New Age Islam News Bureau
16 September 2023
· US, UK, Canada Issue New Iran Sanctions Ahead Of Anniversary Of Mahsa Amini’s Death on Sept. 16
· Afghanistan Women's Plight To Be Discussed At UNGA, Taliban Say 'don't Interfere'
· Iranian Women Are Still Fighting
· Two Women Fighters Killed In Turkish Drone Strike: Syria Kurds
· Ashleigh Plumptre’s Move To Al-Ittihad Adds Star Power To Saudi Women’s Premier League
· One Year Into Unrest, Iranian Women Still Defying Hijab Laws
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
US, UK, Canada Issue New Iran Sanctions Ahead Of Anniversary Of Mahsa Amini’s Death on
September 15, 2023
WASHINGTON: The US, Britain and Canada on Friday imposed more sanctions on Iran ahead of the one-year anniversary of the death of Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini whilst in Iran’s morality police custody, which sparked months of anti-government protests that faced an often violent crackdown.
Amini, 22, died on Sept. 16 last year after being arrested for allegedly flouting the Islamic Republic’s mandatory dress code. Her death sparked months of anti-government protests that marked the biggest show of opposition to Iranian authorities in years. Iranian security forces have been deployed in her hometown in anticipation of unrest this weekend.
The US, Britain, and Canada, along with the European Union, have announced multiple rounds of sanctions against Iran, citing the widespread and often violent crackdown on protests after the death of Amini.
“Mahsa’s tragic and senseless death in the custody of Iran’s so-called ‘Morality Police’ sparked demonstrations across Iran that were met with unspeakable violence, mass arrests, systemic Internet disruptions and censorship by the Iranian regime,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Mahsa Zhina Amini’s death a year ago sparked protests across Iran that were met with violence, mass arrests, and systemic internet disruption by the regime. We'll continue to take appropriate actions against those who suppress Iranians’ basic human rights. pic.twitter.com/ceoc85xXbk
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) September 15, 2023
“We will continue to take appropriate action, alongside our international partners, to hold accountable those who suppress Iranians’ exercise of human rights,” he said, adding that Canada, Australia, and other partners were also imposing sanctions this week.
The US Treasury Department in a separate statement said it imposed sanctions on more than two dozen people and entities it said were connected to Iran’s “violent suppression” of protests in the wake of Amini’s death its crack down on dissenting voices and restrictions to Internet.
The action targets 29 people and groups, including 18 key members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces, as well as the head of Iran’s Prisons Organizations, the department said. They also target officials linked to Iran’s Internet blockade and several media outlets.
The sanctions target LEF spokesperson Saeed Montazerolmehdi, multiple LEF and IRGC commanders, and Iran’s Prisons Organization chief Gholamali Mohammadi.
Douran Software Technologies CEO Alireza Abedinejad as well as state-controlled media organizations Press TV, Tasnim News Agency and Fars News were also among those sanctioned.
“The United States ... will continue to take collective action against those who suppress Iranians’ exercise of their human rights,” the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in the statement.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that Washington would have more sanctions in coming days.
“We’ll continue to sanction Iranian behavior, whether it is flouting basic norms of human rights contained in the Universal Declaration or it’s relative to the work that Iran is doing to provide weapons to Russia to kill Ukrainian civilians, and we’ll have more designations on that in the coming days,” Sullivan told reporters.
The US has taken several actions targeting the supply of Iranian drones to Russia, reflecting its concerns about Iranian-Russian military cooperation and Russia’s use of Iranian drones in its conflict with Ukraine.
Britain separately announced its sanctions targeting senior Iranian decision makers, including Iran’s minister for culture and Islamic guidance, his deputy, the mayor of Tehran and an Iranian police spokesman.
One year on from Mahsa Amini's death, it is tragic that in 2023 Iranian women continue to fight for their fundamental human rights.
Today the UK with other partners have sanctioned those responsible for Iran's repressive laws.
We will continue to stand with the Iranian people.
Lord (Tariq)Ahmad of Wimbledon (@tariqahmadbt) September 15, 2023
Canada’s sanctions package announced on Friday, which was its fourteenth since October last year against Iran, listed restrictions against six individuals. They included members of the IRGC and the “Supreme Council for Cultural Revolution,” the Canadian government said.
The EU added four Iranian officials to its sanctions blacklist over a crackdown on demonstrators.
The 27-nation bloc has already imposed visa bans and asset freezes on around 170 Iranian individuals, companies and agencies over the repression.
The four officials targeted included a commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, two regional police chiefs and a prison boss.
Four prisons, a news agency associated with the Guards and the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, which monitors the Internet, were also placed on the blacklist.
In a statement, the EU’s 27 nations said they “reaffirm their strong support for the fundamental rights of Iranian women and men and their aspirations.”
“We continue to consider all appropriate options at our disposal to address any issues of concern,” they said.
(With Reuters and AFP)
Afghanistan Women's Plight To Be Discussed At UNGA, Taliban Say 'don't Interfere'
Rights of Afghan women are on the agenda of the 78th UNGA (Image: AP)
15th September, 2023
As the United Nations General Assembly gears up for its annual debate, the plight of the women of Afghanistan will be discussed extensively at the international event. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, assured that the rights of the women and girls in Afghanistan will be “very much on the agenda” of the upcoming meeting. The international body conducted the first session of the annual UNGA meeting on September 5. The highly anticipated General debate is scheduled to commence on September 19 in New York.
“The rights of women and girls in Afghanistan is absolutely central to all concerns and will be one of the issues that will be very much on the agenda,” the UN Chief asserted during a press conference on Thursday, Independent reported. The rights of women have been curbed extensively since the arrival of the draconian Taliban regime in the country in 2021. The assertion from Guterres came days after the UN’s human rights chief accused the Taliban regime of waging a “systematic assault” on the freedom of the people of Afghanistan, especially the women. “The shocking level of oppression of Afghan women and girls is immeasurably cruel,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk remarked during a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Taliban ask for non-interference
Meanwhile, the oppressive regime lashed out at the international body insisting that the international community should “not interfere” in the country’s “internal affairs”. “The issue of human rights is an excuse that is used. In reality, the people of Afghanistan have rights given to them by Sharia law. Nobody can show that someone else’s rights have been violated. All individuals have rights, including men, women, children, and the elderly,” Taliban spokesperso Zabiullah Mujahid asserted, as per the report by Tolo News.
While the authoritarian regime initially promised to take a “moderate approach” after taking over Afghanistan in 2021, Human rights in the Central Asian country is in a state of collapse. Over the years, Women in Afghanistan are mostly barred from going to public places such as gyms, national parks, universities, salons, etc. Apart from the Afghanistan issue, world leaders are expected to discuss the Russia-Ukraine war, humanitarian relief for Morocco after the catastrophic earthquake, Libya floods, etc.
Two Women Fighters Killed In Turkish Drone Strike: Syria Kurds
September 16, 2023
BEIRUT: Two women fighters of a military council linked to the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces were killed in a Turkish drone strike Friday, their command said.
Ankara routinely carries out drone strikes against targets in Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria and neighbouring Iraq but has sharply expanded them in recent weeks.
“Two of our female comrades were martyred when their car was hit by a drone of the Turkish occupation force on the road leading to the village of Al-Hattabat, south of Manbij,” said a statement from the general command of the city’s military council.
A third woman fighter and a male fighter were wounded in the strike, it added.
Mainly Arab Manbij has been controlled by the SDF since 2016 when they liberated it from Daesh group jihadists.
The district comes under frequent bombardment from areas to the west controlled by Turkish troops and their Syrian proxies.
Clashes between pro-Turkish fighters and the SDF broke out in the area early this month after the Kurdish-led force retook a village in the eastern province of DeirEzzor from armed Arab tribesmen. The fighting left at least 90 people dead.
“Following the recent attacks... by the mercenaries of the Turkish occupation, their failure to advance on any front and their heavy losses, the Turkish occupation has... resorted to cowardly and perfidious tactics aimed at sapping the will of our fighters,” the general command statement said.
Turkish drone strikes have killed 58 people in Syria so far this year, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Among them were 13 civilians and 42 fighters of the SDF and its allies.
The SDF was Washington’s main ally in its military campaign against IS in Syria, but it remains anathema to Turkiye because of its alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a deadly insurgency in southeastern Turkiye for decade
Ashleigh Plumptre’s move to Al-Ittihad adds star power to Saudi Women’s Premier League
September 15, 2023
There was a sense of deja vu this week as a Saudi Arabia club went to the top tier of English football and signed one of the world’s best players.
Al-Ittihad have recruited Ashleigh Plumptre from Leicester City which means that one of the stars of the women’s game has made the switch from the home of the Foxes in England’s East Midlands to join the Tigers in the port of Jeddah.
With the 25-year-old on the radar of several big European clubs, the signing has whetted appetites for the second season of the Saudi Women’s Premier League which kicks off next month.
Plumptre is a former England youth international who switched allegiance to Nigeria and was one of the stars of the World Cup that ended last month with the Africans losing to England after a penalty shootout in the knockout stages.
“(I am) grateful to have signed for Al-Ittihad,” Plumptre reportedly said. “I am excited to start this journey alongside some incredible human beings. My journey of stepping into more of myself continues … It’s more than football.”
She joins a Jeddah club on the rise under coach Kelly Lindsay, the former US international who has managed the women’s teams of Afghanistan and Morocco. They have been busy in the transfer market. As well as the new Nigerian defender, there is Morocco’s Salma Amani — who helped the Atlas Lionesses not just become the first Arab team to play at the Women’s World Cup this summer but also to get to the knockout stage.
Former Swedish youth international Nor Mustafa, who arrived by the Red Sea from Scottish club Hibernian, means that the Tigers will be hoping to mount a title challenge this time after finishing fifth out of eight in the inaugural season. For the city of Jeddah to be home to both the male and female champions would be something special.
Fullback Bayan Sadagah is looking forward to continuing the progress already made. “I used to play for Jeddah Eagles and after the Saudi Women’s Pro League was created, our club was acquired by Al-Ittihad,” the defender said. “We were able to use their facilities and we were happy that we were finally being treated as professionals and this really pushed us to be more ambitious. We push ourselves to become better.”
That is the plan for the new season but taking the title from Al-Nassr will not be easy. The Riyadh team are the ones to beat with stars including Lina Boussaha, a former French youth international who played for Paris Saint-Germain before sustaining a serious injury. Her career is now back on track in Saudi Arabia.
Even the newly-promoted teams are ambitious. Al-Qadsia have former Benfica coach Luis Andrade.
“We are aiming to be competitive in the Premier League,” Andrade said as he arrived in the east of the country in August. “We know that we have a lot of work to do but we are not just there to make up the numbers.”
The numbers are improving and there are plans to expand the top tier to 10 teams from next year. Interestingly, there are 30 sides in the second division which is divided into regional groups of six. At the end of the season there will be playoffs with three teams coming up and one going down.
Compared to other Asian powerhouses such as China and especially Japan, there is a determination to try and catch up as quickly as possible and the progress made in a short time has been impressive.
In 2019, the women’s department at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation was established. A year later, came the Women’s Community Football League and then the Regional Women’s League in 2021. The Premier League launched in 2022, the same year that the national women’s team played their first-ever international game, defeating the Seychelles 2-0. They now have a FIFA ranking.
There is, of course, a bid to host the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup. If that is successful, it would be a huge boost to the game in the country but even if not, there is a plan to qualify to the tournament for the first time.
The 2027 World Cup may be a little too early but with 32 teams participating and the likes of the Philippines and Vietnam making the 2023 edition, there is always hope. There are now more than 50,000 schoolgirls playing football, over 1,000 female coaches and regional training centers where the best talent get the best coaching. The development is continuing at a rapid speed.
First though, is the new season. The objective is that this is better than last year in terms of the quality of play and the interest off the pitch. That remains to be seen but the early signs and the early signings such as Plumptre are very promising.
One year into unrest, Iranian women still defying hijab laws
September 15, 2023
The mandatory hijab regulations of Iran's ruling theocracy have faced serious questioning and defiance since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini's death in custody of morality police in September of last year.
A year into the ensuing nationwide unrest, the Islamic Republic has yet to come to terms with Iranian women over the hijab, a fundamental pillar of its governance for over four decades.
Last month, the conservative parliament, packed with loyalists of the 84-year-old Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, voted to debate a new hijab and chastity bill behind closed doors. The original draft was a joint product of President Ebrahim Raisi's hard-line government and the judiciary.
The bill seeks to specifically criminalize any act in breach of hijab, with punishments ranging from fines and bans on public service to prison terms up to ten years. Authorities say it is meant for deterrence and will use smart technology to detect violators. Even shop owners letting in women who don't meet the strict dress code would face closures, as they have been in recent months without the bill.
Despite widespread criticism even from pro-government pundits, the Islamic Republic has been determined to push the bill, as it is overwhelmed with the trend of Iranian women, particularly younger ones, appearing in public without headscarves. Defiance has spread despite the state's prosecution of many female public figures and actors.
Many eyebrows have also been raised at Iranian judiciary verdicts such as washing corpses or cleaning streets as punishment for some hijab-defying women.
For months amid the unrest, the morality police, which enforces the hijab rules, appeared absent from Iranian streets, sparking speculation that the squad had been abolished for good. But in July, Iranian authorities confirmed its return, in what appeared to be a message of non-compromise.
And in the run-up to the unrest anniversary, the intelligence community and security forces have been rounding up hundreds of activists nationwide, according to a report by the France-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network. Even some members of the families of last year's crackdown remain behind bars, as the government seeks to push back on any plans for commemorations.
Mahsa Amini's father has reportedly been summoned four times in two weeks and remains under pressure to cancel an anniversary memorial by her grave.
In anticipation of that ceremony, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has led the crackdown, deployed a military tank inside Amini's cemetery in her hometown of Saqez, while hundreds of its anti-riot forces were seen parading the streets, according to Hengaw, an expat rights organization monitoring political developments in Iran.
The same tightened security was reported in the capital Tehran as well as over a dozen Kurdish cities, which have constantly been flashpoint areas during the unrest over the past year.
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