Archiv der Kategorie: Iran Election 2013

Crystal meth, skinny jeans and underground bloggers — it’s the Iran you never see

Credit: Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

Women gaze at jewelery displayed at an international fair in Tehran.

Life in Iran’s capital Tehran might seem stodgy — think angry ayatollahs, black chadors and mobs exhorting “Death to America.” That’s real, but so is the less visible side of Tehran: the illicit drugs, hipster fashion and outraged bloggers.

That side of the city is on display in City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death and the Search For Truth in Tehran, the latest book from Iranian author Ramita Navai.

Navai introduces us to a handful of unlikely Tehran residents. They’re composite characters, because sharing personal details with a reporter is still a very risky business in Tehran. “The regime does not want outsiders to see Iran in all its glory and all its color,” Navai says.

But they’re all based in fact, she insists. The book starts with the story of a man whom Navai calls Dariush, a man in his 20s who leaves a comfortable life in the US to join the underground opposition in Iran — for love.

He bungles his attempt to assassinate a local police chief, resulting in what Navai describes as “a comedy of errors.” We meet others, including Leyla, a beautiful working-class woman who falls into prostitution and meets her end in a hangman’s noose.

Navai says that flawed individuals leading these sorts of lives — neither good nor evil — are rarely seen in reporting about Iran. “It has social problems and the regime wants to hide some of the social problems,” she says.

But, true to Navai’s theme, even the regime has nuance. “The regime can also be quite liberal about some of its social problems,” she says. “So, for example, the regime has got quite liberal attitudes toward drug rehabilitation. There are crystal meth drug rehab centers, there are needle exchange centers, methadone centers. Condoms are given out to prostitutes.”

The complexities and contradictions of life in Iran forces many Tehran residents to lead double lives. They show public faces to please authorities and live private lives that are far different.

Navai argues that people who live in Tehran need to live a lie to survive. She describes meeting civil servants, for example, who pretended to pray in the office, despite their limited knowledge of the Koran.

But she also sees changes, in part due to Tehran’s growing youth culture. “They are striving to live a life that’s more true to themselves,” she says. “I think you can see this in a real sexual awakening that’s happening in Tehran that spans all social classes. Young people are kind of behaving in a freer way as regards to sex and as regards to relating to each other. And I think this will have a trickle-down effect.”

She admits that she lives the lie, as well: “You lie about going to parties, you lie about alcohol being consumed at parties, you have to lie about certain people you may hang out with.” But she’s hopeful the changing culture will change her need to lie: “I think this will mean — hopefully, maybe I’m being optimistic — but fewer lies.”

In a certain way, though, Navai sees the lies as “a very positive thing because [Iranians] are so obsessed with being true to themselves — you know, it’s really part of our culture, it’s in all our poetry, it’s in our literature — they are intent on living the lives that they want to live, even if that means they have to lie to do so.”

Source: PRI World

Iran| Jahresbericht zur Menschenrechtslage im Jahr 2013 (Entwicklungen und Probleme) [ID 273697]

 UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office


Jahresbericht zur Menschenrechtslage im Jahr 2013 (Entwicklungen und Probleme) [ID 273697]

Dokument öffnen

Periodischer Bericht: Human Rights and Democracy Report 2013 – Section XI: Human Rights in Countries of Concern – Iran

New Hope amid Persistent Challenges for Women in Iran: Interview with Parisa Kakaee

An Iranian protester at the End Male Violence Against Women rally in London, March 2010. (Gary Knight/flickr)

“The main problem for all the social and political groups inside [Iran] is the atmosphere of insecurity,” according to Parisa Kakaee, a women and children’s rights activist from Iran. “When these groups don’t have freedom of speech or activity, how can they recognize and address society’s needs?”

Ms. Kakaee is all too familiar with this dilemma. After being arrested for her human rights activities in 2009 and spending a month in prison, she fled her native land. She was then sentenced in absentia to six years in prison and has been living in exile in Germany ever since.

In a phone interview, Ms. Kakaee suggested that security, women’s rights, and socioeconomic development are all intertwined in Iran: “When women’s employment is subject to the permission of her husband … when parliament encourages society to have more children and limits women’s access to contraception, when domestic violence is considered as a private family matter, how do we expect to eradicate poverty, to promote gender equality, and to empower women to reduce high mortality rates or to combat HIV/AIDS?,” she asked.

“We can’t talk about gender equality and empowering women while there is a law that supports child marriage. How is it possible to improve maternal health when a child becomes a mother?”

After eight years under the conservative government of President Ahmadinejad, last year’s election of President Rouhani breathed new hope into the women’s movement in Iran, according to Ms. Kakaee. The appointment of legal scholar Mrs. Shahindokht Molaverdi in the cabinet, for example, shows that there have been some positive steps in terms of women’s participation in policymaking.

Nonetheless, significant challenges remain. Iran continues to have “a male-dominated and conservative parliament” that could still reverse the limited progress that has been made, Ms. Kakaee said, and “systematic changes in the regime’s policy on women’s rights and girls’ rights are necessary.”

Inside Iran, “women’s rights activists are fighting for their freedom of speech, fighting against discrimination laws, and try[ing] to support development for women and girls,” she said. But the international community still has a role to play.  If relations between Iran and the rest of the world can be improved, then “civil society can focus on social and economic problems and human rights rather than concerns arising from the risk of war or the impact of sanctions,” she said. “It’s important that the international community prioritizes concerns about the violation of human rights in Iran over other political and economic issues.”

The interview was conducted by Marie O’Reilly, associate editor at the International Peace Institute.


When you spoke to the Global Observatory last year, you described how the situation of women in Iran had evolved during the conservative era of the government of President Ahmadinejad. Since the June 2013 election of President Rouhani, how has the situation changed for women in Iran?

Well, talking about the people’s situation in a country is not easy when you don’t live there. However, as an observer and follower of the news and reports, I can say that since the election of President Rouhani, Iranians have developed fresh hope for some changes in the situation of women and human rights. Based on the president’s promises, this hope didn’t seem unrealistic. However, I felt, at the time, that it was too early to judge. It was a hope that could fade or continue to exist.

I would like to categorize the positive changes into two groups. First, within the Iranian women’s movement I think the above-mentioned hope reactivated the women’s movement and made them able to come together, organize some groups, hold some meetings on women’s rights, develop their main demands from the new government, and continue their unprohibited activities.

Second, there have been some changes in policymaking and women’s participation. For example, there is some noticeable improvement in licensing surrounding the establishment of NGOs. That may lead to more activity in various areas related to women, such as violence, impoverishment, sexual health, et cetera.

In addition, some of the women’s rights activists believe that appointing Mrs. Shahindokht Molaverdi as vice-president for women and family affairs is a positive step, which could—could—affect decisions and policy relating to women’s rights. If she has sufficient authority, she may retrieve what we had lost over the past eight years. However, I think, we should not forget that she works in a male-dominated government and society.

And aside from the limited positive progress, Iran has a male-dominated and conservative parliament, which can pass policies against human rights. For example, parliament is initiating a new plan called the Comprehensive Population and Family Excellence Plan that imposes some restrictions on women’s employment and educational, health, and civil rights. Women’s rights activists have issued a statement objecting to the plan, but it’s expected that the new government will use all its power to stop this plan too.

As I mentioned last year, Iranian women are still suffering from domestic violence and a lack of supportive laws. There are still unemployed women, unequal wages, prostitution, discriminatory laws against women, restrictions on personal freedom, and education and economic problems. In addition, some groups in the women’s movement still cannot hold official meetings about, for example, 8th of March [International Women’s Day].

I personally don’t expect the new government to solve all the problems overnight, but I think there should be some sign of momentum in supporting women’s rights—a momentum that I don’t currently see.

Here in New York, we recently concluded the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, and its theme this year was the challenges and achievements of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls. What do you see as the challenges and achievements of the MDGs for women and girls in Iran?

I think the main problem for all the social and political groups inside the country is the atmosphere of insecurity. When these groups don’t have freedom of speech or activity, how can they recognize and address society’s needs?

Women’s rights activists are doing their best to take advantage of existing resources and make changes in women’s lives. But when women’s employment is subject to the permission of her husband, they can’t act independently. When parliament encourages society to have more children and limits women’s access to contraception, when domestic violence is considered as a private family matter, how do we expect to eradicate poverty, to promote gender equality, and to empower women to reduce high mortality rates or to combat HIV/AIDS?

In my opinion, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls, partnership between government and civil society is important. I’m not saying that government has not done anything about—for instance, in terms of HIV/AIDS or maternal health or primary education, et cetera. Rather, I think it’s not sufficient.

Government and parliament need a more gender-sensitive approach to policymaking and planning for women and girls. We can’t talk about gender equality and empowering women while there is a law that supports child marriage. How is it possible to improve maternal health when a child becomes a mother?

Therefore, I believe systematic changes in the regime’s policy on women’s rights and girls’ rights are necessary. Women’s rights activists are fighting for their freedom of speech, fighting against discrimination laws, and they try to support development for women and girls at the same time. I think this is a tough challenge, and it’s not an easy job.

Late last year the international community and Iran reached an agreement to ease some sanctions in line with the scaling back of Iran’s nuclear activities. Has this easing of sanctions had an impact on the situation of women?

First of all, as far as I know the number of eased sanctions is low. Secondly, the massive damage caused by sanctions is not something that can be fixed in a short time. As I mentioned last year, the Iranian people and civil society are under pressure from international sanctions and structural economic and political mismanagement. People are happy that the risk of entering into war is being eliminated, and they have more hope for the future. However, most of the sanctions remain, and the economic situation has not significantly changed.

Unemployment, unequal access to education, and poverty are part of the problems that affect vulnerable people, such as women, children, and marginalized groups. Therefore, I think Iranian people—and especially women—are still under pressure as a result of the sanctions.

Parisa, what would you suggest the international community could do to support women’s and children’s rights in Iran?

In general, improving relations between Iran and the world should be considered by the both sides—the Iranian regime and the international community—as a first step to reduce the economic pressure on people. In this way, civil society can focus on social and economic problems and human rights rather than concerns arising from the risk of war or the impact of sanctions. Second, it’s important that the international community prioritizes concerns about the violation of human rights in Iran over other political and economic issues. It’s important to support the activists in danger inside the country and question the regime about human rights violations.

Also, I think having more women’s and children’s rights experts in the country would improve work in this area, so providing college education opportunities for Iranian activists to continue their education abroad could also help. We have to gain specialized knowledge and exchange experiences.

Source: IPI Global Observatory

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Coverage of Unlock Iran on HuffPostLive, NPR and more…

Now in its second month of launch, UNLOCK IRAN, an initiative started by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) to raise awareness about Iranian “prisoners of rights”—or those jailed for their lifestyle, beliefs or profession—continues to gain followers and widespread media coverage.

The Unlock Iran website provides a unique platform that gives users a digital view of what their lives would be like if jailed in Iran. The initiative at large calls on the international community to elevate the discussion of human rights issues in Iran at a time of critical reengagement with the Iranian government.

In addition to features on Unlock Iran by ForbesUpworthyThe Daily BeastFast Company’s Co.ExistNPR and theBBC World Service, the campaign was recently profiled at length on HuffPostLive on a segment featuring Iranian student leader and former political prisoner Mehdi Arabshahi and IHRDC Executive Director Gissou Nia.  Mehdi Arabshahi is also the author of a petition featured on the Unlock Iran site calling on Iranian leaders to release prisoners of rights.  To watch, click the link below.


This media coverage follows significant activity in February, when Unlock Iran and the Inside Out Project—started by famed TED prize winner and street artist JR—carried out an art activation featuring the portraits of 13 prisoners of rights (two of whom were executed at the end of January) at the UN headquarters in New York City.

For more information, please visit, follow @UnlockIran on Twitter and Instagram, and visit #UnlockIran’s Facebook page


Source: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center

DW| Amnesty: Iraq, Iran executions drive increase in global executions

Amnesty International has released its annual report on the implementation of the death penalty around the world. The total number of executions in 2013 went up compared to 2012, largely due to spikes in Iran and Iraq.

Hinrichtungsraum Gefängnis Abu Ghraid Irak

The report from Amnesty, released on Thursday, showed that worldwide, at least 778 executions were known to have been carried out in 2013, compared to 682 in 2012. Both figures exclude executions carried out in China, as this number is kept secret by the Chinese government. Amnesty estimates the number of people put to death in China is in the thousands every year.

The increase in executions in 2013 is, according to Amnesty, mostly due to rises in instances of the death penalty in Iran (at least 369 executions) and Iraq (169).

“The virtual killing sprees we saw in countries like Iran and Iraq were shameful. But those states who cling to the death penalty are on the wrong side of history and are, in fact, growing more and more isolated,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, in a statement.

The figures put Iran and Iraq second and third on the list of total executions in 2013, behind China’s presumed figure in the thousands. Saudi Arabia and the United States rounded out the top five in terms of total executions with 79 and 39, respectively.

Despite the overall increase in the number of executions, Amnesty said the global trend was moving away from the use of the death penalty as a means of criminal punishment.

“Only a small number of countries carried out the vast majority of these senseless state-sponsored killings. They can’t undo the overall progress already made towards abolition,” Shetty said. “The long-term trend is clear – the death penalty is becoming a thing of the past. We urge all governments who still kill in the name of justice to impose a moratorium on the death penalty immediately, with a view to abolishing it.”

The report indicated that for the first time since 2009, Europe and Central Asia did not see any executions. The only country in these regions that has not abolished the death penalty is Belarus, which Amnesty said did not carry out any executions in 2013.

The report indicated that beheading, electrocution, firing squad, hanging and lethal injection were among the methods used to execute people in 2013. Some people were put to death for drug-related or economic crimes, as well as adultery or blasphemy. Political crimes were also grounds for execution in some countries. In Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Somalia, public executions were conducted, and in Saudi Arabia, three juveniles were put to death, according to Amnesty.

The United States was the only country in the Americas to implement the death penalty. Of the country’s 39 executions, 41 percent were in the state of Texas. Maryland became the 18th US state to abolish the death penalty.

mz/kms (AP, AFP)

Quelle: Deutsche Welle

Reuters| Iranische Jugend trinkt sich frei

Ankara (Reuters) – Aus den Boxen dröhnt Rap-Musik, zuckendes Stroboskop-Licht verleiht dem Raum Disko-Atmosphäre.

“Trink erst mal einen Tequila!” ruft der Gastgeber zur Begrüßung. Was in vielen Gesellschaften der Beginn eines normalen Samstagabends ist, ist hier – im Iran – eine Besonderheit.

Alkohol ist im schiitisch-dominierten muslimischen Land offiziell verboten. Hinter verschlossenen Türen wird aber vor allem in den reicheren Kreisen häufig getrunken. Schahrijar lade seine Freunde jedes Wochenende in die Luxuswohnung seines Vaters in Teheran ein, sagt seine Freundin Schima. “Wir trinken bis zum Morgen”, erzählt sie Reuters per Videotelefon. Öffentliche Nachtclubs gibt es im Iran nicht. Für die Jugendlichen sind häusliche Alkoholparties wie diese ein Weg, sich aus der Unterdrückung durch die strengen Richtlinien des Landes zu befreien. Beim Trinken vergesse man seine Probleme, sagt Schahrijar. “Andernfalls würden wir verrückt werden vor lauter Beschränkungen für junge Menschen im Iran.”


Die Herstellung von Wein hat im Iran eine lange Tradition. Wissenschaftler gehen davon aus, dass bereits 5000 vor Christus auf dem heutigen iranischen Staatsgebiet Wein getrunken wurde. Der berühmte Shiraz-Wein aus dem südlichen Teil des Irans etwa soll durch die Kreuzritter seinen Weg nach Europa gefunden haben.

Wegen des Verbots versorgen sich heute viele Iraner selbst mit Alkohol. Hessam, ein 28-jähriger Musiklehrer aus Teheran, erzählt, dass er mit seinen Freunden regelmäßig in der Badewanne Weintrauben stampfe: “Es macht Spaß. Fast wie ein Reinigungsritual.” Der 35-jährige Sporttrainer Amin produziert professionell. In seinem 50 Quadratmeter großen Garten baut er Wein an, im Keller brennt er Spiritus. Wer selbst keinen Alkohol herstellt, ruft einfach einen Produzenten aus dem Bekanntenkreis an. Man müsse nicht mal das Haus verlassen, erklärt der Computeringenieur Resa. “Nasser, der Brauer, liefert es nach Hause, VIP Service.”

Neben der Eigenherstellung gelangt Alkohol auch durch Schmuggel ins Land. Es heißt, die Grenzwachen, die aus der Islamischen Revolution 1979 hervorgegangen sind, besäßen das Monopol in diesem Geschäft und würden jährlich rund 12 Milliarden Dollar (etwa 8,7 Milliarden Euro) damit verdienen.


Vollständiger Artikel

Bericht des Sonderberichterstatters über die Menschenrechtssituation in der Islamischen Republik Iran

 UN Human Rights Council (formerly UN Commission on Human Rights)  Quellenbeschreibung anzeigen


Bericht des Sonderberichterstatters über die Menschenrechtssituation in der Islamischen Republik Iran (legislative Entwicklungen; MenschenrechtsverteidigerInnen; JournalistInnen; religiöse Minderheiten; ethnische Minderheiten; Unabhängigkeit von RichterInnen; Unabhängigkeit von AnwältInnen; etc.) [ID 271950]


Spezieller Bericht oder Analyse: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran [A/HRC/25/61]

Focus| Verstoß gegen Waffen-EmbargoIran kauft über Tarnfirmen Rüstungsgüter in Deutschland

Zollfahnder, Embargo, Deutschland, Hassan Rohani, Rüstungsgüter, Iran

dpa/Abedin TaherkenarehDer iranische Präsident Hassan Ruhani schlägt in der Öffentlichkeit gerne versöhnliche Töne an

Trotz der Friedenssignale von Präsident Hassan Rohani beschafft sich der Iran weiterhin illegal Rüstungsgüter aus Deutschland. 70 Prozent der Verfahren des Zollkriminalamts betreffen Lieferungen in den Iran, der mit Tarnfirmen internationale Embargos umgeht.

Der Iran versucht FOCUS-Informationen zufolge, sich über ein komplexes Netz aus Tarnfirmen weiterhin illegal Rüstungsgüter aus Deutschland zu beschaffen. „Mehr als 70 Prozent unserer Verfahren betreffen geplante oder durchgeführte Lieferungen in den Iran”, sagte der Chef des Zollkriminalamts Norbert Drude gegenüber FOCUS. Insgesamt führten Zollfahnder nach internen Statistiken im vergangenen Jahr 128 Ermittlungsverfahren wegen Verstößen gegen das Außenwirtschaftsgesetz, acht Fälle weniger als im Rekordjahr 2012.

Der Iran umgeht das Embargo der westlichen Welt über ein komplexes Tarnfirmennetz. So ermittle der Zoll in Hamburg gegen deutsche Unternehmen, die über Banken in Hongkong, China, Südkorea und den Vereinigten Arabischen Emiraten den Transfer von 14 Millionen Euro an eine iranische Schiffsfirma zu verschleiern suchten. Der Empfänger stehe auf der Embargoliste.

Vollständiger Artikel

Concern over persecution of Iranian Baha’is at UN Human Rights Council

Overall, human rights in Iran have not improved substantially since the election of President Hassan Rouhani last year, despite his promises to grant citizens more rights and to end discriminatory practices, according to Ahmed Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran.

In a presentation to the Human Rights Council yesterday, Dr. Shaheed said that while Iran had made a few positive steps towards strengthening human rights, the government continues to violate international legal standards, oppress women, and persecute ethnic and religious minorities, including members of the Baha’i Faith.

“Hundreds of individuals reportedly remain in some form of confinement for exercising their fundamental rights, including some 39 journalists and bloggers, 92 human rights defenders, 136 Baha’is, 90 Sunni Muslims, 50 Christians, and 19 Dervish Muslims,” Dr. Shaheed said.

The session marked the formal presentation of his annual report to the Council. In that report, which was issued last week, and before the Council yesterday, Dr. Shaheed noted that while Iran’s proposed charter of citizen’s rights is “a step in the right direction,” it nevertheless “falls short of strengthening protections for the equal enjoyment of human rights for women and members of the country’s religious and ethnic minority communities.”

“It also fails to address the use of cruel, inhumane or degrading punishment, including flogging, hanging, stoning and amputation.”

“The charter does not ban the execution of juveniles and also fails to address concerns about the use of capital punishment, in particular for offenses that do not meet the standards for most serious crimes under international law,” Dr. Shaheed said.

Last week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also released his annual report to the Council on human rights in Iran. He said that he found no improvements for Baha’is and other religious minorities, and few improvements in Iran’s human rights situation overall.

“There have been no improvements in the situation of religious and ethnic minorities, who continue to suffer severe restrictions in the enjoyment of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights,” said Mr. Ban. “Religious minorities such as Baha’is and Christians face violations entrenched in law and in practice.”

Yesterday, during Dr. Shaheed’s presentation, known as an interactive dialogue, country delegations and non-governmental organizations were allowed to respond and ask questions.

At least nine countries specifically expressed concern about the ongoing persecution of Iranian Baha’is. They included Australia, Belgium, Botswana, France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The European Union, in its statement, also mentioned the Baha’is.

Ireland said: “The situation of members of religious minorities continues to be of concern.”

“We note in particular the information contained in the Special Rapporteur’s report on the situation of the Baha’is, including that they are regularly prosecuted for participation in their community affairs, including by facilitating educational services and publicly engaging in religious practices, such as attending devotional gatherings, but that they are typically charged with political or security crimes, such as espionage or ‘propaganda against the ruling system.'”

Botswana said: “We also ask Iran to eliminate discrimination against religious minorities, including Baha’is.”

Switzerland asked why Baha’is are “subjected to growing oppression, despite the fact that they are very discreet in Iran” and are “not critical of the government.”

Diane Ala’i, the representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations in Geneva, also participated in the session, as did a number of other NGO representatives.

“To date, there has been no improvement in the situation of Iranian Baha’is,” Ms. Ala’i said, addressing Dr. Shaheed. “As you indicated yourself, 136 Baha’is are in prison solely on religious grounds, not one Baha’i youth has been able to complete his or her studies in an Iranian university and most of them are denied access in the first place, shops continue to be sealed, work in the public sector is prohibited, cemeteries are desecrated, and incitement to hatred in state-sponsored media is rampant.”

Source: Bahá’í International Community

Bericht zur politischen Lage (politische Geschichte; Struktur des Regimes, Stabilität und Opposition; Menschenrechtspraxis; Massenvernichtungsprogramme; terroristische Gruppen; Regimewechsel) [ID 271516]

Congressional Research Service  Quellenbeschreibung anzeigen


Bericht zur politischen Lage (politische Geschichte; Struktur des Regimes, Stabilität und Opposition; Menschenrechtspraxis; Massenvernichtungsprogramme; terroristische Gruppen; Regimewechsel) [ID 271516]

Dokument öffnen Spezieller Bericht oder Analyse: Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
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