Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)
Iran Human Rights
Iranian authorities have executed four prisoners in northern Iran and one prisoner in southern Iran who may have been under the age of 18 when he allegedly committed the murder that Iranian courts sentenced him to death for.
Gilan Judiciary’s press department reports on the exeuction of four prisoners at Lakan, Rasht’s central prison, on the morning of Saturday January 16. According to the report, three of the prisoners were sentenced to death on drug charges. Their names have been identified as: S.Gh., 50 years old; M.F., 35 years old; and A.A., 24 years old. The report identifies the other prisoner as: H.R., 27 years old, sentenced to death for rape.
Iran News Update
During the first week of January, a number of reports have emerged emphasizing the continuance of Iranian human rights abuses through the end of 2015 and into the beginning of 2016. It can be expected that some human rights organizations will eventually present statistics on these abuses throughout the recently ended year. But this data will still take some time to accumulate and assess. Nevertheless, the latest reports may give some indication of the conclusions that are to come.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee had approved legislation that, if passed, would give the US Congress significantly increased oversight on the nuclear agreement that was concluded with Iran on July 14. This move is the latest in a series of efforts by the Republican-led legislature to exert control over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, for the sake of either preventing the implementation of widespread sanctions relief or expressing general opposition to the Obama administration’s arguably conciliatory policies toward the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle-East)
It’s likely that some of the billions of dollars in sanctions relief granted to Iran under a landmark nuclear deal will go to groups deemed to be terrorists, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday. But, he added, he doesn’t believe Iran will be able to use the freed-up cash to boost funding of malign activities if it is serious about revamping its economy.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday he has asked his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, for “whatever help” he could give in tracking down three American contractors who disappeared in the Iraqi capital last week.
“I asked him for whatever help – if Iran knew any way to provide help or there were some way they could have an impact on getting the right kind of outcome, I asked him to give us that input,” Kerry told reporters in Davos.
Iran is recruiting Afghan Shia fighters in their tens of thousands to step up the Islamic Republic’s efforts in the Syrian war, offering them salaries to join the fight to save the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
As the conflict enters its fifth year, Iranian media has said that there are some 20,000 fighters in the Fatemiyon division, which is made up of both naturalised Afghans who lived in Iran and those who have travelled from Afghanistan.
Three U.S. citizens who disappeared last week in Baghdad were kidnapped and are being held by an Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia, two Iraqi intelligence and two U.S. government sources said on Tuesday.
Unknown gunmen seized the three on Friday from a private residence in the southeastern Dora district of Baghdad, Iraqi officials say. They are the first Americans to be abducted in Iraq since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011.
The U.S. sources said Washington had no reason to believe Tehran was involved in the kidnapping and did not believe the trio were being held in Iran, which borders Iraq.
The single greatest strategic challenge the United States faces in 2016 remains the Islamic Republic of Iran. Even though it released captive U.S. sailors, it remains a source of terror and sectarianism that keeps the region in a continuous and growing death spiral. Still, there is a yawning gap between U.S. words and actions toward Tehran that has been noted by the regime in Tehran and has, in fact, empowered its bad behavior. The contradictions of U.S. policy must give way to consistent, sober analysis and statecraft if we are to regain the upper hand and promote the regional stability and security we all seek.
U.S. intelligence agencies investigating the kidnapping of three Americans in Baghdad last week are focusing their probe on three militant Islamic groups closely affiliated with Iran, U.S. government sources said on Thursday.
Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Kata’ib Hezbollah and the Badr Organization are the principle focus of the probe into how the men were snatched in the Dora neighborhood, south of Baghdad, the sources said.
When 2015 drew to a close, I was dismayed to see that many leading Western policy makers were still clinging to the notion of a moderate Iranian regime. At the same time, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran was continuing to exploit the moderate appearance of his regime in order to encourage more Western conciliation and deflect further scrutiny. Now sanctions have been lifted on Iran by Western powers, the insincerity of Rouhani’s regime has become more visible.
Iran- Nuclear Activities
Was the nuclear agreement with Iran a good or bad decision for the U.S.? That debate is now mostly moot; the ultimate verdict will only come with the passage of time.
Now that the deal is done, there is a more pressing matter: What to do next about Iran? What will the U.S. and its friends do to ensure this new world becomes more, rather than less, safe?
In August, these Iranians told us what they thought about the agreement. Now, they tell us what they think about its implementation.
“The best resolution.” “A path to the progressive world.” “Nothing more than a piece of paper.”
As the Obama administration celebrates what it claims is a great victory for its nuclear diplomacy with Iran, many Americans are scratching their heads and wondering how we got to this point given the many examples of Iranian bad faith and belligerent behavior since the nuclear deal was announced last July. For example…
· Because the IAEA declared that Iran met the requirements to roll back its nuclear program to what the nuclear deal calls “Implementation Day,” it will receive approximately $150 billion in sanctions relief even through Iran is still designated by the United States as a state sponsor of terror and was listed in a June 2015 State Department report as the world’s leading terrorist state.