UN member states warned of Iran’s deadly policies

Wide view of the General Assembly meeting, in this October 26, 2016 photo, at the thirty-second plenary meeting of the General Assembly, at the UN in New York. (AFP)
Updated 13 November 2016
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UN member states warned of Iran’s deadly policies

NEW YORK: Iran’s repeated intervention in the internal affairs of Arab countries has come under severe criticism in a letter delivered to the UN General Assembly.

In their letter to UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson, 11 countries, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Sudan and Yemen, also condemned Iran’s sponsoring of terrorism in the region — particularly in Yemen — where it financially, strategically and militarily supports the Houthis.
The group warned the UN member states about Iran’s expansionist policies, flagrant violations of the principle of sovereignty, constant interference in the internal affairs of Arab states, as well as destabilizing and fomenting tension in the Middle East.
Iran’s training of Houthi militias and illegal shipments of weapons and ammunitions into Yemen are in blatant violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 2216 (2015) and 2231 (2015), said the group.
The countries condemned the Houthi attack on a UAE civilian vessel ‘Swift’ in the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab on Oct. 1 — a clear violation of international law that the members of the UN Security Council considered a threat to freedom of navigation in the shipping passage.
The group stated that the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen was launched in response to a request for assistance from the Government of Yemen in full conformity with international law and the right to self-defense stipulated in Article 51 of the UN Charter.
This request was noted in UN Security Council Resolution 2216, 2015.
The Saudi-led coalition aims to protect Yemen and its people from the continuing aggression of the Iran-backed Houthis and to help Yemen counter terrorism.
The group of co-signatories confirmed the importance of the work of Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, UN special envoy on Yemen, in achieving a comprehensive peace agreement to end the conflict in Yemen, in accordance with the GCC initiative, the National Dialogue Conference outcome and its implementation mechanism, and relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
The group reiterated that any interference by Iran is unacceptable and must be confronted.
The countries called on Iran to stop promoting regional insecurity and stressed that “the stability and economic prosperity in the Arabian Gulf region is founded on the importance of maintaining good neighborliness and the principles of sovereignty, independence, and non-interference in domestic affairs.”
The letter also reaffirmed that the three islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa in the Arabian Gulf are an integral part of UAE territory, and called on Iran to return the occupied islands to their rightful owner.
Though affirming support for the nuclear deal reached with Iran, the co-signatories highlighted that although this agreement provided an opportunity for Iran to develop normal relations with its neighbors and demonstrate a commitment to regional stability, Iranian aggression in the region has instead continued, along with Iran’s support for terrorist groups.
The letter to the UN General Assembly was in response to the right of reply made by an Iranian representative at the end of the general debate of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly on Sept. 26.
The letter, signed by each country’s permanent representative, was sent to UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson. It was also delivered to all 193 member states.


British-Iranian aid worker moved back to jail from hospital ward — husband

In this undated photo provided by the Free Nazanin Campaign, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe hugs her daughter Gabriella, in Iran. (AP)
Updated 52 sec ago
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British-Iranian aid worker moved back to jail from hospital ward — husband

  • British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament the fact she had been moved back to prison was “a positive sign”

LONDON: British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been transferred back to an Iranian prison from a hospital psychiatric ward, her husband said on Monday.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was moved to the psychiatric ward of Imam Khomeini hospital in the capital on July 15, the “Free Nazanin” campaign group run by her husband said last week.
“Nazanin has been returned from psychiatric hospital, and is now back in Evin prison,” her husband, Richard, said in a statement. She was discharged at her request and the request of the hospital doctor, the campaign group said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was told she had been admitted to hospital for a 10-day period of assessment. She received psychotherapy sessions, had physical checks and was prescribed some medicines, the campaign group seeking her release said.
In its release, the group quoted Zaghari-Ratcliffe saying that she was kept in a private room measuring 2 meters by 3 meters (6.5 feet by 9.8 feet) and was handcuffed and chained to the bed day and night.
The Iranian embassy in London declined immediate comment on the case.
“They did all they could to me – handcuffs, ankle cuffs, in a private room 2x3m, with thick curtains, and the door closed all the time,” she was quoted as saying. “I wasn’t allowed to leave the room, as I was chained to the bed.”
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament the fact she had been moved back to prison was “a positive sign.”
“The way that she was detained for a week without being able to have any access to her family was totally unacceptable and I am afraid all too predictable from the Iranian regime,” he said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in April 2016 at a Tehran airport as she headed back to Britain with her daughter after a family visit, and was sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of plotting to overthrow Iran’s clerical establishment.
Her family and the Foundation, a charity organization that operates independently of Thomson Reuters and Reuters News, deny the charge.