Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)
The Iranian authorities must urgently halt the scheduled execution this Sunday of a teenager who was just 15 years old at the time of his arrest, said Amnesty International. Alireza Tajiki, now 19 years old, was sentenced to death in April 2013 after a criminal court in Fars Province, southern Iran, convicted him of murder and rape primarily on the basis of “confessions” extracted through torture which he repeatedly retracted in court. His execution is due to take place on Sunday 15 May in Shiraz’s Adel Abad Prison in Fars Province.
“Imposing the death penalty on someone who was a child at the time of the crime flies in the face of international human rights law, which absolutely prohibits the use of the death penalty for crimes committed under the age of 18. It is particularly horrendous that the Iranian authorities are adamant to proceed with the execution when this case was marked by serious fair trial concerns and primarily relied on torture-tainted evidence,” said James Lynch, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.
Iran Human Rights (May 12 2016): Iran Human Rights has obtained a phone interview conducted by the human rights news site, HRANA, with Azadeh Geravand, the wife of Reza Hosseini, a man who was recently executed by Iranian authorities on drug charges. HRANA has also published court documents and Mr. Hosseini’s will. According to these documents, Reza Hosseini, who was executed on May 3, had insisted on his innocence in court and did not possess a previous criminal record. Iran Human Rights (IHR) calls on the United Nations to conduct an independent investigation into Reza Hosseini’s case.
Reza Hosseini, 34, who resided in the city of Kuhdasht (located in the province of Lorestan, western Iran), was reportedly among four prisoners hanged to death on Tuesday May 3 at Karaj’s Ghezel Hesar Prison (northern Iran). In an unfair trial that reportedly lasted only a couple minutes, a notorious revolutionary court judge by the name of “Tayerani” sentenced Hosseini to death on drug related charges without presenting a single piece of evidence to support the claims. According to official court documents obtained by Iran Human Rights, Hosseini was charged with possession of 140 kilograms and 305 grams of heroin, but he never pled guilty in court or accepted the charges against him.
In a ceremony in Paris on May 2, Reporters Without Borders declared four journalists to be heroes and heroines of 2016; amongst them was Ms. Narges Mohammadi, an Iranian political prisoner, lawyer, and human rights activist.
During this ceremony, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo expressed her support for all those who work for freedom of expression. She presented City of Paris medals to the chosen journalists and praised their endeavors, saying that the gates of the French capital will always be open to them.
Mohammadi has been arrested many times for her human rights activities. She was last arrested on 5 May 2015 at her home by judicial security agents without prior notice and was transferred to the notorious Evin Prison in northern Tehran. The arrest initiated a six-year prison sentence that had already been handed down in March 2011.
The parents of the British mother jailed in Iran travelled to the city where she is being held on Tuesday, hoping to visit her for the first time since her arrest. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 37, was detained by the Revolutionary Guard Corps on April 3 and separated from her infant daughter, Gabriella, who is 22 months old.
Mrs Ratcliffe, who holds dual British-Iranian nationality, had been on holiday visiting her parents in Tehran.
After her arrest, she was transferred to an undisclosed prison in Kerman province, 600 miles south-east of Tehran, and placed in solitary confinement.
Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle-East)
On May 10, the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported that Eynollah Tabrizi, former deputy commander and advisor to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Karbala Corps, acknowledged that it is now four years since the inception of the Iranian regime’s military intervention in Syria. He conceded that 1200 IRGC forces have lost their lives in this conflict.
Tabrizi, the commander of the Aleppo front, made these remarks in a gathering of the Basij forces in Sari, the provincial capital of Mazandaran.
Tabrizi attempted to soft pedal the heavy blow dealt to the IRGC in Syria in the past weeks, especially on Friday, May 7, around Khan Touman in southern Aleppo where dozens of IRGC forces were killed or wounded in clashes with the Free Syrian Army.
The extension of the ceasefire around the city of Aleppo is a welcome development. Now the international efforts in Geneva should focus on adopting urgent, robust measures to ensure that it is fully respected.
The indiscriminate bombing of civilians, including women and children, hospitals and medical facilities in Aleppo by the Assad regime and its backers that prompted the international diplomatic push for a temporary ceasefire is not only a cowardly act; it is tantamount to a war crime.
A verifiable, permanent end to the Assad regime’s bombing of innocent civilians in beleaguered cities must be the prerequisite to the international push to secure a political transition. Assad and his backers, the Iranian regime and Hezbollah, should and must not be allowed to use the talks to improve their position on the ground by targeting defenceless citizens and the Syrian opposition.
Iran- Nuclear Activities
In April, the Islamic Republic of Iran conducted another rocket launch, ostensibly to put an Iranian satellite into orbit, which fell far short of its mark. Many analysts speculated that its purpose had nothing to do with satellites. Those paying attention to Iran’s recent activities & skeptical of the Islamic Republic suggested that this latest launch was yet another example of Tehran’s ongoing effort to test its long-range ballistic missile program.
About two weeks later, these suspicions were confirmed when the deputy commander of the Iranian armed forces, Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi, boasted that the launch had been a successful test of “another” ballistic missile. The latter, this IRGC commander proclaimed, was supposedly a precision-guided projectile capable of striking targets upwards of 1,200 miles. Additionally, this latest weapon system is reportedly similar to five others tested since September and capable of carrying a nuclear payload.
A White House-allied group funded a private email listserv that pushed out pro-Iran talking points and anti-Israel conspiracy theories to hundreds of influential policy experts, government officials, and journalists during the Iran nuclear debate.
Members of Gulf/2000 include activists and writers who worked closely with the Obama administration on Iran issues. One is Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council, a lobbying group working to repeal Iran sanctions. Another is Al-Monitor reporter Laura Rozen, who a White House aide described as her “RSS feed” on Iran in the Times article. Cirincione is also on the list.
“[A]s the nuclear issue has become effectively – for now – insulated due to the support of Khamenei, critics are seeking to undermine Rouhani through other issues,” wrote Parsi in March 2014. “Human rights – due to the impact it has on Rouhani’s external image and the impact that can have on negotiations – appears to be one such issue.”
A recent New York Times profile on a top Obama national security official explains the intricate, and dubious methodology the administration used to spin the Iran nuclear deal to the public.
The piece focuses on Ben Rhodes, the White House’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, and offers a particular insight into how he and his team created the narrative surrounding the Iran deal, Obama’s key foreign policy objective. The piece, written by David Samuels, shows how Rhodes applied his creativity and unique relationship with the president toward the narrative that eventually convinced the public, and in turn Congress, that the deal was worthwhile. That narrative, however, was made up of little more than an invented “story” of an aspiring novelist turned foreign policy wonk.