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DOJ Official: US Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to Step Down in March

February 19, 2019 by · Comments Off on DOJ Official: US Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to Step Down in March 

Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. deputy attorney general who appointed a special counsel to investigate possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign, is expected to step down by mid March, a Justice Department official said on Monday. Rosenstein had been expected to depart shortly after new Attorney General William Barr assumed office. Barr was confirmed for the role by the U.S. Senate last week. The Justice official said Rosenstein’s departure was not related to renewed allegations that he considered wearing a wire in meetings with Trump and using the 25th amendment of the U.S. Constitution to remove the president from office. Rosenstein, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, in May 2017 named Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate ties between Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign and Moscow. The investigation continues.

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Iran’s Teachers Denounce Suppression of Rights in Biggest Protests in Months

February 16, 2019 by · Comments Off on Iran’s Teachers Denounce Suppression of Rights in Biggest Protests in Months 

Iranian teachers have staged peaceful rallies in at least six cities to protest what they see as government suppression of their rights and to call for better working conditions in their poorly paid profession. Images verified by VOA Persian and sent from social media users inside Iran showed teachers rallying Wednesday outside education departments in the northern cities of Ardabil and Urmia, the northwestern cities of Kermanshah, Marivan and Sanandaj, and in the northeastern city of Mashhad. It was the largest-scale protest by Iranian teachers since mid-November, when the Telegram channel of the Coordinating Council of Teachers Syndicates in Iran (CCTSI) posted photos of elementary and high school teachers staging sit-ins and holding protest signs in and outside their offices in at least 27 cities. That strike action followed a similar round of nationwide teacher protests in Iran in mid-October. Social media users in Iran told VOA Persian that the teachers involved in Wednesday’s rallies echoed the demands of past protests, such as calling for the release of teachers’ rights advocates jailed by authorities, the right to teach students in minority languages, the improvement of poorly paid teachers’ living standards, and an end to government privatization of the education system.

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Torture Still Scars Iranians 40 Years After Revolution

February 11, 2019 by · Comments Off on Torture Still Scars Iranians 40 Years After Revolution 

The halls of the former prison in the heart of Iran’s capital now are hushed, befitting the sounds of the museum that it has become. Wax mannequins silently portray the horrific acts of torture that once were carried out within its walls. But the surviving inmates still remember the screams.
 Exhibits in the former Anti-Sabotage Joint Committee Prison that was run under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi include a frightened man trapped in a small metal cage as a cigarette-smoking interrogator shouts above him. In a circular courtyard, a snarling interrogator is depicted forcing a prisoner’s head under water while another inmate above hangs from his wrists. As Iran this month marks the 40th anniversary of its Islamic Revolution and the overthrow of the shah, the surviving inmates who suffered torture at the hands of the country’s police and dreaded SAVAK intelligence service still bear both visible and hidden scars. Even today, United Nations investigators and rights group say Iran tortures and arbitrarily detains prisoners.

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Leader of New Climate Panel Talks of Need for ‘Bold Action’

February 9, 2019 by · Comments Off on Leader of New Climate Panel Talks of Need for ‘Bold Action’ 

It does not yet have office space, staff or even Republican members, but Florida Rep. Kathy Castor is confident that a special House committee on climate change will play a leading role on one of the most daunting challenges facing the planet. Castor, who chairs the new panel, says those early obstacles can be overcome as lawmakers move to reduce carbon pollution and create clean-energy jobs. “The Democratic caucus is unified under the belief we have to take bold action on the climate crisis,” Castor said in an interview. While that can take many forms, the transition to renewable energy such as wind and solar power is “job one,” she said.Castor, who’s in her seventh term representing the Tampa Bay area, said Congress has a “moral obligation” to protect future generations from the costly effects of climate change, including more severe hurricanes, a longer wildfire season and a dangerous sea-level rise.

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Hezbollah Leader Vows to Defend Iran in Event of War

February 7, 2019 by · Comments Off on Hezbollah Leader Vows to Defend Iran in Event of War 

The leader of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah said Wednesday that the organization would defend Iran in the event of war, saying the Islamic Republic would not be alone in a confrontation with America.  Hassan Nasrallah said the Islamic Republic was currently the strongest state in the region, and that the so-called axis of resistance led by Iran was the strongest it has ever been. The axis groups the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad with Shiite militias in Iraq and Hezbollah.  Nasrallah was speaking to supporters at a rally marking the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution and the overthrow of the shah.  “If America launches war on Iran, it will not be alone in the confrontation, because the fate of our region is tied to the Islamic Republic,” he said. 

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Iran Criticizes Greece, Italy for Not Buying Its Oil Despite US Waivers

February 6, 2019 by · Comments Off on Iran Criticizes Greece, Italy for Not Buying Its Oil Despite US Waivers 

Iran’s oil minister on Tuesday criticized Greece and Italy for not buying its oil despite U.S. waivers and said they had not offered Tehran any explanation for their decision. The United States granted the two countries exemptions along with six others — Turkey, China, India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan — allowing them to temporarily continue buying Iranian oil as Washington reimposed sanctions on Iran’s banking and energy sectors. “No European country is buying oil from Iran except Turkey,” Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.

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Iran Women See New Opportunities Alongside Old Barriers

February 4, 2019 by · Comments Off on Iran Women See New Opportunities Alongside Old Barriers 

Saba was just 25 when she left her design job in New York to work on a project renovating an art gallery back in her hometown Tehran. Within months, she won three more contracts to do up galleries and the lobby of an apartment complex. “I had dreamt of building my own company, but I hadn’t expected it to happen any time soon. If I had stayed in New York, I wouldn’t have had this chance,” said Saba, now 27. She says the position of women in Iran has changed a lot over the past decade. “People now trust women in management positions. Still it’s hard, especially on a construction site. But it’s hard anywhere. It’s hard in New York,” she told AFP. As the Islamic republic marks its 40th birthday, few issues are more politically sensitive or full of contradictions than the status of women.

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Ayatollah Khomeini’s Family Mostly Absent from Iran Politics

February 3, 2019 by · Comments Off on Ayatollah Khomeini’s Family Mostly Absent from Iran Politics 

His image is on bank notes and in school textbooks in Iran, often as a black-and-white embodiment of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that swept aside the country’s shah and forever changed the nation. But unlike other countries ruled by family dynasties, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s children and grandchildren have never fully entered politics. Part of the reason lies with Khomeini’s own commandments after becoming Iran’s first supreme leader. The rest likely comes from suspicion in the very system Khomeini set up, even though his name still carries weight today. “I wish I was living during the Khomeini era,” said Mahboobeh Ramazani, 27, who recently visited the mosque attached to the ayatollah’s residence, now a tourist attraction in northern Tehran. “He is still my favorite, since he never sought anything for himself and his family members.”

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Trump Dismisses Tell-All Book as ‘Made-Up Stories’ share US POLITICS Trump Dismisses Tell-All Book as ‘Made-Up Stories’

January 30, 2019 by · Comments Off on Trump Dismisses Tell-All Book as ‘Made-Up Stories’ share US POLITICS Trump Dismisses Tell-All Book as ‘Made-Up Stories’ 

President Donald Trump is dismissing — and potentially bolstering sales — of a new tell-all book by a former White House aide, calling it “made-up stories and fiction.” The book by Cliff Sims, called Team of Vipers, is the latest in a series of insider accounts by journalists and former Trump staffers that paint an unflattering picture of life in the West Wing. In it, Sims engages in score-settling with former internal rivals, fingers other administration officials as “leakers,” and casts the president as disloyal to his staff. Trump, in a Tuesday morning tweet, dismissed Sims as a “low level staffer” who had written “yet another boring book.”

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More Undocumented Immigrants Are Living in US Sanctuary Churches

January 29, 2019 by · Comments Off on More Undocumented Immigrants Are Living in US Sanctuary Churches 

Iran appears to be broadening its presence in cyberspace, stealing information that would allow its cyber spies to monitor and track key political and business officials. As part of this growing focus, Iranian-linked cyber actors are using phishing emails and stolen credentials to infiltrate telecommunication companies and the travel industry in order to steal personally identifiable information they can use in future operations. The main culprit, according to a report released Tuesday by cybersecurity firm FireEye, is a group known as Advanced Persistent Threat 39, or APT 39. Active since 2014, FireEye maintains the group has been working “in support of Iranian national interests,” showing an ability to hits targets across the Middle East and beyond. “APT 39’s focus on the widespread theft of personal information sets it apart from other Iranian groups,” the report said, warning the activity “showcases Iran’s potential global operational reach.”

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