Brief on Iran

Brief On Iran (BOI) Newsletter- September 8, 2015

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Brief On Iran – Newsletter
September 8, 2015
  Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)

  Iran Human Rights
  
Iran Human Rights, September 7, 2015: Iranian authorities hanged 11 prisoners charged with drug offences early Monday morning, according to the Iran Human Rights (IHR) sources in Ghezelhesar prison of Karaj (west of Tehran).
One of those executed was a school teacher identified as Mahmood Barati who was sentenced to death on false charges, according to an IHR source.  Barati was arrested 10 years ago and sentenced to death based on false charges. The authorities sentenced Mahmood barati to death only based on the testimony by an individual who was also charged with drug offences. There were no other evidence against Mr. Barati besides the testimoney. The key witness, who was later executed for drug charges, had withdrawn his testimoney twice. Mahmood Barati didn’t have any previous criminal record and at that time worked as teacher in Taybad (eastern Iran). 
   The Time
  Julia Zorthian
  
Hundreds of migrants tried to cross to Macedonia on Friday

Hundreds of migrants trying to cross the border from Greece to Macedonia clashed with police lines on Friday, just a day after Macedonia declared a state of emergency and closed the border. Photographer Georgi Licovski captured this image of distressed children pushed against the police line and crush of bodies.
“For the first time in my life I saw my colleagues-photographers and journalists-crying because of the situation,” Licovski told TIME after spending the day taking pictures at the border. He added that it was also the first time he has cried while working.
   Iran Human Rights
  
 At least seven prisoners charged with murder were hanged to death at Kermanshah’s Dizel Abad Prison on Wednesday morning.

Iran Human Rights, Thursday August 27 2015: According to unofficial reports, at least seven prisoners charged with murder were hanged to death at Kermanshah’s Dizel Abad Prison on the morning of Wednesday August 26. Two of the prisoners have been identified as Behrouz Nouri, approximately 25 years, and Shah Bakhshihaghi. The names of the other prisoners are not known at this time. Iranian state media and government bodies have not reported on these executions.
   OIAC
  
 Mr. Hassan Jaafari said his wife is a housewife and 40 years old and she was arrested for a mere “telephone contact” with her family in Ashraf (the seat of the main Iranian opposition, the PMOI, in Iraq) and condemned to 15 years imprisonment on the charge of “waging war on God”.

Mr. Jaafari said Judge Salavati who is in charge of his wife’s case had explicitly told him that Maryam was paying the price for the activities of her sisters and brothers.
Maryam Akbari Monfared is mother of three girls, now 10, 17 and 17. The latter is actually a niece adopted by her aunt. Her brother Reza Akbari Monfared is also in Gohardasht Prison, Karaj.
Maryam Akbari’s two brothers were executed by the clerical regime in 1981 and 1984 for supporting the PMOI and one of her sisters and another brother were killed in the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in summer 1988.
  Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle East)
When photographer John Stanmeyer first saw the viral picture of drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish shore, his reaction was probably just like yours. “I happen to be a photographer multiple levels after just being a human,” says Stanmeyer, a National Geographic contributor who has been covering the Syrian refugee crisis and who has covered humanitarian disasters for decades. “I see myself there. I see my own children there.”
But Stanmeyer says the world needs to see images of the refugee crisis, which shows no sign of abating. An estimated 13.9 million people were displaced last year due to conflict such as the war in Syria, persecution and poverty, according to the United Nations. “We have to be repulsed and angered so that we collectivity stand up and turn the wheel of change,” says Stanmeyer, who talked to us by phone from Perpignan, France.
Iran hopes to bring its gas to the European Union by shipping liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Spain, Iran’s oil minister was quoted as saying on Monday at a news conference with his Spanish counterpart in Tehran.

Iran has no ability to freeze its gas into LNG for tanker exports beyond the reach of pipelines, after several projects stalled due to Western sanctions that forced foreign companies to pull out of Iran. Experts reckon it will take around two years for that to happen, if partners are found.

“Talks between Iran and Spain on this topic will continue,” Bijan Zanganeh said, after meeting Spain’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism Jose Manuel Soria, the Iranian oil ministry’s news agency Shana reported.

Shana quoted Soria, part of a Spanish delegation to Tehran, as saying his country could “act as a channel for Iran’s gas exports to Europe”. He did not elaborate and the ministry in Madrid declined to confirm the comment.

 
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian however told a news conference in Damascus that any initiative to end the conflict would have to recognize “the pivotal role of Assad.”
The peace plan was submitted to Assad by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a visit to Damascus on August 12, he said.
Assad “welcomed it as a constructive political initiative from Iran, and the two sides agree to follow up on these preliminary ideas via the two foreign ministers,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
 
Iran has been sending billions of dollars to fill the pockets of terrorist fighters across the Middle East, including in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, according to a private U.S. government report ordered bySen. Mark Kirk
Iran‘s defense budget ranges anywhere between $14 billion to $30 billion a year and much of that money goes to fund terrorist groups and rebel fighters throughout the region, according to the Congressional Research Service report conducted at the request of Mr. Kirk, an Illinois Republican. 
 Iran- Nuclear Activities

  
On March 11, 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry said the Obama administration was “not negotiating a legally binding plan” with Iran and therefore their nuclear agreement did not have to be submitted to Congress for approval. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is ready to challenge that notion by putting forward a resolution that would define the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as a treaty.
The Corker-Cardin bill, a.k.a. the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, was introduced as an accountability tool for the Iranian deal, requiring a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ vote from Congress. Yet, as more details about the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) have surfaced, Corker and Cardin’s effort has become basically null, Rep. Gohmert is convinced. The Obama administration, he asserts, left Congress in the dark about the specifics of JCPOA. For instance, the Corker-Cardin bill was only meant to rein in nuclear sanctions, but JCPOA allows for a lifting of sanctions on ballistic missiles and international arms embargoes. Congress also had no clue about the side deals allowing Iran to inspect itself at nuclear sites. 
 
  The Washington Post
  Mike Pompeo and David B. Rivkin Jr.
  
The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, which requires the president to submit to Congress the nuclear agreement reached with Iran, represents an exceptional bipartisan congressional accommodation. Instead of submitting an agreement through the constitutionally proper mechanism – as a treaty requiring approval by a two-thirds majority in the Senate – the act enables President Obama to go forward with the deal unless Congress disapproves it by a veto-proof margin. Unfortunately, the president has not complied with the act, jeopardizing his ability to implement the agreement.
 
 New Yort Post
  Amir Taheri
  
A fatwa that doesn’t exist, a wish list that no one signed, a resolution that contradicts the wish list, a protocol that no one has seen…
These are the elements with which President Obama claims he has concocted a strategy to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions and stop it exporting murder and mayhem.
Supposedly issued by Iran’s “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei, the fatwa declares nuclear weapons as “illicit” (haram) in Islam.
Obama cites it as “proof” that Iran does not intend to build a bomb. The president has never said he has seen the fatwa, which, in any case, would have no legal or religious weight.
 Appeasing Iran?
   The Hill
 Alan J. Kuperman
 
As Congress reviews the Iran nuclear deal, it faces the hardest choice in foreign affairs: whether to threaten or appease an adversary.  The proper choice, scholars agree, depends on the rival’s intent.
If the other country is “status quo” – just wants to be left alone to prosper without dominating other countries or flouting international rules – we should concede its limited demands.  Appeasement is not a dirty word in such a case, but the ideal foreign policy.  However, if the other country is “revisionist” – seeking to dominate others and overturn the global order – we must deter it through coercion including the threat of force.

Such advice may sound simple, but misreading intent can lead to disaster.  If we threaten a status quo country, the result can be unnecessary war, such as the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.  The opposite mistake – appeasing a revision state – can be even worse.  Conciliating Nazi Germany led to a war so terrible that “appeasement” has forever been transformed into an epithet.

Though no two historical moments are identical, the similarities between the pending Iran nuclear deal and the Munich agreement of 1938 are haunting.

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