Brief On Iran – Newsletter
July 27th, 2015
Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)
Iran’s staggering execution toll for the first half of this year paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale.
The Iranian authorities are believed to have executed an astonishing 694 people between 1 January and 15 July 2015, said Amnesty International today, in an unprecedented spike in executions in the country.
This is equivalent to executing more than three people per day. At this shocking pace, Iran is set to surpass the total number of executions in the country recorded by Amnesty International for the whole of last year.
The Middle East Monitor
More than 200 teachers were arrested on Wednesday during a demonstration in the Iranian capital, Tehran, an opposition group in exile has claimed. According to interior ministry spokesman Hossein Ali Amiri, “The detainees wanted to create an atmosphere of insecurity during the rally.”
The official told local media that some were arrested for a few hours and then given lunch and freed. “However, three or four who wanted to turn the gathering into a security issue are still in detention,” he added.
The Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said that Wednesday’s demonstration near the parliament building brought together nearly 2,000 teachers from across Iran to demand the release of their jailed colleagues. Amiri did not give any figures for the number of demonstrators, but the East reformist newspaper described them simply as a “group of teachers”.
“Protesters had gathered demanding the release of political activists such as Esmael Abdi, the head of the teachers’ union, who are imprisoned for their defence of teachers’ rights,” said the NCRI. “The suppressive forces employed various tactics to disperse the teachers, including attacks on the gathering… However, the freedom-loving teachers fought [them] off and reformed.”
Iran Human Rights
Iran Human Rights, June 29, 2015: According to official reports, Iranian authorities carried out two amputation sentences in the Central Prison of Mashhad on Sunday (during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan).
One of the prisoners was identified by Khorassan newspaper as M.A., 26 years old, accused of theft by breaking into a residential home and stealing money. However, hours after its publication, the paper removed the prisoner’s name from the report. The amputation sentence was reportedly issued in branch 136 of Mashhad’s public and criminal court. The other prisoner, reportedly charged with ten counts of theft, was transferred to the Central Prison of Mashhad for the execution of his sentence (Ferdowsi Prison, where he is held, is reportedly not equipped to carry out amputations).
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.
Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle East)
“The United States is the Great Satan before and after the deal.”
BEIRUT, July 25 (Reuters) – The Lebanese Hezbollah group believes it can still count on Iran’s support following Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Saturday.
In his first public remarks since the agreement was reached this month in Vienna, Nasrallah said he was sure Tehran would confound critics who say it would end support to Hezbollah.
“We deal with every trust and complete assurance over this Nasrallah said in ceremony to honor sons and daughters of fallen Hezbollah fighters.
“Iran’s relationship with its allies is based on ideological grounds and come before the political interests,” Nasrallah said.
Syrian president Bashar al- Assad yesterday welcomed “positive” changes in western attitudes to the conflict in the country – suggesting the United States and its allies now understand they share an interest with his regime in defeating Islamic State-style jihadi terrorism.
He made the comments in his first public speech in a year, a day after a two-day conference in Damascus ended with a call for the international community to brand terrorist groups a common enemy.
The International Media Conference Against Terrorism’s statement, dubbed the Damascus Declaration, also called for countries to be compelled to cut off support for such organisations, and prosecute violators under international law.
Iran’s foreign minister called on Sunday for a united front among Middle Eastern nations to fight militancy, in his first regional trip since Iran reached an agreement with world powers on the country’s nuclear program – an agreement that raised fears among its Gulf Arab neighbors.
“Any threat to one country is a threat to all … No country can solve regional problems without the help of others,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a news conference hosted by the Iranian embassy in Kuwait.
Zarif earlier met Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah and Kuwait’s foreign minister, Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah, who was not present at the news conference.
After Kuwait, Zarif traveled to Qatar, where he was to meet the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. He was due to go to Iraq next.
Most Gulf Arab states are worried that Iran’s July 14 accord will hasten detente between Tehran and Washington, emboldening Tehran to increase backing for Middle Eastern allies at odds with Gulf Arab countries.
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.
Iran offered Iraq an ‘open cheque’ to help them battle Isis, the Iraqi Ambassador has been reported as saying.
According to ABC News, Lukman Faily, told a security forum this week that Iran sees Isis as a threat to its national security, adding: “And their approach to it, more or less, was to have what I might call an open check with Iraq.”
According to the report, Mr Faily went on to say that Iran had offered Iraq “anything we wanted”, including troops and the use of its air force.
According to the report, Mr Faily said Iran had offered Iraq “literally anything we wanted” including troops and the use of its air force.
Bahrain recalled its ambassador to Tehran for consultations on Saturday after what it said were repeated hostile statements made by Iranian officials, and foiled a bid to smuggle in high-grade explosives and arms in the same day.
The statements were a reflection of Iran’s unfriendly attitude towards the Gulf Arab monarchy and an interference in its internal affairs, a statement on state news agency BNA said.
Bahrain, which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, accuses its opposition of links to Shiite Iran, which both it and Tehran deny.
Bahrain said it was hopeful relations would normalize between the two countries but said repeated Iranian statements were evidence of “a strategy built on interference in the affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Berlin- Along with the Iran Nuclear agreement, the European Union has agreed to remove sanctions on Iranian entities and individuals deeply involved in terrorism.
Making matters significantly worse from the Israeli and European Jewish perspective is Europe’s decision to allow the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, or the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps as it usually called in the West, broad latitude to operate within the EU starting in 2023.
“The EU delisting of IRGC military organizations and personnel is tantamount to a green light for Iran-sponsored terrorism. Likewise, the EU delisting of IRGC financial, engineering, construction, energy and transport sector entities amounts to European approval of the IRGC’s dominance in Iran’s economy, which equates to the continued repression of the Iranian people by a regime that just cashed in on temporarily deferring aspects of its nuclear program,” Ali Alfoneh, an expert on the Revolutionary Guard, and a fellow a the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, tweeted a graphic Saturday morning that appears to depict President Barack Obama committing suicide by holding a gun to his head.
“We welcome no war, nor do we initiate any war, but if any war happens, the one who will emerge loser will be the aggressive and criminal U.S.,” the quote attributed to Khamenei said.
Khamenei oftentimes blasts the U.S. and Obama over Twitter, even after the U.S. and other world powers came together to reach a historic nuclear deal with Iran.
Iran will not accept any extension of sanctions beyond 10 years, an official said on Wednesday, in the latest attempt by its pragmatist government to sell a nuclear deal with world powers to sceptical hardliners.
Abbas Araqchi, one of several deputy foreign ministers, also told a news conference Iran would do ‘anything’ to help allies in the Middle East, underlining Tehran’s message that despite the deal Iran will not change its anti-Western foreign policy.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the highest authority in Iran, told supporters on Saturday that U.S. policies in the region were “180 degrees” opposed to Iran’s, in a Tehran speech punctuated by chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”.
Under the accord, Iran will be subjected to long-term curbs on its nuclear work in return for the lifting of U.S., European Union and U.N. sanctions. The deal was signed by the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the EU.
US should now develop a serious strategy to defeat the terror group, writes Philip Zelikow
In the next couple of months, the US Congress will debate whether the Iranian nuclear deal is likely to work as arms control. But the bigger debate is whether the agreement, with its relaxation of sanctions, means America is halfhearted – at most – in confronting Iranian sponsorship of so much of the violent chaos that is spreading across the Middle East. That is why the US should choose this moment to develop a serious, full-bodied strategy to defeat the barbaric Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) in Syria as well as Iraq.
This strategy confronts Iranian ambitions in both places and would therefore be the ideal companion to diplomacy that stops an Iranian nuclear threat. Such an exertion of US power to build a powerful coalition would reassure many in Washington and around the world who are ambivalent about the deal. It would also be the right move to protect America and its allies.
The New York Times
From the minute Iran detected that the U.S. was unwilling to use its overwhelming military force to curtail Tehran’s nuclear program – and that dates back to the George W. Bush administration, which would neither accept Iran’s right to a nuclear fuel cycle nor structure a military or diplomatic option to stop it – no perfect deal overwhelmingly favorable to America and its allies was ever going to emerge from negotiations with Iran. The balance of power became too equal.
But there are degrees of imperfect, and the diplomatic option structured by the Obama team – if properly implemented and augmented by muscular diplomacy – serves core American interests better than any options I hear coming from the deal’s critics: It prevents Iran from producing the fissile material to break out with a nuclear weapon for 15 years and creates a context that could empower the more pragmatic forces inside Iran over time – at the price of constraining, but not eliminating, Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and sanctions relief that will strengthen Tehran as a regional power.