‘No words left’ to describe suffering of children in Aleppo –UNICEF Video&Photos

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UNICEF, 28 September 2016 – Children in Aleppo are trapped in a “living nightmare,” a senior official of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today, stressing yet again, the direness of the situation, particularly for the children, in Syria’s …

 

Source: ‘No words left’ to describe suffering of children in Aleppo –UNICEF Video&Photos

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#aleppo, #human-rights, #syria

Why Iran is more dangerous than Islamic State

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A long-range missile system is displayed by Iran’s army during a military parade held just outside the city of Tehran on Sept. 21.

Why Iran is more dangerous than Islamic State

By Moshe Yaalon

 

Los Angeles Times, September 29, 2016 – U.S. political leaders of both parties argue that destroying Islamic State is America’s top priority in the Middle East. In reality, that’s not nearly as important as confronting the challenge posed by Iran. The nuclear deal that went into effect a year ago may have postponed the danger of an Iranian nuclear bomb, but the multifaceted threat of a militaristic, messianic Iran regime is much more menacing to Western interests.
In negotiating the nuclear agreement, the P5+1 group of countries — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — registered several benefits. These include delaying the Iranian military nuclear project for 10 to 15 years, defusing political tensions with Iran, opening new markets there, and gaining Iranian cooperation in the fight against Islamic State. Only one of these — the delay in Iran’s nuclear program — comes at Iran’s expense, since both sides shared a desire to achieve the other objectives.
From Tehran’s perspective, it gained much more than it gave up. In exchange for postponing its military nuclear project, it achieved the lifting of many economic sanctions, an end to its political isolation and the loosening of restrictions on its ballistic missile program.
And out of the P5+1’s exaggerated fear of taking any steps that might give the Iranians an excuse to scuttle the deal, Tehran won a lot more too. This includes wide latitude to advance its influence throughout the region as it no longer fears a U.S.-led “military option.”
The evidence of Iran’s rogue behavior is overwhelming. It is the prime backer of the genocidal Syrian regime, providing President Bashar Assad with funds, weapons and the support of Shiite militias. It supplies weapons, money and training to Hezbollah, using it as a strategic tool to undermine the legitimate role of the Lebanese government. In Yemen, Iran fans conflict by sending arms to the Houthi rebels. Elsewhere in the Arabian peninsula, it uses proxies to undermine Bahrain and Saudi Arabia
For an agreement that was supposed to be narrowly limited to finding a peaceful solution to Iran’s military nuclear program, the Iranian negotiators were brilliant. They played a weak hand superbly. And in 14 years, when critical restrictions will be lifted, the world may be in a worse position to prevent Iran’s nuclear project than ever before.
In history and international politics, 14 years is the blink of an eye. And there are many factors — such as the possibility of global events that distract international attention from Iranian violations — that could shrink that time frame significantly.
Concerned nations need to work together now to prevent Iran from exploiting the nuclear deal to redraw the political map of the Middle East in its favor and from capitalizing on the region’s instability to prepare for an eventual nuclear breakout, either before or after the deal’s expiration.
Such steps would include ensuring strict inspection of Iran’s nuclear facilities — and not just by the International Atomic Energy Agency. After all, the vast majority of Iran’s nuclear violations were exposed by western intelligence agencies, not the IAEA. In addition, concerned nations need to pressure Iran on its ballistic missile program and support for terrorism. They must also work to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions that prohibit Iran’s proliferation of weapons throughout the region. None of these steps, by the way, violates the terms of the nuclear deal.
It is not too late to repair the impression that the West — led by the United States — views Iran as part of the solution to the problems of the Middle East, rather than the chief source of the region’s instability and radicalism. Of course, Iran fights Islamic State; the fact that the world’s leading radical Shiite government fights radical Sunnis should come as no surprise.
Those who believed that the nuclear agreement would lead to a more moderate, open, reformist Iran, at home and abroad, regrettably suffer from wishful thinking. So long as the ayatollah’s regime governs Iran, there is no chance we will see a McDonald’s in Tehran. Instead, we will see more executions, more repression, more tyranny.
This view of Iran is shared across the Middle East by countries that used to be antagonists. While the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians persists, any reference to the conflict between Israel and Sunni Arab states is, for now, obsolete. Today, Arabs and Israelis are in the same boat, facing Iranian-backed threats all around the region; in terms of how to address these threats, we are also generally on the same page.
What we lack is leadership from our traditional allies in the West, especially our good friends in America. Should President Obama or his successor shift priorities and lead a campaign to pressure Iran to end its destabilizing policies — applying the same type of pressure that forced Iran to negotiate on its nuclear program — it will find willing partners among both Arabs and Israelis.

 

 

Moshe Ya’alon, the Rosenblatt Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute, served until May 2016 as Israel’s minister of defense.

 

#iran, #middle-east, #nuclear-deal, #terrorism

Why So Many Children Are Being Killed in Aleppo

They cannot play, sleep or attend school. Increasingly, they cannot eat. Injury or illness could be fatal. Many just huddle with their parents in windowless underground shelters — which offer no protection from the powerful bombs that have turned east Aleppo into a kill zone.

Among the roughly 250,000 people trapped in the insurgent redoubt of the divided northern Syrian city are 100,000 children, the most vulnerable victims of intensified bombings by Syrian forces and their Russian allies.

Though the world is jolted periodically by the suffering of children in theSyria conflict — the photographs of Alan Kurdi’s drowned body and Omran Daqneesh’s bloodied face are prime examples — dead and traumatized children are increasingly common.

The routine in east Aleppo, where shellshocked children are exhumed from rubble and left writhing in bloody clothes on dirty hospital gurneys, is a confluence of Syria’s young population, failed diplomacy and the reality of a war that appears to be worsening after more than five years.

Boys playing in water from a pipe damaged by shelling in Aleppo last month. CreditAbdalrhman Ismail/Reuters

‘The Worst We Have Seen’

“They’re trapped, and they have no way of escaping,” said Alun McDonald, a spokesman for the Middle East operations of Save the Children, the international charity. “That’s one reason we’re seeing such big numbers of child casualties.”

The people living in besieged rebel-held areas of Aleppo have shown a high level of resilience, moving schools and hospitals underground for protection. So too, life has continued on the government-held western side of the city, where, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 49 children were killed by rebel mortar fire in July alone.

But lately on the eastern side, Mr. McDonald said, “the bombing has become so intense, with such high-powered bombs, that even underground shelters aren’t safe anymore.”

Continue reading the main story

#human-rights, #middle-east, #syria

Christians threatened with FLOGGING for drinking Holy Communion wine

Christians threatened with FLOGGING for drinking Holy Communion wine

THREE Christians face being flogged after drinking Holy Communion wine as the Iranian authorities continue to crackdown on non-Islamic religions.

Christians threatened with FLOGGING for drinking Holy Communion.jpgChristians threatened with FLOGGING for drinking Holy Communion wine

 

In a shock move, oppressive officials in Tehran have charged the three with “acting against national security” for taking part in the Christian ritual.

The Christian converts are due to appear in court next week and if found guilty face punishment by flogging.

Iranian police arrested Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi in May, alongside Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and his wife.

The pastor and his wife have since been released without charge but the trio remain behind bars.

Holy Communion wine, also known as sacramental wine, is used by billions of Christians worldwide in celebration of the Eucharist.

It is often watered down and is used during Holy Communion alongside small bread wafers, known as Sacramental Bread.

COMMUNIONDrinking alcohol in Iran is forbidden under the country’s strick Sharia Islamic law, but despite the ban enjoying a sly tipple at home is believed to be widespread amongst its 80 million strong population.

This is a medieval punishment that has nothing to do with Islam

Elaheh Azimfar, from the National Council of Resistance of Iran

The trio of Christians could be flogged at a police station if found guilty of any crime.Offenders are normally sentenced to between 10 and 100 lashes across the back with a three-foot long whip.

Many people faint after eight strokes due to the severe pain.

The use of the corporal punishment has come under fire from humanitarian organisations who say the penalty amounts to torture.

Amnesty International said last year courts in Iran “continued to impose, and the authorities continued to carry out, punishments that violate the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.

These were sometimes carried out in public and included flogging, blinding and amputations.”

People can also be flogged for adultery, kissing in public, homosexual acts and blasphemy in Iran.

Elaheh Azimfar, from the National Council of Resistance of Iran, condemned the punishment. Ms Azimfar said: “Iran’s regime continues to hand down brutal punishments such as flogging under the banner of Islam; whereas in reality this is a medieval punishment that has nothing to do with Islam.

“Only a few months ago the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the German Foreign Ministry condemned the regime for flogging a group of students that had attended a graduation party. However the regime’s officials continue to carry out this brutal practice.

TEHRANGETTY

Oppresive officials in the city of Tehran have charged them with ‘acting against national security’

“This brutal punishment will have no place in the free Iran of tomorrow. These are not laws or justice; they are sheer brutalities.”In June, the Deputy Prosecutor General in Shiraz announced that 500 people had been arrested and 480 of them had been tried and convicted within 24 hours for publicly breaking their fast during Ramadan.

Most received flogging sentences administered by the Office for Implementation of Sentences. Some floggings were reportedly carried out in public.

The arrests and potential conviction of the Christians come as the regime clamps down on underground churches.

Iran is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for Christians and since President Hassan Rouhani came to power in 2013 the number of people jailed for their religious beliefs has increased.Advocacy charity Open Doors said: “While those considered ethnic Christians, such as Armenians or Assyrians, are allowed to practise their faith amongst themselves, ethnic Persians are defined as Muslim, and any Christian activity in Farsi is illegal.

“Underground churches are increasingly monitored, which makes some afraid to attend, and at least 108 Christians were arrested in the last year. Interrogation methods in prison can be harsh and sexually abusive.”

 

 

#christians, #human-rights, #iran

As UN Fetes Rouhani, Iranian Resistance Vows to Keep Fighting — Iran Liberty

By David A. Patten posted on NEWSMAX.COM Saturday, 24 Sep 2016 Iranian President Hasan Rouhani — who former U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman says should be treated as “an international pariah” because his country “has more blood on its hands” than North Korea – has been warmly received by some members of the United Nations this […]

via As UN Fetes Rouhani, Iranian Resistance Vows to Keep Fighting — Iran Liberty

#1988-massacre, #human-rights, #iran, #pmoi

UN proves it’s still a farce by welcoming Hassan Rouhani

 

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BY

The annual farce continues at the United Nations General Assembly. On Thursday, the UN welcomed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to deliver remarks on the big stage.

As former Prime Minister Stephen Harper used to say, the UN is a platform where “democratic leaders sit side by side with despots and dictators.”

In the case of Iran’s Rouhani, democratic leaders are all too eager to believe the myth that he is a despot looking to clean up his act. The false notion that Rouhani is a “moderate” led to the disastrous nuclear deal in 2015. The deal allowed billions of dollars to flow into Iran without any concessions on human rights abuses or any guarantees that Iran will stop its military aggression in the region.

Not surprisingly, Iran uses its new cash to bankroll terrorism and prop up the Assad regime in Syria – perpetuating war and misery rather than benefiting the people of Iran.

Like every other corrupt tyrant at the United Nations, Rouhani received the royal treatment. He was given a platform to lie and misrepresent his own government.

A few blocks away from the charade at the UN, however, a large protest sought to reveal a different side of the Iranian regime. Iranian human rights activists hosted a gathering to condemn Rouhani and demand justice for those killed by the Iranian regime.

Specifically, the protest highlighted the extra-judicial killings of some 30,000 political prisoners during the summer of 1988. The Iranian regime rounded up political prisoners – including communists, atheists and opposition leaders – and systematically mass murdered them.

At the protest, I spoke with Geoffrey Robertson, a human rights lawyer and former appeal judge at the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone. Robertson told me that “killing prisoners of war is the worst kind of war crime,” noting that Iran’s massacre was the worst since WWII.

“There has been no reprisal, no retribution, unlike the other (similar) atrocities,” said Robertson. “The people who ordered it, most of them, are still in high command in Iran.”

Rouhani himself was a senior official in the government that oversaw the massacre.

Former U.S. Senator, Vice Presidential candidate and lifelong Democrat Joe Lieberman also spoke at the protest, condemning the Iranian regime and calling it a “brutal dictatorship.”

In an interview, Lieberman told me that the international community should treat Iran with the disdain as we treat North Korea, noting that “there is more blood on the hands of the regime in (Iran’s capital) Tehran.”

“Rouhani should not be treated as if he was a respectable world leader. He should be treated like Kim Jung Un would be treated if he came here.” said Lieberman.

Instead, the international community welcomed Rouhani.

Canada’s Global Affairs Minister Stephen Dion noted on Twitter that he met with the regime to discuss the status of their relationship and consular cases. Dion failed to note any discussion on human rights, terrorism or justice for those killed in the 1988 massacre.

The United Nations was founded in the aftermath of the Second World War, to ensure that the horrors of that conflict – particularly the murder of six million Jews at the hands of the Nazis – would never be repeated. The UN is supposed to identify, condemn and stop world leaders who commit crimes against humanity.

This week, instead of identifying and condemning Iran for its wicked crimes, the United Nations looked the other way and gave a seat of honour to the world’s most despicable leader.

Source: UN proves it’s still a farce by welcoming Hassan Rouhani

#free-iran, #human-rights, #iran, #no2rouhani

Dramatic Footage Shows Syrian Girl’s Rescue From Rubble — TIME

Dramatic footage of a young Syrian girl’s rescue from the rubble following an airstrike emerged on Friday, the latest in a string of videos highlighting the human toll of war on civilians in the rebel-held areas of Aleppo. The video obtained by Sky News shows men, including rescuers from the White Helmets, pulling the girl…

 

via Dramatic Footage Shows Syrian Girl’s Rescue From Rubble — TIME

#aleppo, #human-rights, #syria