Iran arrests British-Iranian dual national as crackdown continues
- An Iranian prosecutor indicated through state media that an Iranian-British dual national had been arrested for links to British intelligence services.
- The official indicated that the arrest was a part of an ongoing crackdown against Western “infiltration,” which has ramped up in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal.
- The arrest is at least the seventh of such dual nationals—whose non-Iranian citizenship the Iranian government does not recognize—arrested in the last year.
“Iran says it has detained a dual national linked to British intelligence” (Reuters)
“Iran accuses dual national of spying for British intelligence” (BBC)
“Iran arrests suspected British spy” (Bloomberg via The Toronto Star)
Iran executes gay teen for alleged rape
- In the Arak prison, the Iranian government executed Hassan Afshar, who was accused of rape by the parents of Afshar’s sexual partner.
- Afshar maintained that the sex, which took place when he was 17, was consensual, but Iran’s sodomy laws make it difficult to ascertain consent in same-sex sexual relations.
- International human rights organizations have expressed outrage at Iran’s practice of capital punishment for juveniles and for rape in opposition to international law.
“Iran: Hanging of teenager shows authorities’ brazen disregard for international law” (Amnesty International)
“Iran’s First Juvenile Execution of 2016 Was a Gay Teenager” (VICE News)
“Iran executes teenage boy for being gay” (PinkNews)
Executive pay leaks stir outrage in Iran
- Leaks of executive compensation at state-owned firms led to controversy when local media revealed some business leaders were receiving dozens of times the amount of pay the average Iranian household received.
- Iranian law dictates that the top government salary should not exceed seven times the amount of the lowest paid, but bonuses and additional incentives have at times been used to skirt that requirement.
- Four public bank chiefs have been fired in the wake of the revelations as Iranians continue to wait for the economic benefits of the lifting of international sanctions in 2015.
“Executive pay stirs outrage, becomes political issue in Iran” (Reuters)
“Iran sacks bank chiefs amid uproar over high salaries” (BBC)
“Four Iranian Bank Chiefs Fired Over Salaries Scandal” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
Canadian-Iranian arrested in Iran as detentions of dual citizens continue
- Homa Hoodfar, an anthropology professor at Concordia University in Montreal, was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Tehran.
- Her family indicated that she had been detained and transferred to Iran’s notorious Evin prison on unspecified charges following extended interrogation.
- Iran, which doesn’t recognize dual citizenship, has imprisoned a growing number of dual nationals traveling from abroad in recent years under allegations of espionage and foreign collaboration.
“Canadian-Iranian professor arrested in Tehran by Revolutionary Guards” (The Guardian)
“Arrest of Homa Hoodfar in Iran Shines Light on Dangers for Dual Citizens” (The New York Times)
“Concordia University prof jailed in Iran’s Evin prison, family says” (CBC News)
(Image Credit: Amanda Ghahremani/Associated Press, via The New York Times)
Iranian pilgrims denied travel rights as diplomatic row between Iran and Saudi Arabia continues
- Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization announced that Iranians would not be allowed to make the annual trek to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
- Relations between the regional rivals have deteriorated in the wake of Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric, which led to violent protests at the Saudi embassy in Tehran and Riyadh’s severance of diplomatic ties.
- In September 2015, hundreds of Iranians were among the thousands killed in a stampede in Mecca, and the continued absence of an official Saudi report has exacerbated tensions between the two countries.
“Iran says its pilgrims will not attend haj in Saudi” (Reuters)
“Iran pilgrims to miss Hajj amid row with Saudi Arabia” (BBC)
“Iranians will not perform Haj this year” (Gulf News)
(Image Credit: Ahmad Masood/Reuters)
Iranian government releases five Americans as U.S. sanctions lifted
- Four of the released, including Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, were dual Iranian-American citizens released as part of a U.S.-Iran prisoner exchange.
- A fifth American, student Matthew Trevithick, was released separately.
- The exchange comes as the U.S. lifts its sanctions as a part of its agreement with Iran to halt its nuclear development program.
“Iran Frees 4 Americans, Including Jason Rezaian, in Prisoner Swap” (The New York Times)
“Iran frees Post reporter Jason Rezaian, 4 other Americans, officials say” (The Washington Post)
“Iran separately releases fifth American: U.S. official” (Reuters)
(Image Credit: Zoeann Murphy/The Washington Post, via The New York Times)
Execution of Saudi Shiite leader sparks protests throughout the Middle East and South Asia
- From Saudi Arabia to India by way of Bahrain, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan, Shiite Muslims protested the Saudi government’s execution of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
- Nimr had been convicted of order followers to attack the police, a crime of “banditry” that carries an automatic death sentence.
- Before his arrest in 2012, Nimr had publicly called for nonviolent demonstrations to draw attention to the oppression of the minority Shia community in Saudi Arabia.
“Shi’ite Muslims worldwide decry execution of Saudi cleric” (Reuters)
“Protests in Kashmir, Bahrain and Pakistan over killing of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr” (The Guardian)
“Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr: Figurehead Shia cleric” (BBC)
(Image Credit: AFP, via BBC)