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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.  

EU

Nine EU-supported films compete in the 2021 Berlin International Film Festival

EU Reporter Correspondent

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The 71st Berlin International Film Festival began on 1 March, this year in its digital edition due to the coronavirus pandemicnine EU-supported films and series, three of which are competing for the highest prize, the Golden Bear: Memory Box by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Nebenan (Next Door) by Daniel Brühl, and Természetes fény (Natural Light) by Dénes Nagy. The EU supported the development and co-production of these nine titles with an investment of over €750 000 that was awarded through the Creative Europe MEDIA programme. Targeted to film professionals and media, the Berlinale film festival is hosting the European Film Market, where the Creative Europe MEDIA programme is active with a virtual stand as well as with the European Film Forum. The Forum that will take place online on 2 March will gather various professionals from the industry to discuss the future perspectives for the audiovisual sector in Europe. The Berlinale will run until 5 March, when the winning films will be announced. The second round of this year's festival, ‘The Summer Special', will take place in June 2021 and will open the films to the public and host the official Award Ceremony. More information is available here.

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EU

Yemen: €95 million in EU humanitarian aid for people threatened by conflict and famine

EU Reporter Correspondent

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The European Commission is allocating €95 million in humanitarian support to address the most pressing needs of people in Yemen amid record highs of child malnutrition, an imminent threat of famine and renewed fighting. More than 2 million children as well as over 1 million pregnant women and mothers are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021, while escalating hostilities are forcing thousands of families to leave their households.

The new funding was announced by the Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič, at the high-level pledging event for Yemen on 1 March co-hosted by the United Nations, Sweden and Switzerland. Commissioner Lenarčič said: "The EU does not forget the dire situation of people in Yemen who are once again on the brink of famine after bearing the brunt of the world's worst humanitarian crisis. New EU funding will be essential in maintaining life-saving aid for millions of people, exhausted  after a disastrous year marked by fighting, COVID-19 and further economic collapse. Parties to the conflict need to facilitate the access of humanitarian organisations to those most in need and avoid further civilian suffering. Now more than ever it is crucial that International Humanitarian Law and unrestricted access to those in need are upheld.”

In 2021, EU humanitarian aid will continue to provide food, nutrition and healthcare, financial assistance, water and sanitation, education and other lifesaving support to the conflict-displaced and those in severe need. The press release is available online.

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coronavirus

EU co-ordinating the urgent delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to Moldova

EU Reporter Correspondent

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A consignment of 21,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccines has been delivered to Moldova from Romania to support the country's response to the pandemic. This delivery follows Moldova's request for vaccines through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, to which Romania has responded rapidly with this offer.

Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič said: “I thank Romania for its generous and rapid offer to Moldova. The EU Civil Protection Mechanism continues to facilitate solidarity during the current pandemic. It is only through cooperation and mutual support, within the EU and also outside, that we can have an effective response to COVID-19. Supporting vaccination globally is essential for containing the COVID-19 pandemic: no country in the world will be safe until everyone is safe.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Moldova has already received a range of other offers co-ordinated through the Mechanism:

  • 8 million items including surgical masks, FFP3 masks, protective suits and gloves offered by  Romania;
  • 55 ventilators and 405,000 items of surgical masks, protective gloves and protective suits sent by Czechia;
  • almost 57,000 items of protective face shields and disinfectant liquid made available by Poland, and;
  • more than 6,000 items of examination gloves, hand disinfectant and blankets offered by Austria.

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism has co-ordinated and co-financed the delivery of over 15 million items of assistance to 30 countries to support their COVID-19 response, be it personal protective equipment, ventilators, the reinforcement of medical staff, or, more recently, vaccines. The first vaccine delivery under the mechanism was facilitated last week, when the Netherlands sent 38,610 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, together with other vaccination tools, such as syringes and needles, to the three Caribbean islands of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint-Maarten in response to their request for support.

In addition to the co-ordination of requests and offers made through the Mechanism, the EU also finances up to 75 % of the costs for transporting the assistance.

Background

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism is one of the tools that has been instrumental in providing support to countries requesting assistance during the coronavirus pandemic. Through the Mechanism, the EU is helping coordinate and finance the delivery of medical  and protective equipment and material across Europe and the world, to countries that seek assistance.

In addition, the EU's rescEU medical reserve and the Emergency Support Instrument (ESI) have provided additional key support to member states' health response to the pandemic.

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