June 24 – The Iranian regime was accused of meddling in Iraq this week, following Iraqi politician Moqtada Al-Sadr’s ongoing battle to form a government after the general election in October.

Al-Sadr — a rebel Shia cleric with a large following in Iraq — accused Tehran of interfering with the country’s political processes and placing pressure on independent politicians and allies of the Sadrist bloc.

Al-Sadr is locked in a power struggle with Iran-backed Shia rivals who are hoping to gain a political majority which would in turn allow the factions to decide the makeup of the new government.

Five of the seven men and women who filed a lawsuit against the Iranian government over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic have been imprisoned, following a trial which took place behind closed doors.

The three lawyers, a journalist and a human rights advocate were found guilty of colluding to commit crimes against national security. They now face jail terms which range from 95 days to four years.

Iran’s government was widely criticized by Iranians in the country who accused officials of concealing the real numbers of Covid-related deaths and failing to provide a timely rollout of vaccines.

The sentences were condemned by Human Rights Watch who told news outlet Radio Free Europe that the prison terms were “a new low, even for the Iranian government.”

And the United Nations urged Tehran to halt plans to amputate the fingers of eight men convicted of burglary.

The men are each due to have four fingers from their right hands removed, so that only their thumbs and the palms of their hands remain.

The United Nations human rights office also called on the Iranian government to ban all forms of corporal punishment inside its justice system, including amputations, flogging and stoning.

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