Brief on Iran (BOI – 318)


U.N. Urged to Restore Sanctions on Iran for Stonewalling Nuclear Inspections
CNSNews, June 8, 2020

( – Iran’s continuing refusal to allow U.N. nuclear inspectors to access two suspect sites should prompt the reimposition of all U.N. sanctions that were lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, critics of the regime said at the weekend.

Two International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) quarterly reports due to be presented to its board of governors later this month were leaked to wire agencies late last week, and both reflect concerns about the regime’s behavior.

They prompted Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and an exiled dissident who helped to expose Iran’s covert nuclear program almost two decades ago to call for the U.N. to join the U.S. in reimposing sanctions. Russia’s permanent representative to the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog on Saturday accused unnamed “member states” of being behind the “outrageous” leak of the reports ahead of their formal presentation to the board.

“I am absolutely sure that the leaks of confidential #IAEA reports on #Iran aren’t the fault of Secretariat of the Agency,’’ tweeted Mikhail Ulyanov. “This is the responsibility of some individual Member States who leak the reports to #US media in a hope that they will create an unhealthy atmosphere around Iran.”

One of the reports deals with Iran’s ongoing breaches of its commitments in the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the other with its stonewalling of IAEA efforts to ascertain the extent of the regime’s past attempts to develop a nuclear weapons capability.

The activities concerned allegedly took place long before Iran and major powers concluded the JCPOA. But Iran under that deal committed to help resolve questions about whether at any time it had carried out work with applications for developing an atomic bomb.

In a previous report, issued last March, the IAEA said it had “identified a number of questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities at three locations that have not been declared by Iran.”
The March report said the IAEA had sought access to two of the three sites, where nuclear material may have been stored or processed, but that “Iran has not provided access to these locations and has not engaged in substantive discussions to clarify the Agency’s questions.”
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US sanctions on Iran shipping companies come into effect
Mike Pompeo implores international community to notice Tehran’s ‘continued deception’
The National, June 8, 2020

US sanctions on a large Iranian shipping company and its subsidiary came into effect on Monday, as relations continued to simmer between Tehran and Washington.

The sanctions, announced by the US State Department in December last year, are on the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and its Shanghai subsidiary, E-Sail Shipping Company.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the action against the companies was in line with an executive order against proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters.

After a 180-day grace period to allow firms who worked with the two companies to find alternative shipping methods, the sanctions came into effect.

“IRISL has repeatedly transported items related to Iran’s ballistic missile and military programmes and is also a long-standing carrier of other proliferation-sensitive items, including Nuclear Suppliers-Group controlled items,” Mr Pompeo said.

“Despite Iran’s claims that it will never develop nuclear weapons and associated delivery systems, the Iranian regime has continued to pursue and procure proliferation-sensitive items in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.” He urged the international community to “take notice of Iran’s continued deception”.

“These designations serve as a clear warning that anyone doing business with or otherwise supporting IRISL or E-Sail are exposed to potential sanctions and risk contributing to Iran’s proliferation-sensitive programmes, including its nuclear and missile programmes,” Mr Pompeo said.

“We urge government authorities worldwide to investigate all IRISL and E-Sail activity in your ports and territorial seas and take appropriate action to put a halt to it.

“The world must be vigilant and take action to prevent Iran from acquiring proliferation-sensitive items that further threaten regional stability and security.”
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Iranian Dissidents Say over 50,000 Have Died of Coronavirus
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Iran’s largest dissident organization, revealed that, by its tally, over 50,000 people have died in the country as a result of the Chinese coronavirus as of Sunday.
BreiBart, June 8, 2020

The NCRI – using sources communicating with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), its wing active within the country – has kept its own independent log of confirmed deaths as a result of coronavirus infection since the outbreak first picked up speed in the country in March. Iran is considered the most severely affected country in the Middle East by the pandemic largely as a result of a slow and ineffective response to rising numbers of infected in the country.

The Iranian Islamic regime claims that slightly over 8,000 people have died of coronavirus in the country. It has boasted of having a better response to the pandemic that most world powers and credited the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), its terrorist military wing, for protecting the public from the virus.

At the local level, Iranian officials have complained that the official nationwide numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths are smaller than the sum of the totals local officials had tallied in their own provinces. Some have openly criticized the government for its poor handling of the crisis and accused it of

The NCRI noted in its report Sunday that the death toll in Tehran is over 10,000 people, by far the largest of all provinces, given its population density. Another province that reportedly is struggling to keep up with the rise in cases is Hormozgan, where the NCRI cited state-run news to quote its governor confirming that the province’s hospitals have run out of intensive care unit beds. Other regions, like Iran’s Kurdistan province, are reportedly experiencing what authorities are calling a “second wave” currently rising after a dip in the number of coronavirus diagnoses.

The Iranian regime has repeatedly applauded itself for its handling of the pandemic. On Monday, the Health Ministry confirmed 70 new deaths in a 24-hour period and slightly over 2,000 new cases. Tehran claims 8,351 people have died nationwide, less than five times the number that NCRI has documented. The new numbers indicate an acceleration in the spread of the virus, unlike the downward trend many countries that began diagnosing coronavirus cases at the same time that Iran did are currently seeing.
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Iran warning: Tehran now MONTHS away from making nuclear bomb
IRAN has enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear bomb within months, an expert has warned.
Express, June 7, 2020

Dr Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Association, believes the rogue state has enough components to make viable atomic weapons.

The regime’s nuclear bid halted under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Britain, France and Germany still cling to the deal but Tehran announced last year that it would no longer be abiding by its terms following the US withdrawal in 2018.

Since then, it has increased the number of centrifuges that had been dismantled under the deal. These are used to enrich uranium and allow it be used in nuclear weapons. Dr Heinonen told a National Council of Resistance of Iran conference: “Iran has not only increased its number of centrifuges, but produced about one tonne of low enriched uranium, enriched up to 4.5 percent.

“This amount is actually enough to make one nuclear device if Iran wants to enrich it further to the level of 90 percent. “At the same time, Iran has installed additional centrifuges and is testing new models of centrifuges.” More elaborate centrifuges will take years to develop but Iran has 2,000 lower capacity centrifuges.

Dr Heinonen added: “If the 2,000 centrifuges are reassembled it will double the Iranian enrichment capacity.
“It will bring the breakout time – the time that it takes to produce highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon – to perhaps only two or three months.

“This is certainly a matter of concern to the international community.” He told the conference he believed Iran had consistently broken the terms of the Joint Plan and non-proliferation treaties, even before President Trump walked away from the deal.

He added: “I had the opportunity to study the atomic archives discovered in 2018.”They indicated that Iran had not really dismantled its nuclear weapons-related research and development.Why? “Iran has provided no access nor explanation.

Not only is Iran in non-compliance with its own comprehensive safeguard agreement which was concluded under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it most likely has undeclared uranium in its possession.”
In October, Iran hoped to see the lifting of a five-year UN arms’ embargo imposed.
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Iran Protests & more

As Cost Of Living Rises In Iran Millions Fall Under Poverty Line
Radio Farda, June 5, 2020

The poverty-line income needed by a four-member household in Iran has risen from 25 million to 45 million rials monthly in the past two years, showing an eighty percent increase, the Islamic Parliament Research Center (IPRC) says in a new study.

This means most ordinary workers and laborers do not even earn enough to reach the poverty-line income they need to subsist. Minimum monthly wage is currently under 30 million rials (around $200), despite workers’ demands for a 50-million monthly minimum wage. The poverty line in 2010 in Tehran was about ten million rials, which slowly increased until 2017, and then spiked sharply as the national currency lost value and inflation jumped.

Earlier this week at a public session of Majles (Iranian parliament), the caretaker of the IPRC, Mohammad Qassemi, presented a report on the country’s economic situation and ways to improve it.

The report shows that the falling purchasing power of the currency, a high inflation rate along with a significant decrease in per capita income in recent years means people need much more rials to be able to reach the minimum income level they need, defined as the poverty line in Tehran and other parts of the country. The available evidence also indicates the trend has accelerated in 2019 and 2020.

The major reason for this economic decline has been international sanctions (2011-2016) and reimposed U.S. sanctions since 2018. Lower oil prices have also played a role in recent years. The country’s economy also suffers from underlying structural issues, government control and corruption.

There are no recent reliable figures about poverty in Iran, but the head of a state charitable organization reported in 2017 that 10-12 million people live under the poverty line. That was before the severe economic downturn began due to new American sanctions. Since then, millions more might have been added to the poverty ranks.
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Kurdish Political Prison Infected With Coronavirus
Iran Focus, June 8, 2020

Kurdish political prisoner Zeinab Jalalian contracted coronavirus at Qarchak Prison in Varamin and the Ministry of Intelligence isn’t allow her to be taken to a hospital, her father said.

Ali Jalalian said his daughter was moved to the prison’s medical center on June 2, with severe shortness of breath. She was examined by a doctor and tested for coronavirus, before finally being diagnosed.

The Kurdistan Human Rights Network reported that Zainab, who was already suffering from eye, heart, intestinal, and kidney problems, is being held on the quarantine ward of Qarchak Prison, along with several other prisoners infected with the coronavirus. She still has a high fever and shortness of breath, with the prison doctor telling her that the virus had spread to her lungs and that she needed medication to control the infection.

The United Nations and various human rights groups have repeatedly called for Zeinab to be released from her life sentence and to receive medical treatment, the denial of which is terrorism.

In 2018, Amnesty International said: “She has repeatedly asked the prison authorities to take her to a hospital outside the prison for specialized testing and treatment for her health problems but the authorities have either rejected outright her requests or have accepted them on the condition that she make videotaped ‘confessions’.”

Zainab has moved miles away from her family to Qarchak Prison – one of the most notorious in the country – from Khoy Prison in May, even though the Prisons Organization is obligated to house prisoners in the prison closest to their families.

Human rights organizations and Iranian prisoners have warned that Qarchak Prison is overcrowded and unsanitary, which will help spread the coronavirus. Even before the coronavirus, Qarchak Prison, which used to be an industrial chicken farm, was regarded as one of the most dangerous prisons for women.
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Commentary:How Iran Is Hijacking Racial Tensions In America For Its Own Gain
The Federalist, June 6, 2020 by Seena Saiedian

The tragic death of George Floyd created a beautiful moment of international solidarity. From Idlib, Syria to Berlin, Germany, protesters have expressed empathy and support for Black Americans fighting racial injustice. But while it is important to recognize this solidarity, we also cannot overlook the hypocritical attempts by authoritarian regimes to hijack the movement for their own gain.

The opportunistic mullahs in Iran have quickly jumped on growing social animosity in the United States to shape their own political narratives back in Iran. As Americans grieve over Floyd’s death, the Iranian regime has—in brazen, disgusting fashion—taken advantage of racial tensions to paint itself as a beacon of civil rights.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is usually busy tweeting about the destruction of Israel, took a break from casual threats of genocide to share a video about the history of civil rights within America, tweeting “If you’re dark-skinned walking in the US, you can’t be sure you’ll be alive in the next few minutes,” along with the hashtags #ICantBreathe and #BlackLivesMatter.

A similar sentiment was echoed by Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who condemned “silence” over “brutality against protesters” and “military crackdown.” This faux humanitarianism is an insult to the Iranian people, in particular, the 1,500 men and women who were mercilessly murdered by security forces during the anti-government protests in November 2019.

Where was the regime’s compassion towards the oppressed when innocent and peaceful Iranians—among them, children—were shot at point-blank range for demanding basic, essential human rights?

Any regime that tortures dissidents, represses ethnic and religious minorities and treats women as second-class citizens has no business claiming any solidarity for civil rights or for protest movements—Iran least of all. When nationwide protests broke out in Iran last November, the regime and its network in the West slandered and delegitimized the Iranian people.

Sina Toosi of the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), the regime’s political lobby in America, said “some powerful force seemingly has an interest in escalating the situation,” sharing a video of rocks being thrown on a bridge that implied foreign influence was guiding the protests. This type of rhetoric dismisses the ever-present struggle of the Iranian people as a sort of “foreign interference” in Iranian affairs.

Contrast this with Toosi’s commentary on the George Floyd protests, which has based its line of argumentation around the claim that President Trump has “declared war” on protesters. It is quite maddening to see NIAC remain quiet when the Iranian regime shoots and bombs protesters in Iran, Syria, and Iraq, only to turn around and label U.S. law enforcement attempts to stop rioting as akin to fascist militarism.
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OIAC Youth Webinar on June 6th, 2020

Dr. Azadeh Sami moderated the first Roundtable discussion by the Young Iranian-American Professionals and Youth of OIAC.
In her opening remarks, Dr. Sami said “Just as we were trying to catch our breaths from the devastating consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, this past week in America, we witnessed unrest as we saw yet another outcry of social injustice. The values of both race and humanity were threatened. It is human nature for us to rise up and protest when we witness anyone being harmed and mistreated. It is also empowering to witness voices around the world joining in solidarity against such acts. We reflect on this point of social injustice and see that, while many mourn this horrific act, the Iranian regime once again attempts to exploit this act.
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