Iran- Human Rights (Women, Minorities, Ethnics)
Iran Human Rights (APR 19 2017): Seven prisoners were reportedly executed at Rajai Shahr Prison on murder charges on the morning of Wednesday April 19.
These prisoners were among eleven who were transferred to solitary confinement on Sunday April 16 in preparation for their executions. The four other prisoners were reportedly returned to their cells, including Mehdi Bahlouli, who was reportedly 17 at the time of his arrest.
Sources close to Iran Human Rights have confirmed the names of three of the prisoners who were executed: Mohsen Babaie, Farzad Ghahreman, and Siamack Shafie.
Close sources have informed Iran Human Rights that Mohsen Babaie was born in 1988, and he was arrested in 2011. “Mohsen was an accountant. In 2011, he and his business partner got into a physical altercation. His partner died after Mohsen punched him in the face. If the murder victim’s son does not forgive him, Mohsen will be executed,” a source close to Mohsen tells Iran Human Rights. Iranian official sources, including the media and the Judiciary, have not announced these seven executions.
A 21 years old man was hanged in public in the city of Babol (Northern Iran).
One man was hanged publicly in the city of Babol Saturday morning April 22, reported the state run Iranian news agencies.
The state controlled YJC news agency reported that the 21 year old man was identified as H.R. sentenced to qisas death penalty (retribution).
H.R. was covicted of murdering another man identified as R. F. 1,5 years ago.
The family of the murder victim and some officials were also present during the public execution.
Heavy security in Tehran as campaigning starts for Iran’s May presidential vote
Campaigning officially started on Friday for Iran’s May presidential election, pitting pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani against hardliners just as the United States reassesses its policy on the Islamic Republic.
A hardline watchdog body in charge of vetting candidates and laws, the Guardian Council, approved six candidates on Thursday for the May 19 vote – including Rouhani – but hardline former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was disqualified.
A witness who was near Ahmadinejad’s house in eastern Tehran on Thursday night told Reuters that “around 50 police officers had blocked two ends of the street to his house to prevent possible gathering of his supporters”.
Last week, Ebrahim Raisi, a notorious human rights abuser, announced his candidacy for the upcoming sham Iranian presidential elections on May 19. Raisi was a member of “Death Commission,” as it is known among Iranian political prisoners. The commission oversaw the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988, mostly members and supporters of the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK).
Raisi was a low level cleric at the time and in return for his services was elevated in the rank and files of the mullahs’ hierarchy. Raisi is a close confidant of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and has even been tipped as a possible successor to him. Currently Raisi is the custodian of Astan Quds Razavi, the wealthiest charity foundation in charge of Iran’s holiest shrine in Mashhad, northwestern Iran, with very close ties to Khamenei’s powerhouse.
Iran’s judiciary has ordered internet companies to block the Telegram messaging application’s newly released “Voice Calls” service, calling it a threat to national security, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned.
An informed source said the order was issued in a letter to 20 internet service providers (ISP) on April 17, 2017.
Telegram, widely used in Iran, began rolling out the service on April 9, but it was blocked the next day by the country’s mobile phone operators. However, ISPs continued to allow clients to use the new service, CHRI’s investigations indicate. In a statement announcing the launch of the free, voice call service, Telegram said it had implemented encrypted security measures to protect users. Such measures would make it more difficult for Iran’s security forces to hack into citizens’ accounts.
Activist demands Iran Olympics ban over ‘sexual apartheid’
Agence France Press
Paris (AFP) – Iranian human rights activist Darya Safai on Friday demanded sports sanctions against her country as punishment for banning women from stadiums, a policy she described as “intolerable sexual apartheid”.
Speaking in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, one of the two cities bidding for the 2024 Olympics, the 42-year-old, wearing a tee-shirt bearing the slogan “Let Iranian women enter their stadiums”, demanded an end to segregation.
“We want to tell the International Olympic Committee and the international sports bodies that they must put an end to the discrimination and segregation that women face in sport, to say nothing is to condone it,” Safai told AFP.
Iran- Terrorism Activities (Middle-East)
Last week, Ebrahim Raisi, a potential successor to the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, announced his candidacy for the May presidential elections. At this stage, therefore, the two main contenders for the post appear to be current president Hassan Rouhani and Raisi.
Though former firebrand Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad registered as a candidate this week, he did so in defiance of the Supreme Leader, and it is unclear whether he will remain a viable candidate or survive the watchdog Guardian Council screening.
Senator McCain Praises Iran’s Largest Oppositional Group
The Huffington Post
In a critical move, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has recently met with Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Tirana, Albania. They discussed Iran’s politics, the Islamic Republic’s role in the region, and the future prospects.
This meeting highlights a significant development in establishing further communication with Iran’s opposition.
Today, the Iranian government and media outlets reacted immediately and harshly to this visit by denouncing the United States. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi condemned the U.S. and stated that the US will pay for its mistakes.
To watch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_gsL1hy4lU
In a sign of the growing regional influence of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, a close advisor to its foreign operations commander began his new role as ambassador to Iraq on Wednesday, state media reported.
General Iraj Masjedi was formally the senior advisor to Major General Qassem Soleimani, who oversees Iranian operations in Iraq and Syria, state news agency IRNA reported.
“Iran seeks an advanced, powerful, secure and integrated Iraq,” Masjedi said after he offered his credentials to Iraq’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari. The Revolutionary Guards’ Qods Force has military advisors in Iraq and Syria, and oversees thousands of volunteer fighters and Shiite militias fighting rebel Sunni groups including the so-called Islamic State.Born in Iran’s Arab-majority southern province of Khuzestan, Masjedi has been a Guards member for 35 years and is “deeply familiar with Iraq’s political, security and tribal atmosphere,” said the ISNA news agency.
The recent American attack on a Syrian air base reminds us that the interests of the world still come together in the Middle East and once again it is a centre of great power rivalry. Because of that, the world should be frantically intent on preventing new or wider conflicts there.
Generally missed by much of the media, the state that has the widest set of options to respond to the new role that the US has taken upon itself in the Middle East is Iran. Iran has military advisers in Syria as well as a large force of its proxy, Lebanese Hezbollah. Iran’s strategic aim is to extend Shia influence over a swath of the Middle East from the Gulf to the Mediterranean, something now looking very achievable. Hezbollah has a long history in the Syrian civil war and could be in the best position to respond to the US actions by attacking “the Little Satan”, Israel.
Damascus and Pyongyang violated their agreements. Tehran can comply and still threaten millions.
The U.S. has signed agreements with three rogue regimes strictly limiting their unconventional military capacities. Two of those regimes-Syria and North Korea-brazenly violated the agreements, provoking game-changing responses from President Trump. But the third agreement-with Iran-is so inherently flawed that Tehran doesn’t even have to break it. Honoring it will be enough to endanger millions of lives. The framework agreements with North Korea and Syria, concluded respectively in 1994 and 2013, were similar in many ways. Both recognized that the regimes already possessed weapons of mass destruction or at least the means to produce them. Both assumed that the regimes would surrender their arsenals under an international treaty and open their facilities to inspectors. And both believed that these repressive states, if properly engaged, could be brought into the community of nations. All those assumptions were wrong. After withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Pyongyang tested five atomic weapons and developed intercontinental missiles capable of carrying them.
Iran- Nuclear Activities
Iran: Group claims regime is ‘in full gear’ on covert work on nuclear weapons
The White House responded cautiously Friday to claims by an Iranian dissident group alleging that Iran’s clandestine work on a nuclear weapon has continued unabated by the landmark nuclear deal that Tehran finalized with the Obama administration and five other world powers two years ago.
At a news conference in Washington, members of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) brandished recent satellite imagery and intelligence purportedly derived from informants inside the Iranian military to bolster their claim that the Islamic Regime is still working covertly on what nuclear experts call weaponization: the final station on the path to nuclear weapons.
To watch video: http://video.foxnews.com/v/5406845599001/?#sp=show-clips
The new president of the Islamic Republic of Iran will be elected on May 19. Iran’s Guardian Council will also vet the “ideological qualifications” of each candidate. Here is an initial overview of the candidates.
1. Hassan Rouhani
2. Ebrahim Raisi
3. Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf
4. Mostafa Mirsalim
5. Eshaq Jahangiri
6. Mostafa Hashemitaba
Election season is under way in Iran and the rumour mill is in overdrive as the public tries to divine the backroom machinations that have thrown up major surprises in the past.
“I looked back at the cables our embassy was sending out just a few weeks before the last election,” said a Western diplomat in Tehran.
“None of them were predicting (Hassan) Rouhani would win,” she laughed, referring to the current president.
Rouhani, a moderate cleric with a long history in Iran’s security apparatus, won the 2013 vote after the conservative-dominated Guardian Council blocked every other pro-reform candidate from running.
As I write these words, the Iranian nuclear agreement that was brokered by the Obama administration is sitting on President Trump’s desk. It requires presidential certification of compliance every 90 days, and the president is deliberating on whether or not to certify.
My answer is an emphatic, unqualified, and resounding “No”.
Firstly, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN nuclear regulatory agency, has already certified that Iran has been out of compliance with the deal. The most recent IAEA report specifies that Iran has already exceeded its limit of heavy water under the agreement. Heavy water can use unrefined uranium as a fuel, shortcutting the expensive process of enriching uranium to rapidly produce a nuclear bomb. This is happening, as we speak, in Arak.
Moreover, the US Congress has recently shown support for related measures, and the Senate has signalled the need for more punitive measures to confront the IRGC’s terrorist sponsorship.
Of course, some among the US self-styled ‘liberals’, and even more in the UK and the rest of Europe, oppose these sorts of measures out of concern that challenging the IRGC may be regarded as an affront to the Islamic Republic as a whole. But surely this is a false premise on which the leaders of modern, Western democracies would formulate a strategic policy. Negotiating with Iran over issues unrelated to its support for terrorism and its human rights abuses is cowardly and dangerous. It is simply not reasonable to sweep those issues aside.
Tehran may be angry with the West, but is the US and are European nations to somehow pretend that liberal democracy, safeguarding the rights of all people should no longer be a universal principle. Each is a challenge to the other’s fundamental vision of governance and the future ideological landscape across the globe.
WASHINGTON – An Iranian resistance group claimed Friday that the Iranian regime has expanded its efforts to build nuclear weapons.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said at press conference that the Iranian government has covered up research activities so that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can’t examine it. Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the Washington office of the NCRI, said the information was obtained by the People’s’ Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK), which procured it from onsite observations and sources inside the Iranian government.
NCRI is the parent organization of MEK, which was delisted by the State Department as a terrorist organization in 2012. The group has close ties with key American politicians as Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman recently spoke at a luncheon held by the group.