UK calls on Iran not to threaten regional security

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stands as army air force and air defense staff salute at the start of their meeting in Tehran, Iran, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. (AP)
Updated 08 February 2018
0

UK calls on Iran not to threaten regional security

PARIS: Britain on Thursday said Iran must avoid actions that threaten regional security.
Alistair Burt, the Minister for the Middle East, said the UK was working with its partners to tackle US concerns over the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers, Reuters reported.
“We and our European partners are absolutely clear. We want the deal to succeed,” Burt told a Euromoney Iran conference in Paris.
“We don’t want to see the JCPOA (deal with Iran) go down and are working with our European partners to mitigate concerns the United States may have to ensure it continues.
Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by May if certain aspects of the deal are not made tougher.
The US is concerned that Tehran continues to develop its ballistic missiles despite the deal aimed at curbing Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon.
Arab Gulf countries have welcomed the US president’s tougher approach to the deal and say that since 2015, Iran has accelerated its aggressive policies in the region, particularly in Yemen, Lebanon and Syria.
Iran insisted on Thursday there was no link between its role in the Middle East region and the nuclear deal.
“We have always fought against terrorism. Iran has always played a key role in bringing stability and peace to the region,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told Reuters at the economy conference in Paris.


Iran faces angry online backlash over activists’ abuse claims

Since protests began in December, Iranians have had their internet access disrupted and have lost access to the messaging app Telegram. (Reuters)
Updated 42 min 41 sec ago
0

Iran faces angry online backlash over activists’ abuse claims

  • The Arab minority in southwest Iran has long claimed that it faces discrimination from the central government

GENEVA, LONDON: In early January, labor activist Esmail Bakhshi posted a letter on Instagram saying he had been tortured in jail, attracting support from tens of thousands of Iranians online.
Bakhshi, who said he was still in pain, also challenged the intelligence minister to a public debate about the religious justification for torture. Late last month, Bakhshi was rearrested.
Sepideh Qoliyan, a journalist covering labor issues in the Ahvaz region, was also rearrested on the same day after saying on social media that she had been abused in jail.
Bakhshi’s allegations of torture and the social media furor that followed led Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to call for an investigation, and the intelligence minister subsequently met with a parliamentary committee to discuss the case, a rare example of top officials being prompted to act by a public backlash online.
“Each sentence and description of torture from the mouths of #Sepideh_Qoliyan and #Esmail_Bakhshi should be remembered and not forgotten because they are now alone with the torturers and under pressure and defenseless. Let us not forget,” a user named Atish posted on Twitter in Farsi on Feb. 11.
“When thousands of people share it on social media, the pressure for accountability goes up,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director at the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran. “Sham investigations won’t put it to rest. Social media is definitely becoming a major, major public square in Iran.”
Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said last month, without naming Bakhshi, that allegations of torture online constitute a crime.
His comments follow growing pressure from officials to close Instagram, which has about 24 million users in Iran. Iran last year shut down the Telegram messaging app, which had about 40 million users in the country, citing security concerns.
“Today you see in cyberspace that with the posting of a film or lie or rumor the situation in the country can fall apart,” Dolatabadi said, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency. “You saw in recent days that they spread a rumor and announced the rape of an individual or claimed suicide and recently you even saw claims of torture and all the powers in the country get drawn in. Today cyberspace has been transformed into a very broad platform for committing crimes.”
The arrests of Bakhshi and Qoliyan are part of a crackdown in Ahvaz, center of Iran’s Arab population. Hundreds of activists there pushing for workers’ and minority rights, two of the most contentious issues in Iran, have been detained in recent weeks.
The Arab minority in southwest Iran has long claimed that it faces discrimination from the central government.