Brief on Iran

Brief On Iran, (BOI), Newsletter May 25th, 2015

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Brief On Iran – Newsletter
May 25th, 2015
  Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)

Iran Human Rights
 

Besides the five executions that were officially announced, five other unannounced executions have been reported by unofficial sources.

 

Iran Human Rights, May 19, 2015: Five prisoners were hanged in two Iranian cities Tuesday morning May 19, reported Iranian state media.

According to the official website of the Iranian Judiciary in Fars province (Southern Iran), one man was hanged publicly in the city of Shiraz this morning. The man who was identified as “Hossein A” was sentenced to death convicted of rape, said the report which also mentioned that he was sentenced to 37 years in prison and 111 lashes for kidnapping and robbery.

 Iran: Jason Rezaian Vs Cyrus McGoldrick

OIAC

OIAC- The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement on the case of Jason Rezaian , the Washington Post correspondent and American-Iranian dual citizen who is set to appear in court on May 26 to face charges of espionage after being held in detention since July 22.

 

The statement points out that according to Rezaian’s attorney, the case file against him indicates no evidence to substantiate the charges of spying, collaborating with a hostile government, and disseminating information on Iran’s internal and foreign policy. This fact supports the notion that Rezaian has been targeted by virtue of his American citizenship and not on the basis of any observed violations of the law.

For the vast majority of Rezaian’s detention, the nature of the charges against him remained undisclosed, possibly indicating that the Iranian judiciary had not built a case against him until long after his arrest.

If that case was indeed viewed by Tehran as an opportunity to send a message of defiance to the US or to secure leverage against it, Rezaian is likely not the only currently imprisoned American of whom this is true. Some advocates for each of these prisoners have accused the US government of doing too little to secure their release. But Iranian officials reject any attempts at intercession on their behalf. The Iranian regime does not recognize dual citizenship and maintains that their dubious cases against American-Iranians are matters for the Iranian judiciary alone.

The Washington Post
 

Statement from Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron ahead of Jason Rezaian’s trial in Iran:

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 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.

Gatestone Institute
Uzay Bulut
 

 “[B]oth the ISIS and Islamic Republic [of Iran] use rape as a political weapon against Kurdish women on the basis of ethnicity, gender, and religion. The only difference is that the Islamic Republic denies its well-documented abuses while ISIS publically defends its enslavement of Kurdish women and girls.” – Dr. Amir Sharifi, Director, Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group.”Women in Iran as a whole, and Kurdish women in particular, have very little legal protection against sexual harassment or violence.” – Dr. Amir Sharifi, Director, Kurdish Human Rights Advocacy Group.One of the most savage forms of state-sponsored human rights abuse aimed at women in custody in Iran is the raping of virgins prior to execution.Sixty-nine years after the fall of the Kurdish Republic, the fate of Kurds in Iranian Kurdistan is still in the hands of a regime hostile to them and to all the values of the West.

  Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle East)

   The Business Insider

Pamela Engel

 

The fight against the Islamic State isn’t going well.

Militants took over the Iraqi provincial capital of Ramadi over the weekend, overran the ancient Syrian town Palmyra on Wednesday, and moved into former dictator Moammar Gaddafi’s hometown in Libya on Thursday.

And now the US is facing a conundrum on how to handle the recent advances of the Islamic State terror group (also known as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh).

Yaroslav Trofimov wrote in The Wall Street Journal that the US now has three options in the fight against ISIS: carry on with what they’re already doing, escalate the fight, or give up. And none of those options are appealing.

“To be frank, you don’t have a hell of a lot of options,” former senior defense official Anthony Cordesman, who now works for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told the Journal.

President Barack Obama doesn’t want to commit ground troops to the fight, but supporting the strongest fighting force in Iraq, the Shia militias supported by Iran, comes with its own set of problems.

Sam Wilkin and Parisa Hafezi

 

DUBAI (Reuters) – The general in charge of Iran’s paramilitary activities in the Middle East said the United States and other powers were failing to confront Islamic State, and only Iran was committed to the task, a news agency on Monday reported.

Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force responsible for protecting the Islamic Republic’s interests abroad, has become a familiar face on the battlefields of Iraq, where he often outranks local commanders.

   AFP- Yahoo News
Dan De Luce

Washington (AFP) – Iranian Revolutionary Guards fired warning shots Thursday at a Singapore-flagged commercial ship in the Gulf that had collided recently with an Iranian oil rig, US officials said Thursday.

After hearing a radio call for help, the United Arab Emirates dispatched coast guard vessels to aid the tanker and the Iranian boats then departed the area, US officials said.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels tried to intercept the Singapore-flagged ship, the Alpine Eternity, “in order to settle a legal dispute stemming from an incident on March 22, 2015, when the Alpine Eternity reportedly hit an Iranian-owned oil platform,” a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

Al Arabiya
 

Gulf countries are right to be concerned about Iran as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” U.S. President Barack Obama said on Wednesday, talking exclusively to Asharq al-Awsat, which marks his first ever interview with an Arab newspaper.

“Iran clearly engages in dangerous and destabilizing behavior in different countries across the region. Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. It helps prop up the Assad regime in Syria. It supports Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It aids the Houthi rebels in Yemen. So countries in the region are right to be deeply concerned about Iran’s activities, especially its support for violent proxies inside the borders of other nations,” Obama told the newspaper.

The president was speaking ahead of the Camp David on Thursday, in which he will host GCC leaders.

“The countries in the region are right to be deeply concerned about Iran’s activities, especially its support for violent proxies inside the borders of other nations”.

The Arab Times
Jacob Campbell

 

If Barack Obama has taught the Arab world anything, it is surely that the United States is a weak-willed and perfidious ally. Whether by acceding to Iranian negotiators’ every demand in nuclear talks, or by facilitating the ethnic cleansing of Sunni Arabs by Iranian militias in Iraq, Obama seems hell-bent on making the Islamic Republic, in his own words, “a very successful regional power.” The Gulf states, meanwhile, have been hung out to dry.

Arabs are loath to go down without a fight, however, and Operation Decisive Storm is proof that they are more than capable of confronting the Iranian threat on their own. It also proves that the mullahs are not the unstoppable menace they would have their enemies believe; it took just four days of Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen for Ayatollah Khamenei and his minions to switch from promising “military defeat” for the Arab coalition (on April 9th), to begging for a ceasefire after seeing their Houthi proxies routed from central Aden (on April 14th).

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif now insists – contrary to military and intelligence officials’ earlier jubilation at having “conquered” Yemen and “taken over” Sana’a – that his regime “is not seeking to dominate Yemen.” Statements such as this fool nobody, of course, but are intended to save face in anticipation of an Iranian defeat.

 Iran- Nuclear Activities

Press TV


Exxon Mobil is reported to have stationed lobbyists to push the envelope on Iran sanctions with the US government as Western companies are jostling for access to the Middle East country’s massive oil and gas fields.

According to Bloomberg, the Texas-based oil company has hired a lobbying firm founded by former Republican Senator Don Nickles to press the US government on lifting sanctions against Tehran.

Western companies are eager to work on Iranian fields because they are among the largest and cheapest to develop, it quoted on economist as saying.

“Given sanctions and the dilapidation of oilfields over time, it looks like it’d be a lot of work” for foreign companies, Allen Good, a Chicago-based analyst at Morningstar Inc. told Bloomberg.

“But unlike Iraq, you’d don’t have a civil war going on so it’d be an easier path to growing production. You could get a pretty good bump pretty quickly,” he said.

Western companies are holding their breath as nuclear negotiations between Iran and the US and other members of the P5+1 group are heading to the decisive round.

 Analysis – Iran will need to spend most of any post-sanctions windfall at home
Reuters

Iranians will demand their government spend a windfall from the lifting of economic sanctions on improving the quality of life at home, limiting the degree to which a future nuclear deal could fund Tehran’s allies on Middle East battlefields.

Since 2012, Iran has given support worth billions of dollars to regional allies, funding and arming mainly fellow Shi’ite Muslims in conflicts that have taken on a sectarian dimension. Its enemies say lifting sanctions will provide it with the means to do even more.

Within months of financial sanctions being lifted, Iran will be able to collect debts from overseas banks that may exceed $100 billion, mostly from oil importers whose payments have been blocked, diplomats and analysts said.

But with the budget strained by last year’s heavy fall in oil prices, and public expectations of improved socio-economic conditions in the event of a deal, the authorities will face pressure to invest new funds at home.

“The idea that Iran is going to have its pockets full of cash that it can use for discretionary purposes, I think is exaggerated,” Charles Hollis, managing director for the Middle East at FTI Consulting, said.

Infrastructure in the vital oil sector has fallen into disrepair during years of mismanagement and isolation, and the oil ministry has lobbied for huge cash injections that will be necessary to bring production back to pre-sanctions levels.

 Iran’s Khamenei rules out interviews with nuclear scientists
Reuters
Parisa Hafezi
 

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday Tehran would not accept “unreasonable demands” by world powers over its disputed nuclear program and ruled out letting inspectors interview its atomic scientists.

The comments, broadcast live on state TV, were the latest in a series of forthright statements on inspections in the countdown to a June 30 deadline to resolve a decade-old standoff over Iran’s nuclear work.

“We will never yield to pressure … We will not accept unreasonable demands … Iran will not give access to its (nuclear) scientists,” Khamenei said.

“We will not allow the privacy of our nuclear scientists or any other important issue to be violated.”

Khamenei, who has the final say for Iran on any deal, last month ruled out any “extraordinary supervision measures” over nuclear activities and said military sites could not be inspected.

The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been trying to investigate Western allegations that Iran has worked on designing a nuclear warhead. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and that it is working with the IAEA to clear up any suspicions.

U.N. inspectors regularly monitor Iran’s declared nuclear facilities, but the IAEA has complained for years of a lack of access to sites, equipment, documents and people relevant to its probe.

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