Opposition seeks regime change as US puts Tehran on notice

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Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations. (AFP)
Updated 06 January 2018

Opposition seeks regime change as US puts Tehran on notice

JEDDAH/NEW YORK: US Ambassador Nikki Haley warned Iranian authorities on Friday that the world is watching as it responds to anti-regime protests.
“The Iranian regime is now on notice: The world will be watching what you do,” Haley told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the situation in the Islamic republic.
At Washington’s request, the 15-nation UN council met to debate the biggest wave of protests that Iran has seen in a decade, which have led to at least 21 deaths and seen hundreds more arrested.
According to the Iranian opposition, at least 50 have died.
“The world has witnessed the horrors that have taken place in Syria, that began with a murderous regime denying its people’s right to peacefully protest. We must not let that happen in Iran,” Haley said earlier.
“This is a matter of fundamental human rights for the Iranian people, but it is also a matter of international peace and security,” said Haley.
“It will be telling if any country tries to deny the Security Council from even having this discussion, just as the Iranian regime tries to deny its own people the ability to have their voices heard.”
The Iranian opposition has appealed to the UN Security Council to defend “the legitimate and natural rights of the Iranian people” to overthrow the regime.
In a statement made available to Arab News on Friday by opposition spokesman Shahriar Kia, the Iranian opposition said: “At least 50 demonstrators have been martyred by the direct fire of the Revolutionary Guards since the beginning of the uprising and more than 3,000 have been arrested. Children and teenagers as young as 12 or 13 are among the martyrs. The actual number of martyrs and those arrested is much more and this is a reality that the Iranian regime is trying hard to hide.”
The statement urged the UN to strongly condemn and hold accountable the Iranian regime for “killing defenseless and unarmed demonstrators — measures that are a clear indication of crimes against humanity.”
The opposition group emphasized the need for the UN Security Council to “recognize the legitimate right of the people of Iran to overthrow the ruling religious fascism and establish freedom and sovereignty of the people.”
In Congress, senators Bob Corker and Ben Cardin — respectively the top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — introduced a resolution in support of the protesters in Iran.
The document expresses support “for the rights of the Iranian people to have their voices heard and condemning the Iranian regime for its long history of human rights abuses” and urges UN talks on creating a mechanism to monitor abuses by security forces.
In an Op-Ed for The Washington Post newspaper, Vice President Mike Pence said the US was “standing with” Iranians, who have rallied against inflation, corruption and Tehran’s costly interventions in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.
Pence raised the prospect of fresh US sanctions on Tehran, and bashed the seven-nation nuclear deal in which former President Barack Obama lifted sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.

Kosovan women returned from Syria face house arrest

Updated 24 April 2019

Kosovan women returned from Syria face house arrest

  • Four alleged militants, all men, were arrested the moment they were brought to the country
  • The state prosecution said all 32 repatriated women are under investigation

PRISTINA: Kosovo prosecutors have requested the house arrest of 16 women repatriated from Syria, saying they are suspected of joining or taking part as foreign fighters there.

The women appeared on Wednesday in court in Pristina, a day after 10 other women were put under house arrest. None have been charged with a crime.

Four alleged militants, all men, were arrested the moment they were brought to the country.

The women and children were sent to the Foreign Detention Centre in the outskirts of Pristina but were freed to go home after 72 hours.

Ten women were seen entering Pristina Basic Court in a police escort on Tuesday. The court said in a statement later that they had been placed under house arrest on charges of joining foreign armed groups and terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq from 2014 to 2019.

The state prosecution said all 32 repatriated women are under investigation and more of them are expected to appear in front of judges on Wednesday. The prosecution has yet to file charges.

After the collapse of Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq, countries around the world are wrestling with how to handle militants and their families seeking to return to their home countries.

Kosovo's population is nominally 90 percent Muslim, but the country is largely secular in outlook. More than 300 of its citizens travelled to Syria since 2012 and 70 men who fought alongside militant groups were killed.

Police said 30 Kosovan fighters, 49 women and eight children remain in the conflict zones. The government said it plans to bring back those who are still there.

International and local security agencies have previously warned of the risk posed by returning fighters. In 2015, Kosovo adopted a law making fighting in foreign conflicts punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

On Saturday, 110 Kosovar citizens — the four alleged foreign fighters, 32 women and 74 children — were returned to Kosovo with assistance from the United States, the first such move for a European country.

Authorities say there are still 87 Kosovar citizens in Syria.