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Posted by Worldkrap on

Britain Denies Iran Threatened to Curtail Nuclear Talks if London Tribunal Continues 

Britain is denying a report by human rights activists that Iran’s nuclear negotiator threatened to curtail his involvement in upcoming talks with world powers unless British officials shut down the independent Iran Atrocities Tribunal hearings in London that are investigating Tehran’s deadly crackdown on 2019 protests. 

“We do not recognize the report of recent meetings between representatives of the U.K. and Iran. No threat was made to the U.K. with regard to the events organized by human rights groups this week in London,” a British embassy spokesperson in Washington said in a statement emailed to VOA on Saturday. 

The tribunal — which has no legal standing and was launched by three rights groups — had posted a Persian-language tweet Friday, citing unnamed European sources claiming that Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator and Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani made the purported threat to downgrade his upcoming talks with world powers a day earlier in meetings with British officials in London. 

In a phone call with VOA, the British embassy spokesperson said the assertion that Bagheri Kani made such a threat is “100% not true.”

The tribunal’s tweet said the European sources quoted Bagheri Kani as telling the British officials: ”You want us to negotiate with you about the [2015 Iran nuclear deal], but instead of showing us goodwill, you have allowed terrorists to put us on trial here [in London].”   

Bagheri Kani’s reference to ”terrorists” appeared to be aimed at the human rights groups staging the tribunal, which opened Wednesday and is set to conclude Sunday.   

Iran Atrocities Tribunal

The event, known as an international people’s tribunal, is organized by rights groups based in London, Paris and Oslo, Norway, and is aimed at investigating alleged atrocities related to Iran’s suppression of nationwide protests in November 2019. Rights activists have accused Iranian security forces of killing hundreds of protesters and wounding and detaining thousands more in the crackdown.   

The event also has been named the Aban Tribunal in reference to the Persian month in which the protests happened two years ago.   

Tribunal organizer and freelance Iranian-Finnish journalist Kambiz Ghafouri, responding to the British statement denying that Bagheri Kani made the alleged threat, told VOA Persian on Saturday that he sees the denial as “playing with words.”

“Politicians tend to say that they don’t recognize leaked reports [of off-the-record discussions]. So, we, the reporters, should retort that we are responsible for the facts that we receive, and we do not recognize the official accounts made by politicians that are based on expediency,” Ghafouri said.  

In a Friday interview with VOA Persian TV, tribunal co-counsel Regina Paulose declined to provide more information about Bagheri Kani’s alleged use of threats to pressure British officials into stopping the hearings. She said his purported threat to scale back Iranian involvement in future nuclear talks with world powers ”will have no impact” on the tribunal, whose work, she said, is needed to give voice to victims of an oppressive Iranian government that has enjoyed impunity for rights abuses for a long time.  

On Friday, the tribunal’s third day of hearings, international legal experts heard testimony from witnesses, including human rights researchers, former Iranian detainees, relatives of those killed in the 2019 crackdown, and an Iranian police officer. Some of the witnesses who provided video testimony from inside Iran had their faces covered to avoid potential identification and punishment by Iranian authorities.   

Vienna talks

Iran has said it intends to return to Vienna on November 29 for indirect talks with the United States about reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Iran and the U.S. held several rounds of indirect talks in the Austrian capital from April to June, until Iran suspended them ahead of its June 18 presidential election.   

The Vienna talks, in which other world powers have mediated between the U.S. and Iran, are intended to secure a mutual return to JCPOA compliance by the two longtime rivals. Under the deal, Iran promised world powers that it would curb nuclear activities that could be weaponized in return for international sanctions relief.   

The prior U.S. administration of President Donald Trump quit the JCPOA in 2018, saying it was not tough enough on Iran, and reimposed U.S. sanctions. Iran retaliated a year later by starting to publicly exceed JCPOA limits on its nuclear activities.   

President Joe Biden, who succeeded Trump in January, has said he wants to revive the JCPOA through diplomacy, calling it the best way to prevent Iran from becoming nuclear-armed, a goal Tehran denies seeking. Biden has offered to remove some U.S. sanctions on Iran in return for Tehran resuming full compliance with JCPOA restrictions on its nuclear program.   

The government of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who took office in August, agreed earlier this month to resume the JCPOA talks on November 29.   

But Bagheri Kani told Iranian state-run network Press TV Thursday that Iran will not discuss its nuclear activities at the upcoming talks. He said the Iranian side instead will focus on securing ”the termination of illegal (U.S.) sanctions” against Tehran.   

The Aban Tribunal’s tweet cited the European sources as saying Bagheri Kani threatened to suspend ”part” of the upcoming JCPOA talks. It was not immediately clear what that meant.   

Bagheri Kani made no mention of any threat when he posted a Friday tweet summarizing his meetings with British and other European officials in recent days.  

In its first response to the tribunal, the U.S. State Department on Friday sent a statement to VOA saying it is following the event. Asked if the U.S. will consider tightening human rights-related sanctions on Iran in light of witnesses testifying at the tribunal about alleged Iranian rights abuses, a State Department spokesperson said the U.S. ”cannot comment on internal sanctions deliberations.”   

The U.S. spokesperson accused the Iranian government of ”continuing to deny Iranians their human rights, including through severe restrictions on the rights to peaceful assembly, freedom of association, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of expression.”   

The spokesperson also said the U.S. ”condemns the use of violence against peaceful protesters. We support the rights of Iranians to peacefully assemble and express themselves, without fear of violence and detention by security forces.”   

This article originated in VOA’s Persian Service.   

Posted by Ukrap on

Створення бази ВМС України в Бердянську має бути прискорено – міністр оборони

«Посилення наших можливостей у цьому напрямі та розвиток ВМС загалом є одним із пріоритетів» – Резніков

Posted by Worldkrap on

Girl, Teddy Bear Reunited a Year After Loss in Glacier Park

A little girl who lost a special teddy bear she’d had since being adopted from an Ethiopian orphanage thought it was gone forever when she forgot it along a trail in Glacier National Park last year. 

Her parents and family friends still held onto a glimmer of hope.

Hope won out.

Thanks to a social media plea, the sharp eyes and soft heart of a park ranger and the closure of a hiking trail because of grizzly bear activity on the same day a family friend visited the park, the teddy bear is back in the arms of 6-year-old Naomi Pascal in Jackson, Wyoming. 

The bear’s return, which has earned 12,000 likes on the Glacier National Park Facebook page, is a beautiful story that resonates, said Ben Pascal, Naomi’s dad and the senior pastor at the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole, a popular ski town south of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

“It was just a story of hope and kindness and people just working together,” Pascal said. “It touched people’s hearts. It gave ’em hope. It made ’em feel like there is good in the world, which I believe there is.”

Teddy was the first gift Ben and Addie Pascal sent to Naomi before she was adopted in 2016. She took Teddy with her on family trips to Ethiopia, Rwanda, Croatia and Greece.

When Pascal took his kids to Montana in October 2020, Teddy was once again along for the adventure. While Pascal and a friend of his went on a hike in Glacier National Park, family friend Terri Hayden watched the kids. They were almost back to Hayden’s home in Bigfork that night when they realized they didn’t have Teddy. 

It snowed overnight, closing the higher elevations of the park for the season and preventing Hayden from returning to search for Teddy. She made a report to park officials, hoping someone might turn in the bear to a lost-and-found.

It wasn’t too long before Ranger Tom Mazzarisi, a bear specialist in Glacier, spotted the stuffed bear, soaking wet and sitting in melting snow near the Hidden Lake Trail while he and two others were doing some end-of-season work. 

“Typically, items that aren’t worth much monetarily get thrown out,” Mazzarisi said. He was unaware the stuffed animal had been reported lost, but for some reason couldn’t bring himself to dump it in the trash. 

Teddy “hibernated” in Mazzarisi’s cabin in St. Mary and when Mazzarisi returned to work in April he “immediately put him on the dash of my patrol truck.”

“It was a perfect little mascot” and conversation piece, Mazzarisi said.

Teddy had a busy spring and summer, watching wolves howl at each other and working “bear jams,” which are traffic jams caused by bears being near the road, Mazzarisi said.

In June, Addie Pascal posted a plea on Facebook for help finding Teddy, saying: “He’s been by her side for so many milestones. But there are many more adventures to be had!”

People responded with well wishes and offers of replacement bears. A Michigan woman posted a photo she took of Teddy on the day it was lost, saying it was the only bear she saw in the park. 

Hayden, meanwhile, felt bad about the loss of Naomi’s special bear. So when she and some family members went to Glacier in late September, she told them about it and stopped to check on potential lost-and-found sites.

“I’m a woman of faith,” Hayden said. “And that morning I said, ‘OK Lord, if this bear is around, please put that bear in my path and let me come home with that bear today.’”

That’s exactly what happened when Hayden and her adult niece, a photographer with cancer, spotted a stuffed bear in a ranger’s truck after being turned back from a trail that was closed due to bear activity. 

She took a picture and sent it to Addie Pascal, who quickly confirmed it was Teddy.

Unfortunately, the ranger’s truck was locked. It was Mazzarisi’s day off and another ranger who was working on the trail had the keys. They left a note on the vehicle and found other rangers.

“I run up to these rangers and I’m hyperventilating,” Hayden said. “And I’m going, ‘There’s a truck down at the trailhead and there’s a bear sitting on the dashboard.’”

They knew about the bear, confirmed where it had been found and soon returned Teddy to Hayden along with a junior park ranger badge and a ranger hat. 

Hayden shipped the bear to Naomi, who said she was really excited when she got Teddy back. 

Hayden bought another stuffed bear for Mazzarisi. He named her Clover, he said, because she reminds him of a grizzly bear he saw in Yellowstone National Park that would lay on her belly in a clover patch and eat.

Clover is wintering at Mazzarisi’s cabin in St. Mary. Next spring, she’ll ride in his truck.

Posted by Ukrap on

Голова МВС: необхідно понад 2 тисячі відеокамер для скорочення кількості ДТП

«Запровадження камер фото-, відеофіксації порушень ПДР – одне з ефективних рішень. Тільки цього року ми зафіксували на 10% менше смертності на дорогах» – Монастирський

Posted by Ukrap on

На білорусько-польському кордоні будують табір для мігрантів

Спорудженням табору займаються військові та представники Червоного Хреста

Posted by Ukrap on

Загроза війни між Заходом і Росією зростає – начальник британського Генштабу

Коментарі британського генерала оприлюднені на тлі високої напруженості на кордоні члена ЄС Польщі з союзником Москви Білоруссю

Posted by Ukrap on

США та ЄС закликають Москву не ліквідувати «Меморіал»

11 листопада Генпрокуратура Росії звернулася до Верховного суду з вимогою ліквідувати «Міжнародний меморіал» за «систематичні порушення» закону про «іноземних агентів»

Posted by Ukrap on

Bellingcat анонсує вихід розслідування щодо операції з затримання «вагнерівців» у липні 2020 року

8 вересня телеканал CNN оприлюднив розмову із трьома анонімними «колишніми високопосадовцями української військової розвідки», які розповіли, як працювали над підготовкою операції із захоплення членів російської приватної військової компанії «Вагнер»