The surge in conflict since June 2014 has continued across significant areas in Iraq. Violence has displaced hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, who have either moved internally or across borders to become refugees in the region. UNHCR and its partners have scaled up operations to respond to their urgent needs for protection and assistance.
The dramatic deterioration of the security situation in Iraq as a result of the fighting is equally worrying in the context of the efforts – on-going since 2011 – of UNHCR and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) to find relocation opportunities outside Iraq for former residents of Camp New Iraq (formerly Ashraf). Approximately 2,700 people reside in the Hurriya Temporary Transit Location (TTL) near the Baghdad International Airport (BIAP).
An Iranian juvenile offender along with his mother and three other prisoners were hanged on Saturday (August 9) in a prison in the southeastern city of Zahedan. The 20-year-old Osman Dahmardeh was 17 at the time of his arrest.
The reports received identified the other three men as Rasoulbakhsh Delshadi, 28, Ali Basham Narouee, 32, and Kamran Bameri, 35.
All five victims were part of a group of six who were transferred to solitary confinement of the quarantine section of the main prison in Zahedan last Friday.
However, at the time of the execution, the henchmen refrained from executing the sixth prisoner, Hossein Mishkar, after putting the noose on his neck.
Crash of Iranian Built Plane Leaves 39 Dead
A locally built Iranian passenger plane crashed shortly after takeoff in Tehran on Sunday, killing 39 people and reviving questions about the safety of a cash-strapped aviation sector left hobbled by international sanctions.
President Hassan Rouhani offered his condolences to victims’ families and quickly ordered an investigation into the crash. Similar planes operated by Iranian carriers will be grounded until the probe is complete, he directed.
The plane was based on a relatively obscure Ukrainian design that has been involved in previous Iranian air disasters.
In August 2013, twenty-four years after serving as the representative of the Supreme Leader in the mullahs’ highest security organization, the Supreme Security Council, Hassan Rouhani took office as the President of the Iranian regime.
His foremost motto as the new man in office was “moderation.” Those who advocate for change from within the religious dictatorship fell head over heels for the new president, hoping for an overture with Iran while keeping the regime in power. They hope for an end to the era of extremism marked by Mohmoud Ahmadinejad, which promises to open the doors to economic trade and political cohesion with the regime.
At a time when all had their eyes on Baghdad to be freed from Maliki’s government and while all were awaiting the emancipation of Sunnis in Baghdad, Diyala, Basra, north of Babel, and in the other provinces from massacre and forced migration by sectarian militias, a group called ISIS, in its fight with Maliki’s army and the sectarian militias, has turned around and is now pointing its guns at the Kurdistan Province which has become the sanctuary and safe haven for immigrants from revolutionary provinces. We have been unable to find any explanation for this.
In the same fashion, military operation by ISIS against the Kurdistan Province ultimately benefits Maliki’s government in its attempt to secure a third term at the price of the blood of innocent Iraqis and their Kurdish brothers. The Kurds are the only people who have been steadfast in their positions and we have made a covenant with them to stand up against Maliki’s hopeless efforts to reach a third term.
Recently, Iranian President Hassan Rowani rhetorically projected Iran’s leadership by calling Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, and stating that the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, and the international community, ought to take immediate and serious steps to assist Hamas and the Palestinians.
In addition, several Iranian state media outlets and officials have attempted to project an image of passivity in Arab countries towards supporting the Palestinians and Hamas. On the other hand, the Iranian press and its officials have straightforwardly referred to Iran’s unified and steadfast stance on supporting the Palestinians.
National review on Line: Last week, the Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent was arrested. The charges are unspecified, but according to the paper, Jason Rezaian, 38, his Iranian wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and two other U.S. citizens were detained. State Department spokesman Marie Harf issued a protest that didn’t even rise to the level of tepid, saying, “Our highest priority is the safety and welfare of U.S. citizens abroad.”
In a perfect world, a repeated pattern of deceit and moral failure has consequences. Indeed, when trust and credibility are eroded, we dump the shady contractor, we vote out the lying politician, we fire the skimming employee. So how is it we are still at the negotiating table with Iran?
Since the 1990s, Iran has hoodwinked the international community over its nuclear program time and time again. And the current round of negotiations seems to offer more of the same subterfuge, foot-dragging and recalcitrance. But rather than use its economic leverage, the international community has rewarded the mullahs in Tehran with an extended deadline for the current talks (until November 24) and $2.8 billion in cash that was frozen as part of the sanctions program.
Although the Iranian position in the nuclear talks has made the prospects of an agreement very doubtful, the ideal outcome for Iran is certainly one in which the talks are successful despite the Islamic Republic’s unwillingness to compromise on key points. Doing so would allow Iran to get out from under Western sanctions that have had a highly significant effect on the nation’s economy. That is not to say, however, that the ideal outcome is the only one that Iran considers favorable. The regime has experience using international partnerships to defy Western sanctions, and it will likely do this to greater effect now that it has already gained access to billions of additional dollars of capital, simply by virtue of keeping the nuclear talks going.
Russia has been one of the key partnerships in this sanctions defiance, and this week’s news of an Iran-Russia oil-for-goods agreement ostensibly valued at 20 billion dollars signals that that partnership remains strong. That is especially significant seeing as Russia itself has been a target of Western sanctions as a result of its actions in the Ukraine.
Rouhani’s expectations for the regime’s economy may be ignoring some important context. Furthermore, this ignorance may be deliberate and rhetorical. Gulf News reports that Iran has scaled back on some marine oil exports, apparently because it is unable to maintain current export levels while also keeping up with rising domestic demand. In addition to that rising demand, the restricted exports may also aimed at freeing up some oil for illicit trade with Russia under the “five-year memorandum of understanding” that has been in the news this week.
Whatever the case may be, the partial restriction of oil exports contradicts Iranian state media reporting on the health of the Iranian oil industry. Various stories from those sources, such as Fars News Agency, have exclusively emphasized increasing output and new oil trade agreements with regional partners.