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Iraq

In Egypt, Prayers and Family Feasts Mark End of Ramadan

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 14:59
The beginning and end of the Muslim season of Ramadan are determined by lunar sightings, which differ around the world. In countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab of Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, and Qatar, that happened Tuesday, while in Egypt, the Palestinian territories, and Jordan the conclusion – marked by the Eid al-Fitr celebration – occurred on Wednesday. Cairo-based photojournalist Hamada Elrasam captures a glimpse of the anticipation and celebration shared by all in Egypt.
Categories: Iraq

China's Xi: Iran Tensions Worrying, Calls for Restraint

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 08:12
A rise in tensions in the Middle East owing to U.S. pressure on Iran is worrying and all parties need to exercise restraint, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Russian media ahead of a visit to the country. Tensions between Iran and the United States have escalated in the past month, a year after the United States pulled out of a deal between Iran and global powers to curb Tehran's nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions. Washington reimposed sanctions last year and...
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VOA Interview: Freedom House Report

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 07:01
A new Freedom House report says press freedom is deteriorating worldwide. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke to Sarah Repucci, the Senior Director for Research and Analysis for Freedom House about the report. Below is an an edited transcript. Q: According to the report, press freedom is deteriorating worldwide; worsening for Not Free states (Eurasia + Middle East/North Africa) combined with a negative trend among Free States, notably across Europe. Can you expand on these overall findings, and...
Categories: Iraq

Iran Recommits to Khomeini’s 'Resistance' on Death Anniversary, But at What Cost?

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 06:30
This article originated in VOA’s Persian Service. Katherine Ahn contributed from Washington. Iran has marked the 30th anniversary of the death of the leader of its Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, by recommitting itself to pursue his bedeviled path of “resistance” against enemies.  Khomeini died of cancer on June 3, 1989, 10 years after leading a revolution that replaced Iran’s monarchy with an enduring theocracy that has become embroiled in regional conflicts,...
Categories: Iraq

Government Confirms Iran to Free imprisoned Lebanese Man

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 06:10
Lebanon's Foreign Ministry says Iran has agreed to release a Lebanese man who has been imprisoned there since 2015.   In a statement, the Foreign Ministry says it has been contacted by the Iranian ambassador in Beirut who said authorities have agreed to release Nizar Zakka, based on a request by President Michel Aoun on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, the feast that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.   Countries typically issue pardons and amnesties as a good...
Categories: Iraq

Iran Honors Iraqi Shiite Paramilitary Group That US Labels Terrorists

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 05:45
In an apparent effort to sway Iran’s public opinion in favor of the regime’s involvement in Middle East conflicts, the Iranian government’s television channels are airing a video that glorifies a key anti-American Iraqi Shiite group. The music video, titled “The Noble Ones," has been shown several times on state TV channels. It praises Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, an Iraqi Shiite paramilitary group that was designated as a terrorist organization by the United States earlier this...
Categories: Iraq

Nechama Rivlin, Israeli First Lady, Dies at 73

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 05:35
Israel is mourning first lady Nechama Rivlin, who died Tuesday months after a lung transplant. She was 73 years old and was a frequent presence beside her husband, President Reuven Rivlin, despite her illness. Nechama Rivlin was born in an Israeli farming community. Her parents emigrated from Ukraine. She married the lawyer and future president in 1971 and was known as a popular first lady whose interests focused on the arts, the environment and children with special...
Categories: Iraq

Celebrating Eid al-Fitr With Message of Peace

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 03:35
Muslims around the world are marking the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting, with the festival of Eid al-Fitr, a community celebration of food and fellowship. For a mosque in California, the festival conveys a message of hope to persecuted minorities and those who suffer because of their religion.
Categories: Iraq

Media Repression on the Rise in 'Free' Countries

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 03:34
Global press freedom is on the decline, including in countries that have long been determined to be "free." Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization, reports that new forms of media repression and manipulation are spreading in traditionally open societies, from Central Europe to the United States, where it cited "new and are very worrying" attacks on journalists and media outlets by the Trump administration. VOA’s Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Categories: Iraq

Iran Vows to Keep Missile Program, Rejects US Offer to Negotiate

Voice of America - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 21:37
Iran's Supreme Leader says his country will not give up its missile program after the United States said last week it is willing to negotiate with Iran. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech on state television Tuesday "this political trick will not deceive Iranian officials and the Iranian nation." Khamenei's comments were made on the 30th anniversary of the death of Islamic Republic of Iran founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and one week after U.S. President...
Categories: Iraq

WFP: Growing Violence Destroys Vital Crops, Farmland in NW Syria

Voice of America - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 21:18
The World Food Program says escalating violence has destroyed crops and farmland in Idlib and North Hama in northwest Syria, depriving thousands of people of food.  Dozens of people reportedly have been killed and wounded and at least 300,000 forced to flee their homes since the latest outbreak of fighting last month between Russian-backed Syrian forces and rebel armed groups.  World Food Program spokesman Herve Verhoosel says other casualties of the war are the thousands of...
Categories: Iraq

Baghdad's Green Zone Reopens to the Public

Voice of America - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 19:35
Iraqi security officials say Baghdad's Green Zone area, the heavily fortified strip on the west bank of the Tigris River, is now open to the public around the clock. Maj. Gen. Jassim Yahya Abd Ali tells The Associated Press that the area that houses the U.S. Embassy and Iraqi government offices is now open "twenty-four hours a day without any exceptions or conditions."   The area was closed to the public since the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq to topple dictator Saddam...
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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin's Wife Nechama Dies at 73

Voice of America - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 18:06
Nechama Rivlin, the wife of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, has died. She was 73. The president's office announced Tuesday she had passed away of lung failure, three months after receiving a transplant. Nechama Rivlin had been ill for years, but still regularly appeared in public alongside her husband with a mobile oxygen device. The Israeli presidency is a mostly ceremonial role. Nechama Rivlin was a popular first lady who focused on the arts, the environment and children with...
Categories: Iraq

Libyan Coast Guard Intercepts Some 100 Europe-Bound Migrants

Voice of America - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 17:51
Libya's coast guard says it has intercepted a boat carrying nearly 100 Europe-bound migrants, including women and children, off the country's Mediterranean coast. Spokesman Ayoub Gassim said Tuesday that the rubber vessel had 92 African and Bengali migrants, including 11 women and four children. They were intercepted Monday off the coast of the western town of Garaboli, 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of the capital, Tripoli. He says the migrants were given humanitarian and...
Categories: Iraq

Iran Sends Journalist to Notorious Prison, Jails Another for 2 Years

Voice of America - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 06:33
This article originated in VOA’s Persian Service. Iran has taken new steps against two detained journalists who covered domestic labor unrest and government corruption, sending one to a notorious women’s prison and sentencing another to a two-year jail term. Two human rights groups said Iranian journalist Sepideh Ghaliyan, who covered labor issues in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, was transferred to Qarchak women’s prison near Tehran on Monday. She previously had been detained in...
Categories: Iraq

Syrian Government Bombs Market, Ignoring Trump Warning

Voice of America - Mon, 06/03/2019 - 20:55
Government forces in Syria have bombed a market in the country's northwest, killing at least four civilians, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump demanded Syria, Russia and Iran stop "bombing the hell out of Idlib province in Syria." The airstrike Monday hit a public market in the town of Maaret al-Naman in Idlib province, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Video of the aftermath of the bombing shows residents along with the opposition...
Categories: Iraq

Attorney, Rights Defender Sentenced to 30 Years, Flogging in Iran

Voice of America - Mon, 06/03/2019 - 20:30
An Iranian lawyer has been jailed for 30 years after setting up a channel on the popular social media platform Telegram, highlighting human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic. Amir Salar Davoudi was convicted by a revolutionary court for “propaganda against the state” and “insulting officials” and is set to be flogged 111 times. According to his lawyer Vahid Farahani, Davoudi was also accused of “collaborating with an enemy state” after giving an interview to Voice of America...
Categories: Iraq

Pompeo Voices Skepticism About US Mideast Peace Prospects

Voice of America - Mon, 06/03/2019 - 17:59
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is voicing skepticism about the prospects for the Trump administration's long-delayed Israeli-Palestinian peace plan even before it is disclosed. The top U.S. diplomat told a closed-door meeting with Jewish leaders last week that he understands why "people think this is going to be a deal that only the Israelis could love" and that there are "no guarantees" that the U.S. will succeed in brokering a peace agreement to end decades...
Categories: Iraq

Iraq Sentences Last 2 French IS Members to Death

Voice of America - Mon, 06/03/2019 - 15:38
An Iraqi judicial official says a Baghdad court has sentenced to death two more French nationals convicted of being members of the Islamic State group.   The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said the two are Murad Mohammed Mustafa , 41, and Bilal Abdel-Fattah, 32.   They are among 12 French IS members who were arrested by the U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and transferred from Syria to Iraqi custody in...
Categories: Iraq

Kushner: Palestinians Deserve Self-Determination But Uncertain They Can Govern Themselves

Voice of America - Mon, 06/03/2019 - 06:42
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that the Palestinians deserve "self-determination," but stopped short of backing Palestinian statehood and expressed uncertainty over their ability to govern themselves. Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and an architect of the White House's yet-to-be-released Middle East peace plan, told the "Axios on HBO" television program it would be a "high bar" when...
Categories: Iraq