Brief on Iran

Brief On Iran (BOI), Feb 16, 2015

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Brief On Iran – Newsletter
February 16th, 2015

Countering Islamic Fundamentalism | Symposium

Iranian- American Community of Arizona
Proudly organized a Symposium on:
Countering Islamic Fundamentalism, Nuclear-Armed Iran
On Friday, February 13, 20115
Mayor Rudy Giuliani, General Hugh Shelton, Madam Linda Chavez, Majority Whip Rep. David Livingston
and 
Senator John McCain 
were among other distinguish speakers.
  Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)

 OIAC- Hamid Yazdan

The nuclear negotiations with Iran have continued to dominate headlines, with policy makers focused on reaching a deal with Tehran. Lost in this discussion is the humanitarian crisis faced by the people of Iran, and their struggle to overcome a brutal regime. I believe the case can be made that the Iranian regime should be sanctioned, aside from the nuclear issue, primarily because of its egregious human rights violations against its own people.

In the face of mounting dissent, the Iranian regime has been forced to contain the population using its classical tools of choice; terror and repression. Currently Iran is second only to China in the number of executions, and leads the world in per capita execution rate. Its prisons are overcrowded, and torture and mistreatment is common place.

This year has began with reports of Iran’s plan to crackdown on dissent, particularly freedom of speech and the internet. The government has reportedly set up a working group to monitor SMS communications in the country, while the Iranian revolutionary guard has announced its intention to monitor the activities of individuals on Facebook.

NCRI

Iranian Revolutionary Guards have arrested 46 people in a raid on a party in the city of Nazarbad claiming that it was disturbing public order.

Security forces arrested 22 women and 24 men at the mixed party on January 31, in Karaj local officials told a news website.

The clerical regime has increased its clampdown on parties in recent months, accusing revellers of public order offences.

Another 84 young men and women were arrested for participating in a celebration party on January 19, bringing the total arrests in January into the hundreds.

Security forces have also begun removing shop mannequins from clothes store windows because they promote ‘improper veiling. manikins from behind the shop windows.

A police commander in the city of Behbahan told the Fars news agency, controlled by the Revolutionary Guards, on February 3: “These mannequins promote mal-veiling and therefore it was ordered that they be removed from shops windows.”

Iran Human Rights

Four prisoners were executed for drug-related charges and one man was hanged convicted of murder.

Iran Human Rights, February 3, 2015: Four prisoners convicted of drug-related charges were hanged in the prison of Rasht (Northern Iran) reported the official website of the Iranian Judiciary in Gilan Province. The prisoners were identified as “A. M.” (42) charged with trafficking of 5750 grams of crystal (methamphetamin), “Y. Gh” (41) for buying 5750 grams of crystal,  “H. T.” (37) for participation in buying 3300 grams of crystal and “S. Gh.” (29) for possession and trafficking of 5750 grams of crystal, said the report.

Radio Farda

The website of conservative Iranian lawmaker Ali Motahari has been filtered by Iran’s judiciary, according to the hard-line Fars news agency.

The report says no official explanation has been provided for the decision to block Motahari’s website, which is also inaccessible from outside the country.

The official IRNA news agency says “unconfirmed reports” suggest the judiciary is behind the filtering.

The move appears to be part of attempts by hard-liners to silence the outspoken Motahari, who has criticized the house arrest of opposition figures Mir Hossein Musavi; Musavi’s wife, Zahra Rahnavard; and reformist cleric Mehdi Karrubi.

In January, lawmakers disrupted a speech by Motahari during which he blasted the house arrests and said that they violate Iran’s constitution.

Motahari’s website has been temporarily blocked in the past.

  Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle East)
Iranian-American Community of Arizona - Meeting

Fox News

PHOENIX (KSAZ) –

If you want to know who is behind ISIS, it is Iran. That was the message during a meeting of the Iranian-American Community of Arizona. Among those at the event, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani.

More than 750 people packed a ballroom in downtown Phoenix to hear from those who support the Iranian resistance. Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani says the President is in denial about the threat we face.

“This is going on all over the world, and we have a President, who won’t connect the dots. What’s the connection between Kayla Mueller and the rest of the Islamic extremist terrorists, see I said the words the President can’t. There’s something wrong when our President can’t identify our enemy, the tragedy is our enemy identifies us and is killing us,” said Rudy Guiliani.

The group says ISIS is being fueled by the Government of Iran.

“They don’t understand who the enemy is, it’s not just a dispute over politics, it’s not a dispute over culture, or religion, the Government of Iran is made up of fundamentalist extremists,” said another speaker at the event.

Yahoo News

Iran‘s president said Wednesday that the world needs its help to stabilise a troubled Middle East, in remarks pointing to the wider ramifications of a deal over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme.

In a live televised speech marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution, Hassan Rouhani implicitly linked ongoing nuclear talks with world powers to resolving bloody conflicts in Iraqand Syria.

Significant gaps remain between Iran and the United States and other leading nations on specific measures to end a 12-year standoff on the nuclear issue, but both sides are pushing for a deal.

And although Iranian and US officials have said the turmoil gripping the Middle East falls outside the remit of negotiations, analysts say both governments acknowledge an agreement could have a broader impact.

“If there is going to be peace and stability in the region, and terrorism is to be uprooted, there is no other way than with the presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Rouhani said.

Al Arabiya

Mass protests were held in Yemen on Sunday against the Houthi rebels’ seizure of power there, as the United Nations called for the reinstatement of Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi as the country’s president.

“The situation is very, very seriously deteriorating, with the Houthis taking power and making this government vacuum,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, referring to the Shiite militia which dissolved the Sanaa government and Parliament on Friday.

“There must be restoration of legitimacy of President Hadi,” the U.N. chief told reporters after talks in neighboring Saudi Arabia.

The move by the Houthi rebels has been condemned both at the regional and international levels.

Gulf states expressed concern about the Iranian influence in Yemen and called for growing international role, a U.S. official said on Friday, hours after the Houthi rebels seized power in Yemen, dissolving the parliament and setting up a presidential council.

Gulf News

 Manama: Bahrain has condemned Iran’s interference in its domestic affairs, insisting that Tehran should instead focus on ending the suffering of its people and ensuring better living conditions.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns the recurrent provocative statements by the Iranian officials against the Kingdom of Bahrain and categorically rejects any form of interference in the kingdom’s domestic affairs,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The condemnation is in reference to the last of such interference; the statement given by Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman in which she voiced concern over Bahrain’s revocation of the nationality of some individuals and what she allegedly described as continued arrest of political and religious figures,” the ministry said in a statement.

On Monday, Marzieh Afkham said there was “deep concern over Bahrain’s recent move to revoke citizenships.”

Bahrain’s interior ministry on Saturday published a list of 72 names whose nationality has been revoked over ‘intelligence, security, terrorism and allegiance issues’.

Haaretz

Senior official in Jerusalem says Uruguay updated Israel on the incident, but chose to keep a low profile concerning the affair.

Uruguay expelled a senior diplomat in Iran’s embassy in Montevideo two weeks ago, following suspicions that he was involved in placing an explosive device near the Israeli embassy in early January, according to senior sources in Jerusalem.

U.S. Defense Nominee Leans Toward Arms for Ukraine in Fight
The Wall Street Jouranl

Ashton Carter Outlines Priorities at Senate Confirmation Hearing

WASHINGTON-……..Mr. Carter is expected to easily win Senate confirmation and take over the Pentagon as soon as next week.But Wednesday’s hearing offered the new Republican-controlled Senate a chance to put President Barack Obama ‘s military strategies on trial.

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), the new chair of the committee, criticized the president’s national security priorities and questioned the current military strategy in the Middle East.
Mr. Carter said he is prepared to examine the current approach to defeating Islamic State forces, along with America’s military plans in Afghanistan, where it has handed security responsibilities over to local forces.
In the hearing, Mr. Carter said that the threats posed by Iran are as serious as those posed by Islamic State fighters. The U.S. is leading international talks aimed at a rapprochement with Iran over its nuclear program, which the West believes is aimed at developing atomic weapons despite Tehran’s denials.

ABC News

Federal agents in Los Angeles are investigating an L.A. shipping firm and its Iranian-born owner who for years have participated in and promoted an obscure U.S. immigration program — allowing the company to recruit wealthy foreign investors to receive visas and potentially Green Cards, law enforcement sources told ABC News.

The company’s name surfaced in a confidential Department of Homeland Security government document, which raised “concerns that this particular visa program may be abused by Iranian operatives to infiltrate the United States.”

Whistleblowers inside the federal agency that oversees the immigration program told ABC News they have been deeply frustrated by an inability to de-certify the company, even after they became aware of the investigation and saw the company’s name surface in an alarming internal Department Homeland Security memo. The memo, shared with ABC News, outlines concerns that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have attempted to exploit the visa program “to infiltrate the United States.”

Whistleblowers: US Gave Visas to Suspected Forgers, Fraudsters, Criminals

Tehran Times

TEHRAN – The commander of the aerospace division of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said on Monday that Iran has helped neighboring and friendly countries in fight against terrorism by providing them with military know-how.

Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said Iran’s capabilities in manufacturing military equipment have reached such a point that the country now transfers the expertise to neighboring countries, Press TV reported.”By exporting the technology of manufacturing missiles and other equipment, Iran has helped countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Palestine, as well as Lebanon’s Hezbollah to stand up to and bring to knees the Zionist regime, Daesh, and other takfiri groups,” the commander stated.

Hajizadeh said the IRGC’s aerospace division can now mass-produce different types of short-range and medium-range missiles.In recent years, Iran has made major breakthroughs in its defense industry and attained self-sufficiency in producing key military hardware and systems.Iran has so far designed and manufactured different types of missiles, including Khalij-e-Fars (Persian Gulf), Mehrab (Altar), Ra’d (Thunder), Qader (Mighty), Nour (Light) and Zafar (Triumph).

The Daily Beast

BUENOS AIRES – Confusion reigns two weeks after the death of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman. The judicial authorities still claim all indications lead to suicide, but it appears no one in Argentina believes this, not even President Cristina Kirchner herself, who flip-flopped between calling the death a suicide and a homicide in the first two days following his demise.

On Sunday, Viviana Fein, the prosecutor investigating Nisman’s “unnatural death,” announced that no documents had been found in his residence. On Monday, she was forced to backtrack, humiliatingly, in front of the media, when the Argentine broadsheet Clarín published images not only of documents, but of an arrest warrant Nisman had drafted that called for the detention of President Cristina Kirchner and Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, both of whom he accused of participating in a massive cover-up regarding Iran’s role in two terror attacks that rocked Buenos Aires in the early 1990s.

…….One source said, “Look, Interpol clearly had enough information to justify the red notices. You need to be on very solid ground to deny someone his freedom. You have to feel confident about the information. We know that Imad Mughniyah got instructions directly from Iran. The Argentinians tried to blame the Syrians- and we said: ‘You guys just don’t get it.’ We said it was Hezbollah; they do everything in conjunction with Iran.” 

Press TV

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has stressed the importance of improving relations with African countries, saying Africa has been a strategic partner for Tehran in regional developments.

“The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran has always been based on very close ties with African countries,” Zarif told reporters after a meeting with Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed in Nairobi on Monday.He added that Iran has always attached significance to ties with African states.

The Iranian minister noted that he had exchanged views with his Kenyan counterpart about the “very complicated phenomenon of terrorism” and ways to boost bilateral cooperation.

The Daily Beast

Tehran says it will start training Iraqi military officers, which could clash with the U.S. mission to train Iraq’s military. How will the jostling for influence shake out?

In an announcement that could complicate the cornerstone of America’s mission in Iraq-training Iraq’s military to fight ISIS-an Iranian general said Monday that he also is prepared to begin training Iraqi military officers. The message comes after Baghdad and Tehran reached a security agreement in December, which has not been made public but will reportedly increase military cooperation between the two countries.

 Iran- Nuclear Activities

The Sydney Morning Herald

Hopes of clinching a deal before a March 31 deadline are fading as Iran continues to resist efforts to prevent it rapidly acquiring nuclear weapons.

With hopes fading that nuclear negotiations between Western powers and Iran will succeed, talk in Washington is beginning to turn to how dangerous their failure may be.

The worst possible outcomes are horrifying – either Iran becomes nuclear capable within months, or American air strikes destroy its facilities, leading to unpredictable and perhaps even unimaginable further violence.”Sometimes you would think the war was between the Hill

[or Congress]

and the White House, with Iran as an afterthought,” says Albright, who is seen as something of an honest broker by both sides.

The best outcome could be a nervous stasis in which Iran pauses its program as America’s armed forces stand by, and diplomats go about the delicate work of reviving negotiations.

The Wall Street Journal

As talks progress between Iran and six world powers over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program, multinational companies are beginning to prepare for an eventual lifting of sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

But despite the thaw at the political level, European companies feel impeded in trading with Iran, in part because many banks refuse to handle their payments. The companies fear their American rivals will be able to move first once sanctions are lifted.

In an effort to level the playing field, three European business bodies – the Iranian chambers of commerce of France, Germany and the U.K. – have formed an alliance to facilitate business between Iran and the European Union.

The Washington Free Beacon

Article incorrectly stated number of Dems supporting new Iran sanctions legislation.

Reuters was forced to issue a major correction and perform multiple rewrites on a recent piece about new Iran sanctions legislation that was penned by National Iranian American Council (NIAC) founder Trita Parsi, whose organization has long been suspected of taking orders from the Iranian regime and disseminating its “propaganda” on Capitol Hill.

Parsi, who has been accused of being an agent of the Iranian government and ofskirting lobbying rules, wrote an op-ed earlier this week that incorrectly stated the number of Democrats currently supporting new legislation to increase sanctions on Iran.

Reuters was forced to append a correction and rewrite several portions of the piece, which argues that President Obama’s bid to block new sanctions has reassured leaders in Tehran.

Parsi’s NIAC has lobbied against sanctions on Iran and for increased diplomacy with the Islamic Republic, despite its ongoing work on a suspected nuclear weapons program.

Experts and lawmakers alike have harshly criticized NIAC’s efforts to roll back sanctions on Iran and portray it as a peaceful nation.

 AS THE Obama administration pushes to complete a nuclear accord with Iran, numerous members of Congress, former secretaries of state and officials of allied governments are expressing concern about the contours of the emerging deal. Though we have long supported negotiations with Iran as well as the interim agreement the United States and its allies struck with Tehran, we share several of those concerns and believe they deserve more debate now – before negotiators present the world with a fait accompli.

The problems raised by authorities ranging from Henry Kissinger, the country’s most senior former secretary of state, to Sen. Timothy M. Kaine, Virginia’s junior senator, can be summed up in three points:

●First, a process that began with the goal of eliminating Iran’s potential to produce nuclear weapons has evolved into a plan to tolerate and temporarily restrict that capability.

●Second, in the course of the negotiations, the Obama administration has declined to counter increasingly aggressive efforts by Iran to extend its influence across the Middle East and seems ready to concede Tehran a place as a regional power at the expense of Israel and other U.S. allies.

●Finally, the Obama administration is signaling that it will seek to implement any deal it strikes with Iran – including the suspension of sanctions that were originally imposed by Congress – without a vote by either chamber. Instead, an accord that would have far-reaching implications for nuclear proliferation and U.S. national security would be imposed unilaterally by a president with less than two years left in his term.

The Guardian

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani has berated the world’s nuclear powers, saying atomic weapons have not kept them safe and reiterating that his country is not seeking the bomb.

Rouhani, in an unusually fiery speech, avoided explicit mention of ongoing nuclear talks between the west and Iran, but accused atomic-armed states of hypocrisy.

“They tell us: ‘We don’t want Iran to make atomic bombs’, you who have made atomic bombs,” Rouhani said in Isfahan on Wednesday, a city 400km (250 miles) south of the capital, Tehran.

He then took aim at Israel, which has never acknowledged that it has nuclear weapons, dubbing the state a “criminal”.

“Have you managed to bring about security for yourselves with atomic bombs? Have you managed to create security for the usurper Israel?” Rouhani said.

Tehran is using back-channel diplomacy to try to shield Bashar al-Assad from American attempts to punish him for gassing his own people with chlorine.

…….The latest sign of Tehran’s willingness to shield an ally came Tuesday, when Iran tried to block a move by the United States and Russia to present a mildly worded statement to the executive council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCM) that would have merely expressed “serious concern” about the likely use of chlorine as a weapon in Syria. The measure would also have provided the chemical watchdog’s chief with a green light to report to the U.N. Security Council on his agency’s investigation into the use of chlorine on the Syrian battlefield – something he has so far refused to do.

DUBAI, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Iran is sidestepping Western sanctions and managing to sell hundreds of thousands of tonnes of fuel oil every month through companies based in the U.S.-allied United Arab Emirates, trading sources told Reuters.

The U.S. and EU sanctions that came into force in 2012 prohibit the import, purchase and transport of Iranian petroleum products to pressure Tehran to halt its disputed nuclear programme. Washington has also pressed its allies around the world to clamp down on the shipping of Iranian oil products.

But Tehran has been using innovative methods to circumvent the restrictions, several Middle East-based trading sources said.

They include tankers switching off their tracking systems, ship-to-ship transfers, discharging and loading at remote ports, blending Iranian products with fuels from another source to alter the shipment’s physical specification and selling them with Iraqi-origin documents, the sources said.

The Iranian fuel oil is mainly offered from the UAE port and bunkering hub of Fujairah, through trading firms acting as middlemen for buyers who may not know the cargo is from Iran, the sources said.

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