More US States Welcome Refugees Under New Trump Rule

December 6, 2019 by · Comments Off on More US States Welcome Refugees Under New Trump Rule 

VOA – Kansas is the latest U.S. state to commit to resettling refugees under a new Trump administration rule that requires cities and states to opt in to the government’s refugee program. “I not only consent to the initial refugee resettlement in Kansas as per the terms of the Executive Order, I also welcome them into our state,” Democratic Governor Laura Kelly wrote to President Donald Trump in the letter, made public Wednesday. With the letter, Kelly joins a small bipartisan list of governors to quickly respond to the new rule, issued in September. PennsylvaniaVirginia, and Washington state — headed by Democratic governors — and Utah, led by a Republican, previously submitted similar letters to Washington officials. Prior to the Sept. 26 executive order, refugees were either reunited with family or assigned a destination based on a quarterly meeting near Washington, D.C., between government officials and the non-profit organizations that handle resettlement.

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Fears Deepen for Families of People Held in Iran Amid Unrest

December 4, 2019 by · Comments Off on Fears Deepen for Families of People Held in Iran Amid Unrest 

VOA – Families of several U.S. and British people held in Iran expressed fear for their loved ones Tuesday amid the deadliest unrest in decades in the Islamic Republic. The relatives spoke at a news conference in Washington to demand the release of spouses and parents held in Iran — in at least one case for more than a decade. Among those who spoke was a daughter of Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007. The protests now roiling Iran, reflecting widespread economic discontent and outrage over spiking gasoline prices, have been an added challenge to families who have gone years without seeing their loved ones. Iranian state television acknowledged Tuesday that security forces shot and killed protesters in multiple cities.

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Iran Opposition Leader Compares Supreme Leader to Shah

December 1, 2019 by · Comments Off on Iran Opposition Leader Compares Supreme Leader to Shah 

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – A long-detained opposition leader in Iran on Saturday compared a bloody crackdown on those protesting government-set gasoline prices rising under its supreme leader to soldiers of the shah gunning down demonstrators in an event that led to the Islamic Revolution. The comments published by a foreign website represent some of the harshest yet attributed to Mir Hossein Mousavi, a 77-year-old politician whose own disputed election loss in 2009 led to the widespread Green Movement protests that security forces also put down.

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AP Analysis: Iran Protests Point to Turmoil in the Future

November 29, 2019 by · Comments Off on AP Analysis: Iran Protests Point to Turmoil in the Future 

VOA – DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Even among hardliners in Iran, there seems to be an acknowledgment of one fact after widespread protests, violence and a security force crackdown following a spike in government-set gasoline prices: This will not be the last time demonstrators come out on the street. As Iran struggles under crushing U.S. sanctions following President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal of America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, its elected civilian government and those in its Shiite theocracy will face ever-tougher decisions on where to cut costs. Those cuts will more than likely target its vast system of government subsidies that make life affordable for its poor, from low-cost electricity in their homes to the bread on their plates. Any move to increase those prices will draw further protests. But the government may not have any other option.

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Tehran Hosts Taliban Leaders for Afghan Peace Talks

November 27, 2019 by · Comments Off on Tehran Hosts Taliban Leaders for Afghan Peace Talks 

VOA – ISLAMABAD – Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has hosted leaders of Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgency and discussed efforts aimed at finding a negotiated settlement to the Afghan war. A Taliban spokesman said Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the political deputy chief and head of the insurgent group’s Qatar-based office, led the visiting delegation at the meeting. This is the second time Taliban officials have traveled to Tehran since their yearlong peace negotiations with the United States collapsed in early September.

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Iran Takes Action Against TV Channel That Aired Protests

November 27, 2019 by · Comments Off on Iran Takes Action Against TV Channel That Aired Protests 

VOA -DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Iran has imposed punitive measures on individuals associated with a London-based TV channel that aired videos of anti-government protests. The judiciary’s website said it imposed “judicial and legal restrictions” on property held by individuals associated with Iran International, without elaborating. The channel is believed to be linked to Saudi Arabia. Iran has accused Saudi Arabia and Western nations of fomenting the unrest. The Persian language channel had aired several videos of the anti-government protests that erupted across Iran last week in response to a fuel price hike.

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Iran Restoring Internet Access, Says Advocacy Group

November 24, 2019 by · Comments Off on Iran Restoring Internet Access, Says Advocacy Group 

VOA – DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – An advocacy group says internet connectivity is rapidly being restored in Iran after a weeklong government-imposed shutdown in response to widespread protests. The group NetBlocks said Saturday that connectivity had suddenly reached 60% Saturday afternoon. It said on Twitter: “Internet access is being restored in (hash)Iran after a weeklong internet shutdown amid widespread protests.” There were reports that internet service remained spotty in the capital, Tehran, though others around the country began reporting they could again access it. The order comes a week after the Nov. 15 gasoline price hike, which sparked demonstrations that rapidly turned violent, seeing gas stations, banks and stores burned to the ground.

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Bolton: Twitter ‘Liberated’ His Account from White House

November 23, 2019 by · Comments Off on Bolton: Twitter ‘Liberated’ His Account from White House 

VOA – SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton said Friday that Twitter Inc. had returned control of his personal account to him after it had been taken over by the White House. “We have now liberated the Twitter account, previously suppressed unfairly in the aftermath of my resignation as National Security Adviser,” Bolton told his more than 790,000 followers in his first tweets since resigning in September. “In full disclosure, the @WhiteHouse never returned access to my Twitter account. Thank you to @twitter for standing by their community standards and rightfully returning control of my account,” he wrote.

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Rights Group: 106 Killed in Iran’s Crackdown on Anti-Government Protests

November 20, 2019 by · Comments Off on Rights Group: 106 Killed in Iran’s Crackdown on Anti-Government Protests 




VOA – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has claimed victory over the country’s “enemies” that he has blamed for the deadly nationwide anti-government protests against a unpopular gas price hike. In remarks aired on state-owned television Wednesday, Rouhani said “spontaneous” pro-government demonstrations across Iran earlier in the day showed the true power of the Iranian people against a “conspiracy” carried out by Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States. Iranian state TV broadcast images of pro-government rallies in several locations on Tuesday, in an effort to minimize the protests. Authorities also extended an almost complete shutdown of internet access into a fourth day to stop Iranians from sharing images of the protests with the outside world. The outage, which began late Saturday, made it difficult to determine the extent of Tuesday’s protests. The demonstrations erupted in response to the government abruptly raising the subsidized price of gas by 50% early Friday. Many Iranians see the increase as putting a further burden on their wallets at a time of worsening economic conditions.

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Iran Shuts Down Internet as Protests Continue

November 17, 2019 by · Comments Off on Iran Shuts Down Internet as Protests Continue 

VOA – Iran’s supreme leader backed Sunday a government decision to increase fuel prices which sparked deadly protests over the weekend. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blamed “thugs” for damaging property  in protests that left at least two people dead. His comments come as the government shut off internet across Iran in an attempt to quell protests over the raising of government-set gasoline prices by 50%. In a televised address to the nation, Khamenei said “some lost their lives” without elaborating. The protests put renewed pressure on Iran’s government as it struggles to overcome the U.S. sanctions strangling the country after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Though largely peaceful, demonstrations devolved into violence in several instances, with online videos purporting to show police officers firing tear gas at protesters and mobs setting fires. 

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