Iran News in Brief – March 28, 2024

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Scientists Link 2019 Iranian Landslide to Building of Dam

In recent decades there has been a dramatic rise in the number of dams being built, to keep pace with demand for water or to provide power. Concerns have been raised about increased landslide activity near new dams, and now a study has demonstrated a conclusive link in at least one incident.

In March 2019 a landslide tore apart Hoseynabad-e Kalpush village in north-central Iran, damaging 300 houses and severing the road to the nearby dam. Local authorities blamed the landslide on heavy rainfall and insisted that the dam did not play a role.

However, scientists from the German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam studying satellite data from this region have shown that this previously stable slope began to move after the reservoir began to be filled with water, in 2013. The findings, published in Engineering Geology, show that the land movement initially started from the lower portion of the slope in 2015 and gradually progressed towards the top in subsequent years, as the reservoir water elevation increased.

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State-affiliated Expert Warns of Social Upheaval

In an interview with Khabar Online today, Amanollah Gharaee Moghaddam, a state-affiliated expert, highlighted a significant societal shift witnessed in 2023, emphasizing the dwindling middle class as a crucial change. According to Moghaddam, the weakening of the middle class poses a threat to societal stability, as it traditionally acts as a buffer between the lower and upper classes. As this vital segment declines, it potentially mobilizes the lower classes against the ruling elite, risking social unrest and challenging governmental authority.

“With the dwindling middle class in society, a force that holds the potential for the sustainability and strength of government and governance is declining, posing a potential threat to the social stability of the community,” the expert warned. “Today, our society expresses a significant portion of its dissatisfaction through various reactions or the emergence of collective behaviors. As an example, one can refer to the minimal participation of the people (compared to previous years) in the recent elections, which indicates a collective behavior aimed at expressing dissatisfaction with the current situation.”

Moghaddam added, “The year 2022 and the wave of protests marked challenging days for everyone; men and women who lived through that period, though not physically present, feel, speak, and protest. We still witness protests from both veiled and unveiled women. These protests are a reaction to actions imposed upon them in the form of societal pressures. Iranian women are educated and aware of their rights. If they protest, it’s because they know and sees that one of their rights is being disregarded. Rest assured, they will succeed in this path, and it’s an inevitable occurrence; it may take time, but it will happen without fail.”

US Hits Houthi Unmanned Aerial Systems in Red Sea in ‘Self Defense’

United States Central Command (CENTCOM) has said the US destroyed unmanned aerial systems launched by Yemen’s Houthis. “Between 2:00 and 2:20 a.m. (Sanaa time) on March 27, US Central Command successfully engaged and destroyed four long-range unmanned aerial systems (UAS) launched by Iranian-aligned Houthis in Yemen.

“These UAS were aimed at a US warship and engaged in self-defense over the Red Sea,” CENTCOM said on X, adding there were no injuries or damage reported to the US or coalition ships.

CENTCOM said it determined that the weapons presented an “imminent threat” to US Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region.

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UPDATE: 10:00 AM

The Spread of Poverty in Iran

Iran is currently grappling with widespread poverty and deteriorating economic conditions, as acknowledged by both authorities and the government press. The harsh realities that have surpassed expectations over the past year highlight the extent of the economic challenges the country faces.

At the beginning of the previous Persian calendar year (March 2023), the Mardom Salari newspaper reported that the poverty line was set at 150 million rials. By year’s end, the ILNA news agency quoted a government official stating, “If calculated accurately, taking into account the real needs of citizens such as housing and education, the actual cost of living undoubtedly exceeds 300 million rials and more.”

In early last year, the Shargh newspaper indicated that the misery index had surpassed 40%, with the inflation rate climbing beyond 50%. By the year’s end, the newspaper confirmed that Iran’s misery index ranked 19th among 157 countries.

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Couple Hanged in the Central Prison of Tabriz

A couple were hanged in the Central Prison of Tabriz at dawn on March 18, 2024, on the eve of the Persian New Year.

The news of the executions was released today by Iranian human rights organizations. However, the official news outlets in Iran have not announced them.

Yassin Zolfaqari and his wife, whose identity has not been specified, were executed in the Central Prison of Tabriz for possessing 3 kilograms of Crack.  They came originally from Jolfa, in East Azerbaijan Province, and had been married for only a year.

This is the third woman executed in 2024, and the 232nd woman executed in Iran since 2007, according to the data compiled by the NCRI Women’s Committee.

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Land Subsidence in Critical Conditions in Isfahan

Mehdi Toghyani, a member of the Iranian regime’s Majlis (parliament), pointed to the occurrence of land subsidence in various parts of Isfahan and the danger to the city’s history and civilization, said the danger was so serious that “if there is no thought about it in the next few years, we should all leave Isfahan.”

Toghyani told the state-run Khabar Online website on March 28, “The lack of revival of Zayandehrud has emptied the aquifers of Isfahan plain and has caused socio-economic and environmental problems for Isfahan.”

According to this MP, the problem of Zayandehrud is not only the problem of East Isfahan and the farmers, but the whole plain of Isfahan is in danger of subsidence due to the drought of the Central Plateau River of Iran.

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The Iranian Regime Crackdown on Protesters In 2022 Is Legally Pursued by UC Berkeley

The Iranian regime crackdown on protesters in the 2022 uprising. After more than a year since the 2022 uprising and the atrocities committed by the Iranian regime in suppressing the people, the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley) has published a report regarding the crimes committed during this crackdown. The Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley released a document on March 21, 2024, confirming that approximately 120 individuals partially or completely lost their eyesight when Iranian security forces, using shotguns, paintball guns, and tear gas canisters, cracked down on women’s rights protests that erupted in late 2022.

In this report, evidence suggests that some victims were shot at close range in the face. This analysis was presented during a side event at the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Zurich—March 25, 2024: MEK Supporters Exhibition in Solidarity with the Iran Revolution

Zurich, Switzerland—March 25, 2024: Freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran(PMOI/MEK) organized an exhibition to express support for the Iranian Revolution.

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Paris—March 26, 2024: Solidarity Exhibition for the Iranian Revolution Organized by Supporters of PMOI/MEK

Paris, France—March 26, 2024: Freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) organized an exhibition and book table in solidarity with the Iranian Revolution.

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Also, read Iran News in Brief – March 27, 2024

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