Resolution Honoring Iranian Protesters Passes House With One GOP ‘No’ Vote | The Hill
The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly adopted a resolution commending protesters in Iran, with just one lawmaker — Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) — voting “no.”The concurrent resolution, which was approved 420-1, applauds the “bravery, courage, and resolve of the women and men of Iran demonstrating in more than 13 cities and risking their safety to speak out against the Iranian regime’s human rights abuses.” The text of the measure points to the death of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Iranian woman who died in police custody in September after the morality police arrested her on allegations that she violated Iran’s laws that require women to wear headscarves or hijabs.
At The Heart Of Iran’s Crackdown, A Small Group Of Judges Sentences Protesters To Hang | Washington Post
Iran’s government is doubling down on repression to stamp out the months-long uprising bent on its ouster. At the heart of these efforts: a small circle of judges connected to the country’s clerical leaders and security services, meting out long prison terms and death sentences to protest supporters. There is little judicial transparency in Iran, where charge sheets and verdicts are often kept under wraps, so it is difficult to determine the true scale of arrests, sentencings and executions. But a picture of the trials and the judges presiding over them has emerged from a range of sources — including state media outlets, rights groups, activist telegram accounts and networks of lawyers in and outside of Iran.
Analysis: Stakes Rise As Iran Can Fuel ‘Several’ Atom Bombs | Associated Press
Iran has enough highly enriched uranium to build “several” nuclear weapons if it chooses, the United Nations’ top nuclear official is now warning. But diplomatic efforts aimed at again limiting its atomic program seem more unlikely than ever before as Tehran arms Russia in its war on Ukraine and as unrest shakes the Islamic Republic. The warning from Rafael Mariano Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in response to questions from European lawmakers this week, shows just how high the stakes have become over Iran’s nuclear program. Even at the height of previous tensions between the West and Iran under hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran never enriched uranium as high as it does now.
UANI IN THE NEWS
German MP Says EU Has Legal Evidence To Declare IRGC A Terrorist Entity | Jerusalem Post
…Jason Brodsky, the policy director for the US-based United Against Nuclear Iran, told the Post “I agree with Norbert. EU officials are using the legal requirement, which has been met, to punt an uncomfortable policy decision. The European Union has added individuals to its terrorism list before based on US indictments. See for example Gholam Shakuri who was charged in the 2011 bomb plot against Saudi Arabia's ambassador at Cafe Milano. There is a multitude of other examples. The legal requirement in the European Union is met even if there is not a court verdict.” Brodsky added that “ It can be satisfied if there is an investigation or prosecution by a competent authority. That widens the universe to many instances of IRGC terrorism in Europe and abroad. If that's not enough, the former commander-in-chief of the IRGC and now current vice president for economic affairs Mohsen Rezaei is the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice for the AMIA bombing. Thus there is no legal excuse. If the European Union considers itself an ally of the United States, it will sanction the IRGC as a terrorist organization as Washington has done.”
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
US Democrats Still Not Ready To Walk Away From Iran Nuclear Talks | Iran International
While the Islamic Republic is becoming more isolated in the international community, some US Democratic Senators say efforts should continue to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) told Iran International’s Arash Alaei on Wednesday that the Biden administration should never officially walk away from the negotiations. However, he added that "I was not happy with the original JCPOA. I was not happy with us leaving the JCPOA. I always supported a longer and stronger agreement, so I think this is a matter on which the US needs to be more in harmony with Europe.”
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
Traveller, 35, Among French Citizens Detained In Iran: Parents | AFP
One of seven French detainees held in Iran is a "simple citizen of the world" who merely wanted to travel, his parents said Thursday, revealing his identity for the first time. Louis Arnaud, 35, was arrested on September 28 as he was visiting the Islamic republic, his parents Jean-Michel and Sylvie said in a statement to AFP. Paris says the seven French citizens are being held as "hostages" by Iran.
Iranian Chess Player Who Competed Without Hijab Meets With Spanish PM | Reuters
An Iranian chess player who defected to Spain after she competed without a hijab and was warned not to return to her country met with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in Madrid on Wednesday. Sarasadat Khademalsharieh, 25, better known as Sara Khadem, arrived in Spain in early January. She had taken part in the FIDE World Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships held in Kazakhstan's Almaty in late December without a hijab - a headscarf mandatory under Iran's strict Islamic dress codes. "How much I have learned today from a woman who inspires me," Sanchez posted on his Twitter account after hosting Khadem at his official residence, the Moncloa Palace.
Iran Sentences Pregnant Kurdish Woman To Death | The National
Iran has sentenced an ethnic Iranian-Kurdish pregnant woman being held in Urmia Central Prison to death, according to a report by IranWire. Shahla Abdi, from the north-western province of West Azerbaijan and said to be in her early 20s, was initially arrested in Urmia in mid-October at the peak of mass protests that were triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini in morality police custody. Ms Abdi is said to have received the death sentence after being accused of setting fire to a portrait of former Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
US Offers $15m Reward For Information On IRGC's Financial Networks | The National
The US State Department has offered up to $15 million for information on the financial networks of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It follows a weapons raid earlier this month on a fishing boat bound for Yemen in the Gulf of Oman, in which the US Navy seized 2,116 rifles. Washington said the weapons were destined for the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen. “How can Iran buy all these weapons and ship them to Yemen?,” the State Department’s Rewards for Justice programme said in reply to a US Central Command tweet including two photos from the January 10 raid. “Was the shipment from the IRGC meant for the Houthis? We're offering a reward of up to $15 million for information on the IRGC's financial networks.”
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Khamenei’s Nephew Urges Toppling Regime in Iran | Asharq Al-Awsat
Mahmoud Moradkhani, the nephew of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, called for the “swift toppling of the regime in Iran,” but also criticized some opposition parties as “ineffective.” During a press interview in Paris, which was attended by Asharq Al-Awsat, Moradkhani strongly criticized Khamenei, saying that he is “devoid of religious and civil legitimacy and is incompetent in religious sciences.” Moradkhani did not hesitate to describe Khamenei as “the butcher of the people” and the “most despised” figure among Iranians.
Former Iran Spokesman Says Only Ballot Box Can Save The Country | Iran International
Four months after the start of nationwide protests in Iran, politicians and academics have begun probing into the consequences and implications of the movement. Speaking at a seminar about the protests and their socio-economic and political implications, Former Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei opined that the Iranian government can still prevent an upcoming crises by correcting its policies and reform its domestic politics. Rabiei, who served under former President Hassan Rouhani, said that recent developments showed that what can save the country from further trouble is the ballot box. He added: "Ballot boxes can turn the outcry in the streets into systematic behavior.
OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
UK PM Sunak Says Iran Must Give Answers On British-Iranian National Akbari | Reuters
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called on the Iranian government to provide answers about the death and burial of British-Iranian dual national Alireza Akbari who was executed by Iran earlier this month. "The regime is prolonging the suffering of the family and it is sadly typical of that disregard for basic human dignity," Sunak told parliament. "Iran must now provide answers about the circumstances of his death and his burial." Jan. 14, Tehran defied calls from the UK and the U.S. and executed Akbari, who once served as Iran's deputy defence minister. That prompted London to impose a fresh round of sanctions on Iranian officials earlier this week.
Iranian And Russian Hackers Targeting Politicians And Journalists, Warn UK Officials | BBC
Iranian and Russian hackers are targeting British politicians and journalists with espionage attacks, officials have warned. The National Cyber Security Centre has issued a fresh alert about increasing attempts to steal information from specific groups and individuals. NCSC said the hackers usually target those doing research and work about Iran and Russia.
Inside the Clandestine Efforts to Smuggle Starlink Internet Into Iran | TIME
Somehow, the satellite dish arrived in its original packaging, a gray cardboard box clearly labeled “STARLINK,” handed over in broad daylight in the middle of Tehran. “As if Elon Musk himself is delivering to me,” Reza, the young Iranian who accepted the package, recalls with a laugh. He took the delivery not from Musk, who owns the satellite internet company, but from a visibly nervous and irate professional smuggler. The man wanted the $300 he’d been promised, and an explanation for the device he’d just risked his life sneaking into the Islamic Republic. “They kept me like five hours at the border for that,” the smuggler said, gesturing at the box.