Posted tagged ‘Iran and international law’

Iran in Crisis

March 5, 2017

Iran in Crisis, American ThinkerHeshmat Alavi, March 5, 2017

(Please see also, Mullahs’ Nightmare: Huge Demonstration Breaks Out In Tehran. — DM)

Forecasting what lies ahead is truly impossible, making Khamenei and his entire regime extremely concerned, trekking this path very carefully and with a low profile. As we witnessed with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, Iran immediately released the 52 hostages held for 444 days.

This regime understands the language of force very carefully. And yet, there is no need to use military force to inflict a significant blow and make Tehran understand the international community means business. Blacklisting Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist organization by the U.S. at this timing would be the nail in the coffin for the mullahs.

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The recent dust storms that wreaked havoc in southwest Iran signaled only one of the many crises the mullahs are facing less than three months before critical elections. Tehran has been hit with severe blows during the Munich Security Conference, contrasting interests with Russia, the recent escalating row with Turkey, and most importantly, a new U.S. administration in Washington.

These crises have crippling effects on the mullahs’ apparatus, especially at a time when Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei sees his regime facing a changing balance of power in the international community, and is faced with a major decision of selecting the regime’s so-called president.

Iran and Ahvaz

The dust storms crisis in Ahwaz, resulting from the mullahs’ own destructive desertification policies, caused severe disruptions in water and power services and people pouring into the streets in major protests.

The regime, and especially the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), has for decades pursued a desertification policy of constructing dams, drying lagoons, digging deep oil wells beneath underground water sources with resulting catastrophic environmental disasters. Various estimates indicate the continuation of such a trend will literally transform two-thirds of Iran into desert lands in the next decade. This will place 14 to 15 million people at the mercy not only dust storms but also salt storms.

Iran and the Munich Security Conference

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attended this conference with a series of objectives in mind, only to face a completely unexpected scene. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence described Iran as the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the mullahs are the source of threats and instability throughout the Middle East. Turkey went one step further and said Tehran is the heart of sectarianism and spreads such plots across the region, and all traces in Syria lead to Iran’s terrorism and sectarian measures.

This resembles a vast international coalition against Tehran, inflicting yet another blow to the mullahs following a new administration taking control of the White House. These developments are very costly for Khamenei and the entire regime.

In comparison to the early 2000s when the U.S. launched wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran was the main benefactor. The current balance of power now is quite different, as seen in Munich. While there is talk of an Arab NATO, any coalition formed now in the Middle East will be completely against Iran’s interests.

Iran and Russia

Following a disastrous joint campaign in Syria, for the first time Russia is reportedly supporting a safe zone in Syria. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said contacts have been made with the Syrian regime to establish safe zones in Syria. These are the first remarks made by any Russian official on the issue of safe zones in Syria.

Moscow’s increasing contrast in interest with Iran over Syria has the potential of playing a major role in regional relations. Russia certainly doesn’t consider Bashar Assad remaining in power as a red line, a viewpoint far different from that of Iran. Moscow is also ready to sacrifice its interests in Syria in a larger and more suitable bargain with the Trump administration over far more important global interests.

Iran and Turkey

Yes, Ankara and Tehran enjoy a vast economic partnership. However, recent shifts in geopolitical realities have led to significant tensions. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the mullahs of resorting to “Persian nationalism” in an effort to split Iraq and Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Iran of seeking to undermine Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as part of Tehran’s “sectarian policy.” Cavusoglu used his speech in Munich to say, “Iran is trying to create two Shia states in Syria and Iraq. This is very dangerous. It must be stopped.”

Tehran considers Ankara’s soldiers in Iraq and Syria as a major obstacle in its effort to expand its regional influence.

U.S. president Donald Trump’s strong approach vis-à-vis Iran and the possibility of him supporting the establishment of a Turkish-administered northern Syria safe zone may have also played a major part in fuming bilateral tensions between these two Middle East powers.

Erdogan has obviously realized completely the new White House in Washington intends to adopt a much more aggressive stance against Tehran. This is another sign of changing tides brewing troubles for Iran’s mullahs.

Iran and Presidential Elections

With new reports about his ailing health, Khamenei is extremely concerned about his predecessor. One such signal is the candidacy of Ibrahim Reisi, current head of the colossal Astan Quds Razavi political empire and a staunch loyalist to Khamenei’s faction, for the presidency. With former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani out of the picture, Khamenei may seek to seal his legacy by placing Reisi against Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in the upcoming May elections.

This is literally Khamenei playing with fire, as Reisi is considered a hardline figure and such an appointment may spark 2009-like protests across the country, as the country has become a scene of massive social challenges. Rouhani himself doesn’t enjoy any social base support, especially after four years of lies and nearly 3,000 executions.

Final Thoughts

This places the entire regime in a very fragile situation. From the internal crises of Ahwaz, the upcoming elections and the formation of a significant international front threatening the Iranian regime’s strategic interests.

Forecasting what lies ahead is truly impossible, making Khamenei and his entire regime extremely concerned, trekking this path very carefully and with a low profile. As we witnessed with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, Iran immediately released the 52 hostages held for 444 days.

This regime understands the language of force very carefully. And yet, there is no need to use military force to inflict a significant blow and make Tehran understand the international community means business. Blacklisting Iran’s IRGC as a terrorist organization by the U.S. at this timing would be the nail in the coffin for the mullahs.

 

Obama Turns Blind Eye to Iranian Offenses in UN Speech

September 27, 2016

Obama Turns Blind Eye to Iranian Offenses in UN Speech, Clarion Project, Jennifer Breedon, September 27, 2016

obama-un-address-2016-hpU.S. President Barack Obama addresses the UN General Assembly on Sept. 20, 2016. (Photo: video screenshot)

The Iranian leader rightfully fears a future administration that may not be willing to tolerate a total disregard for international law or human rights, given that even President Obama’s positive nod to Iran at the UN was met with the label of “continued animosity.” 

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In 2015, President Obama stated that Iran’s “support for terrorism” and “its use of proxies to destabilize parts of the Middle East” was problematic, despite the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the nuclear deal) that had been reached by that time that allowed Iran access to millions of previously frozen funds.

Yet, bafflingly, just five minutes after mentioning terror proxies in his 2016 UN address last week, President Obama seemed to turn a blind eye to Iran’s ongoing offenses by saying, “When Iran agrees to accept constraints on its nuclear program, that enhances global security and enhances Iran’s ability to work with other nations.”

Today, Iran is poised to move funds to its global terror proxies more easily due to the infusion of cash created by the unfreezing of their assets.  Even John Kerry admitted in 2015 that some of the money going back to Iran through sanctions relief would undoubtedly go to fund terrorism.

So, we all know it is happening and yet nothing is being done to stop them or to even state this obvious fact aloud before the very body that is designed to protect against such international violations.

The UN Convention that prohibits terrorism financing explicitly outlines the illegality of any government that commits such an offense when it

“directly or indirectly, unlawfully and willfully, provides or collects funds with the intention that they should be used or in the knowledge that they are to be used, in full or in part, in order to carry out . . . act(s) intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to a civilian, or to any other person not taking an active part in the hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, when the purpose of such act, by its nature or context, is to intimidate a population, or to compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act” (Article 2(1)).  

Iran is guilty in spades of all of this.

Additionally, the Iranian government remains the U.S. State Department’s top proxy war and terror sponsor. Previous reports from the U.S. State Department note that Iran remains “unwilling to bring to justice senior al-Qaeda (AQ) members [and has] previously allowed AQ facilitators to operate a core facilitation pipeline through Iran.”

The State Department has also highlighted Iran’s provision of “hundreds of millions of dollars in support of H[e]zballah in Lebanon and has trained thousands of its fighters . . . in direct support of the Assad regime in Syria” as well as terrorist groups in Palestine (Hamas), Yemen (Houthis) and “throughout the Middle East.”

President Obama’s appeals to the oppressive government of Iran have clearly fallen on deaf ears.  In a one-on-one with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd merely 24 hours after Obama’s UN speech, Iranian President Rouhani stated, “If the future administration of the United States wishes to continue animosity, it will receive the appropriate response.”

The Iranian leader rightfully fears a future administration that may not be willing to tolerate a total disregard for international law or human rights, given that even President Obama’s positive nod to Iran at the UN was met with the label of “continued animosity.”

No amount of vocal, material or financial appeasement can ease relations with the State Department’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.  Despite repeated efforts by President Obama, it will not get better until the Iranian regime abandons its practice of funding terrorism, inciting proxy wars throughout the Middle East, and oppressing their own people by using their resources to build and test weapons before providing the infrastructure needed to create a stable economy and free society for their people.

While Iranian civilians and citizens were in dire economic straits with very little government reprieve or resource allocation to ease their conditions prior to the Nuclear Deal sanctions relief, the Iranian regime was spending over $6 billion per year to support the Assad regime in Syria in its efforts to ensure a Shiite majority in the region.

The Iranian regime must be held accountable for its non-adherence to international law and its desire to finance terror globally in places like Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria.

It must be held responsible for using funds to bankroll violence and oppression instead of providing basic necessities and freedoms for its own people.  As Obama said at the UN this year, Iran must “listen to voices of young people everywhere who call out for freedom, and dignity, and the opportunity to control their own lives.”

Rouhani made it clear that, despite all of the steps we’ve taken, including acknowledging them positively at the UN General Assembly, nothing the U.S. has done has thawed our relationship with Iran or helped to improve the security of people living in the areas ruled by Iran or its terror proxies.

Our leaders must continue to speak out against Iran’s human rights violations and the financing of terror if we ever hope to see change and remain a positive beacon of democracy and freedom.

 

Lashing and Flogging: Islam and Iran

August 1, 2016

Lashing and Flogging: Islam and Iran, Front Page MagazineDr. Majid Rafizadeh, August 1, 2016

happy times in Iran

[D]espite all the [international] laws banning flogging, the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to use these kinds egregious punishments without feeling any pressure from the media or from international organizations. This highlights the fact that Iran is actually widening its crackdown as it is receiving sanctions relief and gaining more revenue.

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The ruling clerics of Iran are increasing their reliance on public flogging not only for punishing people, but also for threatening those who are violating minor Islamic and Sharia laws. 

Public lashing is orchestrated for several reasons, including to punish the person who has violated Sharia laws, impose fear in the society, humiliate the victims and cause psychological harms to the individuals.

Holding a girlfriend/boyfriend’s hand, kissing in public (even for a married couple), listening to music, drinking alcohol and wearing non-Islamic dress can all be grounds for flogging under the Islamic law of Iran. As an Iranian prosecutor, Esmail Sadeghi Niaraki, who recently arrested people for “dancing and jubilating,” said, “We hope this [flogging] will be a lesson for those who break Islamic norms in private places.”

Yesterday, according to Iran’s state-owned news agency, Tasnim, Iranian officials arrested 150 young people for being at a mixed-gender birthday party in the city of Islamshahr, close to the capital of Tehran. Young people who are arrested for attending mixed-gender parties are often fined, flogged, beaten and sometimes raped.

According to Colonel Mohsen Khancherli, Iran’s police commander for the west of Tehran Province:

“After we obtained a report about a mixed-gender party in a garden in the vicinity of Islamshahr in the west of Tehran Province, an operation was carried out by the police and another organization, leading to the arrest of dozens of boys and girls.”

He added:

“Some 150 boys and girls had gathered at the mixed-gender party under the guise of a birthday party in this garden which is situated next to a studio where unlawful music was produced and recorded. Upon arrival of the police, all those present were arrested and sent before the judiciary.”

A few weeks ago, more than 30 college students were arrested, and within 24 hours the judge ordered each to receive 99 lashes for attending a graduation party. In the last two months, approximately 600 people have been arrested, fined and lashed for celebrating.

In this video, a teenager is being lashed for helping a girl whom the moral police were attempting to arrest for wearing bad hijab. He can be heard begging for mercy.

According to Ismaeil Sadeqi Niaraki, a top Iranian cleric, Iran will not tolerate “freedom” or “having fun.” He praised the moral police for arresting and punishing those who break the Islamic laws: “Thanks [sic] God that the police questioning, investigation, court hearing, verdict and implementation of the punishment all took place in less than 24 hours.”

According to Chapter III of the Iranian Islamic constitution, Enforcement of Sentences of Flogging, Article 27:  “Flogging will be administered by a woven leather belt of approximately one meter in length and one-and-a-half centimeter in width.” The penal code goes on detailing how one should be flogged:

Article 32: Enforcement of hadd for female convicts will be carried out while the convict is in a sitting position with her body fully covered by clothing.

Article 33: Flogging for male convicts will be administered while the convict is in a standing position.  For adultery, sodomy, and consumption of alcohol, there will be no clothing other than coverage of private organs, and for qazf or pandering, flogging will be administered over regular clothing.

Flogging is banned according to international law. The Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture prohibit torture and “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.” Various organizations within the United Nations, such as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) and the UN Human Rights Committee, equate flogging with inhumane and cruel punishments.

Nevertheless, despite all the laws banning flogging, the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to use these kinds egregious punishments without feeling any pressure from the media or from international organizations. This highlights the fact that Iran is actually widening its crackdown as it is receiving sanctions relief and gaining more revenue.

Navy investigation finds US sailors captured in Iran were unprepared, Iran broke the law

June 30, 2016

Navy investigation finds US sailors captured in Iran were unprepared, Iran broke the law, AP via Fox News, June 30, 2016

Navy boat in Iranian watersUS sailors captured by Iran face disciplinary action

The lengthy investigation concluded that while the boat crews erred in entering Iranian waters, the Iranians violated international law by impeding the boats’ “innocent passage,” and violated U.S. sovereign immunity by boarding and seizing the boats.

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Weak leadership, poor judgment, a lack of “warfighting toughness” and a litany of errors led to the embarrassing capture and detention by Iran of 10 U.S. sailors in the Persian Gulf in January, according to a Navy investigation released Thursday.

Six officers and three enlisted sailors have been disciplined or face disciplinary action.

The trouble began even before the sailors left port in Kuwait aboard two 50-foot boats on a short-notice, 300-mile journey to Bahrain. They were delayed, unprepared, poorly supervised and ill-suited for the mission, the report said.

At least one sailor had been up all night with boat repairs. Their higher headquarters failed to arrange air or surface monitoring of the boats’ transit. Such monitoring “would likely have prevented” the sailors’ capture by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, according to the report.

The Navy’s top officer, Adm. John Richardson, was presenting the investigation’s results at a Pentagon news conference.

The lengthy investigation concluded that while the boat crews erred in entering Iranian waters, the Iranians violated international law by impeding the boats’ “innocent passage,” and violated U.S. sovereign immunity by boarding and seizing the boats.