Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) recently proposed to President Donald Trump that he should take a larger role in negotiating with Iran during a golf outing, a notion that Trump apparently supports, in order to prevent another endless war from starting in the Middle East.
Paul wants to sit down with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in order to ease tensions with the Islamic Republic, which has been confirmed by four U.S. officials according to Politico. This news has enraged the neocon war hawks in the Trump administration, who want a wedge to remain between the two nations preventing any talks.
Proud that @realDonaldTrump and I argued with you against endless wars! @POTUS made it clear to all of us at the table, we are getting out of the Middle East quagmire. We’ve been there too long. Time to bring our troops home. https://t.co/trO0aIHbzk
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 15, 2019
Zarif is in New York City this week for meetings at the headquarters of the United Nations. He is scheduled to meet with several journalists and think-tank officials, but a meeting with the junior Kentucky Senator may also be in order. Zarif made it clear in recent statements that Iran is not opposed to engaging the the U.S. in peace talks.
“No, we are at the bargaining table. It is the United States that left the bargaining table,” Zarif said to NBC News reporters who suggested Iran was unwilling to engage in talks. “And they are always welcome to return.”
“The United States is addicted, unfortunately, to sanctions,” Zarif added. “Once those sanctions are lifted, then room for negotiation is wide open.”
This is already yielding positive results in the global markets, as oil prices have started to plunge over the news that there is less of a likelihood for a U.S. war with Iran. The WTI fell to $57 on Tuesday while the Brent dropped by 3 percent, slumping below $65.
Paul has praised Trump’s ability to avoid conflict with Iran even with the various pressures of the military-industrial complex trying to goad him into another regime change war.
“It really takes a statesman to show restraint amidst a chorus of voices for war,” Paul said to Fox News’ Martha MacCallum.
Paul has previously conducted a diplomacy mission to Russia in Aug. 2018 where he delivered a letter to the Russian government on Trump’s behalf, much to the chagrin of the fake news and deep state forces that have tried to keep the two nations at odds.
“The letter emphasized the importance of further engagement in various areas including countering terrorism, enhancing legislative dialogue and resuming cultural exchanges,” Paul wrote last year.
Paul remains as a prominent influence on Trump’s thinking, assisting the President with helpful advice as Trump implements his ‘America First’ foreign policy and fixes the immense damage caused by his globalist predecessors. Paul’s bold efforts may help the U.S. bridge the gap with Iran and begin talks that will result in a deal that works for both nations.
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Turkey Human Rights, Crackdown on Press Freedom Comes Under Renewed Scrutiny in Geneva
Last week, the UK-based International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR)and the Press Emblem Campaign held an information meeting in Geneva, to coincide with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Turkey over hate crimes, minority, and LGBT rights, and press freedoms with a specific focus on the nation’s crackdown on these rights during the failed 2016 coup and the emergency rule that followed during which the government allegedly used its security powers to arrest thousands of people who opposed it.
Turkey’s human rights record was last reviewed in 2015 during the UPR. This was the third time in 10 years that Turkey’s record has come under review
Diplomats, minister, prominent members of Turkish media and human rights defenders – including those who have been forced into exile – were present at the event. Also in attendance was former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice Ambassador Stephen Rapp. Louise Pyne Jones, head of research, International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR) moderated the event. Two panels were held. The first was called “Press Freedom” and included Yavuz Baydar, editor-in-chief of Ahval; Evin Baris Altintas, journalist and blogger; and Massimo Frigo; senior Legal Advisor for International Commission for Jurists (ICJ). The second panel, “Human Rights Defenders,” included Dr. Sebnem Korur Fincanci; president of the Human Rights Foundation in Turkey; Nurcan Baysal, award-winning Turkish Human Rights Defender and Journalist; and Anne van Wezel, former co-chair EESC EU-Turkey Joint Consultative Committee.
Following an attempted, and failed, “coup” against the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party in 2016, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused many of his opponents and naysayers, including journalists who were critical of him and his government, of supporting terrorism and prosecuted many of them. Erdogan also suggested that the attempted coup was the work of exiled Imam Fethullah Gulen and his movement, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization. Turkey has asked for the United States to extradite Gulen. Gulen has been living in the United States in a self-imposed exile since 1999. Over 250 people died as a result of the failed coup attempt.
Soon after the coup, Turkey implemented a state of emergency (SOE) which it said: “was put into effect in order to ensure the continuity of effective implementation of the measures for the protection of the rights and freedoms of our citizens, democracy and the rule of law.” However, the AK Party’s critics have maintained that the AK Party used the umbrella of its broader emergency powers and continuously postponed ending that state of emergency, in an attempt to destroy its political opposition.
Many journalists were apprehended under this state of emergency until it was lifted on July 19, 2018. As such, for three straight years, and up until 2019, the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Turkey as the worst jailer of journalists in the world. According to Turkish, English, and Arabic-language news site Ahval, when China jailed 48 journalists to Turkey’s 47.
Nurcan Baysal, an award-winning Kurdish Human Rights Defender, Journalist, and contributor to Ahval, said she was even cautious with the words she used on the panel discussion for fear of punishment by the Turkish government. “We are censoring ourselves because of these fears,” Baysal said. “For example, before coming here I asked myself if I should use certain words, should I use the word invasion, or should I use the word war, because today in Turkey even to say war is forbidden,” she said. “Everything that I say has an effect on not only my life but of the lives of my children and family.”
Ahval editor in chief Yavuz Baydar said, “No state or power can decide who is a journalist, it is the domain for professional organizations and should always be separate from power.”
According to the IOHR, “In the previous UPR cycle of Turkey, the Turkish government officially supported 14 recommendations related to strengthening the legal framework on freedom of expression and 5 recommendations specifically related to bringing terrorism legislation in line with international human rights standards.
Hugh Williamson, the Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch recently said, “The huge number of journalists, politicians, and perceived government critics in prison and on trial flies in the face of the Turkish government’s public statements about the state of human rights in the country “Turkey’s disregard of human rights is a disservice to its citizens, who deserve to live with dignity and freedom.”
Meanwhile, Turkey’s state-run pro-government newspaper the Daily Sabah put out propaganda about the Erdogan government writing, “U.N. Human Rights Council highlighted Turkey’s achievements in the fields of judiciary, human rights and humanitarian causes on Tuesday during a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) meeting in Geneva.”
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