Brief on Iran

Brief On Iran (BOI), Newsletter March 2nd, 2015

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Brief On Iran – Newsletter
March 2nd, 2015
  Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)

 HRANA

HRANA News Agency – On 25th and 26th of February, 8 prisoners including one woman were executed in prisons of Kerman (Shahab), Bandar Abbas, Jiroft, and Adel Abad in Shiraz.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), during 25th and 26th of February, 7 men and one woman were hanged in prisons of Kerman (Shahab), Bandar Abbas, Jiroft, and Adel Abad in Shiraz.

Hossein Shahriari and Davood Jamal Barezi, who had been charged with drug related crimes, were executed in prison of Jiroft, on 26th February. Also, on the same date, Mansoor Kargar, who had been charged with Adultery and Murder, was executed in prison of Bandar Abbas.

In addition, Ali Barsalamat, Moradbakhsh Saboki, Ali Dashtestan and Marzieh Hossein Zehi, were executed because of drug related crimes, in Kerman prison, also on 25thFebruary, Amir Bagherpoor was executed in Adel Abad with charge of Murder.

  Four Executions in Northern Iran
Iran Human Rights

Iran Human Rights, February 25, 2014: Four prisoners have been hanged in the prison of Rasht during the past two days, reported the official Iranian media.

According to the official website of the Iranian Judiciary in Gilan Province, one prisoner identified as “Mohammadreza Ranjbar Kermani” who was charged with trafficking of 195 kilograms of opium, selling 13700 grams of the narcotic substance crystal, and possession of 325 grams of heroin. The prisoner was hanged in the prison of Rasht Monday morning February 23.

Three other men identified as “M.R.” (35), “A.Z.” (32) and “R. K.” (34) were hanged yesterday, February 24, in the same prison, reported the news website Lahijan, quoting the Judiciary office in Gilan. All the three prisoners were charged with murder. No further details is given in the reports.

HRANA

HRANA News Agency – A prisoner, who was accused by dealing drugs, was hanged in Central Prison of Tabas.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Mehdi Fatahi, from Torbat Heidarieh, who had been arrested about 3 years ago and was charged with drug related crimes, was executed in Central Prison of Tabas.

First, he had been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by Tabas court, but in appeal court his sentence increased to death and after being upheld by the Supreme Court, he was executed.

NCRI

NCRI – As the executions of prisoners continue unabated in Iran, the celrical regime’s henchmen hang two other prisoners in public in the western city of Kermanshah.

The two men were hanged in two locations in the city 10 in the morning local time on Wednesday.

The public hanging follows executions in several prisons in cities across Iran of which very limited have been officially announced.

According to the reports received from various sources dozens of prisoners have been hanged during the past weekend alone in prisons across Iran.

Official news websites reported that four prisoners have been hanged on Sunday in city of Arak and another prisoner has been hanged on Tuesday morning in the main prison in the city of Rasht.

HRANA

HRANA News Agency – Despite many reports and speculation regarding the status of Saman Naseem, Sirvan Naxhavi, Ibrahim Shapoori, Ali Afshari, Habihollah Afshari and Younes Aghayan, prisoners of Uremia prison who are facing death sentences and have disappeared since five days ago, the officials are still not providing clear information regarding their status. This behavior caused concerns about the fate of these prisoners.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Saman Naseem, Sirvan Naxhavi, Ibrahim Shapoori (Eisa poor), Ali Afshari, Habihollah Afshari and Younes Aghayan have been transferred from their cells to an unknown location, on Wednesday February 18.

Different governments and also UN rapporteurs, alongside with international organizations like International Amnesty and Human Rights Watch repetitively warned about the execution of these people, specifically Saman Naseem who was only 17 when he was arrested, and asked for halting the sentence.

  Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle East)
Financial times
Borzou Daragahi- Cairo

…….Tikrit itself has been mostly depopulated, said Mr Tamimi. He predicted that the massive force assembled to take Salahuddin, spearheaded by Badr commander Hadi Ameri, would if victorious probably hand control of an empty city to angry sectarian militiamen, who would frighten residents away from returning, as happened in a recent battle in the town of Jorf Alsakhr south of Baghdad. “It would be a pretty hollow victory if your goal is to bring back the citizen population and restore normal life,” he said.

 This February marks the anniversary of a momentous event in the modern history of democracy and extremism. Protests swept the country and the Shah who lived in tremendous excess and enforced a repressive, unpopular agenda by way of secret police, torture and executions was overthrown.

The 1979 revolution was certainly a time of hope and the Iranian people were grateful for it, defying curfews and taking to the streets, chanting slogans against the Shah’s dictatorship.  But these chants turned into chants against the West, against secularism and against anyone who opposed the equally radical and oppressive agenda of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

By usurping the leadership of a genuine revolution seeking freedom, the Ayatollah planted the seeds of Islamic extremism and the foundations of global terror. The Iranian regime has long been a major supporter of terrorism, from the bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Lebanon in 1983, to the Jewish Community Center bombing in Buenos Aires in 1993, to its campaign of terror through its Shiite proxies in Iran since 2003, and to its support for the Assad regime and beyond. But today, the regime’s support of the Assad regime is at unprecedented levels, it has stepped up sponsorship of Shiite militias and deployed troops in Iraq and backs the Houthi militia, which just took over the government in Yemen.

Real Clear World
Ken Maginnis

Uncontrolled decadence, secret police, torture, executions, and an agenda opposed by the people of Iran: Those factors are what brought down Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in February of 1979. More than 36 years later, those conditions remain familiar to Iranians throughout the country and abroad, as the current regime has proven itself to be even more barbaric. Further, the country’s economy lies in shambles as the regime relentlessly pursues a fundamentalist Islamic agenda.

That radical agenda extends the Iranian threat far beyond its own people to neighbors in the region and, ultimately, to the West. Its involvement in Syria and Iraq, with military personnel on the ground, and its assistance to groups such as Hezbollah and, most recently, the Houthi group in Yemen, provide ample evidence of the escalation of Iranian ambitions.

The Hill
Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC
The terrorist attacks in Denmark this month and in Paris earlier in January, dreadful as they were, provided just the latest example of Islamic fundamentalism at its worst. There is now the desperate need for a coherent strategy not only by Western political leaders, but also by the leaders of peace-loving Muslims around the world.
As the anti-ISIS Coalition intensifies it campaign to defeat these extremists, their strategy must also deal with the ominous threat of religious extremism everywhere including Iran, without compromising democratic values and principles and without giving birth to more home-grown jihadists. This means that human rights must be part of every agenda, never de-coupled even in the context of ongoing nuclear weapons negotiations with Iran, which is fast approaching another deadline.
In examining the recent terror attacks in Copenhagen and Paris, we should remember other tragic events: September 11, 2001 in New York; March 2004 in Madrid; July 2005 in London; January 2015 in Paris; the Murder of the British Army soldier Lee Rigby in 22 May 2013; plus those in Africa, Iraq, and elsewhere. It is important to remember where and when it all began.
BBC News
James Robbins

A force of about 30,000 troops and militia are said to be attacking on different fronts, backed by air strikes from Iraqi jets.

A commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards is taking part in the operation, a Shia militia commander told the BBC. Tikrit, north of the capital Baghdad, fell to IS militants last June.

Security sources told the BBC that pro-government troops had seized control of the two districts of al-Tin, near Tikrit university north-east of the city, and the district of al-Abeid, in the west.

Earlier, fighting was also reported in al-Dour, south-east of Tikrit, as well as in al-Alam, north of the city, and nearby Qadisiya.

Weekly Standard
Thomas Joscelyn

This week, prosecutors in New York introduced eight documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan as evidence in the trial of a terrorism suspect. The U.S. government accuses Abid Naseer of taking part in al Qaeda’s scheme to attack targets in Europe and New York City. And prosecutors say the documents are essential for understanding the scope of al Qaeda’s plotting.
More than 1 million documents and files were captured by the Navy Seals who raided bin Laden’s safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011. One year later, in May 2012, the Obama administration released just 17 of them.
While there is some overlap between the files introduced as evidence in Brooklyn and those that were previously made public in 2012, much of what is in the trial exhibits had never been made public before.
The files do not support the view, promoted by some in the Obama administration, that bin Laden was in “comfortable retirement,” “sidelined,” or “a lion in winter” in the months leading up to his death. On the contrary, bin Laden is asked to give his order on a host of issues, ranging from the handling of money to the movement of terrorist operatives.
Some of the key revelations in the newly-released bin Laden files relate to al Qaeda’s dealings with Iran and presence in Afghanistan.

 Iran- Nuclear Activities
The New York Times
Michael Gordon

WASHINGTON – They have spent long hours alone together. They exchange private emails. Their walk along the Rhone River in Geneva in January so unnerved hard-line lawmakers in Tehran that they signed a petition fretting about the duo’s unseemly “intimacy.”

On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Switzerland to meet again with Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister who earned a Ph.D in international law and policy from the University of Denver, to try to negotiate the very accord that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel arrived in Washington that same day to denounce.

As the deadline approaches for what could be one of the most important and divisive international agreements in decades, Mr. Kerry has become a driving force behind the complicated, seven-nation talks to limit Iran‘snuclear program. But with so much at stake, Mr. Kerry’s relentless negotiating style and determination to engage with Mr. Zarif have become part of the debate.

Washington post
Carol Morello
An Iranian exile group on Tuesday accused Iran’s government of conducting secret research with the aim of developing nuclear weapons, even as it is negotiating potential constraints on its ability to do so.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran said underground labs in suburban Tehran have been used since 2008 to enrich uranium. It said the plant, named Lavizan-3 after the neighborhood where many officers and their families live, is reached through tunnels leading from under a building ostensibly used to process passports and identity cards.
The claims could not be independently verified and U.S. officials declined to comment.
Representatives of the opposition group, appearing at the National Press Club before a flag dating from pre-revolutionary Iran, detailed their claims as Secretary of State John F. Kerry testified before Congress, defending the administration’s ongoing nuclear talks with Iran.
Negotiators want to reach the broad outlines of an agreement by late March, though many highly complex technical details would still have to be hashed out before an interim agreement expires in late June.
CNN News
Elise Labott and Michael Schwartz

WASHINGTON (CNN)During his upcoming speech to Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will lay out the details of what he understands to be the nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran, hoping it will prompt lawmakers to question the administration and delay the March 24 deadline for a political agreement.

A senior Israeli official traveling in Netanyahu’s delegation, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the Israeli government had “a good understanding of the agreement we can draw conclusions from.”

“We know what we know. And believe me, we know a lot of information about this agreement,” the official told reporters aboard the flight to Washington. “The Prime Minister is going to Congress to explain what they don’t know about this agreement that it is a bad agreement.”

By Herbert London

While the Obama administration systematically engages Iran as the centerpiece of a Middle East strategy, my distinguished colleague, David Goldman, writes that President George W. Bush adopted a similar strategy after 2006 based on the guidance of Robert Gates, former secretary of Defense.

Relying on the work of Michael Doran, erstwhile Bush aide, Goldman notes that the Iraq Study Group – a bipartisan commission including former Secretary of State James Baker, former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) and Gates – proposed a diplomatic engagement with Iran “and its junior partner, the [President Bashar] Assad regime in Syria.”

Moreover, the history of this proposal has its origin in a Council of Foreign Relations report written by Gates and Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s national security adviser. In this report, the U.S. is criticized for creating security concerns on Iran’s western border after toppling Saddam Hussain’s Iraqi regime. “By contributing to heightened tensions between the Bush administration and Iran, the elimination of Saddam’s rule has not generated substantial strategic dividends for Tehran. In fact, together with U.S. statements on regime change, rogue states, and preemptive action, recent changes in the regional balance of power have only enhanced the potential deterrent value of a ‘strategic weapon.'”

 Obama lowers the bar for Iran nuclear deal

 For anyone hoping a nuclear deal with Iran might stop the Tehran government from destabilizing the Middle East or free its political prisoners, the Obama administration has some bad news: It’s just an arms control agreement.

As details of a proposed pact leaked out of the Geneva talks Monday, administration officials told us they will ask the world to judge any final nuclear agreement on the technical aspects only, not on whether the deal will spur Iranian reform.

“The only consideration driving what is part of any comprehensive agreement with Iran is how we can get to a one-year breakout time and cut off the four pathways for Iran to get enough material for a nuclear weapon, period,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. “And if we reach an agreement, that will be the basis upon which people should judge it — on the technical merits of it, not on anything else.”

 Iran blockbuster: Group claims proof of secret nuclear facility

  Claiming that Iran‘s government has been lying for years to U.N. nuclear inspectors, a prominent Iranian dissident group on Tuesday asserted that scientists in the Islamic Republic have actually been running a secret uranium enrichment operation at a facility buried deep beneath the ground in the northeast suburbs of Tehran since 2008.

The facility, known as “Lavizan-3,” has been used for clandestine nuclear program research and development, as well as for enrichment with advanced IR-2m and IR-4 centrifuge machines, according to the National Coalition of Resistance of Iran, which claims that the operation’s existence has never before been revealed to international officials.

The NCRI‘s claim was not immediately verifiable, and the dissident group is known for its controversial history in Washington. However, the group is seen to have deep sources inside Iran‘s nuclear community and its members are credited with having made game-changing revelations aboutTehran‘s activities in the past.

Jay Solomon And  

Carol E. Lee

 
WASHINGTON-The leadership of the most powerful pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. publicly broke Sundayfrom the White House over the issue of Iran policy during the first of a three-day policy conference in Washington attended by 16,000 of its members.

Leaders of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, outlined a strategy moving forward of working through Congress to disrupt any nuclear agreement with Tehran that is deemed too weak in denying the country a nuclear weapons capability.
This would be achieved, they said, both by seeking to impose new sanctions on Iran and to block the White House’s ability to lift standing U.S. sanctions, which would be required as part of any comprehensive agreement.

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