Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi condemn recent executions, which were seen as an attempt to intimidate the green movement. But a hard-liner warns that protesters would be 'firmly confronted.'




Reporting from Beirut - The leaders of Iran's opposition movement boldly urged supporters to take to the streets during commemorations marking the 31st anniversary of Iran's revolution, condemning the recent executions of two alleged government opponents and a fiery Friday prayer sermon by a hard-line cleric calling for protesters to be put to death.

In a meeting this morning, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi voiced deep sorrow and raised questions about the "hasty" executions of Mohammad-Reza Ali-Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour, who were hanged Thursday morning in a move widely interpreted as an attempt to intimidate the opposition movement ahead of anticipated confrontations during Feb. 11 celebrations of the 1979 birthday of the Islamic Republic.

Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a relatively moderate cleric believed to be sympathetic to the opposition, also called on Iranians "of all groups and camps" to turn out en masse for the holiday, but warned that any violence will serve the interests of Tehran's "enemies."

"I invite all people and political camps across the country to march on 22 Bahman and renew their allegiance to the Islamic Republic despite certain differences of opinion," he said in an address to the powerful Expediency Council, which he heads, posted to his website, referring to the 22nd day of the Persian calendar month of Bahman.

The calls for the opposition to take to the streets came as top officials warned of consequences for anyone who tries to take part in anything but official rallies on that day, traditionally an occasion for anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans and imagery.

"On the 22nd of Bahman, anyone breaking ranks with the Iranian people will be considered an agent of foreigners," Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani, the Tehran Revolutionary Guard commander, told Sepahnews, the website of the elite military branch. "Any voice or color other than the voice of the Islamic Revolution will be pushed aside, and if a minority makes such an attempt, it will be firmly confronted."

Meanwhile, 16 alleged opposition supporters, 14 men and two women, were brought to trial today and charged with plotting against the Islamic system and being in cahoots with foreign enemies of Iran, including Israel and the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

But months of similar trials of protesters and a continuous stream of dire warnings against the opposition have failed to cow a grass-roots movement unlike any Iran has ever experienced.

Former Prime Minister Mousavi and former parliament Speaker Karroubi ran in the June 12 election against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose victory was marred by widespread allegations of vote-rigging that triggered eight months of political discord.

The two, who have emerged as the leading figureheads of the so-called green opposition movement, condemned the recent mass arrests of activists, journalists and scholars and the call Friday by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati urging officials to quickly put arrested opposition supporters to death by likening them to the Jews who he said defied the prophet Muhammad.

"It is regrettable to see the Friday prayers tribune has turned into a venue for inciting violence and encouraging more executions," they were quoted as saying.

Mousavi and Karroubi invited people to turn out massively on Feb. 11, risking the wrath of authorities who have placed them under strict surveillance in conditions that resemble house arrest.

"The majority of people are courageously present in the battlefield to regain the rights denied them," the two were quoted as saying in an account of the meeting posted to Mousavi's Facebook page, which is run by a supporter in Germany, and Karroubi's news website, Sahamnews.org. "They want a free vote, but their voices are unfortunately not heard."

They said the only way to pull the country out of its greatest domestic political crisis in decades and restore calm was to "release the prisoners of conscience, lift press bans, remove seals from political party offices and hold free and fair elections," in a reiteration of their long-standing insistence that the June election was fraudulent.

The account on the Facebook page included a rare photograph of the two reformist politicians together apparently inside Karroubi's residence, a cup of tea and bowl of dates resting on a table before them.

The two tempered their calls for protests and a lifting of the crackdown with an insistence that they did not seek to overthrow the Islamic Republic, as demanded by some radicals in the opposition movement and exiled Iranians.

"The continuation of the ongoing conditions will harm the revolution and the Islamic establishment," they were quoted as saying. "The majority of people only demand their rights and they seek no structural changes to the regime."

Akhoond Ebrahimi, a member of the security and foreign policy committee of the Islamic senate, cautioned on continued protests against the regime. He emphasized that people should not believe that the sedition is over.

Akhoond Ebrahimi also announced his worries on the unpopularity of the 22 Bahman gathering by saying that there will be some refreshments provided on that day in the front of mosques.

It was also noted the amount of Basiji militia that will be transferred to Tehran on the anniversary of 22 Bahman.

According to Ebrahimi, the city of Mashad’s share is 2000 Basijis, which according to the head of Mashad’s Basij force, is not likely to be organized.

Additionally, the transferred Basij forces to Tehran have been instructed to form a human chain along Azadi and Imam Hossein squares to prevent protesters from gathering.



Human Rights Reporters

According to reports received from Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran, more than two thousand people, comprising of prisoners’ families, Mourning Mothers, and supporters have gathered outside Evin prison tonight. The crowd is asking for an end to executions.

*Photo from Archive

On Saturday January 30, 2010, a big crowd that included recently freed prisoners joined the families of prisoners to voice outrage at executions of two political prisoners and rumors of more hangings to follow. The demonstrators demanded not only an end to executions but also the unconditional release of all political prisoners. The crowd was so big that from the bottom of the hill to the main gate of Evin was packed with people.

By 9:00 pm, there were more than 2000 people gathered at the main gate of Evin prison. They plan to continue their demonstration there until midnight. The Mourning Mothers who usually gather every Saturday at Laleh Park decided to take their protest to the very gates of the notorious Evin prison. The prisoners among the crowd spoke of mistreatment in the prison and said they will not rest until those inside Evin walls are freed.

The families of prisoners were told that tonight twenty-three of the detained will be freed. At the time of the posting of this note a few have been released. One of the freed was a 23 year old woman. The woman expressed her thanks to the gathered crowd and knelt down and kissed the ground. This made the crowd cheer.

Many of those being released seemed upbeat and had wide smiles on their faces when leaving the morbid gates of Evin. Each released prisoner was met with cheers and ovation by the crowd. The prison guards were taken aback by the presence of so many and threatened to stop releasing prisoners if the crowd did not stop their cheering!

We will keep you updated on further developments.

Human Rights and Democracy Activist in Iran
Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR)- On the afternoon of January 26, 2010 around 6:30pm, the young prisoners of Rajai Shahr prison were reportedly transferred to the prison yard where they were beaten with batons.

The incident was reportedly ordered by Amir Aghaei, the deputy head of the prison. There is no information on the degree of injuries caused to the prisoners.

According to article 169 of the executive regulations of the Prisons Organization, and the safeguarding and training measures approved in 2005, irritability, verbal and physical abuse, and punishment of the accused, are prohibited in institutions and prisons.

In recent years, abuse and torture to obtain confessions, has been a regular method [used by regime agents] in Iran’s prisons
According to JARAS, an [Iranian] citizen was accused of spreading news about the “Green Movement” at his workplace.

A blogger was also accused of using SMS to invite friends to participate in a controversial TV poll in the ‘90th Minute’ TV program.

Reports indicate that the interrogations are targeting bloggers and the staff of Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi.
According to a student from K.N. Toosi University of Technology (KNTU is a public university in Tehran, Iran), student activist Siavash Haghighi has been expelled.

Haghighi was expelled on Tuesday January 26, 2010 after being called to the university’s disciplinary committee.

Editor’s note: There has been a growing wave of expulsion of student activists and professors in recent months.

HRANA- Abdollah Sadoughi, a civil rights activist in Azerbaijan was arrested on January 18, 2010 by the Tabriz intelligence agents.

According to reports from Savalan Sesi (a southern Azerbaijani human rights news website), the intelligence agents harassed and arrested Sadoughi and his brother Hossein Sadoughi in the Nesfeh Rah District of Tabriz. Hossein Sadoughi was released within a few hours. His brother was detained for eleven days.

Abdollah Sadoughi has been accused of printing and distributing anti-regime propaganda posters related to the Tractor Sazi football (soccer) team. His file is in the hands of judge Hashemzadeh, from division 4 of the public prosecutor’s office at the Tabriz Revolutionary Court.

Prior to Sadoughi’s arrest, Negar Printing House was closed by government officials for its involvement in printing the posters. Mohammad Alimoradi, Davood Shiri, and several others were also arrested.

Additionally, all the necessary permissions for printing the posters had already been issued by the authorizing officials.

In recent months, Tractor Sazi football matches have become a platform for Iranian Azeris to protest for greater autonomy as ethnic minorities.

Iranian opposition websites and blogs are reporting that a second Iranian diplomat has resigned to protest the postelection crackdown.The diplomat, whose name is said to be Abolfazl Eslami, is reportedly the former counselor of Iran’s embassy in Tokyo.Iranian opposition websites have reported that Eslami has said in a letter that “he’s disgusted by the violence against the people” and is thus resigning.Eslami has reportedly called on other Iranian diplomats to join him in light of state repression in Iran.RFE/RL has not been able to confirm the report.Earlier this month, Mohammad Reza Heydari, former Iranian consul in Oslo, resigned from his post to protest Tehran’s crackdown on pro-reform demonstrators and to show his solidarity with the goals of the opposition Green Movement.Heydari, who is seeking political asylum in Norway, told RFE/RL’s Radio Farda that he is planning to launch a campaign, “Green embassies,” to call on Iranian diplomats to join the Green Movement. Heydari said he’s already contacted a number of diplomats inside and ...
On the eve of the 40th day after the passing of Ayatollah Montazeri and February 11 (anniversary of Iranian Revolution which overthrew the Shah), there have been waves of summonses to the intelligence agency in Najaf Abad and about 200 to 300 people in this town have been summoned to the intelligence agency in a week.
Those who have been summoned include religious personalities and young people who were active in Ayatollah Montazeri's ceremony. After being summoned, interrogated and subjected to pressure, they are forced to promise not to participate or do anything suspicious in the February 11 ceremony and are told to 'be cautious of what they do'. These interrogations have taken anywhere between 2 hours to one full day and have included prominent clerics and high school students as well
Nasrin Sotoudeh, Arash Rahmanipour's lawyer: I was not allowed to attend the trials for Arash Rahmanipour in the 15th branch of the Revolutionary Court and even in one session which was a show trial and my client was shown on television they banned me from coming and I was threatened with arrest when I objected…
In that same court session in which I was banned from, they asked Arash's father to persuade him to do what the agents wanted him to and when his father resisted, they threatened him on the spot that they would arrest him and take him to prison. You have to consider that before this when Arash was arrested, his pregnant sister was also arrested with him and two months after his sister was released, she lost her baby because of the pressure she was subjected to… (BBC TV (Farsi service) – Jan. 18, 2010)

Committee of Human Rights Reporters Statement on Recent Allegations


The civil society’s endurance depends on acceptance and realization of modern norms and principles. When a ruling establishment with an outdated legal system tries to impose itself politically and ideologically on a modern society, the result will be widespread and pervasive protests. Human rights— as listed in [ UN] the Universal Declaration of Human Rights`s charters and other protocols —is one of the most important achievements of modern human history, and it is the most globally accepted legal norm. Iranians are inclined to demand the full implementation of the charter [of Human Rights Declaration] in their society.


In recent years, in order to protect and implement this global document, various grassroots organizations have formed. By promoting human rights, the organizations try to help create an Iran where peace, freedom, equality, and dignity prevail.


The Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR) is one of the organizations that has requested, with an emphasis on belief and commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the implementation of the Declaration in all aspects of the Iranian people’s lives. As it has been repeatedly stressed, the Committee is independent and does not belong to any political party or branch. The Committee has no political mandate. The Committee`s activities, which started in 2005, involve presenting reports and providing information on all the people whose human rights have been infringed or violated. These people involve women, children, prisoners, workers, etc. The Committee has also tired to prevent the systematic and perpetual violation of human rights by spreading public awareness, seeking assistance from domestic and international institutions to draw the government`s attention to the violation of their citizens`basic rights.


It is unfortunate that the ruling establishment that considers itself committed to international conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has refused to honour many of its commitments. Instead, the ruling establishment has opted for a legal system that is, in many aspects, a clear and direct contrast to human rights ethics. The lack of commitment by the government has resulted in increased pressures and restrictions for human rights activists.
With the influence from other (human rights) institutions, CHRR has adopted a variety of human rights methods. Even though the UN General Assembly resolution of 1998 (Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) was used by CHRR, especially articles 10,11, and 18 that grant the right to promote human rights, human rights establishments have been deemed propagators against the (Iranian) regime.


Human rights activists in Iran are under pressure and torture in Iranian prisons. The government has begun to irresponsibly label human rights organizations as having connection to political opposition groups. The allegations provide the government with false justifications for the violent crackdowns and executions of people under the pretext that they are Mohareb (enemy of God).


In the particular case of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, the Ministry of Intelligence, despite full knowledge of the complete independence of CHRR from all political groups, whether domestic or foreign, is trying to falsely link the Committee to political organizations. The claims that the Committee is linked to Mujahedin Khalgh Organization (MKO) is considered nothing but an attempt by Intelligence experts to eliminate a reputable group that has been active in the field of human rights from its conception.


For CHRR and all human rights activists, defending the human rights of every individual, regardless of their political orientation, religion, and ethnic background, is the most important principle. We candidly declare that in addition to the activities in human rights fields including women, children, workers, religious, ethnic, and sexual minorities rights, we will be defending the rights of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscious.


The deplorable claim by the Ministry of Intelligence is a caution to all human rights activists not to easily brush off their pathetic game. The Ministry of Intelligence’s treatment of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters has not been the first of its kind, and it will not be the last. The fallacy of linking independent human rights activities to political organizations, and accusing human rights activists of Moharebeh without any evidence has to end before it progresses any further.


While re-emphasizing our independence, we expect solidarity and protests against such oppressive acts from all national and international human rights organization. We reserve our rights to take our grievances against the Islamic Republic Ministry of Intelligence to international tribunals and organizations.
University of Tehran students are preparing for the anti-regime demonstrations on 22 Bahman (February 11, 2010).
Iran News Agency- Students from various departments are inviting others to join in on protests by spray painting slogans on the university walls.
The graffiti is visible everywhere from classrooms to the corridors. The slogans mainly express the students’ condemnation of the government’s murderous actions.
The students also made it clear that they are ready for 22 Bahman protests.
Editor’s note: 22 Bahman commemorates the anniversary of the Islamic Republic. Since the June 2009 presidential election uprising, government oppositions have used such occasions to voice their discontent. Major anti-government demonstrations are expected to take place on 22 Bahman
University of Tehran students are preparing for the anti-regime demonstrations on 22 Bahman (February 11, 2010).
Iran News Agency- Students from various departments are inviting others to join in on protests by spray painting slogans on the university walls.
The graffiti is visible everywhere from classrooms to the corridors. The slogans mainly express the students’ condemnation of the government’s murderous actions.
The students also made it clear that they are ready for 22 Bahman protests.
Editor’s note: 22 Bahman commemorates the anniversary of the Islamic Republic. Since the June 2009 presidential election uprising, government oppositions have used such occasions to voice their discontent. Major anti-government demonstrations are expected to take place on 22 Bahman
Arash Rahmanipour and Mohammad Ali Zamani were executed today. They were accused of disturbing the public, even though they were arrested before the 2009 Iran election. Rahmanipour was 17 years old at the time he was convicted of his “crimes.”

Both young men were accused of Moharebeh (waging war against God), trying to overthrow the regime, and working with the Monarchist and Mojahedin organizations.
In the post-election mock trials, they both confessed to organizing protests, even though they were detained during the time of the protests [therefore it is not possible that they were involved in organizing a protest].

After their confessions were aired by state television, many commentaries were published on Iranian websites. One of the commentaries was from an individual who had shared a cell with Mohammad Ali Zamani. This individual wrote on Norooz website that Mohammad knew nothing about the events taking place outside the prison. He was asking others about the election and post-election unrest.

For days leading up to the mock trial, Ali Zamani was routinely taken out of his cell at 9:00am to prepare for his court confession. He was returned to his cell in the evenings. Ali Zamani had hoped to be released after the mock trial.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, Arash Rahmanipour’s lawyer confirms the commentary published on Norooz website. In her interview with Deutsche Welle, she adds, “Rahmanipour told me he had been under pressure and was promised to receive only 10 years of detention instead of execution if he confessed to the acts not committed by him. But this did not happen.”
According to Nasrin Sotoudeh, the Intelligence Service had demanded from Arash´s father to force his own son to confess, otherwise they would arrest him too.
Even Nasrin Sotoudeh was threatened. “During the interrogation and the court, they did not let me attend. Once, as I insisted to attend the court to defend my client, they threated to arrest me too. They even took away my license,” she explains.

The Arrest before elections
According to Nasrin Sotoudeh, Arash Rahmanipour was arrested at his home, together with his sister. His sister was pregnant when they arrested her. She lost the child after her release.
The sister’s medical documents were sent to court.
Nasrin Sotoudeh adds, “Contrary to the Revolutionary Court’s claim, my client was arrested from his home. My client was 19 years old when he was arrested. Arash is another victim of child executions since many of the accusations against him were regarding incidents that occurred when he was 16 or 17 years old.”

Hidden Execution
The Files of Arash Rahmanipour and Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani were sent to the High Court for revision. Nasrin Sotoudeh was informed about this. But the lawyers and the families of the two young men were only informed today (Thursday January 28, 2010) of the executions through news in the media.
Nasrin Sotoudeh is now worried about more executions. “ I am worried now about the possible execution of my other two clients, Mr. Ayyoub Porkar and Reza Khademi.”
Jaras -Two Masters students of the University of Tehran were arrested recently by security forces.
According to a JARAS report, Mehdi Tajik was arrested 10 days ago and Jahangir Abdolahi was arrested last Tuesday. The reason for the arrests is unknown.
Jahangir Abdolahi was arrested on his way home from school.
Translation by: Banoo Sabz
The European Union's foreign affairs chief on Friday condemned the executions by Iran of two dissidents convicted in connection with protests over the disputed presidential poll in June.Mohammed Reza Alizamani and Arash Rahmani were hanged on Thursday, having been sentenced to death in mass trials, convicted of being enemies of God and charged with plotting to topple the Islamic regime."The European Union strongly condemns these two executions and expresses its profound concern at the death sentences imposed on persons tried in these mass trials," High Representative Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

The EU "opposes the death penalty, whatever the circumstances," she added. "It calls on the Iranian authorities to suspend the sentences passed and to declare a moratorium on all forms of capital punishment."The hangings drew strong condemnation on Thursday from the United States, Britain and Amnesty International.

The authorities in Iran arrested an estimated 4,000 people including journalists and reformist politicians in a massive crackdown in the weeks following the presidential election.According to officials, 36 people were killed during the riots last June, but the opposition puts the toll at 72. Fresh unrest a month ago resulted in eight deaths and hundreds more people wounded across Iran.The latest hangings bring to at least 12 the number of people executed in Iran so far in 2010. Last year at least 270 people were hanged.
28 January 2010
Amnesty International has condemned the execution of two men arrested during protests that followed Iran's disputed presidential election last year. Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour were hanged on Thursday after being convicted in unfair trials of “enmity against God” and being members of Anjoman-e Padeshahi-e Iran (API), a banned group which advocates the restoration of an Iranian monarchy. They are the first executions known to be related to the post-election violence that erupted across Iran in June and has continued since.

"These shocking executions show that the Iranian authorities will stop at nothing to stamp out the peaceful protests that persist since the election," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director. "These men were first unfairly convicted and now they have been unjustly killed – it is not even clear they had links to this group as their 'confessions' appear to have been made under duress." According to the Iranian authorities, at least nine other people are currently on death row in Iran after being sentenced to death in similar post-election 'show trials'.

"Our fear is that these executions are just the beginning of a wave of executions of those tried on similar vaguely worded charges," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui. Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour were convicted of “enmity against God” by Tehran's Revolutionary Court in October. They were also convicted of "propaganda against the system", "insulting the holy sanctities" and "gathering and colluding with intent to harm national internal security".

Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani was accused of illegally visiting Iraq where he was alleged to have met US military officials. Arash Rahmanipour's lawyer says he played no role in the election protests and was forced to confess in a “show trial” after members of his family were threatened. The two men's lawyers were not informed of their clients' executions, as is required by Iranian law. "These executions highlight how the justice system is used as an instrument of repression by the authorities. They are sending a warning to those who may wish to exercise their right to peacefully demonstrate against the government, not to go out in the street,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui. Further anti-government demonstrations are widely expected to take place on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on 11 February.

According to Iranian officials, over 40 people have died in demonstrations since the election, which were violently repressed by the security forces. Amnesty International believes the number to be much higher. More than 5,000 people have been arrested, many of whom were tortured or otherwise ill-treated. Scores have been sentenced to prison terms, and in some cases flogging, after unfair trials, and at least 11 have been sentenced to death. One man – Hamed Rouhinejad - has had his death sentence commuted on appeal in January 2010.

(AFP)


Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he was "appalled" by the reported hanging of two men in Iran convicted of being Mohareb (enemies of God), the first executions of dissidents since post-election protests.
"I am appalled by reports that Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmani Pour were hanged this morning in Iran," said Miliband.
"The trials and now these subsequent executions undermine Iran's claimed commitment to justice, human rights and democratic values."
Their executions were the first reported hangings of people tried after the wave of protests that broke out following the disputed June 12 re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Miliband praised the determination of protesters, saying they showed "the strength of desire for democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms amongst ordinary Iranians."
"These latest executions appear to be politically motivated and yet another attempt by the regime to silence dissent," he said.
"I call on the Iranian Government to meet the human rights obligations to which it is committed."
As well as convictions for being enemies of God, the pair were also charged with plotting to topple the Islamic regime, ISNA news agency said, quoting the Tehran prosecutor's office.
The White House on Thursday condemned Iran for hanging two political dissidents convicted of trying to topple "the Islamic establishment" following the disputed Iranian presidential election last year. "We see it as a low point in the Islamic Republic's unjust and ruthless crackdown of peaceful dissent," Bill Burton, deputy press secretary for the White House, told reporters.

"Murdering political prisoners who are exercising their universal rights will not bring the respect and legitimacy the Islamic Republic seeks," he continued. "It will only serve to further isolate Iran's government in the world and from its people."

From Iranian regime State owned Press TV


A senior Iranian cleric and official on Friday warned that inaction about the rioters who gave raise to the unrest that followed the June presidential election would have severe consequences for the country. Tehran's Interim Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, who heads the Guardian Council, urged Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani to firmly deal with “rioters of the recent unrest and in particular the Ashura desecrators.” "The same way you quickly executed the two Moharebs (those who have waged war on God), stand your ground and take action about the rest of them (rioters)," the Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Ayatollah Jannati as telling Ayatollah Larijani. "If rioters are not dealt with firmly and strongly," the cleric said, "the situation will become more serious in the future." The anti-government protests on December 27 coincided with Ashura mourning ceremonies, when protesters damaged public property, set fire to trashcans, and clashed with security forces who attempted to restore order. Judiciary officials said Thursday they were studying the appeals of nine rioters who have been handed the death penalty over their involvement in plots against the Islamic Republic following the June presidential election. The nine will be executed if the Court of Appeal upholds the sentences. They have been found guilty of the charges of being a Mohareb, attempting to topple the Islamic establishment, and their membership in the terrorist group Mujahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO).
By REUTERS

The United States Senate approved legislation on Thursday that would let President Obama impose sanctions on Iran’s gasoline suppliers and penalize some of Tehran’s elites, a move aimed at pressing Tehran to give up its nuclear program. The sanctions would include the denial of loans and other assistance from American financial institutions to companies that export gasoline to Iran or help expand its oil-refining capacity. The penalties would extend to companies that build oil and gas pipelines in Iran and provide tankers to move Iran’s petroleum. The measure prohibits the United States government from buying goods from foreign companies that do business in Iran’s energy sector. The House has passed similar legislation, and the houses will work out the differences between the bills. Washington fears that Iran’s uranium enrichment program will be used to develop weapons, while Tehran says it is for peaceful purposes like generating electricity.
At 20:00 local time on Thursday, January 28, 2010, a large number of pilgrims gathered inside and outside the Massoumeh shrine in the holy city of Qom and held protests with chants of “death to dictator” on the fortieth day after the death of Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri. The protests came amid the hanging of two political prisoners by the regime and the sentencing of 11 more on charges of “moharebeh” (waging war against God).
This took place despite the hightening of supression and death threats by Government institutions such as the Courts , to focus the death penalty for protesters.

An other sign that people are focusing on the 11 February protests to come

(AFP) — Foreign Secretary David Milliband said Thursday it was "appalled" by the reported hanging of two men in Iran convicted of being Mohareb (enemies of God), the first executions of dissidents since post-election protests.
"I am appalled by reports that Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmani Pour were hanged this morning in Iran," said Miliband.
"The trials and now these subsequent executions undermine Iran's claimed commitment to justice, human rights and democratic values."
Their executions were the first reported hangings of people tried after the wave of protests that broke out following the disputed June 12 re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Miliband praised the determination of protesters, saying they showed "the strength of desire for democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms amongst ordinary Iranians."
"These latest executions appear to be politically motivated and yet another attempt by the regime to silence dissent," he said.
"I call on the Iranian Government to meet the human rights obligations to which it is committed."

Council of Europe :Iran Declaration supports democratic change in Iran



Thursday, 28 January 2010


NCRI- In Thursday's session of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe, a written Declaration on Iran calling for an end to suppression of people’s uprising by the clerical regime and support for democratic change in Iran was announced.
The Iran Declaration has been signed by over 120 members of the assembly so far. They are from 47 nations in Europe and Central Asia and among the signatories are 12 heads of delegations and five Vice-presidents of the assembly.
Text of the declaration follows:



Millions of Iranians are demanding freedom and democracy. Suppressive forces
have killed, injured or arrested thousands and are prosecuting some as “Mohareb”
(waging war on God). Officials reiterate that since the organised and legitimate
opposition People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran [PMOI/MEK] still exists, any
support for or relations with it is an act of “Moharebeh” and punishable by
execution under Islamic penal law. In order to stop the uprising, the regime
wants Iraqi forces to eliminate its 3 400 opponents in Camp Ashraf. The attack
last July left 11 killed and 500 injured. None the less, the uprising continues
with chants of “Down with Khamenei” and “Down with the principle of absolute
clerical rule” the goal being to change the entire regime.
We support
opposition leader Mrs Maryam Rajavi’s “third option” for democratic change by
the people and resistance and urge the United Nations Security Council, the
Council of Europe and the European Union to take urgent action for the release
of political prisoners and prevent the suppression of the uprising. Continued
relations with Iran must be based on complete improvement of human rights. The
United Nations must protect Ashraf residents, and US forces must guarantee they
would not face violence or forcible displacement in Iraq.


ARTS;


Open Shutter exhibits the resolve of Iranian women


Raheleh Zomorodinia hangs her work in the Open Shutter Gallery for “Iranian Impressions,” which opened last Thursday night. The exhibit features Zomorodinia and photographer Maryam Amouzegar and offers a compelling look at the life of Iranian women./Photo by Stephen Eginoire

by Stew Mosberg

These days anything with Iran in its title is sure to elicit an emotional response. Open Shutter’s new photo exhibit “Iranian Impressions” is no exception.
Iranian photographers Raheleh Zomorodinia and Maryam Amouzegar are the two female artists featured in this show, and once again, the gallery has provided Durango a unique opportunity to experience a poignant display. The show brims with thought-provoking images and a not-so-subtle, compelling commentary on life as an Iranian woman.
The range of photographs gracing the walls at Open Shutter run the gamut from politically motivated to straightforward documentation and clear statements on women’s oppression. Many of Zomorodinia’s expressionistic photos are metaphorical and Zomorodinia, a widely respected and frequently exhibited photographer in her homeland, has shown in Iraq, Canada, Italy, England and the United States. She has worked as a photo journalist for women’s and sports publications for the past 15 years, including Sports Illustrated, the BBC and Sigma, and is also a graphic designer might appear labored, yet others are editorial and journalistic. For the viewer, they are all arresting and, in some cases, disturbing.
In her artist’s statement, Zomorodinia addresses her interest in the organic environment by explaining, “When I’m out there in nature, I feel birth, life and death, which are reflected inseparably in my final creation.”
One series of images integrates carefully carved square frames in the sand and snow; clear evidence of human intervention, but beyond that, their meaning is obscure. That same obfuscation occurs in Zomorodinia’s staged photos of fully wrapped, mummy-like figures positioned in and outdoors. They, too, are fascinating and disconcerting allegories.
The diversity of work in this exhibition could easily be from more than two photographers, and it is worth seeing just to appreciate the range. Visitors to the gallery could easily come away with a few of the images etched in their mind and will likely ponder the significance long after stepping back onto Main Avenue.
Sharing the exhibit space with Zomorodinia is Maryam Amouzegar, who has worked closely with women’s sports teams in and outside of Iran.
Iranian women have overcome many obstacles to get where they are today, and Amouzegar has dedicated her professional career to the enhancement of women’s sports in Iran.




She has organized three international exhibitions to demonstrate the resolve and talent of Iranian women in diverse sporting events and hopes that such exhibits will advance Iranian women’s athletics around the globe.
The most telling aspect of the sports images in this show is the clothing the Iranian athletes wear. In spite of the encumbrance, the women overcome the obstacles and successfully compete and do win medals. Such achievements have given Iranian women higher social standing today. One of those pictures, Amouzegar’s in-your-face image of an Iranian woman sighting down the barrel of a target rifle, is chilling and reflects more than the sporting event it chronicles.
There are more than a few quixotic images among the small-format, unframed photos. One of Zomordinia’s photos depicts a woman clad in white, standing near the surf and being doused with what could be blood. The image simultaneously invites and repels the viewer. A companion image portrays a woman being drenched with water and cloaked in what appears to be a foliage shroud. This, too, is provocative, but begs for further explanation. Accompanying a few of the works are poems offering a glimpse into the images’ meaning and the artists’ intent. The photos in this exhibit are so much alike in subject and presentation it is hard to determine, without looking at their descriptions, whether they were done by Amouzegar or Zomorodinia.
In marked contrast to the archery, shooting, soccer and track events are macro-shots of organic subject matter. A close-up of an embellished leaf, for example, struggles for the viewer’s attention when seen alongside the easily comprehended prints of fully clothed competitors. Amouzegar and Zomorodinia make for an interesting pairing, and it is reason enough for showing the two photographers side-by-side.
Regarding the body of work and subject matter, some might wonder if Durango is the best place for such an exhibit. By way of explanation, Open Shutter associate Brandon Donahue said, “I think that Durango is a very politically and culturally evolved town. The people here are excited to be exposed to new cultures and ideas, and I think the show is very much in that same spirit.”
In spite of adverse weather conditions, a great many people have taken in the newly opened exhibit. Donahue noted, “Everybody that has made it in to see the show has seemed to enjoy it. They have lots of questions, and that’s what has been so interesting – learning something new about a country and culture that most people don’t know a whole lot about.”
Zomorodinia presented a lecture to a standing-room only crowd at the Open Shutter on Saturday evening, and prior to the gathering reiterated her motive for choosing photography as a medium. “After many years taking photos I have chosen (photography) to express my views and ideas,” she said. “For me, traveling is unavoidable, and that’s where I get most of my subjects including nature. Being in different places has helped me create many different works, and the importance of the location can be seen in them.”
Such exhibitions of international artists are genuine gifts to the community that Open Shutter Gallery provides on a regular basis. Like its predecessors, “Iranian Impressions” delivers the goods. •

The Canadian Free Press


Amil Imani Thursday, January 28, 2010
Rape in prison is a cruel invasion of the helpless victim. In addition to its physical torment and transmission of sexual diseases, rape reduces the victim to a subhuman status—an object for the use of others to be discarded when no longer desired. Most civilized countries sternly guard against rapes and sexual assaults in prison, although with less than complete success.
Under the barbaric rule of the Mullahcracy in Iran, sexual assaults have become instruments of policy for extracting false confessions, satisfying the boundless sadisms and sexual perversities of the jailers, punishing the helpless victim and leaving him with the sense of dehumanization.This shockingly repugnant form of violating the human person, regrettably, has become widespread in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s prisons particularly in dealing with the young men and women arrested for the “crime” of peacefully demonstrating in the streets to demand accountability from the government for a raft of violations it has committed and continues to commit.
For the past 32-years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been denying and violating a long-suffering people of all its human rights. They are guilty of beating, torturing, raping, and killing of prisoners of conscience—political, religious, intellectuals, artists and others.
Women, chronically oppressed and disenfranchised from their basic human and family rights, have been the ones who have been most viciously treated by the Islamic system and its hired plain clothes and the Basij members. To maintain its suffocating rule, the regime metes out punishments reminiscent of the worst in the annals of human history.
Amputation of hands and feet, blinding of eyes, hanging, and stoning the victim after the quick formality of a trial in kangaroo courts without legal representation is common-place under the terror rule of the Islamists.
The Islamic Republic has been violating all norms of international human rights including: very harsh penalties for even “victimless crimes” such as fornication, beatings of Iranian citizens for expressing their views in public places, homosexuality, apostasy, and poor hijab (covering of the women).
The record of infamy of the Islamic Republic is replete with instances of child execution, restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, imprisonment of journalists, discrimination against women in general, persecution of religious minorities with a particular systematic program of genocide against the Baha’is and the “Persecution of Bahá’ís” Baha’i religion. The regime has ruled over a peaceful people with an iron fist while committing the most heinous crimes against humanity.
After enduring more than three decades of the Islamic regime, the great majority of the Iranian people decided to cast their ballots in the hope of affecting change in the system. The Islamic government completely accustomed to doing whatever it wished and ignoring the people, stole the election and declared the incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the winner.
The blatant violation of this basic right to vote and choose the official infuriated the long-suffering masses who poured into the streets by the millions, demanding their votes be honored. The response of the regime was beating the demonstrators, arresting many and subjecting a great number to a raft of harsh treatments in prisons.
In a letter addressed to Mr. Rafsanjani in his capacity as head of the Assembly of Experts, Mr. Karroubi, a former speaker of the Majlis (Parliament), demanded an immediate investigation into the reports that a number of detainees had been raped during the illegal incarceration.
Mr. Karroubi wrote, “Some of those arrested [as a result] of the unrest claim that detained girls have been sexually assaulted with… brutality.”“The young men in detention were also sexually assaulted in such a way that some are now suffering from depression and other physical and psychological problems, and are incapable of even leaving their homes,” he added. “A number of detainees have stated that some female detainees were so severely raped that their genitals were damaged. Others savagely raped young boys so that they suffer from all sorts of depression and serious physical and mental damage,” Karroubi said in a letter.
Human Rights Watch also has documented cases of sexual assault in the Islamic republic prisons on individuals arrested since the fraudulent June 12, 2009 presidential election. In the most recent case, the medical examiner’s office confirmed the injuries suffered in prison by Ebrahim Mehtari, a young activist, resulted from torture and mistreatment consistent with his allegations of sexual abuse. But the Islamic Republic Judiciary authorities refused to conduct further inquiries and instead threatened Mehtari and his family with severe repercussions if they ever open their mouths regarding the sexual abuse.
Mr. Mehtari is living outside of Iran now. After his departure from Iran, the regime’s security forces raided his family’s house several times and threatened his family members with punishments if their son ever talked about the abuses he has received.
Another young activist, 24-year old Ebrahim Sharifi, a very brave young man who was arrested on June 23, after the fraudulent presidential elections in Iran. He told the Human Rights Watch group that he had been raped in detention while he was handcuffed, blindfolded and his feet were tied, and that he had attempted suicide several times after his release. He said that judiciary officials had refused to accept his complaint and told him that if he spoke out about his case his family would be in danger.
The third case involved is Maryam Sabri, a beautiful 21-year old girl, who was arrested on July 30th during the commemoration of the 40th day after the killing of Neda Agha Sultan- whose shooting death during a demonstration shocked the entire world. Sabri was arrested after her photo appeared on a website connected to the IRGC that posted photos of protesters and asked people to identify the people in the pictures so that they could be arrested. Before she was released on August 12, Sabri says, she was raped four times by the jailers.
“On August 9, in a letter published in the Etemad Melli paper, the reformist presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi wrote that some detained individuals stated that some authorities have raped detained women with such force, they have sustained injuries and tears in to their reproductive system.”
In another high profile case, a very pretty 19-year old “Taraneh ” Taraneh was not shot with a single bullet to her chest as was the case with HYPERLINK “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPo9fp_98Ik&feature=related” \o “Neda Soltani.“Neda Agha Sultan There were no bystanders in the dungeon with a cell phone to capture the prolonged torture, rape, and sodomy of this teen-ager.
According to “reports” reports, as well as testimony on the House floor from the honorable “U.S. Congressman McCotter” U.S. Congressman McCotter, on June 28, 2009, Taraneh Mousavi, a young Iranian woman, was literally scooped off the streets without any provocation on her part and with no arrest warrant. This young woman was taken to one of the regime’s torture chambers where she was repeatedly brutalized, raped, and sodomized by Ahmadinejad’s agents and with the consent of the “supreme leader” Ali Khamenei.


Near death from repeated beating, raping and sodomizing, the fragile young woman, bleeding profusely from her rectum and womb, was transferred to a hospital in Karaj near Tehran. Eventually, an anonymous person notified Taraneh’s family that she had had an “accident” and had been to be taken to the hospital.


The devastated family rushed to the hospital only to find no trace of their beloved daughter because the foot-soldiers of Allah’s “divine representative” Ali Khamenei decided to eliminate all traces of their savagery. These vile people decided to remove the dying woman from the hospital before the family’s arrival, burned her beyond recognition and dumped her charred remains on the side of the road.

Like Neda, another young woman whose chest was “ripped by the bullet” ripped by the bullet of a murdering Basij member as she peacefully walked along with a throng of peaceful demonstrators, Taraneh’s tragedy gives a glimpse of the true face of Islamic fascism and its brutality.
The Taranehs and Nedas of Iran shall remain as eternal testaments to the depravity of the 7th century primitive system and the horrors it has visited on innocent people. And these young victims of the IRI tyranny are by no means isolated cases. Tragically, women as a gender bear the brunt of Islamic misogyny. Women are systematically exploited, maltreated and disenfranchised from their God-given rights.
A regime that subjects its own people to boundless viciousness is showing the world its willingness to commit any crime to intimidate others and to undertake any action that would keep it in power. The Islamic Republic of Iran represents devastation and death if not immediately disempowered by all people and nations that value the Universal Human Rights for all. It is timely to bring to mind the warning of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. The Islamic Republic of Iran is indeed a miscarriage of justice, a cruel repressive rule, and an imminent threat not only to Iranians but to the world at large.
The lawyer of Jahanbakhsh Khanjani said that his client was sentenced to six years of prison by the 15th branch of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. "According to the sentence issued by the 15th branch of the Revolutionary Court, Jahanbakhsh Khanjani was sentenced to one year of prison for spreading propaganda against the government and five years of prison for gathering and conspiring to act against national security", Seyed Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabayi said
Massoud Bastani, a journalist who was transferred to the Rajayi Shahr (Gohardasht) Prison is kept with five professional killers in one cell. This is while one his cellmates has committed three murders.
According to reports which have been confirmed by his wife Mahsa Amrabadi, he announced his transfer in a telephone call from prison.
"They showed Massoud a verdict which was an order from Mr. Salavati for his transfer to Rajayi Shahr because he was teaching prisoners of ward 350 in Evin Prison journalism. This is while Massoud did not teach anyone journalism and we vehemently deny this", his wife said. Massoud Bastani, journalist and political activist was sentenced to six years of prison without the presence of his lawyer in a court of first instance.
Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran

On Tuesday January 26, from about 5pm prison guards stormed the cells in juvenile hall number 12. These forces made a human tunnel and forced prisoners to pass through while beating them in the face and head with batons from both sides. Sixteen prisoners who sustained injuries in their faces and heads were taken to the prison medical clinic. Some of the young men who were injured were Mojtaba Asadi, Reza Mehraban, Behzad Cheraghi, Manouchehr Baba Khani, Mohammad-Reza Garshasi and Mehdi Mohammad Javanmardi. The beatings lasted for 2 hours.
The young men in hall 12 in ward 4 of Gohardasht Prison went on a hunger strike from last night in protest to the attacks and beatings and refuse to take the prison food. They have announced that they will continue their hunger strike until the attacks are stopped.
In the past two weeks, prison guards have attacked juvenile cells 9 times. These attacks are usually between 12 to 1 am. Prison guards take the prisoners in the severe cold and sometime under the rain to the prison yard and order them to take their clothes off. They then violently beat them for prolonged periods.
These guards have also confiscated the television set that these young men bought with their own money from the prison store and also some of their other personal belongings. These attacks are carried out under the supervision of Kermani and Faraji the deputy heads of intelligence under the orders of intelligence agency interrogators and Ali Haj Kazem, the head of Gohardasht Prison
According to reports, on Sunday January 24 at about 2 pm, agents of the Ministry of Intelligence in Rasht stormed political prisoner Hadi Abed Bakhoda's house and searched his home. They subsequently interrogated his wife for several hours which led to her hospitalization.

In this attack, three agents of the Ministry of Intelligence participated. They violently searched their home and broke some of their personal items, while confiscating their satellite receiver, and educational CDs that belonged to their children. These agents then verbally summoned Mehri Javan Mahjoub Doust, Abed Bakhoda's wife to the intelligence agency in Rasht.

On Monday January 25, Mrs. Mahjoub Doust went to the Intelligence Agency and was interrogated for close to 5 hours. The interrogation was about her interviews with international foreign media, the dangerous physical state of her husband in prison and other issues. Two interrogators were present in her interrogation. One of the interrogators threatened Mrs. Mahjoub Doust saying 'Aren't you worried about your children and yourself?'

They threatened her children to death in these interrogations. Mrs. Mahjoub Doust had a heart attack as a result of the agents' threats and violent behavior and the interrogators were forced to take her to the hospital. She was hospitalized for a few hours.

The Rasht prosecutor and Ministry of Intelligence have blocked the financial means of this family and they are in a very bad financial state. This is while this family has to pay for the medical treatment for Abed Bakhoda in prison. Whoever intends to give financial support to them is threatened by intelligence agents and they have even told Mrs. Mahjoub that financial help she receives has to be transferred to the bank account of the Revolutionary Court.

On the other hand, the physical condition of political prisoner Hadi Abed Bakhoda who has spinal cord damage is deteriorating and he cannot move on his own or attend to his personal work. Several of his organs have lost their natural function and he has to be hospitalized in hospital.

Despite this, he is still imprisoned and (officials) refuse to release him. The head of the prison, the prison doctor and the judge seeing to his case have accepted that he go on a medical leave but intelligence interrogators in Rasht refuse to let him go. Bakhoda was sentenced to two years of prison by the 2nd branch of the Revolutionary Court and was arrested on November 8 and taken to Rasht Prison. He was imprisoned and tortured in the 80's for supporting the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran. Regime forces shot him upon his arrest (in the 80's) which resulted in his spinal cord damage. He cannot walk and his bladder, kidneys and digestive system have been severely damaged. His brother Hormoz Abed Bakhoda was executed in the 80's for supporting the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran
AFP - Jan 27, 2010

Iran publicly hanged on Wednesday a man convicted of murdering a top judiciary official in the central city of Isfahan, Fars news agency reported.The man identified as Jamshid Hadian, 59, was executed in front of Isfahan court house for shooting to death last year the deputy prosecutor of the city, the report said
AFP - Jan 27, 2010

Iran publicly hanged on Wednesday a man convicted of murdering a top judiciary official in the central city of Isfahan, Fars news agency reported.The man identified as Jamshid Hadian, 59, was executed in front of Isfahan court house for shooting to death last year the deputy prosecutor of the city, the report said

From AFP

TEHRAN — Iran hanged two men on Thursday who had been detained during post-election protests and convicted of being Mohareb (enemies of God) and members of a monarchist group, the ISNA news agency reported.
They are the first hangings reported of people detained during the wave of protests that followed hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed June 12 re-election.
"Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmani Pour whose cases were confirmed by a Tehran appeals court were hanged on Thursday morning," ISNA said quoting a statement from the Tehran prosecutor's office.
The pair were also charged with plotting to topple the Islamic regime, the news agency added.
Rahmani Pour's lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh denied that her client had any role in the post-election riots."He was arrested in Farvardin (the Iranian month covering March-April) before the (presidential) election and charged with cooperation with the (monarchist) Kingdom Assembly," Sotoudeh told AFP.
Sotudeh said that Rahmani Pour was arrested at the age of 19.Sotoudeh said she was prevented from representing Rahmani Pour at his "show trial" in July and that many of the charges related to the time when he was a minor.
"He confessed because of threats against his family," she said, adding that she was shocked at the news of the executions since she and her client's family had still been waiting for word from the appeals court.
The prosecution statement said nine other detained protesters faced similar charges."Nine others among the recent months' rioters are still in the appeal phase and, if they are convicted, then based on the law their sentence will be carried," it said.
Iranian authorities arrested around 4,000 protesters including journalists and reformist politicians in a massive crackdown in the weeks after the disputed election.Five people have been sentenced to death according to the authorities. Others have received stiff jail terms although some have been released on bail pending possible appeals

APPEAL : Support the Workers of Iran


by mick duncan
From No sweat

THE WORKING CLASS AND EMANCIPATORY STRUGGLES OF PEOPLE IN IRAN

As Islamic Republic (IR) continues its naked repression of Iranian people with full force, people’s protest movement has demonstrated beyond any doubt that it will settle for nothing less than true unconditional freedom. Workers and liberated people of Iran and world strongly condemn the vile repression, prosecution and incarceration of protesters and social and political activists and absolutely despise and denounce their torture, rape and execution by IR.

As far as the working class is concerned, the independent labour movement in Iran did not participate in the sham presidential “election,” since this movement had had no illusions about either faction of the ruling class. All four “candidate” fully supported capitalist and neo-liberal policies. Labour activists clearly recall the period from 1979 to 1988 during which every single genuine, autonomous workers’ council and independent syndicates created during the 79’ Revolution were most violently crushed. These autonomous workers’ organizations were forcibly replaced by sham state, management sponsored so called “Islamic Labour Councils.”

During 8 years of Khatemi’s “reformist” reign repression of workers was in full throttle. Khatoon Abad workers getting shot to death on the picket line, for merely demanding permanent job contracts, was the most brazen instance; a slaughter which led to a number of other protests. Ahmadinejad has elevated repression and lawlessness towards workers, students, women… to unprecedented levels.

What labour activists have encountered in the past 7 months is not only a struggle between factions of the ruling class, but an extensive and distinguishable social struggle against the entire establishment, a struggle in which workers and their families are fully participating, especially after December 27, 2009 with large-scale participation of working class neighborhoods in street demonstrations. This is a point fully understood even by both factions of the ruling class.

Though not all anti-government struggles are necessarily in line with class interests of working people, it must be noted that the despotic rule of IR is a Capitalist repressive order, combined with religious features and a thorough insertion of Islam in daily functions of government. In such a context even the most minuscule, basic democratic rights are nor tolerated and crushed. IR has been able to impose an astonishing level of poverty, insecurity, and general lawlessness upon workers, toiling masses and people.

Relentless repression of labour activists, especially in the past 5 years has clearly demonstrated IR’s hostility towards workers and its allegiance to Capitalism and capitalists. Less than two months after “election,” Ahmadinejad’s administration passed a bill in parliament to cut all state subsidies thus forcing more people living in poverty. Let’s not forget this has been an old demand of IMF, World Bank and WTO for more than two decades. IR has had nothing but harshest harassments, prosecution, incarceration, floggings, torture and execution for labour activists in Iran; many of whom are currently incarcerated under some of the worst unbearable conditions, suffering from premeditated homicidal neglect, while many others face pending bogus jail sentences.

Experience has shown that other than progressive sectors of students’ and women’s movement no other segment of society has seriously defended the rights and interests of the working class. It’s crystal clear for workers that only by a reliance on their own power of class unity they could ensure that their struggles will not be misused for the benefit of other classes.

Iran’s labour activists’ total lack of trust towards what is called “Green Movement” of Mousavi, Karoubi, Khatami and Rafsanjani stems from such cognition. Not only their “ Green Movement” doesn’t belong to workers, but it is only an attempt by a fraction of the ruling class to force some very limited reforms within parameters of maintaining and augmenting the entire Islamic regime, which at best could lead to another round of presidential “elections.” However, there are profound differences between freedom-seeking struggles of the people and reformers’ “Green Movement.” The anti-government struggles of Iranian people is endowed with a distinct justice-seeking, freedom-seeking essence, which makes it incommensurable with any faction of the capitalist Islamic regime, be it “reformers” or “principalists.”

Consequently within the sphere of people’s struggle, propagation of unconditional freedoms of speech, thought, protests, assembly, strike and organizing; comprehensive equality between women and men in every and all spheres of life; a living standard worthy of human life, are all of high import. Actualization of comprehensive social and political freedoms for the working class is supremely significant. In the current context workers could organize more effectively and comprehensively against Capitalism and its state. Through creation and expansion of all types of autonomous workers’ councils, committees, syndicates and local, regional and national federations, workers could more preparedly fight towards realization of freedom and equality. Current struggles of people in Iran provide workers with the possibility of announcing their demands on a macro scale; thus attracting students’, women’s, and the youth movements towards collaborating with the labor movement. To the extent that workers are successful in this endeavor, path will be cleared for workers to express themselves as a powerful, organized and autonomous class. Such success would also ensure Iranian people’s struggle are directed towards a progressive, vanguard position, and minimizes the influences of the ruling classes, and reduces the possibility of workers’ movement becoming subservient of other classes.

On numerous occasions, freedom-seeking people of Iran have been calling for a greater involvement of the organized labour movement in the current struggles in Iran; yet, we all need to recognize that defending workers’ rights and the independent workers’ movement across the country is perhaps one of the most effective ways to achieve this objective. It is absolutely crucial to support workers’ struggles and demands and stand in defense of jailed workers and labour activists and their organizations. What the repressive, anti-worker and capitalist Islamic Republic must see is that the labour movement is a staunch defender of the freedom-seeking people of Iran, and similarly the main allies of Iranian labour movement are the freedom-loving and equality seeking people of Iran and other countries around the world.

International Alliance in Support of Workers in Iran (IASWI)—January 2010

info@workers-iran.org

www.etehadbinalmelali.com

www.workers-iran.org

Please use any part or the entire Sample Protest Letter: Updated January 21, 2010

I (we) am (are) writing this protest letter in support of workers’ and human rights in Iran.

· Firstly, I (we) strongly protest against the extreme use of violence and force against freedom and justice seeking people of Iran in recent months. All acts of violence by security and other government forces against people must stop immediately. I (we) demand justice for people who have been killed and injured by security forces in recent months.

All attacks on the labour movement in Iran must stop immediately:

· Five members of the board of directors of “Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Workers’ Syndicate” by names of Feridoun Nikoufard, Jalil Ahmadi, Ghorban Alipour, Mohammad Haydari Mehr and Ali Nejati have been sent to jail and are currently incarcerated in Dezfol prison. Feriadon Nikofard, Jalil Ahmadi, Ghorban Alipour and Ali Nejati were charged and condemned to six months imprisonment and six months suspended sentences and Mohammad Heydari Mehr has received four months prison and eight months suspended sentence; they have also been banned from involvement in any labour activities including running for any elected union positions for three years. All this only because of their efforts to form an independent labour organization.

· Mansour Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi, president and vice president of the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Vahed Bus Company, continue to be in jail and have been sentenced to 5 years and 3.5 years jail respectively.

· Mr. Farzad Kamangar, a teacher and human rights activist, has been sentenced to death, and there is a growing fear that he might get executed given the current repressive climate. See this link: http://www.ei-ie.org/en/news/show.php?id=1170&theme=rights&country=iran

· Mr. Reza Rakhshan, a board member of the Haft Tapeh Workers’ Syndicate, was arrested on January 4, 2010 at his work and taken to the custody. He was released on January 20, 2010 after putting a very heavy bail (150 million toman). He will face a number of charges including “propaganda against the system”.

· The last of May Day 2009 detainees still in jail: According to his mother and a number of radio interviews as well as a report by the Laborer’s unit of HRA, Mr. Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, a labour activist imprisoned in Evin prison (Evin House of Detention), has been convicted of offending the supreme leader and sentenced to eight months in prison. Mr. Farahi Shandiz will be tried again for participating in a gathering on International Workers’ Day at the Laleh Park of Tehran on May 1, 2009. This would happen at the end of his sentence which means he may be kept in jail. This labour activist’s sentence will end on January 23rd, 2010 and thereafter Mr. Shandiz will again be tried for his participation in the gathering in Laleh Park. In addition, according to the Human Rights Activists (HRA), Mr. Shandiz is scheduled to be tried for another case on February 3rd by Branch 14 of the Revolutionary Court for gathering signatures in Khavaran Terminal to free Mansour Osanloo.

· Mr. Majid Hamidi, a labour activist and a member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations, has been incarcerated since Thursday, January 14, 2010. Mr. Hamidi left his residence in the afternoon of January 14th but did not return home since then. At 11 PM, January 15th, agents of the Intelligence Ministry entered Mr. Hamidi’s home for search and took his notebook computer with them. Mr. Hamidi, who is a well-known labour activist in City of Sanandaj, received seven bullets into his body on October 18th, 2007. Witnesses and Mr. Hamidi himself reported that the assassins fired about 14 shots towards him. After getting the first shot, Mr. Hamidi tried to rescue himself but they followed him and fired more bullets at him but some were missed. They then escaped from the scene with a motorcycle. No one has yet been arrested or identified as the perpetrator of this crime. Mr. Hamidi’s surgery was not completely done because doctors were unable to remove one of the bullets that hit him in his neck, because by removing that bullet there would have been a great risk of damaging his nervous system around his eyes and mouth. He still has this bullet in his body. Mr. Hamidi issued a statement after his treatment in which he condemned the attempted assassination against himself as a cowardly act by those that are extremely scared of the rise of the Iranian labour movement. He vowed to continue his activities as a labour activist for the achievement of the working class demands.

· On December 31, 2009, a number of armed men entered in the residence of Mr. Jamal Karimpour and fired a number of shots at him, as the result of which he got injured in his left arm. After this terrorist act, the assassins witnessed the village’s residents and thus they escaped the scene. Mr. Jamal Karimpour is a member of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ Organizations.

I (we) condemn these continuous attacks on human and workers’ rights in Iran. I (we) demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of all political prisoners and the above incarcerated labour activists. We demand annulment of the death sentence against Farzad Kamangar.

I (we) would also like to let the Iranian government know that we stand in solidarity with people’s struggles in Iran for justice and freedom. I (we) ask the Iranian government to fully respect workers’ and human rights including freedom of speech and expression, and the rights to organize, protest, assemble and strike. We call on the IRI to put an end to persecution of labour activists and social justice organizations and not to impede their activities. No one should be persecuted, jailed and assaulted because of practicing their fundamental human rights. Torture and executions must be stopped immediately.

Name

Organization

Position

Send Copy of your Protest Letters to:

info@leader.ir, info@judiciary.ir, iran@un.int; ijpr@iranjudiciary.org, info@dadiran.ir, office@justice.ir, ilo@ilo.org; cabinet@ilo.org; eastgulf@amnesty.org; hrwgva@hrw.org

CC: info@workers-iran.org


women rights activist and student of Bijar University , released from prison .

Hana was arrested on October 2,2007 in Sanandaj . she was sentenced to five years of imprisonment in exile, but the court of appeal has reduced her sentence to 18 months.

Mohamad Sharif her lawyer said :she has been released today and is on her way from Tabriz to her home town Sanandaj. .

Sharif added:Hana Abdi also has another case related to Kurdish prisoners hunger strike but the ruling is not issued yet.

He elaborated that Ronak Safarzadeh’s court will be held on Saturday February 28,2009 while she hasn’t received any ruling since being imprisoned ( one and half year ago).

Jaras
Trnalsation by : Persia2English
Based on received reports and existing evidence, Alireza Firoozi and Soorna Hashemi, two student activists of the University of Zanjan have been missing since early this week, and there is no news about their whereabouts.

According to the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, the two student activists left Tehran on a trip to Tabriz earlier this week, but they vanished once they reached the city.

In their families’ attempt to locate them, they were able to track them to Tabriz and Orumiyeh (both in northwest Iran). However, there has been no trace of the two students.

According to Firoozi and Hashemi’s families and friends, ”At the beginning of the week, individual or individuals with the goal of gathering some unidentified information have contacted political activists and their families through Soorna and Alireza’s e-mail accounts. In these correspondences, the individuals have made certain demands that have caused the families great concern about the safety and life of the two activists.”

In the past three days, their families have traveled to the province of Azerbaijjan to visit all security and military organizations. However, none of the organizations have taken responsibility for the arrest of the students. They also claim to have no record indicating their names and location. This has caused the families even more concern about the well-being of their sons.

Translation by: Siavosh J.
In a letter to the employees of the Iranian Embassy in Japan, Abolfazl Eslami urges others to join the people by distancing themselves from the violence and oppression of the Islamic Republic.

Abolfazl Eslami is former counselor for the Iranian Embassy in Tokyo. In the letter he writes that he has decided to join the people’s movement.

This is the first time that an Iranian diplomat in Eastern Asia has resigned from their service to the Islamic Regime. In recent weeks, several Iranian diplomats have also reportedly resigned from their posts in Europe.



Abolfazl Eslami`s letter:
A request from an ex-diplomat of the Islamic Republic in Japan for his colleagues in the foreign affairs ministry to join the people:
With respect,
Today, we have all heard about the Supreme Council of National Security`s statement on the Kahrizak scandal. The statement addresses crimes that Ayatollah Montazeri spent an entire lifetime to expose. We in the foreign affairs ministry failed to listen and the Almighty humiliated these criminals by forcing them to publish their own statement of humiliation. Ayatollah Montazeri had to go through a lifetime of detention and accusations to allow blind people like us see what has been exposed by this statement. But instead, we heard criminals accuse Ayatollah Montazeri, and we laughed about it.

Dear Colleagues,

After the release of the statement on the Kahrizak scandal, we must concede that we have served a lifetime defending a regime that has killed and tortured innocent people. We knew about these atrocities more than anybody else. We have not forgotten that in Khatami’s term, Mr. Ali Akbar Yasaghi, the head of the Prisons Organization, admitted that 100 detention centers were not under our supervision. Mr. Shahroodi ordered the illegal prisons to come under the supervision of the Prisons Organizations. Has the order of Mr. Shahroodi been executed?

We have all read the secret report of Hojat ol Eslam Abasali Alizadeh, the head of the Justice Ministry in Khatami’s time. He wrote on the illegal prisons, the killing of innocent girls and boys in prisons, the ‘circle murders’ in Kerman and Karaj, and the ‘chain murders’ in Tehran. Additionally, we all witnessed his dismissal by the Supreme Leader the day following [the release of the report].

Dear Colleagues,

Oppressed people like Ayatollah Montazeri had to go through a lifetime of suppression. We observed these crimes and excused them. We lived in residences payed by the dollars of the same people who were killed. Yet, we hugged and kissed our children in our wealthy households. We boasted to foreigners about a Saadi poem inscribed in the United Nations building: “One Limb impacted is sufficient.” We boasted that Imam Ali cried when a Jewish women was humiliated. We boasted that it is our religious duty to disclaim tyranny and to take the side of the oppressed. Now that the Supreme Council for National Security has confirmed the killings of youth under torture, have we forgotten all of that?

How many verses of the Prophet and Imams did we memorize about justice and oppression?

“If one sharpens the pen of an oppressor, he shares the oppression.”

“If one gives a bit of silk for an oppressor to use in his ink, he shares the oppression.”

We prayed, we fasted, and we went to Hajj, only to be paid for it by the government. If we had not prayed, we would not get our jobs. We would not be secretaries and ambassadors.

Is fighting the tyrant only part of our religion when it comes to Mecca demonstrations? Why did we forget it when our own people were killed?

Dear Colleagues,

We were naive to think that God almighty would not distinguish between us and Ayatollah Montazeri. Montazeri was truly a “Montazer” (waiting) for a lifetime. He waited for the Supreme Council of Security to declare the humiliation of the Yazid regime. He waited for truth to be obvious to everybody. Now we have no reason to remain in Yazid’s regime.

We, ambassadors, consulates, and staff of foreign affairs were among the founding columns of a regime that detained Montazeri and killed his supporters under torture. If we are guilty today, we cannot ask him to forgive us. He is in the heavens with his beloved and we are still on the payroll of a bloodthirsty regime.

I am begging you to come to your senses. There is still a way out. God is our greatest saviour.

Abolfazl Eslami,

Previously on the payroll of the Yazid regime


Translation by: Arash Azizi
Misagh Jalalzadeh
Translation : Persian2English

A large amount of those arrested throughout the summer were sent to cells controlled by the Revolutionary Guard in wards 240, 209, and 2A. In an attempt to receive false confessions, the prisoners were placed under brutal torture and mental and physical pressure. They also had to confess participation in dirty schemes powered by foreign agents intended to instigate a velvet revolution.

***
From October 2009, the process of transferring post-election political prisoners to public sections [of the prison] began. It was first a few student activists like Peyman Aref, Majid Dori, and Zia Navabi (banned students), along with approximately 60 others who were arrested in street protests, and also some human rights activists like Mohammad Ali Dadkhah. They were taken out of solitary confinement cells and were transferred to cells that held regular prisoners. They were transferred because of the possibility of the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee visiting Evin prison.
But the tragic part started when in late October, after Peyman Aref and Majid Dori’s letter to a Tehran prosecutor was published, and together with media presence, security officials decided to remove a few reformist activists from the high-security sections. They gathered the prisoners in public section 350. Additionally, the Green Movement prisoners of this section were confronted, abused, and tortured by Bozorgnia, the notorious chief of section 350.
From early November, around 80 of the Green Movement prisoners were transferred to ward 350, a remote underground area. The following are some names of reformist political activists, journalists, and student activists:

- Davood Soleimani
- Jahanbakhsh Khanjani
- Hedayat Aghaei
- Hamzeh Karami
- Ahmad Zeydabadi
- Masoud Lavasan,
- Mohamadreza Noorbakhsh
- Peyman Aref
- Bahman Ahmadi Moei
- Reza Rafiyi
- Abdollah Momeni
- Masoud Bastani
- Majid Dori
- Ali Bikas
- Zia Nabavi

Even though it seemed they were under the control of the Prisons Organization, they were actually being controlled by Bozorgnia, who is a representative of the Ministry of Intelligence operated by the Ahmadinejad government.
Bozorgnia first held political prisoners in a poorly lit basement (of Section 350). On the upstairs floor, dangerous criminals are receiving rehabilitation and are able to use the telephones in addition to other aminities. In the basement there is only one phone booth set up. Each prisoner is able to use for five minutes a day.

It is now apparent that Rasool Badaghi (teacher activist) and Jafar Eghdami are also being held in section 350.

Recently, Bozorgnia has ordered a humiliating and disrespectful body inspection of political prisoners when they go to the weekly meetings with their families(meetings that are in cabins and with glass walls in between). He also uses insulting and dirty language toward the prisoners who are well respected in Iranian civil society.

***
*Mohammad Hossein Sohrabi Rad attempts suicide by cutting his left wrist after increased pressures and spending a few days in the hospital and Evin clinic. He feared going back to section 350. Immediately after recovering, he attempted suicide again. Despite numerous attempts to contact political prisoners to get insider information on Mohammad, our attempts were unsuccessful. There is a possibility that he has died already.
The irony is that there is another Kahrizak being formed in Section 350 and more martyrs are joining the Husseinian Martyrs of the Green Movement. A human catastrophe is about to occur and the fault is on no one but Bozorgnia, an official with a past too shameful to retell.
Section 350 of Evin Prison
January 2010
Iran Press News

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL


SEZIONE ITALIANA


"Se anche una sola persona al mondo non è libera, non lo sei neanche tu.


Libera la libertà.


La sua. La tua. Quella di noi tutti.


J.F. Kennedy nel 1963 disse: 'La libertà è indivisibile e quando un solo uomo è reso schiavo, nessuno è libero'.


Più tardi Václav Havel aggiunse: 'L'attacco alla libertà di uno è un attacco alla libertà di tutti. Fino a quando la società sarà divisa nell'indifferenza, e gli uni osserveranno in silenzio la persecuzione degli altri, nessuno si affrancherà dalla manipolazione generale'. Ogni persona sa che la libertà è il bene più prezioso. Il più difficile da raggiungere. Il più facile da perdere. Fino a quando anche una sola persona non sarà libera, nessuno lo sarà mai veramente. Non voltiamoci dall'altra parte. Alle donne e agli uomini cui in Iran - e in ogni altra parte del mondo - non è permesso coltivare ed esprimere idee e opinioni, facciamo sentire che tutti noi che lo possiamo fare siamo accanto a loro e che non sono soli".

Ayatollah Shirazi in a recent interview said:

"At the moment the government and Parliament have ventured into a huge
Operation, which will determine our destiny, and the lack of correct and
effective management would create problems. We therefore need calm atmosphere in
the country. Exterior press which only reflect the Colonialists speak of
toppling, and therefore those loyal to the system have to be alert on these
mischief. The lackey of our Enemies are much engaged in plotting and the issue
is no longer internal differences, rather than Toppling"
(AFP)
Iran arrested last month two German diplomats for allegedly having a hand in recent rioting, state television said on Wednesday, quoting a top official.
"Two German diplomats using fictitious names of Yogi and Ingo were arrested," during the Shiite commemoration of Ashura, the website of state television quoted an unnamed deputy intelligence minister as saying.
The report did not specify whether the diplomats were still in detention.
A spokesman for the German embassy in Tehran told AFP he "cannot comment" on the reports of arrests. Related article: Germany dismisses Iran report
A separate report by ISNA news agency quoted the deputy minister as saying "Yogi and Ingo were the two German diplomats whose role in the Ashura incidents has been established by the Islamic Republic of Iran."
The official said Iran will "diplomatically protest to the German embassy in Tehran through the foreign ministry."
He also claimed that unidentified German diplomats had set up a network of young Iranian men and women to collect information on events in Iran, adding that members of this network had also been arrested.
"This network was affiliated to the German intelligence service" and its members were "connected to German diplomats through one woman ... who took part in private parties held by diplomats and who used to exchange information on a daily basis," the official said.
"The pictures of contacts made between the German diplomats and these youngsters are available. The German embassy and the ambassdor should be answerable to these unconventional activities of his staff."
Earlier on Wednesday, the official IRNA news agency reported that the deputy minister said "the riots on this day were pre-planned and the 'current of sedition,' anti-revolutionaries and the network affiliated to Western intelligence services were involved."
The authorities use the words "current of sedition" to describe the anti-government protest movement.
According to IRNA, the deputy minister said a close advisor of main opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was identified and arrested and had "confessed that he was a spy."
"Available evidence and this person's confessions show that he was connected through a point man to the intelligence service of a European country and was releasing confidential information," IRNA quoted the deputy as telling reporters.
A few days after the Shiite commemoration, Iranian officials revealed that they had detained a Swedish diplomat for 24 hours on the day of Ashura.
And earlier this month Tehran's chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said a German citizen was detained and later freed, apparently in connection with the Ashura riots.
At least eight people were killed in Iran when crowds of demonstrators launched protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in what turned into the bloodiest showdown between them and security forces since initial post-election unrest in June.
A police website reported earlier this month that more than 40 people had been arrested on the basis of tip-offs after police circulated photographs of demonstrators of Ashura rioters.
Iranian authorities say several hundred people were rounded up on the day, without giving a precise figure. A small number of them have since gone on trial, according to newspaper reports.
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