Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)
U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child states:
“The Committee is seriously concerned about the reports of increasing numbers of girls at the age of 10 years or younger who are subjected to child and forced marriages to much older men.” Girls suffered discrimination in the family, in the criminal justice system, in property rights, and elsewhere, while a legal obligation for girls to be subject to male guardianship is “incompatible” with Tehran’s treaty obligations, the panel said.
I met Saber Sharbati during a soccer game in prison. He was full of energy and life. As months turned into years between cells and barbed wire courtyards, we grew as close as brothers. He would tell me that each morning, he was gripped with the fear that it might be his last. Each night, his slumber was tormented with the same dream: dim figures placed a noose around his neck and he struggled until daylight as the chair was pulled from under his feet.
Five Iranian-American groups wrote to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last week, urging him to work for the release of an Iranian-American businessman who has been detained in Iran since October.
The letter, delivered on Friday, said there was no evidence to justify the detention of Siamak Namazi, who was “left behind” in the wake of a U.S.-Iran prisoner deal that saw other Americans released from Iranian jails last month.
The Washington Post
As Russian planes decimate Aleppo, and hundreds of thousands of civilians in Syria’s largest city prepare for encirclement, blockade and siege – and for the starvation and the barbarity that will inevitably follow – it is time to proclaim the moral bankruptcy of American and Western policy in Syria.
TEHRAN, Iran – Iran says it is cracking down on Valentine’s Day celebrations and shops engaging in them will be guilty of a crime.
Iranian news outlets reported the police directive Friday warning retailers against promoting “decadent Western culture through Valentine’s Day rituals.” Police informed Tehran’s coffee and ice cream shops trade union to avoid any gatherings in which boys and girls exchange Valentine’s Day gifts.
Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle-East)
UN investigators called the deaths of those detained by the regime a crime against humanity.
The crimes against humanity committed by the Assad regime, according to the UN, far outnumber those of Isis militants and other jihadist groups.
Foreign officials dealing with Iran since the mullahs seized power have often wondered who is really in charge in Tehran. Chris Patten, a British politician who served as the European Union’s foreign policy point man, once observed that Iranian officials he dealt with always turned out to be “actors playing the role of ministers.”
The impression is that Iran has two governments: One that is presented to the outside world, and another that wields the real power. Last week that impression was reinforced when Ali Akbar Velayati, whose title is special foreign policy adviser to the “supreme guide,” flew to Moscow on what he said was a “mission to start the Islamic Republic’s new strategy,” which was labeled as “Looking to the East.”
The real moderates in Iran are those who are imprisoned for fighting for democratic change.
Everyone loves to deal with moderates, especially when they represent a rare shift toward moderation for a rogue state. The trouble is that the concept of a moderate is relative. In dealing with the former Soviet Union we heard the term “Politburo moderates” over and over. Reaching out to this fabricated species was an excuse for being nice to despicable governments.
Wall Street Journal
Iran plans to sell 300,000 barrels of crude oil a day to European customers now that Western sanctions have been lifted, the country’s oil minister told state media Saturday.
It is the first time Iran’s top oil official, Bijan Zanganeh, has said how much of its new exports would be headed for Europe, a major market for the Islamic Republic before much of the West imposed sanctions in response to Tehran’s nuclear program in 2012. Iran is trying to boost its oil exports by 500,000 barrels a day in the next few months, with much of the rest going to Asia.
The new details of Iran’s plans demonstrate how the world’s biggest energy producers–among them Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran itself and the U.S.–are pushing hard to grab their share of the European energy market.
The U.S. military has no current plans to intervene against the Syrian regime and Russian assault on Aleppo or provide air drops to the starving civilians, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said Wednesday.
“The situation in and around Aleppo has, in our view, become dire” but “our focus really is to defeat ISIL, so that’s where our focus remains,” Army Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, also known as ISIL.
Warren echoed the policy of the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon that has rejected to date the pleas of human rights groups for the creation of a safe zone or a no-fly zone along the Turkish border to protect thousands of refugees fleeing Aleppo in northeastern Syria.
Iran- Nuclear Activities
Iran awarded medals of honor on Monday to its nuclear negotiators, who helped clinch a landmark deal with world powers last year.
President Hassan Rouhani presented the “Medal of Merit” to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the “Medal of Courage” to Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan and Vice President Ali Akbar Salehi, who is also the country’s nuclear chief.
The July 14 agreement brought about the lifting of international sanctions last month after the United Nations certified that Iran had met all its commitments to curbing its nuclear activities.
Iran says Peugeot to pay $446 mln compensation for sanctions move
French car-maker PSA Peugeot Citroen will pay Iran over 400 million euros ($446 million) in compensation for losses after it quit the country due to sanctions, the managing director of the country’s largest carmaker said on Sunday.
Peugeot, the biggest-selling European carmaker in pre-sanctions Iran, suspended sales in 2012 when an international boycott against Iran due to its nuclear program was extended to the automobile sector. Most sanctions were lifted in January.
The Daily Beast
Newly released satellite images of Iran’s top-secret Parchin military complex reveal that even as Iran was working to negotiate a nuclear deal, it was apparently working to hide its atomic work of the past and hedge its bets for the future.
Forecasting site Stratfor.com says the images published Monday show Iran building a tunnel into a heavily guarded mountain complex inside the Parchin facility, some 20 miles southeast of Tehran, while also working to erase signs of alleged high-explosive testing at another area on the site.
“We’re not saying they’re cheating on the nuclear deal,” Stratfor analyst Sim Tack told The Daily Beast. “The images show Iran was going through the motions to hide what it’s done before, and it is still…developing facilities that the IAEA may or may not have access to,” Tack said, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
A Republican senator wants to compel the Obama administration to tell Congress what it knows about ties between North Korea and Iran.
“It’s undeniable that Iran and North Korea have been cooperating on nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development for years now. Iranians have reportedly been present for at least three of North Korea’s nuclear tests,” Sen. David Perdue said in a statement provided to Roll Call.