Insider news & Analysis in Iran

On Wednesday, a Reuters report explained that Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, is planning to travel to Vienna later this month in order to discuss the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, with the United Nations body tasked with assessing Iran’s compliance. The report notes that this is part of a large-scale review of that compliance, which may culminate with US President Donald Trump’s refusal to certify it before Congress.

On Thursday, despite an urgent call to action from Amnesty International the day prior, it was reported that 21-year-old Alireza Tajiki had been executed at Adel Abad Prison on the basis of a conviction for male rape which had been handed down when he was only 16 years old. The execution of minor offenders is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Iran is a signatory to both of these documents, and the country’s regime has repeatedly come under severe international criticism over its persistent refusal to halt the execution of persons who were under 18 years old at the time of their alleged crimes.

As the movement for calling for justice in regards to the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners grows, the Iranian regime is fighting back in an attempt to discredit the movement. Recently, the state-run Basij News wrote, “The People’s Mojahedin of Iran (MEK/PMOI) has organized the maximum propaganda and military activities against the Islamic Republic of Iran. The unresolved issue is how some of the political circles support the MEK’s measures in the current situation and they question the events of the 80s, while trying to call the hangman a martyr.”

On Wednesday, UPI reported that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had appointed women to three of the country’s 12 vice presidential positions. Each such posting is associated with a separate agency but is lower in status than the 18 ministers who make up the core of the presidential cabinet. The three women will hold the titles of vice president for family and women’s affairs, for legal affairs, and for civil rights, but two are holdovers from Rouhani’s first term in office, which ended Saturday with his second-term swearing-in ceremony.

When confronted with the question of whether the Trump administration backs regime change in Iran, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington would work with Iranian opposition groups to reach “peaceful transition of that government.”

Last week, several op-eds appeared in international media condemning Western officials including European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini for their attendance at the second-term inauguration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Articles by such critics of the Iranian regime as former European Parliament Vice President Alejo Vidal-Quadras suggested that this would send a permissive message regarding Iran’s domestic human rights abuses and foreign provocations. Meanwhile, outlets like the Algemeiner published pieces emphasizing the fact that Western attendees would be taking their place among a “galley of dictators and war criminals,” as well as the heads of Iran-backed terrorist groups.

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