Videos released on social media show security forces arresting a citizen in Karaj city, near tehran on Wednesday, February 4, for protesting the killing of fuel mules in Sistan-Baluchistan province last week.
The videos show the citizen climbing a charity box protesting the shooting of people carrying small amounts of fuel to Pakistan and the suppression of protesters in Sistan-Baluchistan province. Security forces pulled the man down, arrested and took him away.
According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), the security forces making the arrest faced protests from the people present at the scene, and one of the security forces, “without facing any provocation or threat of violence attempted to shoot in the air in a populated area of the city in order to cause panic.”
Security forces facing protests by onlookers initially released the man but a few minutes later arrested him again and took him to an undisclosed location.
The protests in Sistan-Baluchistan followed an incident at the border with Pakistan on Monday when at least ten Baluchis were killed and more injured. A video posted on Twitter on Monday showed heavy gunfire in a field. Some social media sources have claimed that more than 35 Baluchis were killed by Iranian Revolutionary Guards, after soukhtbar (‘fuel carriers’) tried to take fuel into Pakistan.
India Seizes $2.72 Billion Of Afghan Heroin Shipped From Iran
Indian officials said on Tuesday they had seized nearly three tonnes of heroin originating from Afghanistan worth an estimated 200 billion rupees ($2.72 billion) amid the chaos following last month's takeover of the country by the Taliban.
Afghanistan is the world's biggest illicit opiate supplier, but since taking power, the Islamist Taliban have said they plan to ban the drug trade, without giving details on how.
The containers had been declared as containing semi-processed talc stones from Afghanistan and had been shipped from Bandar Abbas Port in Iran to Gujarat Mundra port, the Gujarat official said, adding that forensic tests confirmed the presence of heroin.
Two people had been arrested in connection with the haul and investigations were ongoing, an official in Gujarat said, declining to be named as he was not authorised to speak publicly.
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), India's top anti-smuggling agency, seized two containers at western Gujarat's Mundra Port on Sept. 15 after receiving intelligence they contained narcotics, the official said.
"Investigation conducted so far has also revealed the involvement of Afghan nationals, who are under investigation."
The narcotics were headed to Delhi and the two arrested people had sought an import-export licence based on a house address in Vijayawada, police in Vijayawada said in a statement on Monday.
More than 2,988 kg of heroin was recovered in one of India's biggest such hauls to date.
Reporting by Reuters
Iran Says Nuclear Talks Will Resume 'In A Few Weeks'
Iran said on Tuesday that talks with world powers over reviving its 2015 nuclear deal would resume in a few weeks, the official Iranian news agency IRNA reported.
"Every meeting requires prior coordination and the preparation of an agenda. As previously emphasized, the Vienna talks will resume soon and over the next few weeks," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, according to IRNA.
Khatibzadeh added that the Iran’s foreign policy team must complete its final overview about the nature of the talks, before returning to negotiations.
The world powers held six rounds of indirect talks between the United States and Iran in Vienna to try and work out how both can return to compliance with the nuclear pact, which was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump in 2018. The talks stopped in June, pending the start of Iran's new government, but one month after the cabinet was formed Tehran has not issued an exact date about its return to the negotiations.
Asked if the nuclear issue will be discussed in a multilateral framework in New York, the spokesman reiterated that Iran would hold bilateral talks with the parties to the 2015 nuclear agreement, JCPOA. Earlier, EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell had said no collective talks would take place.
Tehran Plans To Lock Waste Containers To Prevent Garbage Picking
Tehran municipality is planning to put locks on large waste containers in the streets to prevent garbage pickers from accessing waste, a city official told Iran’s ILNA news website on Tuesday.
With the rise of poverty, the number of people sifting through waste containers for food or other items has increased in Iran. Anecdotal information say even former middle class people who still have cars, stop and look through waste containers in the streets.
Iran’s economy has deteriorated in the past decade and specially since 2018, when the United States imposed fresh sanctions to force Tehran to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear agreement.
Sadroddin Alipour, director of Tehran’s waste management company said that the municipality has decided to change waste containers or place them in a double haul that could be locked.
Thousands of children go through the streets of the capital to pick through garbage. Hamshahri newspaper reported that there are 4,700 children picking waste in Tehran and some of them are employed by people who make profit from what citizens throw away. Many children in Iran are street beggars or garbage pickers instead of going to school.
The same phenomenon exists also in other cities. In Bojnourd, a small city of 210,000 residents, the municipality estimated that are 600 garbage pickers.
Biden Admin Report To Congress Shows Drastic Impact Of Iran Sanctions
A non-public report submitted by the Biden Administration to Congress in September confirms that US sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration on Iran drastically reduced Tehran’s trade with the world, The Washington Free Beacon reported on Monday.
The report is not classified but not released publicly. Free Beacon obtained a copy and reported that Iran’s $46 billion trade in 2019 was cut to $28 billion as US oil export and banking sanctions persuaded most countries to restrict their dealings with Tehran. Iran’s oil exports and trade had begun to shrink in 2018, when former President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2108 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions.
The information is not new and even the Iranian government has been reposting loss of trade and revenues, but it is an official confirmation by the Biden Administration about the effectiveness of sanctions in reducing Iran’s financial resources.
President Joe Biden during last year’s presidential campaign strongly opposed Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal (JCPOA) and the reimpostion of sanctions.
After taking office his foreign policy team launched indirect talks with Tehran in April to revive the deal. So far, the talks have failed to achieve a breakthrough, but the US has said it is willing to lift the most effective sanctions, to convince Iran to abandon its retaliatory measures of breaking uranium enrichment limits set under the deal.
UK 'Will Not Rest' Over Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Iran Detainees Minister Says
AP - London - Sept 20 - UK Foreign Office Minister James Cleverly said on Monday that Britain would "not rest" until all its dual nationals being held in Iran were returned home.
He said the UK's new Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, was due to meet her Iranian counterpart at the United Nations General Assembly in New York later on Monday, and call for the immediate release of UK nationals such as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.
"I have no doubt that she will apply that energy to these negotiations and we will continue pushing and pushing and pushing until we get our British dual nationals home," he told British broadcaster Sky News.
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian dual national, has been held Iran since 2016, on spying charges, which she has always denies.
Her husband, Richard, said he had talked with Truss on the phone on Sunday and that it was unclear how negotiations with Iran would go.
He described his wife as feeling "disorientated" with the recent UK government cabinet shuffle and that she had felt former Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, had been making some headway with her case.
He said they were still waiting for a date for an appeal over her second prison sentence.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe's is currently staying with her mother in Iran.
Iran's VP In Women's Affairs Disagrees With Limiting Child Marriage
President Ebrahim Raisi’s vice president in women’s affairs has refused to support an age limit in child marriage arguing that other factors such as mental and social growth should play a role.
Ensiyeh Kazali, known as a religious conservative, in her first press conference on Monday said that she married when she was 16 years old.
Child marriage is a controversial social and political issue in Iran, as Islamic law in essence allows girls who are nine years old to be wed, based on a tradition that prophet Mohammed married a girl who was nine years old.
Vice presidents in charge of women’s affairs have usually been more protective of women’s rights and have advocated a legal age limit for children’s marriage, but Khazali, daughter of an ayatollah, apparently follows the ideology of most Moslem clerics in Iran who do not believe marriage for girls younger that 13 should be forbidden.
She has been one of the opponents the UNESCO 2030 agenda that advocates equality in education and access for females and all social groups.
Child marriage has increased in Iran in recent years, partly linked to growing poverty. The Statistical Center of Iran reported last month that marriage of girls aged between 10-14 increased by 10.5 percent in 2020 compared with 2019, with more than 31,000 cases in one year.
Iran's Raisi To Attend Regional Conference In First Visit Since Taking Office
Tehran's participation in a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conference demonstrates the importance it places on regional cooperation, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said before leaving for Tajikistan on Thursday on his first foreign trip since taking office last month.
The summit in Dushanbe will discuss last month's takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, a neighbouring country of the SCO's largely Central Asian members. Afghanistan itself is an observer at the SCO, as is Iran.
The SCO was launched in 2001 to combat radical Islam and other security concerns in China, Russia and four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics
"Regional cooperation is a top priority for us," Raisi said in live televised remarks at Tehran airport before leaving for Dushanbe. Legal, economic, and agricultural agreements would be signed with Tajikistan, he said without giving details.
Raisi also said he will have separate meetings with other regional leaders attending the conference. The new Iranian president has limited experience on the international arena. His career mostly involved judicial and prosecutorial roles.
The official IRNA news agency said Raisi was accompanied by the ministers of foreign affairs, energy, justice, labour and social welfare, cultural heritage, and tourism.
Reporting by Reuters, IRNA
Hezbollah Begins Trucking In Iranian Fuel From Syria To Lebanon
Hezbollah began bringing Iranian fuel into Lebanon via Syria on Thursday, a move the Shi'ite group says should ease a crippling energy crisis but which opponents say risks provoking US sanctions.
A convoy of trucks carrying Iranian fuel oil entered northeastern Lebanon near the village of al-Ain, where Hezbollah's yellow flag fluttered from lampposts.
"Thank you Iran. Thank you Assad's Syria," declared a banner, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Hezbollah's al-Manar TV said a convoy of around 20 trucks had crossed into Lebanon. Overall, 1,300 tanker truck trips are needed to bring the fuel to Lebanon.
The Iran-backed Hezbollah has said the ship carrying the fuel docked in Syria on Sunday after being told going to Lebanon could risk sanctions.
Washington has reiterated that US sanctions on Iranian oil sales remain in place. But it has not said whether it is considering taking any action over the move by Hezbollah, which it designates a terrorist group.
The Lebanese government has said its permission was not sought to import the fuel.
The move marks an expansion of Hezbollah's role in Lebanon, where critics have long accused the heavily armed group of acting as a state within the state.
Hezbollah declared it had broken an "American siege".
Lebanon's financial system unraveled as a result of decades of profligate spending by a state riddled with corruption and waste. A new government was formed last week to negotiate a financial rescue plan with Western countries and international organizations.
Reporting by Reuters
Iran Approves Five Homegrown Covid Vaccines Before Sufficient Testing
Iran has approved five homegrown Covid-19 vaccines for production, while some of them have not completed their trial and testing periods or no information is available about their efficacy and safety.
Health Minister Bahran Einollahi on Wednesday announced the government decision while official; government figures showed the fifth wave of the pandemic is showing signs of ebbing and daily vaccinations have increased by imported Chinese vaccines.
A member of the national vaccination committee, Mostafa Ghanei has said that two of the vaccines, Noura and Fakhra have barely completed the first phase of their trials. None of the other vaccines have been examined by any independent medical authority.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei banned the purchase of American and British vaccines in January, which set back Iran’s inoculation effort. Critics say that as a result tens of thousands unnecessarily died in the fifth wave of the pandemic that has gripped the country since July.
There is also controversy over the large number of vaccines being developed, while Iran is behind advanced countries in both technology and funding. Most vaccine development projects seem to be the result of competing economic interests between influential groups.
On Tuesday, more controversy ensued when a former member of parliament alleged that Brakat, the most well-connected vaccine developer received one billion dollars from the state in advance and has delivered only a fraction of the quantity promised.
Iran's Intelligence Claims It Destroyed 'Terrorists' From A Hostile State
Iran’s security organs identified and have dealt with a “terrorist team” from a “hostile state”, a short announcement by Intelligence Ministry said on Wednesday.
The statement promised more details in the future, but it claimed that enemy agents were planning attacks against “sensitive and vital centers” and were destroyed by the intelligence ministry. State controlled media have repeated the ministry's announcement, without adding any information.
Iranian intelligence organs often make similar claims, but they rarely produce any evidence or provide follow-up information about the alleged cases. News about possible trials or punishment of detained individuals is also rare.
Iran has experienced devastating sabotage attacks since July 2020, with two operations hitting its uranium enrichment facility in Natanz in July 2020 and April 2021, as well as the assassination of a top nuclear official in November.
Other military and industrial targets, including navy ships, have also suffered mysterious fires and explosions. In one of the cases any suspects were identified or arrested. Israel has been suspected of being behind at least some of the incidents although it has never officially confirmed or denied its role.
Iranian Airline Resumes Charter Flights To Kabul
Flights between Iran and Afghanistan’s Kabul airport have resumed, Fars news agency close to the Revolutionary Guard reported on Wednesday.
Fars said with “the situation returning to normal” in Afghanistan some Iranian airlines have resumed their flights.
Qatari and United Arab Emirate’s airlines have been flying to Afghanistan in recent days. Now Mahan airlines affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) has resumed its charter flights from Mashhad to Kabul, Fars said, adding that the first flight already took 19 passengers to Afghanistan and returned with 26 passengers
The report did not say if scheduled flights will be announced or only the Mashahd-Kabul charter route is active. There are as many as three million Afghans living in Iran.
The Islamic Republic of Iran’s government, which had rocky relations with the Taliban prior to 2001, has threaded much more careful line with the Islamic militants who captured Kabul in mid-August. Government controlled media has refrained from criticism of the Taliban, while many Iranians have criticized the government’s soft approach.