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Iranian difficult-liners stated to intensify crackdown ahead of important votes

Rights groups and opposition sites said dozens were summoned by the intelligence ministry for interrogation and had been detained. The Iranian government has denied there has been a wave of arrests, describing the reports as “baseless”.

Some officials and analysts believe that the aim is to limit pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani’s influence and recognition after his achievement in reaching a historic nuclear deal with the six significant powers in July that ended over a decade-old stand-off.

“The difficult-liners are wary of Rouhani’s influence at property and abroad. They fear it may possibly harm the balance of power in Iran,” a senior official close to Rouhani told Reuters on situation of anonymity.

Human rights groups and the United Nations have criticized Iran for what they say is a crackdown on freedom of expression and the media. There have been no precise numbers of just how several folks had been detained, no details of what charges if any were brought or regardless of whether there had been any trials.

Analysts say that suppressing dissenting voices has been stepped up since September when the country’s most powerful figure Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned of “infiltration” by Iran’s enemies.

The judiciary has sentenced Iranian-American Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian to jail after being arrested in July 2014 on espionage charges. The U.S. government and the journalist’s household rejected the charges. The sentencing was followed by the arrest of Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi when visiting his relatives in Tehran.


Iran’s economic hardships persuaded Khamenei to support Rouhani’s efforts to attain the nuclear deal, under which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear plan in exchange for an easing of sanctions on its flagging economy.

The analysts say the tough-liners hope that the wave of arrests will help to tighten their grip on power and protect Khamenei’s authority from becoming challenged by the president with the elections just weeks away.

Analysts and officials close to the government think the arrests will also show the limits of the president’s energy internally and demoralize Iranians who could support pro-reform candidates in the subsequent elections.

An election win in Iran’s parliament and the Assembly of Authorities, a clerical physique with nominal power more than the supreme leader, would give Rouhani’s faction as well much power and influence in the country, tough-liners believe.

“It has often been the circumstance in Iran before the elections,” mentioned Iran-based analyst Saeed Leylaz. “Of course the nuclear deal and efforts to end Iran’s isolation have enhanced Rouhani’s reputation,” he said, adding:

“Rouhani’s opponents are worried about its influence on the vote results.”

Rouhani and his centrist and moderate backers could well be rewarded at the ballot box with their election promises of delivering a freer society.


“Growing prestige at residence and abroad for Rouhani means significantly less authority for Khamenei and it has always been Khamenei’s red line,” said political analyst Hamid Farahvashian.

“More flexibility in foreign policy, has usually led to more pressure at property in Iran,” he said.

The United Nations has referred to as on Iran to stop arresting, harassing and prosecuting journalists and other activists.

“It is most likely to continue, at least until the upcoming votes and possibly beyond … the hard-liners are worried about Rouhani’s comparatively larger recognition … since of the nuclear deal,” mentioned Meir Javedanfar, politics lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya.

“By arresting reporters and activists, they are attempting to make Rouhani look weak and incompetent.”

Rouhani, who won a landslide election in 2013 on a progressive platform, has occasionally criticized the crackdown but has accomplished tiny to cease it.

Some supporters of Rouhani are losing patience, fearing now that he might lack the authority to develop a freer society.

“Rouhani blames challenging-liners for the limitations but words are not enough. I nevertheless support him because there is no other alternative,” mentioned a journalist in Tehran, who asked not to be named.

“His only concern is the economy and maintaining his position.”

Analysts say Rouhani lacks the constitutional power to take sensible steps to cease the suppression.

Under Iran’s constitution, Khamenei has the final say on all state matters and he has produced confident that no group, even challenging-liners, gain enough power to challenge the supreme leader’s authority because taking over the position in 1989.


Nevertheless, some doubt that Rouhani, who represented Khamenei on the Supreme National Safety Council for more than two decades, has the stomach to confront the leader and his challenging-line supporters to boost Iran’s human rights record.

“He is part of the establishment. He has gained this status since of the Islamic republic of Iran. Why must he shoot himself by weakening the program?” said Farahvashian.

If voters reward Rouhani’s allies in the elections, a pro-Rouhani majority in parliament could aid him to expand social and financial liberties.

Khamenei controls Iran’s judiciary, armed forces, the Guardian Council that vets laws and election candidates, public broadcasters and also enjoys the loyalty of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, which suppressed mass protests that followed the 2009 presidential election.

Because 1989 when he took over the position from the late founder of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei has always created certain that no group, such as from among his personal tough-line allies, gains enough energy to challenge him.

“Rouhani is a wise politician. He knows that Khamenei will by no means tolerate any challenge to his authority. For that reason, Rouhani will not make such a error as to confront Khamenei,” said a senior diplomat in Tehran.

“Such confrontations will jeopardize Rouhani’s political future. He does not want to turn into a lame duck president … for the rest of his term.”

A relative of Khamenei stated : “Our leader only thinks about the interests of our brave men and women, our nation and the Islamic republic. Political infighting is beneath him.”

(Reporting and writing by Parisa Hafezi in Ankara, editing by Peter Millership)

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Agen Sabung Ayam – News Analysis: For France, an Alliance Against ISIS May possibly Be Easier Stated Than Done

Agen Sabung Ayam

PARIS — By attacking civilian targets effectively beyond its territory, the Islamic State has seemingly achieved what diplomats had failed to do. All of a sudden, the international order has been scrambled, drawing the United States, Russia and France together in a feasible alliance against the terrorist group.

Every single of the 3 longtime powers now has its own reasons for wanting to destroy the Islamic State soon after the pitiless attacks on civilians in Paris and the downing of a Russian passenger jet carrying vacationers. President Obama has provided intelligence to facilitate French airstrikes and suggested he was open to far more cooperation with Russia.

But so far, that alliance remains largely theoretical. Even as President François Hollande of France requires on the function of bridge builder with back-to-back trips subsequent week to Washington and Moscow, strong centrifugal forces are nonetheless pulling the would-be partners apart as competing national interests challenge efforts to translate that newly shared aspiration into a sustained collaboration more than time.

Mr. Obama and President Vladimir V. Putin harbor fundamental disagreements more than a host of problems that have not been dissolved by the Paris attacks. Dividing them are the Russian annexation of Crimea and its meddling in eastern Ukraine, Moscow’s efforts to demonize Washington and undermine self-confidence in NATO’s commitment to collective defense, and the Kremlin’s assistance of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

Graphic | Untangling the Overlapping Conflicts in the Syrian War What started as a well-known uprising against the Syrian government 4 years ago has grow to be a proto-world war with nearly a dozen nations embroiled in two overlapping conflicts.

“It’s certainly a good factor for us and a great thing for France if we have a a lot more coordinated strategy toward these airstrikes in Syria,” mentioned Karen Donfried, a former White Residence adviser to Mr. Obama who is now the president of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “But how committed Russia actually is about taking on the Islamic State, I don’t believe any of us really knows. I stay genuinely skeptical that our interests converge right here.”

Strobe Talbott, the president of the Brookings Institution and a former deputy secretary of state, mentioned any genuine alliance would demand a seismic alter in the Russians’ strategy toward Syria, exactly where they say they are attempting to fight terrorism but seem more bent on preserving Mr. Assad.

“Maybe it is getting by means of to them,” Mr. Talbott stated. “They preserve speaking about being component of a resolution. But they speak the speak of getting part of the remedy and they walk the walk of becoming element of the problem.”

Just how complicated assembling such a coalition would be was underscored Wednesday when French diplomats at the United Nations started discussions with colleagues on the Safety Council on a draft measure authorizing force against the Islamic State. The French ambassador, François Delattre, described it as “short, powerful and focused on the fight against our frequent enemy.”

But just as France prepared to share its measure with council diplomats, Russia floated a proposal of its own, resurrecting a draft resolution that went nowhere earlier this fall because it insisted on cooperating with the government of nations affected by terrorism — in Syria’s case, with Mr. Assad. Vitaly I. Churkin, the Russian ambassador, stated failing to perform with the government “is certainly weakening the possibility of a joint fight against terrorists.”

Aides stated privately that Mr. Obama was skeptical, but in meetings in Turkey, the Philippines, Austria and Paris over the last couple of days, he and his secretary of state, John Kerry, have held their reservations and broached the possibility of Russia and the United States working together to defeat the Islamic State.

Following meeting with Mr. Putin final weekend in Turkey, Mr. Obama said in Manila on Wednesday that Russia had been “a constructive partner” in talks in Vienna searching for a road map for a cease-fire in the Syrian civil war that has offered rise to the Islamic State. But for additional cooperation, he said, Mr. Putin should direct significantly less at the Syrian rebels supported by the United States and more at the Islamic State, also recognized as ISIS or ISIL.

“The problem has been in their initial military incursion into Syria, they have been far more focused on propping up President Assad,” Mr. Obama said. If Mr. Putin “shifts his focus and the focus of his military to what is the principal threat, which is ISIL, then that is what we want to see.”

Interactive Feature | Most recent Updates Get the newest from the attacks Friday in Paris.

Mr. Hollande, under huge stress at residence after the attacks, is attempting to take the diplomatic initiative. Sensing a chance for rapprochement, he plans to travel to Washington on Tuesday to meet with Mr. Obama, and then to Moscow to meet with Mr. Putin. Mr. Hollande stated on Wednesday that he desires to forge “a massive coalition” to act “decisively” against the Islamic State.

In pursuing such a coalition, Mr. Hollande was cautious not to ask the NATO alliance to come to France’s defense below Write-up five, which obligates members to aid one one more in case of attack. That write-up has been invoked only once, right after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Given Mr. Obama’s adamant resistance to putting huge numbers of American ground forces in Syria or Iraq, a French diplomat said on Wednesday that Paris was unwilling to embarrass Mr. Obama by “asking for the impossible.”

Alternatively, to broaden France’s diplomatic support, Mr. Hollande invoked an unusual article in the Lisbon Treaty governing the European Union. Post 42.7 states that if a member is topic to “armed aggression on its territory” other members have an “obligation of help and assistance by all the means in their power” constant with their obligations to NATO.

Graphic | ISIS Is Probably Accountable for Almost 1,000 Civilian Deaths Outdoors Iraq and Syria At least a dozen countries have had attacks considering that the Islamic State, or ISIS, began to pursue a global technique in the summer season of 2014.

Asked on Twitter why France invoked the European Union treaty and not the NATO charter, Gérard Araud, the French ambassador to Washington, wrote that one reason was “the dialogue with Russia.” The implication was that Russia is hostile toward NATO and as a result invoking the alliance’s help may well be provocative toward Moscow.

The European Union nations voted unanimously to help France, but the treaty does not commit them to military action and intelligence sharing is already effectively created. No other European nation has been willing to confront Islamic radicalism as the French have, at property and in Mali, Iraq and Syria.

Even Britain, nonetheless bruised from its participation in the Iraq invasion of 2003, has not been prepared to strike inside Syria. Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to seek approval from Parliament ahead of action in Syria and to proceed only if he has “a clear majority.” The election of Jeremy Corbyn, the new tough-left Labour Celebration leader, has not produced that less difficult.

The United States, Europe and Russia have had moments given that the Cold War when their interests converged. Walter Slocombe, a former under secretary of defense, recalled that the American and Russian militaries worked together in Bosnia and Kosovo. In Bosnia, he mentioned, “it worked out O.K., but that was a different Russia and an practically completely benign environment.”

Interactive Feature | How ISIS Expanded Its Threat The Islamic State emerged from a group of militants in Iraq to take more than massive portions of Iraq and Syria, and now threatens other countries in Europe and elsewhere.

The Obama administration is suspicious that beyond bolstering Mr. Assad, Russia’s real goal in Syria is taking consideration off Ukraine — in impact, trading the status quo for collaboration in the Middle East. “Are we willing to give up on Ukraine?” asked Ivo H. Daalder, Mr. Obama’s former ambassador to NATO and now president of the Chicago Council on International Affairs. “I’m worried that we fall in this trap.”

Beyond the United States, Russia and Europe, there are other players in Syria, specifically Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Mr. Kerry has worked to forge a consensus among them. But as Mr. Daalder mentioned, “except for France and the United States, at this point no 1 thinks going after ISIS is the initial priority.”

With out that, he mentioned, “I don’t see this as a new coalition.”

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