Wednesday’s Iran Events – August 15, 2018
Manama: Bahrain has welcomed a US decision to impose sanctions on an Iran-based terrorist behind a spate of attacks in the country.
Qassim Abdullah Ali Ahmed, known as Qassim Al Muamen, one of the leaders of Saraya Al Ashtar (Al Ashtar Brigades), has been designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) by the US Department of State.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry said this was a key development in the fight against terrorist organisations operating in Bahrain.
The Iranian Regime has sentenced every member of a church to a year in prison for practising Christianity, according to an organization that supports Iranian Christians.
Article 18 tweeted on Thursday: “A Christian couple have reported that a court in Boushehr has just sentenced them and ten other Iranian Christians to one year in prison each for ‘Propagating against the Islamic Republic in favour of Christianity.’ This group of Christian converts was arrested on April 7, 2015.”
Mohabat News, a Christian website, reported last week that the Iranian Christian couple was charged with “orientation toward the land of Christianity”, while Jeff King, the president of International Christian Concern, confirmed on Friday that each member of the congregation was also sentenced to a year in prison.
King said: “Getting information on the arrests of Christians is incredibly challenging given the heavily censored nature of Iran. But based on the cases we have been tracking, this is the first time this year that we’ve seen a jail sentence being given based on the charge of ‘inclination to the land of Christianity.’ This could be interpreted as a reference to Israel, the birthplace of Christianity and also a country that Iran has adopted a very aggressive stance towards.”
The leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hizballah militia claims his group is stronger than ever despite U.S. sanctions and expects to “very soon” celebrate victory in the long war in Syria, where its fighters have battled alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
In a televised speech in Beirut on August 14, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said “the resistance in Lebanon today, in its possession of weapons and equipment and capabilities and members and cadres and ability and expertise and experience, and also of faith and determination and courage and will, is stronger than at any time since its launch in the region.”
Iran has backed Hizballah financially and militarily since the militant group was established in 1982.
The US first indicted the pair in Nov. 1998, after they were implicated in the American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania several months earlier. Those attacks were al Qaeda’s most devastating prior to 9/11, killing 224 civilians and wounding thousands of others.
After 9/11, the two fled to Iran, where their status has been murky at times.
According to an al Qaeda operative in Syria, the two al Qaeda managers were operating inside Iran as of last year. They were even reportedly acting as Ayman al Zawahiri’s chief deputies while living on Iranian soil. In that role, they were asked to weigh in on a fierce disagreement between jihadists in Syria.
Iranian rights groups say authorities have jailed a civil society activist in central Iran while releasing another activist who completed a 10-year prison term for photographing an alleged mass grave.
In the case of the newly jailed civic activist, the Iran-based Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) and the U.S.-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) published reports Monday saying intelligence agents arrested Mohammad Davari last Friday in the west-central Iranian city of Yasuj.
Davari, who is in his mid-20s, previously had been arrested in Yasuj in March of this year on charges of acting against Iran’s national security. He was released days later on bail of 500 million rials, or $12,000.