Archiv für den Tag 18. Mai 2012
U.S. News & World Report: ”Prominent lawmakers and Middle East experts on Thursday urged Washington to enact stricter sanctions on Iran, with one former senior diplomat urging ‘the most robust sanctions in history.’ … ‘The consequences to Iran have been significant,’ former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Mark Wallace told a House panel Thursday. ‘Iran’s [currency] has been in free-fall, a reliable indicator of the economic impact of sanctions.’ Still, Wallace called for bolder steps. ‘With bold action, we still have an opportunity to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions,’ Wallace said. ‘We must seek the most robust sanctions in history, and we must consider much more than tweaks to current sanctions.’ Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said economic sanctions ‘are inflicting damage on Iran’s long term oil production potential.’ What’s more, she said ‘sanctions on Iran’s oil industry and banking system are curtailing the foreign partnerships that the Iranian oil industry has relied on.’ But Ros-Lehtinen echoed Wallace, saying ‘more remains to be done.’”http://t.uani.com/MrpOzS
NYT: ”Iranian oil production, the backbone of the Islamic republic’s economy, fell by 12 percent in the first three months of the year and is likely to fall even more, industry experts say, as sanctions make it increasingly hard for the country to find markets for its crude. The decline, documented in a May report by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is sharply at odds with statistics provided by Iran’s Oil Ministry that register no significant change in output over the past year. But it is accelerating so fast that if current trends continue, Iran could lose its position as the second-largest crude oil producer in OPEC to Iraq by June 2013, the organization’s statistics show… Reluctant to slash production, which can do permanent harm to the oil fields, Iranian officials are storing the excess in a growing armada of supertankers that are anchored in the vicinity of the country’s main oil terminals in the Persian Gulf, according to the International Energy Agency, a platform for oil consuming countries.” http://t.uani.com/LdEEUS Read the rest of this entry
By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL
Tensions are running high in a southeastern Iranian province with a majority Sunni population after a protest against the recent arrest of local religious figures ended in bloodshed.
Sistan-Baluchistan province has been the scene of deadly violence and protests
At least one person was killed and two injured after police forces opened fire on the protesters, who had gathered in the city of Rask in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province on May 14. According to reports, they were demonstrating against the recent arrests of the son of the city’s Friday Prayers leader and other Sunni clerics.
Sunni Muslims make the majority of the population in Sistan-Baluchistan but make up only about 10 percent of the population in Shi’a-dominated Iran overall.
Iran’s officials and state media have not reported on the unrest. But SunniOnline, a website that covers news about Iran’s Sunni minority, wrote that police opened fire on protesters, resulting in the death of a man identified as Jan Mohammad Dehghani. His funeral was reportedly held on May 15.
Quoting unidentified citizens of Rask, the daily “Etemad” reported that at least two people were killed in the shooting, without providing further details.
Deutsche Welle’s Farsi Service quoted a source in Rask as saying that a number of protesters were rounded up and suggesting that more arrests could follow after authorities traveled from the provincial capital to investigate.
“Protesters were filmed, today security forces came from Zahedan to identify [those who took part in the protest] and arrest them,” the unidentified source reportedly told the German news agency. Read the rest of this entry
Author: Shiva Rahbaran (original Language Persian)
As poet Mohammad Hoghooghi says, “[Writing] constitutes resistance. Because, in any age, the poet has been a protestor of a kind; resisting the thought-molds of the day. However, this protest might be political, it might be social, or it might even be philosophical. At any rate, the artist is at odds with the prevalent conduct and thinking of his age; this has always been the case.” The 1979 Revolution in Iran was meant to bring freedom, hope, and prosperity to an oppressed people, but the reality is well known-the poets and writers interviewed by Shiva Rahbaran speak instead of humiliation, despotism, war, and poverty. These interviews with poets and writers still living and working in Iran demonstrate their belief that literature’s value is in opening spaces of awareness in the minds of the reader-and pockets of freedom in society.
The following interviews testify how boldly and consistently writers and poets have been facing post revolutionary circumstances in the past three decades. They talk freely about their untiring hope and endeavor to create “pockets of freedom” in a society where the rulers regularly and brutally stifle any move that questions their legitimacy. They provide insights into their daily struggles to fend off the censorship imposed on every form of artistic expression. Their testimonies show that the regime is engaged in a hopeless fight to reverse the clock in Iran and to throw a widely literate, globally networked civil society into darkness. In doing so, they risk broken pens and, more often than not, broken lives. However, they believe that literature is worth the risk, as literature is their means to restore their humanity and dignity. In this sense, contemporary literature is still very political and socially conscious-even (or maybe especially) in its silence. Thus, now more than ever, writers and poets in Iran have become public figures of resistance. In these interviews many of them often point out that writing means resisting.
It is important to note that these interviews were carried out in the last days of Mohammad Khatami’s presidency-the reformist politician under whose administration the Ministry of Islamic Guidance loosened its grip on art and literature to some degree. The free manner in which the writers in this book speak about their work in post-revolutionary Iran is to some extent due to the relatively tolerant atmosphere during Khatami’s two terms of presidency (1997-2001; 2001-2005). However, Khatami’s halfhearted reforms and unrealized “dialogue of civilizations” disappointed the great majority of Iranians, who had elected him as the man who would end the reign of terror from within and achieve the peaceful transition of Iran to the modern, free world. His halfhearted reforms also strengthened the reactionary, conservative power structures and paved the way for the power seizure of the regime’s reactionary, right-wing politicians and revolutionary guards under the leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005. During Khatami’s presidency many writers, poets, intellectuals, and members of the opposition were assassinated both in and outside Iran at the hands of the reactionary wing before the eyes of a helpless president. The very fact that this book was closely examined by the Ministry of Islamic Guidance for over a year, only to be found unfit for publication, testifies that the changes under Khatami were more or less cosmetic. The poets and writers who are interviewed in this book draw the attention of the reader to the precarious situation that they live and work in. Many of them are bitter about the assassinations and “accidents” that have taken their fellow writers and thinkers away from them both in and out of Iran and many of them acknowledge they might be next. In March 2010 one of the interviewees in this book, Simin Behbahāni (aged 83) the grande dame of contemporary Persian poetry, was arrested at the airport in Tehran on her way to France to receive a prize for her untiring fight against despotism and oppression. Like Simin, the poets and writers in Iran speak out and unwaveringly maintain that literature’s meaning is in opening spaces of awareness in the mind of the reader and pockets of freedom in society.
Representatives of the European Union’s member states at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have called on Iran in their latest statement to totally stop its uranium enrichment program as well as all activities at Fordow nuclear site.
Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to the IAEA has expressed concern over what he called Iran’s noncompliance with its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). He also called on Iran to take immediate and rapid steps to build confidence with the international community. Read the rest of this entry
ILAM is a province in west of IRAN. A beautiful green province in spring with playful lambs and kids.
In this trip we went to ILAM through QOM, ARAK, BOROJERD and KHORAM ABAD. KHORAM ABAD is central city of LORESTAN province and a big castle is there, It is named FALAK-OL-AFLAK. There is an anthropology museum in castle, where old dresses, handicraft and other cultural items of people in LORESTAN are on display.
FALAK-OL-AFLAK Read the rest of this entry
Guest Edited by Sandra Skurvida
The figure of “censorship” conjures up a smoke screen of antagonism that can only be dispelled by looking through it. Censorship at Sharjah Biennial 2011, among many less publicized instances, gave a strong pretext for a critical investigation; it also called for a consideration in terms other than denunciation from an elevated perch of “free speech.” Rather than lament censorship as calamity that befalls art from above, why not acknowledge it as common condition in cultural production that comes to the fore in transnational contexts? In order to remain neutral, such an investigation would have to step away from a singular event and into a minefield of probabilities.
The international market of knowledges is indeed regulated, and “censorship” offers an insight into the dual nature of this economy, defined by ideology on the one hand and the market on the other. The cataclysmic reconfiguration of societies ongoing in the Middle East would make such an investigation imperative today. In view of the economic sanctions on Iran and how they restrict art production and exchange — in addition to the internal censorship apparatus and the stalled reform movement — Iran seems to be the place to look for answers to the persistent questions about correlation between internal and external repression. Cuts and removals indicate loci of the emergent new powers — cut is a symptom, but what exactly does it signify? Read the rest of this entry
The cry of “Allah-o-Akbar” was the defining sound of the 1978 protests against the Shah of Iran, during a revolution that toppled the Pahlavi monarchy and established the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Shah’s prime minister Major General Gholam Reza Azhari attributed, in 1978, the cry of “Allah-o-Akbar” from every street corner and rooftop, to cassette tapes. Though there is certain truth to the fact that the crowds were agitated by cassette recordings of the spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini’s talks in exile in the months before the revolution, the prime-minister’s unwillingness to acknowledge the growing number of dissatisfied citizens and his corollary reference to the mechanical reproduction of voices — as a placeholder for actual cries — denied in one stroke the thousands upon thousands that climbed the country’s rooftops nightly to protest the Shah and the Shah’s rapid forced Western style modernization of the nation, by calling on the greatness of God.
The prime minister’s accusation prodded the 1978 revolutionary chant by anti-Shah demonstrators that went something like this: “Azhari Goosaleh, Bazam migi navareh? Navar ke pa nadareh” [Azhari, the calf, you still think that it is a cassette tape? Tape doesn’t have feet!] (Gheytanchi, September 18, 2009). In other words, “Look at us! We’re here and we’re marching with our feet!”
During the early silent protests in the summer of 2009 in the aftermath of a fraudulent Presidential election in Iran and in response to President Ahmadinejad’s claim that the burgeoning crowd of post-election demonstrators were “riff-raff”, disappointed soccer fans whose team had lost, Elham Gheytanchi reports that demonstrators donning “green wristbands and headbands carried a […] banner that read: “Doctor Kapshen pareh, khashak ke pa nadareh!” (“Doctor with a torn overcoat, riff-raff don’t have feet”) (Gheytanchi, September 18, 2009) In other words, “Look at us! We’re here! We’re marching with our feet!” The 2009 slogan against Ahmadinejad, on Revolution street (Enqelab), playfully unearthed the protest chant against the Shah’s prime minister as if it were being mined from the very soil, the brick and mortar of Tehran streets.
In the demonstrations that followed the 2009 election, dissenting bodies marched with cellphones held aloft onto Tehran’s avenues and squares. Crowds underscored their political force by unearthing, repeating, and reversing the slogans and chants of the mass uprisings of the late 1970s by mechanically reproducing their voices online, on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, and there, likening the dictatorial rule of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, with the severity of the Shah’s rule. But the subjectivity of the protestors has changed, and the subjects’ relationship to both space and technology has been significantly altered in the intervening thirty years since the Iranian Revolution. During the 2009 protests against the repressive measures of the re-elected President and his government, the nightly cries of “Allah-o-Akbar” from rooftops reemerged, and an anonymous poet recorded them, night after night, as video-messages to God.
Calls On Iranian Authorities to Hold Clerics Accountable for Incitement to Murder
Friday, May 18, 2012 Washington, DC – United for Iran condemns the issuing of a death ruling for rapper Shahin Najafi by grand ayatollahs Safi Golpaygani and Naser Makarem Shirazi in response to Najafi’s song “Naghi” – the name of Shi’ite Islam’s 10th imam. United for Iran calls on the Iranian government to condemn the cleric-issued fatwa, reform its penal code to remove the death penalty for those labeled “apostates,” and to institute provisions that outlaw incitement to murder, including in fatwas issued by clerics.
The fatwa was issued in response to the May 7 release of Najafi’s song, a social and political commentary on conditions inside Iran. Powerful conservative clerics and related Shia websites have called for Najafi’s killing, even offering a $100,000 reward for carrying it out. The ruling and subsequent campaigning by radical religious groups in support of Najafi’s killing has been reported by Fars News, an Iranian media outlet close to Iran’s security organs. Najafi, 31, a popular contemporary Iranian musician who resides in Germany, has told reporters that he fears for his life. Read the rest of this entry
A death ruling has been issued for Iranian rapper Shahin Najafi by grand ayatollahs Safi Golpaygani and Naser Makarem Shirazi in response to Najafi’s song “Naghi” – the name of Shi’ite Islam’s 10th imam. Conservative clerics and Shia websites have called for Najafi’s killing, even ofering a $100,000 reward for carrying it out. Najafi, 31, a popular Iranian musician who resides in Germany, has told reporters that he fears for his life. The issuing of fatwas by Iranian clerics has in the past yielded deadly results.
I am writing to express deep concern about the issuing of a death sentence for rapper Shahin Najafi by Iranian grand ayatollahs Safi Golpaygani and Makarem Shirazi in response to Najafi’s song “Naghi.” I am very concerned for Najafi’s safety. I strongly urge the Iranian government to condemn the fatwa, to reform its penal code to remove the death penalty for those labeled “apostates,” and ensure individuals that incite murder, including religious leaders, do not enjoy impunity.
The issuing of fatwas by Iranian clerics has in the past yielded deadly results. Last year Azerbaijani journalist Rafiq Tagi was stabbed to death in a killing suspected to be an individual carrying out a fatwa issued by Grand Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani. In 1989, a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against British writer Salman Rushdie led to at least one assassination attempt, resulting in the death of the bomber. Today, Najafi is hiding in fear for his life in Germany.
Under current laws in Iran, being labeled an “apostate” is punishable by death by the judiciary, in contradiction to international law. Iranian religious leaders have from time to time issued fatwas outside the legal parameters of the law, which are interpreted as death rulings intended to be carried out by their followers. Article 6 and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Iran is a state party, protect the right to life and freedom of expression. These international legal provisions obligate the Government of Iran to ensure that individuals within its territory do not incite murder with impunity.
I strongly urge the Islamic Republic of Iran to outlaw the issuing of death rulings by religious leaders. I also ask the Iranian government to abide by international human rights standards and bring all of its citizens, including clerics, under a legal framework that upholds and protects fundamental human rights.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad & Bashar al-Assad0644 GMT: The Battle to Be Speaker of Parliament. Prominent figures have lined up behind Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani as he tries to stave off a threat from a former Speaker, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel.
Hossein Ebrahimi, a member of Parliament’s National Security Committee, has declared that Larijani has more support than Haddad Adel, while the head of the Committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, said Larijani has been good for the nezam (system).
Unsurprisingly, both endorsements appear in Khabar Online, linked to the current Speaker.
0639 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Saudi Front). Mohsen Rezaei — Secretary of the Expediency Council and Presidential candidate in 2009 (and in 2013?) — has been vocal this week in his denunciation of the spectre of Saudi-Bahraini union. In his latest statement, Rezaei warned, “If Saudi Arabia continues like this,the Islamic Republic will lose its patience.”
0631 GMT: Death-to-the-Rapper Watch. Sobh-e Farda, a students’ magazine at Tehran University, has been banned because of its defence of the rapper Shahin Najafi, condemned to death by clerics and hard-line media for his song “Naqi”.
Meanwhile, the prominent songwriter, playwright, and theatre director Iraj Jannati Ataie has publicly supported Najafi.
0625 GMT: Economy Watch. How serious is the problem of inflation? Baztab Emrooz reports that prostitutes in northern Tehran are now charging 200,000 Toman (about $165 at official rate).
0620 GMT: For the second day in a row, we begin with a look at Iran’s manoeuvres on the Syrian front, this time with a side benefit for the Iranian economy. We post a separate feature, “How Tehran is Shipping Syria’s Oil“.
This is a story of how news is reported and created. It is a story of political manoeuvres, by actors from Iran to Israel to the US, and of propaganda.
It is a story how, amidst all this, a man — set up for the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist — was arrested, sentenced, and executed.
On Tuesday, Majid Jamali Fashi, a 24-year-old kickboxer, was hung in Evin Prison on the charge of killing Masoud Alimohammadi with an explosive in January 2010. Press TV headlined, “Iran Executes Mossad Assassin of Top Nuclear Scientist“. The Times of Israel, drawing from an article in The Times of London, put the provocative question, “Did a WikiLeaks document doom Iranian ‘Mossad agent’?“
This is a story of trying to establish the truth and significance between — and far beyond — these extremes.
In December 2010, as we were covering the initial releases of the WikiLeaks documents emerged, we posted a story which we thought combined the serious and the outlandish, “The Regime’s Ninja Assassins?“. The source was a 1 September 2009 despatch from the US Embassy in Azerbaijan, which had spoken with an Iranian “martial arts trainer and coach”:
Private martial arts clubs and their managers are under intense pressure to cooperate with Iranian intelligence and Revolutionary Guard organizations, both in training members and in working as “enforcers” in repression of protests and politically motivated killings….
XXXXXXXXXXXX observed that Iranian internal security forces are highly suspicious of these clubs as potential vehicles for organization and “combat” training of future protesters and regime opponents. Nonetheless, he asserted that their main motivation is seeking to control these clubs is less driven by such fears as by a desire to deploy their trained membership at will for “special tasks.” According to XXXXXXXXXXXX, these tasks range from providing martial arts training to Revolutionary Guard members and Basij, assistance in protest repression, intimidation, and crowd control, to political killings. He observed that use of these clubs and their members provides the security forces with “plausible deniability” for dirty undertakings, as well as trained fighters and potential trainers.
XXXXXXXXXXXX said he personally knew one such martial arts master whom he said was used by the Intelligence service to murder at least six different individuals over the course of several months in the Tabriz area. XXXXXXXXXXXX said that the victims included intellectuals and young “pro-democracy activists,” adding that his assassin acquaintance was ultimately “suicided” by the authorities (i.e., killed in what was subsequently labeled a suicide). Read the rest of this entry
A student group active in defending the rights of those students who are denied higher education has criticized the policies of Iran’s minister of science research and technology Kamran Daneshjoo and declared that Ahmadinejad’s administration is pursuing a second cultural revolution by practicing “educational apartheid.”
Iranian Science Minister Kamran Daneshjou
Daneshjou, who has been accused of Plagiarism and fabricating some of his credentials, was the head of the Election Headquarters during the disputed presidential elections in June 2009
In its report, Shoraye Defa az Haghe Tahsil (Council on the Defense of Education Rights) reminds that the practice of educational policies that deny people the right to attend institutions of higher education, particularly during the last three years, has increased and hundreds of students have been denied access to education through the decrees issued by the disciplinary committees of universities and the central disciplinary committee at the ministry of science, and also through the “illegal” practice of marking students with stars at the national entrance exams for Master’s programs. Under the star program, a student who is deemed to be unfit to pursue higher education because of his political views or actions, is given one a number of stars by university authorities who monitor students with assistance from security and law enforcement agencies. The higher the number of stars the more likely that a student will be denied full or some access to higher education.
Imprisoned “Starred” Students (read story)
Through the many years that Daneshjoo has been the minister of science, he has been often spoken of measures to Islamicize universities, segregate them by sex, prevent dissident students from pursuing their education, and, dismiss and pre-maturely retire professors. These programs have been called “planned and indicative of the administration’s determination to continue to violate existing laws and deny students their rightful rights” by a student who has been deprived of pursuing his higher education.
Continuation and Deeping of Destructive Policies
In one of his recent statements, the minister of education said, “the activists of the sedition movement, its leaders and those who insist on their wrong views” have no right to admission in universities. According to IRNA official news agency, speaking at the an event at Shahrood University on April 27, Daneshjoo said, “Individuals who have lost their path after the 2009 sedition and following the wise comments of the esteemed supreme leader insist on their path, have no place at universities. Our society and population does not allow us and we shall not commit treason.” Sedition is the term Iranian authorities use for the massive protests that were organized or supported by the Green Movement after the 2009 presidential elections were announced which re-instated Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. They assert that the elections were rigged.
This statement by the minister brought forth strong condemnations and criticism from student organizations across the country. In the most recent response, the Council on the Defense of Education Rights presented a detailed report and called the remarks “criminal.”
In March/April too Daneshjoo repeated this message in Qom. Daftare Tahkim Vahdat, the principal student organization in the country condemned those remarks and said they “revealed the express violation of student rights.”
A student interviewed by Rooz, who has been denied the right to pursue his education said that the timing of these remarks by Daneshjoo was important as they come two or three weeks before the announcement of the results of the national entrance exams to universities’ Master’s programs and “increase concerns about greater restrictions to higher education.”
He also said that the recent expulsion of professors such as Alireza Beheshti, Ghorban Behzadinejad and Mohsen Mirdamadi were not unrelated to these remarks. “It appears that Kamran Daneshjoo intends to create the atmosphere of a cemetery in the universities and through the support and guidance from hardline institutions wants to implement the second cultural revolution,” he said.
The cultural revolution of the Islamic republic, which is officially referred to as the “awakening of the Islamization of universities,” took place in the early years of the revolution and refers to educational initiatives which resulted in the dismissal and purging of many professors and students from institutions of higher education.
In its report on the education bans pursued and implemented during Ahmadinejad’s administration, the Council on the Defense of Education Rights writes that the “apartheid educational policies, particularly in the last three years, have gained momentum in the country and hundreds of students have been barred from pursuing their higher education goals.” The report also criticized the “star marking of students” program through which students are deprived from continuing their education because of their political views or actions. In addition to being deprived of pursuing their educational aspirations, many “starred” students have also been arrested, interrogated and imprisoned, particularly after the 2009 presidential elections and in the course of the nationwide protests to that election results. Among this latter group are Majid Dari, Zia Nabavi and Mehdie Golroo who are now serving time in prison. Some students were also arrested and “starred” because of their protests to Ahmadinejad’s televised debates during the 2009 presidential campaigns. Other students who remain behind bars are Saeed Jalalifar, Majid Tavakoli, Emad Bahavar, Eftekhar Bozorgian, Kaveh Rezai, Arash Sadeghi, Ali Akbar Mohammadzadeh, Moin Ghamin and Ali Ajami.