Iran Threatens To Completely Block WhatsApp And Instagram


Welcome again to The Farda Briefing, an RFE/RL e-newsletter that tracks the important thing points in Iran and explains why they matter. To subscribe, click on right here.

I am Hannah Kaviani, a senior broadcaster and editor at RFE/RL’s Radio Farda. This is what I have been following and what I am watching out for within the days forward.

The Massive Concern

Iran has publicly executed two younger males over their involvement within the ongoing antiestablishment protests which have rocked the nation since September. Mohsen Shekari and Majidreza Rahnavard had been each convicted of “waging struggle in opposition to God” and “corruption on Earth.”

Shekari, who was hanged on December 8, was accused of “deliberately injuring” a safety officer with a weapon and blocking a avenue in Tehran.

Rahnavard was hanged within the holy Shi’ite metropolis of Mashhad on December 12. He was accused of killing two members of the Basij paramilitary drive. Rights teams have mentioned the boys had been tortured and compelled to admit.

Why It Issues: Iran is likely one of the world’s prime executioners. However the current hangings have triggered extra anger and outrage than regular. Iranians have taken to social media and the streets to vent their fury. Some avenue protesters have chanted, “We are going to avenge the blood of the harmless” following the executions. In Tehran College, a noose was hooked up to a sheet of paper that learn “Hope can’t be hanged,” one in every of a number of symbolic acts of protest throughout the nation.

The executions have additionally triggered criticism from senior clerics in Iran. Molavi Abdolhamid, an outspoken cleric, has mentioned the dying sentence in opposition to Shekari violated Islamic regulation. Morteza Moqtadaei, a member of the Meeting of Consultants, an 88-member chamber of theologians which oversees the work of the nation’s supreme chief, additionally criticized the judiciary for handing down the dying sentence to Shekari.

What’s Subsequent: Iran is more likely to proceed finishing up executions, which rights teams have mentioned are a part of the authorities’ crackdown on the continued protests. Activists have warned that one other younger man sentenced to dying over the unrest — Sahand Nourmohammadzadeh — is at imminent threat of execution. Iran’s judiciary says it has issued dying sentences to 11 individuals in reference to the protests, though campaigners mentioned that no less than 21 protesters may probably face the dying penalty.

Tales You Would possibly Have Missed

Iran positioned sanctions on over two dozen people and entities in Europe on December 12, together with RFE/RL’s Radio Farda. The announcement got here forward of the European Union’s determination to impose new sanctions on Tehran. In line with the Iranian Overseas Ministry, 32 individuals and entities have been added to the sanctions record for “interfering within the home affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” RFE/RL President and Chief Govt Officer Jamie Fly described the designation of Radio Farda as “an absurd manipulation of the reality, straight out of each authoritarian playbook.”

Omid Moayidi, a college scholar, was shot within the again after which within the head by safety forces after taking part in an anti-regime protest within the metropolis of Shiraz, in response to eyewitnesses who spoke to Radio Farda. Sources with data of the scenario advised Radio Farda that the authorities had pressured his household to push their official line: that Moayidi was not protesting in any respect however a “martyr” of the clerical regime who was shot by “rioters” as he was driving his automobile.

What We’re Watching

In a uncommon transfer, Iran summoned the Chinese language ambassador to Tehran on December 11 to specific its “sturdy dissatisfaction” with a joint assertion issued by Chinese language chief Xi Jinping and leaders of Arab states of the Persian Gulf. The assertion, amongst different issues, calls on Iran and the United Arab Emirates to resolve their dispute over three islands within the gulf by means of negotiations.

However Iran’s Overseas Ministry mentioned the islands of Larger Tunb, Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa had been an “integral half” of the nation’s territory, which “have by no means and can by no means be topic to negotiations with any nation.”

Why It Issues: Because the joint assertion was launched, Iranian state media affiliated with totally different political factions have criticized Beijing, with some expressing “mistrust” of China. In an obvious bid to restore the harm, Chinese language Vice Premier Hu Chunhua met Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran on December 13. Through the assembly, Chunhua expressed help for Iran’s nationwide integrity, state media reported.

Since then-U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions in 2018, Tehran has adopted a coverage of “trying to the East,” turning to allies Russia and China. Given the significance of the alliance to each international locations, Beijing and Tehran are more likely to easy over any ill-feeling over the current controversy.

That is all from me for now. Remember to ship me any questions, feedback, or ideas that you’ve got.

Till subsequent time,

Hannah Kaviani

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