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Updated: 1 year 48 weeks ago

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

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

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

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...
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Pompeo Voices Skepticism About US Mideast Peace Prospects

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...
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Iraq Sentences Last 2 French IS Members to Death

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

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...
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Trump Tweets to Syria and its Allies Stop 'Bombing The Hell Out of Idlib'

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 03:45
President Donald Trump is demanding Syria, Russia and Iran stop "bombing the hell out of Idlib province in Syria." Trump said in a late Sunday tweet that the bombings are "indiscriminately killing many innocent civilians." "The world is watching this butchery. What is the purpose? What will it get you? STOP!" he wrote. Trump, in comments to reporters at the White House Sunday, also noted his call last year for Syria and its allies to avoid an...
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Syria: Israeli Strike on Airbase Kills 1, Wounds 2

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 03:15
An Israeli airstrike on a Syrian airbase killed one soldier, wounded two others, and destroyed an arms depot, Syrian state media reported. The attack on the T4 airbase in central Homs province came hours after Israeli airstrikes on the Golan Heights in southern Syria. Israel did not comment on the attack on the airbase, but said its strikes in Golan were a response to Saturday night rocket fire into Israel from Syria. "We will not tolerate firing into our territory and will...
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Syrian War Monitor: Car Bomb Kills 14 in Azaz

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 01:37
A car bomb blast in Syria's pro-Turkish rebel-held city of Azaz killed at least 14 people Sunday and wounded more than 20, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says. Witnesses tell the monitor the bomb went off as people were leaving a mosque after evening prayers and meal breaking the daily Ramadan fast. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast, which also burned or blew out the windows of more than a dozen nearby stores. The area has been the target of several other...
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Pompeo:US 'Ready' for Conversation With Iran

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 00:15
The Trump administration remains focused on Iran and says it is ready for a dialogue with the country’s leadership. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where, ahead of last week’s congressional recess, U.S. lawmakers were briefed on heightened dangers Iran allegedly poses across the Middle East.
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Iraqi Court Sentences 2 French IS Members to Death

Sun, 06/02/2019 - 18:03
A court in Baghdad has sentenced two French citizens to death for being members of the extremist group Islamic State (IS), prosecutors said on June 2. The new sentences raise the number of French citizens sentenced to death over the past two weeks to nine. Those sentenced are among a group of 12 French citizens who were detained by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in neighboring Syria and handed over to Iraq in January. France has said it would do all it can to spare the...
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Pompeo: US Willing to Talk to Iran With 'No Preconditions'

Sun, 06/02/2019 - 17:20
The United States is willing to hold unconditional talks with Iran to ease tensions between the two countries, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday, but Tehran held out little hope for new negotiations.  "We are prepared to engage in a conversation with no preconditions. We are ready to sit down with them," Pompeo said at a news conference in Switzerland. But the top U.S. diplomat added that "the American effort to fundamentally reverse the malign activity of...
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Algerian Presidential Elections 'Impossible' on July 4

Sun, 06/02/2019 - 16:51
Algeria's constitutional council said Sunday it was impossible to hold elections to choose a successor to ousted president Abdelaziz Bouteflika early next month as planned, after the only two candidates were rejected. "The constitutional council rejects the candidature applications" and as a result has announced "the impossibility of holding presidential elections on July 4", according to a statement carried by national television. It will now be up to interim...
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Israel, Syria Trade Fire; at Least 3 Dead

Sun, 06/02/2019 - 09:07
Israel attacked Syrian military positions in the country’s south early Sunday, killing three soldiers and wounding seven others, Syria’s state-run media reported.  Israel’s military confirmed it targeted several military positions in Syria, including two artillery batteries, several observation and intelligence posts and an SA2 air defense unit. It said it was responding to two rockets launched from Syria late Saturday, which caused no casualties. The army says one rocket fell within...
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Rights Groups: Abuses on the Rise in Syria’s Afrin

Sun, 06/02/2019 - 06:30
Rights groups are expressing concerns over the increasing abuses against civilians by rebel forces in the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin. Last week, a 10-year-old boy with Down syndrome, who was kidnapped by a rebel group, was killed along with his father and grandfather after their family failed to pay the kidnappers a ransom of $10,000, local media reported. Such incidents have been rampant since Turkish military and allied Syrian rebels took control of Afrin after a...
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Car Bomb Blast Kills 10, Hurts 20 in Syria's Raqqa

Sun, 06/02/2019 - 01:28
Ten people were killed and 20 wounded Saturday in a suicide car bomb attack in Ragqa, a former stronghold of the Islamic State group in north Syria, a rights watchdog said. The explosion killed five civilians and five soldiers of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-Arab alliance backed by Washington that wrested the city from IS in October 2017, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The attack, for which no one immediately claimed responsibility, was...
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Iran's Rouhani: Talks Possible Only if US Shows Respect

Sun, 06/02/2019 - 00:10
President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday suggested Iran may be willing to hold talks if the United States showed it respect, but said Tehran would not be pressured into negotiations, the semiofficial Fars news agency reported.    Iran and the United States have been drawn into starker confrontation in the past month, a year after Washington pulled out of a deal between Iran and global powers to curb Tehran's nuclear program in return for the...
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UN Distributes Food to Yemenis in 'Inaccessible' War Zones

Sat, 06/01/2019 - 17:57
The World Food Program (WFP) says it has delivered food in the rebel-held militarized zone of Nihm for the first time since civil war broke out in Yemen more than four years ago. Nihm governorate is northeast of the rebel Houthi-held capital, Sana’a, close to the Saudi Arabian border. WFP spokesman Herve Verhoosel says persistent negotiations have paid off. He says WFP and a partner organization, Islamic Relief, have distributed food to an estimated 5,000 people living near the front...
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250 Ethiopian Migrants Detained in Yemen Fly Home

Sat, 06/01/2019 - 15:51
The International Organization for Migration reports two flights carrying an estimated 250 Ethiopian migrants are expected to depart Yemen Saturday for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as part of a larger ongoing repatriation operation. The UN migration agency says it hopes to repatriate another 1,968 Ethiopian migrants who are being detained under horrific conditions in a sports stadium in the Yemeni port city of Aden. But the operation, which was to have begun last Saturday got off to a...
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UN Watchdog: Iran Complying with 2015 Nuclear Deal

Sat, 06/01/2019 - 12:25
The U.N. atomic watchdog said Friday that Iran continues to stay within the limitations set by the nuclear deal reached in 2015 with major powers, though its stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and heavy water are growing. In a confidential quarterly report distributed to member states and seen by The Associated Press, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has stayed within key limitations set in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. The deal is meant to...
Categories: Iraq