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Iran News in Brief – February 28, 2024

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THIS PAGE WILL BE UPDATED WITH THE LATEST NEWS

UPDATE: 7:00 PM

Supreme Leader Khamenei Begs for Voter Turnout in Sham Elections

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In a public address today, the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, called upon the public not to boycott the upcoming sham elections on March 1. He also warned that if the elections fail, it would harm everyone.

Khamenei said, “Now, why do we stress the importance of people participating? Well, there have been, and perhaps still are, some who are indifferent about the elections and the voter turnout. However, we disagree. Elections must be vibrant. If we can demonstrate to the world—when I say “world,” I will later explain what I mean by that— that the nation is actively engaged in crucial and defining moments, then we have truly rescued the country.”

He added, “Inside the country, some individuals are indifferent to elections, and I don’t blame anyone. But If the elections are performed weak, everyone suffers—not just a select few. Some may think they benefit from the elections’ weakness. If the elections are feeble, nobody gains; everyone suffers, and everyone takes a blow.”

Khamenei also said, “There are those who, for various reasons, are genuinely unable to participate in elections. We have no issue with them; no words need be said. However, those who show disinterest in elections, unfortunately, contribute to their own disengagement and encourage others to stay away. In my view, they should contemplate these matters a bit more. Not voting serves no purpose. You may argue that voting could be futile, but it could also be beneficial. There is a potential for benefit in voting. Not voting achieves nothing, whereas voting—let me be clear—certainly accomplishes something. Those who doubt likely have something to gain.”


UPDATE: 1:30 PM

John Kirby: Biden Administration Imposed 55 Separate Sanctions Against Iran

john kirby white house press briefing (1)

At a press briefing on February 27, White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby said, “In coordination with the United Kingdom, we sanctioned the Deputy Commander of Iran’s IRGC, Mohammad Reza Falahzadeh, for his role as a Houthi-affiliated operative and for owning and operating a vessel used to ship Iranian commodities in support of both the Houthis and the IRGC.

“We also designated two additional companies that own and operate a vessel involved in shipping more than 100 million dollars’ worth of Iranian commodities on behalf of Iran’s Ministry of Defense. The Biden administration has now administered over 55 separate Iran sanctions rollouts targeting more than 550 individuals and entities.

“We have taken targets with Iran’s involvement in human rights abuses; hostage-taking; missile, drone, and non-proliferation programs. We have no plans to lift, waive, or provide any new sanctions relief for Iran, and we will continue to look ways — for ways to take action and to hold them accountable.”

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US Destroys Houthi UAVs In Red Sea In ‘Self-Defense’

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The US destroyed drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi group, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said Tuesday.

“On Feb. 27, between the hours of 9:50 p.m. and 10:55 p.m. (Sanaa time), U.S. aircraft and a coalition warship shot down five Iranian-backed Houthi one-way attack (OWA) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the Red Sea,” CENTCOM said on X.

CENTCOM said it identified the UAVs as originating from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that they presented an “imminent threat” to merchant vessels and to US Navy ships and coalition ships in the region.

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US Says Iranian Operatives In Yemen Aiding Huthi Attacks

Washington (AFP) – Operatives from Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah are working inside Yemen to support Huthi insurgents’ attacks on international shipping, a US official said Tuesday.

Tim Lenderking, the US special envoy for Yemen, told a Senate subcommittee that Iran’s clerical state was “equipping and facilitating” the Huthi attacks, which have triggered retaliatory US and British strikes on Yemen.

“Credible public reports suggest a significant number of Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah operatives are supporting Huthi attacks from inside Yemen,” Lenderking said.

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UPDATE: 7:30 AM

Meeting With Rosalía Arteaga Serrano, Ecuador’s Former Vice President And Acting President

maryam rajavi rosalia arteaga ecuador former vice president

Maryam Rajavi met and held talks with Ms. Rosalía Arteaga Serrano, Ecuador’s former Acting President, during the transition, Vice-President, and the Minister of Education.

Ms. Rosalía Arteaga Serrano said in this meeting, I am aware of the suppression of women in Iran. Last year’s uprising provided a new image of resistance and struggle of Iranian women to us, especially in Latin America. I know that women have played a leading role in this struggle. Of course, the participation of women in politics is not simple. Patriarchy acts as the biggest obstacle to women’s access to equal rights with men. What has occurred in your movement is remarkable, and the world needs your experience because you have realized equal opportunities for women in practice. Your emphasis on the separation of religion and state in your Ten-Point Plan is a fundamental principle. Your struggle for freedom must succeed. In addition to the Iranian regime’s belligerent interventions in the region and its support for proxy groups, its nuclear weapons program has also turned into a significant threat to global peace and security. Humanity makes it imperative for the international community to support your movement.

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Corruption Engulfs Iran’s Regime In Its Entirety

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Recently leaked documents from Iran’s Majlis (parliament) have provided ample evidence of the rampant corruption in the regime’s legislative branch. Compounding the issue is the exposure of a disgraceful proposal of a 2 trillion rials bribe to one of the current members of Majlis and the sale of the confirmation of qualifications of another member of Majlis. The latest corruption scandal of the regime is the case of Babak Zanjani, recently exposed in the regime’s media under the title “Recovery of Stolen Assets,” which has become the focus of a struggle between the executive branch and the judiciary in this regard. Zanjani was a regime-linked billionaire who helped the regime circumvent oil sanctions and, in the process, had been embezzling billions of dollars’ worth of funds and assets. He is linked to many regime officials and has been sentenced to death on corruption charges.

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The US and UK Team Up to Sanction Houthis and Iranian Support Network

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The United States and the United Kingdom joined forces to impose sanctions on individuals and organizations backing the Houthi rebels in Yemen. These actions target those who provide financial or military aid to the Houthis, a group engaged in attacks on commercial and naval vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

The aim is to deter the Houthis and counter their destabilizing influence in the Middle East. Specifically, sanctions were imposed on:

  • Iranian officials: Mohammad Reza Falahzadeh, a senior IRGC-QF leader, and Sa’id al-Jamal, a financier based in Iran.
  • Houthi individuals: An unnamed member of the group and a Houthi security minister linked to Red Sea attacks.
  • Financial entities: The Hong Kong-based Cap Tees Shipping Co. and its vessel, the Artura, used to transport Iranian goods for al-Jamal.

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Why Iranians are Shunning the 2024 Elections

Iran’s sham presidential election ended on Friday, June 19. The Iranian people boycotted the election farce, showing their desire for regime change.

In the midst of escalating chatter and speculation surrounding the forthcoming elections in Iran, attention is sharply focused on the pivotal roles of the 12th Parliament and the Assembly of Experts, tasked with crucial decisions regarding leadership.

Central to the discourse is the question: what are Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s primary objectives for the 2024 elections? How do they diverge from previous electoral processes? Amidst indications of meticulous orchestration, does Khamenei aim to reclaim legitimacy lost in the wake of the 2022 uprising?

While various conjectures abound, many analysts suggest Khamenei’s paramount aim is singular: the consolidation and purification of the Assembly of Experts.

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Human Rights Organization Hengaw Releases Report on Prisoner Deaths in Iran

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In a report based on data from its Statistics and Documents Center, the Human Rights Organization Hengaw announced that at least 32 prisoners died in Iranian prisons and detention centers in 2023, with nine being political prisoners.

The report details the causes of death:

  • Torture: 11 prisoners
  • Delayed medical access: 9 prisoners
  • Prisoner fights: 3 prisoners
  • Suspicious deaths: 3 prisoners (shortly after release)
  • Suicide: 3 prisoners
  • Suspicious poisoning: 3 prisoners

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Political Prisoner Narges Mansouri Sentenced To Additional 3 Years In Prison

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Political prisoner Narges Mansouri has been sentenced to three years of prison on charges leveled against her during her detention. This is the sixth case filed against Ms. Mansouri.

Narges Mansouri, 46, and the mother of a 12-year-old, is a member of the Syndicate of the workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company. Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced her to five years in prison on the charge of “assembly and collusion against national security” and to one year in prison on the charge of “propaganda against the state” in November 2019.

Ms. Mansouri was initially arrested in mid-April 2022 to serve her time in prison but was released on a 3-billion-Toman bail in May. Finally, she was arrested on December 1, 2023, in Khoy and transferred to Evin Prison.

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Iran’s Currency Continues to Decline

Iran currency collapse

The trend of the decline in the national currency value continues, according to statements from market players and prices listed on websites and information channels for gold and currency prices. The exchange rate for the US dollar has reached 580,000 rials, experiencing significant fluctuations in recent months, ranging from 500,000 to 600,000 rials and then returning to 540,000 rials.

Some experts believe that considering the fiscal policies of the United States and the approach of neighboring countries like Iran regarding currency affairs, the upward trend of the dollar’s value will persist. Reuters reported on February 4 that eight Iraqi banks were banned from US dollar transactions after a senior US Treasury official visited Iraq.

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Geneva—February 26, 2024: Protest Rally by Freedom-Loving Iranians and MEK Supporters Against the Presence of Iran’s Regime Foreign Minister

Geneva—February 26, 2024: Protest Rally by MEK Supporters Against the Presence of Iran's Regime FM.

Geneva, Switzerland—February 26, 2024: Freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) held a protest rally in front of the United Nations headquarters against the presence of Iran’s regime Foreign Minister.

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Also, read Iran News in Brief – February 27, 2023