Archiv für den Tag 3. Oktober 2014

Rouhani Has Been President of Iran for: 426 days – 03.10.2014

The presidency of Hassan Rouhani is being carefully analyzed for signs that the Iranian regime is changing its dangerous and threatening behavior. Optimism in some circles has been encouraged by a change in rhetoric and tone from Rouhani and other senior regime figures. However, while the new Iranian President speaks the language of conciliation, as it stands, the regime’s nuclear program and odious behavior continue.

UANI released a comprehensive report on Rouhani’s first 100 days in office, analyzing whether Rouhani had brought demonstrable change in three key areas: Iran’s nuclear program, human rights and role in Syria. Unfortunately, UANI found that President Rouhani’s record during his first 100 days in office failed to match his promising rhetoric. UANI developed the 100 Days concept in conjunction with Congressmen Ed Royce and Eliot Engel, Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, respectively. They publicized the concept in a September 25 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, „U.S. needs action, not words, from Iran.“

As Rouhani’s presidency progresses, UANI will continue to carefully scrutinize his record in office to see if his rhetoric matches his actions. The „Rouhani Accountability Tracker“ reviews the day-to-day actions of the Iranian regime.

Nuclear Program

“We seek a win-win game and this is possible… We are prepared to enter serious and meaningful negotiations with determination and without wasting time, and if our opposing party is equally ready, I am confident that the concerns of both sides will be allayed through dialogue.”

YES NO
Suspend “all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and heavy water-related projects” as it is required to do under UN Security Council Resolutions 1696, 1737, 1747, 1803, and 1929.

Comply fully and without qualification with its IAEA Safeguards Agreement.”
Resolve “the outstanding issues, including those related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program” in order “to restore international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.”
Act strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Additional Protocol to its IAEA Safeguards Agreement that it signed on 18 December 2003” and “ratify promptly the Additional Protocol.”
Refrain from “any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using ballistic missile technology.”
Comply with “the provisions of the modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part to Iran’s Safeguards Agreement,” which requires Iran to submit “design information for new facilities as soon as the decision to construct, or to authorize construction of, a new facility has been taken, whichever is the earlier.”
Provide the IAEA immediate access to the Parchin site, where intelligence indicates “Iran constructed a large explosives containment vessel in which to conduct hydrodynamic experiments; such experiments would be strong indicators of possible nuclear development.”

Human Rights

“So basically I’m very sensitive about the question of citizenship rights, of the rights of minorities, the rights of the ethnic groups. I am glad that when every prisoner leaves the jail – the prison, I rejoice in that… So I will spare no effort to ensure that those who are currently in prison will see an opening door.”

Executions 2013 368
2014 531+
Public executions 2013 21
2014 39+
Political prisoners jailed in Iran 895+
Political prisoners freed in Iran
*Many of those released completed or were near completion of their prison terms. The government has failed to follow through on its September 2013 announcement to release more than 80 prisoners of conscience.
42*
U.S. citizens imprisoned in Iran 4
YES NO
Cooperate with Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, and allow him immediate entry into the country.

End Internet censorship and permit access to blocked social media websites like Facebook and Twitter that regime officials themselves use.
End the morality police’s harassment of Iranian citizens and routine violations of Iranians‘ human rights.
End discrimination and harassment against persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, particularly the Baha’i.
Decriminalize consensual same-sex activity between adults.

Syria Conflict

“We should stop the civil war. We should pave the ground for negotiations between the opposition and the government… We should pave the way and prepare the ground for elections and ballot boxes so that Syrians voice their opinions and then we should all respect the results.”

YES NO
Does Iran continue to provide the ruthless Syrian regime, which has used chemical weapons against its own people, with extensive military and economic support in order to keep President Bashar al-Assad in power?

Source: UANI

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Iran| Geneva Interim Agreement Tracker

On November 24, 2013 the P5+1 and Iran signed the „Joint Plan of Action“ (JPA), an accord to freeze progress on certain elements of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Following nearly two months of additional negotiations, on January 12, 2014 the parties announced that the agreement would commence on January 20, 2014 and conclude on July 20, 2014. The interim agreement is intended to build confidence between the P5+1 and Iran and provide time for additional negotiations that will ultimately lead to a final comprehensive agreement – within „no more than one year“ – that resolves all outstanding concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. As the July 20 deadline approached, the P5+1 and Iran agreed on July 18 to extend the JPA by four months to November 24, 2014, exactly one year after the two parties signed the JPA. UANI is methodically tracking how the provisions of the agreement and obligations of the parties are being implemented and interpreted by each side. As part of this effort, UANI is tracking how the agreement is affecting Iranian business activity and trade as measured by a number of key economic indicators, as well as its impact on the international sanctions regime.

Payments to Iran Under the JPA

Nuclear Breakout Timeline

How Quickly Could Iran Make the Bomb?

Prior to the interim agreement, Iran’s estimated ‘breakout’ time to build a nuclear weapon was approximately 1.5 months. After the JPA was struck in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry touted, “We now have a mechanism by which we are going to expand the amount of time in which [the Iranians] can break out [to obtain nuclear capability] rather than narrow it.” In reality, the accord does little to push back Iran’s breakout time, with Kerry himself stating in a Senate hearing that Iran’s breakout had been pushed back “to about two months.” That only represents about a two week extension of Iran’s breakout capability prior to Geneva. Based on the $4.2 billion in frozen assets the P5+1 is releasing to Iran as part of the interim deal,the regime is effectively being awarded $300 million for each day it extends its nuclear breakout.

Iran’s Continued Nuclear Progress

President Obama has hailed the interim nuclear agreement as marking “the first time in a decade that the Islamic Republic of Iran has agreed to specific actions that halt progress on its nuclear program and roll back key parts of the program.” He later remarked, “Beginning January 20th, Iran will for the first time start… dismantling some of the infrastructure that makes such enrichment possible…” Iranian officials, however, have rejected the President’s assertions. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said, “I can say definitively that the structure of our nuclear program will be exactly preserved. Nothing will be put aside, dismantled or halted.”

In reality there are a number of ways in which the Iranian regime will continue to develop its nuclear program during the interim agreement, as outlined below.

Arak Heavy Water Reactor

Iran continues to perform excavation and civil construction work at this facility, which is considered a prime proliferation threat.

Research & Development

Iran continues to perform ongoing R&D activities that preceded the agreement.

Development of Advanced Centrifuges

As part of its ongoing R&D, Iran continues “experimenting with a range of test centrifuges at the Natanz pilot scale facility, including the IR-1, IR-2m, IR-4, and the IR-6.” The advanced centrifuges are multiple times faster than Iran’s first-generation models, and if put into operation, would reduce Iran’s breakout time to only a matter of weeks, if not days.

Long-Range Ballistic Missile Testing

Iran’s long-range ballistic missile testing continues, which is a central component of any viable nuclear weapons program as the delivery mechanism of a warhead. December 13, 2013 was the “the latest demonstration of the country’s missile capabilities,” when Iran performed a space launch vehicle test.

Expansion of LEU Stockpile

Iran stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU) is continuing to expand since the since the nuclear conversion facility needed to convert the LEU into oxide powder is not yet in operation.

Final Agreement: A Deep Divide

The purported goal of the interim agreement is to pave the way for a final agreement that resolves all outstanding concerns about Iran’s nuclear program. Thus far, the two sides have articulated deeply conflicting visions of such an accord that appear near-impossible to reconcile. The Iranian regime has already laid out maximalist positions that question whether the regime is prepared to negotiate in good faith and ultimately roll back elements of its nuclear program.

USA

Issue

Iran

President Obama: “They certainly don’t need a heavy-water reactor at Arak in order to have a peaceful nuclear program.”

Arak Heavy Water Reactor

Deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi: “Your actions and words show you don’t want us to have the Arak heavy water reactor which means you want to deprive us of our rights. But you should know that it is a red line which we will never cross… We want to have more heavy water reactors in future.”
President Obama: “Now, in terms of specifics, we know that they don’t need to have an underground, fortified facility like Fordo[w] in order to have a peaceful nuclear program.”

Fordow Fortified Underground Enrichment Facility

President Rouhani: It is “100 percent” a “red line” for Iran to dismantle any nuclear facilities.
President Obama: “They don’t need some of the advanced centrifuges that they currently possess in order to have a limited, peaceful nuclear program.”

Advanced Centrifuges

Deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi: “All research into a new generation of centrifuges will continue.”
President Obama: “And so the question ultimately is going to be, are they prepared to roll back some of the advancements that they’ve made that would not justify — or could not be justified by simply wanting some modest, peaceful nuclear power, but, frankly, hint at a desire to have breakout capacity and go right to the edge of breakout capacity.”

Limitation on the Size of Iran’s Enrichment Program

Deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi: “We will in no way, never, dismantle our [nuclear] centrifuges.”


President Rouhani
: „So in the context of nuclear technology, particularly of research and development and peaceful nuclear technology, we will not accept any limitations. And in accordance with the parliament law, in the future, we’re going to need 20,000 mega watts of nuclear produced electricity and we’re determined to obtain the nuclear fuel for the nuclear installation at the hands of our Iranian scientists. And we are going to follow on this path… Not under any circumstances“ will we destroy any centrifuges.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “They have to deal with matters related to their ballistic missile program that are included in the United Nations Security Council resolution that is part of explicitly, according to the Joint Plan of Action, the comprehensive resolution negotiation.”

Ballistic Missile Testing

Deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi: “Defense matters [i.e. Iran’s ballistic missile program] are non-negotiable and are one of our red lines.”

Sanctions Relief

The views on sanctions relief between the U.S. and the Iranian government are also highly incongruous. The White House has described the sanctions relief provided in the agreement as “economically insignificant” and insisted that “Iran’s economy will also continue to suffer because the core architecture of U.S. sanctions—especially our potent oil, financial and banking sanctions—remains firmly in place.” David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department official tasked with enforcing the U.S. sanctions program declared, “I am confident that the sanctions pressure on Iran will continue to mount. Iran will be even deeper in the hole six months from now, when the deal expires.” In comparison, leading Iranian officials have boasted that with this agreement, the structure of the international sanctions regime is falling apart and that the Iranian economy is progressively improving. Following the January 12 agreement on the implementation of the accord, Rouhani pronounced, “The Geneva agreement means the wall of sanctions has broken.”

In terms of total estimated value of the sanctions relief provided in the agreement, the White House estimates that Iran stands to receive $6 billion to $7 billion. Iran analysts, however, have anticipated that the true value of the sanctions relief could be more than $20 billion.

Furthermore, the momentum of an ever strengthening international sanctions regime was halted following Rouhani’s election in June 2013 in an apparent effort by the U.S. to court the regime and set a tone for renewed negotiations. The effect of this halt, and even reversal, in momentum was significant as measured by the appreciation of the rial and growth in the Tehran Stock Exchange since June 2013.

While the administration vows that the core architecture of Iran sanctions remains in place, UANI analysis shows that the four interdependent elements of the sanctions regime—(1) Increasingly strict laws and regulations, (2) enforcement action, (3) reputational risk, and; (4) the psychological impact on the Iranian economy—have weakened, and as a result, the architecture of the sanctions regime may in fact be unraveling.

In this section, UANI tracks key indicators of the Iranian economy, to gauge the true value of the sanctions relief being provided.

Value of The Rial

The effect of economic pressure can be measured in large part by tracking the Iranian rial’s black market value exchange rate. When economic pressure was at its peak, Iran suffered from severe hyperinflation, and the rial became the least valued currency in the world. This is no longer the case, as the rial has regained significant value.

Since Hassan Rouhani was elected president on June 14, the Iranian rial has appreciated approximately 15%, from 36,500 rials/dollar to about 31,000 rials/dollar today (and up from record-lows of 40,000 rials/dollar in February 2013). Political developments have clearly had an impact on the rial’s value.

From:To:
ZoomIran Currency TrackerJul ’10Jan ’11Jul ’11Jan ’12Jul ’12Jan ’13Jul ’13Jan ’14Jul ‚145k10k15k20k25k30k35k40kExchange rate2011201220132014Highcharts.com1m3m6mYTD1yAll

Inflation

According to the IMF, „inflation has dropped rapidly“ since Rouhani’s election, „from about 45 percent in July 2013 to below 30 percent in December 2013.. Inflation could end at 20-25 percent by end-2013/14.“

Oil Exports

When the Geneva agreement was signed on November 24, a senior administration official stated that “Iran’s oil exports will remain steady at their current level of around 1 million barrels per day” (bpd). This has not been the case, since Iran has surpassed the one million barrel limit in every month since the signing of the accord. As a result, Iran has earned approximately $6.76 billion in additional sanctions relief via these above-limit oil exports up to and including June 2014.

It is clear that the Geneva negotiations and the  signing of the interim agreement significantly altered a trend of ever increasing reductions in oil purchasers from Iran, mainly by signaling an easing of restrictions and reducing risks for purchasers and traders.

Tehran Stock Exchange

Since Rouhani’s election, the Tehran Stock Exchange index has increased by more than 50%, from about 45,000 points to over 70,000 points.

GDP Growth

As a result of the significant sanctions relief and the halt in sanctions momentum, Iran’s economic fortunes have turned. The Iranian economy is expected to enjoy GDP growth of 1.5% for 2014/2015, following an estimated contraction of 1.7% in 2013/2014 and a contraction of 5.8% in 2012/2013.

Trade Delegations

Since the signing of the Geneva agreement on November 24, Iran has been receiving trade delegations from countries that are eager to rekindle commerce with Iran. The pace of these missions and delegations has only increased since the agreement commenced on January 20. According to The New York Times, “In the first two weeks of the year, Iran welcomed more delegations from Europe than in all of 2013.” Prominent trade delegations with corporate executives have visited from Austria, France, Italy, and many other countries.

Corporate Comeback

Since the signing of the Geneva agreement, there have been numerous reports and firsthand accounts of Iran’s automotive and energy sectors anticipating the return of major multinational corporations. With the momentum of sanctions halted and now reversed, reputational and financial risk has clearly declined for multinational corporations that are publicly pursuing the renewal or expansion of their Iran business.

Iran Business Renewed/Expanded
Engaged in Discussions/Preparations to Expand/Renew Iran Business
Expressed Interest in Expanding/Renewing Iran Business

Austria
OMV AG (Energy)
Plasser & Theurer (Transportation Infrastructure)
AVL (Automotive, Engineering)
Doka (Engineering, Construction)
ILF (Engineering)
Doppelmayr (Manufacturing)
Belgium
China
France
Alcatel-Lucent (Telecommunications)
BNP Paribas (Banking)
Peugeot (Automotive)
Renault (Automotive)
Total SA (Energy)
Alstom (Transportation Infrastructure, Energy)
Credit Agricole (Banking)
Sanofi S.A. (Pharmaceuticals)
GDF Suez SA (Energy)
Safran SA (Aerospace, Aviation, Conglomerate, Defense)
Amundi (Banking)
Orange (Telecommunications)
Lafarge (Construction, Manufacturing)
Germany
Bosch (Manufacturing)
Lufthansa (Airline)
Merck KGaA (Chemicals, Pharmaceuticals)
Indonesia
Italy
ENI (Energy)
Pininfarina SpA (Automotive)
Japan
Japan P&I Club (Financial Services, Shipping)
Lebanon
Unifert (Agriculture)
Luxembourg
Netherlands/UK
Russia
Gazprom (Energy)
Lukoil (Energy)
Russian Railways (Transportation Infrastructure)
Switzerland
Vitol (Energy)
Turkey
Halkbank (Banking)
Gubretas (Agriculture, Chemicals)
UK
BP (Energy)
GlaxoSmithKline PLC (Pharmaceuticals)

Sanctions Enforcement

Sanctions Designations Timer:

35

Days PassedSince Last Treasury Sanctions Designation Action

2013-2014 Iran SDN Sanctions Designations

SDN Designation Announcements

Entities Added

2/6/2013 4
3/14/2013 25
4/11/2013 6
5/9/2013 15
5/15/2013 2
5/16/2013 39
5/23/2013 20
5/30/2013 3
5/31/2013 31
6/4/2013 38

—–ROUHANI ELECTED ON JUNE 14—–

9/6/2013 10
12/12/2013 19
2/6/2014 20
4/29/2014 11
5/23/2014 1
8/29/2014 34
TOTAL Before Rouhani’s Election 183
TOTAL After Rouhani’s Election 95
TOTAL Designations Since Nov. 24 Geneva Agreement 85

The Obama administration has pledged to fully enforce all existing sanctions against Iran. David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Department’s point man on sanctions vowed, “The Joint Plan of Action reached in Geneva does not, and will not, interfere with our continued efforts to expose and disrupt those supporting Iran’s nuclear program or seeking to evade our sanctions.”

Evidence indicates, however, that since Rouhani’s election, the U.S. has been much less aggressive in enforcing sanctions. In 2013 before Rouhani’s June 14 election, Treasury issued 10 sanctions announcements which designated 183 entities for violating Iran sanctions. Since Rouhani’s election, there have only been five announcements, blacklisting a total of 61 entities.

Source: American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran

Human Rights Under Rouhani

Since Rouhani took office, the human rights situation has not improved as some had hoped, but has actually worsened in a number of critical ways. For example, the pace of executions has increased to more than two a day in what can only be described as an „execution binge.“

Executions

2013 368
2014 531+
TOTAL 899+

Rouhani has also not fulfilled his promise to ease Internet restrictions, with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube remaining blocked for Iranian citizens. In May, six young men and women were arrested and detained in Tehran for posting a tribute video to Pharrell Williams‘ hit song, „Happy,“ on YouTube.

ROUHANI METER

The Rouhani Meter is an attempt to monitor the performance of the recently elected president Rouhani by documenting what has been achieved as opposed to his promises.

https://rouhanimeter.com/media/RM-Infographics-English-1.pdf

73 Recorded Promises to Date

Socio-Cultural (23)

3ACHIEVED
8IN PROGRESS
1NOT ACHIEVED
11INACTIVE
Domestic-Policy (20)
Economy (24)
4ACHIEVED
9IN PROGRESS
1NOT ACHIEVED
10INACTIVE
Foreign Policy (6)

Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Banks remain fearful of US-approved transfers to Iran

A woman walks past a Santander Bank branch in downtown Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 19, 2014. (photo by REUTERS/Pilar Olivares)

Iranian-Americans attempting to send money to Iran for humanitarian purposes are still experiencing major difficulties despite US authorization and the creation of a special channel for some transactions under the interim accord on Iran’s nuclear program.

When Mohammad Farivar, a gastroenterologist who teaches at Boston University and Harvard Medical School, tried to send slightly more than $100,000 to Iran this summer from his charity’s long-standing account at what is now Santander Bank, he found it not only impossible to complete the transaction, but was also notified shortly thereafter that his account would be summarily closed. The doctor shared his correspondence with the bank, and his frustrations, with Al-Monitor.

Farivar said he had collected the funds from Iranian-Americans in the Boston area on behalf of the Earthquake Relief Fund for Orphans, a charity he founded more than two decades ago, to build an addition to an orphanage in the Iranian city of Kashan. He deposited the money in the organization’s account at Santander, which took over Sovereign Bank, where the charity opened an account in 1990.

Farivar’s nonprofit has aided earthquake victims in other countries, including Pakistan, and it sent money to Iran following the 2004 earthquake in Bam. Farivar said he decided to go forward with the Kashan project because a year ago, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which deals with sanctions, gave blanket approval for such activities.

A Treasury official confirmed to Al-Monitor that on Sept. 10, 2013, the department issued a general license permitting US nongovernmental groups “to provide certain humanitarian and not-for-profit services to Iran that directly benefit the Iranian people.” The license authorizes funds transfers in support of such activities of up to half a million dollars a year.

Iranian-Americans are also authorized to send personal remittances to family and friends in Iran. The official said, “So long as the funds originating from a US financial institution are routed through a third country, the ultimate destination could be either a non-designated [not sanctioned] Iranian bank or money service provider.” The official added that this mechanism predates the interim nuclear deal signed with Iran last November.

When Farivar tried to wire the money from the charity’s account to an individual at an HSBC bank in Hong Kong for transfer to Iran, Santander closed the account. Farivar complained to Roman Blanco, president of Santander’s operations in the United States. Blanco did not respond, but JoAnn Gruber, a vice president of the Spain-based bank who manages customer relations with Americans, replied in a Sept. 26 letter that Farivar shared with Al-Monitor.

Gruber wrote, “Any decision to close an account is our decision and no information regarding such a decision is communicated, released or provided to any individual or entity outside of the bank.” According to Farivar, “They closed a legitimate account because I tried to send money to a person in China” to then transfer to Iran following OFAC guidance. Blanco did not respond to an email inquiry from Al-Monitor.

Farivar said he found the Chinese individual through a money-exchange house in Iran and that the procedure — encouraged by OFAC because the United States bars direct transactions between American and Iranian banks — is prone to abuse. “It’s money laundering 101,” Farivar said.

Iranian-Americans have long complained that US sanctions force them to use murky channels to send and receive money from Iran. Hopes that the nuclear negotiations would make it easier to conduct such transactions have not been realized, even as Iran has gained access to several billion dollars in oil revenues that had been frozen in foreign accounts.

The new channels are intended for trade with entities that the government of Iran has approved but apparently not for ordinary individuals. What’s more, the US Treasury will not identify the channels, although they are reported to include banks in Japan and Switzerland. “These channels are for the big money,” Farivar told Al-Monitor. “Nobody is going to worry about my $100,000.”

Many Western banks continue to refuse to do any business involving Iran because of heavy fines imposed by US authorities against several that violated the sanctions. Farhad Alavi, a lawyer who advises Iranian-Americans as well as multinational corporations on trade issues, said US sanctions effectively force many individuals and entities dealing with Iran to use methods akin to hawalas, whereby money is given to a broker in one country and paid out by a broker in another country. Fees are high and abuse is common, he said.

“It inherently makes transactions look more suspect in many ways, whether you are selling medical devices or just receiving remittances,” Alavi stated. “To a bank, an authorized payment for food sales or a remittance might come from a trading company in Hong Kong or Kuwait. A lot of things can happen that are not traceable.”

Alavi added that US banks fear violating a combination of regulations, beginning with the Patriot Act passed after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. “This, coupled with the rise in the use of economic sanctions regulations as an instrument yields what we have today,” he said.

Iranian-Americans had hoped the situation would improve following the conclusion last year of the Joint Plan of Action between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1). Under the accord, which was extended in July until the end of November, the P5+1 promised to “establish a financial channel to facilitate humanitarian trade for Iran’s domestic needs using Iranian oil revenues held abroad.” The channel is also supposed to help Iranian students in the United States pay their expenses.

In Washington at a Sept. 28 conference of the National Iranian-American Council, Erich Ferrari, another lawyer specializing in sanctions, said that it had taken until May to establish the channel. He said Treasury officials tell American companies seeking to sell goods to Iran to “ask your importers in Iran” how to get paid, rather than telling Americans what foreign banks to approach.

US officials have hinted that it might be possible under a comprehensive nuclear agreement to re-establish correspondent accounts between US banks nd Iranian banks that have not been designated for support of terrorism or other illicit activities. This would likely restore Iran to the global electronic banking transfer system known as SWIFT. The prospects for such an accord are, however, uncertain.

“OFAC and the Treasury have gone to great pains to say that humanitarian transactions are authorized,” Alavi told Al-Monitor. “OFAC needs to come up with a viable route.”

The Treasury official told Al-Monitor, “Americans who are experiencing problems or misunderstandings on how to transfer personal remittances to Iran under the regulations can call the OFAC helpline at 202-622-2580 or email OFAC_Feedback@treasury.gov. ”

As for Farivar, he said he’s been waiting to get back the $121,860.78 that was in the Santander account so he can return the contributions to those who thought they would be helping to build an orphanage in Iran.

Source: AL-Monitor

Iran official says satellite jamming can cause cancer

An Iranian Sunni Kurd woman stands behind a satellite dish on her home’s rooftop at Palangan village in Kurdistan province, southwest of Tehran, May 11, 2011. (photo by REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)

An official with Iran’s Department of Environment has said that jamming satellites can cause cancer and that the agency recommends eliminating jamming efforts by the Iranian government.

Saeed Motassadi, an official with the Department of Environment, said, “A committee was formed in cooperation between the Department of Environment and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to address the situation of jamming.” Motassadi told Islamic Republic News Agency, which is managed by the administration of President Hassan Rouhani, that the meetings reached the minister level and that resolutions have been approved.

“The topic of jamming causing cancer was studied many times, and the possibility exists of this illness coming about in individuals as a result from the effects of jamming,” Motassadi said.

Iran has longed jammed foreign satellite channels coming into Iran, particularly Persian-language news channels or ones that conservative authorities believe may influence the culture of younger Iranians in an un-Islamic direction.

Iran has faced sanctions for these jamming efforts and is now believed to be conducting “local jamming,” in which satellite dishes on the rooftops of private houses are targeted. Satellite dishes are ubiquitous inIran’s large cities such as Tehran and even in villages.

Motassadi said, “The recommendation of the Department of Environment is to completely eliminate jamming.” On the concern of conservatives, he said, “If actions are to be taken to confront the cultural invasion and protect detriment to the country, it is better to take other paths.” Motassadi did not say which “other paths” he meant, but in recent years, Iranian police have made efforts to collect and destroyrooftop satellite dishes. These efforts, which have been highly publicized in the media, have been largely ineffective.

According the Motassadi, the joint committee’s investigation is ongoing and will present its final results and solutions. However, he said that they needed more agencies involved.

Cancer is one of leading causes of death in Iran, and conflicting reports and statements have been made by various officials about the effects of jamming.

On Sept. 27, Mohammad Hossein Ghorbani, spokesman for the parliament’s health care committee, warned about the rise of cancer, saying it is “a serious alarm for the country.” He blamed a variety of factors for the increase in cancer cases, such as waste, poor gasoline quality, poor quality of food, poor inspection standards in automobiles and unhealthy water.

In February, Iran’s health minister, Dr. Seyyed Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi, announced a special committee to research the health effects of jamming. Dr. Hashemi said that the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the Atomic Energy Organization were a part of this committee. It is not clear whether this committee works with the Department of Environment.

In October 2012, the head of Sarem Cell Research Center said that jamming of satellite stations was causing an increase in miscarriages. The Health Ministry denied the claim.

In August 2012, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied even knowing what body was conducting the jamming.

Source: AL-Monitor

Iran’s „Political Prisoner cleansing“ – Reyhaneh Jabbari’s Execution postponed, Pour Shajari re-arrested, Sadeghi missing in custody, Boroujerdi to be hanged

Prison authorities ordered the crowd to leave and assured Jabbari’s family that she was not to be hanged — a statement the authorities commonly make before an execution so it can be carried out quietly, without incident.

Meanwhile, Ayatollah Boroujerdi has been taken from his prison cell in Evin to be executed and is being held incommunicado at an undisclosed location. Also „missing“ is dissident blogger Mohammad Reza Pour Shajari and prominent student activist Arash Sadeghi, both presumed to have been re-arrested according to friends and family.

The „mainstream media“ and so-called Human Rights Groups have, as usual, remained silent. The regime tells the media that information about „missing“ prisoners is inaccurate in order to prevent publication of the news.

The Iranian killing machine seems to be counting on the reluctance of the U.S. to intervene in any serious way, in order to run its nuclear weapons program to completion.

Iran continues to hide behind the world’s focus on ISIS to accelerate political arrests, executions, „prison cleansing“ and above all, its program to achieve nuclear capability.

Iran seems to be counting on the reluctance of the United States to intervene in any serious way, in order to run its nuclear weapons program to completion.

From left to right: Mohammad Reza Pour Shajari, Arash Sadeghi, Reyhaneh Jabbari, Ayatollah Hossein Kazamani Boroujerdi

Most recently, according to the International Committee Against Execution, Reyhaneh Jabbari, who was transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison to be hanged on Monday September 29, has been returned to her cell in Shahr-Ray Prison. Her execution was halted only to be re-scheduled for Oct 8, 2014.

On September 29, Jabbari was seized by prison guards during her shower, forced to dress and told that she would be hanged in the morning. After the prison staff allowed her to make one last phone call to her mother, she was transferred to Rajai-Shahr prison and placed in solitary confinement to await execution at dawn.

Upon her daughter’s transfer, Jabbari’s mother, Shole Pakravan, rushed to Rajai-Shahr prison with her husband, two daughters and a few friends. In front of the prison a crowd grew quickly to protest Jabbari’s execution. Prison authorities ordered the crowd to leave and assured Jabbari’s family that she was not to be hanged — a statement the authorities commonly make before an execution so it can be carried out quietly, without incident. Shole Pakravan refused to leave the premises until her daughter was transferred unharmed back to her original cell in Shahr-Ray Prison.

Meanwhile, the news spread through social media quickly, among a number of Italian, American and Swedish online news agencies. Additionally, the European Union, United Nations, along with most human rights organizations were alerted to the imminent execution. As a result, her execution was halted — but re-scheduled for Oct 8, 2014. Perhaps the Iranian regime is hoping her case will be overlooked by then amidst headlines dominated by ISIS.

Jabbari was sentenced to death when she was 19 years old for stabbing a man who tried to rape her. Human rights activists have been demanding the reversal of her death sentence and subsequent release from prison, as she acted in self-defense. Islamic law, however, rarely recognizes self-defense, especially in cases of rape. Many women have already been executed for defending themselves; many more await execution.

Meanwhile, Ayatollah Hossein Kazamani Boroujerdi has been taken from his cell in Evin Prison to be executed, and has since been „missing.“ The Iranian regime does not allow the media inside Iran to report on missing prisoners; deeming the information inaccurate and propaganda against the regime.

Also „missing“ is Mohammad Reza Pour Shajari; who was re-arrested a few days, ago according to his daughter. The regime is denying the arrest and any knowledge of Mr. Pour Shajari’s disappearance.

Arash Sadeghi, a prominent political student activist, was arrested a few hours after posting comments on his Facebook page criticizing the regime, according to a source close to Sadeghi who was interviewed by Gatestone Institute and wishes to remain anonymous:

„Yes, they come for him and the rest of us who had been involved in the uprising of 2009. They are arresting everyone… mass arrests inside Iran of anyone who opposes them now or has opposed them in the past. They are counting on ISIS to distract the world from this systematic cleansing… luckily I was not home and was not arrested. We have no idea where Arash is, I just know that they arrested him hours after his Facebook comments… I also fear they are torturing him all over again… he is very frail, only 60 kilos now after what they did to him in prison last time. „

There has been no news of Sadeghi since his arrest on September 6, 2014. Iran is evidently escalating the cleansing of its prisoners — political and non-political alike; many prisoners have apparently been taken to Rajai Shahr prison to await execution.

Meanwhile, the „mainstream media“ and so-called Human Rights groups have, as usual, been silent.

Source: Gatestone Institute

Menschenrechtsbeauftragter Strässer besorgt über Gesundheitzustand hungerstreikender Häftlinge in Iran

Anlässlich aktueller Meldungen über den kritischen Gesundheitszustand von neun inhaftierten und seit einem Monat hungerstreikenden Anhängern des mystischen Nematollahi-Gonabadi-Ordens, Angehörige einer religiösen Minderheit in Iran, erklärte der Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Menschenrechtspolitik und humanitäre Hilfe im Auswärtigen Amt, Christoph Strässer, heute (02.10.):

Zusatzinformationen

Mit größter Besorgnis erfüllen mich Berichte über den kritischen Gesundheitszustand der neun inhaftierten Anhänger des Nematollahi-Gonabadi-Ordens. Diese waren aus Protest gegen anhaltende Repressionen gegenüber Angehörigen der religiösen Sufi-Minderheit in Iran vor einem Monat in Hungerstreik getreten.
Iran hat sich mit der Ratifizierung des Internationalen Paktes über bürgerliche und politische Rechte verpflichtet, auch das Menschenrecht auf Religions- und Weltanschauungsfreiheit zu achten und zu schützen. Die Unterdrückung religiöser Minderheiten steht dazu in eklatantem Widerspruch.
Ich fordere Iran auf, seiner Verpflichtung nachzukommen, die Menschenrechte Aller unabhängig von religiöser oder ethnischer Zugehörigkeit zu achten und alle Personen, die aufgrund ihrer religiösen oder politischen Weltanschauung inhaftiert sind, unverzüglich frei zu lassen.
Darüber hinaus appelliere ich an alle Verantwortlichen in Iran, den Hungerstreikenden umgehend dringend benötigte medizinische Behandlungen zu gewähren.

Hintergrund:

Die Situation für ethnische und religiöse Minderheiten in Iran ist besorgniserregend. Während Juden, Christen und Zoroastrier laut der iranischen Verfassung als religiöse Minderheiten anerkannt sind und zumindest offiziell Religionsfreiheit genießen, werden Angehörige mystischer Orden innerhalb des Islams (z.B. des schiitischen Nematollahi-Gonabadi-Ordens), auch Sufis oder Derwische genannt, häufig diskriminiert oder durch gewaltsame Übergriffe an ihrer Religionsausübung gehindert.

Anfang September 2011 gab es schwere Übergriffe der Sicherheitskräfte in vielen Landesteilen, v.a. in Kavar, im Zuge derer eine Vielzahl von Sufis sowie Mitarbeiter der zum Nematollahi-Gonabadi-Orden gehörigen Website „Majzooban-e-Noor“  und deren Verteidiger festgenommen wurden. Neun der Inhaftierten – zu Haftstrafen von viereinhalb bis zehneinhalb Jahren verurteilt – sind aus Protest gegen die andauernde landesweite Verfolgung des Nematollahi-Gonabadi-Ordens und gegen die schlechten Haftbedingungen am 31.08.2014 in Hungerstreik getreten. Es handelt sich um die im Teheraner Evin-Gefängnis inhaftierten Omid Behrouzi, Mostafa Daneshjou, Afshin Karampour, Farshid Yadollahi, Mostafa Abdi, Reza Entesari, Amir Eslami, Hamidreza Moradi Sarvestani sowie Kasra Nouri im Nezam-Gefängnis Shiraz. Ihnen wurde u.a. „Propaganda gegen das Regime“ und „Handeln gegen die nationale Sicherheit“ vorgeworfen.

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