The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) threatened the Iranian protesters across the country that if the protests continue, they will receive a “decisive and revolutionary response”.
In its statement on Monday, IRGC claimed that the recent protests in Iran led to “glee and support from the evil officials of the United States.”
The statement refers to the protesters as “agitators and hoodlums” and advised the people not to be impacted by “the false and evil echo chambers of the enemy’s networks of satellite and online channels.
The Intelligence Ministry also issued a statement claiming that the main culprits of the events of last few days have been identified and necessary measures are being taken against them.
Zarif: US Must Compensate Iran Before It Returns To Nuclear Obligations
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said on Thursday September 25 the United States must compensate Iran for losses due to American sanctions before Iran returns to its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. His insistence on conditions comes as Iran emerges as an issue dividing US President Donald Trump from his Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden in the presidential election due on November 3.
Zarif, who is visiting Moscow, was quoted by Sputnik News: “The return of the United States to the nuclear deal is the first step that they should take. For this return, [the US] must compensate for damage that it caused to the Iranian nation, as well as for measures taken by the US to undermine the nuclear deal, and promise to not do it again.”
In his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump called the agreement, known as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), “terrible” and has insisted that Iran should directly negotiate with the US for a wider deal that is stricter on Iran’s nuclear program, ends its ballistic missile program and curbs its links to regional allies.
Trump imposed stringent sanctions, reducing Iran’s oil exports to near zero and sending its economy into recession, after withdrawing the US from the JCPOA in May 2018. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that these US sanctions had denied Iran around $70 billion that might have been used to build a nuclear weapon.
Biden has indicated that he would be willing to bring the US back into the JCPOA provided Iran returns to full compliance. Since the US tightened sanctions, Iran has expanded its nuclear program beyond the limits set by the JCPOA, including increasing its stockpiles of enriched uranium to ten times those allowed.
The European signatories of the agreement – France, Germany and Britain – have urged Iran to return to full compliance. But they have also opposed US moves to reimpose UN sanctions lifted after the JCPOA was implemented and to extend an arms embargo on Iran due to expire in October. The Trump administration has unilaterally declared that it regards the UN sanctions to be back in place.
Amnesty International: Amputation Of Fingers Of Four Men In Iran Is A Crime Under International Law
Amnesty International released a statement calling on the international community to do everything in its power to stop Iranian authorities from amputating the fingers of four men convicted of robbery following forced “confessions” and grossly unfair trials, said Amnesty International today.
The sentences for amputation of fingers against the four men, Hadi Rostami (33), Mehdi Sharfian (37), Mehdi Shahivand (42), and Kasra Karami (40), have been upheld by Iran’s Supreme Court and referred to the Centre for the Implementation of Sentences.
“Carrying out such unspeakably inhumane punishments is not justice and underlines the cruelty of Iran’s criminal justice system,” said Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
“Amputation constitutes torture, which is a crime under international law, and an abhorrent assault on human dignity,” she added. “We call on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally stop such shocking acts of cruelty. The international community must urgently act to ensure the sentences are quashed. The prosecution and judicial authorities responsible for ordering and executing such practices should know that they are liable to face criminal prosecution under international law.”
Amnesty also mentioned that the four men were denied access to a lawyer and were tortured in order to confess.
Arrested Student Says He Was Threatened With Lethal Air Injection
Mostafa Hashemzadeh, a student arrested during the memorial ceremony for the victims of the Ukrainian flight 752 that was shot down by IRGC, says during his detention security forces threatened to kill him with air injection into his veins.
Hashemizadeh, a student of Civil Engineering at the University of Tehran said the security agents were threatening him in order to make him write down the confession they were dictating.
Hashemzadeh added that all of his confessions during that time that were written by the interrogator and signed by him are “absolute lies” and were coerced through “threatening him with death and disappearing the body and threat of keeping the family unaware of his life or death”.
He went on to say that after his family finally posted his bail of 850 million rials (about $5,500 at the time) for temporary release, the interrogator raised the bail to more than 4 billion rials, a huge sum for ordinary people in Iran.
Hashemzadeh was sentenced to five years in prison for unlawful assembly and conspiracy against national security and one year in prison and 74 lashes for disrupting public order. These are common charges made against peaceful protesters in Iran.
He also suffered other punishments such as being held in a mental hospital, barred from the dormitory, and forced to participate in anger management courses.
Iran's Currency Falling Close To A Dangerous Benchmark Against US Dollar
Iran’s rial on Thursday continued to tumble against major currencies reaching an all-time low of 286,500 against the US dollar, amid fears of more US sanctions and no end to the country’s economic crisis.
Approaching the important milestone of 300,000 rials to the dollar means the battered currency has fallen ten-fold in the past three years, when President Donald Trump first signaled his intention to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal in 2017 and then in May 2018 officially announced the US withdrawal, imposing crippling sanctions.
The most damaging has been full sanctions on Iran’s oil exports which have deprived the government of its major foreign currency revenue source. With a 50 percent budget deficit, the Central Bank of Iran has no choice but print money, which further devalues the currency and leads to hyperinflation.
In 1978 before the revolution that toppled the monarchy the dollar stood at 70 rials. This means that 10,000 rials could buy $142. Now the same amount is worth just 3.5 cents.
The fall of the rial is not only because of sanctions. Economists maintain that the Islamic Republic’s economic system is inefficient and corrupt. The major fall in the value of rial happened before any significant sanctions were imposed on Tehran, when the dollar climbed from 70 rials to nearly 20,000.
A business and economy publication in Tehran, Donya’e Eghtesad, wrote on Thursday that people do not need to check the exchange rate on their phones. They just need to go to a fruit stand and look at the price of bananas.
Iran Guards Open New Naval Base Near Strait Of Hormuz
Tehran, Iran | AFP | Thursday 9/24/2020 -
Iran's Revolutionary Guards have unveiled a new naval base aiming to project "dominance" over the strategic Strait of Hormuz, state media reported, following months of tensions with arch-enemy the United States.
The "Martyr Seyed Majid Rahbar" base lies in the southern province of Hormozgan, near the entrance to the narrow Strait of Hormuz through which a fifth of world oil output passes.
The vital shipping lane and nearby Gulf waters were the scene of heightened US-Iranian tensions late last year when ships were mysteriously attacked, drones downed and oil tankers seized.
"This base has been built with the purpose of total dominance over the entry and exit of extraterritorial aircraft and naval vessels" at the entrance to the Gulf, Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami said on Wednesday.
"This location is one of the country's most strategic defensive points," he added, quoted by state TV's website.
The Guards' navy, which operates separately from the Iranian armed forces, "now has a very powerful naval base" six years in the making, Salami said.
His remarks come days after a US aircraft carrier passed the waterway to enter the Gulf , amid Washington threats to enforce United Nations sanctions on Iran -- a move other world powers have dismissed as legally void.
The Guards on Wednesday released on their official Sepah News website drone-captured photos reportedly showing the USS Nimitz.
In June last year, Iran shot down a US Global Hawk drone over the strait after it allegedly violated the Islamic Republic's airspace, a claim the US has denied.
The enemies have twice come to the brink of direct confrontation since then.
Washington has blamed Tehran for last year's mysterious attacks against oil tankers in the nearby Gulf of Oman as well as an attack on Saudi oil facilities, with Iran denying all charges.
Iran Lawmakers Reportedly Receive Influenza Vaccines Before 'Vulnerable' Groups
Reports circulating in some media outlets in Iran saying 1,500 doses of the influenza vaccine has been sent to parliament for members and staff of the legislature have led to controversy.
The Food and Drug Agency had said earlier that vulnerable individuals such as pregnant women will have priority in receiving the vaccines, considering the high rate of coronavirus infections in the country and the danger of influenza leading to more serious cases of COVID.
But IscaNews and Entakhab newspaper, as well as social media accounts have revealed that members of parliament have apparently also received priority. Some have published the copy of an official form showing delivery of the vaccines to parliament’s infirmary.
Iran has ordered 16 million doses of the influenza vaccine and has allocated 1.5 million free doses for vulnerable individuals, also including health workers. Members of parliament have not been named in this group.
One report says parliament received the 1,500 doses for a price of less than two dollars per dose.
Members of parliament in recent weeks has been the target of criticism for receiving considerable housing and other allowances, in addition to reports of getting expensive sedans at favorable prices and payable in three years. Monthly loan payments for the cars would be around 70 percent of a lawmaker’s salary, leading many to ask how they can afford these payments.
A member of parliament receives a monthly salary of around 110,000 million rials, currently equal to around $400, which is more than four times the income of a worker in Iran.
Rouhani Chief Of Staff Sees ‘Positive Signs’ Over Billions Blocked in Korea
President Hassan Rouhani’s Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi on Wednesday September 23 expressed optimism that South Korean banks would release billions of dollars of Iran’s oil revenue blocked for over two years due to fears of United States sanctions.
“We have witnessed some positive signs from the Koreans,” Vaezi told the press after a weekly cabinet meeting. He said Iran has begun international legal action against Korea and would “implement its decisions” if Seoul did not take “concrete steps” to release the assets.
The frozen assets have been estimated at $6.5-9 billion by the Chairman of Iran and South Korea Chamber of Commerce Hossein Tanhai. “South Korea was supposed to release $50 million…[of the frozen money] but they broke their promise and said they could only pay some as a gift,” Tanhai said on June 12. “They didn’t even follow through with that.” Tanhai claimed some Korean banks had demanded fees for holding the money.
South Korea was one of Iran’s major crude oil buyers before US President Donald Trump in May 2018 withdrew from Tehran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers and threatened US sanctions against anyone buying Iranian oil. Iran was also a valuable market for Korean products: Two Korean giants, LG and Samsung, held a huge share of Iran’s audio-visual and home appliances market, assembling some products in Iran.
In February, Iran’s then Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi warned LG and Samsung that scaling down links with Iran could jeopardize their longer-term position. “Some foreign countries that have been bullied by the US to leave Iran in recent years should realize that returning to the Iranian market would be very hard,” Mousavi wrote in a tweet.
Korea has exported $500,000 worth of medicine and medical equipment to Iran since Seoul announced in April that Washington had granted Korea a license for some humanitarian trade with Iran.
Iran Says 188 Drones And Helicopters Added To Its Navy
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on Wednesday announced the addition of 188 drones and helicopters to it navy during a ceremony attended by senior commanders on the Persian Gulf coast.
It is not clear in what time period these aircraft have been handed over to the navy, but its commander, Alireza Tangsiri announced that Mohajer 6, one of the drones mentioned, has a range of 200 kilometers (124 miles) and capable of carrying four missiles. S
Iran often makes announcements of new weapons systems being deployed and capabilities added but the claims cannot be independently verified.
Tangsiri also claimed that homegrown Iranian drones tracked the entry of a US carrier group into the Persian Gulf last week and the IRGC news website published photos showing US vessels sailing in the sea. Iranian drones have often flown close to US Navy ships and on a few occasions came dangerously near warships.
During the same ceremony, General Hossein Salami, commander of the IRGC said that the more “offensive capabilities” are deployed by the “enemies”, the more Iran’s military power “blossoms”. He congratulated the nation for the “great accomplishment” of adding more drones and helicopters to the navy and announced, “The final victory is near”.
In an interview with pro-Iran al-Mayadin TV network, the deputy commander of the IRGC said that it is better for the United States to be present in the Persian Gulf because in that case "They are within our range," ISNA reported.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe Files Report Of IRGC Harassment
British-Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is under house arrest in her parents’ house in Tehran awaiting a second trial, has claimed she is being harassed by Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the London Guardian reported on Tuesday September 22.
According to the newspaper, Zaghari-Ratcliffe has filed a report with the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office to complain about an IRGC officer who rang the family’s landline and claimed she had broken the security anklet she has been required to wear since being given furlough from prison in March during the first peak of the coronavirus pandemic in Iran. Britain’s Foreign Office had “indirectly” received a copy of the complaint, the Guardian reported.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband Richard Ratcliffe maintains that his wife, a 42-year-old aid worker, is a victim of “diplomatic hostage-taking,” caught up both by Britain’s four-decade-old debt to Iran for a cancelled purchase of Chieftain tanks and by Tehran’s pressure on London to continue supporting Iran’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers.
The tanks were purchased by the Shah in 1971 from Britain. Some were delivered but the new Iranian government cancelled delivery of those remaining after the 1979 Revolution.
Earlier this month the British Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace told Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s family in a letter that the British government was seeking ways to avoid US sanctions to pay the debt to Iran to secure her release. This was the first time London linked the two, while Tehran continues to deny any connection.
Iran arrested Zaghari-Ratcliffe in 2016 as one several foreigners and dual nationals who been detained without open trials, usually on charges of espionage or spreading propaganda. Analysts and human-rights monitors suggest such prisoners are used as bargaining chips with Western governments.
Britain has never acknowledged a debt over the Chieftain tanks, although it had lost an arbitration case in 2008. Iran says it is owed £400 million (around $509 million).
Israel Will Recruit More Allies Against Iran, Defense Minister Says In Washington
The Israeli Defense Minister and "Alternate Prime Minister" Benny Gantz, who was on an official visit to the United States on Tuesday, has stressed that Israel will continue working to curb Iran and recruit more countries in support.
“We will continue our uncompromising efforts to curb Iranian aggression and harness more countries toward the effort,” Gantz told US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien when the two met.
The Israeli Defense Minister also on Tuesday met with Jared Kushner, the White House Senior Advisor, and Defense Secretary Mark Esper. According to the Jerusalem Post, Gantz’s one-day-trip took place with the Trump administration and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iran’s neighbor in the Persian Gulf, hoping to have an initial agreement on the sale of F-35 stealth fighter jets in place by December.
Gantz has reportedly sought assurances over the US commitment to block conventional arms sales to Iran when the current UN embargo expires in October. Israel’s concern is shared by Sunni Arab states of the Persian Gulf, including Saudi Arabia.
Iran has condemned Israel’s recent normalization of diplomatic relations with the UAE and Bahrain and threatened that the two Arab states will be held responsible for any tension in the Persian Gulf region created by Israel. “Alliance with the Zionist regime will put the security of Bahrain and the Emirates at a greater risk than in the past,” the Iranian Parliament said in a statement on September 13.
Gantz, leader of the Blue and White party, is part of a national unity government led by current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Under the terms of the agreement establishing the government in April, Gantz, a former general, will become prime minister on 17 November 2021.
Spokesman Confirms Iran Sending 'Defense Technology' To Yemen
The spokesman of the General Staff of the Armed Forces on Tuesday confirmed that Iran has been sending “defense technology” to Yemen.
“The people of Yemen are very learned and educated unlike what the enemy shows about them,” said Brigadier-General Abolfazl Shekarchi, as reported by the Fars News Agency, which is affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). “They have been able to build missiles and most advanced drones, and are very skilled and advanced in electronic warfare.”
Saudi Arabia and the United States have displayed pieces of downed Houthi missiles and drones that targeted Saudi facilities and said they were Iranian-made. The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a report on June 12 said Cruise missiles and drones used against Saudi Arabia were “of Iranian origin” – these included attacks on the Saudi oil facility at Afif in May 2019, on the international airport at Abha in June and August 2019, and on Saudi Aramco’s processing facilities in Khurais and Abqaiq in September 2019.
Shekarchi, who was speaking as part of Iran-Iraq war commemorations known as Sacred Defense Week, also said Iran’s military co-operation with the armed groups in regional countries – which Iran calls the 'Resistance Axis’ - is “only advisory and spiritual.”
“Our experienced staff go to Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen to transfer our experiences to them and give them intellectual support. In the field it is the people and army of those countries who fight against the enemies,” Shekarchi said.
Iran is allied to the Yemeni opposition Houthi movement, which has been at war for five years with the government backed by Saudi Arabia. Recent discussions over a prisoner swap have encouraged hope of an end to a conflict in which the UN Development Project (UNDP) last year estimated 200,000 had died, with 60 percent under the age of five. Yemen is also ravaged by Covid19.