Khordad 7 1399 - May 27 2020
Iran's president pushes for harsher laws on honor killings

Iran's president urged his Cabinet on Wednesday to speed up harsher laws in so-called honor killings, after a particularly disturbing slaying of a 14-year-old girl by her father shocked the nation. President Hassan Rouhani pushed for speedy adoption of relevant bills, some which have apparently shuttled for years among various decision-making bodies in Iran. 5/27/20

Detained Iranian Lawyer's Husband Criticizes Iran's Refusal to Furlough Her

The husband of one of Iran's most prominent jailed dissidents has strongly criticized authorities for not furloughing her from a coronavirus-plagued prison where he says her health is in danger. In a Thursday phone interview with VOA Persian from Tehran, Reza Khandan faulted the Iranian government for temporarily freeing thousands of common criminals from jails since late February in part to protect them from the virus, while refusing to do the same for dissidents such as his wife, Nasrin Sotoudeh. -VOA 5/22/20

Iranian journalist Nejat Bahrami begins 1-year jail term

On May 5, Bahrami, a freelance columnist who has written for publications including the Iran Daily and Etemad newspapers and the weekly Tejarat-e Farda and Seda magazines, wrote on Twitter that he had received a written notice from the judiciary summoning him to prison within five days. -Committee to Protect Journalists 5/21/20

Iran: Details released of 304 deaths during protests six months after security forces' killing spree

Amnesty International has released details of the deaths of 304 men, women and children killed by Iran's security forces during last November's ruthless crackdown, six months after the protests. The organization found that more than 220 of the recorded deaths took place over just two days on 16 and 17 November. New and extensive research has again concluded that the security forces' use of lethal force against the vast majority of those killed was unlawful. 5/20/20

Iranian Parkour Athlete Reportedly Detained After Posting Romantic Instagram Photos

Iranian parkour athlete and photographer Alireza Japalaghy has been detained, his brother said on May 18. Japalaghy reportedly said in a video posted before his arrest that he had been summoned by security officials just days after he posted photos and a video where he was seen kissing an unidentified woman who was wearing a sports bra and shorts on a rooftop in the Iranian capital. 5/19/20

US sanctions make it harder to fight COVID-19

As the United States works to contain the catastrophic COVID-19 pandemic, resorting to extraordinary measures to limit health and economic damage to its own population, it should also suspend economic sanctions that are making it harder for some countries to fight COVID-19 and keep their citizens safe. -Hrair Balian, Responsible Statecraft 5/18/20

Iranian-French Academic Fariba Adelkhah Sentenced To Six Years In Prison In Iran

An Iranian court has sentenced a French-Iranian academic to six years in prison on security charges, her lawyer said. The lawyer for Fariba Adelkhah said on May 16 that his client was sentenced to five years for "colluding to commit acts against national security" and one year for "propaganda against the system." Her lawyer, Said Dehghan, said they would appeal the ruling. -RFE/RL 5/18/20

Sanctioning Pandemic-plagued Iran

Sanctions are the US government's go-to foreign-policy tool. Sanctions leverage the United States' economic might and dominance of the international financial system and, especially in contrast to military options, are deemed to be cost-free - cost-free for the US, that is. There are always unintended costs, however, on both sides. When sanctions are applied indiscriminately during a global pandemic, the costs spiral. This is clearly the case today with regard to the Trump administration's sanctions on Iran. -Mark Fitzpatrick, IISS 5/18/20

Afghan migrants: Unwanted in Iran and at home

Afghans routinely cross the border into Iran and are frequently caught and deported back into Afghanistan. They endure inhumane treatment from smugglers and often lose their savings in the process. In 2019, alone, a total of 451,073 Afghans returned from Iran-a big chunk of them forced through deportation. -Fatemeh Aman, Atlantic Council 5/15/20

Iranian journalist Hassan Fathi begins 1.5 year jail term over BBC interview

Iranian authorities should release journalist Hassan Fathi from prison and cease arbitrarily jailing members of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On May 6, Fathi, a freelance columnist and former editor of the Iranian daily Ettelaat, began an 18-month prison term in Tehran's Evin Prison after his appeal in a 2018 criminal case for speaking with the BBC Persian service was denied, according to a report by the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), a U.S.-based outlet that covers news in Iran. -CPJ 5/14/20

Human Rights Lawyer Sentenced to Prison Without Access to Counsel

Human rights attorney Payam Derafshan was denied access to counsel while being tried for the charge of "insulting the supreme leader," for which he was sentenced to two years imprisonment and suspended from practicing law for an additional two years. "The court did not allow his defense lawyers to be present at the trial," his lawyer, Saeed Dehghan, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 10, 2020. -CHRI 5/12/20

Iran Has Gotten Nothing from U.S. 'Humanitarian' Channel

The humanitarian banking channel set up by the Trump administration to get medicine and other supplies into Iran-a politically calculated show of compassion amid otherwise draconian U.S. sanctions-has not in fact processed any potentially life-saving transactions, the Swiss government confirmed to The Daily Beast. Knowledgeable observers say the way the channel is structured places substantial burdens in the way of companies looking to sell Iran humanitarian supplies. -Spencer Ackerman, Daily Beast 5/8/20

Sanctions make Iran's coronavirus crisis more deadly

The Trump administration, seemingly in denial about its own shambolic response to the crisis, tried to blame the pandemic's high toll in Iran on the incompetence and corruption of the Iranian government. The Iranian leadership indeed made some mistakes in its handling of this public health emergency, such as initially underestimating the threat posed by the virus and failing to close the country's borders in time. It is, however, impossible to claim that the Iranian government is solely responsible for the devastation the pandemic has caused in the country. -Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Al-Jazeera 5/8/20

As Iran Faces Virus, Trump Admin Fails to Use Swiss Channel to Ease Medical Exports

Just a few days after Iran announced its first deaths from COVID-19 in February, the Trump administration's Special Envoy for Iran Brian Hook was asked during a briefing for an update on the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), a payments channel intended to ease the sale of medicine and medical devices by Swiss companies to Iran. Hook acknowledged that no further transactions had been processed since a pilot transaction involving a $2.55 million sale of medication a month earlier, but insisted that there were "more transactions coming."Two months later, over 6,000 Iranians have lost their lives to COVID-19, and the Swiss channel has yet to process any further transactions. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj & Image of Sahil Shah, European Leadership Network 5/6/20

U.S. expected to deport Iranian professor acquitted of sanctions busting: officials

The United States is expected to deport Iranian professor Sirous Asgari, who was acquitted of stealing trade secrets, once he receives medical clearance to leave, U.S. and Iranian officials said on Tuesday. Asgari might be part of a rare prisoner swap between foes Iran and the United States. Iranian sources have told Reuters that Tehran is prepared to take part in a swap. -Reuters 5/6/20

More Than 12,000 Lawyers In Iran Reject Move To Dismantle Bar Association

More than 12,000 Iranian lawyers have protested to a draft bill that undermines their independence and in effect replaces the Iranian Bar Association with a group of judiciary officials appointed by the government. Based on the draft the Judiciary will form a new body named the "Supreme Council for the Coordination of Lawyers' Affairs" that will be based at the Judiciary branch of the government "to coordinate matters relating to attorneys." 5/4/20

Coronavirus-positive scientist to return home from U.S. jail: Tehran

Sirous Asgari, an Iranian scientist imprisoned in the United States who has contracted the novel coronavirus, will return home soon, according to Iran's Foreign Ministry. During a press conference on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said the ministry is following up on Asgari's case both in Iran and in the U.S. -Tehran Times 5/4/20

Afghanistan probes report Iran guards forced migrants into river

Afghanistan has begun retrieving bodies of Afghan migrants from a river in a western province after reports that Iranian border guards tortured and threw Afghans into the river to prevent their entry into Iran. Afghanistan's foreign ministry in a statement on Saturday said an inquiry had been launched -Al Jazeera 5/4/20

Jailed Activist's Son Threatened with Imprisonment to Silence Dissen

Amid a renewed crackdown on peaceful criticism of Iranian state policies, the son of imprisoned filmmaker and journalist Mohammad Nourizad is being arbitrarily prosecuted to "pressure" Nourizad to be silent, his wife told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "My son and other young people who expressed sympathy with the [Ukrainian plane] crash victims' families should be praised, not imprisoned," Nourizad's wife Fatemeh Maleki told CHRI. -CHRI 5/1/20

First the Muslim Ban, Now Coronavirus - Iranian Families Separated by One Trump Order After Another

THE SHAMELIS ARE an extraordinarily tight-knit Iranian family. Forty-year-old Amin, the eldest of five brothers, first arrived in California in 2003, and was followed slowly but surely by his parents and siblings. All of them, that is, except for Masoud, who for a decade now has been trying to join the rest of his family in the United States. The situation had been looking hopeful, until the global coronavirus pandemic and a couple strokes of the U.S. president's pen blew it all up. -Felipe De La Hoz, Intercept 4/30/20

Is Iran on the verge of collapse or a menace flush with cash? How hawks sell regime change using contradictory arguments

Iran's request for a $5 billion emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is revealing serious desperation, and not only on the part the Iranian government. Desperation is also apparent in the responses from the Trump administration and the regime change lobby in Washington led by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) as they try to block the loan. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Responsible Statecraft 4/29/20

Iranian scientist in US jail contracts coronavirus after pleading for release

An Iranian scientist who has been pleading for weeks to be released from a US immigration jail due to his fragile health has contracted Covid-19, according to his family and attorneys. Dr Sirous Asgari, a materials science and engineering professor who spoke out in March about the unsanitary and "inhumane" conditions in detention, was placed in an isolation cell this week inside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) jail in Louisiana. -Sam Levin, Guardian 4/29/20

Novelist Brother of "Iran's Bob Dylan" Loses Appeal Against Politically Motivated Prison Sentence

Iran's Appeals Court upheld a one-year prison sentence against novelist Hamid Namjoo for the content of his writings and because he published work abroad, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Namjoo's prison sentence includes a two-year ban on him travelling outside the country and bans him from joining political groups, according to his brother, Mohsen Namjoo, a prominent Iranian musician now based in the U.S. who was also mentioned in the verdict as a "fugitive dissident anti-revolutionary singer" and who was also previously sentenced to prison in Iran for his artistic work -CHRI 4/29/20

Iran Arrests Editor, Journalist Over Cartoon Mocking Khamenei

The editor in chief and a social-media administrator of Iran's semiofficial ILNA news agency were detained last week over a cartoon deemed insulting to the country's leadership. The cartoon, which appeared to mock Iran's highest authority, was reportedly removed from ILNA's Telegram channel shortly after being posted. 4/28/20

70+ Groups Demand Trump Immediately End US Sanctions Against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and Others During Covid-19 Crisis

Over 70 civil society groups representing more than 40 million people called on President Donald Trump Thursday to issue immediate sanctions relief for numerous countries-including Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea-for at least the duration of the coronavirus crisis which threatens to kill thousands in the hard-hit countries. The "urgent appeal" came in the form of an open letter sent by the groups to Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin calling for curtailing the sanctions regime for the duration of the pandemic. -Common Dreams 4/24/20

COVID-19 Poses Extreme Danger to Arbitrarily Jailed Conservationists, Dual Nationals

Iranian authorities should immediately provide hospital treatment for an arbitrarily imprisoned conservationist who reportedly has COVID-19 as well as test and ensure treatment for his fellow inmates, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "Iran's judiciary chief claims he has released thousands of prisoners yet those jailed on unfounded charges including prisoners of conscience and dual nationals remain in extreme danger of suffering irreparable harm from this virus," said CHRI Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi. -CHRI 4/24/20

In Iran, poverty and lack of internet make distance learning impossible

Iran, like many other countries hit by the Covid-19 outbreak, has closed schools and universities and prioritised online learning. But in a country where there is widespread poverty and some regions have no internet coverage at all, some students are locked out of virtual classrooms. A teacher who works in a poor neighbourhood in Iran told the FRANCE 24 Observers that he hasn't been able to get in contact with two-thirds of his students since schools closed. -Ershad Alijani, Observers 4/23/20

Iran Says 1,000 Foreign Prisoners Released Temporarily Due To Virus Outbreak

Iran says it has released temporarily more than 1,000 foreign prisoners due to the coronavirus outbreak, following criticism by UN human rights experts. "What Iran has done in guaranteeing prisoners' health and granting furlough to them is a significant move" compared with what other countries have done, said Gholamhossein Esmaili, a spokesman for the country's judiciary. -RFE/RL 4/22/20

Iran Extends Prisoner Furloughs Amid Coronavirus Threat

Iran's president said the country has extended furloughs for prisoners for another month as officials struggle to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. Hassan Rohani's announcement on April 19 followed an earlier decision to allow so-called low-risk businesses -- including many shops, factories, and workshops -- to resume operations in Tehran. 4/21/20

Iran's Nurses Are Martyrs to Trump's Maximum Pressure

Now, Iran's nurses-the majority of whom are women-are among those bearing the worst of the brunt of U.S. sanctions. Official death counts from the Iranian government aren't broken out by profession and are widely believed to understate coronavirus fatalities. A group of doctors in Iran that has been tracking the deaths of health care workers puts the number of nurses who have died at at least 15 between late February and mid April, but even that almost certainly underestimates the toll as health workers have reportedly been instructed by government officials not to reveal information about shortages, infections, or deaths. -Negar Mortazavi, FP 4/17/20

Iran urged to immediately release prisoners of conscience and dual and foreign nationals at risk of COVID-19

UN human rights experts today called on Iran to expand its temporary release of thousands of detainees to include prisoners of conscience and dual and foreign nationals still being held despite serious risk of COVID-19 infection. The country has been hit hard by COVID-19, with Health Ministry officials reporting one person dies every 10 minutes from the virus. 4/17/20

Defectors Tell of Torture and Forced Sterilization in Militant Iranian Cult

The Mojahedin-e Khalq started as a militant revolutionary movement, committed in principle to bringing human rights and democracy to Iran. But over the last four decades, it has devolved into a secretive, cult-like group that resembles a militant, Islamist version of the Church of Scientology. The MEK has carried out bombings, sabotage missions, and murders. Since its founding in 1963, it is believed to have killed hundreds or even thousands of Iranians, as well as a handful of Americans. -Murtaza Hussain & Matthew Cole, Intercept 4/16/20

Doctors Punished for Contradicting Iran's Official Line on COVID-19

Physicians in Iran including university officials have been reprimanded including by way of prosecution for publicizing information about the country's COVID-19 outbreak that contradicts officials' statements, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Iran's Health Ministry had reported 74,877 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and 4,683 deaths at the time of this writing on April 14, 2020. Yet medical experts inside and outside the country have argued that the actual numbers could be much higher. -CHRI 4/16/20

In letter to Trump, World Council of Churches urges U.S. to end Iran sanctions amid COVID-19

In a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump published on April 9, the council wrote that "The novel coronavirus is a common enemy of humanity everywhere. An effective response to the pandemic demands an unprecedented degree of global solidarity and cooperation, special care for the most vulnerable, and swift action to mitigate the conditions which create additional vulnerability." 4/13/20

Iranian American Organizations Call for Release of Unjustly Detained Dr. Sirous Asgari

PAAIA and a coalition of Iranian American organizations have come together to campaign for the release of Dr. Sirous Asgari from Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. Dr. Asgari is currently unjustly detained in a civil immigration detention center in Louisiana, which has put his health at serious risk amidst the likelihood of COVID-19 exposure. 4/13/20

Iran's UN mission: Sanctions enemy's '5th column' in fight against pandemic

Iran's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York has issued a message to member countries, saying that the brutal sanctions imposed by the United States on the Islamic Republic act as the enemy's "fifth column" as they compromise the country's ability to control the ongoing pandemic of new coronavirus known as COVID-19. -Press TV 4/13/20

As US Consigns Iranians to Death, Corporate Media Look the Other Way

Covid-19 has hammered few countries as hard as it has hit Iran, which reports (as of April 8) 64,586 cases and 3,993 deaths. US sanctions are a major reason that Iranians are getting infected with and dying from the coronavirus in such large numbers: The US's economic warfare softened Iran up for the pandemic well before its outbreak. -Gregory Shupak, Common Dreams 4/10/20

'Maximum pressure' on Iran amid coronavirus could backfire for Trump

"Maximum pressure" or "medical terrorism"? Iranian leaders are accusing the United States of crippling its medical system amid a coronavirus pandemic -- and the spat has crystallized global scrutiny of America's conduct under crisis. "History will remember that the White House, so far, has been an economic terrorist, and in medical care has been a terrorist as well," said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a televised address Wednesday -Nic Robertson, CNN 4/10/20

Iran Temporarily Frees British Resident Aras Amiri: Amnesty International

Iran has temporarily released British resident Aras Amiri on furlough, Amnesty International said on April 9. "British resident and Londoner, Aras Amiri who has been unjustly imprisoned in #Iran's Evin Prison since 2018 with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been temporarily released on furlough," Amnesty International UK board director Daren Nair tweeted on April 9. 4/10/20

Iran: Prisoners killed by security forces during COVID-19 pandemic protests

Around 36 prisoners in Iran are feared to have been killed by security forces after the use of lethal force to control protests over COVID-19 safety fears, Amnesty International has learned. In recent days, thousands of prisoners in at least eight prisons around the country have staged protests over fears of contracting the coronavirus, sparking deadly responses from prison officers and security forces. -Amnesty International 4/10/20

Political Prisoner with COVID-19 Symptoms Denied Treatment, Transferred to Solitary Confinement

Peaceful prisoner of conscience Mohammad Hossein Sepehri, who was imprisoned in the Iranian city of Mashhad after signing an open letter calling on Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to resign, was denied hospital treatment and transferred to solitary confinement without his medication after exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, his brother told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). In an interview with CHRI, Asghar Sepehri said his brother believes he contracted the virus after being transferred to a ward that holds inmates convicted of dangerous crimes in Vakilbad Prison in Mashhad. -CHRI 4/9/20

Transatlantic call to ease humanitarian trade with Iran due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Today, a bipartisan group of two dozen American and European national security leaders issue a joint statement urging the US government to ease humanitarian trade with Iran in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. "As the world grapples with COVID-19 - the disease caused by the novel coronavirus - we must remember that an outbreak anywhere impacts people everywhere. In turn, reaching across borders to save lives is imperative for our own security and must override political differences among governments" the authors write. -European Leadership Network 4/7/20

Sanctions are crippling Iran's fight against coronavirus

To many of us urban administrators in Iran, the onslaught of coronavirus has underscored an important fact of life: no town, city or nation can be indifferent to global crises, even in far-flung corners of our world. Indeed, while the mantra of good governance over the past century has been to "think global, act local", we must today think and act both locally and globally. -Pirouz Hanachi, Guardian 4/6/20

Rights Attorneys Call for Release of All Eligible Prisoners: "Tomorrow Will be Too Late"

As inmates in Iran continue to be killed or injured in "prison disturbances" amid the country's devastating COVID-19 outbreak, two defense attorneys in Tehran have joined the growing chorus of domestic and international voices that has been calling on Iranian authorities to release all eligible prisoners before it's too late. The following statement was written by human rights lawyers Arash Keykhosravi and Saeid Dehghan, who both represented the family of Kavous Seyed-Emami, an Iranian-Canadian sociologist and conservationist that died in Iranian state custody two weeks after being taken to Tehran's Evin Prison. -CHRI 4/3/20

Iranian Filmmaker Mehrdad Oskouei Awaits a Prison Sentence in Quarantine

Three days before the announcement of the coronavirus coming to the city of Qom in Iran, I organized a one-day documentary-film workshop in which more than 80 people participated. My hotel was right in front of the Fatima Masumeh holy shrine. Early in the morning, around 4 a.m, pilgrims who had come from different cities began shouting loudly in the corridors as they prepared for pilgrimage. After class, I went to the shrine, and some of my students accompanied me; -Mehrdad Oskouei, as told to Bilge Ebiri, Vulture 4/3/20

COVID-19 outbreak in Iran exposes twisted aims of Iran hawks

The COVID-19 outbreak in Iran is a disaster for the Iranian people, with thousands already dead, tens of thousands more infected, and medical professionals working around the clock at profound risk to save as many lives as they can. Any American living through the pandemic should be able to sympathize, knowing that the Iranian people are dealing with the same struggle against a deadly virus, though one that is rendered far more difficult thanks to crushing U.S. sanctions. -Ryan Costello, Responsible Statecraft 4/2/20

Iran medical body writes to Guterres, slams UN inaction on cruel US bans

The Academy of Medical Sciences of Iran has written to the UN to complain about the world's body failure to push for the lifting of cruel US sanctions at a critical time when the Islamic Republic is fighting a deadly coronavirus pandemic. In a letter addressed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the Academy's President Alireza Marandi criticized the UN and its affiliated organizations for taking "no effective measures" to ease the restrictive US measures, which are hampering Iran's fight against the fast-spreading disease. -Press TV 4/2/20

Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar Lead Lawmakers in Calling for Lifting U.S. Sanctions as Iran Reels from Coronavirus

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) led nearly three dozen lawmakers in urging the Trump Administration to ease sanctions against Iran, as the country suffers from a major humanitarian crisis triggered by COVID-19. The letter comes just two weeks after the Trump Administration levied additional sanctions against Iran in the midst of the pandemic, which has to date killed more than 2,600 Iranians. 4/1/20

The Quiet and Lethal Wars Against Iran

Some wars are fought with bombs and bullets. These are the wars in Syria and Iraq, in Afghanistan and Yemen. Then there are quieter wars executed by drone. These cowardly wars also kill people, but not our people. These quieter wars accomplish what the more cacophonous wars accomplish without the public outcry and condemnation. -Ted Snider, 3/31/20

Iran: Virus revealed 'ugliest face of US government addicted to sanctions'

Iran says the coronavirus pandemic underscores the need to end "madness in politics and irresponsible unilateralism" of the US government which is sabotaging the country's fight against the disease through sanctions. "This is the ugliest face of a government addicted to sanctions which wants to revive its abortive maximum pressure campaign through weakening Iran in the face of the corona," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on his Instagram account Monday. -Press TV 3/30/20

Iran Frees Prisoners Amid Pandemic

Iranian authorities said they have extended the temporary releases of thousands of prisoners in an attempt to curb the spread of the new coronavirus in the country's overcrowded jails. Authorities said they would also temporarily free another 15,000 prisoners, bringing the total number released to 100,000. Iran is one of the countries worst hit by the virus, with a declared death toll of 2,640 as of March 29, although experts estimate the total to be much higher. 3/29/20

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe under consideration for clemency

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian dual national on temporary release from a five-year jail sentence, is for the first time under formal consideration for clemency, her family has been told. A decision will be made by the highest level of Iran's multi-layered government. There is no guarantee that clemency will be granted, or that she will be allowed to return to the UK. -Guardian 3/29/20

Commentary: Trump's Refusal to Relax Iran Sanctions in the Era of COVID-19 Threatens Everyone

In my 15 years as an advocate for the rights of the people of Iran, I have never been more concerned for the lives of so many people. Iran's 85 million people are dying from the coronavirus at a rate some officials say is as often as 1 every 10 minutes. In the worst-case scenario, 3.5 million people could die, according to a study from Iran's prestigious Sharif University. -Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI 3/27/20

'I won't survive': Iranian scientist in US detention says Ice will let Covid-19 kill many

Dr Sirous Asgari, a materials science and engineering professor, was acquitted in November on federal charges of stealing trade secrets related to his academic work with a university in Ohio. Although the US government lost its case on all charges, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) has kept him indefinitely detained since the trial. Now he's speaking out about the "inhumane" treatment that could cost him his life. -Sam Levin, Guardian 3/27/20

The Ghoulish Opposition To Sanctions Relief For Iran

The Trump administration has gone out of its way for years to make humanitarian channels as difficult to use as possible, and even now the limited Swiss channel is inadequate for Iran's needs in the middle of the pandemic. Iran hawks know all of this, and in their more unguarded moments they exult in the horrors they have unleashed on the Iranian people, so no one should take their protestations seriously when they argue for keeping murderous sanctions in place. -Daniel Larison, American Conservative 3/27/20

'80 hours for 80mn campaign': Pressing US to ditch Iran sanctions amid outbreak

Amid a worldwide outcry against the United States' illegal and unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran, a popular campaign has been launched to pressure Washington into temporarily lifting the sanctions that are obstructing the Iranian people's efforts to curtail the deadly coronavirus outbreak. The '80 hours for 80 million campaign' has been launched on the New/Mode advocacy platform to promote this cause. 3/26/20

Without international aid, the coronavirus crisis in Iran will spread throughout South Asia

Saadi Shirazi, one of the prominent Iranian poets of the medieval period, once wrote, "Extending a hand in the hour of need is the mark of a true friend." Iran is struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic and economic sanctions simultaneously, and all its friends are in trouble. Then who can help? Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a tweet on March 22, called on the United States to temporary lift sanctions on Iran "till the COVID-19 pandemic is over." -Fatemeh Aman, Responsible Statecraft 3/26/20

American Navy Veteran Held In Iran Requests Humanitarian Evacuation For Treatment

The family of an imprisoned U.S. navy veteran in Iran who was allowed to go on a medical furlough said on Wednesday that he has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms and called on the Iranian government to allow him to go home for medical treatment. In a Tweeter thread on March 26, the Free Michael White campaign said since being released on furlough, White has had symptoms consistent with COVID-19 including fever, fatigue, cough and shortness of breath. 3/26/20

Ease sanctions against countries fighting COVID-19: UN Human Rights Chief

As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday called for an easing of sanctions against countries such as Iran to allow their medical systems to fight the disease and limit its global spread. Michelle Bachelet said humanitarian exemptions to sanctions measures should be authorized for essential medical equipment and supplies to avoid the collapse of any national healthcare system. 3/25/20

Calls Grow For U.S. To Lift Iran Sanctions Due To Coronavirus Crisis

There are increased calls for the United States to suspend economic sanctions against Iran, which some believe hamper Tehran's ability to contain the deadly outbreak of coronavirus that has officially killed nearly 2,000 people. The United States has offered to help Iran but has shown no desire to ease crippling sanctions reimposed on Tehran shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump exited the 2015 landmark nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 3/25/20

Iranian expert on COVID-19: We are in the same boat

Bobby Naderi is a journalist and current affairs commentator based in Iran. In this video, he shares his personal experience and observations during the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran, and calls on the U.S. to lift sanctions to soften the suffering of Iranians. -CGTN 3/25/20

How Trump Sanctions on Iran Will Worsen the Pandemic

The toll of the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq, which killed as many as one million people in the 1980s, is feared to pale in comparison to that of the coronavirus epidemic: Iranian researchers have estimated that the outbreak, which has already killed more than 1,500 people in the country, will peak around late May and could result in 3.5 million deaths. -Narges Bajoghli and Mahsa Rouhi, New York Times 3/24/20

Human rights groups call on Trump administration to end Iran sanctions amid COVID-19 crisis

Last week, over 25 groups called on the Trump administration to end its sanctions on Iran amid the COVID-19 crisis. The virus has been particularly calamitous for Iran: at the time this piece was written the country had 21,638 confirmed cases and 1,685 people had been killed by it. U.S. sanctions have no doubt worsened the situation, as they've weakened Iran's economy and thus made it more difficult to secure goods. 3/24/20

New European Limits on Medical Gear Exports Put Iranians at Risk

As the world grapples with shortages of the medical equipment needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission has announced a new regulation that will establish export controls for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), a category of goods that includes the face shields, gloves, masks, and other protective gear that help medical professionals limit their exposure to bacteria and viruses. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Bourse & Bazaar 3/23/20

End US sanctions against Iran so that we can fight coronavirus with all our might

As Iran celebrates its new year, black death banner announcements hang from Tehran's eerily deserted squares. The virus has ravaged its way across the country in recent weeks, reportedly killing 1,135 and infecting more than 17,000 (many believe these figures underestimate the scale), making Iran one of the most impacted countries in the world, alongside Italy and China. The contagion has unfolded against the backdrop of an economic crisis that has made Iranians uniquely vulnerable. -Azadeh Moaveni and Sussan Tahmasebi, Guardian 3/23/20

In Letter to Foreign Colleagues, Iranian Artists Urge Action against US Sanctions

A group of Iranian artists engaged in various fields have written a letter to their colleagues in the foreign countries to raise awareness about the urgent need for collective action against the coronavirus epidemic and call for action against the US sanctions that have impeded Iran's battle with COVID-19. -IFP 3/23/20

Trump administration piles on sanctions as the rest of the world helps Iran confront COVID-19

As Iran confronts a crisis that could kill millions of its citizens, much of the rest of the world, except for the United States, is coming to its aid. China, the original source of the novel coronavirus, has sent medical experts and planeloads of supplies to Iran, the third most affected country after China and Italy. Iran's neighbors, and sometime rivals, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, have also provided cash and goods, setting aside their other differences with the Islamic Republic. Britain, France, and Germany, the so-called E3, stepped forward, pledging $5.6 million... And what of the world's greatest power? -Barbara Slavin, Responsible Statecraft 3/20/20

While coronavirus ravages Iran, U.S. sanctions squeeze it

Iran has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus, and things may get far worse... Under current circumstances, the researchers said, infections would not peak until late May. The death toll could be as high as 3.5 million. That figure might seem enough to stop anyone in their tracks. But this week, the United States announced that it would be expanding its sanctions on Iran, as well as on entities that aided the Iranian government in its trade in petrochemicals and other restricted activities. It's a strategy that worries allies and enemies alike. -Adam Taylor , Washington Post 3/20/20

The immoral cruelty of the Trump administration's refusal to grant Iran sanctions relief amid its COVID-19 crisis

There is a growing consensus that - to prevent Iran from spiraling out of control from the coronavirus epidemic and causing untold harm to the Iranian people - the Trump administration must immediately relent in its use of sanctions and allow Iran the ability to combat the epidemic through the purchase of necessary medical supplies overseas and the provision of a robust social safety net for the average Iranian facing economic catastrophe. -Tyler Cullis, Responsible Statecraft 3/19/20

As Coronavirus Death Toll Continues to Rise in Iran, Global Calls Mount for US to Lift 'Immoral' Sanctions

As the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak continues to rise in Iran, one of the world's most impacted countries, global pressure is mounting on the Trump administration to ease economic sanctions that Iranian officials and other critics charge has hampered the government's ability to manage the public health crisis. -Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams 3/19/20

The Coronavirus Is Killing Iranians. So Are Trump's Brutal Sanctions.

THE U.S. GOVERNMENT is run by sociopaths. How else to explain the Trump administration's callous disregard for the lives of ordinary Iranians in the midst of this global coronavirus crisis? How else to make sense of U.S. officials doubling down in their support for crippling economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic, despite the sheer scale of the suffering? -Mehdi Hasan, Intercept 3/18/20

Nasrin Sotoudeh: "If We're Going to Die, Let Us Be by Our Families' Sides"

At least three political activists in Tehran's Evin Prison have joined prominent imprisoned human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh's hunger strike demanding "freedom for all political prisoners" amid the country's deadly COVID-19 outbreak, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan told CHRI that his wife is aware of the dangers of going on hunger strike amid a deadly viral outbreak when Iranian prisons are lacking crucial medicines and sanitary supplies and that she had started the hunger strike only as a "last resort." -CHRI 3/18/20

Iran needs sanctions relief

Most critics of U.S. sanctions miss this fundamental point: U.S. sanctions are doing much more than preventing Iran from importing the medicine and medical goods that it may need to tackle the virus. U.S. sanctions are proving a prohibitive bar to Iran providing the basic goods and services necessary for their people to survive this catastrophic epidemic. -Tyler Cullis, Responsible Statecraft 3/17/20

President Trump Should Ease Sanctions on Iran Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Right now, Iran is experiencing perhaps the worst outbreak of the coronavirus outside of China in the world. Over 800 have died, with more than 14,000 confirmed cases in the country. This major outbreak was due to two factors: government negligence in responding to the threat, and crushing U.S. sanctions that have greatly harmed Iran's public health sector. -NIAC 3/17/20

Iran has temporarily freed 85,000 prisoners, including political ones, amid coronavirus

Iran has temporarily freed about 85,000 prisoners, including political prisoners in response to the coronavirus epidemic, a judiciary spokesman said on Tuesday. Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said only those serving sentences of less than five years had been freed, while political prisoners and others charged with heavier sentences linked to their participation in anti-government protests remained in jail. -Reuters 3/17/20

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