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Death is 'Ayatollah’s trade'

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The US and EU always look for a common ground of interests towards Iran, in order to negotiate with mullahs. The nuclear programme and Iran’s interference in the region have been two main issues over recent decades. However, every deal with the Iranian regime, JCPOA on the top of them, has failed to live long because of the irresponsible behavior of the Iranian regime. In fact, Iran fails to follow international norms and regulations, writes Ali Bagheri.

But, why does Iran fail to stay in the framework of the international community despite a strong enthusiasm by EU and US towards Iran? The missed factor in EU and US negotiations with Iran is the massive human rights violation by mullahs. All international commitments of the Iranian regime are valid until they can freely oppress the Iranian people.

Therefore, the crisis explodes when the people of Iran organizes nationwide uprisings such as in November 2019, when the Iranian regime had to kill 1500 peaceful protesters in streets. Uprisings in Iran which all is some how conducted to regime change is the moment that makes an international solidarity with Iranians against the clerics in Tehran. This is simply because EU countries same as U.S. got to this conclusion that death is the trade that the Ayatollah wants.

First Curtain: Iranian Protesters since 2017 uprising are under torture and Execution

On 2 September 2020, Amnesty International released a report about massive human rights violations against detainees of 2019 uprising in Iran. The report, entitled Iran: Trampling Humanity – Mass arrests, Disappearances and Torture Since Iran’s 2019 November Protests sheds lights on the unhuman behavior of guards in Iran towards detainees in Iran. Tortures such as: Electric chair, sexual violence against male detainees, blindfolded, flogging, beating with rubber hosepipes, knives, batons and cables, suspended or forced into holding painful stress positions for prolonged periods, deprived of sufficient food and potable water, placed in prolonged solitary confinement, and denied medical care for injuries sustained during the protests or as a result of torture are mentioned in amnesty report that reminds dark age prisons in Europe. Moreover, minorities (11-17) were tortured too.

Torture was used to punish, intimidate and humiliate detainees and also force them to confess against themselves.

The report raised international concerns about human rights violations in Iran. Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Ann Linde expressed her concerns in a tweet stating “Today’s report by Amnesty paints a grim picture of serious human rights violations in Iran following the 2019 protests.” Amnesty Belgium, USA, Spain and Austria condemned the Iranian regime and expressed their concerns regarding the torture in Iran’s prisons.

Unfortunately, the story does not end here. The Iranian regime has a horrible record of execution and force disappearance of dissident prisoners. Recently, Navid Afkari who is an Iranian athlete was sentenced to death for his participation in peaceful protests in 2018 uprisings in Shiraz. This decree received a large opposition in Iran and around the world. Some of the Iranian athletes and many famous athletes from Dana White, the UFC president to wrestlers from all around the world condemned this decree.

In an initiative by Iranian National Sports Champions, members of the National Council of Resistance (NCRI) of Iran 48 Iranian sports champions write to the UN Secretary-General, the International Olympic Committee President demanding their urgent intervention to stop the execution of wrestling champion Navid Afkari.

Second Curtain: Human rights violations history as long as the establishment of Islamic Republic including the tragic 1988 massacre

The tragic stories of Navid and all other detainees are not new phenomena in Iran. In fact, the new wave of execution and torture in Iran is the continuation of early martyrs in Iran after 1979 anti-monarchy revolution. This list can be continued to the early days of the establishment of Islamic Republic in Iran. The main question in front of Iranians is not how many people has been tortured or executed by the Iranian regime anymore. The question is who has left? From Writers, to intellectuals, to human rights activists, personalities, to every member of the opposition is in the Iranian regime’s death list.

When the Iranian regime is in a crippling situation, Ayatollah does not hesitate to exterminate whom are not in his favor. Let’s back to 1988. The Iranian regime was in a critical situation. Iran could not continue the war with Iraq anymore. Regime should respond to the society about the people who has been killed in a war that could end 7 years ago. Ayatollah chose the easy way.

More than 30,000 political prisoners, mostly MEK/PMOI supporters, were executed in a few months. They were buried in mass graves and their families were kept uninformed until today. Experts believe brining Massacre 1988 issue on UN General Assembly and keeping the Iranian regime accountable for this crime is the key step to bring criminals to justice. Many of present Iranian officials including present head of judiciary and the minister of Justice have been among death committee members who must be kept accountable.

Last curtain: Coronavirus a silent death in Iranian regime agenda

The Iranian regime recognizes no limits to kill activists, protesters, and opposition members inside and outside the country. However, the Iranian regime does not need opposition to kill and torture them. This regime cannot behave as a normal state, because in its nature it is against the people and civilized society. Therefore, everything can be used as a mean to suppress the people and disperse the society. According to MEK, Iranian opposition group, almost 100,000 have died because of Coronavirus. Many experts inside and outside the country believe the official numbers in Iran is largely underestimated. In order to approximate the epidemic scope in Iran, the key points from Iranian regime officials must be excluded, e.g. Hassan Rouhani, the president of Islamic Republic, in his speech during the Coronavirus task force committee stated that around 25-30 million of Iranians are contaminated.

The coronavirus crisis in Iran should not be compared with the situation in other countries. In Iran, the regime and the virus are on one side and the people are on the other side. In March, Khamenei openly said that he sought to create an opportunity and a blessing out of the coronavirus crisis. He and his president, Hassan Rouhani, pursued the strategy of colossal human fatalities as a barrier against the threat of an uprising and eventual overthrow and to pacify and demoralize the Iranian society, rendering it hopeless and paralyzed.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Islamic republic, has not participated in any public meeting in the past 6 months. The president of Iran always gives a speech in the first day of the school year. This year, although the schools has started as usual, but the president sent a message from his office claiming everything is normal. In some schools, ambulances were seen taking sick students to hospitals.

As it can be seen above, any crisis for the Iranian regime is paid back with blood. When they fail to continue the war, they massacre political prisoners. When they fail to solve economic problems, they massacre people in streets. When they fail to retaliate the elimination of Qassim Soleimani, they shoot down a civilian airliner with 176 innocent passengers.

Finally, when they feel a set of domestic and international crisis that can impact their sovereignty, they leave people unprotected against Coronavirus and by adopting confusing policies bring death to more and more people. In conclusion, death is Ayatollah’s trade and the only task that Ayatollah can accomplish. On the other hand, last solution to end this trade is on the people of Iran to get organized, uprise, and overthrow the regime by themselves and their resistance. When this moment arrives, the international community will support. The moment that Iranians stand, the world will stand with them.

Ali Bagheri PhD is an energy engineer,  from the University of Mons. He is an Iranian activist and an advocate for human rights and democracy in Iran.  

coronavirus

EAPM and ESMO bring innovations to health policymakers

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For the eighth year in succession, the European Alliance for Personalised Medicine (EAPM) has held a high-level conference series alongside the annual ESMO Congress, writes EAPM Executive Director Denis Horgan.

The EAPM conference was opened with the announcement that the following article was published and contributed to by more than 40 experts across the EU on how to bring Greater Accuracy to Europe’s Healthcare Systems: The Unexploited Potential of Biomarker Testing in Oncology.  Please click here to have access.

Sessions include: Session I: Tumor Agnostic, Session II: Biomarkers and Molecular Diagnostics, and Session III: Utilising Real-World Evidence in a health-care setting.  The conference runs from 08.00 – 16.00. Here is the link to the agenda. The conference aims to bring  key recommendations to the EU level, so as to shape the EU Beating Cancer Plan, EU health Data Space, the updating EU Pharmaceutical Strategy as well as the EU Health Union. 

The conference is held following the first State of the Union address by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday (16 September) – in her first annual address, von der Leyen said the coronavirus pandemic had underlined the need for closer cooperation, stressing that people were “still suffering”.

For me, it is crystal clear – we need to build a stronger European Health Union,” she said. “And we need to strengthen our crisis preparedness and management of cross-border health threats.” Von der Leyen said her commission would try to reinforce the European Medicines Agency and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

And she also raised the importance of the European Beating Cancer Plan as well as European Health Data Space. “This will show Europeans that our Union is there to protect all,” she said.

Fabrice Barlesi, medical director of Gustave Roussy, said: “RCTs are no longer the way to go. A way ahead could be EU support for trialing a new drug and delivering data to a centralised registry, which could give good consolidated data from across Europe.”

Divided into three sessions, the EAPM conference at the ESMO Congress, as mentioned,  dealt with such diverse issues as tumour agnostics, biomarkers and molecular diagnostics and real-world evidence in a health-care setting. Concerning cancer, specifically tumours, the congress stated that  tissue-agnostic cancer drugs are antineoplastic medicines that treat cancers based on the mutations that they display, instead of the tissue type in which they appear.

These drugs include, for example, Entrectinib, Pembrolizumab and Larotrectinib. Former Spanish health minister and MEP Dolors Moseratt highlighted her support for the work of EAPM and looks forward to getting the recommendations of the outcomes from the conference.  “The European added value of health is obvious. It would avoid duplication and enable a better allocation of resources. And it will minimize the risk of fragmented access to therapy across member states.”

And the EAPM conference is at pains to seek the best ways forward for the implementation of Real-World Evidence (RWE) into health care in Europe – looking to find consensus with key decision makers, including at member state level, not least with representatives in the European Parliament, on how to proceed in this area. RWE for health care is a simple concept – harnessing various health data in real time to help make faster and better medical decisions.

Real-World Evidence is an umbrella term for different types of health-care data that are not collected in conventional randomised controlled trials, including patient data, data from clinicians, hospital data, data from payers and social data.

Rosa Giuliani, consultant in medical oncology at the Clatterbridge Cancer Center, said: “Key elements to advance the use of TACs is to conduct dialogue that transcends silos, and to explore re-engineering of the development pathway.” And, as far as biomarkers and molecular diagnostics are concerned, a lot has been said about testing, and often the lack of it, in terms of the COVID-19 outbreak, with different countries adopting different strategies and, also, having different resources when it comes to acquiring necessary kits.

The key focus in the ESMO session was on better and more equitable access to biomarkers and molecular diagnostics across Europe.  This is a must, but, as the attendees acknowledged, we’re a long way short of it. Access to personalised medicine and new diagnostic technologies can help resolve many inefficiencies, such as trial-and-error dosing, the potential for increased hospitalisation time due to adverse drug reactions and the problem of late diagnoses. It may also enhance the effectiveness of therapies through better tailored treatment administration.

In conclusion for the morning session, Giuseppe Curigliano, associate professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Milano, and head of the division of Early Drug Development, at the European Institute of Oncology said: “A real challenge to overcome is the different endpoints between investigators and payers. Policy frameworks and co-operation is essential.” The session in the afternoon will focus on utilizing real-world evidence in a health-care setting.

A report will be available next week. 

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EU's Barnier still hopes trade deal with Britain possible, sources say

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The European Union’s Brexit negotiator told the bloc’s 27 national envoys to Brussels that he still hoped a trade deal with Britain was possible, stressing that the coming days would be decisive, diplomatic sources with the bloc told Reuters, write and

Michel Barnier addressed the gathering on Wednesday (16 September) and the three sources either participated in the discussion behind closed doors or were briefed on its content.

“Barnier still believes a deal is possible though the next days are key,” said one of the EU diplomatic sources.

A second diplomat, asked what Barnier said on Wednesday and whether there was still a chance for a new agreement with the UK, said: “The hope is still there.”

The first source said tentative concessions offered by the UK on fisheries - a key point of discord that has so far prevented agreement on a new EU-UK trade deal to kick in from 2021 - were “a glimmer of hope”.

Reuters reported exclusively on Tuesday (15 September) that Britain has moved to break the deadlock despite that fact that publicly London has been threatening to breach the terms of its earlier divorce deal with the bloc.

A third source, a senior EU diplomat, confirmed the UK offer but stressed it was not going far enough for the bloc to accept.

Brexit talks descended into fresh turmoil this month over Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plans to pass new domestic laws that would undercut London’s earlier EU divorce deal, which is also aimed at protecting peace on the island of Ireland.

US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden warned Britain that it must honour the Northern Irish peace deal as it extracts itself from the EU or there would be no US trade deal for the United Kingdom.

The third EU source, who spoke under condition of anonymity, said that the bloc would take a more rigid line in demanding a solid dispute settlement mechanism in any new UK trade deal should Johnson press ahead with the Internal Market Bill.

“There is unease about what Britain is doing but Barnier has stressed he will keep negotiating until his last breath,” said a fourth EU diplomat, highlighting the bloc’s wariness about being assigned blame should the troubled process eventually fail.

Asked about an estimate by Societe Generale bank, which put at 80% the probability of the most damaging economic split at the end of the year without a new deal to carry forward trade and business ties between the EU and the UK, the person said:

“I would put it around the same mark.”

Barnier is due to meet his UK counterpart, David Frost, around 1400 GMT in Brussels on Thursday.

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Brexit

Biden warns UK on #Brexit - No trade deal unless you respect Northern Irish peace deal

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US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden warned the United Kingdom that it must honour the Northern Irish peace deal as it extracts itself from the European Union or there would be no US trade deal, write and

“We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit,” Biden said in a tweet.

“Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.”

Johnson unveiled legislation that would break parts of the Brexit divorce treaty relating to Northern Ireland, blaming the EU for putting a revolver on the table in trade talks and trying to divide up the United Kingdom.

He says the United Kingdom has to have the ability to break parts of the 2020 Brexit treaty he signed to uphold London’s commitments under the 1998 peace deal which ended three decades of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland between pro-British Protestant unionists and Irish Catholic nationalists.

The EU says any breach of the Brexit treaty could sink trade talks, propel the United Kingdom towards a messy exit when it finally leaves informal membership at the end of the year and thus complicate the border between Northern Ireland and EU-member Ireland.

The EU’s Brexit negotiator told the bloc’s 27 national envoys that he still hoped a trade deal with Britain was possible, stressing that the coming days would be decisive, three diplomatic sources told Reuters.

Michel Barnier addressed the gathering on Wednesday and the three sources either participated in the discussion behind closed doors or were briefed on its content.

“Barnier still believes a deal is possible though the next days are key,” said one of the EU diplomatic sources.

Johnson told The Sun that the EU was being “abusive” to Britain and risking four decades of partnership.

He said the UK must “ring-fence” the Brexit deal “to put in watertight bulkheads that will stop friends and partners making abusive or extreme interpretations of the provisions.”

Societe Generale analysts said on Thursday they now see an 80% chance that Britain and the EU will fail to strike a trade deal before the end of the year.

Biden, who has talked about the importance of his Irish heritage, retweeted a letter from Eliot Engel, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives, to Johnson calling on the British leader to honour the 1998 Good Friday peace deal.

Engel urged Johnson to “abandon any and all legally questionable and unfair efforts to flout the Northern Ireland protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

He called on Johnson to “ensure that Brexit negotiations do not undermine the decades of progress to bring peace to Northern Ireland and future options for the bilateral relationship between our two countries.”

Engel said Congress would not support a free trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom if Britain failed to uphold its commitments with Northern Ireland.

The letter was signed by Representatives Richard Neal, William Keating and Peter King.

Johnson is pushing ahead with his plan.

His government reached a deal on Wednesday (16 September) to avert a rebellion in his own party, giving parliament a say over the use of post-Brexit powers within its proposed Internal Market Bill that breaks international law.

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