Archiv für den Monat Juli 2011
Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 3. Every one has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Here lived a family. We too, like the UN, believe that human beings do not need much to live, and these things are every human being’s right: freedom, equality, security… if there is a difference, it is that we fight to assert our fundamental rights, and the UN has deliberately and actively ignored and deprived us of them for over 30 years. Here lived a family… they were displaced again.
Blindes Säureopfer im Iran verzichtet auf Vergeltung
Ameneh Bahrami aus dem Iran, die nach dem Säure-Attentat eines Verehrers blind ist, hat ihrem Peiniger verziehen und verzichtet auf Rache.
Teheran. Sie nimmt doch keine Rache! Die nach einem Säure-Attentat eines verschmähten Verehrers entstellte Iranerin Ameneh Bahrami hat laut Webseite des staatlichen Senders IRIB auf die Bestrafung ihres Peinigers verzichtet. Die umstrittene Bestrafung nach dem “Auge-um-Auge“-Prinzip, bei der die Frau ihren Peiniger mit ätzender Flüssigkeit blenden sollte, sei für Sonntag geplant gewesen. Aber Bahrami habe in letzter Sekunde auf die Vergeltung verzichtet, hieß es in dem Bericht. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags
The Treasury Department yesterday identified six al Qaeda members as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. These six terrorist operatives form anetwork that funnels money and personnel from the Gulf to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan via Iran. The head of the network, Syrian-born Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, operates from inside Iran with the full knowledge of the Iranian regime.
Al Qaeda’s presence in Iran and its operatives’ links to the Iranian government and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were known to exist prior to this designation. In the 1990s, al Qaeda associates negotiated an agreement between Osama bin Laden and the Iranian government that allowed the transit of al Qaeda operatives through Iran into Afghanistan. According to Treasury, Khalil, who represents al Qaeda in Iran, has run the current network since 2005 “under an agreement between al-Qaida and the Iranian government.” The network is “the core pipeline” for moving money and personnel from the Middle East into South Asia.
Internationally recognized documentary filmmaker, Pantea Bahrami, is producing a new documentary about human rights in Iran. She has put out a call asking for your support.
The goal of the documentary film - “Awaiting the Sunrise” - is to depict the situation of Iran’s “third wave of refugees”. This film will look at the conditions that gave rise to this wave of mass departure from Iran and will shed light on the repression following Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential election.
The production will also document the difficult conditions under which the Iranian refugees in Turkey are now living. Most of them are scattered in various small towns throughout Turkey, waiting for months to be approved as refugees and sent to host countries by the UN Refugee Agency in Ankara. “Without a job, without money, without a clear destiny, they have had a very difficult life,” the film’s director notes. They are, as the documentary title suggests, still “awaiting the sunrise.”
But to realize their goal, they need your help! The documentary will be funded only if it earns a total of $10,000 through pledges by August 10, 2011. Please consider a small donation to help fund this much worthy effort!
July 25th, 2009 marked the first Global Day of Action, during which tens of thousands of people across a hundred cities came together in solidarity with the people of Iran. In the aftermath of a brutal government crackdown following the disputed election, activists united to call on the Islamic Republic of Iran to halt state-sponsored violence, release all prisoners of conscience, and respect the inherent rights of the Iranian people.
The day received support from hundreds of prominent activists, academics, and artists, including Nobel Laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jody Williams, and Shirin Ebadi. Click here to watch Desmond Tutu‘s video message and expression of support for the day and for the people of Iran. One of the day’s most notable promotional videos, “Be a Hero,” can be seen here. Among the day’s highlights was the premiere of U2′s new video, to coincide with the global day, before 80,000 people in Dublin’s Croke Park.
Now, only two short years after the largest show of solidarity with the Iranian people, we must continue forward with the same passion demonstrated by thousands of concerned citizens not so long ago.
Click here to see a slideshow revisiting some of the day’s amazing events!
حسین رونقی ملکی
Hossein Ronaghi Maleki
Amir Khosrow Dalirsani
لاله حسن پور
Mohammad Sedigh Kaboudvand
حسین ملک پور
HEWLER – Bei einem Kampf zwischen der iranischen Armee und der kurdischen PJAK Guerilla sind nach Augenzeugenberichten 5 türkische Soldaten gefallen. Ein Dorfschützer erklärte ebenfalls, er habe ihre Leichen mit eigenen Augen gesehen. Dies bestärkt den Verdacht einer direkten Beteiligung der türkischen Armee an iranischen Operationen, die Seit dem 16.07.11 andauern. Der Dorfschützer Sileyman Cahidi erklärte weiter: „Ich habe auf vier iranischen Lastwagen eine große Zahl von türkischer Kalaschnikow Munition und 120mm Artilleriegeschossen gesehen, die in das Dorf Gire Şeytan gebracht wurden. Unter der Munition befanden sich auch Mörser und viele türkische Waffen. Die Soldaten, die zur Operation ausrücken erhalten Konservennahrung aus der Türkei.“
20 Panzer aus der Türkei
300 Kommandoeinheiten der türkischen Armee wurden schon am 21. Juli über den Esendere Grenzübergang von der Türkei in den Iran gebracht. Vier Tage später überquerten 20 türkische Panzer ebenfalls den Grenzübergang Richtung Iran.
Sch Exekutivratsvorsitzende der KCK Murat Karayılan hatte schon auf die Anwesenheit türkischer Soldaten hingewiesen und erklärt: „Dies ist ein gemeinsamer Plan von der Türkei und dem I ran. Die Mehrheit der im Moment Kämpfenden sind Türken, das wissen wir sehr gut. Unter ihnen befinden sich türkische Spezialkräfte.“
Quelle: ANF, 28.7.2011, ISKU
In the last several weeks, concern has been mounting over Iran’s ongoing and systematic persecution of its own actresses, documentary filmmakers, and bloggers.
Four prominent artists were arrested, though fortunately on of July 27, 2011 it was reported two had been freed on bail. Take action and help highlight the unwarranted treatment of Iran’s artists and of anyone who shows dissent. Please take 30 seconds to send an e-letter!
Also below is a photo-essay produced by the founder of Iranian.com, Jahanshah Javid. During a road trip across the United States, he stopped in Persia, Iowa where he creatively honored and highlighted those unjustly detained in Iran.
Filmmaker Pantea Bahrami is also highlighting the plight of Iran’s citizens by producing a documentary addressing Iran’s human rights situation. She has put out a call to the community asking for its support. Read on to see how you can help make this film a reality!
The U4I Team
Atiyah Abd al-Rahman (0615 GMT)1905 GMT: Oil and Politics. Even though he has not been approved as Minister of Oil by Parliament, Rustam Qassemi — Revolutionary Guards commander and head of its engineering branch, Khatam al-Anbia — has called a Saturday meeting of the Ministry’s staff and experts in the industry.
Why such a hurry? An EA correspondent mischievously notes that Qassemi is on the list of individual sanctioned by the US and says, “Trying to save his assets after yesterday’s [US Treasury] conference” announcing further restrictions.
Or this could be the reason: a Tehran conference has noted that Qatar is taking 450,000 barrels of oil per day from the South Pars field — and Iran is taking 0.
1855 GMT: Clerical Intervention. Ayatollah Dastgheib is sharpening his attacks on the Government. He said, “They are looting nat’l income”, plundering the oil reserves, and “humiliating the people”.
Dastgheib continued, “We can’t sit silent. If the country is really Islamic, it doesn’t need so many modern weapons. Rulers should listen to people’s demands.”
In short, “Instead of importing weapons to oppress people, render your behaviour Islamic.”
1840 GMT: Get-Tough Watch. More from the Tehran Friday Prayer….
Hojatoleslam Kazim Seddiqi declared, “Arrogant powers and Iran’s enemies intend to create insecurity in the country and prevent the Islamic Republic’s development.”
Seddiqi cited last weekend’s murder of postgraduate student Daryoush Rezaienejad, who may or may not have been connected with Iran’s nuclear programme and attacks by the Kurdish insurgent group PJAK, and he noted in response Iran’s claimed expansion of its naval forces.
And what could the “development” to which Seddiqi was referring?
President Ahmadinejad defined it last night, “The enemies of humanity cannot stand up to the willpower of truth-seekers and the Islamic Awakening of nations, which has picked up pace today.”
1830 GMT: Border Watch. An Iraqi mayor said that a 10-year-old Kurdish boy has been killed in shelling by Iranian forces of Kurdish separatist bases in north Iraq.
Mohammed Antar Zerrar was the third Iraqi killed in artillery bombardments during two weeks of clashes between the Iranian military and insurgent group PJAK.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Monday the fighting has displaced hundreds of villagers in the border regions of northern Iraq.
1715 GMT: Opposition Watch. The “Green Path” meeting of opposition activists in Paris has issued its final statement. It put forth a cautious line on the issue of boycotting the 2012 elections — “we won’t abandon our right to vote and to be elected” — but went beyond other opposition statements in emphasising the rights of ethnic and religious minorities “as guaranteed” in the Constitution. It said the Government must furnish them with financial means and ensure the right of assembly.”
The meeting asserted, “Our silence is a sign of protest. We adopted patience to accustom dictators to democracy and to break the dictatorship. We want to make it more easy for them to accept a defeat.”
1530 GMT: Battling Friday Prayer Messages. Ayatollah Alamolhoda, speaking in Qom today, started with a slap at the Government, “Some Government officials are not interested in dealing with the problems of society and try to divert us.” Then he addressed the social situation, “The main problems of people are not economy and subsistence but religion!”
Not so fast, says Grand Ayatollah Javadi Amoli: “Do not expect poor people to be religious. Society needs liberty.”
1445 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Summary. Hojaleslam Kazem Siddiqi has an All-is-Well message: “Some cases of violence are no reason to claim there is turmoil in society.”
1440 GMT: Elections Watch. Leading principlist MP Mohammad Reza Bahonar offers some advice to reformists: “You can participate [in next March's Parliamentary elections] on condition that you define reforms and reject the Green Movenment and its leaders.”
1425 GMT: Loyalty Alert. Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi has told Egyptian clerics that Ayatollah Khamenei is a “very informed Leader“. He said, “We are not concerned about the future. We are independent of govt and can criticise it when it deviates.”
1340 GMT: Factions Watch. Deutsche Welle offers an assessment of the new political faction, the Islamic Constancy Front, launched by clerics — notably Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi — and former officials of the Ahmadinejad Government (see Thursday’s LiveBlog) to “unify” conservatives and principlists.
1125 GMT: Reformist Watch. Speaking to student activists, former Mohammad Khatami said that history tends towards freedom and liberty.
0800 GMT: Excuse of the Day. The hard-line Raja News explains that the recent raid on the home of Ayatollah Amjad, who has been critical of the Government, was because the cleric had not paid his rent.
0700 GMT: And the Diversions Continue. In recent days, there has been an escalation of headline stories on Iranian influence in Iraq — take your pick as to whether US officials have uncovered the extent of Tehran’s infiltration, whether this is a rationale to keep the American military in Iraq beyond its announced withdrawal date, or whether this is “information” to press the Iraqi Government to distance itself from Iran.
Anyway, The Guardian of London is not asking any questions about motives this morning. Instead, itsplashes dramatically, “Qassem Suleimani: the Iranian General ‘Secretly Running’ Iraq”.
The support for this profile of Suleimani, the head of the al-Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, is said to be in “weeks of interviews with key officials, including those who admire him and those who fear the man like no other”. The actual evidence is sparse, such as a “senior Shia MP” asserting:
[Suleimani] has managed to form links with every single Shia group, on every level. Last year, in the meeting in Damascus that formed the current Iraqi government, he was present at the meeting along with leaders from Syria, Turkey, Iran and Hezbollah. “He forced them all to change their mind and anoint [Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-] Maliki as leader for a second term.”
Perhaps an American used in the story is — inadvertently — closer to the mark about the game being played in reports about Suleimani and about Iran “running” Iraq:
“He is indeed like Keyser Söze,” said a senior US official this week – in reference to the legendary villain in the The Usual Suspects, whose ruthlessness and influence terrified everyone. “Nobody knew who he was and this guy’s the same. He is everywhere, but nowhere.”
0635 GMT: Reformist Watch. Opposition advisor Mojtaba Vahedi has praised political prisoners Mohammad Reza Nourizad and Mehdi Khazali for “bravely speaking out” against the regime. He said that the debate over forthcoming Parliamentary elections had “tore down the wall between hardliners and reformists”.
0615 GMT: For those of you who thought Al Qa’eda was a spent force following the killing of Osama bin Laden, the US Treasury would like you to look at Iran….
On Thursday, the US Treasury found another rationale for sanctions on Tehran, declaring in a formal statement that Iran was a “critical transit point” for Al Qa’eda funds and extremists reaching Pakistan and Afghanistan: ”This network serves as the core pipeline through which al-Qaida moves money, facilitators and operatives from across the Middle East to South Asia.”
The Treasury said a branch headed by an Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil had operated with the regime’s blessing since 2005 six years. It claimed an Atiyah Abd al-Rahman had been appointed by bin Laden as al-Qaida’s envoy in Iran after serving as a commander in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The Treasury alleges that, as an emissary, al-Rahman is allowed to travel in and out of Iran with the permission of the authorities.
The announcement offered little of substance on Aziz Khalil or Abd al-Rahman yesterday beyond vague labels and biographical information. Abd al-Rahman had been named by the US State Department in 2006 as a Libyan-born operative, born in 1970, who was the “primary liaison” to Al Qa’eda in Iran. The US offered $1 million for his capture.
US officials said in autumn 2010 that Abd al-Rahman had “relocated” to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of northern Pakistan. There was a report, never confirmed, that he was killed in a drone attack on 7 October 2010 in Waziristan.
The US Government has argued in the past that Iran has harboured Al Qa’eda personnel, including Saad bin Laden, the eldest son of the former Al Qa’eda leader. Tehran claims that those who fled the fighting in Afghanistan after 2001 were kept under house arrest and not allowed to engage in Al Qa’eda operations.
Eigentlich, so fanden manche iranische Oppositionelle, sei ihre gescheiterte “grüne Revolution” von 2009 in vieler Hinsicht Modell für die Revolten in der arabischen Welt gewesen. Doch warum profitiert die iranische Opposition jetzt nicht vom demokratischen Aufbruchsgeist in der Region? Von Reza Hajatpour
Die Welle der arabischen Protestbewegungen hat eine Aufbruchstimmung in die islamische Welt getragen, die fast allenthalben positives Echo fand. Die muslimische Bevölkerung hat die bestehenden repressiven Systeme satt.
So gesehen ließe sich beinahe sagen, dass der politische und religiöse Machtkampf, wie er in Iran seit Jahren geführt wird, nun einen großen Teil der islamischen Welt erfasst und dabei neue Formen angenommen hat.
Die Opposition in Iran hoffte aus der Protestwelle neue Kraft für den eigenen Widerstand zu schöpfen; aber auch die Regierung in Teheran versuchte, ihre Volksnähe und ihre Solidarität mit der arabischen Revolte zur Schau zu stellen.
WashPost: ”The Obama administration said Thursday that Iran is helping al-Qaeda funnel cash and recruits into Pakistan for its international operations, the most serious U.S. allegation to date of Iranian aid to the terrorist group. Documents filed by the Treasury Department accuse Iran of facilitating an al-Qaeda-run support network that transfers large amounts of cash from Middle East donors to al-Qaeda’s top leadership in Pakistan’s tribal region. A Syrian national who directs the network has been allowed to operate in Iran since 2005, and senior Iranian officials know about money transfers and allow the movement of al-Qaeda foot soldiers through its territory, administration officials said. Although U.S. officials have repeatedly accused Iran of assisting al-Qaeda, links between the two have been difficult to prove. Al-Qaeda regards the Shiite denomination, the dominant branch of Islam in Iran, as heretical, and Iran has sought at times to crack down on the terrorist group, deporting some operatives and holding others under house arrest. U.S. officials asserted that the alleged network offered new evidence of Iranian support. ‘By exposing Iran’s secret deal with al-Qaeda, allowing it to funnel funds and operatives through its territory, we are illuminating yet another aspect of Iran’s unmatched support for terrorism,’ said David S. Cohen, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.” http://t.uani.com/oG1WMZ
The Treasury Department on Thursday formally designated six members of what it described as “an al-Qa’ida network” under the terms of Executive Order 13224, a designation that has implications regarding the freezing of the individuals’ assets and prohibition of any commercial or financial dealings with them. Such designations have nothing directly to do with states, but there was an additional angle in Treasury’s announcement. The heading of the department’s press release was, “Treasury Targets Key Al-Qa’ida Funding and Support Network Using Iran as a Critical Transit Point”. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen was quoted as stating, “By exposing Iran’s secret deal with al-Qa’ida allowing it to funnel funds and operatives through its
territory, we are illuminating yet another aspect of Iran’s unmatched support for terrorism.”
wir informieren Sie darüber, dass gegen elf iranische Bahá’í, die Ende Mai nach Razzien gegen das Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) noch immer in Haft sind, Anklage erhoben wurde.
Nach Angaben der Internationalen Bahá’í-Gemeinde werfen die iranischen Justizbehörden den elf Bahá’í „Verschwörung gegen die nationale Sicherheit und die Islamische Republik Iran“ vor, da sie das „illegale“ Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education gegründet hätten.
Die Bahá’í-Gemeinde Deutschland ist äußerst besorgt darüber, dass den elf Bahá’í eine gleichlange Haft wie den sieben Mitgliedern der iranischen Bahá’í-Führung bevorsteht. Deren Untersuchungshaft zog sich über zwei Jahre hin, ehe sie im August 2010 zu je zwanzig Jahren Haft verurteilt wurden.
Dr. Arash Alaei and his brother Dr. Kamiar Alaei are HIV/AIDS doctors who were arrested in Iran in 2008 while researching. In January 2009 they were convicted of “communicating with an enemy government” for attending conferences and working with international health organizations to find solutions to HIV/AIDS. Dr. Kamiar Alaei was released in the fall of 2010 after serving 870 days in prison. Dr. Arash Alaei was sentenced to six years in prison and is currently being held in Evin Prison in Tehran.
Physicians for Human Rights has organized an online petition to be sent to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and other Iranian officials urging for the release of Dr. Arash Alaei. The petition can be signed here:http://iranfreethedocs.org/petition/. The text of the petition letter is below:
Iran, Free Doctor Arash AlaeiTo: [Decision Maker],
We, the undersigned HIV/AIDS experts, medical leaders, scientists and concerned citizens are writing to thank Iranian officials for the early release from prison of internationally renowned HIV/AIDS physician Dr. Kamiar Alaei, in late 2010 after two and a half years of imprisonment. We are very pleased that he can now continue his vital medical and public health work.
We now write to respectfully ask your government also to release Dr. Arash Alaei Dr. Kamiar Alaei’s brother from Evin prison in Tehran during the upcoming Islamic holy days. It is our understanding that, as of 27 June 2011, Dr. Arash Alaei completed three years of his six-year sentence and that, according to Iranian law for first-time prisoners, he is eligible for release now. With Dr. Arash Alaei’s release, both of the Drs. Alaei can continue their life-saving work for the benefit of all humanity.
Dr. Arash Alaei is the former Director of the International Education and Research Cooperation of the Iranian National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. He has worked tirelessly to address HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and addiction and has demonstrated unwavering dedication to helping improve the lives of his countrymen and women by protecting them from disease and death.
We believe that ending Dr. Alaei’s confinement will benefit public health in Iran and will have a positive impact on the international medical community and the efforts to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS.
We respectfully ask your government to give freedom to Dr. Arash Alaei so he can return to saving lives in Iran.
Berlin. Die städtischen Wohnungsunternehmen stellen zusätzlichen Wohnraum für Flüchtlinge bereit. Darauf haben sie sich mit Sozialsenatorin Carola Bluhm verständigt. Mit einem festen Kontingent von jährlich 275 Wohnungen wollen sie dazu beitragen, dass Flüchtlinge in Berlin möglichst schnell eigene Wohnungen beziehen können. Asylsuchende müssen die ersten sechs Wochen in einer Erstaufnahmeeinrichtung verbringen – das ist bundesgesetzlich festgelegt – und können danach in ein Wohnheim oder in eine eigene Wohnung ziehen.
In den vergangenen Monaten ist es angesichts gestiegener Flüchtlingszahlen und einem angespannteren Wohnungsmarkt für Asylsuchende schwieriger geworden, eine Wohnung auf dem freien Markt zu finden. Insgesamt 125 Einzimmer- und 150 Mehrzimmerwohnungen werden die sechs großen städtischen Wohnungsgesellschaften WBM, degewo, GESOBAU, STADT UND LAND, GEWOBAG sowie HOWOGE nun bereitstellen. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags
It was meant to speed up inner-city traffic, but on rainy days, the brand-new expressway in the central Iranian city of Rafsanjan turns into a giant urban waterfall. Our Observers say the road is an example of botched engineering and construction work at its worst.
1310 GMT: Slain Scientist Watch. Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi, commenting on last weekend’s murder of postgraduate student Dariush Rezaeinejad — initially reported as a scientist connected with the Iranian defence establishment — said that his service has some clues but has found no links to foreign intelligence services so far.
Moslehi added there was “good news” in the investigation of the November 2010 killing of scientist Majid Shahryari.
Guardian: ”A senior commander of Iran’s revolutionary guards, who is subject to comprehensive international sanctions, has been nominated as the country’s oil minister, a position that currently includes the presidency of Opec. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, sent a list of four ministers, including Rostam Ghasemi, commander of the revolutionary guards’ Khatam al-Anbia military and industrial base, to the parliament for approval, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. Should the parliament confirm Ghasemi’s nomination next week, the commander, who is targeted by US, EU and Australian sanctions, will be automatically appointed as head of Opec, giving the revolutionary guards access to an influential international platform. Under Iran’s constitution the president is in charge of appointing cabinet ministers, who take office after the approval of parliament. Iran took the Opec presidency in October last year, its first time at the head of the oil exporters’ cartel since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Unrest in the Middle East, especially the ongoing war in Libya, has given Opec a crucial role in determining the current oil price. Iran is the second-largest crude oil exporter in Opec. The nomination follows an extraordinary power struggle between Ahmadinejad and Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ahmadinejad attempted to take over the oil ministry as its temporary head in May but his move was blocked by parliament. He then appointed Mohammad Aliabadi, a close ally, as a caretaker.” http://t.uani.com/roXJ8v
1755 GMT: Border Watch. Iranian state media are reporting that two Revolutionary Guards and 21 Kurdish insurgents have died in further fighting near the Iraq border. Two Guards were reportedly wounded in the clash in the city of Sardasht.
A senior Revolutionary Guards commander and five troops were killed in fighting earlier this week. Iranian officials say at least 50 members of the insurgent group PJAK have died in the battles over the last fortnight.
1535 GMT: Cyber-Watch. An official of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has explained that linking to social networks is a “computer crime”.
1515 GMT: Economy Watch. MPs Abbas Rajaei, Ahmad Tavakoli, and Mohammad Reza Bahonar have attributed excessive food imports (see 1010 GMT) to the “deviant current” and “sedition” endangering provision of security to the Iranian people.
1505 GMT: Scholar Watch. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education has allocated $1 million to publishers to produce “Islamic” social sciences books.
Iranian officials, including the Supreme Leader, have criticised the teaching of “Western” humanities and social sciences in universities, with the removal of 12 “Western” disciplines from the curriculum.
1445 GMT: All the President’s Men. Ayande is not impressed with the President’s nomination of Rustam Qassemi, the head of the engineering branch of the Revolutionary Guards, as Minister of Oil.
The website asks, “Did Ahmadinjead make a retreat? Wasn’t he forced to make concessions to Sepah (Revolutionary Guards) by nominating Ghasemi? Will Qassemi’s nomination not further destroy Sepah’s reputation in public?
1430 GMT: Not-Defensive-at-All Watch. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, speaking to Fars, says claims that the Iranian system of velayat-e faqih is a dictatorship are wrong. He insists monarchist dictatorship has not turned into religious dictatorship.
1350 GMT: Opposition Watch. The opposition Coordinating Council of the Green Path, after weeks of debate among activists and reformists inside Iran about participation in next March’s Parliamentary elections, has issued a statement with eight essential demands:
1) Release of all post-election political prisoners and restoration of rights to those on bail;
2) Keeping the hands of security and intelligence forces out of politics and and “engineering” of elections;
3) An end to the house arrests and security restrictions on Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi;
4) An end to illegal restrictions on political parties, labour unions, and non-government organisations;
5) An end to censorship and bans on the media, and a respect for freedom of expression;
6) An end to the current supervision, led by the Guardian Council, of elections — elections should take place under the supervision of a body respected by all political and social groups;
7) Assurance that all citizens and members of all political and religious currents and of ethnic groups should campaign and vote without fear of arrest and restrictions;
8) Guarantee of personal and financial equality and of security for all parties, candidates & voters, preventing any violence against them.
1330 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. After some confusion, actress/filmmaker Pegan Ahanagarani has been released from prison. She was detained earlier month, possibly for a documentary she made about the controversial Iranian director Masoud Dehnamaki (see 18 July entry).
1045 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch (Film Edition). Complementing our feature this morning on the imprisonment of Marzieh Vafamehr, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran summarises the pressures on members of Iran’s film industry, including the detentions of a number of directors and actors.
1010 GMT: Differing Views on the Economy. An interesting juxtaposition in the news this morning on the state of Iran’s economy….
In Washington, the International Monetary Fund’s lead economist on Iran, Dominique Guillaume, is full of praise for subsidy cuts, “This reform is first and foremost about reducing a waste of resources. But it also creates a greater sharing of Iran’s oil wealth amongst its people.”
In Tehran, MP Ahmad Tavakoli is not so sure: he says Iran’s dependence on imports has risen from 35% to 75% during the past five years. He cites an increase of more than 600% in the import of wheat over the period.
0955 GMT: All the President’s Men. Iran Inspector General Mostafa Pourmohammadi has said that the file of 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, suspected of involvement in large-scale fraud, is still open.
And a lawyer within Iran’s judiciary has countered the recent declaration of Presidential advisor Saeed Mortazavi that he has been “acquitted” of charges in the case of abuses and deaths at the Kahrizak detention centre.
Peyman Haj Mahmoud Attar said Mortazavi also faces enquiries in other cases such as financial mismanagement and the arrest of Iranian official Abbas Palizdar in 2008.
0950 GMT: Critiquing the Regime. The dissident theologian Ahmad Ghabel assesses that the Supreme Leader’s new Arbitration Council points to the severe conflicts between leaders within the Government, adding the heads of all three branches — President Ahmadinejad, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, and head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani are all “accustomed to illegality by now”.
0735 GMT: Ahmadinejad Watch. IRNA reports that, after some confusion, the President has submitted the names of four Cabinet nominees to Parliament.
Rustam Qassemi, the head of the engineering wing of the Revolutionary Guards, has been named to head the Ministry of Oil. The other posts are for Work and Social Welfare, Industry and Mines, and Trade.
Ahmadinejad had reportedly put the names forward at the start of the week, but leading MP Mohammad Reza Bahonar said yesterday that they had not been formally received.
0600 GMT: We begin this morning with two contrasting signals from Iran towards the international community.
The cautious warming of the Ahmadinejad Government towards the Russian proposal for a “phased” approach towards Iran’s nuclear programme and sanctions continues. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, “In regard with the issue of our country’s peaceful nuclear programmes…we have taken big steps towards confidence-building but we believe that confidence-building is a mutual move.”
Two weeks ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov put forth a plan under which Iran’s satisfaction of concerns of the International Atomic Energy Agency would be matched by a partial lifting of sanctions on Tehran. The regime was initially cool towards the move, with high-profile MPs and officials dismissing the proposal, but it is now adopting a “Let’s Hear and See More” attitude. In particular, President Ahmadinejad said last week that Iran would be receptive if the Lavrov plan was developed further.
Mehmanparast said Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi plans to accept Lavrov’s invitation to come to Russia in the near-future.
Closer to home, Tabnak offers a far different image over the question of Syria. A cartoon in the conservative newspaper on”The Origins of the Unrest” has French President Nicolas Sarkozy, US President Barack Obama, and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia fanning the flames.
ICRIR: Cyprus Update: Two Assaulted Refugees Interviewed for First Time 10 Days after Police Attack; Refugees Issue Complaint against Deputy of Larnaca Detention Center
On Friday 22 July 2011, the International Coalition for the Rights of Iranian Refugees (ICRIR) received a report from the Cyprus Refugee Rights Movement (CRRM) that the Cypriot non-governmental organization KISA visited the Larnaca detention center where Iranian and other defenseless refugees had sustained a brutal attack by armed police on 12 July 2011. The visit by KISA was the first by any entity outside of the detention center since the attack had occurred 10 days previous, although the UNHCR, the EU, the International Committee of the Red Cross, KISA, the Ombudsman of Cyprus, and others had been informed within a few hours of the attack, and although one of the detained refugees had been reported as sustaining a broken leg.
Iran’s Perceptions of International Sanctions and their Implications for Strategic Competition with the U.S. in the Gulf, Sept. 2010 – April 2011
The Burke Chair has compiled a series of chronological reports with the assistance of Adam Seitz of the Marine Corps University that focus on Iranian perceptions of national security and assess Iran’s intentions concerning competition with the U.S. A link to our most recent report, on Iranian perceptions of international sanctions, can be found here:http://csis.org/files/publication/110714_US_Iranian_Strategic_Competition_Sanctions.pdf.
Iranische Armee greift kurdische Dörfer anGfbV: Drei Tote und hunderte Flüchtlinge in Irakisch-Kurdistan durch iranischen Artilleriebeschuss
Mindestens drei Zivilisten sind durch Artilleriebeschuss der iranischen Armee in den vergangenen zwei Wochen in Irakisch-Kurdistan getötet worden. Elf wurden verletzt. Nach Informationen des Büros der Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (GfbV) in Arbil, der Hauptstadt des autonomen Bundesstaates Irakisch-Kurdistan, mussten außerdem hunderte Familien die Flucht ergreifen.
„Die Angriffe der iranischen Armee auf die Zivilbevölkerung von Irakisch-Kurdistan stellen eine gefährliche Aggression gegen das freie und friedliche Kurdistan dar und sind mit der Türkei offenbar gut koordiniert worden“, sagte Dr. Mahmud Othman, langjähriges Führungsmitglied der Kurdischen Nationalbewegung und Mitglied des irakischen Nationalparlaments, in einem Telefonat mit der GfbV, „denn der türkische Außenminister, Ahmet Davuto?lu, führte am 11. Juli Gespräche im Iran und in der vergangenen Nacht haben die iranische und die türkische Luftwaffe nahezu zeitgleich einige Dörfer im Distrikt Sidkan im Dreiländereck Iran-Irak-Türkei angegriffen.“ Dort gibt es insgesamt 254 Siedlungen mit rund 10.000 Einwohnern.
Iranische Artillerie hatte bereits am frühen Montagmorgen die sechs Dörfer Sured, Qirnaqan, Pisht Ashan, Sinemok, Kaskan, Ashqulke sowie die Sommeralmen von Singeser unter Beschuss genommen. Am Abend feuerten iranische Streitkräfte gegen 20 Uhr Granaten auf die fünf Siedlungen Suregul, Maredo, Beste, Eske Sere und Eske Xware.
Begründet werden Angriffe stets mit der Bekämpfung kurdischer Rebellengruppen, die sich in der Grenzregion verstecken. „Tatsächlich wollen sich jedoch weder der Iran noch die Türkei damit abfinden, dass Kurden in ihrer direkten Nachbarschaft, erfolgreich eine eigne Verwaltung aufgebaut haben“, sagte Othman. Der Iran und die Türkei befürchteten, dass Kurden in den beiden Ländern dem Beispiel von Irakisch-Kurdistan folgen und auch dort Autonomie und Selbstverwaltung fordern. Der gewählte Präsident von Irakisch-Kurdistan, Masud Barzani, hat bereits mehrfach an die iranische Regierung appelliert, die Probleme friedlich zu lösen.
Für Nachfragen steht der Präsident der GfbV International, Tilman Zülch, gern zur Verfügung unter T. 0151 153 09 888.
Quelle:Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker
The International Committee for Human Rights in Iran has published a 38-page report, “Raising Their Voices“, with the commentaries of 35 prominent writers, lawyers, filmmakers, and activists inside the country about the impact of a military strike against Iran. Extracts from some of the testimonies:
Mohammad Seifzadeh, Lawyer
We have the experiences of World Wars I and II and experienced the Iran-Iraq war up close. We know that the events following these wars eliminated any social progress or political achievements. After the Iranian Constitutional Revolution, all the dedication and lives that were given for democracy and freedom resulted in Reza Shah’s dictatorship and World War II, and Iran lost so much. Generations of intellectuals are killed or imprisoned in the middle of these wars and democracy becomes barren.
We also saw that the Iran-Iraq war led to what happened in the 1980s. Violent crimes rose and a revolution whose main slogan was “freedom” and “independence”, and had chosen the Islamic Republic in order to realize these goals, instead reached a point where it killed and oppressed its opponents. Supporters of human rights like us, who established the Center for Defenders of Human Rights, were persecuted and imprisoned. In the end, the goals of the 1979 revolution were not realized.
The social atmosphere we experienced immediately after the revolution was more open. All political activists and different groups could speak and be active and have their rights relatively respected. But as the war started, the atmosphere abruptly closed and society faced turmoil, violence, and assassinations, and groups were eliminated. Universities were shut down and their environments became restricted. Limitations were imposed on students, faculty, and staff. Generally, a new war would take us to a very bad environment. We are still paying for the violence that past wars forced on us.
If a war were to take place right now, the atmosphere would definitely become more restricted and more limitations would be imposed upon intellectuals, human rights activists, social elites and students. If the West wishes to realize democracy, freedom, and human rights worldwide it should consider options other than war.
Simin Behbahani, Poet
We have a very bad experience with war. We endured eight years of war with Iraq which was all a loss and not a penny of benefit. We fell down for years, the energy of our youth and our national wealth was wasted. Our youth were killed. Now, even if they give us millions in gold, I will never agree with war.
If the rulers are cruel people themselves should rise against them and change the conditions of their country, just as we see in other countries these days. Generally, I don’t like wars and I expect the United States, a very powerful country in the world and one with a good name, to act against war, because war does not solve anything.
Conditions for writers do not improve after a war. What a bad person would I need to be to wish a war, so that my [banned] books could be published. Even if I am buried under a ton of dirt and not even one line of my writings remain I would never agree to a war, not only in my own country, but in any corner of the world.
Tahmineh Milani, Filmmaker
We must not forget that Iranians are nationalistic and will not give even one molecule of their soil to foreigners. I lost a brother to the Iraq war, something I have never talked about and no one knows about. He was a soldier doing his compulsory military service. He suffered spinal injuries during the war and was paralyzed for ten years, and then he died. My mother died the following year. What did they die for, really? Sometimes people lose their lives to natural catastrophes, but sometimes we throw bombs and kill people. But why? Foreign governments may see us as inconsequential, but they have no right to think this way. We are a decent and good nation.
I don’t believe any country is authorized to take military action against Iran. As people experience cultural growth, they can do better things and find ways to reach democracy.
Under the current circumstances, I believe there is a probability that the Iranian government would use a war to establish its own political power, just as this happened during the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq. The government can use the war as an excuse and delay people’s demands. It is easier to control and suppress people under war conditions.
Ahmad Ghabel, Theologian
Any group who may take power following a violent change of political order would also resort to violence to suppress the population. This has been a historical problem for Iranians; that any group who reaches political power resorts to violence to suppress its opposition. If we want to put an end to this process, we must seek change through non-violent means.
Bombs cannot always distinguish between military targets and the civilian population. Also, the military personnel are Iranians who have families. The fact that the government doesn’t treat its population well doesn’t justify foreigners dropping bombs.
A military attack will be tremendously harmful to the people’s aspirations because our hearts and minds are not with foreign intervention. Assuming that a political change would follow an attack and the current system is replaced as a result, the new system would automatically be condemned because it had been empowered by foreign intervention. The time required for any new government to build trust with the people would be valuable time lost. Iranians have a historical memory of foreign interventions….
Considering the regime’s lack of mercy towards its opponents and the continuous accusation that opponents are foreign agents, if there is a military strike, the biggest damage will fall on national and religious opposition groups in Iran. It is even possible that their lives will be threatened.
Mohammad Maleki, Academic
An attack by foreign forces will harm everything. It is better that Iranians be allowed to solve their problems. They are well aware and conscious of what they need to do and there is no need for resorting to violence because it will not lead to any positive developments. If Iranians are seeking liberty, justice, and equality, they should develop their own means for achieving them.
A military intervention will undoubtedly lead to a much more closed environment inside the country and give the regime the perfect excuse to oppress the people even more.
Fakhrosaadat Mohtashamipour, Activist
International actors should focus on negotiations and not military confrontation. It is unimaginable that a military strike could resolve Iran’s problems or create a more open atmosphere. When we have a democratic movement and the ability for mass participation to bring about positive change, then war is certainly not the answer. We believe that with some patience and resistance the people can take society in a direction away from this militarized and coup-like atmosphere.
When you speak of freedom of opinion and free elections, these values are in opposition to the beliefs of the coup leaders [current government]. This does not mean that efforts [for reform] will be unsuccessful, however, it requires patience, persistence, attention, and enlightenment in society. Everyday people become more informed in regards to their society and their problems.
If there is a military strike against Iran it will certainly create a security state. Using war chatter [government officials] try to pressure the society, and to hinder civil society’s activities by accusing them of aiding the United States to attack Iran and helping the enemy. [In the case of war] there may be life threats made against civil society activists, and thus increased pressure on them. These are serious issues. In today’s atmosphere they are waiting for any sort of excuse. This is because war is the regime’s lifeline. They depend on it. They can thrive in a war environment.
Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, Journalist
Human rights advocacy aims to promote peace, stability, and prosperity of human beings. In contrast, a military attack means the killing of innocent human beings for no fault of their own. What kind of rationality could justify and accept such an action?
As someone who is engaged in the protection and promotion of human rights, I don’t believe a military attack would resolve any of our current concerns. Indeed, Iranian society’s attitude towards anyone who would advocate war under the guise of human rights and democracy would be terribly negative.”
If we look at the experiences of countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan, or any other country where legitimate human rights concerns were exploited for justifying military intervention, we see that there is no peace in such countries. We must believe in the fact that our need is to promote dialogue and rational interactions to solve our problems. The bitter experience of war should not be repeated. We should learn our lessons and plan accordingly.
Mahmoud Dowlatabadi, Author
I believe that war is one of the maladies of the human community; in the case of a potential war between Iran and the US, I believe the relations between the two countries will be ruined forever.”
I witnessed eight years of war with Iraq, which had no good coming out of it. Many writers were forced to leave Iran or became depressed and isolated. I don’t have a good experience from war.
I believe we writers can write more freely in Iran and publish our books if there is peace in the world. During a war, all conditions are compulsory, and in fact the government finds excuses to prevent cultural activities. I believe that with a war, the conditions for writers and artists not only do not improve; they get a lot worse.
This section features the extended comments and biographies of the 35 individuals interviewed for this report. Their views on the ramifications of a military strike against Iran are shaped by their personal and professional experiences with the Iran-Iraq war and Iran’s history of political turmoil. Collectively, these interviewees represent some of the most respected and influential activists and cultural leaders in Iranian society and thereby offer valuable insights into the perspectives of Iranian civil society regarding the military option.
Mohammad Seifzadeh | Lawyer
Seifzadeh is a prominent human rights lawyer and a founding member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center, along with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi. He has represented numerous political activists, human rights defenders, and journalists accused primarily of national security crimes. Seifzadeh’s persistence in drawing attention to the failures of Iran’s judiciary has led to his own prosecution. In November 2010, he was sentenced to nine years in prison and a ten-year ban on practicing law on the charge of “acting against national security.” An appeals court reduced his sentence to two years in June 2011. He is currently being held in Tehran’s Evin Prison.
“We have the experiences of World Wars I and II and experienced the Iran-Iraq war up close. We know that the events following these wars eliminated any social progress or political achievements. After the Iranian Constitutional Revolution, all the dedication and lives that were given for democracy and freedom resulted in Reza Shah’s dictatorship and World War II, and Iran lost so much. Generations of intellectuals are killed or imprisoned in the middle of these wars and democracy becomes barren.”
“We also saw that the Iran-Iraq war led to what happened in the 1980s. Violent crimes rose and a revolution whose main slogan was ‘freedom’ and ‘independence,’ and had chosen the Islamic Republic in order to realize these goals, instead reached a point where it killed and oppressed its opponents. Supporters of human rights like us, who established the Defenders of Human Rights Center, were persecuted and imprisoned. In the end, the goals of the 1979 revolution were not realized. The social atmosphere we experienced immediately after the revolution was more open. All political activists and different groups could speak and be active and have their rights relatively respected. But as the war started, the atmosphere abruptly closed and society faced turmoil, violence, and assassinations, and groups were eliminated. Universities were shut down and their environments became restricted. Limitations were imposed on students, faculty, and staff. Generally, a new war would take us to a very bad environment. We are still paying for the violence that past wars forced on us.” “If a war were to take place right now, the atmosphere would definitely become more restricted and more limitations would be imposed upon intellectuals, human rights activists, social elites and students. If the West wishes to realize democracy, freedom, and human rights worldwide it should consider options other than war.”
“Through [our Center], my colleagues and I established the National Peace Council (NPC). For a while during former US President Bush’s term, war fever soared and a military attack on our country appeared probable. With the NPC we were able to encourage social elites to speak out against war. There were also anti-war demonstrations all over Europe, organized by my colleague [Nobel Peace Prize Laureate] Shirin Ebadi.”
Simin Behbahani | Poet
Born in 1927, Simin Behbahani is amongst Iran’s most celebrated living poets and important figures in Iran’s women’s rights movement. She won the Carl von Ossietzky Medal by the International League for Human Rights in 1999. Government authorities have targeted Behbahani for her outspoken advocacy on behalf of Iranian women. In March 2010, authorities stopped her while she was attempting to board a plane to Paris to deliver a speech on the occastion of International Women’s Day and forbade her from traveling.
“We have a very bad experience with war. We endured eight years of war with Iraq which was all a loss and not a penny of benefit. We fell down for years, the energy of our youth and our national wealth was wasted. Our youth were killed. Now, even if they give us millions in gold, I will never agree with war.”
“If the rulers are cruel people themselves should rise against them and change the conditions of their country, just as we see in other countries these days. Generally, I don’t like wars and I expect the United States, a very powerful country in the world and one with a good name, to act against war, because war does not solve anything.”
“Conditions for writers do not improve after a war. What a bad person would I need to be to wish a war, so that my [banned] books could be published. Even if I am buried under a ton of dirt and not even one line of my writings remain I would never agree to a war, not only in my own country, but in any corner of the world.”
Tahmineh Milani | Filmmaker
Born in 1960, Tahmineh Milani is an internationally acclaimed screenwriter and filmmaker. As a feminist, Milani’s films explore the many struggles of women in Iran. Her first film, “Bache Haye Talaagh,” received the top award at Fajr Film Festival in 1989. In 1994, her film “Do Zan,” won the award for best screenplay at the Fajr Film Festival. Milani was arrested in 2000, after her film “Nimeh Penhan” was released and charged with “acting against national security,” “enmity with God,” and “creating public anxiety through artistic expression.” She made the film “Tasvieh Hessab” after her detention in the General Ward of Evin Prison about intmates she met there.
“We must not forget that Iranians are nationalistic and will not give even one molecule of their soil to foreigners. I lost a brother to the Iraq war, something I have never talked about and no one knows about. He was a soldier doing his compulsory military service. He suffered spinal injuries during the war and was paralyzed for ten years, and then he died. My mother died the following year. What did they die for, really? Sometimes people lose their lives to natural catastrophes, but sometimes we throw bombs and kill people. But why? Foreign governments may see us as inconsequential, but they have no right to think this way. We are a decent and good nation.”
“I don’t believe any country is authorized to take military action against Iran. As people experience cultural growth, they can do better things and find ways to reach democracy.”
“Under the current circumstances, I believe there is a probability that the Iranian government would use a war to establish its own political power, just as this happened during the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq. The government can use the war as an excuse and delay people’s demands. It is easier to control and suppress people under war conditions.”
Ahmad Ghabel | Theologian
Ahmad Ghabel is a well-known theologian and a student of the late dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hosseinali Montazeri. He has written numerous widely circulated open letters to Iran’s Supreme Leader criticizing the country’s social and political conditions. Over the last decade, Ghabel has been arrested numerous times, most recently in December 2009 on his way from Mashad to Qom to participate in the funeral of Ayatollah Montazeri. He has spent 170 days in prison.
“Any group who may take power following a violent change of political order would also resort to violence to suppress the population. This has been a historical problem for Iranians; that any group who reaches political power resorts to violence to suppress its opposition. If we want to put an end to this process, we must seek change through non-violent means.”
“Bombs cannot always distinguish between military targets and the civilian population. Also, the military personnel are Iranians who have families. The fact that the government doesn’t treat its population well doesn’t justify foreigners dropping bombs.”
“A military attack will be tremendously harmful to the people’s aspirations because our hearts and minds are not with foreign intervention. Assuming that a political change would follow an attack and the current system is replaced as a result, the new system would automatically be condemned because it had been empowered by foreign intervention. The time required for any new government to build trust with the people would be valuable time lost. Iranians have a historical memory of foreign interventions.”
“This country doesn’t belong to the Iranian government but to the Iranian people. We have no right to endanger the lives of a people.”
“When foreign forces want to fight for our rights it won’t be costless. They will impose heavy costs on the nation. However, in 1991 [during the Gulf War] the Iraqi infrastructure was bombed under the assumption that they were bolstering the Iraqi regime. I recall, they even bombarded powder milk factories in Baghdad. Or for example in Serbia, even bridges were bombarded. In all of these wars, industrial centers and infrastructure was destroyed despite being part of a nation’s wealth. During all these wars the countries’ economic infrastructure and social services were destroyed. These are part of a nation’s backbone. If Iran cannot rebuild and restore its infrastructure for decades to come, it will obviously be a huge setback. I don’t think any rational mind would accept such an outcome.”
“Considering the regime’s lack of mercy towards its opponents and the continuous accusation that opponents are foreign agents, if there is a military strike, the biggest damage will fall on national and religious opposition groups in Iran. It is even possible that their lives will be threatened.”
Mohammad Maleki | Academic
Born in 1934, Maleki is a pro-democracy activist, academic, and former Chancellor of Tehran University. He was active during the 1979 revolution and immediately afterward became Chancellor of Tehran University and professor of Health and Food Industries. On 12 July 1981, authorities arrested Maleki after he criticized the closure of Iran’s universities in the early 1980s. He spent five years in prison under harsh conditions. After the 2009 presidential election, Maleki criticized the government’s crackdown and security forces arrested him on 22 August 2009. He spent 191 days in prison before being released on bail. Maleki is bedridden at home suffering from prostate cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
“An attack by foreign forces will harm everything. It is better that Iranians be allowed to solve their problems. They are well aware and conscious of what they need to do and there is no need for resorting to violence because it will not lead to any positive developments. If Iranians are seeking liberty, justice, and equality, they should develop their own means for achieving them.”
“A military intervention will undoubtedly lead to a much more closed environment inside the country and give the regime the perfect excuse to oppress the people even more.”
Fakhralsadat Mohtashamipour | Activist
Fakhralsadat Mohtashamipour is a member of the Islamic Participation Front, a reformist political party. She previously served as the General Director of Women’s Affairs at the Interior Ministry and was Chair of the Board of Directors of the NGO, Women History Scholars. Mohtashamipour is married to Mostafa Tajzadeh, who was Deputy Minister of the Interior during Khatami’s presidency and was imprisoned after the 2009 presidential election. She has been a vocal advocate of the rights of her husband and other political prisoners. On 1 March 2011, she was arrested during a peaceful protest and still in prison as of this writing. She was hospitalized after going on hunger strike in prison to protest her husband’s detention.
“International actors should focus on negotiations and not military confrontation. It is unimaginable that a military strike could resolve Iran’s problems or create a more open atmosphere. When we have a democratic movement and the ability for mass participation to bring about positive change, then war is certainly not the answer. We believe that with some patience and resistance the people can take society in a direction away from this militarized and coup-like atmosphere.”
“When you speak of freedom of opinion and free elections, these values are in opposition to the beliefs of the coup leaders [current government]. This does not mean that efforts [for reform] will be unsuccessful, however, it requires patience, persistence, attention, and enlightenment in society. Everyday people become more informed in regards to their society and their problems.”
“If there is a military strike against Iran it will certainly create a security state. Using war chatter [government officials] try to pressure the society, and to hinder civil society’s activities by accusing them of aiding the United States to attack Iran and helping the enemy. [In the case of war] there may be life threats made against civil society activists, and thus increased pressure on them. These are serious issues. In today’s atmosphere they are waiting for any sort of excuse. This is because war is the regime’s lifeline. They depend on it. They can thrive in a war environment.”
Mohammad Ali Dadkhah | Lawyer
Mohammad Ali Dadkhah is a prominent human rights lawyer and a founding member of the Defenders of Human Right Center, along with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi. Dadkhah has represented numerous prisoners of conscience, including Gonabadi Dervishes, a persecuted religious minority, and opposition activists. On 8 July 2009, security forces detained Dadkhah as part of a crackdown on human rights lawyers following the disputed 2009 presidential election. On 3 July 2011, a lower court sentenced him to eight years in prison for “propaganda against the regime,” and “cooperation for soft overthrow of the regime,” among other charges.
“Human rights advocacy aims to promote peace, stability, and prosperity of human beings. In contrast, a military attack means the killing of innocent human beings for no fault of their own. What kind of rationality could justify and accept such an action?”
“As someone who is engaged in the protection and promotion of human rights, I don’t believe a military attack would resolve any of our current concerns. Indeed, Iranian society’s attitude towards anyone who would advocate war under the guise of human rights and democracy would be terribly negative.”
“If we look at the experiences of countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan, or any other country where legitimate human rights concerns were exploited for justifying military intervention, we see that there is no peace in such countries. We must believe in the fact that our need is to promote dialogue and rational interactions to solve our problems. The bitter experience of war should not be repeated. We should learn our lessons and plan accordingly.”
Hamid R. | Journalist
Hamid R. is a respected reformist journalist and editor. Several of the publications he has worked for have been banned by authorities. In his writings, he has been critical of the Iranian government and has been summoned by judicial authorities on numerous occasions for questioning.
“The foremost impact of such an attack, given the level of dissent and the government’s instability, is to cause serious divisions among the Green Movement that has come to existence during the past two years. The movement has paid a heavy price through hundreds of lives and many more political prisoners. But a foreign military attack would cause many in the movement’s rank-and-file to react to such development. This is the foremost desire of the current government, because they know that the survival of their rule rests upon igniting nationalist and religious feelings within the population. Any foreign military intervention would play an important and decisive role in consolidation of the present regime. The memory [of the US-led 1953 coup] is quite alive among Iranians, and the government will [in the case of an attack by the United States] invest in resurrecting it to its own advantage through propaganda.”
“Without doubt, attacking any country would lead to violations of human rights. It is inevitable that any aggression would result in unacceptable crimes. Although international law forbids attacking civilians, which is a major concern for the human rights community, there are no guarantees that innocent lives will not be lost.”
“Iran is a mosaic of ethnicities and because of the general discontent with the central government, each region could be influenced by separatist tendencies. A foreign military attack would set on fire such tendencies and could lead to an uncontrollable chaos.”
Mahmoud Dowlatabadi | Author
Born in 1940, Mahmoud Dowlatabadi is among the most celebrated authors in Iran. His works include the ten-volume epic “Kalidar,” “Ja-ye Khali-ye Solooch,” and “Roozegar-e Separi Shodeye Marde Salkhordeh.” Dowlatabadi began his artistic work as a theater actor and playwright. He is active in Iranian politics, having supported Mir Hossein Moussavi during his 2009 election campaign. Dowlatabadi’s most recent novel, “Colonel”, was published in Germany last year but has not yet received a publication permit in Iran.
“I believe that war is one of the maladies of the human community; in the case of a potential war between Iran and the US, I believe the relations between the two countries will be ruined forever.”
“I witnessed eight years of war with Iraq, which had no good coming out of it. Many writers were forced to leave Iran or became depressed and isolated. I don’t have a good experience from war.”
“I believe we writers can write more freely in Iran and publish our books if there is peace in the world. During a war, all conditions are compulsory, and in fact the government finds excuses to prevent cultural activities. I believe that with a war, the conditions for writers and artists not only do not improve; they get a lot worse.”
“I hope that the reforms in Iran continue to move forward and create change in conditions, so that our country is not constantly in a state of contradiction with the rest of the world. This is my personal wish.”
Majid H. | Student Activist
Majid H. is a student activist who was arrested after the 2009 presidential election and spent several months in prison. He is a member of the nationwide reformist and pro-Green Movement student organization, Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat. After receiving repeated summonses to appear at the Ministry of Intelligence, he has gone into hiding. He interviewed with the Campaign on condition of anonymity due to security concerns and fear of reprisal from judicial authorities.
“[An attack] would result in destruction of the country’s infrastructure and would be a huge setback for the people, a bitter experience that would destroy any present achievements. [The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan] not only did not achieve their stated goals, but resulted in further destruction. It is particularly heart-wrenching to witness the developments in Afghanistan. In Iraq, although the country was freed from [Saddam Hussein’s] dictatorship, following the American attack, the daily cost of it is not acceptable. Any rational mind would seek a less costly and surer way of achieving democracy. Any war takes the humanity out of humans. [A conflict] would change the social and political environment of the country in the worst possible manner.”
“Our people today are closer than ever in achieving historical goals such as a broad understanding of rights and freedoms, and an understanding that having opposing views is possible. Respect for one’s opinions and creed and tolerance of differences are concepts that are widely taking root among the young generation. This is providing the grounds for united actions to demand respect for these from the state too, such as in the form of protests in the last couple of years. It is a manifestation of a collective consciousness and spirit. Having paid a heavy price standing up and fighting religious fundamentalism, reactionary thoughts, and monarchic dictatorship to reach this point, would it not be ironic to welcome war and provide further opportunity for enemies of human rights and democracy? To provide for an uncertain and complicated situation?”
Sadeq Zibakalam | Professor
Born in 1948, Sadeq Zibakalam is a researcher, political analyst, and a faculty member at Tehran University. Zibakalam holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Bradford University in the United Kingdom. He has published dozens of books, some of which are used as textbooks in Iranian universities. Zibakalam is one of Iran’s leading public intellectuals known for his cutting analysis and opinions on Iran’s domestic and international affairs. Consequently, broadcast media outlets consistently seek him out as an expert in the field.
“First of all, a military strike will not help the democracy and reformist movement at all because it will cause militarization of the country. The military and Revolutionary Guards will increase their power and radical elements on the conservative right will be strengthened. All of these will seriously harm the movement for greater freedoms. An attack will seriously harm the reformist and democracy movements in Iran, providing a pretext for the government to increase its pressure on them.”
“On the other hand, chaos and instability following a military strike, could lead to occupation of certain parts of the country and cause a civil war and even disintegration. If Arab countries become the allies of Western powers and the United States in such a confrontation, we can see serious problems in border provinces such as Khuzestan, Sistan and Baluchistan, Kurdistan, and Azerbaijan. Furthermore, attacking nuclear installations will certainly cause a chain reaction. Most importantly is that Iran’s reaction will be to attack American military bases in the region, regardless of how successful it might be. If an attack is initiated by Israel, Iran will order (Lebanese) Hizbollah to attack Israel and then Israelis will expand their military campaign (into Lebanon).”
“If the US attacks Iran, an implicit alliance between Iran, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban will be formed based on the logic that ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend.’”
Shirin F. | Environmental Activist
Shirin F. is an Iranian civil society and environmental activist . Over the past 13 years she has been active in the Iranian civil society and participated in environmentalist projects carried out by various NGOs. With the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and increasing governmental hostility towards NGOs, her organization lost a number of its projects. Intelligence officials interrogated her consistently after she returns from international conferences on environmental issues. Shirin F. agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity.
“As someone who spent much of my childhood and adolescence during [the Iran-Iraq] war, I can never be favorable towards a war scenario. During the war, people struggled just to stay alive. This may strengthen social solidarity but it also results in a depressed society when no one thinks of building anything.”
“If someone was involved in social activism [during the Iran-Iraq war], they would be called ‘comfortable’ and ‘without pain.’ It took many years for such activists to find and legitimize their work and concerns throughout towns, cities, and institutions. A new war would be a great setback. It will remove us much further from democracy, civil society, and social activism. People will be the main losers of such a war.”
“Those [countries] who advocate war in today’s political climate, are those who consider themselves the flag bearers of democracy and human rights. What kind of human rights framework allows countries to decide war or peace for the people of another nation? They will cause war, then assign reconstruction budgets, build local armies, all for bringing peace to another nation. No lasting peace is achieved through foreign intervention.”
Mohammad Ali Sepanlou | Poet
Born in 1940, Sepanlou is a poet, translator, and literary critic and one of the most renowned contemporary poets in Iran. He has translated the works of world famous writers into Persian, including Albert Camus and Jean Paul Sartre. He began writing in the 1960s and was a founding member of the Iranian Writers’ Association. In the past 20 years, Sepanlou has been among a handful of poets who have participated in conferences in Europe and the United States and whose work has been translated into multiple languages, including English, German, French, and Arabic. Several of Sepanlou’s poetry collections have been denied publication permits by Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
“I thought a lot about war with Iran, and every time I opposed it because more than anything else it will hurt the people of Iran. First of all, any war that could take place would not be a short-term war, and secondly, the instinct to defend and the nationalism of the Iranian people would come into play, and assuming that the country’s rule changes, it will be followed by a civil war which would also hurt the people of Iran.”
“A war would not serve US interests, as Iranians are the only people among the Islamic countries of the Middle East who have a favorable view of Americans. Unlike the Shah’s time when Iranians were against the United States, they have no animosity toward the United States right now. If any blood were shed between the two countries, it would be to both countries’ disadvantage. We do not wish to see another Iraq here, where everyday a car bomb could go off. Nobody can predict the results of a war and say what would happen after a war; therefore I oppose a war one hundred percent.”
“Even the situation of literature is unpredictable during a war and following a war. War casualties would lead poets into becoming the elegy writers of their country.”
Keyvan P. | Journalist
Keyvan P. is a journalist and blogger for ten years. He was arrested during the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election. He lost his job after the 2009 election when authorities shut down many reformist newspapers. He interviewed on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
“During [the Iran-Iraq war], the press had no ability to reflect what was happening inside prisons, either domestically or on the international level. This scenario could very well be repeated if a new military situation arises. Many prisoners who hold on to their beliefs in opposing the Islamic Republic could be executed.”
“Today there are many forms of alternative media, such as those empowered by the Internet, but due to government control, they won’t have much impact inside the country and may only inform the outside world in a limited way. The bulk of the population would be under the grip of government propaganda and will not know of large numbers of executions or widespread torture inside prisons. Under a military crisis, all security related sentences would urgently be implemented and no form of civil action or movement be tolerated. This has been demonstrated in a limited way during the post-election events of the last couple of years.”
“In general, [war] will be disadvantageous because the government will increase censorship in order to preserve itself. It’s even possible that they will set up a system to filter all sources of information. For example, it’s possible that domestic media outlets will be required to be checked by a government agent before going to publication. [War] will increase censorship in Iran and create a tool for repressing journalists.”
Lili Golestan | Author
Born on 14 July 1944, Lili Golestan is a literary translator, author and owner and artistic director of the well-known Golestan Art Gallery. She is the daughter of the renowned Iranian filmmaker and writer, Ebrahim Golestan. In 1981, Golestan opened a bookstore in the garage of her home, which soon became a well-known meeting place of great writers and poets of the era, such as Ahmad Shamlou, Mohammad Zohari, Ahmad Mahmoud, Ali-Akbar Sa’idi Sirjani, and Abdolhossein Navaei. In 1988, she converted the bookstore into the visual arts gallery, Golestan Art Gallery, which has showcased the works of some of the most celebrated Iranian and international artists.
“When civilized nations can engage in dialogue to address their differences, there is no justification for barbaric actions such as war. It would not result in any positive developments and will bring about the deaths of many innocent civilians as well as chaos and anarchy.”
“I don’t believe problems regarding Iran can be solved with a military attack at all. Look at Iraq. The United States wanted to solve its problems with war, but has that been achieved? Unfortunately, the United States has failed in this effort and regarding Iran, the military option must be completely discarded.”
Natasha Amiri | Author
Amiri is a writer, literary critic, and the author of several novels such as “Eshgh Rooye Chakraye Dovvom,” and “Hoola…Hoola.” She has received several literary awards, including Sokhan.com’s award for Best Popular Story for “Aan Keh Shabih-e to Nist,” on the occasion of famed author Sadegh Hedayat’s 100th birthday. She has also received numerous awars in Iran, including first prize from the literary magazine Asr-e Panjshanbeh and the Iranian People’s Prize for her debut novel “House of Stories”.
“I believe that we who live inside of Iran have a more accurate view of Iranian society. In my opinion, discussing the military option, given Iran’s current regional situation, is odd; especially after the sanctions imposed on Iran. Meaning, it is unlikely that immediately after imposing sanctions that the military option will be chosen. As a writer who hears outsiders’ criticism, I feel that their analysis is far from reality because they have no contact with the Iranian people. Being inside the country, I believe that our people are not ready for war and view war as foreign intervention. Maybe in three months the situation will change.”
“A lot of people inside Iran may be unsatisfied, but they are not willing to choose just any option to change their situation. They are much more aware than the pre-revolution era. After all, we have been through a revolution. My question is: after a war will our situation be like Iraq? I went to Iraq after the Iraq war and their condition was not desirable. I would not want that for my country.”
Ramin G. | Lawyer
Ramin G. is an active human rights lawyer. Last year, authorities arrested and sentenced him to prison after he represented a number of human rights abuse victims. Despite pressure from authorities to stop his activities, Ramin G. continues to speak to national and international media about his cases in order to raise public awareness and mobilize support for his clients . He continues his work under very difficult circumstances, repeatedly receiving threats from judicial authorities. Ramin G. interviewed with the Campaign on condition of anonymity.
“Standing up to America has been instrumentally used to whip up the emotions of [the regime’s] base and bring them into the streets for years. They publicly state that [the United States] is the country’s main concern and this idea has become an unconscious belief for many people, both supporting and opposing the state. In event of a war, such sloganeering would move into the realm of reality. Any opposition to the government would be considered siding with [US] imperialism. In practice, many opposition sympathizers could end up in the government’s camp, leaving the remaining opposition forces few and inactive. They will be seen as taking the foreign aggressor’s side, making it easy to label them the enemy’s fifth column and providing a justification for their repression.”
“The crisis stemming from a military confrontation would significantly lower the level of people’s expectations from the state because the people would have to choose between a ‘bad’ situation, meaning the rule of a dictatorial system and related hardships, versus a ‘worse’ situation, that would entail loosing national independence and sovereignty. The majority would prefer to choose the ‘bad’ option over the ‘worse.’ Under a military situation, violence and its consequences would spread throughout society, but its implementation would remain hidden from the public eye. The government could use the situation to settle political scores on a wide scale to eliminate its opposition. In parallel to violence unleashed during a war, the rule of law and a minimum respect for its standards and people’s rights would be completely ignored. War is a good instrument for whipping up the society’s nationalistic emotions and abusing them for the purpose of covering up the failings of the state.”
“Religious rulers, in general, would portray any military confrontation with their enemies as a sacred battle of the Righteous and struggle against the Infidels and would propagate it as such. Under such views, there is no doubt that that the State’s attempts to develop nuclear arms would become a clear strategic goal. Such thinking would unfortunately be strengthened even in event of a military failure and setback for it, and would result in suicidal movements and widespread assassinations of dissidents inside the country and especially abroad. It is under such circumstances that the international community would be hard pressed with regard to options available to it. Because such a political system, in addition to the usual tools at their disposal, also enjoy a cultural, religious, and populist base amongst certain layers of the society and would use it to whip up religious emotions and abuse religious beliefs as a weapon and defensive shield, which will not be limited to the Iranian people and could spark a broad crisis throughout the Muslim populations of the region.”
“As the freedom-seeking movement inside the country continues to develop and grow and the State’s weakness in confronting it reveals itself, as well as the inherit contradictions of the system. The emergence of a foreign military confrontation, more than being a necessity for the United States and the West, would be in line with the desires of the ruling class because the government can use the situation to unify its fragmented forces and solidify itself.”
“It is the people who will carry the burden, both in the short and long-term. And the ruling class, by increasing its repression and pressures, will preserve itself. Ultimately a military attack does not impact the government’s grip on power.”
Hassan B. | Student Activist
Hassan B. is a student rights activist who was arrested after the 2009 presidential election. The Campaign conducted the interview while he was released on a short furlough from prison. Hassan B. is one of the most vocal student activists advocating against the violence used towards Iranian citizens in the aftermath of the 2009 election. He agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity.
“If war breaks out, democracy, human rights, and civil society will be the main losers. The Iranian government would militarize and such a militaristic government has the potential to carry out widespread killings of its opponents, such as what happened in Iraqi Kurdistan or against Shi’as in the South of Iraq [under Saddam’s rule]. Human rights crimes will be at their zenith.”
“The only way forward is through negotiations. So far we haven’t seen any serious negotiations in the region that benefits the people. We have witnessed a series of wars, such as in Afghanistan or Iraq, or crippling sanctions against Iraq under Saddam that led to the Oil for Food program.”
“Economic sanctions will harm the people most because the government has oil revenues. For example, the Revolutionary Guard controls as many as 1000 companies that are based in the UAE and carry out their business from there. Sanctions will bring a crisis for the people and not them.”
Shadmehr Rastin | Screenwriter
Born in 1964, Shadmehr Rastin is one of Iran’s most famous screenwriters having written the scripts for “Be Hamin Sadeghi” directed by Reza Mirkarimi, and “Offside!” directed by Jafar Panahi. “Be Hamin Sadegi” won the award for Best Script at the 26th Fajr Film Festival. The film was shown at film festivals in Chicago, Moscow, Hamburg, and Portland, receiving the award for Best Film at the Moscow International Film Festival.
“On the off-chance that the Americans were to make such an unwise decision and attack Iran, a situation similar to the American-led coup 50 years ago [in 1953] will happen in Iran again and the United States’ image will be more tarnished than ever for Iranians. Iran has a civil society, something that didn’t exist in any of the other countries where US attacked. The US attack may have helped the people of those countries to reach their civil demands, but in Iran people express their demands in modern ways.”
“Any government anywhere in the world that does not have regard for its people needs an external enemy for unity. This is the case all over the world. Maybe for the US government, this is space aliens, and for the Iranian government, it is the US. Many politicians use this alternative. It appears that under the present circumstances, our politicians think about the war a lot, and it seems that this is their number one alternative now. I am very concerned that under the existing circumstances, in order to bring unity between the nation and the government, this alternative may be chosen. I hope that this lack of wisdom does not develop in Iran.”
Alireza K. | Journalist
Alireza K. is a well-known political journalist who has previously written for reformist newspapers. Due to his activism he has been imprisoned, arrested, and interrogated by security forces. During his 15 years of work as a journalist, on a number of occasions he has been forced to change jobs due to the government banning reformist newspapers. He agree to speak to the Campaign on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
“Before the 2009 election, most reformists and moderates feared a military confrontation with the United States and considered it not only against the interests of the general public, but also against the interests of the reformist camp who wanted to bring about fundamental changes from within the system. But today, many reformists and moderates are of the belief that the Islamic Republic is not amenable to gradual change and engaging it on a reformist path is not possible. Thus, if they previously opposed a limited military strike, today, if not welcoming it, they may not oppose it. But is this option in the interests of the population? No. The Iranian people have a collective culture. They try to depict an image of a cohesive society so when tragedy strikes they can become united and overcome the obstacles. The people of Iran are like a field of wheat. They stand together, and when a powerful wind blows they bend. They even bend to the point of hitting the ground, but they do not break. They take refuge in one another until the storm passes, and then they regain composure and live on. This is why foreign government’s pressures have not worked on them. Not only have they have not worked, but rather they have strengthened their bonds. We should distinguish between the Iranian people and their government. [In the case of a military strike] people will gravitate towards unifying behind the government. All means of communication are in the hands of the government. They utilize religion and religious principles effectively to guarantee the survival of the regime, and strengthen the opposition against the United States. They create a duality of good and evil. They portray the survival of the country as being tied to the survival of the regime.”
1715 GMT: All the President’s Men. Hassan Nouroozi of Parliament’s Article 90 Commission has explained that while discussion of complaints against President Ahmadinejad’s Chief of Staff, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashai, and Vice President Hamid Baghaei have been postponed, their files are still open.
1710 GMT: Loyalty Watch. Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council,has declared that if someone does not believe in velayat-e faqih (clerical supremacy), his/her prayers and fasts will not be accepted.