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US Official: Iran Protest Deaths May Have Topped 1,000

December 6, 2019 by · Comments Off on US Official: Iran Protest Deaths May Have Topped 1,000 

WASHINGTON – A senior U.S. official said Thursday Iranian forces may have killed more than 1,000 people in three weeks of protests sparked by the government’s sudden and dramatic increase in fuel prices. “It appears the regime could have murdered over a thousand Iranian citizens since the protests began,” said State Department special representative for Iran, Brian Hook. Hook said the State Department received 32,000 videos, including footage taken in southern Iran, where elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps allegedly pursued a group of protesters and opened fire, killing as many 100 people. Hook said Iranian forces also wounded “many thousands” and arrested at least 7,000 others.the toll figures were difficult to confirm, but declared, “We know for certain it is many, many hundreds.” The human rights group Amnesty International’s Iran researcher, Mansoureh Mills, says she cannot comment on the 1,000 death toll and is, for now, sticking by Amnesty’s latest estimate of 2018.

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US Navy Seizes Suspected Iranian Missile Parts Set for Yemen

December 5, 2019 by · Comments Off on US Navy Seizes Suspected Iranian Missile Parts Set for Yemen 

VOA – WASHINGTON – A Navy warship has seized a “significant cache” of suspected Iranian guided missile parts headed to rebels in Yemen, U.S. officials said Wednesday, marking the first time that such sophisticated components have been taken en route to the war there. The seizure from a small boat by the U.S. Navy and a U.S. Coast Guard boarding team happened last Wednesday in the northern Arabian Sea, and the weapons have been linked to Iran. Officials said the incident illustrates the continuing illegal smuggling of weapons to Houthi rebels and comes as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were meeting, with Iran as the main topic.

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Rohani and Protesters

December 4, 2019 by · Comments Off on Rohani and Protesters 

VOA – Iran’s President Hassan Rohani has called for the release of protesters who were arrested in recent demonstrations against a sharp hike in gas prices if they were unarmed and simply voicing their opinion. “Religious and Islamic clemency should be shown and those innocent people who protested against petrol price hikes and were not armed…should be released,” Rohani said in a televised speech on December 4. Protests erupted on November 15 after the government announced a fuel price hike of up to 200 % but were quickly stifled by security forces who also imposed a week-long near-total Internet blackout.

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More European Nations Join Effort to Bypass US Sanctions on Iran

December 1, 2019 by · Comments Off on More European Nations Join Effort to Bypass US Sanctions on Iran 

VOA – Six European nations say they will join a fledgling financial system to bypass U.S. sanctions against Iran, challenging U.S. President Donald Trump days before he meets leaders of some of those nations in London. In a joint statement Friday, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden said they are in the process of become shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX). Britain, France and Germany launched INSTEX in January to enable companies to trade with Iran without using U.S. dollars or going through U.S. banks, thereby shielding such companies from U.S. sanctions. Trump has been toughening U.S. sanctions against Iran since November 2018 as part of a campaign of “maximum pressure” on Tehran to reach a new deal to stop its perceived malign behaviors. Earlier last year, he pulled the U.S. out of a 2015 deal in which world powers eased sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on the Iranian nuclear program. Trump said that deal was not tough enough on Tehran.

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The First Thanksgiving: A Temporary Peace between Puritans and Tribes

November 29, 2019 by · Comments Off on The First Thanksgiving: A Temporary Peace between Puritans and Tribes 

WASHINGTON – In the fall of 1621, English settlers at Plymouth marked their first harvest and began stockpiling food for the winter: cod, bass and other fish, venison, wild turkey and duck that could dried or salted to supplement plentiful Indian corn. Tisquantum, commonly known as Squanto, was a member of the Patuxet band of the Wampanoag confederation who had learned English from earlier explorers and made himself indispensable to Puritan newcomers. “Squanto directed us in how to set our corn, where to take fish, to procure other commodities, took us various places for our benefit, and never left us until his death,” Plymouth’s second governor, William Bradford, later wrote.

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Iran says Protesters Attacked Hundreds of Banks, Blaming US

November 27, 2019 by · Comments Off on Iran says Protesters Attacked Hundreds of Banks, Blaming US 

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Protesters angry over government-set gasoline prices spiking in Iran attacked hundreds of banks, police outposts and gas stations in the demonstrations, Tehran acknowledged Wednesday as its supreme leader alleged without evidence that a “conspiracy” involving the U.S. caused the unrest. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the comment while addressing members of the Revolutionary Guard’s all-volunteer Basij force, which help put down the demonstrations. Meanwhile, one lawmaker was quoted as saying authorities arrested more than 7,000 people over the protests while a security official claimed demonstrators attempted to take over Iranian state television.

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As Internet Restored, Online Iran Protest Videos Show Chaos

November 25, 2019 by · Comments Off on As Internet Restored, Online Iran Protest Videos Show Chaos 

VOA – DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Machine gun fire answers rock-throwing protesters. Motorcycle-riding Revolutionary Guard volunteers chase after demonstrators. Plainclothes security forces grab, beat and drag a man off the street to an uncertain fate. As Iran restores the internet after a weeklong government-imposed shutdown, new videos purport to show the demonstrations over gasoline prices rising and the security-force crackdown that followed. The videos offer only fragments of encounters, but to some extent they fill in the larger void left by Iran’s state-controlled television and radio channels. On their airwaves, hard-line officials allege that foreign conspiracies and exile groups instigated the unrest. In print, newspapers offered only PR for the government or had merely stenographic reporting at best, the moderate daily Hamshahri said in an analysis Sunday.

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Iran Focusing on Minorities Following Protests, Experts Say

November 24, 2019 by · Comments Off on Iran Focusing on Minorities Following Protests, Experts Say 

VOA – Days of widespread anti-government protests and violence in Iran have renewed debate over the status of minorities in the country, with some experts warning that Iranian authorities are blaming minority groups for the unrest in a bid to justify further clamping down on them. The nationwide protests in Iran erupted late last week because of frustration over an abrupt increase in gas prices by the government. Watchdog group Amnesty International reported Tuesday that at least 100 protesters had been killed by security forces and more than 1,000 people had been arrested.

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Iran’s Internet Mostly Down into 6th Day, With Slight Easing of Access in South

November 23, 2019 by · Comments Off on Iran’s Internet Mostly Down into 6th Day, With Slight Easing of Access in South 

VOA – A major internet outage in Iran aimed at suppressing anti-government protests has extended into a sixth day, with access levels rising slightly as authorities said they reconnected several regions to the web. In a series of Thursday tweets, London-based internet monitoring group NetBlocks said Iran’s almost-total internet shutdown began to ease after 113 hours, with the national connectivity rate rising from 5% to 10%, and later to 15% by early Friday local time. Connectivity had plummeted to about 5% late Saturday and mostly remained at that level until Thursday afternoon. Iranian state news agencies reported that authorities were gradually restoring internet access in several regions, including the southern province of Hormozgan, which is home to the major port of Bandar Abbas. Speaking to reporters in Tehran, Abolhassan Firouzabadi, secretary of Iran’s Supreme Cyberspace Council, said the state body would make a decision later Thursday about whether to end the internet shutdown, which has further damaged an economy already weakened by U.S. sanctions. He expressed hope the outage would end “within the next two days.”

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Iran’s Internet Shutdown Extends to 5th Day, Further Harming Economy

November 21, 2019 by · Comments Off on Iran’s Internet Shutdown Extends to 5th Day, Further Harming Economy 

VOA – Iran’s shutdown of domestic Internet access as part of a crackdown on anti-government protests has stretched beyond four days, an unprecedented outage that has caused growing harm to the economy. Iran’s shutdown of domestic Internet access as part of a crackdown on anti-government protests has stretched beyond four days, an unprecedented outage that has caused growing harm to the economy. London-based Internet monitoring group NetBlocks posted a tweet early Thursday in Iran, saying the “near-total” Internet shutdown had surpassed 100 hours since it began late Saturday. “Digital rights are human rights: access must be restored to all Iranians,” the group added.

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