Archiv für den Tag 17. Februar 2015

theGUARDIAN| Jafar Panahi asks for Golden Bear winner Taxi to be shown in Iran

The Iranian director, who is not allowed to leave the country, said ‘no prize is worth as much as my compatriots being able to see my films’ after he wins top prize at Berlin film festival

Taxi film still
Taxi driver … Jafar Panahi in a still from his Golden Bear-winning film. Photograph: Berlinale/Photoshot

Jafar Panahi, the Iranian director who won the top Golden Bear prize at the Berlin film festival for Taxi, has pleaded with Iran to screen it, saying “no prize is worth as much as my compatriots being able to see my films.”

In 2010, Panahi was convicted of spreading anti-government propaganda and endangering national security with his work, and was sentenced to a jail term and a ban on film-making. While he has never had to serve his prison time, he was placed first under house arrest, during which he made his film This Is Not a Film, which was famously smuggled to the Cannes film festival on a USB stick hidden in a cake.

He has since been allowed to move more freely around Iran, though his passport has not been returned to him, making travel to film festivals like Berlin impossible. He has made This Is Not a Film, Taxi and another film, Closed Curtain, despite the ban.

In an interview with Iranian media following his Golden Bear win, Panahi said: “I’m really happy for me and for Iranian cinema,” but took the opportunity to decry the Iranian government. “The people in power accuse us of making films for foreign festivals. They hide behind political walls and don’t say that our films are never authorised for screening in Iranian cinemas.”

Taxi film still
A still from Taxi. Photograph: Berlinale/Photoshot

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Gatestone| Iran’s Views of Jews and the U.S.

Iran’s imminent nuclear breakout capability will, of course, come with insufficient notice for anyone to stop it.

With its new intercontinental ballistic missiles, Iran can deliver these nuclear warheads to every capital of Europe. It does not even have to do that. It need only threaten to, while spelling out what it wants.

Doubtless, Iran has also put the „Great Satan,“ the U.S., high at the top of its list.

Such a history, which reveals why most Jews of Iranian ancestry live abroad, can only intensify Israel’s suspicion of any agreement reached with the current Iranian regime, which has pledged often to eliminate „the Zionist entity,“ the „Little Satan.“

Christians and Jews are familiar with the biblical narrative of how the ancient ruler of the Persian Empire, Cyrus, granted the Jewish people their freedom after his conquest of the Babylonia in 538 B.C. His proclamation launched the most meaningful „aliyah“ [going up to Israel] until modern times.[1]

The Persian ruler even contributed treasure to help finance the rebuilding of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar.

There is, however, a different narrative. When Zoroastrianism was declared the official state religion during the Sassanid Dynasty (224-651 A.D.),[2] the plight of Iran’s Jews deteriorated.

This fusion of state and religion gave Zoroastrian clerics more political power than the monarchy. It also led to the enforcement of intolerant uniform rules of worship for all of Persia’s citizenry.[3]

That persecution clearly shows that Iranian „Jew-Hatred“ predates the birth of Islam. Professor Shaul Shaked details pre-Islamic Sassanid Era polemics against the Jews:[4] The Sassanids burned synagogues and outlawed the celebration of the day of rest, Shabbat. One Sassanid monarch, „Feroz the Wicked“ (Reshi’a), had most of the Jews of Isfahan murdered [5] — in the very city where the biblical heroine, Esther, and her cousin, Mordecai, are buried.

Later, in most of the Safavid (1502-1736) and Qajar (1781-1925) dynastic eras, the monarchs‘ relationship with Iran’s Jews was at best problematic. After the conversion of Iran’s Muslims to the Shia sect of Islam, Jews, like other non-Shia minorities in Persia, were forced to live asdhimmi (tolerated, second-class citizens).

For centuries, there were forced conversions, the closing of synagogues, and destruction of Hebrew books[6] Outward signs distinguished Jews from the rest of Iran’s „loyal“ citizens. Throughout the Safavid Era, Iran’s Jews were forced to wear colored hats and non-matching shoes.[7] In 1588, under the Safavid Shah Abbas I, restrictive ordinances against Jews were instituted, which came to known as „Jam Abbasi Laws,“ severely limiting Jewish property rights and professions in which Jews could work.[8] Sometimes anti-Jewish feelings resulted in the often deadly Yud Bazi (Jew Game)[9] or Yud Khost (Jew Murder).[10] Attacks occurred: Muslim Imams whipped up their followers in anti-Jewish diatribes.

The 6th century B.C. Persian Emperor Cyrus, who granted the Jewish people their freedom, is pictured at left in the painting „Cyrus II le Grand et les Hébreux“ (by Jean Fouquet, 1470-1475). The Persian Safavid ruler Shah Abbas I, pictured at right reviewing the severed heads of captured Ottoman Turkish soldiers, instituted restrictive ordinances against Jews in 1588.

It was not until the Pahlavi Dynasty (1925-1979) that Jews in Iran could live without threats from their own government. Reza Shah Pahlavi even rebuffed Hitler’s attempt to target Iranian Jews;[11] and under his son, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, Jews lived in freedom.

After the establishment of the Islamic Republic, however, Reza Shah was called a „Zionist stooge,“[12] and Iranian Jews were often accused of being spies for Israel. Many of Iran’s Jews emigrated to Israel, the United States, or other countries in the Free World.

Although Iran is Shia and not Sunni, the same basic anti-Jewish references in theological texts are to be found in the Koran and Hadith. Both purport to justify inveterate Jew-hatred. The most familiar texts are the Koran’s condemnation of the Jews as „killers of the prophets,“[13]„all Jews are not all bad, the good ones become Muslims, The bad ones do not.“[14] There are also several Hadith passages that lend theological support for virulent Jew-hatred in today’s Iran. For example, the murder by strangulation of a Jewess who speaks ill of the Prophet, is justified.[15] These passages buttress more contemporary assaults on Jews by Iran’s Islamic revolutionary leaders, such as those of Khomeini and Khamenei, [16] along with earlier condemnation of Jews and Israel as najis, [unclean infidels].[17]

Such a history — which reveals why most Jews of Iranian ancestry live abroad — can only intensify Israel’s suspicion of any agreement reached with the current Iranian regime, which has pledged often to eliminate the „Zionist entity,“ the „Little Satan.“

Iran’s imminent nuclear breakout capability will, of course, come with insufficient notice for anyone to stop it.

With its new intercontinental ballistic missiles [ICBMs], Iran can deliver these nuclear warheads to every capital of Europe. It does not even have to do that. It need only threaten to, while spelling out what it wants.

Doubtless, Iran has also put the „Great Satan,“ the U.S., high at the top of its list.

Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve, where he was a Military Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Israel.


[1] Discovering Cyrus: The Persian Conqueror Astride the Ancient World by Reza Zarghamee. Mage Publishers, Washington D.C. 2013. p.232; and the Book of Ezra, 1:2, 6:3. According toThe History of the Jewish People: „The Aliyah of Zerubavel and the Building of the Second Temple,“ about 50,000 Jews from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin returned to the Jerusalem area. Mesorah Publications, N.Y. 1982. p.25.

[2] Terua: The History of Contemporary Iranian Jews: Vol. I. Center for Iranian Jewish Oral History, Beverley Hills, California. 1996. p.14.

[3] Ibid. p.14.

[4] „Zoroastrian Polemics Against Jews in the Sasanian and Early Islamic Period“ by Shaul Shaked. Padyavand, Volume I, edited by Amnon Netzer. Mazda Publishers: Los Angeles. 1996. pp.75-80.

[5] Ibid. p.3.

[6] Terua. Vol. I „History of Jews in Iran:1500 to the Present“ by Peyman Banooni & Sammy Simnegar. p17.

[7] New Society: Harvard College Student Middle East Journal „Jews of Iran Under Islamic Rule“ by Victoria Golshani. p.1.

[8] Ibid. p.1. See also Dhimmi Status and Jewish Roles in Iranian Society by Lawrence Loeb. Salt Lake City, Utah. Gordon and Breech Science Publishers: 1976. p. 92.

[9] One Yud Bazi game during Muslim festivals in the Qajar Era featured throwing Jews into a large pit of muddy water (hauz) for the amusement of onlookers, who would then watch these poor half-drowned souls climb out of the hole.

[10] Terua. Vol. I. p. 26. „Yud Khost“ simply means „Jew Death“ in Persian, an unconscious historical precursor of the mid-1930s in Germany.

[11] Personal Interview of Boghrat Khorsandi by Victoria Golshani, 28 September 2000.

[12] Padyavand Vol. I. p.122. „The Events of 1978“.

[13] Koran surah 2, al-Baqarah/The Cow. Verse 61b, verse 83, verse 91, surah 3 al-Imran/The Family of Imran, verse 21 are just a few of the Koranic passages that accuse the Jews of murdering Allah’s prophets sent to them.

[14] Koran, surah 3, al-Imran/The Family Imran, verse 113.

[15] Hadith, Abu Dawud 3, #4349.

[16] Upon his arrival in Iran after the Islamic Revolution had succeeded in overthrowing the Shah, Khomeini made crystal clear that his sympathies lay with the Palestinian Arabs. But he also delineated between Iranian Jews and Zionist Jews — that the former were loyal to Iran. However, following the 9 May execution of prominent Iranian Jewish businessman Habib Elghanian, the Jews of Iran began to emigrate en masse. Hundreds of Jews were executed in the first few years of the Islamic Republic under Khomeini, including a 13-year-old boy executed because he wrote a letter to relatives in Israel. Under Khamenei, the present Supreme Leader, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security constantly monitor the remaining Iranian Jews. Paydavand Vol. II. „The Events of 1979: 9 May.“

[17] Terua. p. 16 and p. 22. Also, see Iran’s Final Solution for Israel by Dr. Andrew Bostom and „Jihad, Najis, & Islamic Jew-Hatred„, 31 January 2015.

11 NGOs urge UN experts to intervene in the environmental crisis in southwestern Iran

Ahwaz-Dust-Logos

Justice for Iran- 17 February 2015:

Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran

Mr. John Knox, UN Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment,

Mr. Dainius Pūras, UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,

Your Excellencies,

We, the undersigned human rights and civil society organizations, write to call your attention to an issue of urgent and serious concern in Iran. We wish to urge you to use your respective mandates to make an urgent appeal to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran with regard to environmental crisis in western and southwestern Iran.

The environmental crisis in Ahwaz and other cities in Western and Southwestern Iran is indeed becoming a humanitarian disaster. Dust storms which have existed for years in this part of Iran, have been significantly intensified in the last few days and made local people to breath dust instead of air. For a good portion of year the amount of dust particles in the air reaches dangerous levels, sometimes up to 60 times the permissible level, and the air pollution up to 15 times the permissible level. On some days, the intensity of dust particles has been so high that it has rendered air pollution testing devices dysfunctional.

On occasions, the dust has reduced visibility to less than 50 meters, which has resulted in some fatal car accidents with high numbers of casualties. According to official reports, everyday, an average of more than 250 people attend emergency departments in Ahwaz hospitals for respiratory problems while some of them need to be admitted to special care units. So far, official authorities have declined to give any statistics on air pollution related deaths. They also refuse to give any clear, non-contradictory, and accurate explanation and information on the reasons behind the crisis, responsible bodies, and solutions to the problem.

It has been announced that the government has an “Executive Package” on the way to battle the dust storms, which sounds promising. However, the only tangible measure taken by the government so far in order to protect the lives of more than one million people of Ahwaz has been ordering schools and government departments closed. In the last two weeks alone, schools in Ahwaz have been closed down for seven days. Further, it was only days after the beginning of the crisis, and following public protests, that the government began distributing free surgical masks. This was however limited only to Ahwaz and in other towns and cities people still have to pay for the masks. The intensity of dust and air pollution is also observed in other cities in Western and Southwestern Iran such as Ilam, Piranshahr, Abadan, Dehloran, Dezful, Hendijan, Mahshahr, Ramshir, Khoramshahr, Bukan, Mianduab, Hoveyzeh, Hamidiyeh, and Dasht-e Azadegan and Urmia (Orumieh) where the majority of population belongs to ethnic minorities who are subjected to discrimination and violation.

Multiple reasons have been suggested for this environmental crisis, which has become more problematic since ten years ago and affected the lives and health of millions of Iranians. It has been claimed that drought as a regional problem, excessive use of water resources and the diverting of the Karun river, development plans without taking environmental concerns into account such as excessive construction of water dams in the region including in Iran, oil exploration projects, etc. have resulted in desertification and drying up of marshlands and lagoons, which used to prevent dust from getting into residential areas. Lack of cooperation between Iran and Iraq in preserving the marshlands is another factor contributing to the dust storms originated inside Iraq.

Over the past ten years, the government of the IRI has not carried out any effective plan to prevent dust particles getting into the air breathed by people. Now this has turned into an emergency crisis with no short-term solution, if any, in the horizon.

In a 2003 report[1], the UNEP had sounded alarm about the disappearance of two of the largest marshlands in the world and the largest ecosystem in southwestern Asia, Hur-ul-azim and Hur-ul-hoveyzeh, located on the Iran-Iraq border. According to this research, by that time 90 percent of this ancient and unique ecosystem had been destroyed. The report described the death of these marshlands as one of humanity’s worst engineered disasters and suggested that the only solution to prevent a major environmental crisis would be urgent measures to preserve these two international marshlands. However, this never materialized, neither by Iran nor Iraq, and dust particles raised from the dried-up marshlands became one of the main reasons of the current disaster that is unfolding in southwestern Iran, particularly the city of Ahwaz.

It is evident that short-sighted regional and national development plans and poor environmental policy-making have contributed to this disaster. The governments in the region, including the IRI, have failed to effectively and timely address the environmental problems and control harmful activities within their own terri­tories, which have caused the current disaster.

Human rights and environmental protection are interlinked and the rights to life, health, and development undoubtedly depend on a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The government of the IRI owes positive obligations towards its citizens in this regard and we are extremely disturbed by the fact that, the IRI has failed to effectively protect its citizens against environmental harm and to mitigate the consequences.

We, therefore, respectfully request that you consider the situation described above and urge the government of the IRI to take the following steps:

  • Take effective and tangible measures to prevent and mitigate harm to people.
  • Take urgent and special measures to protect those most vulnerable including children, ill people, and older people.
  • Carry out a comprehensive inquiry and hold accountable those responsible for causing the problem or failed to take effective and timely measures.
  • Provide full access to information about the problem and its impacts on the health and lives of people, as well as the decisions made and plans adopted.
  • Take into account in decision-­making process the environmental impact of activities on the right to life and health of people.
  • Invite local authorities, independent experts, civil society and rights groups to participate in environmental decision-making.
  • Provide effective remedies and access to justice –while ensuring non­-discriminatory treatment– for those individuals or communities who are directly affected by this problem.

In conclusion, we request that you watch the situation closely until all required measures by the Islamic Republic of Iran are taken and the problem is solved.

Sincerely yours,

Duman Radmehr, Board Member

Association for the Human Rights of Azerbaijani People in Iran(AHRAZ )

Dr Hossein Ladjevardi, President

Association des Chercheurs Iraniens’ (ACI)

Karen Parker, President

Association of Humanitarian Lawyers

Taimoor Aliassi, UN Representative

Association of Human Rights in Kurdistan of Iran-Geneva

Ibrahim Al Arabi, Executive Director

European Ahwazi Human Rights Organisation (EAHRO)

Keyvan Rafiee, Director

Human Rights Activists in Iran  (HRAI)

Mohammad Nayyeri, Founder and Director

Insight Iran

Lydia Brazon, Executive Director

International Educational Development, Inc

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, Executive Director

Iran Human Rights

Shadi Sadr, Co-Director

Justice for Iran (JFI)

Mohammad Mostafaei, Director

Universal Tolerance Organization

———–

[1] UNEP, The Mesopotamian Marshlands: Demise of an Ecosystem, available at: <http://www.grid.unep.ch/activities/sustainable/tigris/report.ph>.

Human Rights Watch – Hinrichtung

Human Rights Watch

Iran

Junger Mann, der mit 17 Jahren wegen Verbrechen, das mit Terrorismus in Zusammenhang stand, verurteilt wurde, steht möglicherweise unmittelbar vor Hinrichtung [ID 296264]

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Appell oder Pressemitteilung: Halt Execution of Child Offender

NRW Landtag| Kommunale Flüchtlingskosten – Kleine Anfrage

Vorbemerkung Landesregierung:

Im Rahmen der Verabschiedung der Änderungen im Flüchtlingsaufnahmegesetz wurden zum Teil wesentliche Verbesserungen erreicht, insbesondere durch die Aufstockung der Flüchtlingskostenpauschale um 40 Millionen Euro im Jahr 2015. Zudem konnten Bund-und Länder in einer Vereinbarung erreichen, dass für die Unterbringung von Flüchtlingen in den Jahren 2015 und 2016 1 Milliarde Euro bereitgestellt werden. Dennoch stellte sich in den Beratungen heraus, dass eine unterschiedliche Wahrnehmung der finanziellen Belastungen der Kommunen durch die Flüchtlingsaufnahme und der Landeserstattung besteht.

Vollständige Antwort der Landesregierung

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