Brief on Iran

Brief On Iran (BOI -102), Newsletter, November 09, 2015

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Escalation Of Child Execution In Iran
Frontpage Magazine
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

How the nuclear deal has signaled to the Mullahs that there’s nothing to stop their human rights abuses.While Iranian ruling clerics enjoy reaping the economic benefits from the nuclear deal, they also feel triumphant when it comes to the Obama administration’s total disregard of the increasing human rights violations in Iran.
To sustain his nuclear deal, President Obama appears to have made a Faustian bargain with the Iranian leaders: He turns a blind eye to Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism, repressive methods to crack down on social and political freedoms, egregious human rights abuses, while Iran verbally and on the surface, binds itself to the nuclear deal.
This week, Iran’s parliament passed a bill supporting the nuclear deal which was primarily reached between President Obama and the Islamic Republic. Some policy makers were surprised that Iran passed the bill. But why would Iranian leaders not sign a deal that would bring them financial rewards and allow them to be as repressive as they please both domestically and regionally? As I mentioned several weeks ago, it was easy to predict that the Iranian parliament (Majlis) would pass the deal to receive further rewards.

Iran’s War On Drugs Shows How It Would ‘HELP’ In Syria
Chicago Tribune
Eli Lake and Bloombergs

This week, in a little-noticed report, a U.N. official may have helped solve a riddle about Iran. Since President Hassan Rouhani’s election in 2013, state executions in Iran have spiked. How could a man who promised to free political prisoners preside over this reign of terror?
It turns out part of the answer, at least, is the global war on drugs.
According to the report, released by Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N.’s special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, 69 percent of the state executions of prisoners in the first six months of 2015 were for drug-related offenses. In 2014, when Iran executed 753 people (the highest total in Iran in 10 years), Shaheed said nearly half were killed for drug crimes.
There are many reasons the Iranian state detains, tortures and hangs its citizens. These range from offenses against God to publishing propaganda critical of the regime. But it’s the drug dealers who are being hanged the most, according to Shaheed. “The Government holds the view that the implications posed by drug-trafficking to the health and security of the Iranian people render drug-related offences ‘most serious’ crimes and, therefore, they deserve to be considered capital offences,” he wrote.

What Does Iran’s Grim Human Rights Status Portend For It Expanded International Status?
World Tribune
John J. Metzler

UNITED NATIONS – The human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran remains dire despite a number of diplomatic breakthroughs and an overall thaw in relations between the Tehran regime and the West. Thus while Iran has profited by a nuclear “deal” with key Western powers and China and has moreover been included in talks for a long overdue political settlement in Syria, the situation inside the Islamic Republic is still characterized by fear, executions and religious intolerance.
A UN report on the “Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran,” paints a bleak picture of a land gripped by political and social repression, gender discrimination and increasingly so, public executions.
According to the Report, “The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to execute more more individuals per capita than any other country in the world. Executions have been rising at an exponential rate since 2005 and packed in 2014, at a shocking 753 executions.”

Obama and Iran’s Human Rights Record
The Washington Times
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher

The report earlier this month that Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian had been convicted of espionage by an Islamic court in Tehran was on its own account an outrage. With congressional attention given over to electing a new speaker, not to mention the dramatic interrogation of Hillary Clinton, the self-defining nature of this rigged conviction might have been overlooked.
It is too significant to be overlooked.
The ink had not dried on President Obama’s Iran nuclear arms agreement when the mullah regime took a Western reporter who it had imprisoned for more than a year and cast him into an even longer torment. Nothing could have been more clarifying.
This is the nature of the beast our diplomatic establishment has been trying desperately to trust – indeed, a misplaced trust in the mullah regime’s willingness not to develop nuclear weapons.
The Rezaian conviction, an intentional thumb in America’s eye, intruded just when the Obama administration thought the Green Revolution of 2009 had receded into the mists. Then the mass protest challenged the election of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and was met with a bloody putdown in the streets along with mass arrests of brave human rights advocates.

At Least Seven Prisoners Transferred To Solitary In Preparation For Execution
Iran Human Rights

Iran Human Rights, November 3 2015: On Sunday November 1, at least seven prisoners at Rajai Shahr Prison, who are allegedly sentenced to death for murder, were reportedly transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for their executions.
According to close sources, this is the fourth time that Hassan Javadi, one of the prisoners, has been transferred to solitary confinement in prepartion for his execution.
The names of four of the other prisoners are: Arash Azarmipour, Ghorban Golmohammadi, Ali Shahi, and Massoud Ostadkarim.

Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle East)

State ‘Twiddling Its Thumbs’ Over Iranian Dissidents, Lawmakers Say
Washington Examiner
Daniel Chaitin

…..The Oct. 29 attack on Camp Liberty, located northeast of Baghdad International Airport and inhabited by about 2,250 members of the Mujahideen-e Khalq, an exiled opposition group to the Islamic Republic, left 24 residents dead and dozens of others injured. The Mukhtar Army, a Shiite Iraqi militia backed by the Iranian regime, claimed responsibility and threatened more attacks.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle blame the attack on Tehran, but Republicans and Democrats have struck a different tone on what to do to protect the refugees.

“We are totally against the repression of the Iranian regime and what they’ve done,” said Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. “We think that the people of the United States need to understand more clearly about what is really happening.”

Iran’s treacherous landscape in Vienna
American Enterprise Institute
J. Matthew McInnis

This blog series analyzes the most important Iran news events of the past week and provides an outlook of the regime’s strategic calculus.
Iran’s leaders may be pleased about their inclusion in the recent Vienna talks on Syria as a sign of new found respect from the international community.
The need for such talks in the first place was a reminder, though, of the precarious diplomatic and military position that Tehran still faces in the Levant.

In the civil war’s fifth year, Iran recognizes it will likely never recoup a territorially intact, allied state and some partition is probably advantageous. There’s no question that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) is increasing its numbers on the ground, remolding Syria’s security forces in its image, deploying Shia militias from around the region, and employing Lebanese Hezbollah in part to guarantee Tehran’s leverage in any political resolution.

Bahrain Jails Five For Iran Linked Militancy
Iran Focus

London, 6 Nov – Five Bahrainis were convicted on Thursday of conspiring with Iran to carry out attacks inside Bahrain, sentenced to life imprisonment and stripped of their citizenship, Bahrain’s Public Prosecutor was cited as saying by the state news agency BNA.
On Wednesday, the interior ministry said it had arrested 47 members of a group it said had ties to “terror elements in Iran” and was also plotting attacks.
Public Prosecutor Ahmed al-Hammadi said in a statement on BNA that two defendants were present at the sentencing at Bahrain’s Criminal Court, while the rest were tried in absentia.
The statement said the five communicated with members of Iran Revolutionary Guards with the aim of carrying out attacks on banks and public buildings.
Two of them had trained in Iran with the Revolutionary Guards, while the others provided financial and logistical support, it said.
Last month Bahrain recalled its ambassador to Iran, a day after the Gulf Arab state said its security forces had discovered a large bomb-making factory and had arrested a number of suspects linked to the Revolutionary Guards, Reuters reported.

Revealed: Iranian-Supplied, Armor-Piercing IEDs Killed At Least 196 US Troops in Iraq
The CNS News
Patrick Goodenough

(CNSNews.com) – Almost 200 American troops were killed by Iranian-supplied armor-penetrating weapons during the Iraq war, according to declassified Pentagon data made public for the first time on Wednesday.
“According to the [U.S.] Central Command, at least 196 U.S. service members were killed in Iraq by Iranian-made explosive-formed penetrators (EFPs) from 2003 to 2011,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, citing the declassified portion of a report provided to his office. Cruz said that number was being made public for the first time.
EFPs are a particularly effective type of improvised explosive device – a shaped charge capable of penetrating most armor that was used by coalition forces in Iraq.

Iranian Airline Violates Terms Of Nuclear Deal By Purchasing Planes To Use In Syrian War
International Business Times
Erin Banco

Update Nov. 5, 4:30 p.m.: This story has been updated to include language from the nuclear agreement that clarifies the difference between violating the sanctions and violating the nuclear deal itself.
Original story: One of Iran’s commercial airlines last week bought a U.K.-manufactured jet with the aim of using it to deliver Iranian soldiers and weapons to Syria in support of the embattled regime of President Bashar Assad, International Business Times has learned. The purchase of the aircraft by an Iranian concern represents a clear violation of the deal brokered by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, under which Iran pledged to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions, said senior American officials and attorneys who handle issues associated with sanctions compliance.
“Temporary sanctions relief … currently in place does not cover the sale or lease of complete aircraft to Iran,” said Betsy Bourassa, a representative of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence within the Treasury Department in Washington. And a representative of the State Department told IBT that it was aware of the sale and is investigating the transaction.

Iran Responsible For Killing 14 Percent of U.S. Troops in Iraq
Free Beacon
Adam Kredo

Nearly 200 U.S. troops have been killed and nearly 1,000 injured by Iranian-made explosives in Iraq, according to new disclosures from a partially declassified report conducted by U.S. Central Command and described by sources to the Washington Free Beacon.
The number of U.S. deaths resulting from Iranian terrorism were revealed for the first time on Wednesday by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) during a hearing focusing on the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute terrorists directly responsible for the deaths of Americans.
At least 196 U.S. service members fighting in Iraq were killed directly as a result of Iranian-made explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, according to Cruz and congressional sources familiar with Centcom’s mostly classified report.

Iran- Nuclear Activities

The Risks of Having Giant Friends
Asharq-Al Awsat
Amir Taheri

Right now no one could know where the Russian intervention in Syria might end. Entering a war is often easy and getting out always difficult.
However, if history provides any indication, the kind of intervention we now witness in Syria has seldom achieved its stated objectives.
If the mood music from Moscow is to be trusted, the Russian objective is to prevent the fall of the beleaguered President Bashar Al-Assad. Regardless of whether or not that objective is achievable, Assad would do well not to bank on such speculations.
The reason is simple. Russia is not embarking on so perilous an adventure because of Bashar’s beautiful eyes. Rightly or wrongly, Moscow believes it has certain strategic interests in Syria that would come under threat if the Assad regime were swept away before Moscow secures those interests.
However, imposing Assad on an unwilling nation may not be the only way to protect Russian interests. If Moscow finds or is offered other ways of securing its interests it might not hesitate to drop Assad like a hot potato. Worse still, along the way, Moscow might conclude that by propping up Assad it would be undermining the very interests it wants to protect.
With Russian planes flying in Syrian skies, it is no exaggeration to suggest that it is now Vladimir Putin who is in the pilot’s seat as far as Assad’s future is concerned.

‘McDonald’s Diplomacy’:
The Nuclear Deal Has Emboldened Iranian Hardliners – And That Shouldn’t Be A Surprise
Finance Yahoo
Natasha Bertrand

The Iran nuclear deal, the optimism went, could help open up the country to the West. It could soften the influence of hardliners in the country. And it could start to open Iran’s doors to outside businesses, including from the US.
But in the months since the nuclear deal was signed in July, that optimism seems to be unfounded – and experts say that was predictable.
Reports that Iran has become more aggressive in its anti-Western rhetoric and policies have raised questions about why the deal appears to have had little effect on moderating hardliners and improving US-Iranian relations.
“Death to America” remains the favored slogan of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei -who accepted the terms of the deal only conditionally and continues to deny it will lead to any rapprochement with the US – and of anti-America billboards popping up around Tehran.

Iran Military Hackers Target Obama Administration Accounts – Report
The Guardian

US officials working on Iran policy appear to be focus of recent surge in cyber attacks that could be linked to Iranian American’s arrest, Wall Street Journal says.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards stepped up hacking of email and social media accounts of Obama administration officials in recent weeks in cyber-attacks believed linked to the arrest of an Iranian-American businessman in Tehran, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper, citing unnamed US officials, said people working on Iran policy appeared to be the focus of the cyber attacks, with personnel in the State Department’s Office of Iranian Affairs and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs among those hacked. Other targets included journalists and academics.
The latest reports of a surge in hacking attacks come after the landmark international agreement in July that eased severe economic sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear program to ensure it is not used for developing weapons.

F-35 Data Smuggler Sentenced to Jail
Defense News
Lara Seligman

WASHINGTON – A former Connecticut resident has been sentenced to 97 months in jail for attempting to send sensitive technical data on the F-35 engine to Iran.
Mozaffar Khazaee, 61, was sentenced Oct. 23 to 97 months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release, according to a recent Pentagon Inspector General statement. Khazaee also was ordered to pay a $50,000 fine.
Between 2009 and 2013, Khazaee tried to send secret U.S. defense technology to Iran, according to the release. Khazaee, a dual citizen of Iran and the United States, with a degree in mechanical engineering, was employed by three different defense contractors between 2001 and 2013.
Although the statement did not name his employers, engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney has confirmed that Khazaee was an employee of theirs during this period. Pratt manufactures the engines for both the F-22 and F-35.

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