On the verge of the Student Day in Iran on December 7, members of the clerical regime’s Basij force in Jahrom County (Fars Province, southern Iran) stabbed and wounded at least six women with knifes, five of whom are students at Jahrom University. According to some reports, the number of female victims reaches twelve. This criminal act follows recent protests by 300 students in Jahrom University where they protested against the suppressive measures in the university.
Two poets and a documentary filmmaker are being prosecuted in Iran on charges of ‘propaganda against the regime and cooperation with an apostate singer living abroad’.
A lawyer for the poets – named as Mehdi Mousavi and Fatemeh Ekhtessari. The name of the third accused has not been announced – said the state-run Tasnim news agency: “About a year ago, my clients published a collection of poems. One of these poems was then taken by a singer living abroad.”
The poets were arrested in December 2013 by agents of the Revolutionary Guards intelligence service after speaking in literary meetings in Tehran and other cities.
Soheil Arabi was sentenced to death for insulting the Prophet on the Facebook. He was one of the several people who were arrested under last year’s crackdown of Facebook activists by the Revolutionary Guards.
Iran Human Rights, November 24, 2014: Branch 41 of the Iranian Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of the blogger Soheil Arabi for insulting the Prophet on the Facebook.
Iranian regime has stepped up its persecution of the Sunni minority with death sentences imposed on four political prisoners.
The four – named as Hamed Ahmadi, Kamal Molai, Jamshid Dehghani and Djahanguir Dehghani – have written an open letter protesting at the abuses, torture and lies by regime officials since their arrest.
They wrote on November 27: “We were arrested in 2009 and accused of preaching in favor of Sunni Islam. We were placed in isolation and suffered unbearable torture. The trial court sentenced us to death.
“After the confirmation of our death sentence, the wardens took us to the the gallows on several occasions, and after making us suffer intense psychological torture, they took us back to our cells. At present, we are in limbo and still held in Rajai-Shahr Prison.”
Iranian fighter jets are now said to be bombing the Islamic State militant group in Iraq. It’s an escalation in Tehran’s presence there – and a development that has forced U.S. officials to walk a fine line. The latest example came Wednesday, when Secretary of State John F. Kerry was asked if he was aware of any Iranian airstrikes in Iraq, and whether he thought they were helpful in the fight against the militants. He declined to confirm whether any occurred and said Tehran and Washington are not coordinating military actions, a standing talking point for U.S. officials in recent days. But the secretary went a step further, saying Iranian airstrikes wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. while addressing it.
Iran hackers targeted airlines, energy firms: report
(Reuters) – Iranian hackers have infiltrated some of the world’s top energy, transport and infrastructure companies over the past two years in a campaign that could allow them to eventually cause physical damage, according to U.S. cyber security firm Cylance.
Aerospace firms, airports and airlines, universities, energy firms, hospitals, and telecommunications operators based in the United States, Israel, China, Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, France, England have been hit by the campaign, the research firm said, without naming individual companies.
A person familiar with the research said U.S. energy firm Calpine Corp, state-controlled oil companies Saudi Aramco and Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), as well as flag carriers Qatar Airlines and Korean Air were among the specific targets.
Iran is using American-made F-4 Phantom jets purchased during the time of the Shah to bomb positions held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in eastern Iraq, CBS News correspondent David Martin reports.
The United States is aware of the strikes in Diyala province, which are flown in support of Iraqi ground troops, but there’s no coordination going on and none is needed, Martin reports.
The air space is controlled by Iraq, so Iraqi authorities are in charge of traffic control. Diyala is northeast of Baghdad in a part of the country where the U.S. is not operating.
Los Angeles Times
…..Kimberly Kagan, president of the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, said Iran has slowly increased its presence in Iraq since June by sending in troops and its elite Quds Force.
“Iran aims not only to contain the Islamic State, but also to ensure that there is a Shia government in Baghdad that pursues Tehran’s regional interests, such as maintaining the Assad regime in Syria,” she said. “The United States should not rely on Iran, as a state sponsor of terrorism, to counter the terrorist threat from the Islamic State.”
BAGHDAD – Islamic State fighters kidnapped and killed 16 members of an Iraqi tribe which has fought the Sunni militant group in the western province of Anbar, a tribal leader and a hospital source said on Saturday.
Tribal chief Sheikh Naeem al-Ga’oud told Reuters Islamic State captured the men from the Albu Nimr tribe three days ago. Responding to a tip, tribal members searched a location about 10 km (6 miles) north of the town of Hit, and found their bodies in water well. The bodies were transferred to a hospital in Hit, where a doctor said they had bullet wounds to the head and chest.
Islamic State fighters have killed hundreds of members of the Albu Nimr tribe since seizing control of Hit, about 150 km (90 miles) west of Baghdad, two months ago. The Sunni militants, who swept through northern Iraq in June towards the Shi’ite-led government’s seat of power in Baghdad, lost ground in the last two months to the north of the capital but have tightened their grip in parts of Anbar to the west.
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) – The White House and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee clashed Tuesday over putting new sanctions on Iran, which is in talks with the U.S. and other powers over its nuclear program.
Sen. Bob Menendez, the chairman of the foreign relations panel, told The Wall Street Journal CEO Council annual meeting he is looking for an opportunity to introduce legislation for new sanctions “well before” March 1. That is the new deadline for a framework agreement for nuclear talks with Iran.
Menendez, a Democrat, didn’t specify what kind of sanctions he was mulling. He was followed at the meeting by Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser. Asked about Menendez’s plan, Rice said: “That would not be constructive at this point.”
Biden sees ‘less than even’ chance of nuclear deal with Iran
(Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Saturday there was a “less than even shot” of a nuclear deal with Iran but that it was still worth pursuing.
Biden, speaking at a forum on the Middle East at the Brookings Institution think tank, rejected calls for more sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program because “this is not the time to risk a breakdown when we still have a chance for a breakthrough.”
Biden said the sanctions imposed by the United States and allies were working by slowing Iran’s economy, as well as its nuclear program.
BRUSSELS-European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has asked Catherine Ashton, her predecessor, to stay on in the role as chief negotiator of the six powers in nuclear talks with Iran, a spokeswoman for Ms. Mogherini said.
Ms. Ashton, who has chaired the six-power group since 2010, will report “regularly” to Ms. Mogherini on the talks.
“To ensure continuity to the negotiations that require a full dedication, Ashton will facilitate the talks and she will report regularly to the High Representative,” the spokeswoman said.
Sanctions Dialogue Ramping Up: Iran
OIAC- Staff- Live Trading News reported on Thursday that Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister and chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi had recently declared, in a meeting with the Italian Deputy Foreign Minister, that “conditions are prepared more than any other time” for an amicable resolution to the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, of which Italy is not a part.
Araqchi’s comments do not coincide with any notable progress in those talks, and indeed negotiations have not yet resumed following the seven month extension of the previous November 24 deadline. These sorts to statements from the Iranian side can be read as attempts to exert public pressure on the US and its partners to make a deal even though Iranian demands regarding enrichment capacity and restraint on inspections have not moderated in any meaningful way since the inking of an interim agreement in November of last year.