European Union officials have announced the EU plans to significantly expand sanctions against Iran.
Diplomats Thursday said the EU has agreed to add about 100 companies to its embargo list in response to Tehran’s refusal to halt its disputed nuclear activities.
The announcement comes after officials at the United Nations nuclear watchdog voiced concerns that Iranian intelligence might be hacking into International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) computers and cell phones.
Officials with the IAEA said Tehran’s attempts to get confidential information most likely happened when diplomats inspecting Iranian facilities were forced to check in their cell phones and laptops, or when they left the equipment unattended in hotels.
Iran has argued that its nuclear program is civilian in nature. International observers and Western governments are concerned that Iran is enriching uranium as part of a nuclear weapons program.
Earlier in May, EU officials said that Iran’s latest offer to restart nuclear talks with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States contained nothing new and did not justify another meeting.
On May 11, Iran’s nuclear agency said Russia has delivered a new shipment of uranium fuel for use at its Bushehr nuclear power plant.
JERUSALEM: Then Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the sabotage of Iran’s nuclear programme in 2006, according to WikiLeaks documents published by Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot on Thursday.
The leaked documents, which were not immediately available on either the Yediot or Wikileaks websites, purportedly detail talks between the head of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission and then-US ambassador to Israel Richard Jones.
URGENT: Save the life of Kurdish minority Habibollah Latifi!
Habibollah Latifi is a 29-year-old university student from Kurdistan who has been sentenced to death on charge of Moharebeh (enmity with God). He is currently imprisoned at the Sanandaj Prison. Several sources have reported that Latifi has suffered from various illnesses, including an intestinal infection, heart problems, and kidney failure. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has also noted that it believes the same intelligence-security forces are moving towards large scale politically motivated executions. Another young Kurdish man, Shirkoo Moarefi, also faces the risk of execution. In the past week, some 18 people have been executed. The frequency and number of executions in Iran has become increasingly of grave concern for activists.
The annals of filmmaking are filled with stories of people who managed to make films against all odds, without money, without shooting permits, without proper professional equipment. This Is Not a Film, or In Film Nist, the 75-minute film directed by Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb that has screened here out of competition, may be the ultimate achievement in stealth filmmaking, considering that Panahi is currently serving a six-year jail sentence and has been banned by the Iranian government from making films for 20 years. And yet somehow he has made a movie that has found its way to one of the world’s major film festivals: This Is Not a Film is a small but extremely significant message in a bottle.
“I heard that the convict’s last wishes are asked just before execution and then the execution is carried out. But when my son said ‘Untie my hands so that I can embrace my mother,’ they said ‘The law doesn’t allow us to do this.’ I said ‘Sweetheart, you know that everything is according to law here and this place is full of law-abiding individuals. It’s O.K., I will embrace you.’ But it was hard for me to see that my son’s last wish which was embracing me was not carried out.”
TEHRAN — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday accused Western countries of devising plans to “cause drought” in the Islamic republic, as he inaugurated a dam in a central province.
“Western countries have designed plans to cause drought in certain areas of the world, including Iran,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying in the central city of Arak in Markazi province.
“According to reports on climate, whose accuracy has been verified, European countries are using special equipment to force clouds to dump” their water on their continent, he said.
By doing so, “they prevent rain clouds from reaching regional countries, including Iran,” Ahmadinejad charged.
Iran has experienced several droughts in recent years.
Ahmadinejad also recalled, according to IRNA, an article by “a Western politician”, whom he did not identify, in which “droughts in some regions spanning from Turkey and Iran to east of Asia are predicted for the next 30 years.”
“The regions (referred to in) the article… include countries whose culture and civilisation frighten the West,” Ahmadinejad said in support of his argument.
Iranian leaders claim on a daily basis that Western countries, led by arch-foe United States, devise “plots” to undermine the Islamic republic and to impede its economic and scientific development.
They also accuse world powers of colluding against Iran’s national unity, independence, political establishment, culture as well as international relations.
Loads of people have asked me for recordings of Persian Chanting…here is a sound recording of a Baha’i Prayer for difficulties and hardship chanted by one of the seven Baha’i Leaders in Iran currently serving a 20 year prison sentence for her beliefs. Maybe if you’re going to Baha’i Feast you could take it with otherwise just listen and share. ♥
The Azadi Square action, a joint effort with United4Iran, is part of Amnesty’s campaign for imprisoned student activist Majid Tavakkoli and hundreds of other prisoners of conscience in Iran.
A full activism guide put together by Amnesty International USA is available for download as a PDF here. The full guide includes examples of letters and posters, sample resolutions, detailed instructions, suggestions, messaging, tips for organizing, and more.
Learn more about how you can get involved in this campaign from United4Iran.
(12 May 2011) Iranian authorities should immediately release Al Jazeera journalist Homa Dorothy Parvaz, who was detained in Damascus, Syria and deported to Tehran, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. The government should provide a transparent account of Parvaz’s detention and allow access to her family and the Canadian embassy, added the Campaign.
Parvaz, a 39-year-old journalist working for Al Jazeera who holds Iranian, American and Canadian citizenships, disappeared after arriving at Damascus Airport on 29 April to cover protests in Syria. On 4 May, Al Jazeera reported that Syrian officials confirmed their government had detained Parvaz, but that they would be releasing her.
However, on Tuesday, 10 May 2011, the Syrian embassy in Washington, DC issued a statement saying that their government had extradited Parvaz to Iran, alleging she had attempted to enter Syria illegally on an expired Iranian passport and falsely claimed her reason for travel was tourism. Both Parvaz’s family and Al Jazeera have issued statements indicating that they have had no contact with her for two weeks, and her detention appears to be ongoing.
“Ms. Parvaz appears to have committed no crime warranting Iranian authorities to prolong her detainment,” said Hadi Ghaemi, spokesperson for the Campaign.
“We are extremely concerned about her well-being. It is alarming that neither her family nor Al Jazeera has had any contact with her, although she has been in Iran for twelve days,” he added.
In an 11 May 2011 statement, an Al Jazeera spokesperson was quoted saying, “We are calling for information from the Iranian authorities, access to Dorothy, and for her immediate release. We have had no contact with Dorothy since she left Doha on 29 April and we are deeply concerned for her welfare.”
GVF — In a letter to a committee charged with protecting citizen rights and freedoms, 26 political prisoners held in different detention centres in the country have described some of the horrors they’ve been facing in the past two years, calling for an investigation into the prevailing human rights violations perpetrated by the Revolutionary Guard and Iran’s Intelligence Ministry.
According to opposition website Kaleme, the list of signatories to the letter include some of Iran’s most prominent dissident figures such as former senior diplomat Mohsen Aminzadeh, reformist party leader Mohsen Mirdamadi, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, Behzad Nabavi, Feizollah Arabsorkhi and veteran journalist Keyvan samimi.
In a letter to the chairman of the “Central Board for the Sound Implementation of the Law Regarding the Respect for Contingent Freedoms and Protecting Citizen Rights,” political inmates held in the notorious Evin and Rajaei Shahr prisons as well as detention centres in Khuzestan province have highlighted some of the worst human rights abuses perpetrated against them by the Revolutionary Guards and Iran’s Intelligence Ministry.
“As signatories to this letter of complaint, we have been tortured. One of the most common tortures has been our solitary confinement in very small cells. A measure that’s considered by the country’s most senior officials as torture, and [even] prison guards concur that weeks of solitary confinement cause severe physical and mental disorders for the accused [inmates].”
The letters goes on to add: “We … would like to express our strong protestation and grievances against officials appointed by the Revolutionary Guards, the Intelligence Ministry and the Police Forces for pursuing and interrogating us, as well as Tehran’s former Chief Prosecutor and other relevant authorities under whose supervision and orders these actions have taken place … We expect ِyour Excellency to take appropriate action based on the numerous reports that have been published about the repeated anti-religious and illegal conduct of the individuals mentioned here.”
UNITED NATIONS — Russia is attempting to suppress a United Nations report that says Iran has been breaking a U.N. arms embargo by shipping weapons to Syria, Western diplomats said Thursday.
“Russia has objected to the publication of the report as an official Security Council document,” a council diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Several other diplomats confirmed it.
“It’s obviously an attempt to protect (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad,” who is coming under increasing international pressure over his violent crackdown on anti-government protesters, another council diplomat said.
The confidential report, obtained by Reuters, said most of Iran’s breaches of the embargo have been deliveries of weapons to Syria, which Western diplomats say were to be passed on to Lebanese and Palestinian militants.
On Saturday (May 14, 2011), six of Iran’s seven Baha’i Leaders – Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Vahid Tizfahm – will begin their fourth year in prison. The seventh member of the group – Mahvash Sabet – was arrested three months earlier than her former colleagues, on March 5, 2008.As the seven Baha’i leaders in Iran complete their third year in jail, protest their imprisonment between May 14-22, 2011 by participating in the below action.
Make a poster indicating the number of days of imprisonment the 7 will have suffered by 14 May 2011 (7,734 days). You can also download a poster below.