Archiv für den Tag 29. Juli 2011

URGENT: E-letter to UN Officials: Call on the IRI to Halt its Assault on Artists

In the last several weeks, concern has been mounting over Iran’s ongoing and systematic persecution of its own actresses, documentary filmmakers, and bloggers.

Four prominent artists were arrested, though fortunately on of July 27, 2011 it was reported two had been freed on bail. Take action and help highlight the unwarranted treatment of Iran’s artists and of anyone who shows dissent. Please take 30 seconds to send an e-letter!

Also below is a photo-essay produced by the founder of Iranian.com, Jahanshah Javid. During a road trip across the United States, he stopped in Persia, Iowa where he creatively honored and highlighted those unjustly detained in Iran.

Filmmaker Pantea Bahrami is also highlighting the plight of Iran’s citizens by producing a documentary addressing Iran’s human rights situation. She has put out a call to the community asking for its support. Read on to see how you can help make this film a reality!

In Solidarity,
The U4I Team

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The Latest from Iran (29 July): And Now We Bring You This Diversion….

Atiyah Abd al-Rahman (0615 GMT)1905 GMT: Oil and Politics. Even though he has not been approved as Minister of Oil by Parliament, Rustam Qassemi — Revolutionary Guards commander and head of its engineering branch, Khatam al-Anbia — has called a Saturday meeting of the Ministry’s staff and experts in the industry.

Why such a hurry? An EA correspondent mischievously notes that Qassemi is on the list of individual sanctioned by the US and says, „Trying to save his assets after yesterday’s [US Treasury] conference“ announcing further restrictions.

Or this could be the reason: a Tehran conference has noted that Qatar is taking 450,000 barrels of oil per day from the South Pars field — and Iran is taking 0.

1855 GMT: Clerical Intervention. Ayatollah Dastgheib is sharpening his attacks on the Government. He said, „They are looting nat’l income“, plundering the oil reserves, and „humiliating the people“.

Dastgheib continued, „We can’t sit silent. If the country is really Islamic, it doesn’t need so many modern weapons. Rulers should listen to people’s demands.“

In short, „Instead of importing weapons to oppress people, render your behaviour Islamic.“

1840 GMT: Get-Tough Watch. More from the Tehran Friday Prayer….

Hojatoleslam Kazim Seddiqi declared, “Arrogant powers and Iran’s enemies intend to create insecurity in the country and prevent the Islamic Republic’s development.”

Seddiqi cited last weekend’s murder of postgraduate student Daryoush Rezaienejad, who may or may not have been connected with Iran’s nuclear programme and attacks by the Kurdish insurgent group PJAK, and he noted in response Iran’s claimed expansion of its naval forces.

And what could the „development“ to which Seddiqi was referring?

President Ahmadinejad defined it last night, “The enemies of humanity cannot stand up to the willpower of truth-seekers and the Islamic Awakening of nations, which has picked up pace today.“

1830 GMT: Border Watch. An Iraqi mayor said that a 10-year-old Kurdish boy has been killed in shelling by Iranian forces of Kurdish separatist bases in north Iraq.

Mohammed Antar Zerrar was the third Iraqi killed in artillery bombardments during two weeks of clashes between the Iranian military and insurgent group PJAK.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Monday the fighting has displaced hundreds of villagers in the border regions of northern Iraq.

Iranian state outlet Press TV said today that PJAK killed a Basij militiaman and injured four in an attack on an Iranian army base on Wednesday.

1715 GMT: Opposition Watch. The „Green Path“ meeting of opposition activists in Paris has issued its final statement. It put forth a cautious line on the issue of boycotting the 2012 elections — „we won’t abandon our right to vote and to be elected“ — but went beyond other opposition statements in emphasising the rights of ethnic and religious minorities „as guaranteed“ in the Constitution. It said the Government must furnish them with financial means and ensure the right of assembly.“

The meeting asserted, „Our silence is a sign of protest. We adopted patience to accustom dictators to democracy and to break the dictatorship. We want to make it more easy for them to accept a defeat.“

1530 GMT: Battling Friday Prayer Messages. Ayatollah Alamolhoda, speaking in Qom today, started with a slap at the Government, „Some Government officials are not interested in dealing with the problems of society and try to divert us.“ Then he addressed the social situation, „The main problems of people are not economy and subsistence but religion!“

Not so fast, says Grand Ayatollah Javadi Amoli: „Do not expect poor people to be religious. Society needs liberty.“

1445 GMT: Your Tehran Friday Prayer Summary. Hojaleslam Kazem Siddiqi has an All-is-Well message: „Some cases of violence are no reason to claim there is turmoil in society.“

1440 GMT: Elections Watch. Leading principlist MP Mohammad Reza Bahonar offers some advice to reformists: „You can participate [in next March’s Parliamentary elections] on condition that you define reforms and reject the Green Movenment and its leaders.“

1425 GMT: Loyalty Alert. Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi has told Egyptian clerics that Ayatollah Khamenei is a „very informed Leader„. He said, „We are not concerned about the future. We are independent of govt and can criticise it when it deviates.“

1340 GMT: Factions Watch. Deutsche Welle offers an assessment of the new political faction, the Islamic Constancy Front, launched by clerics — notably Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi — and former officials of the Ahmadinejad Government (see Thursday’s LiveBlog) to „unify“ conservatives and principlists.

1125 GMT: Reformist Watch. Speaking to student activists, former Mohammad Khatami said that history tends towards freedom and liberty.

0800 GMT: Excuse of the Day. The hard-line Raja News explains that the recent raid on the home of Ayatollah Amjad, who has been critical of the Government, was because the cleric had not paid his rent.

0700 GMT: And the Diversions Continue. In recent days, there has been an escalation of headline stories on Iranian influence in Iraq — take your pick as to whether US officials have uncovered the extent of Tehran’s infiltration, whether this is a rationale to keep the American military in Iraq beyond its announced withdrawal date, or whether this is „information“ to press the Iraqi Government to distance itself from Iran.

Anyway, The Guardian of London is not asking any questions about motives this morning. Instead, itsplashes dramatically, „Qassem Suleimani: the Iranian General ‚Secretly Running‘ Iraq“.

The support for this profile of Suleimani, the head of the al-Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, is said to be in „weeks of interviews with key officials, including those who admire him and those who fear the man like no other“. The actual evidence is sparse, such as a „senior Shia MP“ asserting:

 

[Suleimani] has managed to form links with every single Shia group, on every level. Last year, in the meeting in Damascus that formed the current Iraqi government, he was present at the meeting along with leaders from Syria, Turkey, Iran and Hezbollah. „He forced them all to change their mind and anoint [Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-] Maliki as leader for a second term.“

 

Perhaps an American used in the story is — inadvertently — closer to the mark about the game being played in reports about Suleimani and about Iran „running“ Iraq:

 

„He is indeed like Keyser Söze,“ said a senior US official this week – in reference to the legendary villain in the The Usual Suspects, whose ruthlessness and influence terrified everyone. „Nobody knew who he was and this guy’s the same. He is everywhere, but nowhere.“

 

0635 GMT: Reformist Watch. Opposition advisor Mojtaba Vahedi has praised political prisoners Mohammad Reza Nourizad and Mehdi Khazali for „bravely speaking out“ against the regime. He said that the debate over forthcoming Parliamentary elections had „tore down the wall between hardliners and reformists“.

0615 GMT: For those of you who thought Al Qa’eda was a spent force following the killing of Osama bin Laden, the US Treasury would like you to look at Iran….

On Thursday, the US Treasury found another rationale for sanctions on Tehran, declaring in a formal statement that Iran was a „critical transit point“ for Al Qa’eda funds and extremists reaching Pakistan and Afghanistan: „This network serves as the core pipeline through which al-Qaida moves money, facilitators and operatives from across the Middle East to South Asia.“

The Treasury said a branch headed by an Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil had operated with the regime’s blessing since 2005 six years. It claimed an Atiyah Abd al-Rahman had been appointed by bin Laden as al-Qaida’s envoy in Iran after serving as a commander in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The Treasury alleges that, as an emissary, al-Rahman is allowed to travel in and out of Iran with the permission of the authorities.

The announcement offered little of substance on Aziz Khalil or Abd al-Rahman yesterday beyond vague labels and biographical information. Abd al-Rahman had been named by the US State Department in 2006 as a Libyan-born operative, born in 1970, who was the „primary liaison“ to Al Qa’eda in Iran. The US offered $1 million for his capture.

US officials said in autumn 2010 that Abd al-Rahman had „relocated“ to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of northern Pakistan. There was a report, never confirmed, that he was killed in a drone attack on 7 October 2010 in Waziristan.

The US Government has argued in the past that Iran has harboured Al Qa’eda personnel, including Saad bin Laden, the eldest son of the former Al Qa’eda leader. Tehran claims that those who fled the fighting in Afghanistan after 2001 were kept under house arrest and not allowed to engage in Al Qa’eda operations.

Iran News Round Up (July 29)

Summary
Cleric blames imperialism for assassination of scientist, stresses presence of Iran’s navy forces in international waters; explosion halts Iran’s natural gas export to Turkey
Politics

Der Iran und der Arabische Frühling – Gefangen im System

Eigentlich, so fanden manche iranische Oppositionelle, sei ihre gescheiterte „grüne Revolution“ von 2009 in vieler Hinsicht Modell für die Revolten in der arabischen Welt gewesen. Doch warum profitiert die iranische Opposition jetzt nicht vom demokratischen Aufbruchsgeist in der Region? Von Reza Hajatpour

Die Welle der arabischen Protestbewegungen hat eine Aufbruchstimmung in die islamische Welt getragen, die fast allenthalben positives Echo fand. Die muslimische Bevölkerung hat die bestehenden repressiven Systeme satt.

So gesehen ließe sich beinahe sagen, dass der politische und religiöse Machtkampf, wie er in Iran seit Jahren geführt wird, nun einen großen Teil der islamischen Welt erfasst und dabei neue Formen angenommen hat.

Die Opposition in Iran hoffte aus der Protestwelle neue Kraft für den eigenen Widerstand zu schöpfen; aber auch die Regierung in Teheran versuchte, ihre Volksnähe und ihre Solidarität mit der arabischen Revolte zur Schau zu stellen.

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Iran Cartoon of the Day: Repairing Ahmadinejad „Is a Waste of Time“

Earlier this week, cleric Jafar Shojouni said that the Iranian system, led by the Supreme Leader, „will repair [President] Ahmadinejad, not replace him“. Cartoonist Maya Nayestani offers her perspective, as a Revolutionary Guard declares, „Repair is a waste of time.“

Eye on Iran: U.S. Accuses Iran of Aiding al-Qaeda

Top Stories

WashPost: „The Obama administration said Thursday that Iran is helping al-Qaeda funnel cash and recruits into Pakistan for its international operations, the most serious U.S. allegation to date of Iranian aid to the terrorist group. Documents filed by the Treasury Department accuse Iran of facilitating an al-Qaeda-run support network that transfers large amounts of cash from Middle East donors to al-Qaeda’s top leadership in Pakistan’s tribal region. A Syrian national who directs the network has been allowed to operate in Iran since 2005, and senior Iranian officials know about money transfers and allow the movement of al-Qaeda foot soldiers through its territory, administration officials said. Although U.S. officials have repeatedly accused Iran of assisting al-Qaeda, links between the two have been difficult to prove. Al-Qaeda regards the Shiite denomination, the dominant branch of Islam in Iran, as heretical, and Iran has sought at times to crack down on the terrorist group, deporting some operatives and holding others under house arrest. U.S. officials asserted that the alleged network offered new evidence of Iranian support. ‚By exposing Iran’s secret deal with al-Qaeda, allowing it to funnel funds and operatives through its territory, we are illuminating yet another aspect of Iran’s unmatched support for terrorism,‘ said David S. Cohen, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.“ http://t.uani.com/oG1WMZ

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Iran Feature: Taking Apart the US Innuendo on Tehran and Al Qa’eda (Pillar)

Writing in The National Interest, former CIA official Paul Pillar takes apart yesterday’s announcement by the US Government that Iran is a „critical transit point“ for Al Qa’eda .

The Treasury Department on Thursday formally designated six members of what it described as “an al-Qa’ida network” under the terms of Executive Order 13224, a designation that has implications regarding the freezing of the individuals‘ assets and prohibition of any commercial or financial dealings with them. Such designations have nothing directly to do with states, but there was an additional angle in Treasury’s announcement. The heading of the department’s press release was, “Treasury Targets Key Al-Qa’ida Funding and Support Network Using Iran as a Critical Transit Point”. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen was quoted as stating, “By exposing Iran’s secret deal with al-Qa’ida allowing it to funnel funds and operatives through its
territory, we are illuminating yet another aspect of Iran’s unmatched support for terrorism.”

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Neue Anklagen gegen Bahai: Im Iran kommt Bildung für die Bahá’í-Jugend einer „Verschwörung“ gleich

Bahai Deutschland:

wir informieren Sie darüber, dass gegen elf iranische Bahá’í, die Ende Mai nach Razzien gegen das Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education (BIHE) noch immer in Haft sind, Anklage erhoben wurde.

Nach Angaben der Internationalen Bahá’í-Gemeinde werfen die iranischen Justizbehörden den elf Bahá’í „Verschwörung gegen die nationale Sicherheit und die Islamische Republik Iran“ vor, da sie das „illegale“ Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education gegründet hätten.

Die Bahá’í-Gemeinde Deutschland ist äußerst besorgt darüber, dass den elf Bahá’í eine gleichlange Haft wie den sieben Mitgliedern der iranischen Bahá’í-Führung bevorsteht. Deren Untersuchungshaft zog sich über zwei Jahre hin, ehe sie im August 2010 zu je zwanzig Jahren Haft verurteilt wurden.

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Iran News Round Up (July 28)

Summary
New signs of tension between Ahmadinejad and Khamenei emerge; Iran’s foreign minister praises Russia, accuses U.S. of hegemonic policies
Politics

  • Ahmadinejad loyalist website IRNA quotes the president for being „indebted to the people, the Imam [Khomeini] and the martyrs,“ with no reference to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
    • Web portal of Iran, also close to Ahmadinejad, uses the same headline.
  • Ahmadinejad says Iranians should have more holidays.
  • Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani says „the current of deviation blames the clergy for the economic problems,“ warns against „the enemy’s plot to tarnish the image of the clergy among the public.“
  • New oil minister Rostam Qassemi, former head of the Khatam al-Anbia Construction Base of the Revolutionary Guards, says he has „not accepted any conditions“ previous to his appointment. Neda-ye Enqelab, close to the Revolutionary Guards, writes that the government on the other hand, has had to accept Qassemi’s precondition that he should have free hands to purge the Oil Ministry of „elements close to the current of deviation,“ such as Mohammad Ali-Abadi and Ahmad Qal-e-Bani.

Petition to Free Iranian HIV/AIDS Doctor

Dr. Arash Alaei and his brother Dr. Kamiar Alaei are HIV/AIDS doctors who were arrested in Iran in 2008 while researching. In January 2009 they were convicted of “communicating with an enemy government” for attending conferences and working with international health organizations to find solutions to HIV/AIDS. Dr. Kamiar Alaei was released in the fall of 2010 after serving 870 days in prison. Dr. Arash Alaei was sentenced to six years in prison and is currently being held in Evin Prison in Tehran.

Physicians for Human Rights has organized an online petition to be sent to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and other Iranian officials urging for the release of Dr. Arash Alaei. The petition can be signed here:http://iranfreethedocs.org/petition/. The text of the petition letter is below:

Iran, Free Doctor Arash AlaeiTo: [Decision Maker],

We, the undersigned HIV/AIDS experts, medical leaders, scientists and concerned citizens are writing to thank Iranian officials for the early release from prison of internationally renowned HIV/AIDS physician Dr. Kamiar Alaei, in late 2010 after two and a half years of imprisonment. We are very pleased that he can now continue his vital medical and public health work.

We now write to respectfully ask your government also to release Dr. Arash Alaei Dr. Kamiar Alaei’s brother from Evin prison in Tehran during the upcoming Islamic holy days. It is our understanding that, as of 27 June 2011, Dr. Arash Alaei completed three years of his six-year sentence and that, according to Iranian law for first-time prisoners, he is eligible for release now. With Dr. Arash Alaei’s release, both of the Drs. Alaei can continue their life-saving work for the benefit of all humanity.

Dr. Arash Alaei is the former Director of the International Education and Research Cooperation of the Iranian National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. He has worked tirelessly to address HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and addiction and has demonstrated unwavering dedication to helping improve the lives of his countrymen and women by protecting them from disease and death.

We believe that ending Dr. Alaei’s confinement will benefit public health in Iran and will have a positive impact on the international medical community and the efforts to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS.

We respectfully ask your government to give freedom to Dr. Arash Alaei so he can return to saving lives in Iran.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Sign the Petition

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