Iran on Friday executed three men it said were implicated in the deaths of three members of its security forces during last year’s anti-government protests, the country's judiciary said. Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoubi were executed in the central city of Isfahan, said the judiciary in a statement on Twitter, adding that they had "martyred" two members of the Basij paramilitary force and a law enforcement officer on Nov. 16. Amnesty International said the men's fast-tracked trial was flawed and used "torture-tainted 'confessions'". Iran denies that confessions are extracted under torture.
Iran’s president warned Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers on Thursday not to violate water rights of the Iranian people over their shared Helmand River, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. President Ebrahim Raisi said his government is determined to defend Iran’s water rights. “We will not allow the rights of our people to be violated,” he said and warned the Taliban to take his words seriously, emphasizing the importance of Helmand River, which flows from Afghanistan into Iran.
With the outbreak of war in Ukraine, the Islamic Republic of Iran found a new avenue through which to carry on its anti-Western and anti-Israeli missions. Tehran has pledged to support its Russian ally in Ukraine and is sending weapons and other supplies to the Russian war effort. It is similarly assisting Armenia, its ally in the Caucasus, in its ongoing conflict with Israel- and-Turkey-backed Azerbaijan.
UANI IN THE NEWS
… “This news is not surprising. Syria is a longtime ally of Iran, with a number of cooperation agreements on oil and other sectors. Iran has been delivering oil to Syria before the JCPOA, during the JCPOA, and has continued to do so after the JCPOA,” said Claire Jungman, Chief of Staff of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI).
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
In Israel, there are few politicians and experts who believe that the JCPOA is salvageable. Even fewer people believe that a non-military option could ultimately be used to deal with the threats posed by Iran’s expanding nuclear program.However, a comparatively more diverse range of opinions can be observed when it comes to the question: “What should be the trigger to attack Iran’s nuclear program?”. Some believe the trigger should be if Iran decides to enrich at 90%. Others think it should be the detection of the decision by the supreme leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, to make a nuclear weapon.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
Jakarta and Tehran have concluded the final stage of negotiations on a bilateral trade agreement, the Indonesian Trade Ministry said on Wednesday. The announcement came after the two sides finished a seventh round of talks, and the ministry said the governments could now proceed to sign the documents on the deal, which is called the Indonesia–Iran Preferential Trade Agreement (II-PTA). The ministry said Indonesia and Iran would sign the trade agreement during a visit of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Jakarta between May 22 and 24.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
A British-Iranian man who has been on a hunger strike since February over the lack of progress in the UK government to proscribe the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terror group, has received a hospital bedside visit from Ukraine’s chief rabbi Moshe Azman and Lord Stuart Polak on Wednesday, one day after having a Fatwa issued against him. Vahid Beheshti, who had previously been protesting in Whitehall for two months in a gruelling effort to increase the pressure on the UK Government to act against the main branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, had allegedly been in hospital since May 5 over concerns for his health but was discharged on Thursday.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Ten months before parliamentary elections in Iran, the ‘reformist’ and centrist factions of the regime are already concerned about an electoral candidate purge. Hardliners, who packed the parliament in 2020 with help from the Guardian Council, which barred most other candidates, are seen as determined to hold on to power. There is also near unanimous consensus among non-hardliners that voter turnout will be very low in the absence of competition, at least among regime factions.
More Iranian women are choosing not to wear the head covering called the hijab. Since the early years of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, women have been required to cover their heads by law. Today, many public signs urge women to wear head coverings to honor their mothers. In recent weeks, the Iranian government has increased efforts to enforce its law requiring women to wear the hijab. It has closed some businesses for serving women not covering their heads. The government also has given warnings in public places and sent text message warnings to drivers carrying women without head coverings.
CHINA & IRAN
A whistleblower active in the IT industry has leaked documents revealing hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of telecommunications contracts between Iran and China. London-based Iranian-British internet security expert and cyber espionage investigator Nariman Gharib released a list of contracts signed between the Islamic Republic's Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and Chinese companies. The secret document – which has no date and cannot be verified independently by Iran International -- contains a table of 10 contracts for various projects such as development of Iran’s landline network, infrastructure for fourth and fifth generation of broadband cellular networks and three satellite projects…
GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN
Iran has “never” considered Saudi Arabia an enemy, President Ebrahim Raisi said on Thursday, adding that Israel is the “common enemy” of all Muslim countries. “We have never considered Saudi Arabia as our enemy. Based on the principled policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, we consider the Zionist regime as a common enemy of the Islamic world,” Iranian state media quoted Raisi as saying during a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. In March, Saudi Arabia and Iran announced that they had reached an agreement, brokered by China, to reestablish diplomatic relations after seven years of no formal ties.
A month after the official visit of Iran's exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi to Israel, the country’s intelligence minister met him once again in Washington. Gila Gamliel, who hosted Reza Pahlavi and his wife during their five-day trip to Israel, tweeted on Wednesday that she had a "successful meeting" with the Iranian exiled prince, and two human rights activists as well as the president of the Israel Allies Foundation. "The bloodthirsty policy of the Ayatollahs' regime, which hurts the people of Iran and the world, should mobilize the international community," she added.