Monday, October 24, 2016

Eye on Iran: Iran's President Criticizes US Presidential Candidates

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday criticized the U.S. presidential candidates' behavior during their recent debates. "Did you see the debate and the way of their speaking, accusing and mocking each other? Do we want such a democracy in our country? Do we want such elections in our country?" Rouhani said, speaking to a crowd in the Iranian city of Arak. "You see the United States that claims it has had democracy for more than 200 years," he said in comments broadcast live by state TV. "Look at the country, what the situation is where morality has no place." Rouhani said that during his September visit to the UN General Assembly, he was asked which of the candidates he preferred. "I said what? Should I prefer bad to worse or worse to bad?" Iran's state TV has broadcast two of the debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in full. It has closely followed the campaign, often highlighting economic and social problems in the U.S. and the most confrontational debate segments.

It fell to Babak Namazi to break the news to his mother last week that his brother and elderly father had been sentenced in an Iranian court for "collaboration" with a hostile government, the United States. He returned home and walked around the block to compose himself. But his mother took one look at his crestfallen face, and knew. "How many years?" she asked. It was 10 years, a term that Namazi fears his ailing, 80-year-old father will not survive. His concern led him to break a year's silence, against his mother's wishes, to plead in his first interview for Iran to release his brother, Siamak, and their father, Baquer, on humanitarian grounds. "I was hoping this would not get to the point where I have to speak publicly," he said in a telephone interview from his home in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. "I was hoping justice would prevail and the truth would become obvious. Now that my father's convicted to 10 years, I see this as nothing short of a life sentence."

Minister Schultz van Haegen (Infrastructure and the Environment) will visit Iran from Sunday 23 to Friday 28 October, accompanied by a delegation of Dutch companies. With this visit, the Minister intends to strengthen the economic ties in order for the Dutch companies to gain access to the Iranian market... The trade delegation will meet with Iranian Ministries in Teheran, and Dutch companies will meet with their Iranian counterparts. These meetings are aimed at promoting mutual collaboration. The schedule also features a visit to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas... With respect to the ports and port development component, the Minister will be accompanied by the following companies: BAM International, Damen Shipyards, Port of Rotterdam, Royal Boskalis Westminster, Royal IHC, STC Groep, Van Oord, and Witteveen + Bos. The following companies will address the water component of the trade mission: Adverio Waste systems, Amstelland, Berson UV, Dutch Water Authorities, Interact Smart Solutions, Witteveen + Bos, and the Netherlands Water Partnership.


A Florida man imprisoned in Iran before being released as part of a prisoner swap earlier this year has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Iranian government. Farzad N. Khosravi of Marco Island, Florida, filed the lawsuit Monday in federal court in the District of Columbia, seeking more than $40 million. Khosravi was identified by officials as Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari when he was one of four Americans released in January. The lawsuit says Khosravi left Iran and was granted political asylum in the U.S. in 1982 but returned to Iran in 2012. The lawsuit says Iranian government officials initially confiscated his passports but later returned them, but when he tried to leave in 2015 he was imprisoned and tortured.


A new ad from the advocacy group 45Committee calls for Americans to support extending the Iran Sanctions Act sponsored by House and Senate Republicans. The ad details Iran's status as the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism that is responsible for the deaths of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and, citing Washington Free Beacon reporting, has nuclear ambitions. "The Obama administration's Iranian nuclear deal gave them billions," the narrator says. "Now, making it worse, the Iranian Sanctions Act is set to expire. We can't let that happen." The narrator implores viewers to call President Obama and remind him "it's never too late to do the right thing" and support the extension. Sen. Kelly Ayotte's (R., N.H.) bill extends the law through 2031, according to Reuters, and would require new sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile activity.


Iran's Foreign Ministry says an Iranian delegation composed of deputy foreign ministers are to hold general talks with European Union (EU) officials in Brussels in December. Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi announced the prospective negotiations on Monday, saying the talks will cover a range of issues, possibly human rights, but asserted that the delegation would not be comprising a human rights team. "Our ties with Europe are fundamental and age-old and we have numerous commonalities and can even differ on issues that have to do with values and regional affairs," he said... "Our outlook on the issue of human rights through [the prism of] Islam has a special characteristic, which may not be comprehensible to some of them (the Europeans); [but] we can hear about their outlook and tell them about ours, too," the Iranian official said.


The families of two British-Iranian dual-nationals jailed in Iran are calling on the UK government to do more to secure their release. Richard Ratcliffe and Kamran Foroughi will hand in petitions to Downing Street and the Foreign Office on Monday on behalf of Ratcliffe's wife, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, and Foroughi's father, Kamal Foroughi... On Monday Ratcliffe and Kamran Foroughi will take a 72,000-signature Amnesty petition to the Foreign Office asking the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, to prioritise Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case as well as that of fellow UK-Iranian dual-national Kamal Foroughi.


With Iran's former chief executive Mahmoud Ahmadinejad effectively out of the picture after being "advised" by the Supreme Leader not to enter the 2017 election, observers across the globe have been breathlessly arguing that President Hassan Rouhani's path to victory has been cleared. For instance, Iranian scholar, Ali Omidi, wrote this month that "all the political conditions for the smooth re-election of Rouhani seem to be in place." But such prognostications overlook three main factors that will continue to plague President Rouhani for the duration of his term--the targeting of his cabinet; the imprisonment of dual-nationals and political dissidents; and the doubling down of Tehran in its regional and terrorist machinations. All undermine the confidence at home and abroad in President Rouhani's ability to lead beyond the confines of the nuclear file. A fifth column of conservative forces has routinely attempted to uproot members of the Rouhani administration... Like Khatami's thwarted attempts to ease the domestic repression that is rampant in the country, such an abrupt departure casts doubt on Rouhani's ability to further deliver on the expansion of social freedoms he promised during his 2013 campaign--potentially weakening enthusiasm among reformists... While it is unknown who will be the conservative standard-bearer in the 2017 elections, President Rouhani's reelection prospects are far from certain. Next spring is a lifetime in the political life of any country, including Iran, and Hassan Rouhani's enemies have plenty of time to continue their campaign to hamstring his political potential.

Until recently, the United States had a firm policy of never paying ransom for hostages on the sensible view that it would encourage more kidnappings. Then came the Iran nuclear deal-and a lesson in the human costs of President Obama's foreign policy. We say this following Tuesday's news that an Iranian court has sentenced Iranian-Americans Siamak Namazi and his 80-year-old father Baquer to 10 years in prison on trumped-up espionage charges. The younger Mr. Namazi, a businessman, was arrested last September, shortly after the nuclear deal was finalized. His father, a retired United Nations official, was arrested in February while visiting his son in prison. At least one other Iranian-American, Reza Shahini of San Diego, was arrested earlier this year, and former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished in Iran in 2007, has never been accounted for. Tehran has a long history of imprisoning Iranian-Americans on spurious charges, often for domestic political reasons. But the $1.7 billion cash payment they received in January on the same day they released the last batch of U.S. hostages has created an incentive for them to imprison more Americans to trade for some future concession.

Much more befitting of the power and history of the U.S. and its allies would be to sever and destroy the toxic, threatening bridge that Iran has built from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean, with, astoundingly, the patronage of the president of the United States. Anchored by soon-to-be-nuclear Iran, an integrated politico-religious-military front including Shiite-directed Iraq, Syria and Lebanon will emerge in the near future if current trajectories remain undisturbed. This entity will have a population almost half that of the United States; the immense oil wealth of Iran and Iraq; ports on the Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf, and Indian Ocean; nuclear weapons; ICBMs; and, until it will no longer need Russia, for which it has no brief, the mischievous and destructive cooperation of Vladimir Putin. If, under the discipline of an Iran drunk with its successful bamboozling of the West, this power turns its eyes south to Jordan and Saudi Arabia, the Middle East will be entirely transformed... Now we are blinded to Iran in favor of ISIS-in its horror and sensationalism the matador's red cape that distracts from the truly mortal threat, the sword. We know that the Iranians are skillfully using this dynamic. The question is, given Mr. Obama's seemingly inexplicable yet indefatigable sponsorship of Iran, and his slow-motion approach to ISIS, is he using it as well?

Eye on Iran is a periodic news summary from United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) a program of the American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran, Inc., a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Eye on Iran is not intended as a comprehensive media clips summary but rather a selection of media elements with discreet analysis in a PDA friendly format. For more information please email

United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) is a non-partisan, broad-based coalition that is united in a commitment to prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons.  UANI is an issue-based coalition in which each coalition member will have its own interests as well as the collective goal of advancing an Iran free of nuclear weapons.

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