Brief on Iran

Brief On Iran,(BOI) Newsletter, April 20th, 2015

Written by OIAC
Brief On Iran – Newsletter
April 20th, 2015
  Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)

The Times
Iran has hanged at least 43 people in the past three days as the regime purges its bulging prison population.

Executions have surged under President Rouhani. The inmates of Rajaishahr and Ghezelhesar prisons were hanged in groups of six or seven in the city of Karaj, west of Tehran, as the authorities clear out the “ghost wards” – death row cells crammed with convicts. Both jails suffer from horrendous overcrowding, a legacy of the country’s chronic problems with drug smuggling and addiction.

 Iran Human Rights 

Eight prisoners were hanged in Alborz province (west of Tehran) this morning, reported the Iranian state media.

According to the official website of the Judiciary in Alborz Province, the prisoners who were executed this morning were all convicted of drug-related charges.

Haji Reza Shah Karami, the prosecutor of the Revolution Court of Karaj said: These eight prisoners were involved in manufacturing and selling narcotic drugs such as crystal.

Non of the prisoners were identified by name.

According to reports by Iran Human Rights (IHR), at least 2052 prisoners have been executed between 2010 and 2014. Drug convicts are tried by the Revolution Courts behind the closed doors and many of the prisoners are sentenced to death based on the confessions they have given under torture.

The Associated Press

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – Iran’s semi-official ILNA news agency says thousands of teachers have staged nationwide protests demanding higher wages.

The report says peaceful protests were held Thursday in several cities, including the capital, Tehran.

It says the teachers gathered in silence in front of provincial Education Ministry buildings. In Tehran, hundreds of teachers gathered in front of parliament.

The protesters carried placards in which they asked for higher wages and demanded the release of teachers allegedly detained in similar protests last month.

 By OIAC

 

Former US Marine Amir Hekmati has formally renounced the Iranian half of his dual American-Iranian citizenship, three and a half years after he was arrested and accused of spying while in Iran on a trip to visit his family.

The story was conveyed to the media via Hekmati’s sister Sarah, and via a letter dictated by phone to his mother and sent to the office of the US embassy in Pakistan, which handles affairs for visitors to Iran, in absence of direct diplomatic relations between the US and the Islamic Republic.

In his letter, Hekmati affirmed the interpretation of his imprisonment that has been advanced by many of his advocates in the US. Iran has never provided evidence to support its accusations of spying, which originally led to Hekmati being sentenced to death before that sentence was thrown out and replaced with a ten year prison term on the charge of cooperating with “hostile governments.”

“It has become very clear to me that those responsible view Iranian-Americans not as citizens or even human beings, but as bargaining chips and tools for propaganda,” Hekmati explained in his letter, as quoted by the Associated Press. “Considering how little value the Ministry of Intelligence places on my Iranian citizenship and passport, I, too, place little value on them and inform you, effectively that I formally renounce my Iranian citizenship and passport.”

AFP – Yahoo News

Former US Marine Amir Hekmati has formally renounced the Iranian half of his dual American-Iranian citizenship, three and a half years after he was arrested and accused of spying while in Iran on a trip to visit his family.

The story was conveyed to the media via Hekmati’s sister Sarah, and via a letter dictated by phone to his mother and sent to the office of the US embassy in Pakistan, which handles affairs for visitors to Iran, in absence of direct diplomatic relations between the US and the Islamic Republic.

In his letter, Hekmati affirmed the interpretation of his imprisonment that has been advanced by many of his advocates in the US. Iran has never provided evidence to support its accusations of spying, which originally led to Hekmati being sentenced to death before that sentence was thrown out and replaced with a ten year prison term on the charge of cooperating with “hostile governments.”

“It has become very clear to me that those responsible view Iranian-Americans not as citizens or even human beings, but as bargaining chips and tools for propaganda,” Hekmati explained in his letter, as quoted by the Associated Press. “Considering how little value the Ministry of Intelligence places on my Iranian citizenship and passport, I, too, place little value on them and inform you, effectively that I formally renounce my Iranian citizenship and passport.”

  Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle East)
   Associate Press
Ali Akbar Dareini

Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle East)TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – International nuclear inspectors will be barred from all Iranian military sites under any deal with world powers, a senior commander in the Revolutionary Guard said Sunday, setting up a possible standoff as negotiators try to reach a final deal.

Gen. Hossein Salami, the Guard’s deputy leader, told Iranian state television that allowing foreign inspection of military sites is tantamount to “selling out,” raising the stakes as talks between Iran and the six-nation group are to resume April 22 in Vienna.

“We will respond with hot lead (bullets) to those who speak of it,” Salami said. “Iran will not become a paradise for spies. We will not roll out the red carpet for the enemy.”

Salami said allowing foreign inspectors to visit a military base would amount to “occupation,” and expose “military and defense secrets.”

   The New York Times

WASHINGTON – In February, a year after the Las Vegas Sands was hit by a devastating cyberattack that ruined many of the computers running its casino and hotel operations, the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., publicly told Congress what seemed obvious:Iranian hackers were behind the attack.

Sheldon G. Adelson, the billionaire chief executive of Sands, who is a major supporter of Israel and an ardent opponent of negotiating with Tehran, had suggested an approach to the Iran problem a few months before the attack that no public figure had ever uttered in front of cameras.

Fox News

 

UNITED NATIONS –  U.N. Security Council members were moved to tears Thursday as the first eyewitness to the latest suspected chlorine attacks on civilians in Syria emerged from the country to give a graphic eyewitness account of dying children.

A Syrian doctor who treated victims from a half-dozen attacks over the past month, Mohamed Tennari, was helped out of the country by the United States, which arranged for the closed-door briefing.

He showed a video of a suspected chlorine attack March 16 in his town of Sarmin in Idlib province, with images of three children, ages 1 through 3, dying despite attempts to resuscitate them. The medical area was so cramped that one of the children was lying on top of their grandmother, who also died.

“Everyone smelled bleach-like odors” and heard the sound of helicopters, Tennari later told reporters after showing them the video. He said most of the victims were women and children.

The Tower

 

A top State Department official said Tuesday that the United States is aware of increased Iranian involvement in the civil war currently taking place in Yemen, and is “‘looking at ways’ to ensure a long-standing United Nations Security Council arms embargo on Iran is enforced,” The Hill reported yesterday.
Gerald Feierstein, principal deputy assistant secretary of State for near eastern affairs, made his remarksTuesday at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing.
Iran proposed a peace plan for Yemen earlier this week, but Feierstein said, “If the Iranians are serious about the peace plan, in the first instance they should stop sending weapons to the Houthis.” …
Feierstein said the U.S. would be “looking at ways” to ensure a long-standing United Nations Security Council arms embargo on Iran is enforced, and will track an Iranian ship near Yemen.
“We will be keeping a careful eye on it. We also have significant forces in the area, and we’ll be tracking,” he said.

Huffington Post
 

SANAA, Yemen (AP) – Iran dispatched a naval destroyer and another vessel Wednesday to waters near Yemen as the United States quickened weapons supply to the Saudi-led coalition striking rebels there, underlining how foreign powers are deepening their involvement in the conflict.

Iran’s English-language state broadcaster Press TV quoted Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari as saying the ships would be part of an anti-piracy campaign “safeguarding naval routes for vessels in the region.”

The maneuver comes amid an intense Saudi-led Gulf Arab air campaign targeting the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis, who come from a Shiite sect. Critics say Shiite power Iran backs the Houthis, though both the Islamic Republic and the rebels deny any direct military assistance.

Yahoo News

 

“If only Obama had paid attention to Iraq … But his only interest in Iraq was in ending the war.” -Emma Sky, former aide to the top US commander in Iraq

Emma Sky is no warmonger. She is a British, Oxford-educated political analyst who served as a humanitarian worker in the Middle East for a decade before helping the US rebuild Iraq.

And her new book, “The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq,” is not kind to the Obama administration’s handling of Iraq.

From 2007 to 2010, Sky was the political adviser to US Gen. Ray Odierno when he served as deputy American commander in Iraq and then the US-led mission’s top commander. During Sky’s time with Odierno, violence in the country plummeted after a US troop surge and crucial Sunni tribal cooperation stabilized the country.

Odierno “wanted US engagement with Iraq to continue for years to come, but led by US civilians, not the military,” Sky wrote, according to a book excerpt published in Politico. “He believed that, in order to train Iraqi security forces and provide the psychological support needed to maintain a level of stability, 20,000 or so US troops needed to stay in Iraq beyond 2011.”

The Times

 

President Putin cleared the way yesterday for Russia to sell a sophisticated air-defence system to Iran in a move that could complicate efforts to secure a historic nuclear deal with Tehran.

The Russian leader signed a decree lifting a self-imposed ban on completing an $800 million contract to provide S-300 missiles to Iran. It was put in place five years ago under pressure from the United States and Israel.

 Iran- Nuclear Activities
Mohammed Javad Zarif

Iran is ready to return to nuclear enrichment “without any limitations” unless the West pursues a path of “co-operation” in concluding a deal and removing all sanctions, the country’s foreign minister told Euronews.

Speaking in an interview in Lisbon, Mohammed Javad Zarif warned against a gradual or phased end to the economic embargoes place on Tehran by the European Union, United Nations and United States.

“We can have the path of confrontation or we can have the path of co-operation, we cannot have a little bit of each,” he said.

AP- Yahoo News
Ded Riechmann  

 

WASHINGTON (AP) – Even if the U.S. Congress rejects his final Iranian nuclear deal, President Barack Obama could use his executive pen to offer Tehran a hefty portion of sanctions relief on his own. Lawmakers have insisted on having a say on what could be a historic accord that the U.S. and five other nations are trying to finalize with Iran. The aim is to prevent the Islamic state from developing nuclear weapons, while in return Iran would get a break from U.S., European and U.N. sanctions that are choking its economy.

Negotiators are working to complete a final deal by the end of June. Talks will resume next week in Vienna, it was announced Thursday.

In the meantime, legislation is expected to pass both the Senate and House that would block Obama from using his current authority to waive congressional sanctions against Iran for at least 30 days after any final agreement, to give lawmakers time to weigh in.

Fars News
 

“The Islamic Republic of Iran plans to produce at least 190,000 SWUs (Separative Work Units) of nuclear fuel at the industrial scale, while we also think about 1,000,000 SWUs, which will be needed to fuel 5 power plants like Bushehr (nuclear power plant),” Kamalvandi said, addressing a meeting dubbed as ‘an Analysis of Lausanne Statement’ in Tehran on Tuesday.

“This is the reason why we have inked an agreement with the Russians to construct two nuclear power plants for the generation of electricity while the Chinese will also enter this arena soon,” he added.

Elsewhere, Kamalvandi referred to the contents of the Lausanne nuclear statement issued by Iran and the world powers on April 2, and said based on the statement, Iran has accepted little limitations on its Research and Development (R&D) program, which will come to an end after a 10-year period.

Noting that based on the statement, the Fordo uranium enrichment facility in Central Iran will be kept intact, he said that over 1,000 centrifuges will remain at Fordo.

Faith Karimi and Deirdre Walsh

(CNN)Iran will sign a final nuclear agreement only if economic sanctions against the nation are removed on the first day of the deal’s implementation, President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Islamic republic’s supreme leader, meanwhile, told state-run media outlets he is neither in favor nor against the proposed deal because it isn’t final, and he’s not certain it will become binding because he has “never been optimistic about negotiations with the U.S.”

Six world powers and Iran reached a preliminary deal last week that aims to limit Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.

The United States, however, has stressed that if a final deal is reached with Iran, the removal of any sanctions will come in phases.

But work on the agreement isn’t finished.

Negotiators from Iran and the United States, China, Germany, France, Britain and Russia have until June 30 to come up with a final deal.

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