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Posts Tagged ‘Tehran’

Mullahs Capitulate, Human Rights Lawyer Ends 49-Day Hunger Strike

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Nasrin Soutoudeh, a human rights lawyer in theocratic Iran, announced on December 4th that she would end a hunger strike she had carried out for 49 days from her cell in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison. Her offenses had been to act as a court defender of opposition political figures and activists, as well as for juveniles condemned to death for crimes committed when they were under age 18.

Soutoudeh, now nearly fifty, was sentenced last year to 11 years’ imprisonment, and barred from work in the field of law. On appeal, her term was reduced to six years. During her sustained act of defiance, Nasrin Soutoudeh consumed only water mixed with sugar and salts. Her weight fell to 95 pounds; her health became fragile.

She concluded her starvation protest after the Iranian dictatorship acceded to her main demand: that a travel ban be lifted from her 12-year old daughter Mehraveh. Soutoudeh also initiated the fast to dramatize the bad conditions under which she is held. Her husband, Reza Khandan, remains restricted in his movements by order of the regime.

In a statement from Norway, the International Organization to Preserve Human Rights in Iran (IOPHR) pointed out that official Iranian media has accused local spiritual Sufis of supporting Soutoudeh as part of an alleged foreign conspiracy to subvert the Tehran authorities. IOPHR warns that on this basis, Sufis are vulnerable to false trials and imprisonment. According to Sufis and human rights monitors, the repressive Iranian institutions consider “having ‘compassion’ for a Muslim woman in prison to be ‘acting against national security,’ ‘disturbing public order” and ‘insulting the Supreme Leader,’” a post currently held by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

IOPHR identifies the persecution of Nasrin Soutoudeh and the Sufis with a sinister “think tank,” the “Islamic Center for the Study of Religions and their Different Interpretations” located in Qom, the headquarters of theological radicalism in Iran. As one of several such institutions with similar titles and the same goal – penetration of Western academic circles and dissemination of Iranian state ideology, this “Center,” through one of its Persian-language publications, Markaz Didban (Center Watch), has attacked Soutoudeh.

According to IOPHR, Ayatollah Muhammad Reza Mahdavi Kani, chairman of the Assembly of Experts, admitted that “the supporting pole of the regime’s tent is bent.” By this, Kani is said to recognize that conflicts between the personal, doctrinal, and political factions within the Islamist government have undermined its credibility. Entities such as the “Islamic Center for the Study of Religions and their Different Interpretations” harm Iranian stability more than any actions by dissidents by sowing intrigues and fear at all levels of society.

Meanwhile, IOPHR states, Ali Larijani, Khamenei’s “national security expert,” and promoter to the world of the Iranian nuclear program, travels daily to Damascus and Beirut to “maintain the status quo” embodied in the bloodthirsty Syrian dictatorship of Bashar Al-Assad and the Lebanese government dominated by the terror group, Hezbollah.

IOPHR has appealed for aid and cooperation from other international institutions; it seems to wish to use the great potential of public opinion outside Iran as a platform for a major global effort to expose conditions in the Iranian prisons. IOPHR describes Tehran’s penal establishments as torture houses and dungeons run by stubborn and self-interested bureaucrats answerable to nobody – not even to the higher strata of clerical power.

The human rights activists and Sufis have praised the example provided by Nasrin Soutoudeh in her deliberate refusal of food. The call of the Iranian dissenters should not go unanswered. Demonstrations and conferences are overdue in Western and other foreign capitals, especially in Europe, the United States, and Canada. The Iranian usurpers should learn that while their internal contradictions and quarrels threaten to bring their tent down on their heads, the world is watching. Inevitably, the doors of Evin Prison and Tehran’s other houses of cruelty and degradation must be opened.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

French FM: Iran to Blame for Gaza War

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius outraged Tehran by placing the onus of “heavy responsibility” for the recent war between Israel and Gaza terrorists on Iran.

Fabius told France Culture radio on Wednesday that “there are long-range weapons up to 75 kilometers (45 miles) and these are Iranian weapons. Iran bears a heavy responsibility,” and called the Iranian government “extremely dangerous for world peace”, noting that Iran’s presence is felt in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Gaza “and each time with very negative intentions”.

Iran said Israel bears sole responsibility for the war in Gaza, and should be tried for “war crimes”, while the Palestinians should be provided with arms.

Obama’s Attempts At Making Nice With The Mullahs

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

It turns out that soon after taking office, President Obama tried to make friends – totally – with the mullahs’ regime in Iran.

The aim was to start with the opening of interest sections in Washington and Tehran, then progress to “full diplomatic ties, including U.S. and Iranian embassies and ambassadors in each other’s capitals, security cooperation…, [and] direct flights between the U.S. and Iran….”

All this amity, it was presumed, would get Iran to give up its nuclear program.

So, at least, reports the Israeli daily Maariv, basing itself on “two Western diplomats very close to the administration.”

Maariv says that, beginning in the summer of 2009, there were at least two U.S.-Iranian diplomatic meetings in this context. The second was between Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Geneva in October 2009, on the sidelines of nuclear talks between Tehran and the P5+1 countries.

But Tehran, as they say, wasn’t into it. An Israeli source told Maariv that the regime “opposed any sign of normalization with the U.S., and refused to grant a ‘prize’ to the Americans.”

On Obama’s part, all this would have been in the spirit of his holiday video greeting to Iran in March 2009—and, more generally, his wooing of the Islamic world and all but apologizing for America’s supposed sins, most notably in his June 2009 Cairo speech.

In the mullahs’ case, Obama’s belief that he could talk them into friendship is particularly striking. U.S.-Iranian relations took something of a hit when the newly installed Ayatollah Khomeini regime seized 52 American diplomats as hostages at the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, holding them for 444 days. Last week the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens listed some additional “American victims of Iranian aggression” since that time:

The 17 Americans killed in April 1983 at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut by the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad Organization, later known as Hezbollah. The 241 U.S. servicemen killed by Islamic Jihad at the Marine barracks in Beirut on Oct. 23, 1983. Master Chief Robert Dean Stethem, beaten to death in June 1985 by a Hezbollah terrorist in Beirut aboard TWA flight 847. William Francis Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, tortured to death by Hezbollah that same month. Marine Col. William Higgins, taken hostage in 1988 while serving with U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon and hanged by Hezbollah sometime later. The 19 U.S. Air Force personnel killed in June 1996 in the Khobar Towers bombing, for which several members of Saudi Hezbollah were indicted in U.S. federal court.

And then there are the thousands of U.S. troops killed by improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan. The most lethal IEDs were manufactured in Iran for the purpose of killing Americans.

Obama’s belief that America was at fault in having wronged and angered Iran must have been very strong to regard this record as something that could have been overcome between friends – to the extent that he was familiar with it.

The trouble is that, three years later, there are signs that Obama is still unable to grasp the fact that the Iranian regime is implacably hostile to America. It was last March, just as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in Washington warning that Iran was closing in on the bomb, that Obama chose to renew diplomatic talks with Iran – talks that, as acknowledged by all, have been an empty sham that has merely bought Tehran time just as Israel had warned.

True, Obama – under heavy pressure from Congress – finally, along with other Western countries, imposed sanctions on Iran that are taking a real toll. Just two weeks ago, though, a report by the Congressional Research Service acknowledged a “consensus” that these have in no way slowed Iran’s march toward nukes.

And it was just last week that The New York Times reported that the U.S. and Iran had agreed to still more nuclear talks after November 6. The White House denied the specifics of the report – but, incorrigibly convinced of Tehran’s potential amicability, said it remained ready, as ever, to meet with the mullahs and hash out the differences.

In other words, there are worrisome indications that when it comes to Iran’s Islamist regime, the U.S. chief executive remains dangerously delusional.

Iranian Agent Admits Plot to Kill Saudi Ambassador in Washington DC

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Visit Rubin Reports.

Perhaps you remember an incredibly sensational story from back in October 2011 that after a brief period in the headlines disappeared completely. The U.S. government arrested an Iranian-American citizen in Texas and charged him with being an agent of the Iranian government who planned at Tehran’s behest to hire a Mexican drug gang to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in a fiery terrorist attack in Washington D.C.

It would have been another September 11, albeit on a far smaller scale. Knowing about such an operation should have been a real game-changer for U.S. Middle East policy.

Now that man, Manssor Arbabsiar, arrested in September 2011, has pled guilty to these charges in a Manhattan court. The trial is scheduled for January.

The case is so important because the U.S. government was officially claiming that the Iranian regime planned an act of war on American soil. Talking to journalists, U.S. officials insisted that the very top leaders in Iran must have authorized the attack, though they admitted they didn’t have hard proof.

Nevertheless, the highest officials in the United States threatened retaliation. President Obama said: “Even if at the highest levels there was not detailed operational knowledge, there has to be accountability with respect to anybody in the Iranian government engaging in this kind of activity.” Notably, however, the Obama Administration policy attitude toward Tehran, already involved in sanctions of course, was not altered further by this new revelation.

The government says it has impressive evidence, based on the fact that the Mexican “drug lord” Arbabsiar was propositioning with was a secret U.S. agent. It includes tapes of the accused speaking with intelligence officials from the Quds Force inside Iran and his withdrawing $100,000 as down payment for the hit.

We do know that Iran has sponsored terror attacks against Americans in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and elsewhere. Yet an assassination in the heart of Washington D.C., with passers-by and restaurant patrons being blown up, would have marked a considerable escalation. Some argued that the plot was too strange to believe: Iranian intelligence delegating a used car salesman to contract with Mexican drug lords.

It is understandable that some are incredulous about this story. I have no idea what the truth is, but note that the U.S. government says it has strong evidence and that the Obama Administration—not known for its boldness in challenging America’s enemies—really stuck its neck out in this case. They must really believe that the plot was real.

What does all of this tell us?

This operation should once again remind American leaders that the Tehran regime is not just a problem because of the nuclear weapons’ project but because it is a determined foe of the United States on every issue. A major priority for U.S. policy should be then to battle Tehran’s influence everywhere, notably in Lebanon, Syria, and Bahrain. (This has already been done in Iraq, though Iran’s influence there is now on the rise and that of the United States diminishing.) Those supposedly friendly governments helping Iran—with Turkey and Venezuela at the top of that list—should not be treated as allies.

And if the attack was an independent initiative, albeit one that the Iranian regime didn’t actively oppose, it shows that once Iran has nuclear weapons there might be other such “rogue” operations. While I don’t support a military attack on Iran, such a factor should be taken into account in making such a decision in future.

Visit Rubin Reports.

Iran Police Clash with Protesters Outside Tehran’s Central Bank (Video)

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Iranian police has used tear gas against demonstrators who burned tires and garbage cans, the BBC reported on Wednesday. Many were arrested.

Eyewitnesses told the BBC that dozens assembled outside Iran’s central bank in Tehran, urging the bank governor to stand down and chanting anti-government slogans.

The protesters targeted President Ahmadinejad’s government, which they say is mismanaging the economy are unable to avert Iran’s currency crisis.

Over the past week, Iran’s coin, the rial, has sunk to a record low against Western currencies.

Money dealers and bazaar traders were among the demonstrators.

Images posted online show hundreds of people marching towards Iran’s central bank.

Reports say many shops in the central Grand Bazaar were gated down in solidarity with the demonstrators.

Viewers of BBC Persian channel in Iran say the government has been jamming its signal after the Persian-language channel first reported the Tehran protests.

Hundreds of police are reported to have rounded up illegal money changers in Tehran.

According to the BBC, Tehran’s bazaar is the biggest financial ally of the Iranian regime, since it bankrolled the 1979 Islamic revolution.

 

PM Netanyahu Apologizes for Embarrassing Ban Ki-Moon

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for publicizing details of a conversation between the two regarding the Ban’s visit to Tehran in August.

According to a report by Haaretz, Netanyahu called to apologize for making Ban’s participation in a conference of the Non-Aligned movement in Tehran public information, and for letting his office “leak” to the media that he had participated in a phone conversation with Ban in which he urged the leader not to go to Iran for the mid-August meeting.

A senior Israeli official told Haaretz that Netanyahu called Ban several days later to apologize, saying that while he was against Ban’s visit, he did not intend to embarrass the secretary-general.

During the conversation, Netanyahu told Ban he had heard and appreciated Ban’s condemnation of Iranian Holocaust denial and threats to destroy Israel.

Egypt Kicks Sand in Obama’s Face

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

I could write a 300-page book on how the Obama Administration’s Middle East policy has damaged Israel. I could write an 800-page book about how the Obama Administration’s Middle East policy has damaged U.S. interests. But why bother?

This is all you need to know:

The U.S. government asked its good buddy Egyptian President al-Mursi to inspect an Iranian ship suspected of carrying arms to Syria while it passed through the Suez Canal. Remember that to do so is arguably in Egypt’s own interest since Cairo is supporting the rebels while Tehran backs the regime. But it is also possible that the U.S. government blundered, or was badly timed, since international agreements dictate that Egypt is not supposed to inspect ships in the Canal itself.

The Egyptian government despite three decades of massive U.S. aid, licensing to produce advanced American tanks and other equipment, strategic backing, and an invitation to Washington to meet Obama—refused. Indeed, al-Mursi headed for Tehran to attend a “non-aligned” conference.

Does this mean Egypt is going to ally with Iran? No, Egypt will fight Iran for influence tooth and nail. The two countries will kill the others’ surrogates. But it means al-Mursi feels no friendlier toward America than he does toward Iran. And Cairo will not lift a finger to help Washington against Tehran unless by doing so the Egyptian Brotherhood advances its own cause of putting more Sunni Islamists (anti-Americans, of course) into power.And right now that means Syria. Indeed, at the Tehran meeting al-Mursi called for the overthrow of the Syrian regime while the Iranian media mistranslated that as a statement of support for Syria’s government. (Wow, that will make the Egyptians mad!)

In other words, under Jimmy Carter’s watch we got Islamist Iran—and, yes, things could have turned out very differently—and under Obama’s watch—and, yes, things could have turned out very differently— we got Islamist Egypt.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most important single country, has been turned from an ally of America against the Iranian threat into, at best, a neutral between Washington and Tehran that will do nothing to help America.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most important single country, has been turned from an ally of America—albeit an imperfect one of course—in maintaining and trying to extend Arab-Israeli peace into a leading advocate of expanding the conflict and even potentially going to war.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most important single country, has been turned from an ally of America in fighting international terrorism into an ally of most international terrorist groups except those that occasionally target Egypt itself.

But here’s one for the 600 rabbis who front for Obama: The destruction of the Egyptian natural gas pipeline and deal, as a result of the instability and revolution that the U.S. government helped promote, has done as much economic damage to Israel as all the Arab and Islamic sabotage, boycotts and Western sanctions or disinvestments in its history.
But wait there’s more, lot’s more.

After meeting Egypt’s new president, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said, “I was convinced that President Mursi is his own man,” adding that the new president is committed to democratic reforms and to representing all Egyptians.
Question: How does Panetta know this?

Answer: This is what Mursi told him.

Of course, by endorsing Mursi before he does anything, the U.S. government puts its seal of approval on the Muslim Brotherhood regime. Shouldn’t it have to do something to prove itself before Obama gives up all that leverage? What next? Perhaps Mursi will get the Nobel Peace Prize after a couple of months in office.

Note the phrase “his own man.” What does that mean? Why that Mursi won’t follow the Brotherhood’s orders. He will even stand up against it, presumably to be more moderate, right? There is no reason to believe that this is true.

Panetta added: “They agreed that they would cooperate in every way possible to ensure that extremists like al Qaeda are dealt with.” Of course, they are more likely to cooperate against al-Qaeda, a group they don’t like. But will they cooperate against Egyptian Salafist terrorists, Hamas, and lots of other terrorists? Of course not.

Indeed, at the precise moment Panetta was meeting Mursi, the new president was releasing Islamist terrorists from Egyptian prisons. These include terrorists from Islamic Jihad which is part of the al-Qaeda coalition! How do you square that one, Secretary Panetta?

And finally, Mursi pointed out to Panetta that his own son was born in California, when the future Egyptian president was studying there. His son, Mursi pointed out, could be the president of the United States one day.

I’ll let you, dear readers, pick up on that previous paragraph.

Of course, the Obama Administration can claim one success in Egypt: the regime pulled its forces out of eastern Sinai in accord with the Egypt-Israel peace treaty. The problem is that it has been reported in the Egyptian media—a good source though not confirmed—that the regime made a deal with the al-Qaida terrorists who attacked Israel. If they promised to stop fighting (for how long?) the Egyptian government would release all of their gunmen.

Meanwhile the most important (formerly) pro-Islamist moderate intellectual in the Arabic-speaking world has defected, an event of monumental importance that is being ignored in the West. The Egyptian sociologist Saad ed-Din Ibrahim hated the Mubarak regime so much that he joined with the Islamists as allies and insisted that they were really moderate.

Now here’s an interview he just gave (view this clip on MEMRITV) spoke as follows:

Interviewer: “You indicated that the Muslim Brotherhood are hijacking the country, not merely the top political posts. Is the Muslim Brotherhood indeed about to hijack the country?”

Ibrahim: “Well, this is how it seems to me, as well as to other observers, some of whom are more knowledgeable than me about the Brotherhood,” long-time members, who have now helped him understand the Brotherhood’s “desire to hijack everything and to control everything.”

I assume Ibrahim is referring to relative moderates in the Brotherhood–and some of these individuals have also spoken publicly–who have either quit the Brotherhood in disgust or been expelled.

I suggest Ibrahim and these people, not to mention the liberals packing their bags and the Christians piling up sandbags, know better than Panetta.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/egypt-kicks-sand-in-obamas-face/2012/09/04/

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