In a long-established practice of targeting the family members of Iranian journalists who live outside Iran, the Revolutionary Guards have sentenced the brother of a journalist to five years in prison, on trumped up national security charges. The Guards have long harassed the relatives of Iranian journalists living abroad, in an effort to intimidate foreign-based reporters and silence critical media coverage of the Islamic Republic.
Chances for a more constructive U.S.-Iran relationship in the aftermath of a landmark nuclear deal are eroding with new disputes over missiles, Iran’s access to its assets in foreign banks and now a Supreme Court judgment allowing distribution of $2 billion in Iranian government money to relatives of U.S. victims of alleged Iran-backed terrorism. In the past, American terrorism victims who have successfully won judgments against Iran were paid out of U.S. taxpayer funds. This was done to avoid violating a basic principle of international law known as sovereign immunity, under which foreign governments are not supposed to be subject to private lawsuits for fear that U.S. assets abroad could also be seized and distributed.
Four Iranian journalists have been given prison sentences of between five and 10 years on charges of acting against Iran’s national security. Lawyers for the journalists announced the sentences to Iranian state media on April 26.
The US vice-president, Joe Biden, has delivered an unusually sharp critique of the government of Binyamin Netanyahu, saying the Israeli prime minister is leading Israel in the wrong direction through his policies, including settlement building. Biden described the Obama administration’s “overwhelming frustration” with Israel, adding that “profound questions” existed about how the country could remain both Jewish and democratic.
For the past two years, Hadi has been viewed by many – inside and outside of Yemen – as a weak, hesitant and conspiratorial person. At least this is how media outlets, particularly that owned by the ousted former President Ali Abdulla Saleh, portray him. What Hadi told me during our meeting seemed to confirm what many Yemenis already believe about Saleh: that he is somebody who thrives on planting the seeds of strife. Saleh’s personality is dominated by two traits, he said: violence and holding grudges.
Iran s government admits that the country will face a serious water crisis this summer, putting 37 million people at risk of dehydration over the summer. The water issues are already harming stability, as Iranian farmers began protesting over water rights earlier this month, according to the Iranian branch of the American-funded Radio Liberty.
President Obama on Friday criticized Iranian leaders for undermining the “spirit” of last years historic nuclear agreement, even as they stick to the “letter” of the pact. In comments following the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, Obama denied speculation that the United States would ease rules preventing dollars from being used in financial transactions with Iran, in order to boost the country’s engagement with the rest of the world.
Bulldozers have been kept busy across the West Bank this year, and so have the Palestinian communities, clearing up and rebuilding after their homes have been razed in Israel s staggering increase in demolitions of Palestinian structures in 2016. This is made worse still by a deafening silence from the international community.
Iran’s supreme leader declared the Islamic Republic must advance its missile capabilities while pursuing diplomacy to gain leverage in dealing with world powers – giving a nod to both hardline and moderate factions in the country. Khamenei said the situation calls for “both missile and talk” and the country “must use all means” to advance its interests.
The Syrian opposition on Wednesday rejected calls by President Bashar al-Assad for a national unity government, while the White House said Assad’s inclusion would make the proposal a “non-starter”.