Daily TIP

U.S. sanctions individuals, companies involved in Iranian missile program, IRGC

Posted by Tip Staff - February 03, 2017
Paying the price. The United States placed sanctions Friday on 13 individuals and 12 companies involved in procuring technology for Iran’s ballistic missile program and associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force. The people and companies are based in Iran, China, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates. The move came days after Iran tested a ballistic missile; the administration promised that Iran was being put “on notice.” The companies and individuals will be prohibited from doing business with American institutions or citizens.

"Iran’s continued support for terrorism and development of its missile program poses a threat to the region, to our partners worldwide and to the United States,” said John E. Smith, the acting sanctions chief at the U.S. Treasury Department. “We will continue to actively apply all available tools, including financial sanctions, to address this behavior.” President Trump vowed on Sunday, in a phone call with Saudi King Salman bin Abd al-Aziz al-Saud, to “rigorously enforc[e]” the Iran deal and to address “Iran’s destabilizing regional activities.”

UN Security Council Resolution 2231 codifies the nuclear deal and calls on Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.” The resolution also says that Iran must abide by previous Security Council resolutions, which placed restrictions on ballistic missile work until 2023.

NATO leaders said in a joint communique last July that they were “seriously concerned by the development of Iran’s ballistic missile programme and continuing missile tests that are inconsistent with [Resolution] 2231.” 

Turning point. The White House issued a statement on Israeli settlements Thursday evening marking a key shift in the U.S.'s position on the matter. International legal scholar—and leading expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—Eugene Kontorovich said: "The White House Press Secretary’s statement about settlement building is a huge change of policy, in which the U.S. broadly accepts all building within settlements, including those settlements outside of 'blocs.' This is huge."

Many have likened the Trump administration’s stance to the policy outlined in a letter sent from former President George W. Bush to former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2004. In that letter, Bush wrote, “In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final-status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.” In fact, Kontorovich argued that the Trump statement goes beyond the Bush-Sharon letter because it doesn't differentiate between construction in settlement blocs - which are understood to become part of Israel in any future two-state outcome - and other settlements.

The full White House statement released Thursday reads as follows: “While we don't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal. As the President has expressed many times, he hopes to achieve peace throughout the Middle East region. The Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits with President Trump later this month.”

An eye for an eye. Iran's supreme court ruled that a woman must be blinded in one eye as punishment for an acid attack that left her victim sightless, using the principle of “eye for an eye” of Islamic Sharia law, according to a Reuters article published Thursday. The report originates from Tehran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency.

"The sentence to blindness in one eye, payment of blood money (compensation), and seven years imprisonment have been confirmed by the highest court," Tasnim quoted head of judiciary Majid Karami in the province of Kohgiluyeh as saying.

Several acid attacks have been reported in Iran in the past few years. Women have had acid thrown in their faces—causing blindness—for refusing marriage proposals, as was the case with Ameneh Bahrami (warning: graphic photo).

Acid attacks are an exceptionally cruel form of violence, and most victims worldwide are women and children. Blindness often follows as does the inability to use one's hands.

Human rights group Amnesty International recently released a statement on the "vicious punishments" Iran undertook in 2016.

"Iran's prolific use of corporal punishment, including flogging, amputation and blinding, throughout 2016 highlights the inhumanity of a justice system that legalizes brutality," said Randa Habib, Amnesty International's Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. The spree of cruel and unusual punishments has already bled over into 2017.

How to get a good night’s sleep tops the list for many people with sleeping disorders the world over. Now a new Israeli study has bad news for the creative community coveting successful pillow time. The researchers sought to understand how two types of creativity – visual and verbal – influence objective aspects of sleep such as duration and timing (indexes such as the time of falling asleep and waking up), and subjective aspects – sleep quality. Art and social science students participated in the study. The findings showed that among all the participants, the higher the level of visual creativity, the lower the quality of their sleep. “Visually creative people reported disturbed sleep leading to difficulties in daytime functioning,” says doctorate student Neta Ram-Vlasov, one of the authors of the study. “In the case of verbally creative people, we found that they sleep more hours and go to sleep and get up later. In other words, the two types of creativity were associated with different sleep patterns. This strengthens the hypothesis that the processing and expression of visual creativity involves different psychobiological mechanisms to those found in verbal creativity.” The study defined creativity according to four characteristics: fluency – the ability to produce a wide range of ideas; flexibility – the ability to switch easily between different thought patterns in order to produce this wide range of ideas; originality – the unique quality of the idea relative to the ideas in the environment; and elaboration – the ability to develop each idea separately. (via Israel21c)

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