Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini, has revealed that many of the updates from Iran on her husband's condition over the past three years have been coming from the pastor's parents. Naghmeh said that the trauma Abedini is going through is taking a toll on them.
"Though I am always looking forward to visitation days as my lone connection to Saeed, it pains me to know what my in-laws have lived through with their son. They live for these 15-minute visitations each week with their son, but watching your son endure the trauma of unjust imprisonment is brutal," Naghmeh said in an update earlier this week posted on the American Center for Law and Justice website.
"Increasingly, my updates from Iran come with many tears. The pain of seeing your son shackled, describing the pains in his body or the beatings he endures has at times been too much for his elderly parents. Today's update was told through uncontrollable tears. Having seen the pain of my own children, I can only imagine the pain Saeed's parents have endured the last three years," she continued. more >>
Russia began its airstrike operations in war-torn Syria Wednesday, but has reportedly been targeting U.S.-backed rebels who are fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, instead of focusing on the Islamic State terror group.
Reuters reported on Thursday that Russian officials have claimed that their airstrikes are targeting terrorists, but the U.S. is saying that Russia is going after anti-Assad rebels instead, some of whom have received support by the White House.
Sky News added that Russian jets have conducted at least 30 airstrikes in Syria so far, with TV reports showing that the operations have hit the rebel-held town of Jisr Al-Shughour in the northwest of the country. more >>
Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of imprisoned American Pastor Saeed Abedini, has slammed the apparent offer by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to free her husband in exchange for releasing Iranian prisoners being held in the United States. Naghmeh argued that her husband is not "collateral" to be treated as such.
"My husband is not collateral. He is a father and a man who broke no law. Yet Iran is treating him like a pawn in a game of chess. President Rouhani's demand that America release 19 criminals in exchange for his consideration of releasing individuals like my husband, imprisoned solely for his faith, demonstrates that the Iran of today is no different than the Iran who took Americans hostage during the Iranian revolution," Naghmeh Abedini said.
"The environment is ripe for Iran to demonstrate it is ready to re-enter the global market and international scene of diplomats; it is time to show its good will, to change its image from one of a pariah to a member of the global society who will protect fundamental rights," she added. more >>
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has fired back against Republican members of Congress who've criticized the nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and several Western states, calling them "laughable" and suggesting that they don't even know where Iran is located.
"Sometimes when I would have time — some of it was broadcast live and I would watch it — some of it was quite laughable. It was very strange, the things that they spoke of," Rouhani told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an interview on Sunday, talking about ongoing Republican criticism of the deal.
"Some of them wouldn't even know where Tehran was in relation to Iran. Some of them didn't know where Iran was geographically, not distinguishing that one is the capital of the other," Rouhani added. more >>
The Islamic State terror group has executed almost 11,000 people across Iraq and Syria since its establishment of a self-proclaimed caliphate in June 2014, human rights groups have said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 3,207 people have been put to death by the Islamic militants in Syria, while another 7,700 have been killed in Iraq.
The number does not include the ever-growing list of casualties from the various wars IS is waging against the Syrian and Iraqi central governments, the U.S. and its broad team of allies, and against rival rebel groups in the region. more >>
With the recent news that Russian forces are joining the fight against the Islamic State terror group in Syria, but will be fighting on President Bashar al-Assad's side, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter noted that America will still be attempting to pursue both the fall of Assad and the fall of the Islamic terrorists.
"The United States believes that these two interests must be pursued in parallel," Carter said during a press event, Defense News reported on Thursday.
"To pursue the defeat of ISIL without, at the same time, pursuing a political transition, is to fuel the very kind of extremism that underlies ISIL, and if that's the Russian view, that's a logical contradiction," Carter added. more >>