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UNHCR publishes update on situation of Camp Liberty residents

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  • UNHCR publishes update on situation of Camp Liberty residents

    UNHCR

    NCRI – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has issued an update on the situation of Camp Liberty residents.
    The following is the full text of the UN Refugee Agency’s statement:

    Update N° 14

    Update on the implementation of solutions for residents of Hurriya Temporary Transit Location (TTL)

    • The relocation of residents of the Hurriya Temporary Transit Location (TTL) out of Iraq continues to maintain momentum, with more than 1700 residents having now been relocated to a situation of safety in third countries. This represents a significant milestone: more than half of the residents registered by UNHCR have now been successfully relocated.
    • Prospects for relocating all residents out of Iraq in 2016 are at their most buoyant since international efforts to find solutions began in 2011. UNHCR is supporting a steady and growing stream of movements out of Iraq in coming months. It is hoped that the process will be completed well before year end.
    • This progress has been achieved with the cooperation of the residents who have proceeded with the relocation process despite difficult circumstances, including the attack on 4 July 2016, which fortunately did not result in any casualties.
    • Ongoing success in the implementation of solutions has also been assisted by the residents’ commitment to meeting the bulk of the associated costs, particularly for long term support of all residents relocated out of Iraq who have no access to state-sponsored assistance. This commitment is crucial to the ongoing implementation of solutions for the group.
    • UNHCR deeply appreciates the measures taken by some countries to relocate residents to situations of safety and security. Albania’s exceptional contribution to this humanitarian endeavour merits special note, as Albania has received a significant proportion of the residents who have been relocated. Likewise, the United States has been actively supporting the relocations in a number of ways, and without those sustained and concerted efforts, the progress reported here could not have been achieved.
    • Despite noteworthy progress made over the last two years, UNHCR maintains its call upon States to find ways to offer long term solutions for the residents in the Hurriya TTL and to do so with urgency. This appeal should be read in light of the potential for more attacks on the Hurriya TTL, as has been recently witnessed. This emphasizes the need for quick and pragmatic action on the part of States to ensure that these people are very swiftly relocated to a situation of safety and security.
    • UNHCR continues to call upon the Government of Iraq to take all possible measures to ensure the safety and well-being of residents, including ensuring access to life saving medical treatment and assistance with the provision of goods and services to enable the residents to make arrangements for their own protection.
    • UNHCR also recalls the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Iraq and the United Nations explicitly recognizes that residents benefit from the principle of non-refoulement.

    UNHCR, Geneva, 19 July 2016

    Source: http://www.unhcr.org/4f2a54a16.pdf

  • Asharq Al-Awsat: 100,000 Iranians rally in Paris

    iran-free-maryam-rajavi-400Some 100,000 Iranians rallied in Paris on Saturday to voice their demand for regime change in Iran at a rally organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the Asharq Al-Awsat’s English edition wrote on Sunday.

    The report said:

    In the biggest gathering of its kind, thousands of Iranian dissidents called for the toppling of the Iranian government.

    Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi said during her opening speech that the only solution would be a change in regime to improve stability in the region. She said “regime change” is the “only solution” for Iran is to exit this “deteriorating” situation.

    The latter also accused Iran’s leadership of supporting the massacre’s committed by the Syrian regime and called for an end to Iranian meddling in Iraq and Yemen.

    “So long as the regime’s occupation of Syria, Iraq and Yemen continues, one cannot confront ISIS effectively,” she told thousands of activists.

    She also said, “Those resisting Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist (Wilayat al-Faqih) regime are increasing and spreading their influence.”

    Rajavi added: “Khamenei’s circle is looking for an outlet to escape internal crisis has failed.”

    The opposition leader also warned that repression intensified and the number of executions rose to two to three times since the Iranian revolution.

    The rally was also attended by an array of former American, European and Middle East officials and politicians to show their support for the NCRI.

  • British lawmakers condemn rocket attack on Camp Liberty

    parliament-ukPress Release

    British MPs call for international protection for Camp Liberty following the 5th missile attack

    Camp Liberty, the residence of members of Iran’s democratic opposition, the PMOI, near Baghdad’s International Airport, came under a heavy missile attack on Monday, July 4, at 20:35 local time. Parts of the camp was destroyed in the subsequent fire and several camp residents were injured.

    Today’s attack is the fifth missile attack on Camp Liberty and its residents since 2012. According to reports, Iraqi militia forces supported by Tehran’s terrorist Quds-force are behind Monday’s attack. The residents’ peril continues as the Iraqi forces have reportedly imposed a siege on the camp and prevent entry of the fuel, food and medicine.

    The British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF), in two statements last year, warned of new efforts by Tehran to use its political influence and proxies in Iraq to attack Camp Liberty in an effort to eliminate its opposition. The statements called on the UK government to take urgent actions with the EU, the U.S. and at the UN Security Council to secure adequate protection for these defenceless refugees.

    Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, the co-chairman of BPCIF, added “This is an outrage. The international community must intervene immediately to protect the residents of Camp Liberty and help them to transfer to a safe country. Although the Iranian regime is responsible for this attack, the Iraqi government carries great blame. Nothing less than a personal intervention by president Obama will do.”

    British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF)

    04 July 2016

    Earlier statements by BPCIF on Camp Liberty

    Press Release, 9 November 2015: MPs urge Security Council to protect Camp Liberty

    http://www.iran-freedom.org/bpcif-statements/481-press-release-mps-urge-security-council-to-protectcamp-liberty

    Statement on Tehran’s ominous campaign against Iranian refugees in Camp Liberty, 08 September 2015:

    http://www.iran-freedom.org/bpcif-statements/470-statement-on-tehran-s-ominous-campaign-againstiranian-refugees-in-camp-liberty

  • Amnesty International calls for prompt, independent investigation into Camp Liberty rocket attack

    camp-liberty-6-aaNCRI – Amnesty International issued a public statement on Wednesday demanding that members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) in Camp Liberty, Iraq, be protected from attacks, following the rocket attack on the camp on Monday in which some 50 people were injured.

    The following is the full text of Amnesty International’s statement:

    Source: https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE1444082016ENGLISH.PDF

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

    PUBLIC STATEMENT

    6 July 2016

    Index: MDE 14/4408/2016

    Iraq: Investigate rocket attack on Camp Liberty

    Camp Liberty residents must be protected from attacks, said Amnesty International as it called for an independent, impartial and prompt investigation into the 4 July rocket attack on the camp, which is home to Iranian exiles.

    Camp Liberty, located near Baghdad International Airport in the south-west of the city, was struck by rockets in the evening of 4 July, leading to some 50 injuries and material damage, according to residents. Five injured residents were transferred to Baghdad hospitals, while the remainder were treated at the camp clinic.

    Residents estimate that hundreds of Iranian exiles, mostly members and supporters of the Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), and their families, continue to live at the camp.

    Camp residents told Amnesty International that the rocket fire started at around 8.35pm on 4 July as camp residents gathered together after breaking their Ramadan fast and lasted for about 15 minutes. According to eyewitnesses, the southern section of the camp – which has a high concentration of women residents – was affected worst. Eyewitnesses reported that some 50 metal trailers and a number of storage facilities for food and appliances were burned or otherwise damaged in the attack.

    A 30-year-old woman told Amnesty International: “I was just finishing up eating when I heard the first explosion. I got out of the food hall together with my friends, and we started running. A rocket exploded about three metres away from me. From the impact, I fell on the ground on my face. I had blood all over my face and nose.” Another woman said that she felt that she was being “buried alive” under the flying debris and smoke as she hid in a deep hole in the ground which she said residents had previously dug out for protection in case of attacks.

    The spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior confirmed that Camp Liberty has been “hit by rockets” on 4 July.

    Amnesty International is calling for a prompt, independent and effective investigation into this attack, for those responsible to be brought to justice and for measures to be put in place to prevent future attacks. The organization regrets the failure to adequately investigate previous deadly attacks against the camp, which sent the message that camp residents can be attacked with impunity. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the 4 July attack.

    Camp residents also complained to Amnesty International about their desperate living conditions. They said that Iraqi security forces controlling access to the camp had prevented the delivery of food, medicine and fuel in the eight days preceding the attack. The shortage of fuel in particular impacts camp residents, who rely on generators for electricity.

    Amnesty International calls on the Iraqi authorities to ensure that electricity and other essential services to the camp are restored, that access to basic necessities is not impeded and that those whose homes have been destroyed in the shelling are provided with adequate temporary shelter without delay.

    Background

    The exiles living in Camp Liberty previously had lived in Camp Ashraf since the mid-1980s. After the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, the camp and its residents were placed under US protection but this ended in mid-2009 following an agreement between the US authorities and the Iraqi government. On 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and others were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten.

    In 2011, the Iraqi government announced the closure of Camp Ashraf after relocating its residents to Camp Liberty in the south-west of Baghdad.

    On 29 October 2015, Camp Liberty was struck by a barrage of rockets, which killed at least 23 people, including one woman, and injured dozens. An Iraqi militia, the al-Mukhtar Army, claimed responsibility for that attack and warned that the attack may be repeated.

    The government has failed to adequately investigate previous attacks on Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, and no one has ever been brought to account.

    According to a December 2011 memorandum of understanding between the United Nations and the government of Iraq, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) may process requests for international protection from residents of the camps. Those residents who apply for international protection are asylum-seekers under international law. In its “Update on the implementation of solutions for residents of Hurriya (Liberty) Temporary Transit” issued on 14 December 2015, UNHCR stated that some 1,970 residents remained at the camp, while a further 1,100 had been relocated to third countries.

    ——

    Related news:

    Iranian Resistance President-elect Maryam Rajavi on Monday called on the UN Security Council, the European Union and their member states to decisively condemn the criminal missile attack on Camp Liberty. Mrs. Rajavi said now that no doubt remains as to the Iranian regime’s intentions to cause more bloodshed at Camp Liberty, there is added urgency for the United States and the United Nations to take action to guarantee and provide safety and security for the residents of Camp Liberty until such time when all of them have departed Iraq. She emphasized that this would be consistent with the repeated and written guarantees the U.S. and the UN have given regarding the safety and security of Camp Liberty residents.

    Maryam Rajavi said that the missile attack on Camp Liberty, especially following an inhumane eight-day siege, blocking fuel, food and medicine from entering the camp, demonstrated that the religious dictatorship ruling Iran is terrified of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and the Iranian Resistance, which it views as an existential threat.

    Maryam Rajavi noted, the mullahs’ regime opposes any solution for Camp Liberty residents that would ensure their safety and security and tries to obstruct it. The only acceptable options, as far as the regime is concerned, are to either compel Camp Liberty residents to surrender and abandon their struggle or to physically eliminate them, Mrs. Rajavi said.

  • Iran steps up recruitment of Afghan mercenaries for Syrian war in Herat

    Iran steps up recruitment of Afghan mercenaries for Syrian war in Herat


    HERAT, AFGHANISTAN – With gelled hair spiked high and wearing a Dolce & Gabbana shirt, the young Afghan man looks more like a fashionista than a religious warrior ready to give his life for jihad in Syria.
    The man wanted to leave Afghanistan for personal reasons, but the Afghans and Iranians who facilitated his trip to Iran, and hosted him in Tehran, saw a recruiting opportunity. For two and a half months, an Iranian recruiter visited nearly every day to convince him to fight on the Syrian frontline with an all-Afghan unit in exchange for promises of a better life.
    As he felt the pressure grow, he finally acquiesced.
    “We will send you to Syria; when you come back we will give you an Iranian passport, a house, and money,” the 21-year-old Afghan was promised when he got to Tehran. He was told he would be fighting a ‘religious war’ in Syria.
    His is one of many stories heard here in Herat, an ancient and largely Shiite city in northwest Afghanistan, that gives rare insight into how far the Islamic Republic is going to deploy a largely Shiite mercenary force of Afghans in Syria alongside its own troops, Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon, and Shiites whom Iran has marshaled from Iraq and Pakistan.
    Their presence has helped bolster Iran’s ally, Bashar al-Assad, and – backed up by eight months of Russian airstrikes – enabled him to defy international predictions of his regime’s certain demise.
    Iran’s use of Afghan fighters to bolster pro-government ranks in the Syrian war is no longer a secret, and is increasingly publicized inside Iran. Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, met in March with families of Afghans killed in Syria, praised their sacrifice, and said: “I am proud of you.”
    They fight for cash, upwards of $700 per month, or choose to realize promises of Iranian citizenship, schooling for their children, and jobs, if they survive the frontline – benefits usually beyond reach for Afghan migrants in Iran.
    Still other Afghans report coercion and intimidation, and say their second-class status inside Iran – among an estimated 3 million Afghans, only one-third are legal migrants – is taken advantage of. Afghans’ ‘vulnerable legal position in Iran and the fear of deportation may contribute to their decision [to join militias in Syria], making it less than voluntary,’ Human Rights Watch said in a January report.
    ‘You will die a martyr’
    The young man from Herat who asked not to be named, exudes fear as he recounts the failed recruitment by Iranians that he says believed in their cause, and were clearly tasked with the job.
    “I thought, ‘If I do not accept, they will kidnap me and kill me.’ It was very dangerous,” recalls the would-be recruit. “In front of them I accepted everything, I said, ‘I am ready to leave for Syria and take part in the war.’ But I thought to myself, ‘What should I do? How to escape?’”
    Shaking with anxiety and sweating at first, he tells how his plan to leave Afghanistan was diverted by Iranian recruiters; about how he felt compelled to agree to join the war; about how he lied to flee Iran to escape that commitment; and about why – now months later, and back in Afghanistan – he fears retribution and covers his face in public to avoid being recognized.
    While in Tehran, he came up with an excuse of visiting an aunt in northern Iran before his deployment to Syria – and never came back. He claims that a fellow Afghan in Herat with official ties, who helped the young man make the trip to Tehran, was an “agent of Iran” whose job is to “collect young people” for the war in Syria.
    Iran’s public praise of Afghan brigade
    Iran has created an entire unit of Afghans in Syria – known as the Fatemioun Brigade , estimated to number several thousand. They have also created a religious narrative of defending Shiite shrines to encourage and justify their presence on the battlefield.
    For years, Iran denied their existence, or any role in their creation. Yet beyond Mr. Khamenei’s recent praise, the public profile of Afghan fighters in Syria has grown in Iranian media coverage since last year.
    The hard-line Kayhan newspaper describes how Fatemioun recruits spend 25 to 35 days at a ‘special training base’ inside Iran before being dispatched to Syria, and there are frequent, increasingly advertised burials of Afghan “martyrs,” especially in Iran’s northeast shrine city of Mashhad.
    Video footage and interviews of Afghans captured by Syrian rebels in Western media depict hapless Afghans serving as cannon fodder, lost wide-eyed in a foreign war and not speaking Arabic, though some Iranian media reports describe specific victories made possible by Afghan warriors.
    Iran’s parliament voted last month to provide citizenship to families of foreign martyrs who have died on its behalf from the 1980s onwards – a rule that would apply to Afghans fighting in Syria.
    Some Afghans in Herat allege that Iran’s “infiltration” has grown in part because of local recruiting efforts, from a low three years ago when Iran appeared to be making little strategic headway winning hearts and minds, despite providing extensive charity aid, from cash for newlyweds and student care packages, to cut-price electricity.
    Remarkably, Iran’s volunteer Basij militia – a force of ideological devotees that operates under the Revolutionary Guard– publicized the opening of a new “headquarters” in Herat on its Basij News website last September. The photographs, since taken down, did not give away the location, perhaps to indicate a degree of caution about their operations in a neighboring country, but they show a ribbon-cutting ceremony and several uniformed Iranian officers with a handful of Afghans, most of them teenagers.
    A son fighting for cash
    Rokhiya, an Afghan mother with a sad face and wearing very conservative hijab and long robes, is not sure Iran’s promise of benefits will ever reach her, even though her son Rasoul ended up in Syria and died there.
    How Rasoul got there was a mystery to this mother. Her son had been married for a year, then left for Iran to find work. That was seven years ago. In Rasoul’s last construction job, the Iranian boss told the 20 Afghans working there that they would not be paid unless they did a war-zone tour in Syria. She claimed the man was from ‘Revolutionary Guard intelligence,’ a common, catch-all target of blame used by Afghans whenever they perceive Iranian influence.
    “He put Rasoul under pressure, ‘Don’t tell anything to your mother; no one should know,’” recalls Rokhiya, recounting the story she learned from cousins inside Iran.
    The first she knew he was in Syria came when he called home. Rasoul said he was “in a very bad position” but “had no choice, there was so much pressure.”
    The next and last time Rasoul called, he spoke to his mother for eight minutes. He told her to borrow money; he would soon be able to pay her back. He promised to return to Iran, and would bring her there.
    “They will pay for a home and we will live well, have financial support and citizenship,” Rasoul told her of Iranian promises.
    “We are in war and are fighting. I have a gun, that is my work here. I don’t have any other way to make money,” Rasoul told his mother, adding that his faith would protect him. She says of that final conversation: “He was really unhappy and really afraid. It was his first time in war.”
    Weeks later, a cousin in Iran phoned with news: “Pray for your son, he has died,” Rokhiya was told. The body never came home; any benefits remain undelivered so far.
    A rare Sunni recruit
    Another surprise Afghan fighter was Yousef, a rare Sunni and ethnic Pashtun recruited by Iran to fight from his job site west of Tehran, according to his cousin Hassan, who wears a bushy beard and embroidered skull cap.
    Hassan and Yousef worked often in Iran, and last year their group of Afghan construction workers was often visited by an Iranian recruiter. Once the Iranian had a private conversation with Yousef, who then told his cousin he wanted to work “far away” and would be gone for two months – without mentioning the Syrian war.
    There is open recruiting in Iran for Shiite Afghans, the Hazaras, and Iranian government benefits were for them, says Hassan. But finding Sunni Pashtuns willing to fight is far less common.
    “Pashtuns don’t participate, but they go one-by-one like my cousin, for the money,” says Hassan. “Most who leave Afghanistan are workers, so if the pay is higher in the war, they do it.”
    Word filtered through from Hazara friends at the Syrian front that Yousef was with them, and was killed. “He did not tell us he wanted to go to Syria,” says Hassan. “He never came back.”
    That does not surprise the spike-haired, name-branded Afghan who made it to Tehran, refused to go to Syria, and now hides his identity in Herat, which he calls a “big recruiting center” for Iran’s war in Syria.
    “They are collecting young people in Herat, and say, ‘Let’s go sightseeing in Iran,’” says the Afghan fashionista. Does he belief the Iranian promises of benefits?
    “If people go to Syria, they will never come back, so for whom do they issue these things?” he asks.
    Source: Christian Science monitor, JUNE 12, 2016

  • Over 270 MEPs denounce human rights abuses in Iran

    Over 270 MEPs denounce human rights abuses in Iran

    NCRI – More than 270 Members of the European Parliament have signed a joint statement on Iran, calling on the European Union to “condition” its relations with Tehran to an improvement of human rights.

    The MEPs who are from all 28 EU Member States and from all political groups in the Parliament are concerned about the rising number of executions in Iran after Hassan Rouhani took office as President three years ago.

    The following is a text of a statement released on Tuesday by the Office of Gérard Deprez MEP, President of the Friends of a Free Iran group in the European Parliament:

    Brussels- 14 June 2016

    European Lawmakers Call on EU to Condition Relations with Iran to a Halt of Executions

    Over 270 Members of the European Parliament have signed a joint statement on Iran, calling on EU to “condition” its relations with Tehran to improvement of human rights.

    The MEPs who are from all 28 EU Member States and from all political groups in the European Parliament are concerned about the rising number of executions in Iran after the so called “moderate” president Hassan Rouhani took office three years ago.

    According to Amnesty International nearly 1000 people were hanged in Iran in 2015, calling the rate of executions as “a horrific image of the planned state killing machine.”

    Iran has currently the highest number of executions in the world per capita. It is also the leading executioner of minors in the world.

    Repressive measures against women and the religious minorities have continued to increase.

    Despite high hopes that the nuclear agreement with Iran would bring improvements to human rights, the situation has got worse day by day.

    The UN special rapporteur on Iran recently announced that rate of hangings are now the highest in the past 27 years.

    The recent parliamentary elections were a sham. Opposition was banned. Thousands of candidates were filtered by the ‘Guardian Council’ under orders of Ayatollah Khamenei. Those who were permitted to run were the most loyal to the state and many have been involved in human rights abuses.

    Iran’s support for the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad who is responsible for the killing of half a million of his own people and has paved the ground for the expansion of the so called Islamic State or Daesh is also of enormous concern to MEPs.

    Speaking from Brussels Gérard Deprez, Chair of the Friends of a Free Iran in the European Parliament, said “It is a great contradiction that we in the EU are so proud that all 28 Member states have abandoned death penalty but we seem to have no problem doing business with the world’s leading executioner-state. If EU does not insist publicly and seriously on improvement of human rights this would be a great damage to our credibility.”

    The signatories of the statement include 6 Vice-Presidents of the Parliament as well as several committee chairs and heads of delegations and some vice-presidents of the political groups.

    The statement calls on the European Union and the EU Member States “to condition any further relations with Iran to a clear progress on human rights and a halt to executions.”

    Office of Gérard Deprez, MEP

    Ministre d’Etat, Belgique

    Vice-President of the MR Party

    President of Friends of a Free Iran in European Parliament

    European Parliament , Brussels

    ASP 9G210 / WIC M02074

    Details: http://www.ncr-iran.org/en/news/human-rights/20527-over-270-meps-denounce-human-rights-abuses-in-iran

  • VIDEO: Scene of public flogging in southern Iran city

    Scene of public flogging in southern Iran city

    VIDEO: Scene of public flogging in southern Iran city

    NCRI – This is a video clip recently smuggled out of Iran which shows a man being flogged in public by the fundamentalist authorities.

    The clip was filmed at Kouhpayeh Park in Shiraz, southern Iran.

    On May 25, the Iranian regime’s suppressive forces raided a party following a graduation ceremony in Qazvin, west of Tehran, and arrested 35 young men and women. On that same day, all of the arrestees were condemned by the judiciary to 99 lashes and the sentences were immediately carried out by “Moral Security Police”

    On May 31, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement saying: “We condemn the outrageous flogging of up to 35 young men and women in Iran last week, after they were caught holding a graduation party together in Qazvin, north of Tehran.”

  • Saudi Arabia tells Iran to remove its forces from Iraq

    adel-jubeir-750_0

    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said the sending of Iranian Shiite units to Iraq for military operations is unacceptable which is why Saudi Arabia insist that Iran withdraws all its troops from Iraq.He said: “Iraq’s problem is religious conflicts caused by the Iranian interference.”

    Jubeir held a joint press conference with his UK counterpart Philip Hammond aired by the Al Arabiya Channel, in which he warned Iran that sending military units to Iraq with or without government approval was unacceptable.

    Jubeir said: “Sedition and division in Iraq are the results of sectarian policies that developed out of Iran’s policies in Iraq. If Iran wants stability in Iraq, it has to stop intervening and withdraw.”

    Hammond reassured other Middle Eastern countries that the world is still watching Iran in the wake of last year’s nuclear deal.

    Hammond said: “Just because we’ve made an agreement with Iran on its nuclear programme does not mean that we will turn a blind eye to Iran’s continuing attempts to destabilise the region or to its ballistic missiles programme which remains a serious threat to peace and which breaches UN resolutions.”

    Jubeir said: “We supported that agreement so long as we were assured that Iran will not be able to acquire a nuclear capability. They are, after all, a neighbour and we will have to live with them. But it’s difficult to live with a neighbour whose objective is to destroy you: that’s why the relation with Iran is not what it should be.”

    Jubeir recommended that Iran deal with its domestic problems before interfering with other countries.

    This news, reported by Al Arabiya English on Sunday, comes one day after Sunni politicians in Iraq condemned the visit of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani to Shi’ite paramilitary forces; fighting alongside the Iraqi army to regain control of Falluja.

    According to Reuters, three lawmakers from Anbar suggested that the visit by Iran’s Quds Force commander could fuel tension and cast doubt on Baghdad’s assertions that the offensive is an Iraqi-led effort to defeat Islamic State (ISIS), and not to settle scores with the Sunnis.

    The city of Falluja, about 50 kilometres west of Baghdad, is a stronghold of the rebellion that fought the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the Shi’ite-led authorities that replaced former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, a Sunni.

    The Iraqi government refuse to confirm Soleimani’s visit but stressed that Iranian advisers are present in Iran to assist with the abolition of ISIS in the same capacity as the US Coalition forces.

    Hamid al-Mutlaq, a Member of Parliament (MP) for Iraq, rejected this idea.

    He said: “We are Iraqis and not Iranians. Would Turkish or Saudi advisers be welcomed to assist in the battle?”

    Salim Muttar al-Issawi, another MP, said: “Soleimani’s presence is suspicious and a cause for concern; he is absolutely not welcome in the area.”

    A third MP, Liqaa Wardi, said: “I believe that the presence of such an official from the (Iranian) Revolutionary Guard could have sectarian implications.”

  • 29 young people arrested in Iran for attending a mixed-gender party

    750-mashhad

    Tehran, 31 May – Twenty-nine young people were arrested last weekend at a party in north-eastern Iran.

    The youngsters were rounded up at a villa near Danesh Junction in Mashhad on the evening of Saturday, 28 May.

    On Monday, 30 May, the state-run Rokna news agency reported that 15 men and 14 women were taken to face prosecution in a court in District 6 of Mashhad on Sunday.

    This news comes just a week after 35 young adults were flogged for attending a mixed-gender graduation party in Qazvin.

    Notoriously cruel mullah, Ismaeil Sadeqi Niaraki, announced via the regime-affiliated Mizan news agency, that a special court session had to be held after this event.

    Niaraki said: “After we received information that a large number of men and women were mingling in a villa in the suburbs of Qazvin … all the participants at the party were arrested”.

    He said that all detainees received 99 lashes from the purported ‘Morality Police’.

    Shahin Gobadi of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said brutal acts like these prove that Hassan Rouhani’s Presidency is anything but moderate.

    He said: “Three years after Rouhani’s Presidency the human rights situation in Iran is deteriorating in every aspect. This also shows the regime’s fragile state and total isolation among the Iranian people, in particular among the youths. The notion advocated by some in the West that this regime has a future is totally naïve”.

    There were two more mixed-gender parties held in north-eastern Iranthat were broken up by the regime’s paramilitary Basij within three days of each other. They detained 70 people from the parties.

  • Man hanged in public in southern Iran city

    execution-iran-400_0

    Iran’s fundamentalist regime on Thursday publicly hanged a man in the southern city of Shiraz.

    The regime’s judiciary in Fars Province, southern Iran, in a May 26 statement identified the victim only as Hamid B.

    The regime mass executed on Wednesday 11 prisoners in their twenties, including at least one who is believed to have been only 16 at the time of his alleged offence. Another five prisoners were executed on Tuesday in Ghezel-Hessar Prison of Karaj and Adelabad Prison of Shiraz.

    Another prisoner was hanged in public in Ramsar, northern Iran, after spending eight years in prison.

    Iran’s fundamentalist regime has sharply increased its rate of executions, carrying out at least 21 hangings in a 48-hour period last week.

    Ms. Farideh Karimi, a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and a human rights activist, on Wednesday called for an urgent response by the United Nations and foreign governments to the appalling state of human rights in Iran.

    “The rising number of mass executions in Iran in recent weeks clearly shows that the regime has in no way decided to change its disgraceful human rights record. Any claim of moderation under Hassan Rouhani is simply a myth. It is high time for the United Nations and human rights organizations to speak out against the brutal executions by the mullahs’ regime and send Iran’s human rights dossier before the UN Security Council,” she said.

    The latest hanging brings to at least 116 the number of people executed in Iran since April 10. Three of those executed were women and two are believed to have been juvenile offenders.

    Iran’s fundamentalist regime earlier this month amputated the fingers of a man in his thirties in Mashhad, the latest in a line of draconian punishments handed down and carried out in recent weeks.

    The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said in a statement on April 13 that the increasing trend of executions “aimed at intensifying the climate of terror to rein in expanding protests by various strata of the society, especially at a time of visits by high-ranking European officials, demonstrates that the claim of moderation is nothing but an illusion for this medieval regime.”

    Amnesty International in its April 6 annual Death Penalty report covering the 2015 period wrote: “Iran put at least 977 people to death in 2015, compared to at least 743 the year before.”

    “Iran alone accounted for 82% of all executions recorded” in the Middle East and North Africa, the human rights group said.

    There have been more than 2,300 executions during Hassan Rouhani’s tenure as President. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran in March announced that the number of executions in Iran in 2015 was greater than any year in the last 25 years. Rouhani has explicitly endorsed the executions as examples of “God’s commandments” and “laws of the parliament that belong to the people.