Majority in US House of Representatives back resolution calling for regime change in Iran

A majority of members of US House of Representatives have declared their support for a bipartisan resolution calling for a nuclear-free Iran and regime change. (@OrgIAC)
A majority of members of US House of Representatives have declared their support for a bipartisan resolution calling for a nuclear-free Iran and regime change. (@OrgIAC)
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Updated 10 March 2023
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Majority in US House of Representatives back resolution calling for regime change in Iran

Majority of US House of Representatives members have declared support for bipartisan resolution calling for nuclear-free Iran.
  • Iranian opposition activists held an event in Washington to announce 222 members of the 435-member House now back the bipartisan resolution
  • Supports establishment of a secular, nuclear-free Iranian republic and condemns human rights violations by the regime in Tehran

WASHINGTON: A majority of members of the US House of Representatives have declared their support for a bipartisan resolution calling for a nuclear-free Iran and regime change in the country.

The Organization of Iranian-American Communities, a group opposed to the regime in Tehran, hosted a meeting in the Capitol to announce that 222 members of the 435-member House now back the resolution, which was introduced on Feb. 7. It supports the establishment of a secular Iranian republic and condemns human rights violations by the Iranian government.

Several of the Republican and Democrat co-sponsors of the resolution spoke during the event on Thursday of their support for the Iranian people and their desire for a democratic government to replace the theocratic Iranian regime.

House Resolution 100 is titled “Expressing support for the Iranian people’s desire for a democratic, secular, and nonnuclear Republic of Iran, and condemning violations of human rights and state-sponsored terrorism by the Iranian Government.”

It has no legal authority and so is more of a symbolic show support for the Iranian people and opposition to the actions of the regime. It condemns violations of human rights by the regime during the ongoing protests that began in September last year following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini. The 22-year-old Iranian woman suffered a serious head injury after she was arrested by the morality police in Tehran, who accused her of failing to properly follow rules governing head coverings.

“(The House stands) with the people of Iran who are legitimately defending their rights for freedom against repression; and condemns the brutal killing of Iranian protesters by the Iranian regime; and recognizes the rights of the Iranian people and their struggle to establish a democratic, secular, and nonnuclear Republic of Iran,” the resolution states.

It also calls for administration of President Joe Biden to work with the UN and international human rights organizations in their efforts to hold the regime in Tehran accountable for its human rights violations.

Republican representatives Pete Sessions and Randy Weber, both from Texas, reiterated their support for the Iranian people and the calls for regime change and a nuclear-free Iran.

Weber said that Iran “cannot have nuclear weapons” and expressed his support for the use of military force to achieve this goal.

“The Iranian regime must be taken out. No more evil tyrants, whether it’s the shah or the leader,” he added, referring to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the country’s former ruler, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who was overthrown by the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

Democratic representatives Deborah Ross and Sheila Jackson Lee delivered an impassioned speech in defense of the rights of Iranian women, noting that the world this week celebrated International Women’s Day.

Ross, from North Carolina, told the Iranian American leaders and activists, and their supporters, who had gathered: “We are with you.”

Lee, from Texas, praised Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, president of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, describing her as a “freedom fighter.” She also applauded Iranian-American communities in the US for their efforts to support change in Iran.

“Yes to nuclear-free Iran,” she said, adding that as a student of the late American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, she believes in a process of nonviolent, peaceful protest and hopes that change in Iran can be brought about through peaceful means without loss of life.

The resolution has yet to face a formal vote in Congress but as it now has an absolute majority of support, it is expected to pass easily.


Egypt celebrates success of its house, road-building programs

Egypt celebrates success of its house, road-building programs
Updated 15 sec ago
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Egypt celebrates success of its house, road-building programs

Egypt celebrates success of its house, road-building programs
  • Ministers highlight achievements of past 9 years at ‘Story of a Homeland’ conference

CAIRO: Egypt has spent millions of dollars on new urban communities over the past nine years, its housing minister said on Sunday.

Speaking at the “Story of a Homeland” conference in the New Administrative Capital, Housing and Urban Communities Minister Assem El-Gazzar said: “In the past nine years we have built 1.5 million housing units.

“We have worked to eliminate 357 unsafe areas by building more than 300,000 housing units at a construction cost exceeding 300 billion (Egyptian) pounds.”

El-Gazzar said 24 new cities that could accommodate 32 million people had been developed in the period.

The country’s Decent Life Initiative had been a major contributor to the increased urbanization, which in turn had had a significant impact on economic development, he added.

The three-day conference was attended by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and representatives from across Egyptian society.

It comprised several discussion sessions, at which the participants highlighted the government’s achievements and addressed the challenges that lie ahead.

The conference also provided a platform for political leaders to respond to citizens’ queries about political, social and economic issues.

Transport Minister Kamel Al-Wazir said that under the Decent Life Initiative 7,000 km of new roads had been built over the past nine years.

The national road network now spanned 30,000 km and served agricultural and industrial areas across the country, he said.

He added that on completion of the development plan, Egypt’s ports would have capacity for 400 million tons of goods and 40 million containers, and be able to handle 30,000 giant ships a year.

El-Sisi thanked the ministers for their efforts and said the success of the development program was testimony to their efforts and the will of the state to serve the people.


Iraqi central bank chief meets with Jordanian PM, counterpart

Iraqi central bank chief meets with Jordanian PM, counterpart
Updated 21 min 18 sec ago
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Iraqi central bank chief meets with Jordanian PM, counterpart

Iraqi central bank chief meets with Jordanian PM, counterpart
  • Al-Alaq also met with his Jordanian counterpart to discuss ways to boost banking and financial ties

AMMAN: Ali Mohsen Al-Alaq, governor of the Central Bank of Iraq, met with Jordan’s Prime Minister Bishr Khasawneh on Sunday, Jordan News Agency reported.

Khasawneh stressed his commitment to expanding collaboration, notably in the economic and banking sectors.

Speaking about his visit to Baghdad in July, Khasawneh said the two countries had agreed to strengthen cooperation in several fields, whether through bilateral efforts or as part of the tripartite cooperation mechanism between Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt.

Earlier, Al-Alaq also met with his Jordanian counterpart Adel Sharkas to discuss ways to boost banking and financial ties.

The two addressed banking issues of mutual interest, developments in central bank work, and trends in global monetary policies. They also examined inflationary pressures that have led many central banks around the world to maintain tight monetary policies.

Sharkas and Al-Alaq signed an agreement that provides for cooperation and knowledge exchange in electronic payment systems and services, financial technology, cybersecurity, staff training, and combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

Sharkas emphasized the significance of the agreement at a time when economic relations between the two countries are advancing steadily.

He noted that Jordanian banks are looking to create a foothold in the Iraqi market, pointing to four Jordanian branches that have secured licenses to operate in Iraq, with two branches already active.

Al-Alaq praised the historical Jordanian-Iraqi ties, emphasizing the CBI’s desire to benefit from Jordanian experience in digitalization, financial innovations, and payment systems.

 


Iraq wedding fire caused by ‘gross negligence’, government investigation says

This image shows the devastated interior of Al-Haitham hall in Qaraqosh, also known as Hamdaniyah.
This image shows the devastated interior of Al-Haitham hall in Qaraqosh, also known as Hamdaniyah.
Updated 22 min 54 sec ago
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Iraq wedding fire caused by ‘gross negligence’, government investigation says

This image shows the devastated interior of Al-Haitham hall in Qaraqosh, also known as Hamdaniyah.
  • Investigation results said owner of hall and three other staff members had allowed 900 people into venue when it was designed for a maximum of 400

BAGHDAD: A fire that swept through a crowded wedding hall in a northern Iraqi town killing more than 100 people was blamed on “gross negligence” and lack of safety measures, the results of a government investigation into the disaster said.
The investigation results, announced at a news conference on Sunday by interior minister Abdul Amir Al-Shammari, said the owner of the hall and three other staff members had allowed 900 people into the venue when it was designed for a maximum of 400.
“The fire was accidental and unintentional and occurred due to gross negligence,” the investigation findings said.
“Using flammable decoration helped the fire to spread quickly and transformed the hall to a fireball,” Shammari said.
The blaze trapped people inside the wedding hall and rescue teams struggled to reach them because exit doors were few and small, Shammari said.
At least 150 people were injured in the fire, which was in the Christian town of Hamdaniya — also known as Qaraqosh.
The interior minister put the death toll at 107 and said the investigation panel had proposed that the government should provide financial support to families of the dead and injured.
The investigation also made recommendations that legal action should be taken against local officials.
Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani visited victims of the blaze at two local hospitals on Thursday and pledged to hold those responsible to account.


Yemeni soldier killed, others hurt in Houthi drone attack in Saada

The army shot down several of the drones but one hit its target, killing a soldier and wounding others. (File/AFP)
The army shot down several of the drones but one hit its target, killing a soldier and wounding others. (File/AFP)
Updated 01 October 2023
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Yemeni soldier killed, others hurt in Houthi drone attack in Saada

The army shot down several of the drones but one hit its target, killing a soldier and wounding others. (File/AFP)
  • Incident happened during parade to mark anniversary of Sept. 26 Revolution
  • 4 Bahraini soldiers were killed in similar attack last week

AL-MUKALLA: A Yemeni government soldier was killed and several others were injured in a Houthi drone attack in the northern province of Saada on Saturday, the second such incident in a week.

Hadi Tarshan, governor of Saada, told Arab News that the Houthis launched a barrage of explosive-laden drones at a military parade held by Yemeni government forces in Baqoum district to commemorate the 61st anniversary of the Sept. 26 Revolution.

The army shot down several of the drones but one hit its target, killing a soldier and wounding others.

“We, the residents of Saada, have known the Houthis since 2004, and we know that they will not honor any deal or truce unless they are weak. What happened today demonstrates this,” Tarshan said.

The incident comes a week after four Bahraini soldiers were killed in a Houthi drone attack on a group of Arab coalition soldiers near the Saudi Arabia-Yemen border.

Despite a significant reduction in hostilities since a UN-brokered ceasefire went into effect in April last year, the Houthis have continued to launch ground attacks and fired drones and missiles at government-controlled areas and military locations in Taiz, Marib, Dhale, Lahi and other provinces.

Yemeni political and military observers said the increase in hostilities was intended to send a message to Houthi supporters who are under pressure to pay public employees and Saudi Arabia.

Military analyst Brig. Gen. Mohammed Al-Kumaim told Arab News that by targeting government troops and Arab coalition forces, the Houthis sought to reassure their supporters of their strength and exert pressure on the Kingdom to accept their peace demands.

“The intent was to send a message to the inside (Yemen) to boost their followers’ morale and divert attention away from what was happening in Sanaa,” he said.

“In addition, they are sending a message to Saudi Arabia to take their requests seriously.”

But even if the Yemeni government or the Kingdom complied with those demands, the Houthis would devise new ones and continue their military operations, he added.

“This is the Houthis we know: they are covenant breakers, deceivers and traitors who will exploit any opportunity to attack others, even during a truce. When their demands are satisfied, they increase them without making any concessions.”

Last week, the Houthis abducted more than 1,000 Yemenis in the cities of Sanaa and Ibb who had gathered on the street to commemorate the anniversary of the revolution, a move that the Houthis viewed as a challenge to their control and ban on public gatherings.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the Houthis prevented four Yemeni activists from the rights organization Mwatana from boarding a plane bound for Amman, Jordan.

The organization said the Houthis interrogated the activists, annulled their exit visas and told them to leave the airport, without providing any justification for their actions.

“It is another infringement of Yemeni men’s and women’s right to freedom of movement committed by the Houthi organization,” Rasheed Al-Faqih, the vice president of Mwatana and one of the four activists affected, said on X.

“With its protocols and decrees, the organization has undermined the Republic of Yemen’s effective constitution and all national laws and legislation.”


25 million children start new academic year in Egypt

An Egyptian teacher instructs students on the first day of the academic year at Al-Sadeeya school, in Cairo, Egypt October 1.
An Egyptian teacher instructs students on the first day of the academic year at Al-Sadeeya school, in Cairo, Egypt October 1.
Updated 01 October 2023
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25 million children start new academic year in Egypt

An Egyptian teacher instructs students on the first day of the academic year at Al-Sadeeya school, in Cairo, Egypt October 1.
  • Education Minister Reda Hegazy visits Cairo school on first day of term
  • Government committed to young people’s development, he says

CAIRO: About 25 million children began the new academic year at 60,000 schools across Egypt on Sunday.

Many sites were bedecked with balloons and decorations in line with a directive issued by Education Minister Reda Hegazy to ensure youngsters received a warm welcome on their first day back at school.

Hegazy joined Cairo Gov. Khaled Abdel Aal for the opening day at Al-Sayeda Nafisa Secondary School for Girls in Cairo, which is home to 603 pupils.

The officials expressed their best wishes to the students, teachers and staff for the year ahead.

Hegazy said the Education Ministry was committed to the development of schools and was taking all measures to benefit students.

These included the creation of question banks that children would be able to access to help them with their studies.

Abdel Aal said Cairo was home to 5,813 schools serving 2.5 million children of all ages — more than anywhere else in the country — and that operations were running smoothly across the city.

Thirty-eight new schools had opened this year, he added.

The new school year runs until June 8, 2024.