The Iran deal has garnered significant praise and fanfare. The agreement has been hailed as a victory for peace and a turning point for Iran. Some have even claimed that the agreement will usher in a new era of moderation and the development of Iranian civil society. However, the facts on the ground paint a very different picture. Currently, The Iranian regime leads the world in per capita executions. By adopting a ‘policy of death’, Iran continues to escalate the rate of executions and mass repression while the international community remains hardened in its silence.
Just weeks after signing the “historic” deal and more than eight months after signing an interim agreement, Iran is in the midst of what Amnesty International has referred to as an “unprecedented spike” in executions. Currently, Iran’s new “moderate” administration is on pace to hit a new 12 year high in executions. The regime continues to suppress this information and routinely under-reports the actual number of executions. Amnesty International has noted that while the regime officially claims that only 246 executions have taken place in 2015, this number is closer to 700 in reality.
Iran is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Accurate information on human trafficking, however, is difficult to obtain. Organized groups reportedly subject Iranian women, boys, and girls to sex trafficking in Iran, as well as in the United Arab Emirates and Europe. In 2013, traffickers forced Iranian women and girls into prostitution in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. From 2009-2015, there was a reported increase in the transport of girls from and through Iran en route to the Gulf where organized groups sexually exploited or forced them into marriages. In Tehran, Tabriz, and Astara, the number of teenage girls in prostitution continues to increase.
Organized criminal groups force Iranian and immigrant children to work as beggars and in street vendor rings in cities, including Tehran. Physical and sexual abuse and drug addiction are the primary means of coercion. Some children are also forced to work in domestic workshops. Traffickers subject Afghan migrants, including boys, to forced labor in construction and agricultural sectors in Iran. Afghan boys are at high risk of experiencing sexual abuse by their employers and harassment or blackmailing by the Iranian security service and other government officials. Trafficking networks smuggle Afghan nationals living in Iran to Europe and subsequently force them to work in restaurants to pay off debts incurred by smuggling fees. Pakistani men and women migrate voluntarily to Iran for low-skilled employment, such as domestic work and construction. Organized groups subject some to forced labor, under which they experience debt bondage, restriction of movement, nonpayment of wages, and physical or sexual abuse. In previous years, there were reports government officials were involved in the sex trafficking of women and girls. Reports also indicated some officials operating shelters for runaway girls forced them into prostitution rings.
State-run agencies and semi-official websites run articles in effort to discredit Ahmed Shaheed.
Iran has launched a sophisticated smear campaign against the UN special rapporteur investigating its human rights violations by widely spreading a fabricated WikiLeaks cable purporting to show he received bribes from Saudi Arabia.
In a concerted effort aimed at discrediting Ahmed Shaheed in the eyes of the general public, Iranian state-run agencies and semi-official websites simultaneously carried articles claiming that the Saudi embassy in Kuwait had paid the UN envoy $1m to take an anti-Iran position. It dominated many Iranian front pages on Tuesday and an Iranian official later used the false information to question Shaheed’s credibility.
A top secret document sent to newspaper editors has surfaced on the internet.
Issued by the ministry in charge of the press, the two-page document faxed to media organisations relays directives from Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. It says editors should praise the deal and the negotiating team.
It stresses the need “to safeguard the achievements of the talks”; avoid sowing “doubt and disappointment among the public”; and avoid giving the impression of “a rift” at the highest levels of government.
It’s been the reformist newspapers in Iran that have been the target of such orders in the past – orders that for example sought to stifle debate about the advisability of the whole nuclear programme, and its cost to the nation.
AFTER YEARS of working at cross-purposes, the United States and Turkey have finally begun to cooperate on Syria. Last week the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that it would allow U.S. planes and drones to operate out of two Turkish air bases against Islamic State targets in Syria, a step that should lead to a stepped-up offensive against jihadist-held territory along the Syrian border.
At the same time, U.S. officials quietly acknowledged Turkish statements that the two countries were agreed on the creation of a de facto Syrian safe zone along the border, where moderate opposition fighters and refugees could congregate.
The welcome new cooperation could deal a powerful blow to the Islamic State if it succeeds in curtailing the group’s access to the border and its smuggling routes for fighters and supplies. It could also allow for the emergence of a more coherent Syrian opposition leadership and perhaps even an alternative government based in the country itself – something that opponents of the regime of Bashar al-Assad have been advocating for years.
Stephen Hayes and Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard are calling on the Obama Administration to release long-suppressed documents from the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, which illustrate collusion between the government of Iran and al-Qaeda, including Iran’s assistance with attacks on Americans.
Six highly-placed insiders discussed these documents with the Standard. Several of them said the evidence was so explosive that it could derail the nuclear deal with Iran.
The Weekly Standard’s account of these documents sheds new light on just how destructive President Obama’s mad dash for an Iranian nuclear legacy has been for American national security. This president is forcing our intelligence apparatus to ignore a great deal of Iranian criminal activity that is not directly connected to their nuclear program, effectively blinding the United States to serious military and terrorist threats.
The European Union has removed two Iranian oil companies from its sanctions list, the first such action since Iran reached a nuclear agreement with world powers earlier this month.
Petropars Operation and Management and Petropars Resources Engineering had argued there was insufficient evidence to include them.
The companies are part of a group involved in extracting natural gas from Iran’s South Pars field.
They appealed to the EU court in May.
A note from the UK Treasury said an asset freeze no longer applied to the companies.
EU to Lift Sanctions on Retired Iranian Officer Sought by Interpol
The Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON-The European Union, under the terms of the nuclear accord reached with Iran this month, committed to removing a retired Iranian general from its sanctions list who’s sought by Interpol for his alleged role in a terrorist bombing in Argentina in 1994.
The EU’s planned delisting of Tehran’s former minister of defense, retired Brig. Gen.Ahmad Vahidi, is among a group of Iranian military officers, nuclear scientists and defense institutions set to be rehabilitated internationally in the wake of the nuclear accord.
Mr. Vahidi was a commander of Iran’s elite overseas military unit, the Qods Force, when a suicide bomber struck a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994, killing 85 people.
A special prosecutor in Argentina eventually accused Iran’s government of executing the attack, using operatives from the Lebanese militia and political party, Hezbollah. Since 2007, Interpol has sought five Iranian politicians and military officers for their alleged role in the bombing.
Iranian officials declared via state television on Thursday that the country will not allow U.S. and Canadian inspectors to visit its nuclear facilities, according to an AP report.
“American and Canadian inspectors cannot be sent to Iran,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, according to the report. “It is mentioned in the deal that inspectors should be from countries that have diplomatic relations with [the] Islamic republic of Iran.” Iran has not had diplomatic relations with the U.S. since the Islamic revolution of 1979.
Under the terms of the Iran nuclear agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear oversight group, would be responsible for verifying Iran’s activities in reducing its enrichment program. IAEA documents detailing investigative procedures have not been made fully available to the U.S. government, and international law does not require them to be handed over.