Persecution, torture, murder: Iran blasted on human rights ahead of UN hearing
“A UN-appointed human rights advocate had already prepared a voluminous account of Tehran’s egregious transgressions, including persecution and imprisonment of religious minorities, alarming numbers of executions and systematic disregard of due process by Saturday, when Reyhaneh Jabbari, a 27-year-old woman who had spent the last seven years in prison, was hanged. Jabbari became an international symbol of the regime’s brutality, with the UN and rights groups such as Amnesty International decrying her death sentence. Jabbari’s execution served to punctuate this week’s hearings, including the independent forum in Geneva on Thursday and a procedure today before a UN Human Rights Council panel.
Narges Mohammadi, the prominent human rights defender and Deputy Head of the now shuttered Defenders of Human Rights Center, has been summoned to the Evin Prison Court following a moving speech she made at the grave site of Sattar Beheshti, the 35-year-old blogger who died under torture at a police detention center in November 2012. “In the summons I received on November 5, 2014, it is stated that I must turn myself in ‘for charges,’ but there is no further explanation about these charges,” said Mohammadi.
A video of her October 31 speech in remembrance of the second anniversary of Sattar Beheshti’s murder quickly went viral among social networks. In her speech, Narges Mohammadi spoke about the police negligence that led to Beheshti’s death under torture while being interrogated, and a bill currently under review at the Iranian Parliament that aims to implement the Islamic principle of “Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” in Iran. “How is it that the Parliament Members are suggesting a Plan for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, but nobody spoke up two years ago, when an innocent human being by the name of Sattar Beheshti died under torture in the hands of his interrogator?” Mohammadi asked.
A British-Iranian woman detained in Iran for trying to watch a volleyball game has been sentenced to one year in a notorious prison, according to her family and lawyer.
Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, a law graduate from London, was found guilty of spreading “propaganda against the regime” following a secret hearing at Tehran’s revolutionary court.
Ghavami has been detained for 127 days in prison since being arrested on 20 June at Azadi (“Freedom” in Farsi) stadium in Tehran where Iran’s national volleyball team was scheduled to play Italy. Although she had been released within a few hours after the initial arrest she was rearrested days later.
A group of Iranian MPs has proposed making it a criminal offence to keep dogs as pets or walk them in public, with offenders subject to 74 lashes or a fine.
Iran’s reformist Shargh newspaper reported on Thursday that 32 members of parliament, who are mostly affiliated to the conservatives, had put forward the proposal for the legislative body to vote on.
If the bill passes the Majlis (Iranian parliament), “walking dogs, trading them or keeping them at home will be punishable by 74 lashes or a fine of 1m to 10m Tomans [an equivalent of £200 to £2,000],” Shargh said.
UNITED NATIONS – Executions have surged in Iran and oppressive conditions for women have worsened, a United Nations investigator said on Monday, drawing attention to rights abuses just as Iran’s president is pushing for a diplomatic breakthrough with the West.
The investigator, Ahmed Shaheed, a former diplomat from the Maldives and now special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, made the comments on the eve of presenting his latest findings to members of the United NationsGeneral Assembly.
Mr. Shaheed said he had been shocked by the execution on Saturday of Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, who was convicted of killing a man she had accused of raping her. The death sentence had prompted international outcry and efforts by the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, to rescind it. Under the Iranian Constitution, the president has no power over the judiciary.
Washington (CNN) — One of the first things President Obama did after Republicans seized control of the Senate was to announce his intention to seek new Congressional authority for military action against ISIS in Syria and Iraq to replace those passed more than a decade ago to wage the war on terror.
The President said he would begin consultation with lawmakers on an Authorization of the Use of Military Force, or AUMF, while Democrats still control the Senate. But he added, “it may carry over into the next Congress.”
The new found enthusiasm for engaging Congress could be viewed as either olive branch to the incoming Republican Senate to answer accusations he doesn’t consult enough, or a belief Republicans will be more forward-leaning on granting authority that has made some members of his own party nervous. But it precludes what is sure to be a bolder role for Republicans in U.S. foreign policy.
There is no denying that the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (IS) is escalating. Meanwhile, relations with Iran are deteriorating once again. With less than two months until the extended deadline for nuclear negotiations, the Iranian position has become more hardened and unreasonable. Regime officials, including the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, have been unrestrained in their rhetorical jabs at the West, even going so far as to irrationally accuse the U.S. and Arab states of creating the Islamic State.
In fact, such an accusation only intends to distract from the regime’s own culpability for the rise of the Islamic State. It was the Iranian regime that supported Nouri al-Maliki as he monopolized power in Iraq, driving Sunni militants to revolt, along with moderates and other marginalized minorities. And, it was Tehran that bolstered the murderous Assad regime in Syria to fight the moderate opposition, thereby empowering the extremist IS to fill the vacuum.
Iran calls for “the prosecution, trial and punishment of the White House”. The United States remains “the great Satan” and Iran’s “number one enemy,” Iranian military and defense officials said over the weekend in statements that also called for “the prosecution, trial, and punishment of the White House.”
The inflammatory comments, released over the weekend by Iran’s Defense Ministry and the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), come as nuclear negotiations between the United States and Iran reach a critical juncture.
Talks between Iran, the United States, and other Western nations remain tense as the Nov. 24 deadline grows closer.
“The U.S. is still the great Satan and the number one enemy of the (Islamic) revolution and the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation,” the IRGC said in an organizational statement released Saturday to Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency, which has close ties to the group.
Join our fight against ISIS, Obama to Khamenei
President Barack Obama wrote Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei a secret letter in October describing a shared interest in fighting the ISIS jointly.
But any cooperation would be contingent on a comprehensive agreement over Iran’s nuclear programme, according to The Wall Street Journal, which reported the letter first.
The White House has neither confirmed or denied the existence of the letter and refused to comment on the president’s “private correspondence” with world leaders. But multiple media reports confirmed the existence of that letter citing officials and diplomatic sources, who have also said, US allies in the region didn’t get a heads up.
Iran- Nuclear Activities
Iran’s uranium stockpile grows before deadline for nuclear deal
(Reuters) – Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium gas has grown by 8 percent to nearly 8.4 tonnes in about two months, U.N. atomic inspectors say, an amount world powers probably will want to see cut under any nuclear deal with Tehran.
The International Atomic Energy Agency issued a confidential report on Iran to IAEA member states on Friday, less than three weeks before a Nov. 24 deadline for Iran and six world powers to resolve their stand-off over Tehran’s atomic activities.
Iran’s holding of refined uranium gas is one of the factors that could determine how much time it would need for any attempt to assemble nuclear weapons. Iran says it has no such goal but the West wants verifiable action by the Islamic Republic to make sure it cannot produce an atomic bomb any time soon.
Iran stalls probe into nuclear weapons research, U.N. report says
(Reuters) – Iran is failing to address suspicions it may have worked on designing an atomic bomb, according to the latest report by a U.N. watchdog, potentially complicating efforts by world powers to reach a deal with Tehran on its nuclear program.
The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency said Tehran had still not provided information it was due to produce more than two months ago to help advance a long-running IAEA inquiry into suspected nuclear weapons research.
The confidential document was issued to IAEA member states less than three weeks before the Nov. 24 deadline by which Iran and six global powers are seeking to end a decade-old standoff over the Islamic Republic’s atomic activities.
The UN’s nuclear watchdog has said that Iran is continuing to fail to provide information proving that it isn’t working on an atomic bomb. This comes ahead of talks between Iran and six powers on its nuclear program.The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a confidential report obtained by news agencies on Friday that by failing to provide information it had promised to make available more than two months ago, Iran had effectively stalled its investigation into Tehran’s nuclear activities.
“Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures,” the report said.
Mitt Romney slammed President Barack Obama on Friday for reaching out to Iran in the fight against Islamic State militants, calling the president’s recent letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “astonishing” and “an enormous error.”
“I was frankly stunned that the president of the United States would write a letter of that nature and in effect, legitimize a nation and a leadership which is violating international norms and is threatening the world,” the 2012 Republican presidential candidate told the audience of the Israeli American Council’s inaugural national conference at the Washington Hilton.
Claims of second explosive chamber raise new questions as talks reach deadline.
Iran’s illicit nuclear program could be more advanced than previously believed, according to new information released Friday by an Iranian dissident group that raises new questions about what Tehran has been hiding from nuclear inspectors.
Iran is said to have built and still be in possession of two explosive chambers that have allowed the regime to conduct advanced testing of nuclear weapons, according to new information published by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an Iranian opposition group that has exposed Iran’s clandestine nuclear activities in the past.
While the existence of one explosive chamber has been known for some time, the NCRI claims a second device could be hidden at Iran’s Parchin military complex, or at another site somewhere in Iran.
Agency claims Iran still working toward nukes
Hours after the UN’s nuclear agency said that its attempts to investigate allegations that Iran worked on nuclear weapons, an Iranian opposition group claimed to have information showing the country is still working toward nuclear weapons.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran released information in a Washington press conference saying there were two explosive chambers build by AzarAb industries as part of a highly classified project that only two senior Iranian officials knew about. The two chambers were reportedly used for high explosive tests as part of the program.
Iran denies wanting – or ever working on – nuclear arms. Since February, it has provided information only on the detonators, insisting that they were used for oil exploration or non-nuclear military purposes. The agency says interconnected information suggests that they were being tested for nuclear weapons use.
An Iranian opposition group, claimed Friday to have new information linked to testing a nuclear explosion:
Question: Did your comment about what the NCRI reported, is that I just need the whole thing, have you seen it? Or looking at it right now? There are other allegations in there right now beside the Parchin well they are related to Parchin but have to do with Ukrainian scientists being involved …
Jen Psaki: I don’t anticipate to have any comments on it but obviously we are just coming on it this morning and I will check back on that particular piece as well
Question: More broadly, when you see these kinds of reports, both the IAEA report and the NCRI report, and I am not suggesting that they should be taken with equal weight or anything like that, doesn’t that give you pause about Iranian’s credibility as negotiating partner in the p5+1 …
Jen Psaki: well, it has never been about trust. It is about why Iran wants to convince the world or show the world that they are having a peaceful program and it is about the U.S. and other countries who are a part of this feeling that this is verifiable and it can be monitored and it can prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
The Organization of Iranian-American communities works to promote human rights and democratic freedoms for the people of Iran. This includes advocating for a democratic secular government in Iran, founded on respect for human rights, religious tolerance, and equality among all citizens. Our goal is to organize Iranian-American communities in the United States to promote these values.