The Iranian Diaspora Brief

The Iranian Diaspora Brief: August 26, 2021

Top Stories

Taliban Takeover Is a Boon for Cash-Strapped Iran | Wall Street Journal

Iran this week restarted fuel exports to Afghanistan that had been disrupted by fighting between the Taliban and forces under the now deposed Afghan government, traders in Tehran and former U.S. officials say, with the Taliban now providing critical dollars to the sanctions-crushed Iranian economy from its lucrative narcotics operations. The burgeoning trade relationship between Tehran and the Taliban threatens to undermine key U.S. pressure campaigns against both.

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Iran’s Killers in Our Midst | New York Review

The two people who knocked on our door in late August 2019 stuck out in the neighborhood like sore thumbs. In rural Connecticut, where tank tops and flip-flops are the vogue, no one shows up at someone’s door on a summer afternoon dressed in the gray suit and black leather shoes of a federal employee. After opening the door to them, my thirteen-year-old shouted, with the same insouciance he had used for the UPS man, “Mom, it’s the FBI!”

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Iran Parliament Approves Most Raisi Nominees To Hardline Cabinet | Reuters

Iran’s parliament on Wednesday approved all but one of President Ebrahim Raisi’s big-name nominees for a cabinet of hardliners that will have the task of implementing his plans to ease U.S. sanctions and tackle worsening economic hardship. Raisi, a hardliner under Western sanctions over allegations of human rights abuses when he was a judge, was sworn into office on Aug. 5 with the Islamic Republic’s clerical establishment facing growing crises at home and abroad.

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Regime Abuses

Iran Official Acknowledges Videos Of Evin Prison Abuse Real | Associated Press

The head of Iran’s prison system acknowledged Tuesday that videos purportedly obtained by a self-described hacker group that show abuses at the Islamic Republic’s notorious Evin prison are real, saying he took responsibility for the “unacceptable behaviors.” The comment by Mohammad Mehdi Hajmohammadi came the day after The Associated Press published parts of the videos and a report about the abuse at the facility in northern Tehran, long known for holding political prisoners and those with ties to the West whom Iran uses as bargaining chips in international negotiations.

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Protests In Iran Over Power Cuts And Water Shortages Have Been Met With Violence | NPR

Iranians have been enduring chronic power cuts and water shortages through a hot summer. When crowds took to the streets to protest, they were met with a violent crackdown by security forces. It’s been a long, hot summer in Iran. In several parts of the country, people are enduring chronic power cuts and water shortages. When crowds took to the streets to protest, they were met with a violent crackdown by security forces. NPR’s Peter Kenyon has been hearing from Iranians about what they’re going through.

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A Trial In Sweden Raises Uncomfortable Questions About Iranian Regime’s Past | Arab News

The Stockholm District Court’s thick stone walls have palpably failed to keep out the sounds of protest. Since the trial of Hamid Noury, 60, began on Aug. 10, Swedish Iranians have gathered daily outside the century-old court building to draw the world’s attention to his alleged crimes. During a court appearance last week, Noury complained that the protesters’ chants and slogans were “insulting,” forcing the judge to ask police to request the crowd outside to quieten down.

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Interrogator To Mehran Qareh Baghi: We Will Detain You So Long That You Would Lose Your Sanity | Iran Human Rights Monitor

The interrogators and torturers of the Intelligence Department of Ahvaz have been torturing and harassing political prisoner Mehran Qareh Baghi in recent weeks. The interrogators are seeking information about Mr. Qareh Baghi’s friends despite the fact that he has been in Behbahan Prison since 2019. They have also brandished threats against Mehran Qareh Baghi telling him, “We will send you to exile in Sistan so that no one would hear your voice. There will be no news of you and everyone will forget you. We will detain you so long that you will lose your sanity.”

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Police Publicly Degraded ‘Robbers’ By Parading Them In Western Iran | Iran Human Rights Monitor

The state security forces publicly paraded 15 men on August 22 on the streets of Khorramabad, western Iran. According to the state-run TASNIM News Agency, during the “ceremony” the Khorramabad Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor accused the home robbers of “Moharebeh” or waging war against God and said they would be sentenced to death. This is while they have yet to be tried. The 15 men were accused of armed robbery from homes in the past month.

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Fact Sheet: LGBTQ Community In Iran Faces Deadly Violence And Severe Rights Abuses | Center For Human Rights In Iran

LGBTQ individuals are routinely forced to undergo dangerous conversion therapy to “cure” them of their “disorder,” which uses electric shock, psychoactive drugs, sterilization, and shaming, and which the UN has stated is tantamount to torture. If they are not “cured,” they are pressured to undergo sex reassignment surgery (SRS). Transgender people must undergo SRS or risk prosecution—which accounts for Iran’s extremely high rate of SRS. Yet SRS in Iran is extremely dangerous—while subsidized by the state, the pre-surgery process is abusive, the surgery is typically performed by ill-trained surgeons, and botched procedures and poor follow-up care often result in permanent medical complications.

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In The News

Iran President Raisi Said Homosexuality Is ‘Nothing But Savagery’ | Jerusalem Post

The new president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi, declared in an anti-gay tirade in 2014 that same-sex relations are “nothing but savagery.” The US-based Center for Human Rights in Iran said in its Tuesday fact sheet that “Iranian government officials engage in hate speech against the LGBTQ community, which encourages state and societal violence against individuals. For example, Ebrahim Raisi, who is now Iran’s president, said in 2014 (when he headed Iran’s judiciary) that homosexuality is ‘nothing but savagery.”’

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Iran Is Ready To Ship More Fuel To Lebanon If Needed, Says Iranian Official | Reuters

Iran said on Monday it is ready to ship more fuel to Lebanon if needed, a day after the leader of Lebanon’s Iran-aligned Hezbollah group said more vessels carrying Iranian fuel would sail soon to help ease the country’s fuel shortage. “We sell our oil and its products based on our own decisions and the needs of our friend. Iran is ready to send fuel again to Lebanon if needed,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said in an online weekly news conference. “Certainly we cannot see the suffering of the Lebanese people.”

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Hezbollah’s Fuel From Iran Will Hurt the Lebanese People | Iran Focus

Reuters reported on August 16 that Lebanese Hezbollah would begin importing fuel from the Iranian government. This has been opposed by many Lebanese politicians. It was first in mid-July 2020 that Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah in Lebanon, announced his readiness to buy and import fuel from Iran. At the time, on July 10, Lebanese Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar announced that Beirut had no plans to do so. Hassan Nasrallah had said at the time that he had begun talks with the Beirut government to consider the supply of oil and gasoline derivatives from Iran buying with the Lebanese lira, as it could ease pressure on Lebanon’s foreign exchange reserves. Following these remarks, the Lebanese Minister of Energy added that at present he has no plans to negotiate with the Iranian government for fuel imports and that current negotiations with Iraq are underway.

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Iranian Government Urged To Accept Western Vaccines Amid Deadly Covid Wave | The Guardian

The newly elected Iranian government led by President Ebrahim Raisi is facing demands to broaden its sources of vaccines as the country becomes engulfed by its fifth and most deadly wave of Covid-19. The supply of vaccines is said to be close to exhausted in Isfahan and Tabriz, as well as provinces including Gilan, Khuzestan and Mazandaran. Bahram Einollahi, the proposed minister of health in the Raisi administration, said he did not expect Iran to be fully vaccinated until next February, a slower timetable than once predicted by Raisi. He told the confirmation hearings in front of the Iranian parliament that this would require 120m doses of vaccine.

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I Know Iran’s Most Notorious Prison Is Built On Abuse. Now The World Can See It, Too | Jason Rezaian For The Washington Post

The release of security camera footage from inside Iran’s notorious Evin Prison provides proof of what many already know to be true: that Iranian authorities routinely abuse prisoners and keep them in inhumane conditions. Among the scenes captured in the leaked videos are an inmate being beaten by multiple guards, another attempting to commit suicide and dozens of inmates being housed in a single room with bunk beds stacked three high. Those cramped quarters are certainly a contributing factor to the high spread of covid-19 inside Evin.

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Iran’s President Lost His Right To Visit New York By Targeting America | Barry Rosen For The Hill

When the world’s leaders arrive in New York next month for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), it will be America’s responsibility to provide protection for each. Preparations are under way to ensure their safety, and the men and women of the U.S. Secret Service, New York Police Department, state and federal law enforcement, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are ready to work in service to our nation. But their duty to protect should not extend to officials who have taken up arms against the United States and her people.

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How Iran Helped Houthis Expand Their Reach | Thomas Juneau For War On The Rocks

Since 2015, when Saudi Arabia launched its intervention in Yemen, the Houthi movement has deepened its ties with Iran and grown more powerful on the ground. As a result, the impact of the Iranian-Houthi partnership will increasingly be felt beyond Yemen’s borders. As I have argued elsewhere, the Houthis are now developing their own foreign policy, forming direct ties with other Iranian partners in the region and presenting a growing risk to rivals like Saudi Arabia and, eventually, Israel. In recent years, some of the most alarmist coverage of the Houthi movement has presented the group in simplistic terms as an Iranian proxy inside Yemen. In fact, the partnership is more complex than a patron-proxy one, but it still carries real risks for regional security.

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Non-English Language Media

 عفو بین الملل: تصاویر بدرفتاری با زندانیان در اوین «نوک کوه یخ اپیدمی شکنجه در ایران» است| Voice Of America

سازمان عفو بین الملل در واکنش به تصاویر و ویدیوهایی که گروه هکری «عدالت علی» از دوربین‌های امنیتی زندان اوین در شمال تهران به دست آورده است، با انتشار بیانیه ای اعلام کرد این تصاویر نشان دهنده «سوءاستفاده هولناک از زندانیان و یادآور مصونیت اعطا شده به مقامات زندان در ایران است که افراد تحت بازداشت را مورد شکنجه و رفتارهای ظالمانه، غیرانسانی و تحقیرآمیز قرار می‌دهند. در بیانیه سازمان عفو بین الملل که روز چهارشنبه سوم شهریور منتشر شده آمده است این سازمان ۱۶ ویدیو به بیرون درز کرده را که از طریق رسانه‌های ایرانی مستقل به دست آمده، تجزیه و تحلیل کرده است. به نوشته عفو بین الملل، این ویدیوها گویای «شواهد عینی تکان‌دهنده از ضرب ‌و جرح، آزار جنسی، و بی‌توجهی و بدرفتاری عمدی با افراد نیازمند به مراقبت‌های پزشکی است.

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 مردم خوزستان معترضان به تشنگی؛ نه «اشرار»، نه «اغتشاشگر»، نه «آشوب‌طلب»| The Independent

طی هفت روز از «تجزیه‌طلب» به «اغتشاشگر» و از «اغتشاشگر» به «اشرار» عنوانشان تغییر کرد. درحالی‌که از روز نخست معترضان خوزستانی مردم عادی بوده‌اند که تحت تاثیر بحران بی‌آبی زندگی و معیشتشان از بین رفته است. در روزهای نخست حوادث استان خوزستانی، معترضان به بی‌آبی از سوی عوامل رسانه‌ای وابسته به جمهوری اسلامی «تجزیه‌طلب» نامیده شدند. اما با گسترش اعتراض‌ها به سایر نقاط خوزستان، از جمله شهرهای شمالی این استان مانند ایذه، معترضان از سوی رسانه‌های نزدیک به سپاه پاسداران مانند خبرگزاری فارس و تسنیم «اغتشاشگر» و «آشوب‌‍ طلب» نامیده شدند. حالا دادستان استان خوزستان با صدور اطلاعیه‌ای ضمن درخواست از مردم بر رعایت قانون، معترضان را «اشرار» دانسته است.

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 کمپین حقوق بشر: حکومت ایران علیه دگرباشان نفرت‌پراکنی می‌کند| The Independent

کمپین حقوق بشر از وضعیت دگرباشان در ایران و نفرت‌پراکنی حکومت علیه آنان ابراز نگرانی کرد. در این گزارش، به نگاه و برخورد مجرمانه حکومت ایران با دگرباشان جنسی اعتراض شده است. ایران یکی از شش کشوری است که مجازات اعدام را برای دگرباشان اجرا می‌کند و این مجازات حتی نوجوانان را نیز شامل می‌شود. در گزارشی که کمپین حقوق بشر منتشر کرد، آمده است که کارهایی که نشان از تمایلات همجنس‌گرایانه دارد مثل انتخاب نوع لباس، مجازاتی از شلاق تا حبس را برای دگرباشان به همراه دارد. قوانین ایران نیز نه تنها از حقوق همجنس‌گرایان حمایت نمی‌کند که به صورت زیرپوستی از خشونت خانواده و جامعه علیه آنان پشتیبانی می‌کند.

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