Brief on Iran

Brief On Iran (BOI -101), Newsletter, November 02, 2015

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Baghdad Probing Deadly Attack on Iran Opposition Camp
Yahoo News

The former US military base, near the international airport, houses members of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, an opposition group that has been exiled since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The group says 80 rockets were fired, killing 23 of its members in what it described as the worst such attack since it was moved to Camp Liberty after the 2011 US troop withdrawal from Iraq.

The death toll could not be independently confirmed and Rasool said only that two members of the Iraqi security forces were wounded by the rocket fire.

 

UN Strongly Condemns Attack on Iranian Exiles Camp In Iraq

United Nations News Centre

30 October 2015 – The United Nations has strongly condemned the attack that occurred Thursday evening on a camp located near Baghdad International Airport that houses over 2,100 Iranian exiles and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
The attack on Camp Hurriya (Camp Liberty) left at least 26 residents dead and many more wounded, and also reportedly caused casualties among the Iraqi Security Forces in the vicinity of the camp, according to a statement issued by the spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
“The Secretary-General calls on the Government of Iraq to promptly investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice. There can be no impunity for such attacks. He reminds the Government of Iraq of its responsibility to provide for the safety and security of the Camp’s residents.”
The UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) also urged the Government “to do its utmost” to abide by its commitments in providing adequate security for the residents of the camp and to launch an independent investigation into the killings.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted that the authorities have evacuated the injured to Baghdad hospitals, adding that the full extent of the casualties and damage to the camp is still being ascertained.

Iraq: Investigate deadly Camp Liberty rocket attack

Amnesty International

iraq

This was a horrific act of violence against the residents of Camp Liberty, which cannot simply be ignored by the Iraqi authorities. They must ensure a prompt, independent and effective investigation into this attack and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.
30 October 2015, 14:20 UTC
A rocket attack on a camp of Iranian exiles in Iraq is a despicable and callous crime, Amnesty International said as it called for an immediate investigation, urgent protection and assistance for the camp’s residents.
Camp Liberty, in north-east Baghdad, was struck by a barrage of rockets last night, which killed at least 23 people, including one woman, and injured dozens. An Iraqi Shi’a militia, the al-Mukhtar Army, claimed responsibility for the attack and warned that the attack may be repeated.

Rocket Attack on Camp Hurriya in Iraq

rocket

US Department of State

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC

October 29, 2015

The United States strongly condemns today’s brutal, senseless terrorist attack on Camp Hurriya that killed and injured camp residents. Our condolences go out to the families of the victims, and we hope for the swift recovery of those injured.
We have been in touch with senior Iraqi officials to ensure that the Government of Iraq renders all possible medical and emergency assistance to the victims. We also urge the Government of Iraq to provide additional security for the camp’s residents and to find the perpetrators and hold them accountable for the attack, consistent with its obligations under the December 25, 2011 agreement with the United Nations.

Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)
Sunni Man in Danger of Imminent Execution in Rajai Shahr Prison
Iran Human Rights

sunni

Iran Human Rights, October 29 2015: A death sentence for a Sunni Muslim prisoner was reportedly confirmed by Iran’s Supreme Court. Shahram Ahmadi, who is being held in Rajai Shahr Prison, may be executed at any moment.
According to close sources, in spring 2009, Ahmadi was shot and injured by Iranian security agents in Sanandaj before he was arrested and taken to a hospital. He was transferred to both the Ministry of Intelligence detention centers in Sanandaj and Zanjan where he was reportedly held in solitary confinement for more than 60 months and subjected to interrogations until he was charged with “Having relations with Salafi groups and assassinating Sanandaj’s Sunni Friday Prayer Imam”. In an unprecedented move, Iranian authorities reportedly transferred Ahmadi’s case file from Sanandaj to branch 28 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Moghiseh. In accordance with the judicial process in Iran, the case file of defendants must be examined or investigated where the alleged crime was committed.
Ahmadi has written and released multiple letters from prison denying the assassination charge against him and claiming that he was arrested only because he is a preacher of Sunni Islam.

Three Prisoners Executed on Drug Charges in Gilan
Iran Human Rights

Iranian official sources report on three executions and one last-minute rescue from execution for a total of four prisoners at Rasht’s Lakan Prison.
Iran Human Rights, October 10 2015:According to the press department of Gilan’s Judiciary, three prisoners with drug related charges were hanged at Rasht’s Lakan Prison on Saturday October 10 and also on the same day, a prisoner who is on death row for an alleged murder charge was reportedly spared from execution at the last moment after receiving a reprieve from plaintiffs on his case file.
Iranian official reports have only identified the three executed prisoners as M.M., 36 years old, R.A., 49 years old, and Gh.A., 39 years old. No additional information about the identities of the prisoners has been released by Iranian official sources. The prisoner who was saved from execution has been identified as A.N., 30 years old, charged with fatally stabbing a person.

UN investigator: Executions in Iran could top 1,000 in 2015
The Associated Press
Edith Lederer

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – Executions in Iran have been rising at “an exponential rate” since 2005 and could top 1,000 this year as the country cracks down on drug offenders, a U.N. investigator said Tuesday.
Ahmed Shaheed said in a report to the General Assembly and at media briefings that Iran executes more individuals per capita than any other country in the world.
He said the majority of executions violate international laws that ban the use of capital punishment for non-violent offenses and for juveniles. He urged Iran to impose a moratorium on the death penalty in those cases, and for all but the “most serious crimes” where it can be shown there was an intention to kill that resulted in the loss of life.
Shaheed, the special investigator on the human rights situation in Iran, said the “shocking 753 executions” carried out by Iran in 2014 – the highest number ever – will be topped this year.

Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle East)
Nations agree to disagree on Assad’s future in Syria
Al Jazeera

aljazeera

Major powers to meet again in two weeks for a new round of talks as US announces deployment of troops to fight ISIL.

Major powers meeting in Vienna have failed to reach an agreement on Syria, especially the future role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but found enough “common ground” to meet for a new round of talks in two weeks, even as the conflict enters a new phase with the deployment of US special forces in the war-torn country.
“There were tough coversations today,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a press conference on Friday. “This is the beginning of a new diplomatic process.”
Kerry acknowledged that those present have major differences on the Assad regime.
“But we cannot allow the differences get in the way of diplomacy to end the killing.”

Iran backs six-month Syria ‘transition’ ahead of peace talks
Reuters
Parisa Hafezi and Louis Charbonneau

Iran signalled on Friday that it favoured a six-month “transition” period in Syria followed by elections to decide the fate of President Bashar al-Assad, an apparent concession ahead of the first peace conference Tehran was permitted to attend.
Although sources who described the proposal said it amounted to Tehran dropping its insistence on Assad remaining in power, it was not immediately clear whether it would actually include steps that would remove him.
Assad’s government held an election as recently as last year, which he easily won. His opponents have always rejected any proposal for a transition unless he is removed from power and barred from standing in any election that followed.

Iranian Man Arrested in Germany on Spying Charges
The Associated Press

BERLIN – German authorities say they have arrested a 31-year-old Iranian man on suspicion he was spying for Tehran on an opposition group.

Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that Maysam P., whose last name wasn’t given in accordance with German privacy laws, was arrested in Berlin on Oct. 23.

He’s accused of spying since December 2013 for Iran on the opposition group known as the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, which is active in Germany and elsewhere. He’s suspected of researching opposition members and passing the information on to a contact in Iranian intelligence in exchange for money.

Obama Fumbles For Credibility In Syria As Russia and Iran Seize Initiative
The Guardian

New US plans to beef up its military response in the Middle East smack of fear as the desire to avoid entanglements once again founders on geopolitical realities

Under withering fire from political opponents, Barack Obama is once again shuffling his Syria cards, hoping against hope that he can salvage US credibility from the wreckage of his twin failures to defeat Isis terror and topple Bashar al-Assad.

Fear is driving Obama’s latest rethink: fear that Russia and Iran are winning the strategic tug-of-war for decisive influence in both Syria and Iraq; and fear that his Middle East legacy will be an anarchic arc of muddle and mayhem stretching from Mosul to the Mediterranean.

US officials told Congress this week the White House is considering a range of rejigged military options to fight Isis. They include temporary deployments of limited numbers of special forces in Syria, and attack helicopters in Iraq, plus more forward-based target-spotters to increase the accuracy and efficacy of coalition air strikes.

Iran- Nuclear Activities
NSC Opens Office To Oversee Iran Deal Implementation
Al Manitor

U.S. President Barack Obama, with Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd R) at his side, meets with a group of veterans and Gold Star Mothers to discuss the Iran nuclear deal at the White House in Washington September 10, 2015. Gold Star Mothers is an organization of mothers whose children have died while serving the U.S. in war or times of conflict. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - RTSIDU

U.S. President Barack Obama, with Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd R) at his side, meets with a group of veterans and Gold Star Mothers to discuss the Iran nuclear deal at the White House in Washington September 10, 2015. Gold Star Mothers is an organization of mothers whose children have died while serving the U.S. in war or times of conflict. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque – RTSIDU

The US National Security Council is joining the State Department in establishing a new office to oversee implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, to be headed by NSC Director for Nonproliferation Paul Irwin, a veteran of the US nuclear negotiating team, US officials tell Al-Monitor.
The new directorate signals the White House plans to play a lead role in the critical implementation phase of the landmark nuclear deal. It comes as the Obama administration has also tapped several veterans of the US-Iran nuclear negotiating team to play a continued role interacting with the Iranians on implementation issues. Among them, State Department senior arms control adviser James Timbie, and top State Department Iran sanctions coordinator Christopher Backemeyer, who, along with Irwin, were key members of the US team with firsthand experience negotiating the deal with the Iranians.

Former Iran President Indirectly Admits Country Sought Nuclear Weapons
The Jerusalem Post

Rafsanjani: At the time that we started, we were at war and we were looking to have this capability [the nuclear bomb] for the day that our enemy would want to resort to the nuclear bomb.

Former Iranian president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani indirectly admitted that his country started a nuclear weapons program during the Iran-Iraq war.

According to interviews Rafsanjani gave to Iranian media in recent days, he and supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei personally wanted to meet the man behind Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan. The Iranians held talks with the scientist.

“The regime was looking to acquire [a] nuclear bomb when it initiated its nuclear program and has never abandoned the idea,” said the Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in an article posted late Tuesday on its website. It included key points from the interview Rafsanjani gave state news agency IRNA on Monday.

UK and Iran Take Steps To Rebuild Historic Ties
ITV

The British Embassy in Tehran, set amidst rolling gentle gardens amidst rose bushes, trees and vines, is an oasis planted in the heart of a city which has seen waves of political storms and upheavels.

Yet throughout the decades of Iran’s convulsive political crises, revolutions and wars, the embassy in Tehran has been a constant fixture.

When you pass through the considerable security at the main gate on the busy Ferdowsi Avenue and step into the grounds, you feel as though you’ve set foot back in time.

It’s little wonder it feels that way – the embassy was built in 1876, although Britain’s diplomatic presence in Iran was established in 1821, long before most modern Arab states were even founded.

Iran’s Man in New York Is Hunting for Billions of Dollars
Bloomberg
Kambiz Foroohar

Iran, by its own admission, needs $150 billion of investment annually for many years ahead to repair the damage from a decade of isolation. That’s a tall order for a country that, even when sanctions are finally lifted, will still be an opaque and scary place to most foreign investors.

The 57-year-old Iranian-American — a Cornell University-educated, ex-Citigroup banker who learned the trade under the tutelage of Robert Rubin and Sandy Weill — may have no official role, but by all accounts he’s President Hassan Rouhani’s go-to guy in New York financial circles. Biglari brings together investors and Iranian power brokers, at conferences or private meetings, as he pushes to drum up interest in his homeland. He had left Iran as a student a couple years before the 1979 revolution and wouldn’t return, not even for a visit, until the reformist Rouhani’s election some three decades later. Yet in a sign of his expanding influence now in Tehran, Biglari receives invitations to address the central bank there. In conversations, Biglari quickly makes clear he is aware of the magnitude of the current challenge.

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