By Natasha Phillips
MAR.8 – Prominent lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh was convicted of national security crimes this week, reports the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). A journalist who says they received information about the conviction tweeted on Wednesday that Sotoudeh had been sentenced to 34 years in prison and would also receive over 100 lashes. Talking to CHRI, her husband Reza Khandan said she had not received the verdict or her sentence in writing.
Ebrahim Raisi has become Iran’s new Judiciary chief. Raisi succeeds Sadeq Amoli Larijani as the head of Iran’s top legal body. Activists who hold Raisi responsible for executing thousands of dissidents during the 1980s while working as deputy prosecutor general of Tehran, have criticized the appointment. In a surprising display of support from reformist politicians, some took to Twitter to endorse the nomination. Mahmoud Sadeghi tweeted on March 3 that Raisi’s election could lead to the judiciary taking steps to combat corruption within the country’s legal system.
- Iran will be required to comply with counter-terrorism and anti-money laundering measures before a financial mechanism to ease trade with the EU and Iran can take effect. INSTEX, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) developed to avert U.S. sanctions could be ready within the month, however participating EU member states have drawn up a list of demands Iran must meet before the SPV can go live. Britain, France and Germany formally registered the SPV. The three countries hope that INSTEX will help to bolster security in the Middle East.
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- Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, the chairman of Iran’s National Security Commission asked the government to investigate complaints of espionage and corruption within the Ministry of Intelligence. He suggested that a process should be put into place identifying “the causes of misconduct, misdirection and resource coalitions in the decision-making structure.” The request was published by the government’s official news outlet IRNA in a roundup of recent parliamentary business.
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- The Iranian city of Yazd has some of the highest-earning beggars in the country, according to Amrollah Seifoddini, a city council member. Seifoddini said that efforts by the mayor’s office to move the beggars on, including finding the beggars employment, had failed. He also said that panhandlers defaced parts of the city of Yazd which has historic buildings and monuments and that this affected the city’s tourism. Tourism is a major source of revenue for Yazd. Seifoddini went on to say that most of the beggars were from Afghanistan or Pakistan.
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- Filmmaker Rayka Zehtabchi made history this week as the first Iranian-American to win an Oscar. Zehtabchi won the prestigious cinematic prize for her film ‘Period. End of Sentence,’ which looks at the stigma around menstruation in different parts of the world. During her acceptance speech Zehtabchi joked about the unusual context in which she won her award, saying, “I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar… I’m not crying because I’m on my period, or anything!” She also co-founded “The Pad Project” with cinematographer Sam Davis, which targets the stigma of menstruation and aims to improve female hygiene across the globe.
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