Shabnam Assadollahi: The surge of executions in Iran has political motivation. Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani’s promises of bringing dignity and hope to the nation, freeing political prisoners, promoting civil rights, and bringing moderation for Iranians were broken almost immediately upon his taking office. Not only have the promises made by Rouhani to the UNHCR never been kept, but executions, persecution and human rights violations have significantly increased.
According to the Latest report by Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN human rights rapporteur, ever since Rouhani became the president of Iran, a surge in executions has given Iran the world’s highest death penalty rate per capita. Dr. Shaheed reports that at least 852 individuals were executed in the period since June of last year, including eight juveniles. The surge in executions shows that Rouhani has failed to deliver on his campaign promises to improve the human rights situation in his country, a year after taking office. Dr. Shaheed also states that Rouhani is unable to address the issues, unable to arrest this trend, and to convert his promises which spoke to arresting this trend into action.
(London) – The United Nations agency charged with combating illicit drug trafficking should withdraw its support for counter-narcotics police operations in Iranuntil the death penalty for drug offenses is abolished, six rights groups said in a letter published today. The groups made the plea after Iran’s judiciary hanged 18 alleged drug traffickers within 24 hours on December 3, 2014, bringing the number of drug offenders executed in the country during 2014 to at least 318.
HRANA News Agency – Mohammad Mousavi-Bodjnordi, who heads Iran’s civil rights watchdog and is considered close to President Hassan Rouhani,told the state-run Fars News agency that Iran’s Baha’is minority have no civil rights in the regime because their beliefs are contrary to Islam.
“The Baha’i belief is contrary to Islam. In Iran, Baha’is have no civil rights and in particular, they do not have the right to study.” Civil rights are defined as in line with the beliefs of Ayatollah Khomeini, Mousavi-Bodjnordi said.
Mohammad Mousavi-Bodjnordi is a member of “combatant clergy” a clerical body that descibes itself as ‘moderate’.
Hassan Rohani appointed him to the group tasked with defining “civil rights.”
Earlier this month, a senior regime cleric also called for all Baha’is to be expelled from the southern city of Rafsanjan because they are ‘unclean’ and doing business with them is ‘forbidden.’
Iran expands ‘smart’ Internet censorship Reuters
DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran is to expand what it calls “smart filtering” of the Internet, a policy of censoring undesirable content on websites without banning them completely, as it used to, the government said on Friday.
The Islamic Republic has some of the strictest controls on Internet access in the world, but its blocks on U.S.-based social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are routinely bypassed by tech-savvy Iranians using virtual private networks (VPNs).
PARIS, France-The Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e-Khalgh (MEK) warned of the growing
number of Iran’s Qods forces in Iraq, saying that Tehran uses the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) to assert itself in Iraq.
In a statement published on Friday, the Paris-based group said that Iran’s Qods forces and Shiite militia groups “are forcefully expelling Iraqi citizens, especially Sunnis from their homes, seize their properties and massacre them in the name of fighting ISI
The MEK said that the actions of the Iran-backed groups “would lead to fueling the fire of terrorism in the whole region.”
Hussein Abidini, member of MEK’s foreign affairs committee told alarabiyan.net that the number of Qods force fighters in Iraq has exceeded 7,000.
According to the opposition group, members of the Qods force are stationed in Iraq’s Salahaddin, Diyala, Baghdad provinces as well as in Karbala, Najaf, Khanaqin and Saadiya.
Iran’s religious fundamentalism is just as destructive as Isis’s, yet the US has let it quickly take hold of the country.
Iraq is burning, and despite efforts by the coalition against Isis, little has improved since the government lost control over large swathes of its territory last June.
Lawlessness, terrorism, corruption and the systematic abuse of human rights are each a daily feature of life in Iraq. It almost executes the highest number of people in the world, after only China and Iran. Women are constantly subject to rape and violence.
The current crisis, which has been burgeoning for years under the sectarian rule of former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, is largely the product of a misguided post-invasion U.S. policy. The conflict has now been transformed into a formidable global threat.
If Europe wishes to find a solution for the problems of the Middle East, it needs to correct a number of misconceptions about Syria. Most importantly, it needs to realise that the key threat is not ISIS but the Assad regime, both of which are engaged with a fight to the death with Europe’s only possible ally: the rebels.
Europe cannot afford to collaborate with Assad.
Assad’s regime has destroyed the lives of millions of Syrians. Hundreds of thousands have been killed, and half of the country’s civilians have been displaced in the regime’s efforts to cling to power. The UN has documented tens of thousands of tortured prisoners, thousands of children starved to death in city sieges or slaughtered in the countryside by militiamen. Only a handful of these events, such as the 2012 Houla massacre, made headlines.
In an explosive TV interview aired last week, Iraq’s Grand Mufti Rafi Al-Rifa’i, the highest Sunni authority in the country, accused the IranianRevolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Iraqi government, and Iraqi Shiite militias of mass genocidal killings and rape of Sunni men and women from Iraqi towns and villages “liberated” from ISIS (Islamic State).
Mufti Al-Rifa’i posed the unanswerable question, “Why should we fight ISIS? So the Iranian IRGC can take over? The same Iranian IRGC that is running operations in Iraq?”
Mufti Al-Rifa’i is the religious leader of roughly eight million Sunni Muslims who live in the western parts of Iraq. Overall, about 22 million Sunni Muslims live in eastern Syria and Western Iraq. They are the current target of ISIS – and also, it turns out, of the Iranian IRGC.
(Reuters) – Syrian businessmen and trade officials say they are worried the economic lifeline provided by Iran is under strain from plunging oil prices, despite public messages of support from Syria’s strongest regional ally.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has relied on oil-producingIran to help him fight a nearly four-year-old civil war and also prop under a currency under pressure.
“If it had not been for Iranian support we could not have survived the crisis,” a senior Syrian trade official said from Damascus, requesting anonymity.
“It was Iranian support that has been the most important. In return, we are promising them more and more, and opening more and more doors for them to invest in Syria,” he said.
Breaking news about Cuba and North Korea has obscured equally important news about Iran. It is accelerating support for terror tunnels in Gaza aimed under Israel; rockets and missiles pointed toward Israel; as well as tunnels in Iran designed to hide cheating on nuclear obligations that could scuttle negotiations in Vienna.
Nuclear Tunnels in Iran
Regarding nuclear tunnels, Iran increasingly hides its facilities in networks of underpasses and bunkers across the country. Because it is difficult to determine what part of Iran’s nuclear program is hidden, there is a need for human source intelligence to complement electronic and satellite surveillance. In 2002, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the opposition organization that can continue adding to the multisource basis for verification of Iran’s nuclear tunneling, revealed that Iran was building a secret underground nuclear plant at Natanz. Later, the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) determined it was for enriching uranium and released imagery of Natanz in December 2002.
IAEA to get more money for Iran nuclear deal monitoring
(Reuters) – Several states pledged on Thursday to back a U.N. nuclear agency request for 4.6 million euros ($5.7 million) as soon as possible to pay for its monitoring of an extended, interim nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
Iran and Modern Cyber Warfare
Today US intelligence services seem to finally have become aware of the potential damage a cyber-attack can inflict, therefore Washington is placing particular stress on enhancing its “combat capabilities” in virtual space. Therefore, not only the CIA, but the NSA and the Pentagon have started getting substantial resources on an annual basis in order to be able to create the most advanced cyber-weapons conceivable.
In 2013 alone Washington has allocated one billion dollars to the NSA and 685 million dollars for the CIA for them to carry out offensive cyber-operations and develop spyware like Flame and Duqu and malware like Stuxnet, which had previously been used against countries “that are unfriendly to the United States”, specifically against Iran, Syria, North Korea, and China.
Additionally, Washington has been busy with the creation of a 5000 men strong specialized unit that goes under the name of United States Cyber Command, which is headquartered, according to Bloomberg, at Fort Meade military base in Maryland. This unit alone has been provided with a hefty 3.94 billion dollars in 2013, while in 2014 this sum increased to 4.65 billion dollars, forcing countries that are being targeted by the United States’ offensive cyber-operations to increase their own defensive capabilities as well as creating similar units.