Archiv für den Tag 26. Juli 2011

Iran News Round Up (July 26)

Summary
Basij chief says ‘eradicating Zionist regime’ only solution to defend country; conflicting reports emerge about assassination of scientist; IRGC continues operations against rebels in Iran’s Kurdistan; IRGC’s political chief warns reformists not to take part in parliamentary polls; Iran’s economy and finance minister claims increase of $3.6 billion of foreign investment
Politics

  • Presidential crisis:
  • Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appoints Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi the head of „the supreme council for resolving conflicts and coordinating relations between the three powers of the government.“ Other members of the council include Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad-Hassan Abou-Torabi, Morteza Nabavi, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, and Samad Mousavi Khoshdel.
  • Mehran Tahmasebi, Representative of the Supreme Leader to the Basij Coordination chief: „The current of deviation is detached from the government and they will soon be dealt with.“
  • Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Iran Document: „Raising Their Voices“ Activists Inside Country Speak Out Against Military Strike

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.”

The Latest from Iran (26 July): Ahmadinejad is a „Repair and Maintenance Project“

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.

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Eye on Iran – Saudi Strikes India Oil Deal After Iran Cuts Supply

Top Stories

Reuters: „Top exporter Saudi Arabia has struck deals to sell 3 million barrels more oil to India in August, stepping into the vacuum created by regional rival Iran after it cut supply to New Delhi. The sale could stoke simmering tension between Riyadh and Tehran over oil policy. Saudi sources say the kingdom is not actively seeking to wrest market share from the Islamic Republic, but with Brent at over $100 a barrel Riyadh has taken a $300 million slice of Iran’s oil sales to India. ‚If Iran can’t get the [payment] issues resolved with India we will send them supplies and we have already alerted them to that,‘ said a Saudi government advisor. Iran has already criticised Saudi Arabia for boosting oil supply unilaterally after Tehran-led opposition defeated a Saudi proposal for a coordinated supply increase at an OPEC meeting in June. Iran told Indian refiners last week it would cut oil shipments amounting to about 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in August. Tehran aims to pressure the refiners into settling $5 billion in debts for crude already supplied and to find a way around U.S. and UN sanctions that make trade with Iran difficult. Iranian oil normally meets about 12 percent of India’s total demand of 3.46 million bpd.“http://t.uani.com/pGZwBZ
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Iran, Kongo, Demokratische Republik, Sri Lanka, Uganda

17.07.2011 – Quelle: Guardian

Iran, Kongo, Demokratische Republik, Sri Lanka, Uganda: „The rape of men“

Artikel zu sexueller Gewalt gegen Männer als Teil der Kriegsführung [ID 163092]

Dokument(e):Dokument öffnen

 

Iranian Civil Society Warns Against Military Strike in New Report – Attack Ruinous for Human Rights and Democratic Change in Iran

(26 July 2011)  Influential and well-informed members of Iranian civil society believe that military action against Iran would lead to further political repression, deeper enmity between the Iranian people and the United States, and severe humanitarian problems, according to a report published today by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

The 38-page reportRaising Their Voices: Iranian Civil Society Reflections on the Military Option, presents the viewpoints of 35 prominent Iranians living inside the country on the domestic consequences of an attack by the United States or its allies. These Iranians include human rights defenders, activists, lawyers, journalists, writers, leading cultural figures, and members of the political opposition.

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Iran Analysis: Is a Political Compromise with Reformists Possible? (Afshari)

President Ahmadinejad & former President KhatamiAli Afshari writes for Rooz Online:

The remarks by Iran’s Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi at last week’s [Tehran] Friday prayers demonstrate that the regime…has once again moved up the goal of containing the Green Movement to the top of its…agenda. After differences between the Supreme Leader and Ahmadinejad erupted into the open two months ago, principlists (individuals who cling to what they call are the principles of the Islamic revolution of 1979 and who at one time were ardent supporters of Ahmadinejad) for a few months reduced their attacks on the Green Movement and reformers, and instead focused their attention and energy on the beleaguered president. They of course did continue to weaken and condemn the symbolic leaders of the Green Movement but this was not their main preoccupation and concern. During the same period, the main political and media circles of the principlists and the military-security leaders repeatedly warned of a second “sedition” (a label that regime supporters used for those questioning the official version of the 2009 presidential election) which they portrayed to be growing in strength through elements inside the regime.

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