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Friday, September 19, 2008

Iran Under Fire for Minors Put on Death Row

Iran Under Fire for Minors Put on Death Row
September 18, 2008 The Associated Press Ali Akbar Dareini
Iranian rights groups and lawyers have stepped up a campaign against execution of juvenile offenders, hoping to save about 120 people convicted as minors who are now on death row, a lawyer behind the push said Wednesday. Attorney Mohammad Mostafaei said five of the 120 face imminent execution for crimes they were convicted of committing as minors.Iran is the world’s biggest executioner of juvenile offenders. While a few other countries still execute minors —- including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Sudan and Pakistan —- Iran has accounted for more than two-thirds of such executions in the past three years, according to international rights groups.Mostafaei said the execution of juvenile offenders is a “blatant violation of international law” and a “flagrant breach of Iran’s international obligations and commitments.”Iran signed two global conventions banning execution for crimes committed before the age of 18, but “unfortunately, the practice is carried out despite Iran’s obligations,” he said.Mostafaei said he and other lawyers and activists wrote to Iran’s judiciary chief, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, demanding that executions of juveniles be abolished, but have received no response.The activists also have demanded meetings with Iranian officials and have reached out to media to make their voice heard, Mostafaei said.The United Nations has criticized Iran for executing juvenile offenders. It recently condemned the August executions of Reza Hedjazi and Benham Zaare. Hedjazi was believed to be 15 at the time of his alleged crime, and Zaare a year older.The New York-based Human Rights Watch said both were convicted of murder several years ago and that Zaare was 19 when he was executed and Hedjazi about 20.Mostafaei said that at least six minors have been executed in 2008 and that 26 minors have been put to death in Iran since Jan. 2005.

Iran Vows No Nuclear Retreat
TEHRAN -- President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday Iran would not halt sensitive nuclear work the West suspects is aimed at making bombs and brushed aside threats of more sanctions. Ahmadinejad, who is due to attend the U.N.'s general assembly debate next week, also said he was willing to meet with both U.S. presidential candidates while in New York. more

Posted 18/9/2008 @ 9:29:7 GMT
Iran's Nuclear Gamble
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad must be feeling bulletproof these days after thwarting a United Nations probe into whether his country is trying to make nuclear weapons. His government no doubt calculated that the Security Council will shy away from imposing tougher sanctions and the United States and its allies won't dare attack. more

Posted 18/9/2008 @ 9:26:39 GMT
Iran Central Bank Reveals Banknote Shake-up
Iran's central bank plans to cut at least three zeros from its banknotes as soaring inflation forces Iranians to carry wads of cash to shops for basic items, state radio on Thursday quoted the bank's governor as saying. more

Posted 18/9/2008 @ 9:20:59 GMT
Iran Starts Large-Scale Air Force, Air Defense Drills
Tehran, Iran -- Iran has launched a three-day series of Air Force and missile defense exercises throughout the country, the Air Force commander said on Monday. "The drills are being conducted in more than a half of Iran's provinces. more

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