March 9, 2016
The Washington network of Persian-Americans celebrated Nowruz – the Persian New Year – on Wednesday and took the opportunity to discuss human rights and democracy and Iran.
In the Senate and paired with a luncheon of Persian cuisine, the Iranian-American Cultural Association of Missouri and the Organization of Iranian-American Communities sponsored a bipartisan panel of speakers discussing the situation in Iran.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said, “Iranian culture’s beautiful, the country’s a beautiful country.”
He then spoke on the “evil” regime in Iran. “Best case, they’re gone,” the Senate’s No. 3 Democrat said. “Second-best case – that they’re limited in the kind of bad things they can do both inside Iran and outside Iran.”
Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)
Executions in Iran surged to nearly 1,000 in 2015, a United Nations investigator said on Thursday, the highest level in more than a quarter-century.
The investigator, Ahmed Shaheed, the special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, said in a report to the organization’s Human Rights Council that at least 966 people were put to death in the country last year, roughly double the number executed in 2010 and 10 times as many as were executed in 2005.
40 Iranian political prisoners have written to the council urging it to extend the mandate of Ahmed Shaheed, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran.
The political prisoners said that the mullahs’ regime had failed to deceive or bribe Mr. Shaheed whose reports they said have had tangible effects in the regime’s prisons.
They added that the regime’s judiciary officials have offered political prisoners clemency if they declare that Mr. Shaheed’s reports are bogus.
Iran Human Rights (MAR 11 2016): A man sentenced to death for murder was reportedly hanged at Qazvin Central Prison on the morning of Thursday March 10.
According to the press department of Qazvin’s Judiciary, the prisoner, who was only identified as M.H., was arrested in November 2011 for murdering a 6-year-old boy.
Plan would allow Australia to forcibly return Iranians if Tehran guarantees they would not be persecuted or punished.
Thousands of Iranian asylum seekers caught in limbo in Australia could be returned home under a deal set to be discussed when Iran’s foreign affairs minister visits Australia next week.
Dr Mohammad Javad Zarif will visit as part of a broader push from Tehran to improve its economic and diplomatic relations with the west after last year’s nuclear deal and the lifting of sanctions in January.
Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle-East)
CAPITOL HILL –
The U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday unanimously passed two resolutions to increase pressure on the Obama administration to do more to stop Islamic State terrorists and to help the people of Syria.
The first resolution accuses Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies, singling out Russia and Iran, of committing war crimes against Syrian civilians. It contends that “the vast majority of the civilians who have died in the Syrian conflict have been killed by the government of Syria and its allies, specifically the Russian Federation, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Iran’s terrorist proxies including Hezbollah.”
Three years later, the Obama administration is ready to publicly pin the attack on Iran.
The Obama administration is planning to publicly blame Iranian hackers for a 2013 cyber attack against a small dam in New York state, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The Justice Department has prepared an indictment against the hackers, two of the sources said, and a public announcement could come as soon as next week.
Whereas Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has denied that Iranians are fighting in Syria on behalf of the Bashar al-Assad regime, both the near daily announcements of the deaths of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members from fighting in Syria and the excerpted article-detailing Basij recruitment of volunteers for missions in Syria-contradict any argument downplaying increasingly direct Iranian presence in the Syrian conflict. Recruitment occurs under the guise of defending the shrine[s], the most important of which is that of Zainab, the daughter of Imam Ali, which lies in Damascus. For several years, the Iranian government has described Iranians captured by Syrian opposition forces as religious pilgrims rather than fighters. The open discussion of the IRGC and Basij organizing volunteers to defend Shi’ite shrines in Syria affirms the statements of Syrian opposition forces and belies earlier Iranian denials.
Don’t buy the hype about a win in the recent Iranian elections by “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani.As former undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who negotiated the Iran nuclear agreement on behalf of the Obama administration, recently put it: “Rouhani is not a moderate, he is a hard-liner.” Real moderates were barred from running.
Last summer, Rouhani and other hard-liners negotiated a nuclear deal that gives them a patient pathway to nuclear weapons. They guaranteed the regime more time and money to perfect advanced centrifuges, warheads and missiles. The deal they cut will make their drive for a nuclear weapons program unstoppable.
Iran- Nuclear Activities
U.S. Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton on Wednesday called for sanctions against Iran after the Islamic Republic brushed off U.S. concerns and test-fired two ballistic missiles that it said were designed to be able to hit Israel.
Iranian state television showed footage of two Qadr missiles being launched from northern Iran, which the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) said hit targets 1,400 km (870 miles) away.
Iranian agencies said the missiles were stamped with the Hebrew words, “Israel should be wiped from the pages of history,” though the inscription could not be seen on any photographs.
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?
The Hill reported On March 08, 2016: The top U.S. military commander overseeing the Middle East said that despite the nuclear deal, Iran’s regime shows no signs of altering its destabilizing behavior.
“There are a number of things that lead me to personally believe that, you know, their behavior is not – they haven’t changed any course yet,” said Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, at a Senate hearing.
The Iranian regime’s state media said on Tuesday that its military test-fired ballistic missiles across the country, violating a United Nations Security Council resolution.
Austin said he was concerned about Tehran’s continued testing of ballistic missiles, which the U.S. intelligence community believes is the Iranian regime’s preferred method for delivering a nuclear weapon.
Britain is working with its European partners to help ease the impact of banking restrictions on trade with Iran, Business Secretary Sajid Javid said on Wednesday, adding that the UK had signed a deal to simplify the financing of exports.
International sanctions, including banking restrictions, imposed against Iran ended in January under a deal with world powers in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program.
But U.S. measures including a ban on dollar trading and a freeze on U.S. banks engaging in trade remain in place. This has left non-U.S. banks and insurers wary of processing transactions with Iran, fearing they may still fall foul of the existing measures and a lack of clarity on what they are able to do.
Iran on Tuesday again threatened to walk away from the nuclear agreement reached last year with global powers, hours after the country breached international agreements by test-firing ballistic missiles.
Iran’s most recent ballistic missile test, which violates current U.N. Security Council resolutions, comes a day after the international community’s nuclear watchdog organization disclosed that it is prohibited by the nuclear agreement from publicly reporting on potential violations by Iran.
Iranian leaders now say that they are poised to walk away from the deal if the United States and other global powers fail to advance the Islamic Republic’s “national interests.”