By Pooya Stone
On Monday, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution to condemn the Iranian government for its crackdown on peaceful protests and support the rights of the Iranian people to freedom of expression.
The resolution, sponsored by Theodore Deutch (D-Fl), noted that the recent Iran uprising began over a sudden hike in the price of fuel and quickly became a call for regime change. This was “the most significant anti government protests in Iran since June 2009” and the authorities cracked down violently on the protesters arresting 12,000 and killing 1,000, even shutting down the internet to prevent news of the protests and the crackdown from spreading.
The resolution said: “Reports indicate that Iranian Government authorities have, in many instances, refused to return victims’ bodies to their families and that security forces have removed bodies from morgues and transferred them to unknown locations.”
It quoted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had said on November 18: “The United States is monitoring the ongoing protests in Iran closely. We condemn strongly any acts of violence committed by this regime against the Iranian people and are deeply concerned about reports of several fatalities… The Islamic Republic must cease violence against its own people and should immediately restore the ability of all Iranians to access the free and open internet.”
It was resolved that the House of Representatives stands with the Iranian people, who are engaged in legitimate and peaceful protests against an oppressive and corrupt government. It further said that the House condemns the Iranian government’s human rights abuses against the Iranian people, as well as significant corruption, and destabilizing activities abroad.
The resolution commended the executive branch and key allies for their statements in support of the protesters and called on all democratic governments and institutions to support the Iranian people. It also urged the Administration to:
- convene emergency sessions of the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn the ongoing human rights violations perpetrated by the Iranian authorities
- establish a mechanism by which the Security Council can monitor such violations
- expedite the license of communications technology to Iran to improve the ability of the Iranian people to speak freely
- work with the international community to ensure that violations of human rights are part of all formal and informal multilateral or bilateral discussions with and regarding Iran
The resolution said the House “respects the proud history and rich culture of the Iranian nation and fully supports efforts by the people of Iran to promote the establishment of basic freedoms that build the foundation for the emergence of a freely elected, open, and democratic political system”.
For the past two days, and after the abrupt announcement of increasing gas prices hikes by the government, the Iranian people poured into the streets in more than 100 cities. However, while the protests began against the government’s approval for rising fuel prices, they immediately targeted the ruling system in its entirety. Notably, after the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei defended the rising of fuel prices, protests intensified.
“When the heads of state adopt a decision, one must look at it favorably. I’m not an expert in this field. I said this to the officials. Experts have different opinions on the issue of gasoline. Some see it as vital, and others think it’s harmful. I said I’m not an expert, but if the heads of the three branches decide on it, I will support them. That’s what I said, and I will support them.” Khamenei announced in his primary lecture on November 17.
The nationwide protests severely terrify the Iranian rulers. In recent demonstrations in Iraq and Lebanon, they called their surrogates to crack down with showing no mercy. “We have experienced such protests in Iran, and it should be quelled forcefully,” an Iraqi security official quoted the commander of Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force Qasem Soleimani as saying.
In this regard, the Iran-dominated government in Iraq started a brutal suppression using snipers and black masked-men against Iraqi protesters. In Lebanon, the most prominent Iran-backed group in the region, Hezbollah, attacked peaceful protesters’ rally in Beirut and torched their tents. However, the Iranian government’s plan failed to stifle widespread protests in both countries. Insofar as despite a militant suppression in Iran and the murderer of dozens of youths, protests are still going on.
The Iranian authorities resorted to cutting off the internet to prevent the news from reaching the world. They also pursue to quell the rightful Iranian demonstrations in silence. In this context, Ali Khamenei frankly ordered his thugs to slaughter protesters justifying, “No wise person who loves his country, who loves his suitable life, mustn’t help these [protesters]. These are ‘hooligans’!” He also admitted, “Some people are worried or angry over this decision [gasoline prices hike], or it’s to a detriment, or they think it is, and they are unhappy.”
However, the question is, despite the authorities anticipating the society’s reaction, why did they adopt this approval? Notably, the gas prices hike is taking place while discussions over this plan have been lengthened over a year in Majlis sessions. The reality is the Iranian government’s situation has never been as “difficult and complicated” as it is today. “Iran is experiencing one of its hardest years since the 1979 Islamic revolution,” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said in the city of Kerman, November 12.
Rouhani admitted the impact of the U.S. sanctions ruined the Iranian government sponsorship of terrorism and pursuit the nuclear bomb-making program. “When the country faces problems selling oil, how are we supposed to manage the country?” Rouhani raised in the same speech in Kerman. He also stressed that his government needs oil revenue to run the country in denial of Khamenei’s remarks about the “resistance economy” and the growth of “non-petrol industries.”
He also promised to compensate the budget deficit at the expense of the people instead of declining the wages of Iran-backed militias in neighboring countries. “Our annual budget is 450 trillion tomans (around $41 billion). We have two necessities; first, we need rials (Iran’s currency). These 450 trillion tomans… where is this money supposed to come from? Thirty percent of our country’s revenue is provided through taxes and customs. The main revenue that runs the country is oil money,” Rouhani said in Kerman.
However, the recent nationwide protests in Iran have proven that the Iranian people will not allow the government to waste the national capital on its adventurism. While the protests started against the petrol prices hike, they followed by rejecting the state’s expansionist policies in other countries. The slogans, “Get rid of Syria, think about us,” and “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my life for Iran,” showed this truth.
In these circumstances, given the horrible economic condition that results from government mismanagement and the squandering of national resources, more protests can be expected. Unless the authorities revoke gas prices hikes, which paves the way for grievances further than economic sectors.
UN Must Hold Iran Regime Accountable for 1988 Massacre, Other Human Rights Abuses – Amnesty International
The international community must publicly condemn the deterioration in the Iranian regime’s human rights record during Iran’s upcoming review session at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on November 8, Amnesty International said on Wednesday, November 6.
The organization urged states taking part in Iran’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to denounce the widespread human rights violations and make concrete recommendations for the Iranian authorities to address them.
“From horrific execution rates, to the relentless persecution of human rights defenders, rampant discrimination against women and minorities, and ongoing crimes against humanity, the catalogue of appalling violations recorded in Iran reveals a sharp deterioration in its human rights record,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“Iran’s upcoming UN human rights review session offers a crucial opportunity for the international community to send a strong and clear message to the Iranian authorities that its shocking disregard for human rights will not be tolerated
“It is also an opportunity for states to place increased attention on the ongoing enforced disappearance of thousands of political dissidents over the past three decades, a crime against humanity which has been overlooked for far too long by the international community.”
Since Iran’s human rights record was last reviewed in 2014, the level of repression by the authorities has risen significantly, Amnesty International pointed out.
Thousands of people have been rounded up for expressing their views or taking part in peaceful demonstrations and a vindictive crackdown has been launched against human rights defenders, including activists campaigning against forced veiling laws, in order to destroy the last vestiges of Iran’s civil society.
The authorities have further eroded fair trial rights and have executed more than 2,500 people, including juvenile offenders, in blatant violation of international law, Amnesty International said.
In a submission to the UN Human Rights Council ahead of the session, Amnesty International concluded that Iran’s regime is “failing on all fronts” when it comes to human rights.
The organization said Iran’s regime must lift restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, end discrimination against women and minorities, impose an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty, and end torture and other ill-treatment, unfair trials and ongoing crimes against humanity.
During its last review session, Iran accepted just 130 out of the 291 recommendations it received from other states. Amnesty International’s analysis indicates that the Iranian authorities have failed to deliver on the majority of those promises.
Iran rejected calls during its last UPR to protect the rights of human rights defenders, stop their harassment and release those imprisoned for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, Amnesty International pointed out.
“Instead of strengthening co-operation with civil society and human rights organizations, as Iran had pledged to do, the authorities have instead further undermined these rights, intensifying their crackdown on dissent,” said Philip Luther.
Those unjustly imprisoned include journalists, artists and human rights defenders including lawyers, women’s rights defenders, minority rights activists, labour rights activists, environmental activists and those seeking truth, justice and reparations for the 1988 prison massacre.
Some of those jailed have been given shockingly harsh prison sentences, in some cases lasting several decades.
Amnesty International pointed out that the authorities in Iran have a dreadful record of flouting prisoners’ right to health, deliberately denying medical care to prisoners of conscience, often as punishment, amounting to torture and other ill-treatment. Human rights defender Arash Sadeghi continues to be tortured through the denial of cancer treatment.
Meanwhile, in a relentless execution spree, more than 2,500 people have been put to death since Iran’s last UPR session, including at least 17 who were under 18 at the time of the crime, in flagrant violation of international law, the human rights group added.
The Iranian authorities also continue to commit the ongoing crime against humanity of enforced disappearance by systematically concealing the fate or whereabouts of several thousand imprisoned political dissidents who were forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret between July and September 1988, Amnesty International pointed out.
<img src=”https://www.usflhr.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/List_of_women_executed.jpg” alt=”” width=”745″ height=”309″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-3409″ />
in Women’s News – NCRI Women Committee
On Sunday morning, August 25, 2019, a woman was executed in Mashhad Central Prison. This is the 94th woman executed during six years of Hassan Rouhani’s presidency.
On July 17, 2019, another female prisoner, Zahra Safari Moghadam, 43, was hanged in the Prison of Nowshahr, in northern Iran.
Two women identified as Arasteh Ranjbar and Nazdar Vatankhah who had already spent 15 years in prison on the charge of murder and complicity in murder, were hanged at the Central Prison of Urmia at dawn on Tuesday, July 23, 2019.
More than 3,700 people have been executed in Iran in the past six years under Rouhani’s presidency. The woman executed in Mashhad Central Prison is the 94th victim of the clerical regime’s death penalties.
The Iranian regime is the world’s top record holder of per capita executions. It deploys the death penalty as a tool for maintaining its grab on power and for silencing a disgruntled populace the majority of whom live under the poverty line, while unemployment is rampant in the country and there is no freedom of speech.
Rule 61 of the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules) reads, “When sentencing women offenders, courts shall have the power to consider mitigating factors such as lack of criminal history and relative non-severity and nature of the criminal conduct, in the light of women’s caretaking responsibilities and typical backgrounds.”
By Pooya Stone
8 AUGUST 2019- An Iranian journalist covering the Nordic trip of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif fled the delegation and applied for asylum in Sweden, according to Swedish officials on Tuesday.
The Swedish Migration Agency reported that Amir-Tohid Fazel, an editor at Iran’s ultra-conservative news agency Moj, “applied for a residence permit in Sweden on 21 August 2019”, but didn’t provide any more details.
In an interview with Swedish television SVT, Fazel said that one of his colleagues in Tehran had contacted him online on August 20, when he was in Sweden, and told him that “four plainclothes [agents] came to the news agency with a warrant for [his] arrest”. The colleague wanted him to tell his family so that they could leave the house.
Why do the Iranian authorities want to arrest him? Probably because he recently published a list of Iranian officials who allegedly hold dual citizenship in nations that the Iranian government views as “hostile states”, which is a strange occurrence because Tehran doesn’t recognise dual citizenship and refuses to provide consular aid to Iranian dual nationals.
Fazel managed to slip away from the delegation the day after he was alerted before they left Sweden, but he explained that it was difficult because the “48 bodyguards” are there to provide security for Zarif and “keep an eye on the reporters”.
He left the hotel for a smoke just after breakfast, before Zarif was due to speak at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, and ran for blocks, before changing his clothes, ditching his SIM card and hailing a car to the nearest police station.
He said the Iranian government has announced it will file a complaint and he doesn’t know what will happen to his family, but his wife, a teacher, has already lost her job.
Fazel is also under fire from all sides. He is often linked to powerful hard-liners, including those in the security services. On a Facebook page bearing his name, you can see photos of him interviewing senior figures in Iran’s government, including ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and senior Iranian commanders. Indeed, the list he leaked was of officials from supposed moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet, intended to portray them as potential traitors
But his asylum claim has been described as to a “betrayal” by hard-line Kayhan newspaper, which is linked to Iran’s powerful supreme leader, who also accused him of having ties to Iran’s pro-reform journalists and political figures. Fazel does not want to talk about his political beliefs.
- Thursday, August 29, 2019
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By Pooya Stone
27 AUGUST 2019-Iran executed a woman on Sunday in Mashhad, according to the state-run ROKNA news agency.
The unnamed woman, who was supposedly found guilty of murder, was hanged at dawn on August 25 in the Central Prison of Mashhad.
She was the 94th woman executed in Iran since alleged moderate Hassan Rouhani became President in 2013.
The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has condemned this execution, saying that the woman was the victim of the Iranian regime’s misogynist laws and policies, as well as their destruction of the economy.
The NCRI Women’s Committee called on international human rights and women’s rights organizations to intervene to end the death penalty in Iran.
They cited Rule 61 of the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules), which reads: “When sentencing women offenders, courts shall have the power to consider mitigating factors such as lack of criminal history and relative non-severity and nature of the criminal conduct, in the light of women’s caretaking responsibilities and typical backgrounds.”
Iran executed at least four women in a period of eight days in July including:
• Maliheh Salehian from Miandoab who was hanged on charges of murder in the Central Prison of Mahabad, Kurdistan on July 16
• Zahra Safari Moghaddam, 43, who was hanged in the Prison of Nowshahr, northern Iran, on July 17
• Arasteh Ranjbar and Nazdar Vatankhah, relatives who had already spent 15 years in prison on the charge of murder and complicity in murder, who were hanged in the Central Prison of Urmia, northwestern Iran, on July 23
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran Javaid Rehman said, in a report circulated to the UN General Assembly on August 16, that 2018 saw continuing violations of the Iranian people’s right to life, liberty and fair trial, with at least 253 executions of adults and children. He said that Iran’s execution rate “remains one of the highest in the world”.
Over 3,700 people have been executed in Iran during Rouhani’s presidency. Iran is the world leader in executions per capita, deploying the death penalty as a tool to keep its shaky grasp on power and to silence a disgruntled population. Why the need to silence them? Because most of them live under the poverty line, unemployment is rampant, and there is no freedom of speech.
- Thursday, August 29, 2019
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By Pooya Stone
The Iranian Intelligence Minister has publically admitted for the first time that Christianity is spreading throughout Iran.
During a speech to several Shia Muslim clerics, Mahmoud Alavi said that “Christianity is spreading in parts of Iran”, but tried to dismiss the converts because they were ordinary Iranians “whose jobs are selling sandwiches or similar things”.
He then told the clerics to end their infighting if they wanted to stop Iranians from converting to Christianity, noting that several converts had listed that among their reasons for converting.
He said: “We had no choice but to summon them to ask them why they were converting. Some of them said they were looking for a religion that gives them peace. We told them that Islam is the religion of brotherhood and peace. They responded by saying that: ‘All the time we see Muslim clerics and those who preach from the pulpit talk against each other. If Islam is the religion of cordiality, then before anything else, there must be cordiality and peace among the clerics themselves.”
He added: “It is not the job of the intelligence community to find the roots of these conversions from Islam. But it’s happening right before our eyes.”
Iran is widely listed as one of the worst countries on earth to be a Christian, with religious freedom group Open Doors USA listing Iran as the 9th worst country for persecution of Christians.
In order to stop Christianity spreading in Iran, Christians are banned from sharing their faith with non-Christians and church services are not allowed to be conducted in Farsi (Iran’s national language).
Many Christians are arrested, specifically in the run-up to Christmas, and charged with vague national security crimes. International Christian Concern described this as a “Terror Factory” targeting Christians.
The ICC said: “In Iran, any practice that contradicts Islam is regarded as a national security threat, punished severely by the court system… Christians may be looking at large fines, detention, lengthy prison sentences, or even execution under Islamic Sharia law.”
Amnesty International, the Assyrian Policy Institute, and the United Nations have all urged the Iranian government to “respect the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” and to “quash the convictions and sentences” of those arrested merely for practising their Christian faith.
The UN said: “This shows a disturbing pattern of individuals being targeted because of their religion or beliefs, in this case, a religious minority in the country. Members of the Christian minority in Iran, particularly those who have converted to the faith, are facing severe discrimination and religious persecution.”
- Sunday, May 12, 2019
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Iran is one of the few countries in the world that carries out executions in public – a practice that is ordered by the authorities and a practice that human rights organisations have constantly criticised.
April 25: Iran Human Rights (IHR) has published its 11th annual report on the death penalty in Iran. The death penalty is still be used as a means of punishment in Iran and the rate of execution per capita is very worrying.
The Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran and the Secretary General of the United Nations have both urged Iran to stop this practice. They noted that the Iranian government has refused to end public executions.
The Iran’s so-called “High Council for Human Rights” responded to the criticism that it received in 2005 by explaining that executions are only carried out in public in “some limited and special circumstances”. Its statement also indicated that “incidents which distort public sentiment” are punishable by public execution. The council also said that public execution is used as a deterrent with regards to crimes related to drugs.
IHR points out that Iran has not been truthful regarding the public executions. Iranian officials have said that minors are not allowed to be present, yet there is photographic evidence showing that this is not the case. Furthermore, many executions are carried out in front of residential buildings and public places with no attempts to make sure children are not present.
The report draws attention to a number of individual cases in which Iranian people were executed in public. One such example is that of three prisoners who were charged for armed robbery. They were executed in Shiraz, in a residential area, in November last year.
The report also noted that there has been an increase in the number of juvenile offenders being executed. Faced with this information, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called on Iranian authorities to “to abide by international law and immediately halt all executions of people sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were under eighteen”. Iran is the biggest executor of juvenile offenders in the world.
IHR said that international pressure is essential in urging Iran to restrict the scope of the death penalty. It also said that “creating awareness and mobilisation of civil society” is imperative. First and foremost, the IHR calls on the international community to support the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, and of course support the mandate’s renewal.
The people of Iran, for their part, are also participating in pressuring the Iranian authorities. They have been protesting and holding anti-government demonstrations since December 2017 and they want great change.
The people have been suppressed and oppressed for decades and they are calling for the clerical system to be held accountable for its past and current actions. This includes a call for justice for the tens of thousands of members of the opposition who were executed in the summer of 1988.
- Sunday, April 28, 2019
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The recent flash floods in Iran have caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to Iranian agriculture, according to an official on Thursday. The head of the agriculture ministry’s crisis management, Mohammad Mousavi, estimated that the losses to the agriculture sector are 47 trillion rials (about $350 million) so far.
- Tuesday, April 16, 2019
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By Shahriar Kia
The recent flash floods in Iran have caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to Iranian agriculture, according to an official on Thursday.
The head of the agriculture ministry’s crisis management, Mohammad Mousavi, estimated that the losses to the agriculture sector are 47 trillion rials (about $350 million) so far.
This was in response to a question from the speaker of parliament Ali Larijani, who was questioning whether government funds would be able to compensate communities and farmers.
The Iranian government had previously sworn to citizens – especially farmers – that their losses would be compensated, but Larijani said that the New Year budget would not cover the damages and that the government should seek other resources. The county’s operating budget is already stretched thanks to dropping oil revenues as a result of US sanctions.
There are roughly 1,900 cities and villages, in at least 26 of Iran’s 31 provinces, that have been hit by floods since March 19, with locals reporting over 200 deaths, aid agencies struggling to cope, and hundreds of thousands evacuated without adequate shelter. Many roads are blocked by rising water, mudslides and rockslides, with flights and trains, also affected.
Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani has been accused of mismanaging the emergency response and several ministers were summoned to parliament on Sunday to explain why life-saving preventative measures were not in place.
The Revolutionary Guards said that they “were using all their power” to minimise the damages in oil-rich southwestern Khuzestan province, while Iranian drilling companies and other energy firms have also used their pumps to remove water. However, it should be noted that far from protecting the people of Iran, these institutions are more concerned with protecting oil wells.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticised Tehran’s handling of the crisis on Tuesday, saying the “floods once again show the level of Iranian regime mismanagement in urban planning and in emergency preparedness”.
The Regime tried to shift the blame to the US, citing their sanctions as the reason that Iran is struggling to cope. However, this ignores the fact that for years before the sanctions, Iran was cutting the budget allocated to disaster relief and allocating it to the suppressive forces instead.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has released around 500,000 Swiss francs ($500,000) as cash grants for 3,000 Iranian families that have lost homes and livelihoods in the floods, but as you can imagine that’s not going far among the people.
- Monday, April 15, 2019
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