The imprisoned political journalist Issa Saharkhiz has resumed his hunger strike after being placed in solitary confinement on February 21, 2016 despite having lost an alarming amount of weight. He has also not been allowed to meet with his lawyer, according to his son.
In the months leading to the Iranian 2016 elections, authorities have cracked down heavily on Iran’s fragile civil society. On Sunday February 21 Branch 54 of Tehran’s Appeals Court reportedly confirmed prison sentences for four civil rights activists: Arash Sadeghi, 15 years in prison; Golrokh Irayee, six years in prison; Navid Kamran, one year in prison; and Behnam Mousivand, one year in prison.
The 80-year-old father of an Iranian-American detained in Iran since last fall has himself been arrested in Tehran, his family said on Wednesday. Baquer Namazi, a former United Nations Children s Fund official and the father of Siamak Namazi, was taken into custody on Monday, his wife, Effie Namazi, announced in a Facebook post. Ms. Namazi said she believed her husband, also an American citizen, had been taken to Tehran s infamous Evin Prison, where their son has been in custody since October.
They clapped and cheered, and many shouted for the release of their political leaders under house arrest for the past five years. Some held up pictures of a popular former president, Mohammad Khatami. Pictures of his hands, to be exact, because displaying his portrait is illegal. A decade of relentless pressure from the judiciary, the Revolutionary Guards and clerical councils dominated by hard-liners has confined Iran s reformists. The reformists were a force during the presidential contest of 2009, but the movement was decapitated after its political leaders voiced support for the millions of people who took to the streets to challenge the fairness of the vote.
If there s one thing most Israelis can agree on, it is that the world is against us. At the very least, so it goes, Israel is surrounded by enemies on all fronts, and the Jewish state s existence is always in peril. This mantra was seared into the fabric of the Israeli consciousness from the founding of the state and persists until today. Perhaps that is why recent statements by top-brass Israeli officials come as such a surprise. In a recent interview with Israeli newspaper Ma ariv, outgoing Mossad head Tamir Pardo stated that while Israel still faces security challenges, it no longer faces any existential threats.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel warned on Sunday that his nation would ensure that Tehran never obtains nuclear weapons, while also taking credit for keeping Iran from already having them. He also said that the recent accord would strengthen and embolden Iran s leaders, since the lifting of most sanctions would free up money for Tehran to arm and support the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Shiite militias and Israel s enemies in the region, including Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
With three Americans long held in Iran flying to Europe on Sunday, President Obama urged young Iranians to ‘pursue a new path’ with the West as he imposed modest new sanctions on the country for banned missile tests. Mr. Obama also announced the resolution of another argument between Tehran and Washington that dates to the Iranian revolution, this one over $400 million in payments for military equipment that the United States sold to the shah of Iran and never delivered when he was overthrown. The Iranians got their money back, with $1.3 billion in interest that had accumulated over 37 years.
“Iran is continuing to strive for nuclear weapons and the International Atomic Energy Agency s optimism must not blind the international community,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon said on Saturday, as world powers dropped sanctions on Iran after international monitors concluded the first phase of their landmark nuclear deal complete, marking the formal commencement of the accord. Lifting the sanctions, Danon said is like “greasing the wheels of terrorism that Iran is funding around the world.”
The United States and European nations lifted oil and financial sanctions on Iran and released roughly $100 billion of its assets after international inspectors concluded that the country had followed through on promises to dismantle large sections of its nuclear program. “Iran has undertaken significant steps that many people – and I do mean many – doubted would ever come to pass,: Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday.
Iran’s release of 10 United States Navy sailors on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after they were detained on the Persian Gulf, is being hailed in both countries as a sign that their relations have evolved since the signing of the nuclear accord last summer. Secretary of State John Kerry thanked the Iranians “for their cooperation in swiftly resolving this matter” and suggested in a statement that the quick resolution of the issue was a product of the nearly daily back-and-forth that now takes place between Washington and Tehran, after three decades of hostility and stony silence.