Fartashphoto's Blog

Iran’s nuclear tour proposal almost collapsed

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 14, 2011

Iran’s proposal for a tour of its nuclear sites floundered yesterday (13 January) after China effectively rejected the invitation and Russia cautioned that such a trip could never replace UN inspections or talks between Tehran and world powers.

The European Union turned down Iran’s offer to allow selected ambassadors accredited to the UN’s nuclear watchdog to visit two nuclear installations but snub those from the United States, Britain, France and Germany.

Diplomats from Britain, France, Germany and the United States were not invited. But China, Russia and Hungary, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union until July, were invited, leaving the EU in a quandary over what to do.

In the end, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton rejected Tehran’s offer and claimed that the responsibility of inspection lies in the hands of the United Nations.

China, ahead of President Hu Jintao’s state visit to the United States next week, said it would be “difficult” for its ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna to go on the proposed tour.

“The Vienna representative is still in China right now, so it will be difficult for him to go to Iran,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a news briefing, without elaborating.

Without the European Union, China and possibly Russia, Tehran’s trip proposal could collapse before Istanbul talks next week between Iran and the so called P5+1 group – the five permanent members of the Security Council along with Germany.

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Marietje Schaake on Eu priority towards Iran

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 14, 2011

Iran urged to drop prison sentences against human rights activists

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 13, 2011

Amnesty International has denounced the prison sentences imposed on two leading Iranian human rights defenders and urged the authorities to drop all charges against them.

Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been jailed for 11 years on charges of “acts against national security”, “anti-regime propaganda” and belonging to the Centre for Human Rights Defenders.

The charges relate to her human rights work after the country’s disputed 2009 presidential elections. It appears that Sotoudeh may not yet have been told the verdict and sentence imposed on her.

Journalist Shiva Nazar Ahari had her four-year prison sentence imposed for “acts against national security” and other charges, confirmed by an appeal court on Sunday. She may also face flogging; it remains unclear whether this part of her original sentence, subsequently converted to a cash fine, has been reinstated.

“The sentences imposed on Nasrin Sotoudeh and Shiva Nazar Ahari are outrageous and make a mockery of justice,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Both women have been sentenced on account of their courageous defence of human rights and the very standards and values which the Iranian government is bound by international treaties to uphold,” said Malcolm Smart. “It is truly a sorry state of affairs when such actions can be branded a threat to national security or the peddling of propaganda.”

“Nasrin Sotoudeh is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally. Shiva Nazar Ahari should not be made to serve her sentence – it should be immediately withdrawn.”

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Iran rounds up Christians in crackdown

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 12, 2011

Iran has arrested about 70 Christians since Christmas in a crackdown that demonstrates the limits of religious tolerance by Islamic leaders who often boast they provide room for other faiths.

The latest raids have targeted grass-roots Christian groups Iran describes as “hard-liners” who pose a threat to the Islamic state. Authorities increasingly view them with suspicions that range from trying to convert Muslims to being possible footholds for foreign influence.

Christian activists claim their Iranian brethren are being persecuted simply for worshipping outside officially sanctioned mainstream churches.

Caught in the middle is the small community of Iranian Christians who get together for prayer and Bible readings in private residences and out of sight of authorities. They are part of a wider “house church” movement that has taken root in other places with tight controls on Christian activities such as China and Indonesia.

Iran’s constitution gives protected status to Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians, but many religious minorities sense growing pressures from the Islamic state as hard-edged forces such as the powerful Revolutionary Guard exert more influence.

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Iranian lawyer sentenced to 11 years in prison

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 10, 2011

Jailed Iranian lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to 11 years in prison as well as 20 years ban from travel abroad and from legal practice.

Her husband, Reza Khandan informed the Human Rights Reporters Committee that they now have 20 days to appeal the sentence.

Reza Khandan also added that Sotoudeh was given one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime while for the two other charges of “activities against national security and failing to adhere to Islamic hijab (head covering) in a filmed speech” she was given five years each.

Khandan reported that her wife was very distressed over the heavy sentence that she has received.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, whose practice mainly focused on human rights violation cases, was arrested on September 4 and has been in Evin Prison since.

She has gone on hunger strike twice to protest against her inappropriate treatment in jail and the legal proceedings of her case.

Her arrest has been protested by several human rights activists and organizations both in Iran and abroad.

The most recent protest was a three-day sit-in organized by seven Iranian women activists including Nobel Peace laureate, Shirin Ebadi in front of the United Nations Office at Geneva on December 19.

On the third day, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay issued a letter addressed to Ebadi stating that she will follow up on Sotoudeh’s case and other Iranian political prisoners through all legal channels open to her and her office. 

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Persecution in Iran: Snippets of the New Revelation

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 10, 2011

Wikileaks Julian Assange’s accusers should not be anonymity

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 8, 2011

EU says up to IAEA to inspect Iranian nuclear facilities

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 6, 2011

The European Union’s executive said on Wednesday it was up to the U.N. nuclear watchdog to inspect Iranian atomic facilities, after Tehran invited EU envoys to tour the sites this month.

The European Commission said it had yet to reply to the invitation sent to some ambassadors, including the EU’s, accredited to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, weeks before a second round of talks between Iran and six world powers on its disputed nuclear ambitions.

Iran invited the EU as well as China, Russia and others to visit, in a move that raised questions in the West as to whether it constituted a genuine step towards more nuclear transparency or a public relations stunt meant to divide major powers and buy time for further atomic advances.

The West suspects Iran’s nuclear programme is directed at developing bombs.

The EU said inspections should be carried out by specialists from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), rather than ambassadors to the U.N. watchdog who were invited by Tehran.

“We haven’t answered the letter,” a European Commission spokesman told a regular news briefing on Wednesday, after being asked whether the EU had accepted or rejected Tehran’s offer.

“But what we want to underline is that there is a process going on and it is for the IAEA to inspect the Iranian nuclear facilities … They have people to inspect them.”

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WikiLeaks Cables Prove DEA Is Losing Drug Wars Abroad

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 5, 2011

Iran invites EU, others to nuke sites after barring IAEA constantly

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 4, 2011

Iran has invited Russia, China, the European Union and its allies among the Arab and developing world to tour its nuclear sites, in an apparent move to gain support ahead of a new round of talks with six world powers.

In a letter made available Monday to The Associated Press, senior Iranian envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh suggests the weekend of Jan. 15 and 16 for the tour and says that meetings “with high ranking officials” are envisaged.

While no reason was given for the timing of the offer, it comes just weeks before Iran and the six powers follow up on recent talks that ended with agreement on little else but to meet again.

The new round between Tehran, and the permanent U.N. Security Council members — the U.S. Russia, China, Britain, France — plus Germany, is tentatively set for Istanbul, Turkey in late January.

It is meant to explore whether there is common ground for more substantive talks on Iran’s nuclear program, viewed by the U.S, and its allies as a cover for secret plans to make nuclear arms — something Tehran denies.

As we all know there is an International Atomic Energy Agency which barred from Iran for investigations and Islamic republic probably has a show going on after barring over 40 investigators which wanted to investigate the sites that they suspect not the ones that the regime plans to demonstrate.

Islamic regime plays with world to extend the time to reach to their aims. Last month the head of Iran’s atomic energy organization said on television that Iran had achieved the ability to produce its own yellow cake, uranium powder that is a step in the process for creating nuclear fuel.

He said the breakthrough, using uranium ore mined in southern Iran, signified the country’s full self-sufficiency in the production of uranium, cutting out the need for imported material.

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