Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Eye on Iran: Iran: Two 17-Year-Old Boys Flogged And Secretly Executed In Abhorrent Violation Of International Law

View our videos on YouTube


The Iranian authorities have flogged and secretly executed two boys under the age of 18, Amnesty International has learned, displaying an utter disdain for international law and the rights of children. Mehdi Sohrabifar and Amin Sedaghat, two cousins, were executed on 25 April in Adelabad prison in Shiraz, Fars province, southern Iran. Both were arrested aged 15 and convicted on multiple rape charges following an unfair trial.

Iran could fulfill only 63% of its non-oil export target during its last fiscal year, Trade Promoting Organisation of Iran (TPO) announced. Iran's fiscal year (FY) ended March 20, 2019. Iran had planned to export $54.9 billion non-oil products, but it managed only $39.375bn, about 1.35% less than the previous FY. Therefore, it can be argued that overall, Iran did not do so badly compared to the previous year but it failed its own high target, which became difficult to meet in an environment of tough U.S. sanctions.

A U.S. government body that monitors global religious freedom says conditions in Iran worsened last year, with escalated government targeting of non-Shi'ite Muslims and minority Baha'is and Christians. In its annual report published Monday, the bi-partisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said Iran merits designation as one of 16 countries of particular concern based on conditions in 2018. 


Just a little more than ten years ago, Finland's flagship telecommunications company, Nokia, was found to have sold to Tehran surveillance technology, which was used a year later to suppress dissident demonstrators' use of social media. "[T]here are two documented instances where [the Finnish company] Cargotec-tied cranes have been used for public executions." - United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) press release.


U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday expressed confidence that trade talks between the United States and China will not be affected by the end of Iran oil waivers this week. Pompeo warned countries and companies that it would be a costly mistake to violate U.S. sanctions by importing Iranian oil after Wednesday, when the waivers for eight importers end.  China, India and Turkey are among Iran's largest oil importers that were granted waivers from U.S. sanctions to allow them time to find alternative supplies. 

Turkey is seeking ways to buy more oil from Iraq, already a major supplier of crude to the Middle East's biggest economy, as the U.S. looks to squeeze exports from Iran, according to two people familiar with the matter. Turkey could consider oil imports from Iraq's southern port of Basra and may also try to secure more shipments via an existing twin pipeline that runs to the Turkish Mediterranean terminal of Ceyhan, despite its state of disrepair, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they aren't authorized to speak to the media.

U.S. sanctions against Iran's oil industry will damage the stability of global oil markets, a senior Iranian official was quoted as saying on Monday.  "These sanctions are an example of America's bullying reaction in trying to change the balance of power in the world," Amir Hossein Zamaninia, a deputy oil minister, said in a report carried by the oil ministry's news website SHANA. 

Some 20 million barrels of Iranian oil sitting on China's shores in the northeast port of Dalian for the past six months now appears stranded as the United States hardens its stance on importing crude from Tehran. Iran sent the oil to China, its biggest customer, ahead of the reintroduction of U.S. sanctions last November, as it looked for alternative storage for a backlog of crude at home. 

Donald Trump's sanctions against Iran have triggered a collapse in economic growth, pushing the Islamic republic into a deep recession and lifting inflation towards 40 per cent, according to the IMF. The fund on Monday linked its forecast of a 6 per cent contraction in Iran this year with Mr Trump's efforts to tighten an economic squeeze on the country.

US sanctions on Iran, rising unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and oil price volatility are dragging regional economic growth, the International Monetary Fund said Monday. The IMF warned in a bi-annual economic outlook report that prospects for the region are "clouded by elevated levels of uncertainty". "Such uncertainty may increase investors' perception of risk for the whole region, leading to capital outflows and exchange rate pressure," the global lender said.

A war of words has erupted again between the United States and Iran over the Strait of Hormuz. But it would be in no country's interest to see trade disrupted in this vital international waterway. Furthermore, unilateral military action on Iran's part would be a grave mistake. On Monday, April 22 the United States announced it would end sanctions waivers for countries importing oil from Iran, with the object of ending all Iranian oil exports.

Iran on April 29 announced the establishment of a company designed to match a mechanism European countries have set up to facilitate trade despite U.S. sanctions. Earlier on March 20, the Governor of Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnaser Hemmati had announced that a mechanism similar to Europe's Instrument for Trade and Exchanges (INSTEX) has been registered.


The Trump administration's decision to list the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) has received applause from Iran hawks on both sides of America's partisan divide. Conversely, it has received criticism from some of President Donald Trump's opponents and those who prefer to approach Iran's growing influence in the region through dialogue.


Iran will continue to export oil despite U.S. pressure aimed at reducing the nation's crude oil shipments to zero, Iran President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech broadcast live on Iranian state TV on Tuesday.  "America's decision that Iran's oil exports must reach zero is a wrong and mistaken decision, and we won't let this decision be executed and operational" Rouhani said. "In future months, the Americans themselves will see that we will continue our oil exports," he said. 

During an April 29 speech addressing Iran's police force commanders, Qasem Soleimani of the Quds Force - the foreign operations branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) -  weighed in on one of the hot topics in Iranian media: direct talks between Iran and the United States. "The enemy [America] wants to drag us to the negotiating table through economic pressure, and this type of negotiation is an example of submission," Soleimani said.  

"Maximum pressure." That's how the Trump administration describes its approach toward Iran - and lately, it's really been living up to that billing. Early in April, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard was being designated a foreign terrorist organization. And now administration officials have ratcheted up the pressure even more: Eight countries that import Iranian oil won't continue getting waivers from U.S. sanctions.


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday accused Iran of directing Yemen's Houthi rebels to renege on commitments they made in Stockholm last December and continue fighting. The Houthis "continue to refuse to comply with the agreements that they signed up for in Stockholm, Sweden, they refuse to withdraw from the port of Hodeidah ... this is because Iran has chosen to direct them to do that", Mr Pompeo said at an event in Washington hosted by The Hill newspaper.

In the 40 years of Iran's Islamic Republic, 2019 is shaping up to be among the worst for an economy that's weathered wars, sanctions and oil slumps. Even before the U.S. decided to tighten oil sanctions against Iran last week, the rial currency had lost two thirds of its value against the dollar, and the International Monetary Fund expected gross domestic product to shrink 6 percent.

A controversial bill in the Iranian parliament seeks to ban its members from running for office after serving three consecutive terms. Under the new bill, high-profile moderates such as current parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani and outspoken lawmaker Ali Motahari, who have both served three consecutive terms, would not be eligible to run in the 2020 legislative elections. On March 3, parliament passed the bill, with 135 members voting in favor. 

Some two months after massive swarms of locusts attacked southern Iran, the government allocated a 10 billion tuman budget for fighting the pest, Mehr news agency reported on Monday April 29. Mehr added that the Iranian Pest Control Authority had called for a 12 billion tuman [roughly $1,200,000 at the market rate and $3 million at the government rate] budget in February, at least two months before the locusts attacked, not knowing the possible extent of the attack.


The head of the Lebanese Forces Party has said that Lebanon cannot be an effective and strong state as long as Iran-backed Hezbollah continues to be armed. Samir Geagea said that he expected Iran's funding of Hezbollah to decline given the recent US sanctions on Iran and said that as this happens Hezbollah's overall influence will suffer, noting that this would mean tens of thousands of Hezbollah fighters losing their money.


The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has stepped up a number of initiatives in Yemen and Sudan ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, removing mines and providing aid packages to displaced and impoverished families.

The Iran-backed Houthi militias have been trying to lure army forces deployed to the outskirts of the coastal city of Hodeidah into armed confrontation. Analysts said the militias are plotting to break the UN-brokered Stockholm agreement, which was signed last December. According to the deal, signed by both the Houthi and legitimate government, militias must redeploy from Hodeidah and its three ports.


A statement by the US embassy in Baghdad that accused Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of corruption has caused anger and alarm among Iraqi officials. Baghdad is caught between arch-enemies Washington and Tehran and is walking a fine line to maintain good relations with both. "Corruption is rife in all parts of the Iranian regime, starting at the top," the US embassy in Baghdad said in a post on its Facebook page on April 25.

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 press@uani.com.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment