Brief on Iran

Brief On Iran (BOI), Newsletter June 1st, 2015

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Brief On Iran – Newsletter
June 1st, 2015
  Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)

Prisoners in Ghezelhesar

Iran Human Rights

In the last three weeks 44 prisoners convicted of drug charges have been executed in the Gehzelhesar prison of Karaj. Iran Human Rights (IHR) warns against mass executions of the Gehzelhesar prisoners and calls for immediate action by the international community.

Iran Human Rights, May 26, 2015: Reports by several independent sources indicate that all of the 22 prisoners in Ghezelhesar prison who were transferred to solitary confinement on Saturday and Sunday, have been hanged. The executions reportedly took place on Monday morning May 25. IHR cannot rule out that some of the prisoners might have been executed the day before, on Sunday May 24.

Death row prisoners praying- Iran Human Rights

Death row prisoners holding a handwritten banner asking the Judiciary and the Iranian Supreme leader for forgiveness from the death sentence

These 22 prisoners were transferred to the prison’s quarantine following a gathering of the death row prisoners of Unit 2 of Ghezelhesar prison on Friday May 22. The prisoners, who carried the Muslim holy book and handwritten placards, called for the Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei to reduce their death sentences to life in prison (See picture). The gathering was reportedly peaceful. Nevertheless, after the gathering, some of the prisoners were threatened by the prison officials that they would all be executed. Some of them were executed yesterday.

Iran Human Rights

Iran Human Rights, May 24, 2015: As many as 22 prisoners could be executed in the coming two days. Iran Human Rights reported about 11 prisoners who were transferred to solitary confinement yesterday awaiting execution in the Ghezelhesar prison of Karaj.

New reports from IHR’s sources show that at least another 7 prisoners were transferred to the quarantine section scheduled to be executed in the coming two days. One source said that the number of prisoners ho were transferred today were 11, making the total prisoners waiting for execution in the coming two days 22.

All the prisoners are sentenced to death for drug related charges and participated in a peaceful gathering inside the prison asking to be pardoned. Some prisoners believe that the executions are authorities’ punishment for participation in the gathering.

IHR is investigating the details.

  Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle East)

North Korean Visit

John Irish

Paris- An exiled Iranian opposition group said on Thursday that a delegation of North Korean nuclear and missile experts visited a military site near Tehran in April amid talks between world powers and Iran over its nuclear program.

The dissident National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) exposed Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak in 2002. Analysts say it has a mixed record and a clear political agenda.

Iran says allegations that is trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability are baseless and circulated by its enemies.

Iran and six world powers are trying to meet a self-imposed June 30 deadline to reach a comprehensive deal restricting its nuclear work. Issues remaining include monitoring measures to ensure it cannot pursue a clandestine nuclear weapons program.

Citing information from sources inside Iran, including within Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, the Paris-based NCRI said a seven-person North Korean Defense Ministry team was in Iran during the last week of April. This was the third time in 2015 that North Koreans had been to Iran and a nine-person delegation was due to return in June, it said.

Anbar- Thousands of families in Iraq are trapped by fighting between Islamic State extremists and government forces.

Human rights groups have accused Iraq’s government of failing to help many of those trying to flee to safer parts of the country.

They are attempting to escape from Anbar province where Islamic State fighters recently seized the key city of Ramadi.

Orla Guerin reports from Anbar.

At least four Americans are being held in Yemen by rebels who toppled the US-backed government, the Washington Post reported late on Friday.

Citing unnamed sources, the report said attempts to free the Americans have failed. The Americans are believed to be imprisoned in the capital Sana’a, which Saudi Arabia has repeatedly bombed in a campaign to oust the rebels, known as Houthis, from power.

The Houthis had cleared one of the prisoners for release, but the report said members of the Houthi rebellion reversed that decision.

Three of the prisoners hold private sector jobs, and the fourth holds dual US-Yemini citizenship. None is a US government employee, the report said.

The Post report said the newspaper was withholding details about the four at the request of relatives and US officials, who cited safety concerns.

Armin Rosen

 The Iraqi Army and its Shia militia allies are gearing up for one of the defining campaigns in the war against ISIS.

Troops are gathering outside of Ramadi, the city located 80 miles from Baghdad that ISIS took on May 17th. Ramadi is majority Sunni and could serve as an ISIS foothold for an assault on the greater Baghdad area.

A successful campaign to retake the city could send ISIS into retreat. But failure would only solidify the jihadists’ hold over a sizable population center at the doorstop of the Iraqi capital.

And the attempt to retake Ramadi looks like yet another disaster in waiting.

As former US Army intelligence officer Michael Pregent explained to Business Insider, taking back Ramadi is beyond the capabilities of a diminished Iraqi army and its partners, which include Iranian-backed Shia militia groups like Kataib Hezbollah and the Badr Group.

 Iran- Nuclear Activities

Nicolas Revise

Geneva (AFP) – Tehran rejected a key Western demand for site inspections Saturday and differences remained after US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart held talks to secure a nuclear deal.

With a deadline a month away, a senior Iranian negotiator said the Geneva talks between Kerry and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif failed to bridge the differences between Tehran and world powers.

“The differences are still there,” Abbas Araghchi, deputy head of Iran’s negotiating team, said at the end of the meeting.

Araghchi, quoted by state television’s website, said the negotiations would “resume next week at the level of deputies and experts”, rather than have the Kerry-Zarif talks go into a second day as expected.

The latest talks in the run-up to a June 30 deadline came amid heightened diplomatic moves to try to end a 12-year standoff and put anuclear bomb beyond Iran’s reach.

Kerry and Zarif huddled for six hours in a leading hotel with their delegations and top European Union official Helga Schmid.

Bradley Klapper

WASHINGTON (AP) – France’s ambassador to the U.S. says world powers and Iran will probably miss an end-of-June deadline for a comprehensive nuclear agreement.

Gerard Araud says it’s “very likely” there will be no deal in the next five weeks, or even afterward.

He says much technical work remains, meaning any understanding reached could just be “fuzzy air.”

Araud spoke Tuesday at an Atlantic Councilevent alongside the British and German ambassadors to the U.S.

The three European countries are negotiating alongside the U.S., Russia and China.

The proposed deal would freeze Iran’s nuclear program for a decade, while providing Iran tens of billions of dollars’ worth of sanctions relief.


Sanctions against Iran’s economy are likely to erode if talks to curb Iran’s nuclear program fail or U.S. lawmakers try to block an international agreement, according to the U.K. and German envoys to Washington.

“You’re already seeing a number of countries which of course don’t respect the embargo on oil,” U.K. Ambassador Peter Westmacott said Tuesday, referring to half a dozen economies with an exemption from U.S. sanctions that lets them import Iranian crude, as well as companies that have sought to evade bans on trade.

Westmacott spoke alongside his French and German counterparts at the Atlantic Council, a Washington policy institute, about the prospects for reaching a deal on Iran’s nuclear program before a self-imposed deadline of June 30.

Yahoo News

An exiled Iranian opposition group accused Tehran Thursday of a “vast collaboration” withNorth Korea in developing nuclear arms, alleging that experts from both countries made regular intelligence-sharing visits.

“The Iranian regime continues to collaborate with North Korea on nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles,” the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said in a report citing sources close to the Iranian government.

North Korean experts spent a week in the Iranian capital in April this year, the report said, staying at a site close to the country’s defence ministry.

It was the third such visit by a North Korean nuclear delegation in 2015 alone, according to the report.

Senior Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was meanwhile in North Korea when it held a third nuclear test in February 2013, the NCRI said, and Iranian experts went to the country on a regular basis.

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