U.S. sanctions head of Iran's judiciary, others, over human rights abuses
WASHINGTON (Reuters) JANUARY 12, 2018 -
The United States imposed sanctions on 14 individuals and entities on Friday for human rights abuses in Iran and supporting Iranian weapons programs, including the head of Iran’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani.
The U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement that Larijani, a close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is “responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, the commission of serious human rights abuses against persons in Iran or Iranian citizens or residents.”
A Chinese national was sanctioned for acting on behalf of Wuhan Sanjiang Import and Export Co LTD, which is already under sanctions for doing business with an Iranian firm “owned or controlled” by the military.
Other sanctioned entities included another China-based company, Bochuang Ceramic Corp, and the Iranian firm it sought to supply with a chemical compound used in the transmission of electrical signals.
US senior official estimates 80% of Assad fighting force is Iranian sourcedORIENT NET, 08 December 2017-- Senior members of the Trump administration upped the ante against Iran over the weekend, revealing a warning sent to Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Soleimani and promising a regional strategy to roll back Tehran’s proxies across the Middle East.CIA chief and national security adviser say Tehran is stepping up campaign for influence in the region.
CIA director Mike Pompeo and national security adviser HR McMaster spoke at length about Iranian expansion in “weak states” in the Middle East at the 2017 Reagan National Defence Forum in California on Saturday.
Mr Pompeo, who leads the list of contenders to possibly replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, confirmed that he sent a letter recently to Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s foreign operations arm.
'I sent a note. I sent it because he had indicated that forces under his control might in fact threaten US interests in Iraq,' the CIA chief said.
Last week the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars quoted Mohammad Golpayegani, a senior Iranian official, as saying that a CIA representative sent a letter to Gen Soleimani when he was in the Syrian town of Albu Kamal last month, supervising the battle against ISIL.
“What the Iranians have done across the Middle East is fuel and accelerate cycles of violence so that they can take advantage of chaos and weak states to make them dependent on Iran for support,” the national security adviser said.
He assigned blame to the Obama administration without mentioning it by name. “In recent years, what we can say in retrospect, it was unrealistically hopeful [US] strategy that, given the nuclear deal - that this president called worst deal ever - that this deal will result in an Iran that would integrate effectively in region. The exact opposite happened,” Mr McMaster said.
Mr McMaster accused Iran of seeking “hegemonic aims' in the region.
He said Tehran was 'using a campaign of subversion in Iraq' and providing support for president Bashar Al Assad of Syria, where 'about 80 per cent of Assad fighters are Iranian proxies in Syria to establish a land bridge over into the Mediterranean”.
Iran building permanent military base in Syria - claim
Iran is establishing a permanent military base inside Syria, a Western intelligence source has told the BBC.
The Iranian military is said to have established a compound at a site used by the Syrian army outside El-Kiswah, 14 km (8 miles) south of Damascus.
The report comes amid growing tensions over Iranian influence in Syria and across the region.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu recently warned that Iran wanted to establish itself militarily in Syria.
A report by the Paris-based Iranian opposition has revealed that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards are amassing Afghan, Iraqi, Lebanese and Pakistani mercenaries in Syria to control a pivotal road between Iraq and Syria that reaches the eastern coast of the Mediterranean.
The report published on Wednesday by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) comes as the United States is reviewing the inclusion of the IRGC and associated militias on the US terrorism list.
The IRGC has been deploying its militias in Syria at numbers estimated to be more than 100,000 members. The foreign fighters are deployed as mercenaries in clear violation of international norms and laws, the report stated.
Afghan militia flights
The report shows that the IRGC conducts weekly flights from Tehran via Mahan Air and Iran Air to Damascus to transport roughly 2,000 Afghan mercenaries every Tuesday.
The men are registered as volunteers and are recruited from among Afghan refugees in exchange for money and grants.
The report also states that the fighters are presented with identification cards upon their arrival in Damascus and then transferred to the Shibani camp west of the capital to receive their assignments.
Furthermore, mercenaries who have not received training in Iran undergo a training course in this camp.
Iraqi brigades in Deir el-Zor
The report shows that an Iraqi group in Syria, called the Imam Ali Brigades, underwent a training course for several months at a secret IRGC center on the outskirts of Tehran. “Part of the forces of this group are in the Deir el-Zor area, and their commander is Muhammad al-Bawi called Abu Abed” the report stated.
According to the NCRI in the past months, the IRGC has focused its forces on occupying the ground route between Iraq and Syria. “To this end, the commanders of the Revolutionary Guards have control over the command of the militias on both sides of the border, they want to gain control over about 400 kilometers of that border strip,” the report read.
Ground operations command in Syria is controlled by the IRGC according to the Intel report which added that the country has been divided into several operational fronts.
Each front has a command post, details of which were disclosed by the Iranian Resistance in July 2016. Javad Qorbani, an IRGC commander, in an interview with the state-run Jam-e-Jam newspaper on January 21, 2017, revealed the existence of three garrisons in Syria, including the garrisons of Roqiyah in Aleppo (northern front), the Nabi between Aleppo and Damascus (central front) and Zeinab towards Deraa (southern front).
Javad Qorbani, a commander of Zeinab garrison, said: “At this garrison, we are fighting at 29 points at the same time, meaning we have 29 front lines” the report stated.
(Beirut) October 1, 2017 – Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has recruited Afghan immigrant children living in Iran to fight in Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. Afghan children as young as 14 have fought in the Fatemiyoun division, an exclusively Afghan armed group supported by Iran that fights alongside government forces in the Syrian conflict. Under international law, recruiting children under the age of 15 to participate actively in hostilities is a war crime. Human Rights Watch researchers reviewed photographs of tombstones in Iranian cemeteries where the authorities buried combatants killed in Syria, and identified eight Afghan children who apparently fought and died in Syria. Iranian media reports also corroborated some of these cases and reported at least six more instances of Afghan child soldiers who died in Syria.
Security officials in Afghanistan and Pakistan have revealed that the Iranian regime has increased the armed thugs needed by the regime to fight in Syria.
Reported sources in Islamabad, Pakistan, said the Iranian regime pays about $600 a month for foreigners, according to a November 22 television news agency Sky News Arabiya on September 22. There are concerns that these people will return to their countries facing a critical situation.
Thousands of Afghans and Pakistanis have gone to Iran during the Syria war.
The ruling regime in Iran, with its sectarian origin, has recruited thousands of people under the pretext of supporting the Shiite leaders’ shrines to use them at any time for the war in Syria.
According to intelligence reports, the Iranian regime has recruited nearly 6,000 Afghans. Most of these people are affiliated with the Fatimid Brigade and are trained by the Revolutionary Guards.
Pakistanis, estimated at hundreds, are affiliated with the Zeynabioun Brigade, and are also trained by the Revolutionary Guards.
Members of these two groups receive about $600 a month and they are promised that more will be done for them in the future.
In Islamabad, like Kabul, the country's intelligence agency says Pakistan has witnessed several explosions in which terrorist groups have claimed responsibility and claimed retaliation for the crimes of Bashar al-Assad, the Iranian regime and the militants affiliated to this regime against Syrians.
Islamabad is worried that if the war in Syria goes down, they will return to Pakistan and take action of sabotage.