Brief On Iran – Newsletter
Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)
Iran Human Rights
During the past four days at least 10 people have been executed in Iran, according to the official Iranian sources. One of those executed was a woman convicted of drug related charges.
Iran Human Rights, May 13, 2015: One prisoner identified as “M. M.” (44 year old) was hanged in the prison of Rasht (Northern Iran) early Wednesday morning May 13, reported the Iranian state media. The prisoner was convicted of murder, said the report. Another prisoner who was hanged on Wednesday morning was “Kh. Ahmadi” (43) convicted of murder. Thi prisoner was hanged in the prison of Qazvin (Western Iran) according to the official website of the Judiciary in Qazvin province.
Four prisoners were hanged in the prison of Arak (Central Iran), and three prisoners were hanged in the prison of Hamedan (Western Iran), Tuesday morning May 12, reported the official websites of the Judiciary in the provinces of Markazi and Hamedan. All the prisoners were convicted of drug-related charges said the report. The four prisoners executed in Arak were identified as “Ali Y” , “Batool A.” (woman), “Mansour G” and “Abolfazl M.”, all convicted of drug related charges. None of the three prisoners executed in Hamedan were identified by name.
| Iran post-nuclear deal: Killing spree continues|
The ruling theocracy in Iran executed 93 individuals in one week this past month, and no one cried out. According to opposition sources, between April 12 and April 18, Iran executed 65 individuals, many in secret. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) also reported that as many as 200 individuals are currently on death row in Karaj Prison, west of Tehran.
Iran not only leads the world in per capita executions, but it is on pace to break its own record for executions in one year. What is particularly troubling is that these atrocities are being completely ignored by the international community and Western media.
According to the Iran Human Rights Documentation center, the regime executed 721 individuals in 2014. Now, one third of the way into 2015, it has reached almost half that amount at 342, and could top 1,000 executions by the end of this year.
Iran Human Rights
The execution wave continues in Iran. At least 45 people have been executed so far in May 2015.
Iran Human Rights, May 16, 2015: One prisoner was executed in the prison of Mashhad (northeastern Iran) and seven people were hanged in the prison of Shiraz (southern Iran).
The Iranian daily newspaper “Khorasan” reported on Thursday May 15, that a 45 year old man who was convicted of murdering a 26 year old man was hanged in the prison of Mashhad. Both the offender and victim were drug addicts said the report.
According to unofficial reports from Adelabad prison of Shiraz seven prisoners were hanged in this prison. The “Human Right Activists News Agency” (HRANA) reported that four of the prisoners were convicted of armed robbery and executed on Sunday May 11, while three were convicted of murder and hanged on May 13. One of those executed was an Afghan citizen.
Amnesty- Mohammad Ali Taheri, who has spent four years in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin Prison for “insulting Islamic sanctities” through his spiritual beliefs and teachings, is now on trial for an additional charge of “spreading corruption on earth”, for which he may be sentenced to death.
Mohammad Ali Taheri was tried before Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran in two sessions on 11 March and 29 April, for “spreading corruption on earth” (efsad-e fel arz) by establishing a new spiritual group called Erfan-e-Halgheh. This trial has begun when Mohammad Ali Taheri is a year from completing his five-year sentence. He has been in solitary confinement since he was arrested, on 4 May 2011.
The same court had convicted Mohammad Ali Taheri on 30 October 2011 of several offences including “insulting Islamic sanctities”, “committing a religiously forbidden act”, which included touching “non-relatives of the opposite sex” (namahram), “unlawful involvement in the medical treatment of patients” and publishing “misleading” (zalleh) writings, and sentenced him to five years’ imprisonment, 74 lashes and a fine of nine billion rials (about US$315,000). At the time, the court acquitted Mohammad Ali Taheri of the capital charge of “denigrating Prophet Mohammad” (saab ul-nabi) but allowed the prosecutorial authorities to conduct further investigations into the activities for which he was sentenced to five years and seek to convict him of an additional charge of “spreading corruption on earth”.
“[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 Human Rights
The execution wave continues in Iran. More than 140 prisoners have been executed since the beginning of April 2015. Most of these prisoners have been sentenced to death for drug related charges. The United Nations’ Special Rapporteurs issued a statement earlier today condemning the execution surge in Iran.
Iran Human Rights, May 8, 2015: Three prisoners were executed in the prison of Sari (Northern Iran) on Tuesday morning May 6, reported the official website of the Iranian Judiciary in Mazandaran Province. The prisoners who were sentenced to death for drug related charges, and none of them were identified by name.
The Iranian State media also reported on another execution in the Central prison of Qazvin on Tuesday. The prisoner who was not identified by name was convicted of murder, said the report.
Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle East)
Mohammed Ghobari & Mohammed Mukhashaf
Cairo- Saudi-led air strikes hit the rebel-held Yemeni capital Sanaa hours before a five-day humanitarian truce took effect on Tuesday, and Washington cautioned against “provocative actions” after Iran dispatched a cargo ship to Yemen.
The ceasefire began at 11 p.m. (2000 GMT), said Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, spokesman for a Saudi-led coalition which has been striking the country’s Houthi rebels since March 26.
It is intended to allow the shipment of food and medicine to the country, which aid groups warn faces a humanitarian catastrophe after more than seven weeks of war.
There was no let up in fighting, despite the imminent truce.
The Houthis shelled Saudi border areas in Jizan province until the last moments before the ceasefire started, Asseri said on al-Arabiya television, adding that this gave him no confidence the rebel group intended to keep to the truce.
The Financial Times
Beirut-They are hundreds of miles apart and their local struggles have little in common, yet Lebanon’s Shia force Hizbollah and Yemen’s Houthi rebels are opening up about a relationship forged by sectarian politics transforming the Middle East.
With regional tensions exacerbated by a Gulf-backed coalition striking the Houthis, the long rumoured but never proven ties are becoming visible. Some sources say Iran-backed Hizbollah may even be providing direct support to their Yemeni allies – a sign of how the rivalry between Sunni Gulf states and Shia Iran is reshaping local conflicts. Linked by Iranian patronage and emboldened by the fight in Yemen, the Hizbollah-Houthi relationship may fuel rival Sunni states’ fears of expanding Shia alliances, analysts say.
Officially, Hizbollah has made no comment on its role with the Houthis, but a political source close to the group’s leadership said the relationship goes back several years and hinted it may be playing an advisory role to Houthi forces. “Perhaps a limited role, giving advice and counsel, but there is no presence on the ground,” the source said. Other Hizbollah fighters say they have played a more active role on the ground in Yemen.
Lord Maginnis of Drumglass
The White House has made a strong effort to downplay the apparent diplomatic snub that is Saudi King Salman’s decision not to attend this week’s Washington summit with Gulf Cooperation Council leaders. The Obama administration has indicated that they do not regard it as a snub and do not believe that the decision is in response to any substantive difference of opinion.
But it becomes harder to maintain such denials when one considers that the king of Saudi Arabia is not the only regional head of state who has declined the invitation to the summit. The Associated Press reported on Monday that most Gulf leaders will not be there, having elected to send minor delegates instead.
This surely reflects the general status of relations between the current US leadership and the Gulf States as a whole. Although still technically allies of the U.S. those countries don’t seem to take American friendship as seriously as they did under prior administrations. Neither do they put as much faith in U.S. leadership in the region.This was clearly evidenced by Operation Decisive Storm, the Saudi-led bombing campaign against the Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. That operation coincided with the formation of an Arab defensive coalition largely focused on homegrown opposition to the expansion of Iranian influence in the region.
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.
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
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 News Update
Several recent news stories may further contribute to existing uncertainty about whether, and to what extent the international community can retain economic leverage over the Islamic Republic of Iran in the event of a nuclear agreement that leads to the removal of UN sanctions before Tehran’s compliance can be demonstrated.
In its negotiations with Tehran on this issue, the Obama administration has declined to commit to the retention of sanctions until Iranian compliance can be demonstrated. For its part, Iran has insisted that it will agree to no deal that doesn’t include sanctions relief on day one. The Obama administration has instead chosen to focus on the notion of “snap back,” claiming that sanctions can be immediately re-imposed if Iran is found to be cheating on a deal.
This claim has been disputed by various commentators, including former US Special Envoy for Nuclear Nonproliferation Robert Joseph, who gave on online talk on Wednesday via the IranFreedom.org website, in which he discussed his objections to the nuclear negotiations and his more general recommendations concerning Iran policy.
Joseph described the notion of snap back as “illusory,” saying that the emerging nuclear deal lacks effective verification and that commercial interests among countries that begin doing business with Iran will undermine political will to identify cheating or to act upon it with global consensus. Joseph claimed that this would apply even to countries that count among US allies and current adversaries to Tehran, such as France and Germany.
The Czech Republic blocked an attempted purchase by Iran this year of a large shipment of sensitive technology useable for nuclear enrichment after false documentation raised suspicions, U.N. experts and Western sources said.
The incident could add to Western concerns about whether Tehran can be trusted to adhere to a nuclear deal being negotiated with world powers under which it would curb sensitive nuclear work in exchange for sanctions relief.
The negotiators are trying to reach a deal by the end of June after hammering out a preliminary agreement on April 2, with Iran committing to reduce the number of centrifuges it operates and agreeing to other long-term nuclear limitations.
Setting up a potential showdown with Iran, the head of the U.N. atomic agency said Tuesday that a nuclear agreement being worked on by Tehran and six world powers would give his experts the right to push for access to Iranian military sites.
International Atomic Energy Agency head Yukiya Amano spoke as negotiators opened a new round of talks aimed at reaching a deal by the end of June.
Iran tentatively agreed last month to open its atomic activities to greater scrutiny as part of the deal, which would require it to commit to curbing nuclear activities that could be used to make weapons in exchange for relief from international sanctions.
But Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has since set conditions, declaring military sites off limits “to foreigners … under the pretext of inspections.” Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami of the Revolutionary Guards warns that anyone setting foot into an Iranian military facility will be met with “hot lead” – meaning bullets.
In an Associated Press interview Tuesday, Amano said Iran specifically agreed to implement what’s known as the agency’s “Additional Protocol” when it agreed to the outlines of the deal now being worked on.