The Iranian Diaspora Brief

The Iranian Diaspora Brief: September 10, 2021

Top Stories

U.S. Sanctions Four Iran Intelligence Officers Accused Of Attempting To Kidnap U.S. Activist | Radio Free Europe

The United States has announced sanctions against four Iranian intelligence operatives who sought to kidnap an American journalist as part of a wider attempt to silence critics of the government in Tehran, a move Iran has dismissed. The Treasury Department announced on September 3 that it was designating senior Iran-based intelligence official Alireza Shahvaroghi Farahani as well as three subordinates, including Mahmoud Khazein, Kiya Sadeghi, and Omid Noori.

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Iranian Man ‘Lashed To Death’ Over Alcohol Possession | Al Monitor

An Iranian man died after he was submitted to a lashing penalty inside a jail in Iran’s Turkish-majority eastern Azerbaijan province. The inmate, identified as Hadi Atazadeh, had been handed an unspecified prison sentence and lashes after being charged with alcohol possession one and a half years ago. Under the Islamic Republic’s strict penal code, consumption and possession of alcoholic drinks are punishable by up to 80 lashes and/or varying imprisonment terms in some cases.

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Iran Attacks Kurdish Groups In Iraq Using Warplanes, Suicide Drones: Official | Rudaw

Iranian warplanes and at least one suicide drone attacked bases of Kurdish opposition groups located within Iraqi borders in Erbil province on Thursday morning, a top party official said. There are no reports of casualties. “We have recovered the remains of a drone that was used in the attack on one target and we have photos,” Kawa Bahrami, top Peshmerga commander of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) which was the target of the attack, told Rudaw English.

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Regime Abuses

UN Experts Urge Iran To Halt Imminent Execution Of Kurdish Prisoner | Arab News

UN human rights experts have urged Iranian authorities to immediately halt the imminent execution of an Iranian-Kurdish prisoner whom they say was subject to enforced disappearance and pre-trial torture. “The Iranian authorities must immediately halt the execution of Heidar Ghorbani and annul the death sentence against him and grant him a retrial in compliance with their international obligations,” the experts, including the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran and the special rapporteur on minority issues, said in a statement issued on Friday.

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Videos Confirm Systemic Abuse In Iran’s Jails | Deutsche Welle

Iran’s judiciary would prefer to rapidly sweep this scandal under the carpet. “The case has been investigated,” Iranian state television reported on Sunday. “Those responsible have been brought to justice.” Ahead of this rare admission, the authorities had spent days refuting what was clearly visible on leaked footage: the abuse of inmates at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison. They had even claimed that Israel had hired actors to make the videos, but in the end they had to admit that the footage came from surveillance cameras at the jail, which dates back to the era of Iran’s last shah in 1971.

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UN Human Rights Experts Urge Iran Not To Execute Kurdish Man | Iran International

UN human rights experts have urged the Islamic republic of Iran to stop the “imminent execution” of an Iranian Kurdish man accused of killing security personnel while he was unarmed, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights announced on Friday. Heidar Ghorbani was arrested in 2016 for the alleged killing of three members of the paramilitary Basij but his guilt was never proven in a fair trial. While he was subjected to forced disappearance and torture to confess, his lawyer was never given a full access to his case material.

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Iran Charges Lawyers Protesting COVID-19 Negligence With ‘Disrupting Order’ | Eurasia Review

Iran’s Judiciary spokesman said in a press conference on August 31 that lawyers who were detained in mid-August are charged with “disrupting order”. According to a state-run judiciary website, the lawyers and civil activists were charged with “disrupting order” and other opposing state security charges. The spokesman said there were nine lawyers and civil activist detained, four of which were later released. On August 14, the Human Rights News Agency reported Arash Kikhsarvi, Mostafa Nili, Mehdi Mahmoudian, Mohammadreza Faqihi, Mohammad-Hadi Arefian Kaseb, Maryam Afrafaraz, and Leila Heidari were detained by security forces in Tehran. Their personal belongings including their smartphones were confiscated. Mehdi and Mostafa were detained in their office.

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In The News

Iran Opens ‘Drug-Trafficking’ Trial Of Two Swedish Nationals | Al Monitor

Iran’s Revolutionary Court has started the trial of two Swedish men charged with drug trafficking, Iranian state news reported. This comes weeks after a former Iranian official accused of war crimes went on trial in Stockholm. The judiciary’s official Mizan news agency said Stephen Kevin Gilbert and Simon Kasper Brown appeared before Branch 15 of Iran’s Revolutionary Court. Iranian prosecutors said the pair entered Iran as tourists, with Gilbert carrying more than 9 grams of opium resin and Brown with 21,000 tablets of the painkiller tramadol.

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Iran: Ongoing Protests Because Of Bad Economic Situation | Iran News Update

On Monday, September 6, Iranian workers protested in various cities of Iran. Despite the dire situation caused by the coronavirus outbreak, Iranian workers are deprived of their wages and their rights by various pretexts of the government. Protest rally of Haft Tappeh workers against the non-determination of the ownership and management of the company and the pointless dismissal and installations carried out by the managers, gathered, and marched in the company’s premises

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Kurdish Political Prisoner’s Health Deteriorates On Month-Long Strike: Watchdog | Rudaw

Kurdish political prisoner Qader Mohammadzadeh’s health has deteriorated after being on hunger strike for 36 days demanding temporary leave after 16 years of imprisonment, a human rights groups said. “Qader Mohammadzadeh has suffered from low blood pressure and severe weight loss due to a long hunger strike, and many of his daily affairs are performed by his inmates,” Hengaw Organization for Human Rights said, quoting a source familiar with Yazd prison, where he is imprisoned.

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People’s Tribunal To Convene On Killing Of Iran Protesters | Iran International

A ‘People’s Tribunal’ organized by three human rights groups will convene in London to hear witnesses of the November 2019 protests and the government’s violent response that killed hundreds of unarmed people. The event, called the Aban Tribunal is timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the nationwide protests that started on November 14, 2019, when the government suddenly raised gasoline prices. On the second day of the protests, authorities shut off the internet in the country and began using military weapons against protesters. Aban is the Iranian month partially corresponding with the month of November.

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Judiciary Chief Blasts Anti-Iran Human Rights Claims By Western Countries | ABNA

Iran’s Judiciary Chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeyee blasted the western countries allegations about violation of human rights by the Islamic Republic, saying that such claims are disgraceful lies. Mohseni Ejeyee categorically dismissed the human rights accusations leveled against Iran by some western states and described such a move as disgraceful at a time when the West does not show any respect for human rights. The Iranian judiciary chief, meantime, referred to the anti-Iran Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO also known as MEK, NCRI or PMOI) terrorist group which is operating against Iran in some western countries with the backing of those governments.

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Hamid Nouri: How Sweden Arrested A Suspected Iranian War Criminal | BBC News

On board a flight from Iran, they were told, was an alleged war criminal, an Iranian official named Hamid Nouri. Unknown to him, police had been tipped off. Mr Nouri walked off the plane on 9 November 2019 and straight into custody. A short time later, a Swedish official made a phone call to deliver a message: “You can go home now.” The recipient of the call had been at the airport, nervously waiting for confirmation of the arrest. He was one of several people whose actions had made the arrest possible. In interviews with the BBC, they each explained their role in an extraordinary case, of significance in Iran and internationally.

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Tehran Gets New Hard-Line Mayor After Ministry Approval | Asharq Al-Awsat

Iran’s state TV is reporting that the country’s Interior Ministry has approved a new hard-line mayor for the capital, Tehran, after a city council election. Alireza Zakani, 55 heads a parliamentary research center, and he was one of the seven approved 2021 presidential candidates. He withdrew from the race to support the eventual winner, fellow hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi. According to The Associated Press, Zakani previously served as a lawmaker. He was also the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s volunteer unit at Tehran University in 1999. Zakani replaces Pirouz Hanachi, an architecture professor at the Fine Arts Faculty of Tehran University. He had also previously served as the deputy mayor for urban development.

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Iranian Fuel, Hezbollah ‘Savior’ Of Lebanon And Iran’s Goal For Chinese Investment | Jerusalem Post

Iran is trying to position itself as a fuel supplier to Lebanon to empower its Lebanese proxy. The goal is to force Lebanon to become dependent on Iran and then all the gas and fuel going to Lebanon will come through Hezbollah, so Hezbollah can provide it to allies and friends. Overall, Iran’s goal is to impoverish Lebanon, destroy its middle and upper class, encourage its Sunni and Christian community to emigrate, so that Hezbollah will grow in power and that all that will remain is a hollowed-out Lebanese state that is a province within a larger Hezbollahstan that is more powerful than Lebanon. Iran has been doing this for decades, slowly helping Hezbollah swallow Lebanon and create a parallel state and economy. Hezbollah has its own extra-judicial armed forces, a massive illegal armed militia with 150,000 missiles. Hezbollah sends fighters to Syria and conducts Lebanon’s foreign policy. Hezbollah has its own telecommunications network.

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Iran Threatens Cross-Border Assault On Opposition Parties In Kurdistan Region | Rudaw

A commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Monday warned Iraqi and Kurdish officials that they could launch cross-border assaults on opposition groups based in the Kurdistan Region. In a joint statement, a group of Kurdish parties condemned the threats, and said they will hold Tehran responsible for any harm to civilian populations. “For years the terrorist groups and counter-revolutionaries linked to the Global Arrogance [United States] and the foreign spy agencies use the geographical region of northern Iraq [Kurdistan Region] to disturb the security and peace of the border areas of the Islamic Republic of Iran and to cause harm to the people in these areas.

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Quds Force Commander Says Iran Will Take ‘Realistic’ Approach In Afghanistan | Al Monitor

Iran’s Quds Force commander Esmail Ghaani spoke to parliament during a closed session Tuesday about the situation in neighboring Afghanistan. According to Iranian parliamentarian Alireza Soleimani, Ghaani said Iran had a number of priorities in Afghanistan. The first was that Iran’s security in Afghanistan not be “compromised.” Ghaani said the US goal is to have Iran’s government involved in conflicts with Sunni actors. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a Shiite state and the majority of Iranians are Shiite. The Taliban is a Sunni sect from the Pashtun ethnic group, and before 9/11 it engaged in atrocities against Afghanistan’s Shiite communities.

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Turkey, Iran And Pakistan Raise Entry Bars For Afghan Refugees | Nikkei

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan has triggered tough measures from countries in the region and beyond to stem an expected refugee inflow. Governments from Islamabad to Ankara and Tehran have bolstered border restrictions in anticipation of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the new regime in Kabul. Those actions and similar curbs signaled by Western countries have highlighted an emerging tension between claims of international sympathy for Afghan refugees and the reality on the ground. Governments are worried that refugees could start to pour out and exacerbate political and social problems created by previous influxes.

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Taliban Delivers US Military Vehicles To Iran | Arab News

A convoy of US military vehicles has been filmed being directed toward Tehran after the Taliban handed it over to Iranian authorities. “The loss of these vehicles is another embarrassment for the US, and could be damaging in the future if these vehicles are used to either extract valuable technical information or to impersonate US forces in Iraq,” Jonathon Kitson, a writer on defense and security issues, told Arab News.

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Iran Indispensable Partner For Securing Influence In The New Afghanistan | Taiwan News

Iran will play a pivotal role for Eurasian powers looking to extend their interests in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the U.S. military withdrawal from the country. A lot of media attention has been focused on what the Taliban takeover means for Beijing’s grand strategy in the region. As opposed to China, which had built strong links with the Taliban before it took over, New Delhi seems caught on the back foot. While there are no foregone conclusions in the current geopolitical reshuffling, it seems neither power will get far without Iran on their side.

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Larijani Resigns From Iran’s Guardian Council | Asharq Al-Awsat

Iran’s Guardian Council announced the resignation of its prominent member, Sadeq Larijani, a few months after he criticized the 12-member body for excluding the candidacy of his brother, Ali Larijani, from presidential elections later won by Ebrahim Raisi. Ali Larijani had served as parliament speaker in Iran. In a decree on Saturday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei assigned a cleric, Hosseini Khorasani, to replace Larijani.

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Time To Bring Iranian Regime To Justice | Majid Rafizadeh For Arab News

The UN Security Council has remained silent in the face of the Iranian regime’s increasing and egregious human rights violations. Videos leaked by a hacking group last month revealed abuse, including beatings and other harsh treatment of detainees, carried out in Iran’s most notorious prison, Evin. In a rare move, the regime admitted the abuse and the head of Iran’s prisons, Mohammed Mehdi Hajmohammadi, apologized.

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Iran’s New President Has Blood On His Hands | Nasser Mohajer And Kaveh Yazdani For Atlantic Council

Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative and mid-ranking cleric, was inaugurated as president of the Islamic Republic of Iran on August 5. His election in June was a foregone conclusion as the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, breached conventions to pave the way for the ascendance of his acolyte. Raisi, sixty-one, comes from a humble clerical background in the northeastern city of Mashhad. Not much is known of his political tendencies before the 1979 revolution. However, he didn’t get far with his religious studies, as he soon placed himself at the service of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Raisi became deputy prosecutor in Karaj in 1981. By the end of the 1980s, he was a prominent and trusted young figure in the Islamic Republic’s judiciary.

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World Must Stand Against Iranian Mullah Regime Forthwith | Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury For Blitz

In Afghanistan, Taliban leaders have already declared of the establishment of an Iran prototype government, meaning this is going to become another terror-patron nation in the world. Anyone having elementary knowledge on the modus operandi of the Taliban will understand, in Afghanistan, a cruel Islamist and pro-jihadist Sunni regime is going to push forward devastating notoriety and terrorist acts within the region, especially targeting Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Israel, while Taliban leaders will encourage and patronize in spreading radical Islamic militancy throughout the world. Turkey already has signaled of recognizing the Taliban regime while Iranian mullahs are seeing their best allies in the Sunni Taliban despite the fact and possibility of Afghanistan’s Shiite Hazara group becoming one of the prime victims of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

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Eyewitness Testimony On Iran’s 1988 Massacre Should Spur Formal International Inquiry | Royaie And The Editorial Team For Blitz

Recently, I and 16 survivors of the 1988 massacre in Iran recounted our harrowing experiences. Still, the troubling eyewitness accounts barely scratch the surface of a massacre in which 30,000 dissidents, 90 percent belonged to the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), were murdered. Perpetrators of the massacre in places like Evin Prison in Tehran emptied out entire cells housing dozens of people, as well as entire halls housing hundreds. But in certain other prisons, political detainees were fully isolated from the general population and then wiped out completely, leaving no one but the prison authorities to describe what had happened.

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Non-English Language Media

  سپاه با هشدار به مقامات اقلیم، مخالفان کرد را تهدید به حمله کرد؛ مخالفان کُرد: ایران مسئول آسیب به غیر نظامیان است| BBC News

فرمانده نیروی زمینی سپاه پاسداران در خصوص آنچه “سوء استفاده” مخالفان مسلح حکومت ایران از “اقلیم شمال عراق” خواند به مقام‌های این منطقه هشدار داد. او همچنین از ساکنان مرزهای شمال غرب ایران خواست از مقر مخالفان مسلح حکومت ایران فاصله بگیرند. در واکنش به این اظهارات گروه‌های مخالف کرد در بیانیه‌ای این تهدید‌ها را محکوم کردند و تهران را مسئول هرگونه آسیب احتمالی به غیرنظامی‌ها دانستند. محمد پاکپور فرمانده نیروی زمینی سپاه در بازدید از پایگاه‌های نظامی شمال غرب ایران، درباره “تحرکات” مخالفان کرد حکومت جمهوری اسلامی هشدار داد و خطاب به مقام‌های اقلیم گفت “ادامه این وضعیت قابل تحمل نیست و سپاه “پاسخ لازم” را خواهد داد

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 عراق تهدید سپاە علیە احزاب کرد مخالف جمهوری اسلامی را محکوم کرد| Voice Of America

سخنگوی فرماندهی عملیات مشترک عراق تهدید فرماندە نیروی زمینی سپاە پاسداران، محمد پاکپور، علیە احزاب کرد ایرانی مخالف جمهوری اسلامی در اقلیم کردستان عراق را محکوم کرد. به گزارش سوران خاطری، خبرنگار صدای آمریکا در اربیل، تحسین الخفاجی در مصاحبەای با تلویزیون «روداو» ضمن محکوم کردن تهدیدهای اخیر آقای پاکپور، گفت: «بغداد بە هیچ کس اجازە نمی‌دهد امنیت و آرامش عراق را تهدید کند. سخنگوی فرماندهی عملیات مشترک عراق با تاکید بر حاکمیت یگانه عراق گفت که آن کشور اجازه نمی‌دهد امنیتش از سوی هیچکس مورد تهدید قرار گیرد و اگر اختلاف نظری وجود دارد باید از طریق مذاکره حل و فصل شود، اما استفاده از نیروی نظامی علیه عراق و علیه حاکمیت آن مردود است. روز دوشنبه ۱۵ شهریور، فرماندە نیروی زمینی سپاە پاسداران، در دیدار از مناطق مرزی شمال غرب ایران، احزاب سیاسی کرد مخالف جمهوری اسلامی را بە «حملات کوبندە» تهدید کرد و از مردم خواست از مناطق نزدیک بە مقرهای این احزاب دوری کنند.

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 زرتشت احمدی‌ راغب: جمهوری اسلامی تلاش دارد با بازداشت‌ و سرکوب‌ جلوی خیزش‌ها و اعتراضات را بگیرد| Voice Of America

دو تن از امضاء‌کنندگان «بیانیه ۱۴» در گفت‌و‌گو با صدای آمریکا از افزایش بازداشت‌‌ها و فشارهای اعمال شده بر فعالان مدنی و سیاسی در روزهای اخیر خبر دادند. زرتشت احمدی‌ راغب،‌ فعال مدنی، با اشاره به بازداشت اخیر دو تن دیگر از امضاکنندگان «بیانیه ۱۴» برای گذار از جمهوری اسلامی و استعفای آیت‌الله علی خامنه‌ای می‌گوید که جمهوری اسلامی و دستگاه قضایی تلاش دارد با بازداشت‌های اخیر جلوی خیزش‌ها و اعتراضات را بگیرد. آقای احمدی راغب در گفتگویی اختصاصی با صدای آمریکا گفت، معمولا نیروهای امنیتی و دستگاه قضایی از کنشگران انتظار دارند پس از آزادی از زندان فعالیتی نداشته باشند،‌ با این حال اغلب کنشگران از جمله عباس واحدیان شاهرودی و جواد لعل‌محمدی در فضای رسانه و شبکه‌های اجتماعی فعال بودند و به طور شفاف مواضع و برنامه‌های خود را اعلام می‌کردند.

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