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  • Masoud Dalvand 8:53 pm on October 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Trump's new policy on Iran   

    Trump’s new policy: Solidarity with Iran’s people 

    An Iranian woman walks past a mural of the Iranian flag in Tehran on October 14, 2017. (AFP)

    US President Donald Trump decertified the Iran nuclear deal on Friday and referred the case to Congress. It remains to be seen what measures await Tehran, especially considering the highly intensive quarrel that brought us where we are today.

    What is certain, however, is that this marks a major US policy shift vis-à-vis Iran, having impact across the flashpoint Middle East.

    Ever since the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower back in the 1950s and since the CIA-backed the 1953 coup d’état against the democratically-elected government of Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh, Washington’s policies have either directly or indirectly supported the ruling regimes in Iran and against the Iranian people’s better interests.

    Trump, however, has for the second time in less than a month stated his solidarity with the Iranian people. Iran has violated the very spirit of the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the entire accord is against US national security interests, according to Trump.

    The Arab world reacted positively, with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain promptly supporting the US landmark decision.

    This is in line with April’s Riyadh conference where Trump called on the Islamic world to recognize the threat of Iran’s meddling in their countries and take the necessary action. Considering the importance of the Middle East for Iran, rest assured Tehran is receiving these messages loud and clear.

    President Trump speaks about the Iran nuclear deal on October 13, 2017. (Reuters)

    Opposition voice

    The Iranian opposition, National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), known for its credibility after blowing the whistle on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions back in 2002, also welcomed Trump’s strategic policy shift.

    The new US policy condemning flagrant human rights violations in Iran and “to deny the Iranian regime and especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) funding for its malign activities,” and opposing “IRGC activities that extort the wealth of the Iranian people,” are very necessary, according to NCRI President Maryam Rajavi.

    Trump’s acknowledgment that under Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei the regime “oppresses its people, abuses their rights” and “exports violence, destabilizes its neighbors, and sponsors terrorism abroad,” is a recognition of the Iranian regime’s illegitimacy, she added.

    The Trump administration has executed a widespread strategic alteration, ending years of appeasement and rapprochement that provided Tehran with unjustified concessions. This includes the 1997 designation of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) at the Iranian regime’s behest. Following a 15-year legal battle the PMOI successfully obtained a US federal court ruling ordering the Obama administration to end its unjust terrorist designation.

    US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks about the Iran nuclear deal at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, on September 5, 2017. (Reuters)

    Undiplomatic, to say the least

    Iran’s lobbies and appeasement advocates have gone the limits to restrain the Trump administration from adopting fierce measures against Tehran.

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s words depicted the devastating blow felt by the regime in its entirety, resorting to completely unorthodox and undiplomatic remarks for a president.

    “Trump’s speech consisted of nothing but vulgar language, allegations and bogus remarks,” Rouhani saidin an unorthodox reply. “Trump apparently doesn’t know the JCPOA is not a bilateral document to act however he wishes,” he added. “…the IRGC is not just a military unit, but the Guards are in the hearts of [the Iranian] people,” he also said in a speech at a government cabinet meeting, ending any notion of being a so-called “moderate” or “reformist.”

    This is further indication of how Tehran desperately needs the JCPOA to remain intact, and how Trump’s remarks of having the authority to unilaterally exit the deal has placed senior Iranian officials on their tiptoes.

    Trump ordered the Treasury Department to designate and fully sanction Iran’s IRGC in its entirety based on Executive Order 13224. (File photo: AP)

    Technical Input

    Trump ordered the Treasury Department to “fully sanction” the IRGC for its support of terrorism. There can be a debate about the exact meaning of this measure. Does this place the IRGC under sanctions? Is this entity now considered a terrorist organization? What is the meaning of “designating” an entity as a terrorist body?

    In the United States there is a law and an executive order covering terrorism. All organizations designated as terrorist organizations are blacklisted as such based on this law and/or executive order.

    The legislation was adopted by Congress back in 1996, based on which the State Department, in coordination with the Treasury Department, were provided the authority to designate foreign organizations as terrorist entities, also known as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO).

    In 2001 following the 9/11 attacks, former US president George Bush issued Executive Order 13224, providing the State and Treasury departments the necessary authority to accelerate the process of designating, sanctioning and restricting such bodies as “foreign terrorist organization” or a “global terrorist.” The authority provided in a presidential executive order is equal to that of a congressional legislature.

    On Friday, Trump ordered the Treasury Department to designate and fully sanction Iran’s IRGC in its entirety based on Executive Order 13224. Generally, these blacklists impose financial restrictions on the designated individuals or entities.

    There are slight differences the two State and Treasury blacklists, as the main aspects are very similar, including confiscating all assets of the designated individual or organization, and placing them under the authority of the US judiciary. The State Department’s FTO list also imposes immigration restrictions.

    A handout picture provided by the office of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shows him delivering a speech during a conference entitled “Implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) a new chapter in Iran’s economy”, on January 19, 2016, in Tehran. (AFP)

    The path forward

    The “Corker-Cardin” bill overseeing the JCPOA for Washington provides Congress 60 days to decide the next step following Trump’s announcement on Friday, indicating the Iran nuclear deal is against U.S. national security interests. Trump has called on Congress to intensify this legislation to include certain additional restrictions.

    Trump in fact emphasized if existing loopholes in the accord are not resolved, as president he enjoys the authority to single handedly revoke the agreement in its entirety.

    This development goes far beyond designating the IRGC and has a more drastic impact than merely decertifying the JCPOA. The Trump administration has announced a completely new policy.

    White House fact sheet released prior to Trump’s speech specifically explains how a certain US policy pursued for 15 years vis-à-vis Iran and the Middle East was wrong, and how this administration has decided to no longer repeat those mistakes.

    The Iran engagement policy was very effective and acted as a significant pillar in safeguarding and maintaining the Iranian regime in power. That is exactly why from the very day Tehran has sensed a major Washington policy change, all of Iran’s lobbies and advocates are going to the limits to prevent this now realized transition.

    Iran had resorted to a variety of threats, even to take military action against US forces in the region, in the case of the IRGC being designated as a terrorist organization.

    Now that the entire IRGC is designated as a terrorist organization, we are seeing voices against this development, and Iranian lobbyists attempting to downgrade this turn of events, claiming it is merely sanctions and far different from a terrorist designation.

    The truth is that a policy that provided crucial support for Tehran through these years is witnessing major changes. This is rendering enormous concerns in Tehran. What needs comprehending is the scope of Trump’s major policy transition.

    As he emphasized, “In this effort we stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime’s longest suffering victims: Its own people.”

    Source: ANALYSIS: Certified or decertified, Iran faces tough road ahead

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  • Masoud Dalvand 9:10 am on October 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ahwaz, , ,   

    Iran: Shocking video of Iranian guards beating and forcing detainees to bark like dogs 

    A shocking video showing Iranian security forces beating and humiliating their Arab detainees.

    A shocking video showing Iranian security forces beating and humiliating their Arab detainees.

    IRAN, Ahwaz,  A video shared on social media showed Iranian regime suppressive security forces viciously beating and humiliating blindfolded Ahwazi Arab activists forcing them to bark like dogs.

    A masked security officer starts to beat them up by punching them using martial art techniques. He can also be heard calling them names.
    Iranian and Ahwazi Arab activists condemned the torture, which violates civil and international laws and called for punishing the perpetrators.

    The video’s time and place remains unclear but Ahwazi Arab activists said on social media that this video dates back to when Iranian security forces arrested Ahwazi Arabs on August 31 before Eid al-Adha

     

    Source: Iran: Shocking video of Iranian guards beating and forcing detainees to bark like dogs

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 7:44 am on October 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    Ignoring Iran’s crimes against humanity bolsters ayatollahs 

    By Soona Samsami

    For 40 days, 22 political prisoners staged a hunger strike in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj, 30 miles west of the Iranian capital of Tehran. Most are serving sentences for dubious political charges. In dire circumstances, they were only demanding their return back to bad conditions.

    Their health deteriorated; international intervention was literally non-existent, limited to a few expressions of concern, but no practical measures to compel the Iranian regime to stop its inhumane treatment of prisoners of conscience.

    Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director Magdalena Mughrabi said the protest “highlighted the urgent need for reforms to Iran’s cruel prison system.”

    In other words, the situation in Gohardasht reflected the much larger human rights crisis perpetuated by Iran’s clerical regime.

    There is an underlying need to use this situation, and the many others like it, as a jumping-off point to call international attention to the horror of conditions in which Iranian citizens might find themselves confined for years without ever having committing anything that the world would recognize as a crime.

    In addition, there’s a need to expose a past record of atrocities shocking in its horror and in the lack of international attention to it.

    This year’s United Nations General Assembly convened recently, and as in years past, was addressed by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. To no one’s surprise, Rouhani again portrayed criticism of Iran’s human rights record, including this year’s report by the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Asma Jahangir, as a Western conspiracy to discredit the Islamic theocracy.

    Meanwhile, Iranian citizens and human rights activists are increasingly calling for the perpetrators of massacres, past and present, to be brought to justice. Social media has become increasingly effective at circumventing the regime’s restrictions on free expression, but people are still routinely charged with crimes, even capital crimes, on the basis of something an intelligence agent found them saying on a banned platform like Facebook or Twitter.

    As Rouhani addressed the nations of the world, many U.N. delegates had prepared for his diatribe by reading an article published that same morning by the Wall Street Journal.

    Written by a young Iranian political activist and former political prisoner, the piece decried the regime’s efforts “to force Iranians to forget 1988,” the “summer of blood,” when  approximately 30,000 political prisoners, primarily activists of the main Iranian opposition movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK), were massacred in just a few months.

    They were condemned to death after “trials” lasting only a few minutes for dissent against the theocratic regime. As the young activist plaintively pointed out, “How could their families possibly forget?”

    The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), among others, has repeatedly called for an international inquiry, as the first step toward bringing charges against the key players for crimes against humanity.

    Some 30 years later, Secretary General Antonio Guterres appended a note to the special rapporteur’s report:

    “The families of the victims have a right to know the truth about these events and the fate of their loved ones without risking reprisal. They have the right to a remedy, which includes the right to an effective investigation of the facts and public disclosure of the truth; and the right to reparation,” he stated.

    Both U.N. officials acknowledged the 1988 massacre and subsequent “global denial” of it, but neither the secretary general, special rapporteur, nor any leading international official has yet to do anything practical to actually address that injustice or compensate for past neglect.

    As the United Nations Third Committee drafts its new resolution censuring human rights abuses in Iran, it should include a paragraph calling for the formation of an independent commission of inquiry into the 1988 massacre, with the aim of bringing the perpetrators to justice.

    The Iranian regime must not have a sense of impunity as it proceeds with its current crackdown on Iranian society, specifically in the prisons. If the world does not respond with one voice, that sense of impunity will only grow.

    Tehran must expect consequences for its ongoing crimes, fear consequences for future crimes and face consequences for crimes gone unpunished. Otherwise, the international community must share the stain of the blood on the hands of Tehran’s rulers.

    This is the message thousands of Iranians delivered to the United Nations during the Free Iran rally in protest to Rouhani’s presence on Sept. 20. It is the message Iran’s youth sends each day with their courageous defiance on social media. It is a message that deserves a response.

    Soona Soona Samsami is the representative in the United States for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which is dedicated to the establishment of a democratic, secular and non-nuclear republic in Iran.

    Source: Ignoring Iran’s crimes against humanity bolsters ayatollahs

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 10:07 am on September 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    September 20, 2017 UN Rally- No to Rouhani Yes to Free Iran

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 9:17 pm on September 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Struan Stevenson   

    Letter by Struan Stevenson MEP: ‘The EU’s policy on Iran is totally flawed’ 

    struan_stevenson

    The EU’s policy on Iran is totally flawed and it is nowhere more evident than the attitude of its foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini regarding the despicable situation of human rights in that countrMogherini’s misplaced priorities were prominently on display on August 5, when she stood alongside dictators and terrorist leaders from the world over who had also decided to show their support for Iran’s clerical regime by attending the second-term inauguration of President Hassan Rouhani.

    This would be bad enough if the country’s abuses were a recent phenomenon, but it is made worse by the fact that the ongoing inaction of Western powers leaves countless Iranians waiting for the justice that has already been denied to them for decades.

    The case in point is the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in the summer of 1988. These victims were condemned to hang on the basis of a fatwa from the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ruhollah Khomeini. Their trials before a hastily assembled “death commission” lasted two minutes on average, and the resulting executions were aimed at stamping out all opposition to the fledgling theocracy, particularly the opposition coming from the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.

    In her report from August 14 that was sent to the General Assembly, the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran formally acknowledges these mass executions and Khomeini’s fatwa. In my remarks at a major rally in London on September 2, I reiterated that: “Now it is time for the European Union to follow suit and to show at least the minimum concern for Iran’s human rights situation by condemning this massacre and call upon the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish an investigative inquiry in order to hold the perpetrators to account.”

    If the organisation cannot make this most obvious of statements, it will be more clear than ever that its foreign policy is in desperate need of new leadership.

    Struan Stevenson MEP

    Originally published on the   heraldscotland

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 3:33 pm on September 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Marc Nelson,   

    Marc Nelson Supports the Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike in Iran with his Art 

    Marc Nelson is an artist and a teacher who is very active on Human Rights causes all around the world specially in Syria and Iran. MARC Nelson Supports the Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike in Iran with his art Recently he have joined a campaign on Social Media with the Hashtag #SaveGohardasht in support of the Political prisoners on Hunger Strike in Gohardasht prison since 30 July 2017 He and his class have been contributing a lot of picture to this camping and their pictures were shared widely on Social Media as well as in a Exhibition in Paris Marc Nelson have also been very active on the Syrian Revolution cause supporting many campaigns specially:

    #StandWithAleppo

    #SaveWhiteHelemts

    #ProtectSyrianRefugees

    And many many more.

    You can follow Marc Nelson on Twitter: @Marcnelsonart

    Reference to some of the Sketches in support of Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike in Gohardsasht Prison in Iran:  https://twitter.com/Marcnelsonart/sta…

    ⚡️ “Sketches by @Marcnelsonart 

    #SaveGohardahst#1988Massacre in #Iran ” by @No2Khamenei https://twitter.com/i/moments/9048384…

    Also visit his website: https://marcnelsonart.com/

     

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 4:24 pm on September 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Hassan Rouhani’s New Cabinet Stacked With Old Hands 

    v2-0917-iran-infographic

    Veteran IRGC and MOIS Members Make Up Murderers’ Row

    Iran’s new cabinet is stacked with former Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) and Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) members who have overseen most of the brutal human rights violations over the last three decades.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 9:03 pm on September 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Iran regime continues to bar Iranian women from going to sport stadiums 

    women-behind-the-stadum

    TEHRAN (AFP), 04 September 2017  – For a brief moment, Iran’s female football fans thought they were finally allowed to attend a match, but their hopes were dashed on Monday when authorities said their tickets were sold by mistake.

    Women have been barred from attending football matches, and some other sporting events such as wrestling, since the 1979 Islamic revolution, with officials saying they must be protected from the vulgar atmosphere.

    But when seats for Tuesday’s qualifying match against Syria at Tehran’s Azadi stadium went on sale on Saturday, many were shocked to see an option for women’s tickets on the website.

    Some shared their surprise and joy on Twitter with a Farsi hashtag meaning ‘I_have_ticket’.

    ‘I was extremely excited… it was unbelievable,’ football fan Arefeh Elyasi told the Shahrvand newspaper on Monday.

    Another woman, Zahra Jafarzadeh, said she bought a ticket even though she does not really like football.

     

    what is the official explanation for the ban? There isn’t any.

         What is the official explanation for the ban? There isn’t any

    ‘I felt that if didn’t sign up, I would be missing a major event,’ she told the newspaper.

    Having never been inside the stadium, some worried about which seat to choose.

    ‘My friend’s mother told me to get a seat where the ball wouldn’t hit my head,’ said Negin Bagheri.

    But it did not take long for reality to reimpose itself, as Iran’s football federation said it was all a mistake.

    ‘There is no plan to allow the presence of women in Azadi stadium for the Iran-Syria match,’ it said in a statement, blaming a ‘technical glitch’.

    Tickets held by women would all be cancelled and refunded, it said.

    ‘Maybe we all knew that we would not be allowed to enter the stadium despite buying the ticket,’ Elyasi said.

    ‘But we wanted to make our voice heard by the officials.’

    Iran was among the first teams to qualify for the 2018 world cup finals in Russia, and celebrations are planned for after the Syria game.

    Azadi Stadium

    Azadi Stadium

    Women are allowed to watch some sports, though the rules can change with little warning.

    There was shock in 2014 when women were suddenly banned from volleyball matches without explanation, although they have since been allowed to return to some events in segregated seats.

    Source: Iran regime continues to bar Iranian women from going to sport stadiums

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:56 am on September 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    A Hunger for Change in Iran’s Prisons 

    Capture

    Many of us cannot go 5 hours without needing something to eat, whether it’s a healthy kale snack or some fast food you know you really shouldn’t touch. Yet political prisoners in one of Iran’s prisons, Gohardasht – some 15 miles northwest of the capital – have entered their 5th week of hunger strike. Even under so-called normal circumstances, Gohardasht’s security guards are more notoriousthan those at Evin, Iran’s most notorious prison, when it comes to cruelty in treating political prisoners and some former political prisoners consider Evin as a 5 star hotel in comparison to Ghoardasht.

    Against this backdrop, on July 30th, inmates in Ward 4, Hall 12 of Gohardasht Prison were violently transferred to Hall 10, where conditions and treatment are even worse than the prisoners. Hall 10 had been newly renovated ahead of the raid; but this was not contractors installing new sinks or applying coats of paint; the renovations were solely intended to put more pressure on Iranian political prisoners. In their new home, the prisoners are subject to 24/7 video and audio surveillance – without exception. Windows have been covered over with metal canvas, thereby reducing airflow during summer in a facility already known for its inhuman and unhygienic conditions.

    The indiscriminate raid was followed by confiscation or outright theft of virtually all of the inmates’ personal belongings, including prescription medications. Since then, prison authorities have denied the prisoners access to medical treatment and have even blocked the delivery of expensive medications purchased for them by families outside the prison. Iranian trade unionist Reza Shahabi’s wifes insistence on visiting him forced the prison’s warden to allow a short visit, which Reza was forced to stand up throughout. She later told a radio broadcaster in Stockholm that her husband, in the 5th week of his hunger strike, was very frail. She fears his life is at serious risk. The raid’s victims have vowed to continue with the protest until they are transferred back to their previous ward and have their belongings returned to them.

    The initial hunger strike has gained momentum and fellow inmates are joining the protest. Two dozen prisoners are on hunger strike now. Most of the strikers are political prisoners, often supporting the country’s leading banned opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

    Western governments have been largely focussed on the regime’s nuclear activities and finding ways to prevent it from gaining nuclear capability. However, this has led to a loss of focus on it’s internal affairs – human rights defenders have therefore lost a receptive ear to their whistle blowing. The regime has not change its behaviour, despite facing annual reports of various kinds published by the Western governments about its violations of human rights, women’s rights, religious rights or even UN resolutionscondemning it. The ruling mullahs know full well that as long as the rest of the world is willing to give in to its re-strengthening, whilst missing it’s internal behaviour, it need not be worried too much.

    A close look at Hassan Rouhani’s first term in office sees a concerning continuation of human rights abuses; most noticeable are the more than 3,000 executions and a severe crackdown on dissidents and right activists. Despite the portrayal of Rouhani in the West as a ‘moderate’ figure in the Iranian establishment, his record shows that perhaps human rights are not his top priority. Indeed, a recent Amnesty International (AI)’s report gives short shrift to the idea of “moderation” in Iran, referencing its “’vicious’ crackdown on human rights activists under Rouhani” and “long jail sentences after trials lasting only 45 minutes “ for ’Offences’ that included communicating with EU, UN and human rights organizations.”

    A case in point was last month when EU Foreign Policy Chief, Federica Mogherini, paid a high profile visit to Iran. She was received as a celebrity by Iran’s parliament and posed for “embarrassing” selfies with its members, rather than investigating human rights abuses. Human rights organization such as AI – the most vocal on Iranian regime’s abuses – have constantly called on western governments to condition their visits on permission to independently meet with rights’ activists in the country.  In a statement, the organisation commented that “The international community, and in particular the EU must not stay silent over the outrageous treatment of human rights defenders in Iran.”

     

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    REZA SHAFIEE is a Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)

    via A Hunger for Change in Iran’s Prisons — Raddington Report

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 3:41 pm on September 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    To save the lives of political prisoners who are on hunger strike 

    To save the lives of political prisoners who are on hunger strike.

     

     
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