Category Archives: Hassan Rowhani

Iran: John Kerry mourns death of terrorist president’s mommy

john kerry

By David McCabe

Secretary of State John Kerry mourned the death of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s mother on Wednesday as U.S. negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program enter their final weeks.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Dr. Hassan Rouhani and his family on the passing of his mother, Mrs. Sakineh Peivandi,” he said in a statement. “Such a loss is especially hard coming on the eve of Nowruz, traditionally a time when families gather together in joy and hope.”

“We share in his grief and that of his brother, Presidential Special Advisor Hossein Fereydoun, who has been participating in the talks in Lausanne, and we keep their family in our thoughts,” he added.Nowruz is the Persian New Year and is celebrated by people around the world. President Obama issued a Nowruz greeting on Thursday where he said that the nuclear talks represented “the best opportunity in decades to pursue a different future between our countries.” The White House also held a Nowruz event last weekend.

The outreach efforts come at a critical time in the nuclear talks. Negotiators in Switzerland have until the end of the month to meet a self-imposed deadline to determine a framework for a nuclear deal.

Though administration officials have said they do not want to extend the talks, Kerry indicated that an extension might be feasible if the countries had determined the outlines of an accord. On Thursday, The Associated Press reported that a draft of the deal requires Iran to limit the number of centrifuges it has to 6,000.

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Iran Operating Top Secret ‘Parallel Nuclear Program’

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An Iranian dissident group known for exposing key aspects of Iran’s secret nuclear work claims it now has evidence of “an active and secret parallel nuclear program” operated by Tehran.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), also known as the MEK, said in a report released Tuesday it has found concrete evidence of an “underground top-secret site currently used by the Iranian regime for research and development with advanced centrifuges for uranium enrichment,” according to a copy of the findings.

The NCRI, an Iranian opposition group, is known for making big reveals about clandestine nuclear work in Tehran, though its findings have been disputed in the past.

In its latest report, which comes as nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West hit a critical juncture, the NCRI presents evidence of a clandestine nuclear site in Tehran that has continued to perform advanced nuclear research in the enrichment of uranium, the key component in a bomb.

The NCRI claims to have found over a decade-long investigation that the secret military site has been covered up by Tehran under the guise of an Intelligence Ministry center, according to the report.

While the information could not be independently verified, the NCRI claims to have vetted and corroborated the information with multiple sources over many years.

“Despite the Iranian regime’s claims that all of its enrichment activities are transparent and under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it has in fact been engaged in research and development with advanced centrifuges at a secret nuclear site called Lavizan-3, in a military base in northeast Tehran suburbs,” the report concludes.

The site has operated in secret since at least 2008. Iranian regime scientists have used it to conduct critical research into uranium using highly advanced centrifuges that more quickly enrich the substance to levels necessary for a nuclear weapon, according to the findings.

The Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) is said to be “directly responsible” for guarding the underground site and preventing it from being detected by Western inspectors.

Part of the key concern among critics of the Obama administration’s diplomacy with Iran is that the regime has a history of obfuscating its nuclear program. Many of the research sites have not been fully acknowledged by Tehran, leading some to suspect that even under a nuclear deal, Iran could continue to pursue its controversial work in secret.

The NCRI claims the site is located in the suburbs of Tehran, deep underground and only accessible by an elevator leading to an underground tunnel.

“The underground facilities are dual-layered to prevent radiation and sound leaks,” according to the report.

The NCRI said the site provides firm proof that while negotiators are working to hammer a deal, Tehran’s nuclear work continues unabated.

“Research and development with advanced centrifuges in highly secret sites are only intended to advance the nuclear weapons project,” the report states. “While the regime deceived the world into believing that it had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, it had been in fact heavily involved in excavating tunnels and preparing this nuclear site from 2004 to 2008.”

The dissident organization is urging the United States to make any further talks contingent on Iran admitting to the site and permitting the entry of inspectors.

“If the United States is serious about preventing the Iranian regime from obtaining nuclear weapons, it must make the continuation of the talks predicated on the IAEA’s immediate inspection of the Lavizan-3 site,” it states.

The NCRI’s report was released at a critical time in the Obama administration’s diplomacy with Iran.

Reports emerged earlier this week that the United States is considering allowing Iran to retain the majority of its nuclear infrastructure under a final deal.

The deal is shaping up to be a two-phased agreement, according to the Associated Press. This means Tehran would be subject to restrictions on its work for around a decade before they are lifted.

The NCRI maintains that the Iranian regime cannot be trusted to negotiate in good faith.

“The notion that the mullahs will abandon their nuclear weapons program [through] nuclear talks is a misguided narrative, which is the byproduct of the mullahs’ duplicity and western economic and political expediency,” it states in the report.

The White House, State Department, and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) received copies of the report several hours before it was made public to reporters.

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Iran Has Executed 529 People in 2013

More than 300 killed since ‘moderate’ Rouhani took office

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Iran has executed 529 people this year, including more than 300 since President Hassan Rouhani assumed office in August, according to a tally compiled by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC).

The number of executions have significantly spiked since Rouhani took office, leading some to argue that this clashes with his image as a moderate reformer.

Iran now has the dubious honor of being the global leader per capita in executions, according to the IHRDC.

The sharp spike in killing has prompted criticism from some observers who say that the United States and other Western nations are ignoring Tehran’s massive human rights infractions in order to facilitate Iran’s approval of a final nuclear accord.

“Under the shadow of negotiations, however, Iran’s appalling human rights situation has hardly changed,” Iranian activists Payam Akhavan and Shirin Ebadi wrote in a recent Washington Post op-ed.

Executions have actually increased as Tehran engages in talks with the West, according to Akhavan and Ebadi.

Many of those executed by Iran, mainly by hanging, were accused of being a “Moharebeh,” or one who is designated as “waging war against God” under Islamic law.

Many others were hung in secrecy and after being convicted of crimes during closed trials that human rights observers classified as unfair and lacking in international standards.

However, others maintain that the spike is a result of internal divisions and power struggles between Iran’s so-called moderate wing and its more hardline judiciary.

The execution figures are compiled from both official and unofficial reports in the Iranian media and elsewhere. The Iranian government has officially acknowledged at least 400 executions in 2013.

The White House admits that human rights issues are not being discussed during the nuclear negotiations.

“As we have consistently made clear, the P5+1 negotiations with Iran have focused exclusively on the nuclear issue,” a senior Obama administration official told the Washington Free Beacon. “It is important to note that progress on the nuclear issue does not change our resolve in pushing back against Iranian support for terrorism, threats against our friends and partners, and violations of human rights.”

Iranian officials and others have said that the United States unsuccessfully attempted to broach human rights and other issues during the talks.

“The Americans asked to open other files during the nuclear negotiation, but the Iranians insisted on limiting the debate,” Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah was quoted as saying earlier this month.

An Iranian official made similar claims to al-Monitor.

“Iran knows what it wants, and that’s what we are after,” an anonymous Iranian official was quoted as saying.

“The Syrian crisis wasn’t at the heart of the negotiations, but it was discussed thoroughly during side talks,” the source reportedly said. “Moreover, there was an American request that we discuss possible options whenever the nuclear deal is sealed, and that’s why some regional powers asked the French to put their spanners [wrench] into the talks, and here we are.”

Iran has long been a global leader in executions and political imprisonment.

Many of those executed are drug dealers and traffickers who have been arrested and imprisoned on charges that do not adhere to international judicial standards.

Most of these Iranian drug convicts are killed publicly, often by hanging from a crane.

Another four political prisoners from the ethnic minority Ahwazi Arab population were executed under questionable circumstances last week after facing torture, imprisonment, and secret trials that activists criticized as unfair.

Former Pentagon adviser Michael Rubin said that Iran’s moderate outreach is often paired with a domestic crackdown.

“It’s a common pattern: Iran always couples external outreach with increasing repression at home,” said Rubin, author of Dancing with the Devil: The Perils of Engaging Rogue Regimes.

“Basically, the ayatollahs are telling their people: ‘Make no mistake. Our moderation is for external consumption only. And to make sure you understand that, we are going to ramp up executions,’” Rubin said.