Brief On Iran – Newsletter
Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)
Several people reportedly hurt in city of Mahabad following clashes with police and protesters.Several people were reportedly hurt in a northwestern city of Iran after hundreds of ethnic Kurdish protesters clashed with police following the suspicious death of a local woman, according to news reports and witnesses.
A witness told Al Jazeera that the demonstrators faced off with police on Thursday along the highway in front of the burnt out Tara Hotel in Mahabad, 680km west of the Iranian capital Tehran.
It was unclear who was responsible for the fire, but according to Rudaw, a Kurdish news website, the protest followed the death of Farinaz Khosrawani, 25, who fell from the hotel, where she reportedly worked.
Angry protesters were reportedly demanding the quick prosecution of the unidentified suspect, who is in police custody.
Several photos provided by the witness to Al Jazeera showed a building on fire, while another showed images of dozens of people throwing rocks at police in riot gear.
Other photos posted on social media also showed protesters with injuries.
According to news reports, the Kurdish community accused a security guard in Tara Hotel, where Khosrawani worked, of attempting to rape her, and said she jumped out of the hotel to escape, dying instantly.
OIAC- Thursday morning, May 7, gatherings by noble teachers and education-system employees in protest to the hardships in their lives and that of their families have begun in Tehran and many cities across the country, including Mashhad, Esfahan, Tabriz, Zanjan, Sanandaj, Hamedan, Qazvin, Shahr-e Kord, Sabzevar, Damghan, Shiraz, Sari, Kermanshah, Ahwaz, Babol, Marivan, Ardebil, Qom, Bushehr and Gatvand.
In Tehran, 6000 teachers assembled in front of regime’s parliament. This gathering began at 9:30 a.m.despite the fact that the security forces and intelligence agents had been stationed in the area from early morning who attempted to prevent any assembly of teachers by employing various methods.
The protesting teachers are carrying placards that read “I shall cry out, no matter what; dreading this storm and dreading this injustice”, “Free imprisoned teacher Rasoul Bodaqi”, “Teacher is vigilant and detests prejudice”, “We demand hiring of kindergarten and contract teachers”, “Free and equal education is the right of all children of this nation”, “Teacher cries out, media censors” and “Stop privatizing schools and turning education into business”.
Iran Human Rights
A Tehran court has charged the prominent Iranian civil rights activist and deputy head of the banned Defenders of Human Rights Center, Narges Mohammadi, with crimes against national security for her peaceful activism.
Narges Mohammadi told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court, under Judge Salavati, has summoned her to appear in court on May 3 “for a review of charges” leveled against her.
“I have three charges in a thick file, the entire evidence and documents for which are my activities, demands, and insistence on the realization of a civil society in Iran. Whatever activities I have had in this area has been used against me in a case,” she told the Campaign. “My case file is thick and my charges are heavy, but unfounded. I do not accept any of these charges,” she added.
| Iran’s Forgotten Activists Remain Defiant|
Iran’s dissidents appear to be on their own. Once revered and celebrated by the international community, Iran’s dissidents appear to be an afterthought in respect to policy towards Iran. This reality was on full display this past week, as the Iranian regime arrested Nargess Mohammadi, Vice-President of the Defenders of Human Rights Centre (DHRC). The arrest of Mohammadi is just the latest example of the regimes ongoing war against freedom of speech and human rights activists.
Mohammadi had been facing continual pressure from authorities in regards to her human rights work, and had previously been sentenced to six years in prison for charges that were solely political in nature. Mohammadi had recently been involved in overt opposition against the inhumane policies of the regime, including giving a passionate speech on the second anniversary of the death of Iranian blogger Sattar Beheshti.
During the speech, Mohammadi stood beside Behshti’s eldery mother, Gohah Eshgi, who has also become a face of opposition against the regime in Iran. (Watch speech in Persian here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hibHguSIsI) In the speech she condemns Iran’s authorities for murdering Beheshti under torture.
Beheshti was murdered in November 2012 several days after being arrested by the Iranian Cyber Police unit for criticizing the regime on Facebook. In one of his blog posts, Beheshti directly addressed the Supreme Leader Khamenei, and sharply criticized the judicial system stating it was; “nothing but a slaughterhouse,” and that “the sentences and … the executions carried out … were not out of a desire for justice – but were aimed at terrorizing the people! So that no one will complain!”
Cairo- Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian forces – and their use of barrel bombs – have turned war-ravaged city into “circle of hell”, citizens tell Amnesty International.
Forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity on a daily basis in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo, according to Amnesty International.
The extent of the city’s destruction was detailed in a report released by the group on Tuesday.
Amnesty said the relentless scourge of bombs and mortars has forced many civilians to eke out a desperate existence underground.
“We are always nervous, always worried, always looking to the sky,” a teacher from Aleppo told Amnesty International. Another resident described the city as “the circle of hell”.
OIAC- US Takes Part in a Rally Supporting Iranian Protesters & Teachers in front of White House today
Iranian youth set a hotel on fire in Mahabad protesting the death ofYoung women named Farinaz Khosravani who plunged to her death to escape being raped by an agent of Intelligent Ministry.
Continuing with their heroic uprising, the valiant people of Mahabad raided the office of the Iranian regime’s Ministry of Information and Security on Thursday, May 7.
They also set fire to pictures of Ali Khamenei and Khomeini in various areas of the city and clashed with the anti-riot forces. This uprising bagan in protest to the death of Farinaz Khossravani, 26 year old Kurdish woman, who on May 4 jumped off the fourth floor of the hotel where to protect herself against being abused by an intelligence agent.
The demonstration that began on Thursday afternoon, led to extensive clashes between the people and Iran’s elements as the suppressive forces brutally attacked people and fired tear gas and BB bullets injuring dozens. The angry crowd shouted anti-government slogans such as “death to Basij forces” and “death to the dictator” as they clashed with droves of suppressive forces. They also chanted: “My sister Farinaz” There are many postings on the social media titled: “I am Farinaz”.
Iran insists it doesn’t punish people for their beliefs, but its prison population – and a scathing new report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom – say otherwise.
The bipartisan commission’s 2015 report on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s incarceration and persecution of Christians, Baha’is, Jews and minority Sunni Muslims prompted key lawmakers to call for new human rights sanctions targeting Iran’s clerical regime, and urged President Obama, whose administration is currently in nuclear negotiations with Tehran, to lead the way.
“If the Obama Administration wants to be serious about holding Iran accountable, it should be working with Congress to reinforce and expand sanctions that target Iran’s ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom and human rights,” Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., told FoxNews.com. “But it’s not.”
Kirk, a leading legislative architect of Iranian human rights and nuclear sanctions, added “Iran’s systematic violations of religious freedom … have gotten worse under the supposedly more ‘moderate’ presidency of Hassan Rouhani.”
The climate of persecution is in spite of Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s recent insistence that “we don’t jail people for their opinions.”
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.
[JURIST]-UN human rights experts on Fridaycondemned
[press release] the growing number of executions in Iran in recent years. According to the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Iran and on extrajudicial executions, Iran has executed about 350 people in 2015 and executed approximately six people per day [press release] between April 9 and April 26.
This year, Iran has performed 15 public executions, which the experts say “have a dehumanizing effect on both the victim and those who witness the execution, reinforcing the already cruel, inhuman and degrading nature of the death penalty.” Iran also executed at least 852 people between July 2013 and June 2014. Many of the crimes for which prisoners were executed were not “most serious crimes,” such as drug offenses. The new Islamic Penal Code
[text] enacted by Iran in 2013 still permits death sentences for juveniles and for crimes like adultery, and repeated alcohol use. The UN is urging Iran to institute a moratorium on the death penalty and consider abolishing the practice.
Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle East)
In public statements, Mr. Obama said the sanctions would be phased out after Iran’s steps were verified, while Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said they would be lifted immediately with the signing of the agreement.
Two months before the final deadline for Iran and the so-called P5+1 powers to conclude a deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program to peaceful uses, the detailed “parameters” made public in Lausanne have revealed sensitive negotiating positions and compromises, and left US and Iranian negotiators politically exposed.
Among the most contentious issues: the timing and scale of sanctions relief.
The American document states that US and EU sanctions meant to force Iran to negotiate over its nuclear program will be suspended only after “Iran has taken all” key nuclear steps, which Mr. Kerry has said could take from four months to a year, and could quickly “snap back” if Iran violated the deal.
But Ayatollah Khamenei said the US fact sheet was “wrong about many things” and a further example of the “obstinate and deceitful [and] backstabbing” nature of the other side.
Syria and Iran are discussing a second $1 billion credit line to prop up the government of President Bashar al-Assad, a key regional ally of the Islamic Republic who’s fighting a four-year war civil war.
Syrian Central Bank Governor Adib Mayaleh said that the Iranian government has given preliminary approval for the credit line, the second since 2013. The governor said Syria still has money left from the first $1 billion agreement, which helps finance imports.
“Iran remains an ally of Syria,” Mayaleh said in a telephone interview from Damascus.
Iranian military and financial support has helped Assad’s government survive Syria’s conflict. Hezbollah, a pro-Iranian Lebanese militant group, has sent fighters to Syria to help Assad’s forces battle mainly-Sunni groups seeking his ouster.
Gulf leaders are alarmed by America’s nuclear deal with Iran, and are seeking new security guarantees.
BARELY a day passes when Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, does not bemoan the “bad deal” that America is negotiating with Iran to curb its nuclear programme. There is no such overt hostility from leaders of the Arab monarchies of the Gulf, who have publicly welcomed the progress made so far. Within their gilded palaces, though, the kings, emirs, sultans and sheikhs are just as alarmed as Israel. In return for their silence, they want America to make a big new commitment to their security.
Forget President Barack Obama’s declared hope that the nuclear accord may lead to a broader rapprochement with Iran, say Gulf leaders; ignore the sweet talk from Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, who says the deal could be the starting point for more stable regional security arrangements. Pay heed instead to the sayings and doings of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards: they call for the downfall of Saudi rulers and seized for some days a container ship passing through the Strait of Hormuz.
“We do not jail people for their opinions,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in aninterview with U.S. journalist and television personality Charlie Rose aired on April 27.
Zarif made the comments in response to a question about the fate of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who’s been imprisoned in Iran on espionage charges.
Despite the claim by Zarif, rights groups say there are several hundred political prisoners in Iran, some of which have ended up in prison for expressing their opinions or because of their peaceful political activities.
They include student activists Bahareh Hedayat and Majid Tavakoli and opposition figures Mir Hossein Musavi, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mehdi Karrubi, who have been under house arrest for some four years without being formally charged.
The New York Times
President Obama’s meeting with Arab leaders this week is an opportunity to reassure the deeply skeptical Gulf states that America’s engagement and probable nuclear deal with Iran is not a threat but an opportunity for regional stability.
Iran is a Shiite nation; the Gulf states are majority Sunni, and the closer Iran and the big powers get to a deal (the self-imposed deadline is June 30) the more anxious the Sunni leaders have become. On this score, Mr. Obama can offer a convincing response: an Iran restrained by a strong and verifiable nuclear agreement is a lot less threatening than an unfettered Iran.
But there is another aspect to the deal that has unsettled Gulf leaders. In exchange for limitations on its nuclear program, Iran will be freed from economic sanctions, thus unleashing billions of dollars in frozen assets and new foreign investments. The Gulf states fear this could strengthen Iran’s influence in the region and give it more resources to support militant groups like Hezbollah and continue its meddling in Iraq, Yemen and Syria, where, with Russia, it is a major enabler of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.
The Washington Post
The United States, in what may be among the first negotiated deals with Iran since relations broke off in 1980, is allowing the Iranian Interests Section in Washington to move to new headquarters on 23rd Street Northwest in West End.
In exchange, Switzerland, which had been looking for new space for the U.S. Interests Section in Tehran – because the current offices, we were told, were “no longer viable and pretty decrepit” – will be getting new offices as well for the U.S. facility.
“Reciprocity is the hallmark of diplomacy,” one source told us. “This was a swap.”
This news comes after Secretary of State John F. Kerry’s visit in New York last week to the elegant second-floor parlor in the residence of the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations – making Kerry the first senior American official to, at least technically, set foot on Iranian soil in decades.