Iranian-Born Belgian MP: EU Ministers Working Toward IRGC Terrorist Designation


Iranian-Born Belgian MP: EU Ministers Working Toward IRGC Terrorist Designation | Voice of America

The only European Union lawmaker of Iranian origin who lived in Iran until adulthood says EU foreign ministers are working to resolve obstacles to designating Tehran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. The 27-nation EU bloc has already had sanctions in place for years against Iran’s top military force and its senior personnel in response to their perceived malign activities. But the EU has stopped short of applying the terrorist designation to the IRGC — a step taken by the United States in 2019. European members of parliament, or MEPs, overwhelmingly approved a resolution on January 19 urging the executive EU Council to add the IRGC to its terrorist list. MEPs cited Iran’s violent crackdown on peaceful nationwide protests that erupted in September against the nation’s Islamist rulers and Tehran’s provision of drones to Russia for its war on Ukraine.  

Latest Biden Admin Sanctions Waiver Allows $500 Million Payment For Iran, Tehran Says | Washington Free Beacon 

The Biden administration has cleared the way for a $500 million payment to Iran's hardline regime that was being held up by sanctions, according to Iranian officials. Hamid Hosseini, the secretary general of the Iran-Iraq Joint Chamber of Commerce, said last week that the Biden administration had "granted another sanction waiver and allowed the payment of 500 million dollars from Iraq's electricity debt to Iran." Hosseini said the agreement was made while Iraq's foreign minister was in Washington, D.C., a trip that included meetings with State Department officials. The State Department, which has to approve sanctions waivers of this nature, would not confirm or deny the report and instead directed the Washington Free Beacon to the Treasury Department. A State Department spokesman also would not answer questions about whether this payment was raised in recent talks with the Iraqi government.  

Iran's Top Security Official In UAE To Seek Stronger Ties | Reuters 

Iran's top security official held high-level talks in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday as Tehran seeks greater outreach to Gulf states amid mounting tensions with the West over the country's nuclear work and its drone sales to Russia. The visit by Iran's Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani comes days after Tehran and Riyadh reached a China-facilitated deal to re-establish relations and re-open embassies within two months after years of hostility. "Considering the suitable platforms that have been created since a year ago for the development of relations between Iran and the UAE, I see this trip as a new stage for political, economic and security relations," said Shamkhani in Abu Dhabi, Iranian state media reported. The UAE downgraded its diplomatic ties with Iran after Riyadh severed its ties with Tehran in 2016 following the storming of the Saudi embassy in the Islamic Republic by hardline protesters over Riyadh's execution of a prominent Shi'ite cleric.  


AI & AIS Screening: Big Data Can Have Big Impact On Shipping’s Sanctions Risk Management | TradeWinds 

… Tracking ships using satellite imagery was something other organisations, like TankerTrackers and United Against Nuclear Iran, have done manually in the past to trail illicit players. Since the invasion began last year, Skytek has published several reports on the situation at Ukrainian ports, including on ships trapped there, and the super-yachts owned by Russian oligarchs sanctioned in the immediate aftermath of the invasion. Daniel said before Russia invaded Ukraine, the sanctions focus was entirely on the US and its attempts to curb Iranian crude oil trading.  


Iranians Facing Economic Crisis Find Little New Year’s Cheer | Associated Press 

Iran’s bazaars are packed ahead of the Persian New Year next week, but there’s little holiday cheer as customers survey the soaring prices of meat and holiday treats, wondering if they can afford either. Others are there to sell goods on the sidewalks to make ends meet. Crippling Western sanctions, on top of decades of economic mismanagement, have plunged the country into a severe crisis. Iran’s currency, the rial, recently dropped to a record low, essentially wiping out people’s life savings and making even some basic goods unaffordable. Months of anti-government protests failed to unseat the ruling clerics and prompted a violent crackdown that further dashed hopes of any return to the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which lifted sanctions in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program. As they bid farewell to a trying year, Iranians have little expectation that the next will be better.


Manchester Cleric Led ‘Death To Israel’ Event In Iran Regime | Jewish Chronicle 

One of the trustees of Manchester’s Islamic Cultural Centre is facing questions about his links to Tehran after he praised terrorist mastermind Qasem Soleimani at a regime event in Iran where the audience chanted “death to England” and “death to Israel”. The preacher, Farrokh Sekaleshfar — who called for homosexuals to be put to death while preaching in Orlando, Florida, in 2016, shortly before a terrorist murdered 49 people at a nearby gay nightclub — is a trustee of a Manchester charity, based on an industrial estate in Carrington, south west of the city centre. Now the JC can reveal that in 2020, the Manchester-born Shia cleric was a keynote speaker at a memorial organised by the Iranian regime in Qom, Iran’s holiest city, for terror chief Qasem Soleimani after he was killed in a US drone strike. Soleimani was the so-called “shadow commander” of the brutal Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).  


EU Calls For UN To Probe Iran Schoolgirl Poisonings | Reuters 

European lawmakers called on the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday to conduct an independent investigation into a wave of poisonings that have hit schoolgirls in Iran. 13,000 pupils, mostly girls, have fallen ill after "suspected poisonings" according to state media and officials in Iran, with some politicians blaming religious groups opposed to girls’ education. In a resolution, the European Parliament condemned "in the strongest terms, this atrocious attempt to silence women and girls in Iran". It also urged EU member states to facilitate the issuance of visas, asylum and emergency grants to those who need to leave Iran, "particularly women and girls". The sickness in schools has added to public anger at the authorities, already running high after the death last September of a young woman while in the custody of morality police, which unleashed the biggest anti-government protests in Iran in years.  

Iran’s Baloch Population Leads Anti-Regime Protests Six Months After Mahsa Amini’s Death | France 24 

Six months after the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody, protests have dwindled in many parts of Iran. But in Sistan and Baluchestan province on Iran’s eastern border, hundreds of protesters still gather every week after Friday prayers, despite crackdowns by authorities. A crowd of men gathers in the town centre of Zahedan, the capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province, on March 10 in a video shared on social media by local human rights organisation Haalvsh. The men have just finished Friday midday prayers ­and are now chanting slogans together, calling for freedom for political prisoners in Iran. Behind them stands the Grand Makki Mosque, led by imam Molavi Abdol Hamid. The largest Sunni Mosque in Iran has played a central role in continued protests against the Iranian authorities in the southeastern border province, Iran’s second-largest.  

Masih Alinejad: Western Countries Must Sharpen Response To Iranian Repression | National Review  

Iranian opposition figure Masih Alinejad panned the White House’s response to the widespread poisoning of schoolgirls across Iran, saying last week that Washington’s request for Tehran to investigate “means that you’re asking criminals to investigate their own crimes.” Alinejad, a prominent women’s rights campaigner, made the comments last week to an audience on the sidelines of an annual U.N. women’s rights summit, which included U.S. and European diplomats. Her comments reflect her no-holds-barred campaign to get Western countries aligned with stronger efforts to counter the Iranian regime in the wake of the widespread protests that erupted starting last year. No small part of this effort has involved calling out the White House.  


Leaked Document Reveals Infighting In Khamenei’s Family Business | Iran International 

Hacktivist group Edalat-e Ali (Ali's Justice) has released documents revealing an embezzlement case related to a company managed by Iranian Supreme Leader’s brother.  According to the document, Tehran's public and revolutionary prosecutor Ali Salehi has ordered the case not to be pursued after Ali Khamenei’s office pulled some strings. The complaint was originally filed about a year ago apparently by the office of the president of Sadra Islamic Philosophy Foundation, run by Mohammad Khamenei, one of the brothers of Iran’s ruler, against one of its affiliate companies, a food transportation company called Caravan Transportation. It is not clear why an institute financed by the government for research on Islamic philosophy owns a food transportation company, nor is it clear why the family business was thrown into shambles.


Meeting Of Turkey, Syria, Iran, Russia, Officials Postponed -Turkish Source | Reuters 

A meeting of the deputy foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey, Iran and Syria, scheduled for this week, has been postponed to an unspecified date, a source from the Turkish foreign ministry said on Thursday. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said last week that the deputy foreign ministers of the four countries would meet this week in Moscow, ahead of planned talks between foreign ministers at a later date, aimed at resolving the crisis in Syria. The deputy foreign ministers' meeting had been scheduled for March 15-16, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Monday. But the meeting was postponed for "technical reasons", a Turkish foreign ministry source said, without elaborating. In a sign of potential rapprochement between Ankara and Damascus, Syrian and Turkish defence ministers held landmark talks in Moscow in December, alongside their Russian counterpart, marking the highest-level encounter since the start of the Syrian war more than a decade ago.  


In First Reference To Protests, Iran Says Israel ‘Will Be Toppled By The Wind’ | Jewish News Syndicate  

Iran has addressed the ongoing protests in Israel over the government’s judicial reform plan, saying they prove that the country is “a rootless structure that will be toppled by the wind.” “A new identity crisis has emerged in the spider’s web. Of course, this is only one of the deep crises in Israel,” said Nasser Kanaani, according to a Tasnim news agency report on Wednesday. The protests have so far received little coverage in the Iranian media, which have mostly been preoccupied with the schoolgirl poisoning scandal and the negotiations with Saudi Arabia. There is a deepening of the political and social discord within Zionist society, the report said, to a level of internal tension and conflict that is reflected in the demonstrations of hundreds of thousands. “This is not a normal situation,” the report stated.