Insider news & Analysis in Iran

On Tuesday, Voice of America News reported that Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, had departed for a visit to Ankara. This is the first visit to the Turkish capital by any Iranian military chief of staff since before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which led to the rise of the Islamic Republic and to many years of tense relations between the Shiite theocracy and the traditionally more secular Turkish government.

On Tuesday, numerous global media outlets picked up on reports in Iranian state media which quoted Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as saying that the country was prepared to dramatically increase its output of enriched nuclear material in response to increasing amounts of pressure from the US government. Both the administration of US President Donald Trump and the US Congress have taken measures in recent months to impose new sanctions on the Islamic Republic and its foreign affiliates over the regime’s illicit ballistic missile tests, human rights violations, and wide-ranging support of terrorist organizations.

On Tuesday, NBC News reported that the judiciary in the Islamic Republic of Iran was preparing to implement the death sentence for another offender who was under the age of 18 at the time of his arrest and conviction. Mehdi Bohlouli was 17 in 2001, when he was sentenced to hanging for fatally stabbing a man during a fight. International law prohibits the execution of minor offenders, but the Islamic Republic has repeatedly ignored this fact despite being a signatory to the international documents that establish it.

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.”

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