Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a 38 year-old British-Iranian charity worker was arrested at Tehran airport on 3rd April last year following a visit to her family in Iran. She was with her daughter – Gabriella – at the time of her arrest. Gabriella is currently stranded in Iran, leaving her without access to her father in the United Kingdom because her passport was confiscated. Her grandparents (from her maternal side) are looking after her in Iran.
The Iranian authorities have said that Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe was plotting to topple the government and in September she was sentenced to five years in prison. Maintaining her innocence, she launched an appeal but it was rejected in January. Her official charge is unknown, even to Ms. Zaghari-Ratcliffe herself, but media in Iran is reporting that “one of the chief members of networks of adversary institutions, who – with the direction and support of foreign media and espionage services – has committed her criminal acts over the past few years”.
Iran is starting to feel the pressure of the new US administration after two terms of President Obama’s rapprochement and appeasement. During these 8 years of the Obama administration, the Iranian regime could relax in the comfort of silence regarding is export of terrorism, its nuclear activities and its human rights abuses.
But now with President Trump’s administration firmly in place, the rulers of the Islamic Republic are faced with harsh rhetoric and warnings that the current administration is not going to take the same approach as the previous one. Trump has described the Islamic Republic as the leading state sponsor of terrorism.
Some experts believe that Iran is progressing towards a nuclear weapon with the help of North Korea.
Despite the Iran nuclear deal signed in 2015, which was supposed to put a pause on the country’s nuclear development, it has been pointed out that the restrictions concerning delivery systems such as nuclear-capable ballistic missiles have not been clearly defined. Nor has Iran’s transfer of nuclear technology to other countries.
U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., was first elected to Congress in 1989. She is the first woman to chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She is also the chairwoman of the House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, who held a hearing on “Testing the Limits: Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program, Sanctions, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps” on Wednesday.
Her opening remarks are presented here:
Iran’s economy has undergone a so-called ‘privatization’ for a number of years. The ‘privatization campaign’ as it is called, began with a turn of events that occurred in 2005. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had become the regime’s president, and the executive branch was filled with loyalists who agreed with Khamenei’s strategic blueprint for the future.
Oil revenues were rapidly increasing, and Khamenei saw the opportunity to restructure Iran’s economy. Shortly after Ahmadinejad came to office, in May, 2005, the first official order was issued for the purpose of placing 80% of all economic enterprises under the supervision of “non-government public, private and cooperative sectors," to be completed by the end of 2009.
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