MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : Tehran Gets Turkish Pledge Over Economy — But Does It Mean Anything? NEW ROUHANI / ERDOGAN STATEMENT

Iran and Turkey have repeated their long-stated goal of $30 billion in annual trade, amid Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s two-day visit to Ankara.

Rouhani and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued the statement on Thursday after they chaired a session in Ankara of the High Council for Iran-Turkey Strategic Cooperation.

Rouhani said at the Iran is ready to turn US sanctions into an opportunity to provide Turkey with its energy requirements. He said Tehran is ready for Turkish investors to play a more active role in the Iranian energy market.

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  • Last week recorded more casualties among the border porters (Kolbars) who transfer goods semi-legally between Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. On December 14, a Kolbar from Baneh died from his wounds by Iranian border guards while another one was shot to death in the forests of Baneh. According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KMM), on the same day, a Kolbar died due to an avalanche. On December 16, a rights group (Hengaw) reported the severe injury of a Kolbar and the arrest of two others by Iranian regime guards near Piranshahr. In Marivan city, the Iranian regime security forces prevented the Kurdish students from holding a seminar about the conditions of the Kolbars at Payame Noor University. On Tuesday after calls from Kurdish activists, most of the markets in Baneh city held a general strike against the killings of the Kolbars.
  • In the Kurdish city of Kermanshah, the Iranian security forces detained Behnam Ibrahim Zada, a prominent civilian activist who spent five years in prison for his work toward the rights of the labors and participation in demonstrations. During a raid on his home, regime forces also confiscated his laptop computer and cellphone. An anonymous source told the Kurdistan Human Rights Network that Ibrahim Zada was sentenced to 18 months by the Islamic revolutionary court in Kermanshah in his absence. Meanwhile, the Iranian regime also arrested fours Kurds in Marivan and transferred them to an undisclosed location run by the intelligence service.

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Court Sentences 30 Men to Jail for Economic Crimes: An Islamic revolutionary court handed prison terms of up to 20 years to 30 men for bribery, embezzlement and “disrupting the economy” on December 9. According to Reuters, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei established the Islamic revolutionary courts in August of this year in order to “confront an economic war by foreign enemies.” In addition to the jail terms, the court ordered that the men receive lashings and have their “ill-gotten” assets seized, according to Judiciary Spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei. This ruling comes less than a month after Iran executed Vahid Mazloumin and Mohammad Esmail Ghasemi, two prominent currency traders, for allegedly “spreading corruption on earth.”

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December 2, 2018 – December 16, 2018 – Editor: Dr. Raz Zimmt – MEIR AMIT INTELLIGENCE & TERRORISM INFORMATION CENTER – ISRAEL

Overview – Iran is keeping a low profile with regards to the “Northern Shield” operation carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to destroy Hezbollah tunnels along Israel’s border with Lebanon. The reports published on this matter in Iranian media largely focused on reporting on developments and touted the line adopted by Hezbollah that claims that Israel is deterred by the advanced capabilities of the organization.

In response to reports about Israeli strikes on Iranian targets around Damascus in late November, the spokesman of the Iranian armed forces declared that Iran does not have military bases in Syria. He claimed that the only targets Israel could attack are bases and positions of the Syrian military in which Iranian advisers operate, at the request of the Damascus government.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS ON TOP : Iran Promises to Restart Nuclear Weapons Work as Tehran Identified as Top Global Threat

BY: Adam Kredo  – THE FREE BEACON WASHINGTON – December 13, 2018

Senior Iranian leaders on Thursday signaled the country is on the brink of restarting its contested nuclear weapons program, disclosing the Islamic Republic is prepared to restart the full-scale enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon, if it does not continue to receive cash windfalls from European countries still committed to the landmark nuclear agreement.

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EAST KURDISTAN (IRAN) – Featuring Nader Uskowi, Ali Alfoneh, and Alex Vatanka  – Policy Forum Report – December 12, 2018

The author of a landmark new book on the IRGC joins two Iran scholars for a lively conversation on how best to understand the force’s origins and exploit its weaknesses. On December 7, Nader Uskowi, Ali Alfoneh, and Alex Vatanka addressed a Policy Forum at The Washington Institute. Uskowi is a senior military advisor and author of the new book Temperature Rising: Iran Revolutionary Guards and Wars in the Middle East (Rowman & Littlefield), which he completed during his time as an Institute fellow. Alfoneh is a senior fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute and author of Iran Unveiled: How the Revolutionary Guards Is Turning Theocracy into Military Dictatorship (2013). Vatanka is a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute and author of Iran and Pakistan: Security, Diplomacy, and American Influence (2015). The following is a rapporteur’s summary of their remarks.

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Economic Links, Bypassing US Sanctions, By Year-End

The European Union’s foreign policy chief says a mechanism for non-dollar trade with Iran, bypassing US sanctions, is likely by the end of December.

Federica Mogherini told reporters in Brussels on Monday, “I will expect this instrument to be established in the coming weeks before the end of the year as a way to protect and promote legitimate business.”

Mogherini did not offer further details about the Special Purpose Vehicle, following a meeting of EU foreign ministers, but said work on its creation is “advancing well”.The EU official and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif agreed the SPV in September. It provides for transactions, including European purchases of Tehran’s oil and gas, in euros.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : VERBRECHEN DES MULLAH REGIMES – Verkohlte Leiche von kurdischem Filmemacher entdeckt

ANF – 9 Dec 2018 – In einem brennenden Fahrzeug ist am Freitag der verkohlte Leichnam des Filmemachers Rahim Zabihi und der seines Bruders Kaywan Zabihi entdeckt worden. Die Männer befanden sich auf dem Fahrzeugrücksitz und waren an Händen und Füßen gefesselt.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS FOCUS : How Iran turned a ‘counterterror’ meeting into a push for new global order

EAST KURDISTAN (IRAN) – The meeting comes as Gulf Cooperation Council gathers in Riyadh. – By Seth J. Frantzman  – JERUSALEM POST – December 9, 2018 12:22

Iran continues to try to increase its clout in the region and beyond by hosting important high level meetings and portraying the US and its allies as isolated.

A key meeting took place on Saturday in Tehran between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and officials from China, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey and Afghanistan. Rouhani used the meeting to attack “the US, the West and the Zionist regime,” which he claimed are supporters of terrorist groups. As such he leveraged a meeting on terrorism to attack Iran’s adversaries. The Tehran meeting came a day before the Gulf Cooperation Council, which consists primarily of western allies, gathered in Riyadh on Sunday.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : IRAN “CARES” ABOUT FRANCE ! – Iranians question French democracy as protests rage

Al-Monitor Staff December 4, 2018 Article Summary – Iranians are keeping a close eye on the ongoing protests in France, lashing out at the government of President Emmanuel Macron for its heavy handed response. Already in its third week, the civil unrest in France continues to make headlines in Iran, where many are questioning the government’s violent response in quelling the public anger. The “yellow vests” have been protesting increased fuel taxes imposed by President Emmanuel Macron’s government. The rallies have turned into France’s worst turmoil in decades, with running street battles and intense scuffles between police and protesters amid burning tires and rubble from damaged public property.

Generally hailing France as the cradle of democracy, Iranians have long associated the French with the courage to vent anger on the streets. The response to the “gilets jaunes” is now making them question the French political system’s claims about democracy and the right to public protest.

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