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Resources updated between Monday, January 26, 2015 and Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January 27, 2015

Forouzandeh Vadiati of Iran, new Vice-Chair of the UN Committee on NGOs

On January 26, 2014 the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, in charge of granting NGOs UN-accreditation, elected Iran as its vice-chair. UN accreditation or "consultative status" provides NGOs with real benefits, such as attending international conferences and events, making written and oral statements, organizing side events, entering UN premises, and having opportunities to network and lobby.

However, the very UN NGO body that accredits NGOs now includes numerous countries infamous for NGO harassment and intimidation such as China, Cuba, Iran, Mauritania, Russia, Pakistan, Sudan and Venezuela. In the past, the worst abusers like China and Sudan have frequently managed to derail many applications of western NGOs.

This is how the new vice chair Iran treats non-governmental organizations at home, according to the State's Department most recent report on human rights in Iran:

    "The government restricted the work of human rights groups and activists and often responded to their inquiries and reports with harassment, arrests, and monitoring of individual activists and organization workplaces. The government restricted the operations of and did not cooperate with local or international human rights NGOs investigating alleged violations of human rights. By law NGOs must register with the Interior Ministry and apply for permission to receive foreign grants. Independent human rights groups and other NGOs faced continued harassment because of their activism as well as the threat of closure by government officials following prolonged and often arbitrary delays in obtaining official registration... Human rights activists reported receiving intimidating telephone calls and threats of blackmail from unidentified law enforcement and government officials... Courts routinely suspended sentences of human rights activists. This form of sentencing acted as de facto probation, leaving open the option for authorities to arbitrarily arrest or imprison individuals later...human rights defenders reported arrests without a warrant, denial of access to legal counsel of their choice, and physical and psychological duress during interrogations for the purpose of soliciting signed and televised confessions. These human rights defenders also reported being held in solitary confinement for periods ranging from one day to almost one year, unfair trials, and, in some cases, severe physical torture, including rape, electrical shocks, hanging by hands or arms, and/or forced body contortion... The government continued to imprison lawyers and others affiliated with the DHRC [Defenders of Human Rights Center]...The government denied all requests from international human rights NGOs to establish offices in or conduct regular investigative visits to the country."

Iran, where NGOs go to die, elected Vice-Chair of UN Committee on NGOs Article

January 26, 2015

Yukiya Amano, IAEA Director-General

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in Jakarta, Indonesia, on January 23, 2015: "As far as Iran is concerned, the Agency is able to verify the non-diversion of nuclear material declared to us by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement. But we are not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."

IAEA Cannot Conclude that All Nuclear Material in Iran Is in Peaceful Activities Article