Brief On Iran – Newsletter
July 6th, 2015
Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)
The Washington Times
As the U.S. and its world partners race to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, women and children in the Islamic republic struggle under harsh, discriminatory laws despite numerous calls for reform from human rights groups and the international community.
Last year, several women in the Iranian city of Isfahan were severely burned in acid attacks. The women were rumored to have been targeted for not being properly veiled.
….Iran also has a huge child trafficking problem that has raised concerns among human rights groups, the Department of State and the United Nations.
According to the Department of State‘s latest country report on human trafficking, which rates Iran as one of the worst offenders, “Iran is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.”
Iran Human Rights
Iran Human Rights, July 1, 2015: Since the election of President Hassan Rouhani and a significant improvement in relations between Iranian and western officials, the rate of executions in Iran has been its highest in more than two decades. At least 570 people have been hanged to death in the first six months of 2015, representing an average of more than three executions per day. IHR once again calls on the international community to take Iran’s use of the death penalty seriously and show adequate reaction to it.
“The dialogue between the West and Iran has apparently failed to improve the situation of the human rights in Iran. If any, the impact has been negative with regards to Iran’s use of the death penalty,” says Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson for IHR.
According to IHR’s latest report, at least 394 people have been executed for drug related charges in the first half of 2015, counting for 69% of all executions. 190 of these executions were carried out in Ghezel Hesar and Rajai Shahr prisons located in the city of Karaj (west of Tehran).
New analysis released yesterday (2 July) by the NGO Iran Human Rights shows that over two thirds of the 570 people so far executed in Iran this year were sentenced to death on drugs charges.
The executions can be linked to funding for counter-narcotics programmes provided via the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and funded by European states including France and Germany.
Research by the international human rights NGO Reprieve shows that France has provided more than EUR one million to Iran’s Anti Narcotics Police (ANP) in recent years; while Germany contributed to a EUR five million UNODC project which provided the ANP with training and equipment.
The UNODC projects aim to increase the numbers of people arrested and convicted of drugs charges, but do not impose effective conditions to ensure that the financial support does not contribute to increased numbers of hangings. With Iran now executing at a historically high rate, and 69 per cent of the executions this year so far having been for drugs offences, Reprieve is calling on the UNODC and its funders to act urgently to impose conditions on the support they provide.
Human Rights Watch
(New York) – The International Volleyball Federation, also known as the FIVB, should penalize Iranian authorities for continuing to prevent Iranian women and girls from attending an international men’s volleyball tournament in Tehran. Iran‘s men’s national team is scheduled to play its final two matches in Tehran on July 3 and 4.
Iran is hosting the international matches against Russia at the Azadi Sports Complex in Tehran as part of the FIVB’s 2015 World League. In four previous matches that took place in Tehran on June 19, 21, 26, and 28, officials prevented Iranian women from entering the reportedly 12,000 capacity stadium and allowed only a small number of foreign women into the stadium. The FIVB has so far failed to penalize Iran or publicly speak out against the ban, which contravenes the principle of gender non-discrimination in sports. The next major men’s international volleyball tournament hosted by Iran will be the 2015 Asian Volleyball Championships, due to take place between July 31 and August 8, 2015.
Human Rights in Iran
Civil and political activist Minoo Mortazi Langroudi has launched an appeal against the six-year prison sentence she received for her peaceful activism. Ms. Langroudi was convicted on charges of disturbing national security and propaganda against the state, based on her activities with a peaceful group that is critical of government policies.
“Ms. Langroudi’s activities have been within the law,” a source close to the family told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “All her life she has shown that she is not an extremist or a law breaker and now she expects the sentence against her will be quashed.”
Minoo Mortazi Langroudi is a member of the Council of Nationalist-Religious Activists, a political organization that advocates for political reform and greater democratization in Iran and which is banned by the Islamic Republic. She is also one of the founders of Mothers for Peace, a grassroots group formed to campaign against military action against Iran, and a board member of the Center to Defend Prisoners’ Rights, an informal civil society organization focused on obtaining due process and better conditions for political prisoners as well as their release, which is also banned in Iran.
Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle East)
On Thursday, the Daily Beast reported upon the contents of a major release of Al Qaeda documents from the former Osama Bin Laden compound. The documents reveal a great deal about the thought processes and strategic planning of the terrorist mastermind and his broader organization. But the article on this topic leads with the news that probably sometime around 2006, Al Qaeda was considering the possibility of opening up a branch office in Iran, but ultimately scrapped those plans because they were too expensive.
Although Bin Laden’s own designs on Iran reportedly never materialized, the documents complicate the picture that many people hold of relations between Iran’s Shiite theocracy and the Sunni terrorist organizations operating just beyond its borders. Although it is true that this sectarian divide often puts Iran at odds with specific Al Qaeda goals and strategies, it is also true that the two sides have repeatedly proven willing to collaborate in opposition to shared enemies, particularly the US and Israel.
If you were a 21-year-old Iranian college student who helped storm the American Embassy and hold diplomats hostage in 1979, you would be 57 years old now. And in 10 years, when a nuclear deal now being negotiated with the U.S. and other world powers has run its course, you’d be 67.
In other words, the generation that shaped the revolutionary policies of today’s Iran will, over the course of the proposed nuclear deal, increasingly be replaced by a new set of younger Iranians. The leaders of this new generation will have less personal investment in the anger and paranoia of the Islamic revolution and, presumably, fewer of the hang-ups about the Great Satan in Washington. Perhaps they will bring a new attitude.
This is one of the more intriguing arguments for the proposed nuclear deal with Iran, which negotiators are trying to finish up this week or next.
But it’s not an argument being made by the Obama administration-which is leading the negotiations-at least not explicitly. Officials from President Barack Obama on down insist the deal isn’t being negotiated on the presumption that Iran will mellow over the decade during which the provisions holding back its nuclear program will be in effect and emerge on the other side as a less-threatening state. The pending nuclear agreement, the administration insists, is simply the best among many imperfect options for holding Iran’s nuclear program at bay.
The deadline for the nuclear talks between the great powers and Iran is June 30. The talks are premised on the notion that Tehran can be trusted. But will a regime that brazenly lies to and cheats its own people uphold its commitments abroad?
Six years ago veteran Iranian diplomat Hossein Alizadeh was overseeing the presidential polling station for Iranian expats in Finland as the deputy head of the Islamic Republic’s mission in Helsinki. What he saw on June 12, 2009, destroyed what remained of his faith in the regime he had served for more than two decades.
“I remember,” he says in Persian before his voice breaks and his eyes well up with tears. “I remember how seven or eight medical students came with their families to the embassy to vote. After they’d voted, one of them turned to me and said, ‘Mr. Alizadeh, our trust is in your hands.’ ” The comment moved the diplomat to his core.
Iranians were jubilant over the prospect of voting out the Holocaust-denying President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “Iran doesn’t have free and fair elections,” Mr. Alizadeh says. Even so, “a hopeless people were looking for a president who does a little less damage, who speaks a little more softly.”
Faced with the Iranian regime’s intransigence, the world powers decided to extend the deadline for a nuclear accord yet again, raising concerns that the deal will not be worth bragging about. Even several top aides of President Obama have publicly stated that it falls well short of the administration’s own standards for a good deal. In fact, the impending accord is a bad one because it offers too many concessions to a regime that cannot be trusted, and which is deplored by millions of Iranians.
Last week, the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, set strict terms for the nuclear program in a nationally televised address. Backing down from earlier commitments his negotiators had made in April, Khamenei said, “Contrary to the Americans’ insistence, we do not accept long-term, 10-year and 12-year restrictions, and we have told them the acceptable number of years for restrictions.”
US Secretary of State says “genuine progress” made in talks but US still “prepared to walk away” if terms unacceptable.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has said negotiating teams are close to a historic agreement over Iran’s nuclear programme byt cautioned that the talks could still go either way, and that Washington is still willing to walk away if an acceptable deal is not reached.
“It is now time to see whether or not we are able to close an agreement,” Kerry told reporters on Sunday in Vienna, ahead of a July 7 deadline.
“We have made genuine progress. We want a good agreement. We are not going to shave anywhere in the margins just to get to an agreement.”
On Monday, Mohammad Javad Zarif , the Iranian foreign minister, said that some differences still remained between the Islamic Republic and the six powers over the country’s disputed nuclear programme.
Iran has announced the deployment of its second long-range Ghadir radar, which is part of an integrated air defense system the country is creating. An even longer-range system is currently partially operational.
The new over-the-horizon radar system, which is said to be able to track ballistic missiles at 1,100km and fighter aircraft at 600km, was finalized in Ahwaz city in southwestern Khuzestan province near the Iraq border, the state-run FARS news agency reported Saturday.
It’s the second system of its kind in Iran. The first Ghadir was unveiled in June last year at the Garmsar site in Semnan province in the north of the country. The Iranian military said that the system had been tested since 2011 and that it would be mass-produced.
Tehran (AFP) – US President Barack Obama recently sent a private message to Iran’s leadership via Iraq’s prime minister, an Iranian newspaper reported Monday on the eve of a deadline for a nuclear deal.
Hamshahri, Iran’s highest-circulation daily, citing a lawmaker, said “one of the leaders of a neighbouring country” took the message from Obama to officials in Tehran.
The subject discussed was the nuclear talks between Iran and world powers led by the United States it said, without giving further details on its content.
The newspaper suggested that the message bearer was Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who met Obama on June 8 on the sidelines of a G7 summit in Germany.
Abadi visited Tehran on June 17, meeting Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as well as President Hassan Rouhani.
National Public Radio
It’s 5,216 miles from Vienna, Austria to Crosses, Arkansas. But, as negotiations continue in the Iran nuclear talks, it’s a hot topic for patrons of the Pigtrail Bypass Country Cafe. Iranian American Hooshang Nazarali owns the cafe and convenience store, and for more than 30 years he’s been serving the people of this small community with burgers and snacks, all the while working with the Council of Resistance of Iran – a group dedicated to the overthrow of the Islamic Republic. Nazarali is outspoken in his opposition to a nuclear deal with Iran. And, while his signature dish “The Hooshburger” is garnering national attention for its fusion of Persian and American cuisines, he says he hopes a similar blend of interests can lead to a new regime and a new relationship with his motherland.