Archiv für den Tag 17. Juni 2012

URGENT: Mass Arrest of 60 Iranian Labour Activists in Karaj

On Friday 15th of June at 12 noon 60 members of the Coordinating Committee to Help Forming Workers‘ Organizations and a number of labour activists were arrested by the intelligence forces in Karaj, a city near Tehran. The detainees were transferred to Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj and until now no further news is available.

According to the committee, 9 of detainees are still in custody but the rests were released by bail. The name of 9 detainees are: Mitra Homayooni, Reyhaneh Ansari Cyrus FathiAlireza AsgariMaziar MehrpourFaramarz Fetrat NejadJalil MohammadiSaeed MarzbanMasoud Salimpour and Maziar Mehrpour.

CG Warns on Brinksmanship with Iran


The nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West have had their share of dashed expectations, but even by this peculiar standard, the recent diplomatic roller coaster stands out. Brimming with hope in Istanbul, negotiators crashed to earth in Baghdad, a few weeks later. That was not unexpected, given inflated hopes, mismatched expectations and – most hurtful – conviction on both sides that they had the upper hand. But if negotiations collapse now, it is hard to know what comes next. Washington and Brussels seem to count on sanctions taking their toll and forcing Iran to compromise. Tehran appears to bank on a re-elected President Obama displaying more flexibility and an economically incapacitated Europe baulking at sanctions that could boomerang. Neither is likely; instead, with prospects for a deal fading, Israeli pressure for a military option may intensify. Rather than more brinkmanship, Iran and the P5+1 (UN Security Council permanent members and Germany) should agree on intensive, continuous, technical-level negotiations to achieve a limited agreement on Iran’s 20 per cent enrichment.

The optimism that greeted the Istanbul talks largely was illusory. Success was measured against a remarkably negative starting point – the absence of talks for the preceding fifteen months and a series of escalatory steps by all sides in the interim. The discussions themselves were largely devoid of polemics, but they also were largely devoid of substance. All were on their best behaviour because, tactically, all shared a common goal: to gain time and avoid a crisis that could lead to an Israeli military strike, risk further instability in the region, send oil prices soaring and thus complicate both Europe’s recovery and Obama’s re-election. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Iranian Hip Hop: Voice of Resistance

Ayesha Chugh

Hip-hop music is increasingly the voice of underground protest against Iran’s puritanical restrictions and political repression. It’s been nicknamed Rap-e Farsi, a word-play on the music and national language. Farsi, a poetic language, is particularly conducive to rap. The Islamic Republic is now estimated to have thousands of rappers, both amateur and professional.
On weekend nights, rap music is often heard blaring from the cars of young Iranians cruising Tehran’s streets, even though both the music and cruising are officially discouraged. At least 60 percent of Iran’s 78 million people are under the age of 35, so hip hop’s appeal has political implications too.
Iranian hip hop is partly a byproduct of the cultural liberalization under former President Mohammed Khatami. But it has grown significantly since the disputed 2009 presidential election and subsequent eight months of protests. Many popular lyrics now rant against the theocracy’s injustice and hypocrisy.  Since widespread arrests and trials virtually silenced the opposition Green Movement, rap has been one of the limited ways to express popular discontent. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Ahmadinejad: I’ll Exit Politics at Term’s End; US Senators Balk at Talks

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Farsi and Arabic press and excerpts where the source is in English. 

AhmjadBWHeadDown.jpg9:15 p.m. IRDT, 27 Khordad/June 16 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he intends to leave politics after the end of his second term in 2013; the Iranian Constitution bars the president from seeking a third consecutive term in office. Ahmadinejad spoke with the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung:

„Eight years are enough,“ Ahmadinejad told the newspaper, which released highlights of the interview Saturday. „I plan to go back into academia.“Ahmadinejad, 55, is [a] hydraulic construction engineer who was awarded a doctorate in 1997 for his research into transport systems.

„Maybe I’ll get involved politically at the university, but I’m not going to found any political party or grouping.“

[…] He ruled out standing aside for another candidate and then seeking a third term in a few years, as was recently done by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Netherlands tightens up on Iranian students, immigrants

Source: Radio Zamaneh

The Dutch Foreign Minister announced yesterday that in view of sanctions against Iran, Netherlands will no longer renew or issue visa or residency applications for Iranian researchers and specialist immigrants.

Zamaneh reports that Foreign Minister Yuri Rosenthal announced to the Dutch Parliament that UN and EU sanctions on Iran prompted his ministry’s decision to reject renewal applications for residency made by Iranians engaged in research at universities or specific companies or those who are now employed at various centres in Netherlands.

Rosenthal claimed that this decision was based on an article of the EU sanctions on Iran that bans Iranians from having access to certain fields that could lead to certain knowledge being relayed to Iran.

He added this decision does not affect applications made by students or tourists traveling to the Netherlands, which will be handled as before.

A number of Iranians in Netherlands have already reported the effects of the recent moves by the Foreign Ministry. A number of graduate students have reported on Facebook that their residency application has been turned down.

One student reports that a letter from the Dutch Immigration Office (IND) informed him that the office is examining how the EU sanctions on Iran will affect residency applications from Iranians.

Another Iranian residing in the Netherlands reported that he received a letter from a prospective employer after an interview, informing him that the IND has forbidden the company from considering Iranian professionals because of the EU sanctions.

The Iranian embassy has reportedly protested against the restrictions on Iranian students and called for their immediate withdrawal.

After Moscow: Will There be War or Peace?

By Shirin Shafaie (originally published by Fair Observer)


The Russian scholar and independent analyst Dr. Nikolay Kozhanov shares his in-depth insight into the Russian approach towards the upcoming Moscow negotiations between P5+1 and Iran with Shirin Shafaie. Dr. Kozhanov was an attache at the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Tehran from 2006 to 2009, where he worked on Iran’s nuclear issue among other socio-economic and energy-related issues. He is currently a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute, a scholar at the nongovernmental Institute of the Middle East and a visiting lecturer at the School of Economics of the St. Petersburg State University. Dr. Kozhanov’s monograph, Economic Sanctions Against Iran: Aims, Scale and Possible Consequences, was published in Moscow in June 2011.


Shafaie: Dr. Kozhanov, you suggested in a policy analysis paper published by the Washington Institute in May 2012 that President Putin will not sacrifice Russia’s relationship with the US for the sake of its strategic partnership with the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). You also said that if the US holds back on its anti-missile defence in Eastern Europe, Russia might be more cooperative with the US on Iran’s nuclear issue.

Does Iran have enough reasons to trust either side when they meet in Moscow on June 18? In other words, aren’t Russia and the US playing the „good cop, bad cop“ game with Iran ultimately aiming at squeezing maximum concessions from one another as well as from Iran? What concrete confidence building measures has Russia envisioned to gain Iran’s trust, given the bitter history of broken deals between the two countries; for example in the case of Russia’s refusal to deliver S-300 systems to Iran under President Medvedev? Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

VIEWPOINT: Three Years In, Is Iran’s Green Revolution Still Going?

By Holly Dagres, Middle East Voices

Before there was an Arab awakening, there was an Iranian one. It started three years ago, on June 13, 2009. Some have since called it a revolution; others have been more guarded, referring to it instead as a movement, connoting a sense of continuity.

Supporters of Iran’s Green Movement at Tehran’s Azadi Square – June 2009

On June 13, 2009, then incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed an election victory over his main opponent, Mir Hussein Mousavi, and other candidates in what the opposition claimed was pure and unadulterated fraud. Then, 30 years of suppression suddenly boiled over into a green wave of anger with Iranians taking to the streets in the most massive anti-regime demonstrations since the country’s 1979 revolution.

The image of the Islamic Republic had taken a hit; what first was raised as an issue of election fraud soon turned into a demand for reform and broader civil liberties. But within just a few weeks the opposition began to crumble as a violent government crackdown against protesters took the lives of more than 30 of them. After that, the protests were declared all but dead.

But was what many saw as a revolution over as well? Or did the moment really mark the beginning of a civil right movement in Iran, just making its first steps on what would likely be a long and arduous path? Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

A great day for iranians, 17. Juni 2009:Protesters to Iran Election Result – Demonstration in 7 Tir and Karhimkhan Street

Iran 1st-Hand: Sanctions Are Hurting The Iranians Who Welcomed Me…And That’s Good (Kristof)

Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times is currently writing across his recent journey across northern Iran. His first column on Thursday started gently with „Hugs From Iran“ for Americans, but ended with political bite:

A shopkeeper — also with limited education, also reliant on government television for news — told me that “all the nation backs the leader.”Yet more common were those like the businessman in Adidas sandals and Ray-Ban sunglasses who scoffed, “The Iranian revolution was a mistake.” Or the separatist in Tabriz who has given up on Iran and wants the northwest of the country to join Azerbaijan. Or the man at a roadside rest stop who sharply criticized America for bullying Iran, but added, “our leaders have lost their marbles.” Or the woman who has abandoned prayer and religious fasting, explaining, “The biggest factor that has turned people against Islam is this government.”…

To me, Iran feels like other authoritarian countries I covered before they toppled. My guess is that the demise of the system is a matter of time — unless there’s a war between Iran and the West, perhaps ignited by Israeli strikes on Iranian nuclear sites. That, I sense, would provoke a nationalist backlash and rescue the ayatollahs.

Now Kristof has kicked the hornets nest with his second piece, „Pinched and Griping in Iran„. Extending the close of his previous column, his observations make an argument for US-led sanctions: they are causing enough grief for ordinary Iranians that the level of dissatisfaction with the regime will eventually lead to its downfall. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

The Latest from Iran (17 June): „So What?“ News — Ahmadinejad to Leave Politics

0635 GMT: Corruption Watch. A judge has announced six new defendants, bringing the total to 39, in the $2.6 billion bank fraud. All are connected with the Aria Group, the consortium allegedly at the centre of the embezzlement.

Meanwhile, Grand Ayatollah Safi Golpayegani has his own announcement: all officials accused of corruption should retire.

And the newspaper Bamdad Khabar fires a political shot, accusing the Larijani brothers — Speaker of Parliament Ali, head of judiciary Sadegh, and high-ranking judiciary official Mohammad Javad — of being involved in a „land grab“ around Tehran.

0625 GMT: Three Years Ago. Writing for Rooz Online, Bahram Rafiei offers a look at the 2009 Presidential election, „Two Acts of A Coup„, highlighting the ongoing role of the Revolutionary Guards in the political manipulation.

0605 GMT: We reported yesterday on an extract from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s interview from a German newspaper setting out the Iranian line — an optimistic line, in the circumstances — on tomorrow’s nuclear talks with the 5+1 Powers.

We note today another installment in a curious initiative by Ahmadinejad to promote an Iran-Egypt partnership to lead the Middle East and beyond: “If Iran and Egypt stand together, there is no need for war to root out the domination of the enemies and Zionists, and the news of unity between Iran and Egypt will by itself force the cowardly Zionists to run from the region.“ Is this a personal flourish by the President or a volley in a regime campaign, despite the uncertainty in Cairo, to declare that it is has a new alliance to set against the „West“?

Here is what we did not note on Saturday: Ahmadinejad also told the German newspaper that he will leave politics after his Presidency ends in 2013. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

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