02192018Mon

Iran Focus

London, 18 Feb - Iran is currently facing a turbulent time. There are widespread protests in Iran calling for the removal of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani – some by any means necessary – and the defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria has led to power vacuums that the Regime is desperate to fill and everyone else is desperate that they don’t.

Thus Iran has turned to its favourite method of dealing with foreign and domestic crises: misdirection.

Iran has been attempting to strengthen ties with its neighbour Azerbaijan over the past few months and there are signs that it is working.

Iran Focus

London, 16 Feb - Former White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, who was instrumental in helping secure media support of the 2015 Iranian Nuclear Deal through manipulation that he admitted, has now joined the board of directors of the Ploughshares Fund, a foundation that also helped to sell the deal by paying for favourable media coverage of it.

Back in 2015, before the Iran Deal was agreed, Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund told NPR’s All Things Considered that he believed the American security establishment was solidly behind the deal and said that opponents to the deal were merely trying to block everything that President Obama wanted to do.

Iran Focus

London, 08 Feb - The favourite Quran reciter of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was recently acquitted on sexual assault charges, but many believe that the corrupt Iranian justice system working on behalf of Khamenei allowed a predator to go free.

Saeed Toosi, who was charged with two “acts of public indecency” and “making immoral statements to encourage corruption and depravity and to sexually arouse teenagers” in 2012, was initially given a four-year sentence, but this was dismissed upon appeal in January.

Iran Focus

London, 07 Feb - Iran has arrested the son of a famous Shiite cleric in Qom for describing the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei as "the pharaoh" during a lecture, according to Farsi-language news sites.

Hussein al-Shirazi, the son of Grand Ayatollah Sadiq al-Shirazi, was arrested on Monday morning for openly criticising the Iran’s practices and principle laws, according to the prosecutors of Qom's clerics' court on Shirazi's arrest warrant, which was published by the microphone news site.

During the lecture, Shirazi compared the mullah’s rule to that of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, said that Iran was a tyrannical, religious dictatorship, and criticised Iran’s oppressive treatment of protesters, critics and dissidents.

A clip of this lecture was uploaded to YouTube a few weeks ago.

Iran Focus

London, 13 Feb - At the World Government Summit in Dubai, the American political scientist who forecast the “end of history,” Francis Fukuyama, said that Iran was heading toward a crisis caused by social tensions between generations within the country. “In Iran there has been a social revolution going on beneath the surface. There is a young population, well-educated women in particular, who do not correspond to the rural, conservative power structure that runs the country. It’s headed toward some kind of explosion and I’m not sure of the outcome, but it is not a stable situation,” he said.

Iran Focus

London, 06 Feb - Iran boasts of its respect for religious freedom and tolerance for religious minorities, while President Hassan Rouhani even promises equal rights, but political scientist Dr. Majid Rafizadeh assesses that this is just empty words on the part of a dictatorship that is pretending to be a democracy.

Indeed, there are countless reports from human rights organizations that document systematic violations of religious freedom, as well as persecution and discrimination against religious minorities.

The largest religious minority in Iran in Sunni Muslims (5-10% of the population) but their religious leaders are frequently the targets of Iran’s attacks, according to Dr. Majid Rafizadeh.

Iran Focus

London, 12 Feb - Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI), told politicians opposed to the theocratic mullahs that Iran would not now be able to return to the status quo and that the only viable option was regime change.

At a meeting in Paris, she said: “What happened in Iran was beyond some protest demonstrations against economic problems, but a nationwide movement against the clerical rule in its entirety.”

The protests, sparked by a draft budget that increased funding for the military while slashing funding for the poor, quickly became about all of the Regime’s problems and shortcomings.

Iran Focus

London, 05 Feb - On Tuesday 30th January 2018, just over a month after protests and anti-government demonstrations swept across Iran, a group of Iranian parliamentarians were permitted to visit the notorious Evin Prison in the nation’s capital city. The eleven members of Iranian Parliament were able to spend several hours there.

The news of this visit comes after the death of Khaled Qaisari. Qaisari was tortured to death in Kermanshah Prison in western Iran. This brings the total of deaths because of torture following the recent uprisings to at least twelve.

Iran Focus

London, 11 Feb - The West is once again trying to use the narrative of moderate versus hardliners in Iran to explain the situation in Iran, this time in regard to the popular people’s protest.

Those following this narrative advise lifting sanctions against Iran, levied against the government for support of terrorism and human rights abuses, in order to help supposed moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

Iran Focus

London, 04 Feb - Celebrations for the 39th anniversary of the 1979 revolution have begun, less than a month after an uprising began in the holy city of Mashhad and spread across the nation, calling for regime change.

The recent unrest is different in quality to the ones that have gone before. These protesters rejected reform from within — they called for overthrow of the system.

Iran Focus

London, 11 Feb - The pro-Iran lobby is becoming increasingly irrelevant in the US and has lost a lot of its ability to drive the media narrative, especially in leading outlets.

Iranian Regime apologist Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) was once a common fixture on fixtures on CNN, NPR and the New York Times, but now he is relegated to obscure blogs that get little traffic.

Iran Focus

London, 03 Feb - New York - A former consultant to Iran's mission to the United Nations was sentenced to three months in prison on Friday for evading taxes by concealing his income and helping family and friends make money transfers that violated U.S. sanctions against Iran, Reuters reported.

Ahmad Sheikhzadeh, an Iran-born U.S. citizen, made the unusual decision to take the witness stand at his sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen in Brooklyn. He strongly denied accusations made by prosecutors in a court filing last year that he acted improperly by arranging contacts between a nuclear scientist and Iranian officials while Iran was negotiating a treaty with the U.S. over its nuclear program.

Iran Focus

London, 09 Feb - The Iranian Regime has reportedly conducted an opinion poll among the Iranian people, which found that only 4.9% of Iranians are in favour of regime change.

However, logic dictates that this is just part of the Regime’s meaningless propaganda campaign.

Why? Because if you live under an oppressive Regime that has been rounding up protesters and threatening them with the death penalty, who routinely imprison political activists, and who once massacred 30,000 political prisoners in just one summer, why on earth would you tell a stranger on the telephone your true political beliefs?

Iran Focus

London, 02 Feb - A child sexual abuse scandal that was dismissed by the Iranian judiciary because of the defendant’s ties to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is still being fought by the families of the victims.

The relatives of the victims, who filed a case teacher Saeed Toosi, wrote to 16 members of the Iranian Parliament to ask for help to seek justice after learning that a judge had secretly ruled in favour of Toosi, according to Tehran MP Mahmoud Sadeghi.

Toosi is a close companion of Khamenei’s, his favourite Quran reciter, and even trained Khamenei’s son, the mid-ranking cleric Mojtaba.

Iran Focus

London, 09 Feb - Lawmakers and political dignitaries from numerous European countries including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Switzerland, Malta, and Poland participated in a conference named “Iran Uprising - International Call for Release of Detainees” on Friday 9th February.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) addressed the speakers and spoke about the changing circumstances in Iran. She said that the situation was changing for the better and spoke about four main issues.

Iran Focus

London, 02 Feb - Despite being the most repressive country in the Middle East and using absolute clerical rule to justify their medieval treatment of their citizens as the "will of God", the Iranian mullahs were simply unable to stop the people from protesting.

The protests, which began in late December over the release of a draft budget that would divert money away from the poor and into the military, quickly spread from the big cities to the smallest villages in every province and took on an anti-regime sentiment that none has matched since perhaps 1979. Millions took to the streets to call for an end to the Regime and the removal of the mullahs, explicitly calling out President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Iran Focus

London, 08 Feb - A special meeting in support of the widespread Iran uprising, which has now spread to 142 cities and to all 31 provinces, was held at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday, February 7.

The meeting, which took place on the 39th anniversary of the 1979 anti-monarchic revolution, was chaired by Gérard Deprez, Chair of the Friends of a Free Iran intergroup, and Tunne Kelam.

Guest speakers included Dr Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a former vice-president of the European Parliament, and Farzin Hashemi from the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Iran Focus

London, 01 Feb - The widespread protests in Iran have largely dissipated after a violent crackdown by the Iranian authorities, but the underlying issues that caused the protests still exist, so we should be wary of seeing this as an end to the Iranian people’s uprising.

One of the issues raised by the protesters was Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and regional warfare (i.e. Syria, Lebanon and Yemen) and the money spent on this rather than on programmes to benefit the Iranian people (i.e. healthcare, education, employment). In response, the Ruling system pulled back some of its security forces from Syria, in order to suppress the protests.

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