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May 12, 2014

Pro-“Resistance” Conference In Beirut Draws American Activists

A recent conference held in Beirut to discuss issues related to Palestinian political prisoners featured the participation of members of several Palestinian terrorist groups, as well as the attendance of at least three American activists.Arab-International Forum of the Solidarity Organizations Supporting Freedom Prisoners in the Prisons of the Zionist Occupation

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, a founder of the International Action Center (IAC), reportedly brought an American delegation to the conference, billed in the Arab media as “The Arab-International Forum of the Solidarity Organizations Supporting Freedom Prisoners in the Prisons of the Zionist Occupation.” The American activists were joined by representatives of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as ambassadors from several countries, including Syria, Venezuela, Iran, Yemen, Morocco, and Sudan.

The conference took place at the Commodore Hotel in Beirut on April 30. Maher al-Taher, the Political Secretary of the PFLP, spoke at the opening ceremony of the conference and delivered greetings from the PFLP’s General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat who is currently serving a 30 year sentence in an Israeli prison for his role in leading the PFLP. In his remarks, Al-Taher said, “Sa’adat’s message is to end the negotiations entirely; they have failed and this has been proven repeatedly. We must develop a new strategy on the basis of Palestinian resistance.”

Charlotte Kates, a longtime activist with Al-Awda and a coordinator for the North American Network for the Steadfast Support of Prisoners, also spoke at the conference. According to a news article about the conference in The Ambassador, a daily Lebanese Arabic-language newspaper, she said: “We remain in support of the cause, which the prisoners have been killed and fought for…and topping it is the Right of Return and the liberation of their country from the occupation…We are in solidarity with the prisoners and in solidarity with the Palestinian cause, and we declare and stand by the side of the Palestinian and Arab resistance.”

According to a news article about the conference from Al Watan Voice, a daily Palestinian Arabic-language newspaper, other notable attendees of the conference were Issa Qaraqe, the Palestinian Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs and Fadwa Barghouti, the wife of imprisoned Fatah leader Marwarn Barghouti. During her address, Barghouti reportedly said, “We are here to revive the issue of the prisoners and to expose the crimes of the Israeli occupation in international forums.”

This is not the first time a conference held in Beirut featuring Palestinian terrorist groups has attracted Westerners. In January 2009 and 2010, similar conferences were held in Beirut, which Clark and other American activists attended as well.

News reports indicate that this year’s conference concluded with a series of proposed action steps, including an affirmation by participants “that the Resistance option in all its forms is the shortest way to liberate the prisoners from Israeli jails.” A second action step from the conference reportedly called for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against “all foreign companies and states that provide logistic, security, or administrative support” to Israel on issues related to detention of prisoners in Israeli jails.

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March 19, 2014

Iran Weekly: Selected News & Developments

ayatollah-khamenei-iran

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

The fol­low­ing is a selec­tion of news reports and com­men­tary from Iran­ian media and main­stream pub­li­ca­tions on devel­op­ments per­tain­ing to Iran. This weekly update includes a sam­pling of pub­lished reports from Iran’s Farsi-language media* as well as rel­e­vant arti­cles from the inter­na­tional press.

Iran­ian Media

The principle events of the Islamic Revolution and the Holy Defense are exposed to being harmed and distorted*
(Mashregh News Agency – March 17, 2014)

In a meeting with officials from the Raahian-e Nour (Path of Light) tour guides that lead trips to different battle grounds from the Iran-Iraq war, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned, “Today the ruling powers are trying the same lowly tricks to make [the world] gradually forget how the native people of the cities and villages of Palestine were pushed out. We must not allow the events of the Holy Defense to also be forgotten.”

Rafsanjani criticizes world powers for ignoring Muslims’ rights in Palestine, Myanmar
(Fars News Agency – March 17, 2014)

Former Iranian President and Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Rafsanjani met with a delegation from the International Crisis Group. During his meeting, Rafsanjani said, “The super powers’ green light to Israel and sometimes their weaponry and political assistance to the usurper regime has doubled the oppression against the oppressed people of Palestine.”

Official reveals new details of sabotage acts against Iran’s N. facilities
(Fars News Agency – March 17, 2014)

Asqar Zare’an, the deputy chief for nuclear protection and security for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, revealed that the Arak nuclear facility had come under attack. “Intelligence inspections of the nuclear facilities indicated that some pumps of the second circuitry of Arak’s IR40 project had undergone mechanical operations in a bid to disrupt the routine work of the power plant,” Zare’an said last Saturday.

Khalid Mashaal is coming to Iran*
(Fars News Agency – March 16, 2014)

According to reports by the Egyptian daily Al-Yom Al-Saba’a, Hamas Politburo Chief Khalid Mashaal is expected to visit to Tehran soon.

The nuclear team has no right to discuss non-nuclear issues*
(Kayhan – March 16, 2014)

A statement signed by 222 members of the Iranian parliament this week stated, “The Islamic Republic of Iran, in its capacity as a founding member of the NPT, which it has up until now adhered to and has not produced nuclear weapons in accordance with the treaty, seeks to use its full legitimate right of nuclear power for peaceful purposes as stated in Article 4 of the treaty.

The Palestinians’ missile capabilities have increased by 1,000 times*
(Fars News Agency – March 15, 2014)

Defense Minister Hossein Deghan boasted, “The Resistance’s [Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad] operational abilities against the Zionist regime have increased 1,000 fold and it is something we have been doing until now. With these calculations, the Resistance’s missile response can be fully understood.”

Iran raps Al-Jazeera claim about involvement in 1988 Lockerbie bombing
(Fars News Agency – March 13, 2014)

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab-African Affairs accused Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab Qatari news network, of embarking on a campaign on behalf of Israel. Hossein Amir Abdollahian called Al Jazeera’s report connecting Iran to the 1988 Lockerbie bombing a fabrication “in line with the Zionist regime’s lies.”

Hezbollah vows to give crushing response to Israeli aggressions
(Fars News Agency – March 12, 2014)

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem issued a series of threats against Israel after an aerial attack on Hezbollah sites by the Israeli Air Force. “We will pursue the issue of Israel’s continued aggressions, including reconnaissance flights and land aggression, through international law and the UN Security Council, laws of big countries and all those who claim that Israel is neither an occupier nor an aggress,” Qassam said during his interview with Fars News.

The next meeting of the Supreme Islamic Awakening Council will be in Baghdad/The West is in fear of Islamic thinking and awe*
(Fars News Agency – March 12, 2014)

Ali Akbar Velayati, the special advisor to the Supreme Leader, said during his speech at the Supreme Islamic Awakening Council, “Our hope is for the liberation of Palestine and we are hopeful that one day we will pray behind the Supreme Leader in the Al Aqsa mosque.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Netanyahu orders IDF to prepare for possible strike on Iran during 2014
(Haaretz – March 19, 2014)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon continue to prepare the Israel Defense Force for a possible military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

West sees unity on Iran despite crisis in Ukraine
(New York Times – March 18, 2014)

As representatives from the P5+1 and Iran gather in Vienna for negotiations, the specter of the crisis in Ukraine cause tensions between the West and Russia.

Iran doesn’t expect deal in coming nuclear talks
(Washington Post – March 16, 2014)

Prior to the latest round of negotiations with the P5+1, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed doubt that a deal would be reached “in this round of talks,” and that the sides “have agreed to discuss a number of issues in this round.”

It’s a sabotage: Iran’s hard-liners are using mass executions to undermine the nuclear deal
(Foreign Policy – March 14, 2014)

A spike in the number of executions is seen as attempts by hard-liners to derail President Rouhani’s diplomatic efforts.

Iran’s oppressed Christians
(New York Times – March 14, 2014)

A look into the hardships Iran’s Christian minority faces under the rule of the Islamic Republic.

Rouhani has not stopped Iran suppressing human rights: U.N. envoy
(Reuters – March 14, 2014)

United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed, criticized President Rouhani’s “baby steps” to improve human rights in Iran. Shaheed also stated that the Islamic Republic is holding 900 political prisoners, “including people persecuted for religious activities, lawyers and journalists.”

In Iran, a battle over control of media and culture is heating up
(Washington Post – March 13, 2014)

Tensions rise within Iran’s establishment as the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance hint at the possibility of relaxing some of the “ridiculous” policies Iran has adopted since the Islamic Revolution.

Iran hosts Syria conference of Assad sympathizers
(Chicago Tribune – March 12, 2014)

Iran hosted a conference in support of Syria’s Assad regime in which participating nations endorsed Tehran’s call for elections to “determine the destiny” of Syria.

Iran hard-liners protest at Austrian Embassy
(Washington Post – March 12, 2014)

Iranian authorities staged a protest in front of the Austrian Embassy last week over a meeting EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton held with activists during her high-profile visit to Tehran.

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November 21, 2012

Iranian Leaders Admit Providing Hamas With Missiles And Rockets To Fight Israel

Parliamentary Rally in Tehran (sign reads “Death to Israel”)

Several Iranian leaders have taken credit for providing arms and rockets to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, according to statements translated by the Anti-Defamation League from the original Farsi.

Among those boasting of Iran’s aid to Hamas was Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament and close confidant to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. During a parliamentary rally for Palestine on Wednesday, Larijani admitted Iran’s involvement in arming Hamas with weapons, “We announce with pride that we support the people of Palestine and Hamas. We are proud that our help to the people of Palestine includes material and military (support).”

At a Basij ceremony on Wednesday, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Muhammad Ali Ja’afar acknowledged that Iran “cannot send weapons there (to Gaza),” but made it clear that Iran has “given theme (Hamas) the necessary technology for the Fajr 5 and today mass quantities of this missile are being produced.” At the same ceremony, Vice Chief of State of the Armed Forces Masoud Jazayeri warned Israel that “No Iran dome will be able to tolerate the missiles of the resistance,” and that Palestinian terror groups have many weapons capabilities “that have not arrived on the war scene yet.”

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