldozers working on a construction project directly alongside the mass grave site at Ahvaz, as well as piles of dirt and construction debris surrounding the grave. Although the Iranian authorities have made no official announcements about Ahvaz, families learned through a construction worker that the plan is to ultimately raze the concrete block marking the grave site and build over the area.

Quote of the Week

Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle-East)

Iranian-backed forces amassing near U.S. training base in Syria
The Washington Times

Hundreds of Iranian-backed militiamen, fighting alongside government troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad, are amassing near a U.S.-training base located near the country’s border with Iraq, the Defense Department confirmed Tuesday.
Pro-Assad fighters supported by Tehran have begun conducting patrols near the southern Syrian town of At Tanf, which is home to a U.S. training camp for moderate Syrian militias battling the Islamic State, said Pentagonspokesman Capt. Jeff Davis. American commanders and their Russian counterparts, deployed to Syria in support of the Assad regime, have designated At Tanf and the surrounding areas as a deconfliction zone, which bars any interference by any outside forces of coalition operations within the area.

Iran Opposition is an Ally in the Campaign Against Islamic Extremism
Practical Politicking

The Arab Islamic American Summit held in Riyadh marks a historic initiative against Islamic extremism. Since the mullahs’ regime in Iran is the leading state-sponsor of terrorism in the world, no effort to fight terrorism stands a chance without addressing Iran and its numerous proxies. The Iranian people and their organized resistance movement has for long taken this responsibility and lead the fight against the greatest source of terrorism in the world.
Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), welcomed the positions adopted by the Arab Islamic American Summit vis-à-vis the Iranian regime’s conduct. The NCRI should be included in the initiative launched at the Summit and become a part of the regional coalition against Islamic extremism.

US Military Experts: Iranian Influence in Iraq is Big
Iran Probe

WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan24) – “Iranian influence with the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs)” in Iraq “is a very serious concern for the [US] administration,” as Matthew McInnis explained, in response to a question from Kurdistan24.
McInnis spoke Tuesday at an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) panel on “The Future of Iranian Power in the Middle East.” A long-time Defense Department analyst, McInnis is currently a resident fellow at AEI, where he has just published a study, “The Future of Iran’s Security Policy.”
“The Iraqi population does not like the current degree of Iranian influence in their security forces” and would welcome US assistance in curtailing it, McInnis said. We should be putting a lot of our energy into addressing the challenge that the PMUs (or Hashd al Shaabi) pose,” McInnis advised, as it has “tremendous potential” to undermine stability in Iraq and “recreate the environment for the next version” of the Islamic State (IS.)
Indeed, the following day, on Wednesday, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of the US-led coalition fighting IS, visited Erbil, where he met with Kurdish President Masoud Barzani.

Trump’s Middle East Trip and Iran: How to Bring Peace?
OIAC

Donald Trump embarked on his first trip overseas as President on May 19th. Destination, Saudi Arabia, of all places. After all the controversy about campaign rhetoric regarding Islam and his executive orders on travelers from Middle Eastern countries, his choice of what he called “the heart of the Muslim World’ as his first stop on his first trip came as quite a surprise to many.
Even more unexpected were the “yes” responses by more than 50 Muslim heads of state to attend the Arab Islamic American Summit on May 21st.
The timing, place and reception of the American president’s remarks at the Summit really should have come as no surprise. They reflect the shared goal of western and Muslim nations of “a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism.” And in that context, in comments long overdue for their clarity and lucidity, the American president called out the world’s number-one state sponsor of terrorism: Iran.

The Basij Mostazafan – A culture of martyrdom and death
Al Arabiya

The culture of martyrdom and death has been infused into Iranian society in various ways by the all-powerful clerical regime, since the early days of the revolution that overthrew Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran.
In the early days of the newly founded Republic, with Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, having decided to purge both the ranks of the Shah’s old military, and many of the various groups that had sided with him to bring the Shah down – but at this point had turned on him, having realized they had just replaced one autocratic ruler with another, and were arranging street demonstrations to oppose his rule, the Supreme Leader found the need to restore order in the land, through the formation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps – an elite military unit which he created in May 1979, and from its inception had kept directly under his control.
But although extremely loyal to their Supreme Leader, the Guards have always had a tendency over the years not to always follow orders in matters of internal strife, especially where orders were given to crack down hard on dissenters in street protests, or those demonstrating in public places such as universities, and that was where a violent entity in the form of the Basij militia became so useful to the Iranian leadership.

Iran- Nuclear Activities

Trial kicks off in U.S. case over Iran-linked New York office tower
Reuters

In an opening statement on Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Bell told jurors that Alavi knew that its co-owner, Assa Corp, was backed by Iran’s state-controlled Bank Melli and was an agent of Iran’s government. He urged jurors to hold Alavi “accountable” for funneling money to Iran and providing other services.
John Gleeson, arguing for Alavi, painted a different picture, focusing on the nonprofit’s stated mission of promoting Islamic culture and providing social services. The organization was founded in the 1970s by then-Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
“There’s a reason Mr. Bell said to you it seems like an ordinary nonprofit – it’s because it is,” Gleeson said.
He also said that Alavi entered into its ownership arrangement with Assa to reduce its tax burden years before the U.S. passed a sanctions law against Iran in the mid 1990s, and that there was nothing improper about it.

How can the Arab world and West counter Tehran?
Arab News

Donald Trump’s first international trip as US president has now ended. After all the controversy about his campaign rhetoric regarding Islam and his executive orders on travelers from some Middle Eastern countries, Trump’s choice of Saudi Arabia – which he called “the heart of the Muslim World” – as the first stop on his first trip came as quite a surprise to many.
Even more unexpected was the presence of more than 50 Arab and Muslim heads of state and representatives at the Arab-Islamic-American Summit, held during Trump’s visit.
The timing, place and reception of the US president’s remarks should have come as no surprise, however. They reflect the shared goal of Western and Muslim nations of “a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism,” as Trump put it in his speech. And in that context, in comments long overdue for their clarity and lucidity, the American president called out the world’s No. 1 state sponsor of terrorism: Iran.

What Does Rouhani’s Second Term Mean?
TownHall

The incumbent Hassan Rouhani has been selected, not “elected,” to a second-term as the Iranian regime’s president, as announced by the officials on Saturday, May 20, 2017.
The regime, not surprisingly, claimed a large voter turnout. However, reports and video clips presented by the network of the Iranian resistance in various cities in Iran, as well as journalists, who managed to visit unassigned voting stations, suggest that a large portion of the population had stayed away from ballot boxes.
The campaign this year attracted greater public attention to the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members of the main Iranian opposition, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). Public outrage against Rouhani’s rival, Ebrahim Raisi, over his role in the massacre mounted to a point where even many powerful figures within Khamenei’s faction were not prepared to support Raisi, to the Supreme Leader’s dismay.

Syria: Why Trump Must Learn the Art of Stalemate Diplomacy
National Interest

By sitting on the sidelines in the diplomatic process to end the Syrian Civil War, President Trump diminishes his ability to influence outcomes. He should authorize American diplomats to engage with Turkish and Russian counterparts to craft an accord excluding Iran.
In War and the Art of Governance, per Joseph Collins, Nadia Schadlow opines that U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Iraq revealed what she calls the “missing middle,” defined as a gap between combat and steps to achieve stability and forge a sustainable outcome. Collins said, “If we have such plans for Mosul [Iraq] and Raqqa [Syria], they are well kept secrets.”

 

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