The U.S. Must Punish Iran for Its Human-Rights Violations

Washington has now put into force a wide array of sanctions on Tehran’s nuclear activities, but it has not fully taken advantage of the legal channels available to punish the ayatollahs’ brutal treatment of their own people. As Tzvi Kahn, Ahmed Shaheed, Rose Parris Richter, and Irwin Cotler demonstrate in a detailed report, this repression is overseen by the highest echelons of the Iranian government and works through an organized and complex bureaucratic machinery. Cotler writes:

It is crucial that the international community not turn a blind eye to what I have termed the fivefold Iranian threat—the nuclear threat, state-sponsorship of terror, regional hegemonic aggression that includes mass criminality in Syria, state-sanctioned incitement to genocide, and massive domestic repression. In particular, sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program should not distract from, or even sanitize, the ongoing massive domestic human-rights violations, which should be a centerpiece of international containment and sanctioning of the Iranian regime in solidarity with the . . . suffering of the Iranian people.

It is now possible to sanction human-rights offenders on a global level, [by making use of] the U.S. Global Magnitsky Human-Rights Accountability Act. [The] naming, shaming, and sanctioning of specific human-rights violators [is] indispensable to mobilizing a critical mass of global advocacy to address and redress human-rights violations in Iran. This can also include, as takes place in the Canadian parliament, holding an annual Iran Accountability Week in the U.S. Congress to shine the spotlight on human-rights violations in Iran through public hearings, witness testimony, and the like. This can further include developing an Iranian political prisoner-advocacy project in which members of Congress can take up the case and cause of Iranian political prisoners in concert with their fellow parliamentarians in Canada and elsewhere.

The report goes on to note that multiple high-ranking Iranian officials have been sanctioned by the European Union, but not by the U.S. In addition, it points out that “the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which President Trump signed into law in August 2017, requires the president to submit, and to update annually, a list of Iranians who commit human-rights abuses,” but that the White House has not yet submitted such a list. Correcting these oversights, according to the report, will serve to increase both diplomatic and economic pressure on Tehran, encourage America’s allies to follow suit, and provide moral support and perhaps even some protection to Iranian dissidents.

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More about: Donald Trump, European Union, Human Rights, Iran, Iran sanctions, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

Palestinian Leaders Fight Economic Growth

Jan. 15 2019

This month, a new shopping mall opened in northeastern Jerusalem, easily accessible to most of the city’s Arab residents. Rami Levy, the supermarket magnate who owns the mall, already employs some 2,000 Israeli Arabs and Palestinians at his other stores, and the mall will no doubt bring more jobs to Arab Jerusalemites. But the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are railing against it, and one newspaper calls its opening “an economic catastrophe [nakba].” Bassam Tawil writes:

For [the PA president] Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah officials . . . the image of Palestinians and Jews working in harmony is loathsome. . . . Instead of welcoming the inauguration of the shopping mall for providing job opportunities to dozens of Palestinians and lower prices [to consumers], Fatah officials are taking about an Israeli plan to “undermine” the Palestinian economy. . . . The hundreds of Palestinians who flooded the new mall on its first day, however, seem to disagree with the grim picture painted by [these officials]. . . .

The campaign of incitement against Levy’s shopping mall began several months ago, as it was being built, and has continued until today. Now that the campaign has failed to prevent the opening of the mall, Fatah and its followers have turned to outright threats and violence. The threats are being directed toward Palestinian shoppers and Palestinian merchants who rented space in the new mall. On the day the mall was opened, Palestinians threw a number of firebombs at the compound, [which] could have injured or killed Palestinians. The [bomb-throwers], who are believed to be affiliated with Fatah, would rather see their own people dead than having fun or buying attractively-priced products at an Israeli mall.

By spearheading this campaign of incitement and intimidation, Abbas’s Fatah is again showing its true colors. How is it possible to imagine that Abbas or any of his Fatah lieutenants would ever make peace with Israel when they cannot even tolerate the idea of Palestinians and Jews working together for a simple common good? If a Palestinian who buys Israeli milk is a traitor in the eyes of Fatah, it is not difficult to imagine the fate of any Palestinian who would dare to discuss compromise with Israel.

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More about: East Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian economy