UK Urged To Sanction Iranian Officials On Anniversary Of Zaghari-Ratcliffe Release | The Guardian
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and her legal advisers have marked the first anniversary of her release from an Iranian jail by urging Britain to sanction 10 Iranian officials they say are responsible for a resurgence in state hostage-taking of foreign nationals. Since her release, the Ratcliffe family have combined a search for normality with a determination to campaign for dual national and political prisoners detained in Iran. Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, accused the UK government of soft pedalling on Iran’s treatment of hostages since her release, while MPs on the foreign affairs select committee, faced with evidence of chaotic Whitehall handling of the negotiations for her release, favour a special envoy for hostages to be appointed to handle these crises in future.
Iran Cashed in During Biden's First Year in Office | Washington Free Beacon
President Joe Biden's lax sanctions enforcement during his first year in office allowed $23 billion to flow into Iran's coffers, even as the country armed the Taliban, attacked U.S. forces in the Middle East, and financed terror plots across five continents, according to a State Department report. Iran’s illicit oil trade with China jumped from just $6.6 billion in 2020 to more than $23 billion in 2021, according to data from United Against a Nuclear Iran, when Biden took office and stopped enforcing sanctions on Iran’s oil trade with China. The decision to halt sanctions came as part of the administration's bid to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, which has not been successful. The State Department’s 2021 global terrorism report, the latest version publicly available, provides a clear account of Iran’s growing terrorism activities during the Biden administration’s first year in office.
Iranian Nobel Winner Urges EU 'Not To Give In' To Iran | AFP
Nobel Peace Prize-winning Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi on Wednesday urged the EU to maintain pressure on the authorities in Tehran over human rights violations. "Subordinate aid to Iran, contracts with Iran, and treaties with Iran to respecting international norms, otherwise the money will not benefit the Iranian people at all," the activist said in a speech to the European Parliament. Ebadi -- who won the Nobel Prize in 2003 and now lives in exile outside Iran -- insisted that "sanctions work" against the authorities in Tehran. "Do not give in to this regime," she told EU legislators. The European Union has imposed multiple rounds of sanctions on Iranian officials for their fierce crackdown on protests over the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.
UANI IN THE NEWS
World Powers Have Spent Years Trying To Save The JCPOA. That’s More Time Than It Was Fully Implemented And Why They Need A Reset | UANI Policy Director Jason Brodsky For The Atlantic Council
In February 2022, only days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivered a speech saying the world was “living through a Zeitenwende,” or a watershed moment in history. The tectonic plates of the existing geopolitical order have been shifting ever since. World powers tried in vain to insulate the Iran nuclear file from those headwinds—finding comfort in the precedent of 2014, when Russia invaded Crimea and the Iran nuclear talks still produced a result—but it didn’t work. Since September 2022, negotiations with Tehran have remained on ice. Thus, the United States and its European allies should also recognize the moment as a Zeitenwende with respect to the Islamic Republic. But this doesn’t have to be a negative, as it represents an opportunity to reset transatlantic Iran policy more sustainably.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Iran Politician Suggests Former Nuclear Negotiator Should Be Reinstated | Iran International
An Iranian politician has suggested to reinstate former chief nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi to discuss the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal with the United States. Mansoor Haqiqatpoor also suggested that "radical elements" should no longer be on the negotiating team. "I hope the radicals' power in Iran will be reduced. I guess [President Ebrahim] Raisi has realized how radicals can do harm to Iran's foreign policy. They have prevented the talks from being fruitful."Speaking to conservative Nameh News website, Haqiqatpoor said, "I hope the officials have realized that radicals should not be put in charge of decision-making as they will push Iran into international isolation." He added that the negotiations can lead to positive results if Iran’s team changes its approach. I suggest that even if Araqchi is not put in charge of the negotiating team, he should at least be an adviser to the team."
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
Pahlavi Calls For 'Maximum Support' By US And EU For Secular Rule In Iran | Iran International
Iran’s exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi addressed lobbyists in the US this week calling for bipartisan support in the US and Europe to achieve a secular Iran. Speaking at an event held by the National Union for Democracy in Iran (NUFDI) trying to engage “maximum support” for the anti-regime protests in Iran, he criticized current US foreign policy. All measures, he said, including sanctions, taken to contain the Islamic regime in Iran “is based on a false premise and expectation which was behavior change.” “Expecting them to change their behavior is such a waste of time,” he added. Pahlavi reiterated that talks and deals with the Islamic Republic are fruitless because “this regime has proven that its DNA, its reason to exist has nothing to do with the national interests of the country and its people; they’re there only to export their ideology at the expense of the Iranian people.” “For them to succeed, the rest of the world has to fail,” he said, explaining the mentality of the regime.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
Iran: Child Detainees Subjected To Flogging, Electric Shocks And Sexual Violence In Brutal Protest Crackdown | Amnesty International
Iran’s intelligence and security forces have been committing horrific acts of torture, including beatings, flogging, electric shocks, rape and other sexual violence against child protesters as young as 12 to quell their involvement in nationwide protests, said Amnesty International today.Marking six months of the unprecedented popular uprising in Iran, sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, Amnesty International reveals the violence meted out to children arrested during and in the aftermath of protests. The research exposes the torture methods that the Revolutionary Guards, the paramilitary Basij, the Public Security Police and other security and intelligence forces used against boys and girls in custody to punish and humiliate them and to extract forced “confessions.”
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Once Firmly Against Emigration, Some Iranians Are Pushing Their Children To Flee | Los Angeles Times
Lida never wanted her children to leave Iran. Even as the 52-year-old retired schoolteacher watched the country’s moribund economic prospects spur more and more young people to leave, she still hoped to spend her retirement years with her son and daughter as they finished their education, got married and started families of their own. But between Tehran’s brutal clampdown on anti-government protests and a sanctions-crippled economy that continues to crater, she now feels she has little option but to help her children escape the country “What if my son is killed in the protests like the others? What if my daughter was arrested? I now have nightmares thinking about them staying,” said Lida, who, like others interviewed, gave only her first name to avoid reprisals.
IRANIAN REGIONAL AGGRESSION
Tensions Mount Between Azerbaijan And Iran | Oil Price
Azerbaijan's strained relations with Iran aren't getting any better. Baku has sent two protest notes to Tehran in recent days. On March 11, Azerbaijan's foreign and defense ministries said in a joint statement that a military aircraft belonging to Iran flew non-stop along much of the length of the Azerbaijan-Iran state border from the direction of Zangilan district to Bilasuvar district and back. The route included several districts that Azerbaijan retook from Armenian forces in the 2020 Second Karabakh War. "Contrary to the internationally accepted practice of warning the neighboring country in advance about approaching military aircraft to the state border, such a close proximity of a military aircraft of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the state border between the two countries and flying over the border line threatens the safety of civil aviation, and further deteriorates bilateral relations," the English statement read.
IRAQ & IRAN
Iranian Meddling In Iraq’s Affairs Is An ‘Exaggeration’, Says Premier Al-Sudani | Kurdistan24
The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mohammad Shia’ Al-Sudani, on Wednesday described Iranian interference in Baghdad’s affairs as an “exaggeration,” saying the country maintains its independence and rejects any meddling. Al-Sudani’s remarks came during a conversation moderated by The New York Times reporter, Jane Arraf, at the 7th Suli Forum held at the American University of Iraq Sulaimani (AUIS). Numerous top officials from Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, as well as western academia, and journalists participated at this year’s event.“There is exaggeration about Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs. Sometimes it is assumed that neither Iraq nor its institutions, politicians, or patriots respect it’s sovereign independence,” Al-Sudani said in response to Arraf’s question whether the Iranian-backed militia groups accept the ongoing presence of non-combatant US forces in Iraq.