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Iran Regime Claims Unrest Defeated, But Unjustified Imprisonment May Continue Protests

January 7, 2018 Special Feature

Will Iran leadership overcome protests?
Illustrative official meeting. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Evan Schneider

The most powerful security force in Iran and a close ally of the regime has claimed that the Iranian uprising has been crushed, but media reports and Twitter are implying that hasn’t happened yet. A reason for the latest outcry in Iran is due to the hundreds of people imprisoned in response to the protests, and even an Iranian student media normally friendly to the regime is crying foul. Meanwhile, the Americans continue to push for international oversight on human rights violations in Iran.

In a Sunday report, the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted a statement released by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp claiming that various security forces had “broken down the chain of unrest.” However, Farnaz Fassihi of the Wall Street Journal tweeted that as of Saturday—just one day prior to the IRGC victory claim—there were protests in more than a dozen cities and graffiti opposing Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

And that’s not all. The BBC, citing the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), reported that with over 1,000 arrested, reformist members of Iran’s parliament were saying 90 university students were among those taken. One parliamentarian, Mahmoud Sadeghi, said that a number of those students were not even involved in the protests. … Continue Reading

Analysis: Iran Protests Different This Time, and More Likely to Succeed

January 1, 2018 Special Feature

President Donald Trump is warning Iran not to hurt protestors. Illustrative. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

The 2009 Green Revolution in Iran went from hope to despair as the Iranian regime eventually crushed them and terminated an opportunity for freedom in Iran. But almost nine years later in the dark days of winter, a new hope of freedom might just spring out of the midst of that despair.

The latest Iran protests that began in the final days of 2017 don’t have a catchy nickname or even a clear leader, but so far they’re emerging across the country and lighting Twitter ablaze with images and videos.

There are four key differences between this round of protests and those in 2009, and because of them the result could be very different this time around. It also might just result in an outcome somewhat different than hoped. … Continue Reading

Trump Recognizes Jerusalem as Israeli Capital in Historic Move

December 6, 2017 Peace Process, Special Feature

President Donald Trump made history by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Illustrative. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

United States President Donald Trump kept a campaign promise and fulfilled 70 years of Jewish longing on Wednesday by officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announcing plans to move the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. “Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” said Trump in comments posted to the White House website. “This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do.”

Israelis on both sides of the political aisle were supportive of the move by Trump, while Palestinians in Gaza burned the American flag ahead of the anticipated announcement.

“From every corner of the earth, our people yearned to return to Jerusalem, to touch its golden stones, to walk its hallowed streets. So it’s rare to be able to speak of new and genuine milestones in the glorious history of this city. Yet today’s pronouncement by President Trump is such an occasion,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement released by his office. “We’re profoundly grateful for the President for his courageous and just decision.” … Continue Reading

Iran: If Europe Threatens Missile Program, Missiles Will Threaten Europe

Will France be in range of Iran’s missles? Eiffel Tower in Paris. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

A leader in Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corp (IRGC) warned on Saturday that if the Europeans push to limit the Iranian missile program, the Islamic Republic might expand their missile range to reach Europe. Lieutenant Commander of the IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Salami, in comments to state TV and republished by the Fars News Agency, claimed that they have limited the range of their missiles intentionally to 2,000 kilometers (roughly 1,200 miles).

He said this is short of reaching Europe, but he warned that could change if the Europeans insist on negotiating the limits of Iran’s missile program, as some have wanted.

“If the Europeans want to enter the sanctum of our missiles, we may drop this limitation to the range (of our missiles),” Fars quoted Salami as saying. He claimed that their missiles are limited in range to the nations that threaten them, and that “if Europe wants to turn into a threat, the range of our missiles will increase. We respect them. They should respect us too.” … Continue Reading

Israel Sends Rescue Teams to Mexico after Quake

September 24, 2017 Human Interest, Special Feature

When disaster strikes anywhere, call Israel. Image of IDF Aid Delegation Search and Rescue Missions in Mexico City. Photo courtesy of IDF.

Groups of Israelis decided to spend their New Year’s holiday traveling to Mexico—but it wasn’t for a vacation. Search and rescue teams from the Israeli military and the iAID organization went to assist Mexico in recovering from last week’s devastating earthquake—and chose to help out during last week’s Rosh HaShannah holiday, also known as the Jewish New Year.

Israel received a request from Mexico to assist and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commissioned such help to leave for Mexico “as soon as possible,” according to a press release from his office last Wednesday. Later that same day, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) team—consisting of dozens of soldiers—departed, arriving on Rosh HaShannah on Thursday last week, according to the IDF Spokesperson’s Twitter feedThe Spokesperson’s Twitter feed posted that the IDF team then spent the next several days “helping survey buildings & rescue trapped civilians from the rubble”.

On Saturday, Netanyahu spoke by phone with the leader of the IDF delegation, Col. Dudi Mizrachi, and Israeli Ambassador to Mexico Yoni Peled. “You are shining Israel’s light in the world, a big light,” Netanyahu told them, according to a press release from his office. “It is important from a humanitarian standpoint and also to show the world the true Israel.”

Meanwhile, iAID, an international Israeli aid organization, sent a 15-person search and rescue team during the holiday as well and quickly received special access from the Mexican authorities to a sensitive site. … Continue Reading

Israel and Mexico Talk Business

September 14, 2017 Special Feature

PM Netanyahu and Mexican Pres. Nieto during Thursday’s visit. Photo Courtesy of Avi Ohayon (GPO)

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues his historic tour of Latin America, he meant business in his visit to Mexico. As in, he talked about business with 16 of the leading Mexican businesspeople during a breakfast where a key topic was investment in Israel. He then later met with Mexican Economy Secretary ldefonso Guajardo Villarreal at an event that included economic partners from both countries, and he also planned to talk about free trade during his later meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. It was all part of the first ever visit by an Israeli Prime Minister to Mexico.

“I began my visit in Mexico at a meeting with leading Mexican businesspeople, not for nothing, because the goal of this visit is economic,” said Netanyahu on Thursday in comments released by his office. “Mexico is a giant economy, among the 12 leading economies in the world. Soon it could be ranked even higher and we must be here, and in a big way… Israel is forging ahead, in Mexico as well.” … Continue Reading

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