Blog-Archive

A Daughter’s Plea: Free My Father from Iran’s Prisons

Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

My father, an Iranian blogger, is being psychologically tortured and imprisoned—all for blogging about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
At this very moment, my father, Mohammad Reza Pourshajari, also known as Siamak Meher, is being detained in Karaj Prison in Iran.  He was arrested by security forces two months ago in Orumieh and was held in solitary confinement for 14 days by the Ministry of Intelligence.  He was subjected to harsh investigation and psychological torture. His interrogators repeatedly threatened him with the death.  Once transferred to Karaj Prison, he spent an additional 15 days in solitary confinement.

For a month after his arrest, my family had no idea where my father disappeared to.  We were terrified.  My father is now awaiting a court trial for the following so-called crimes: acts against national security, propaganda against the system, attempts to leave the country illegally, contacts with Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, the Special Rapporteur on Iran, contacts with anti-revolutionary individuals and organizations and contacts with Zionist organizations and individuals.

My father is a blogger—not a criminal.  In March, my father, who suffers from cardiac arrest, diabetes and kidney stones, wrote, “When the intelligence agents of the Islamic regime first broke into my apartment they beat me to death and took me for interrogations. I was put in a solitary confinement completely cut off from the outside world without even enjoying basic prisoner rights. I was constantly threatened to death.”  He was taken into a room, blindfolded and led to believe he was going to be hanged.

My father continued, “All these sufferings only because I tried to share articles 17 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with my fellow citizens; all these because I tried to make my fellow citizens aware of the rights reserved for them by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”  He rightly observed that, “My fate as a blogger and a prisoner of conscience is only one example of the thousands of the victims of human rights violations in Iran.”

What makes his current detainment even more heartbreaking this time is that he was recently released after serving four years in prison. He was arrested in September 2010 and sentenced prison for propaganda against the State, insulting the Supreme Leader and defamation of Islam.

During the first days of my father’s interrogation, security officials asked him to convince me to return back to Iran. They assured him that should this happen, many problems would be resolved. The majority of the questions they asked were related to my work and activities.

From prison, my father noted that he was jailed “as a result of voicing my criticism and concerns at the injustice and the violation of human rights and freedom violations in my country.”  He rotted in a 21-square-meter cell where he was kept with 40 other inmates “most of whom are murderers, rapists, child molesters, smugglers, robbers and psychotic patients.”

My father is now awaiting a court trial for the following so-called crimes: acts against national security, propaganda against the system … contacts with anti-revolutionary individuals and organizations and contacts with Zionist organizations and individuals.

My father’s voice has been silenced by a cruel regime and so I pass on his message to the world:  “The people of Iran are now ensnared in the hands of a religious, medieval and extremely backward regime that has no respect for the values the civilized world has been seeking out for the past four centuries,” he wrote.   “The totalitarian regime of the Islamic republic harshly represses the public so not even one single individual or the media can freely expresses their opinion on the conditions of the country and its people…”

The Iranian regime has refused to release any updated information about my father despite repeated requests.  My father and I always had a very close relationship.  He took care of me throughout my life.  I dream that one day he will be free.  He is always in my thoughts.

Movements.org is a crowdsourcing platform created by Advancing Human Rights which connects activists from dictatorships with people around the world with skills to help them.

Source: The Daily Beast

“Rosewater”: Peiniger hören zu, wenn sie Erotisches erfahren

FRANK HERRMANN AUS WASHINGTON

Jon Stewart, legendärer Gastgeber der Fernsehsendung “The Daily Show” in Amerika, hat einen Film gedreht. In “Rosewater” erzählt er die wahre Geschichte des iranisch-kanadischen Journalisten Maziar Bahari, der 2009 von den Wahlen in Teheran berichten soll

Den einen Seitenhieb kann Jon Stewart sich nicht verkneifen. “Was?”, fragt er entgeistert zurück, mit theatralisch aufgerissenen Augen, als die Moderatorin im Newseum, dem Journalismusmuseum Washingtons, eine Frage stellt, mit der er nichts anfangen kann. Im Comedy-Studio sitze er ja immer vor der Kamera, bei seiner Premiere als Filmemacher sei er nun dahinter gestanden – “erfordert das nicht eine komplette Neuordnung in Ihrem Kopf?” “Whaaat?”, antwortet Stewart und amüsiert sich über das Wort Neuordnung, so wie er Politiker zerpflückt, wenn sie eine Sprechblase an die andere reihen.

Der Kultsatiriker des liberalen Amerika, dessen bissige TheDaily Show manchem die eher seichten Abendnachrichten der Kabelsender ersetzt, hat einen Kinofilm gedreht, seinen ersten. Erzählt wird die wahre Geschichte Maziar Baharis, eines iranisch-kanadischen Journalisten, der im Juni 2009 nach Teheran fliegt, um über eine Wahl zu berichten, über das Duell zwischen dem Hardliner Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad und seinem flexibleren Herausforderer Mir Hossein Mussawi.

Die schwierige Arbeit eines westlichen Journalisten im Iran: Gael García Bernal spielt in "Rosewater" den kanadisch-iranischen Reporter Maziar Bahari, der als Spion verdächtigt und eingesperrt wird.</p>
<p>vergrößern (800×568foto: ap

Die schwierige Arbeit eines westlichen Journalisten im Iran: Gael García Bernal spielt in “Rosewater” den kanadisch-iranischen Reporter Maziar Bahari, der als Spion verdächtigt und eingesperrt wird.

Als Ahmadi-Nejad zum Sieger erklärt wird, was den Verdacht massiver Fälschung aufkommen lässt, gehen in Teheran Zehntausende auf die Straße. Bahari ist dabei, er filmt, wie Demonstranten über die Mauern einer Kaserne der Revolutionswächter zu klettern versuchen, wie Schüsse fallen und der leblose Körper eines Getroffenen im Stacheldraht hängt. Bald darauf klingeln Geheimpolizisten an der Wohnungstür seiner Mutter, um ihn abzuholen. Bahari soll bekennen, dass er spioniert, für die Amerikaner, die Briten, die Israelis, für das Magazin Newsweek, für wen auch immer.

Im Evin-Gefängnis, Teherans berüchtigtem Knast, wird er geschlagen und erniedrigt und zur Abwechslung mit Aprikosen gelockt von seinem Peiniger, der nach Rosenwasser duftet, weshalb er ihn Rosewater nennt. Es beginnt damit, dass der Mann seine Kontakte durchgeht. “Wer ist Anton Tschechow?” “Anton Tschechow? Der Dramatiker?” “Du sollst mir das sagen, deshalb frage ich dich. Schließlich bist du es, der sich bei diesem Facebook für ihn interessiert.”

Am Originalschauplatz konnte Stewart natürlich nicht arbeiten, sodass Amman als Alternative herhalten musste, die jordanische Hauptstadt, wo man ihn in einer Haftanstalt drehen ließ. Es war Sommer, vierzig Grad, obendrein Ramadan, Fastenmonat. “Idealbedingungen”, witzelt Stewart.

Vollständiger Artikel

Video Witness Statement of Majid Abedinzadeh Moghaddam: A Prisoner in Kahrizak during the 2009 Post-Election Protests

Majid Abedinzadeh Moghadam was imprisoned in Kahrizak Detention Center for participating in the protests following the 2009 elections. There, he and over a hundred other detainees were subjected to systematic physical and psychological torture, including beatings and imprisonment in a hot and crowded warehouse. Following several days of violent mistreatment, Moghaddam witnessed the death of one of his fellow detainees.

General Anzeiger| Demonstration für inhaftierte Journalisten

Das Wetter hatten sie auf ihrer Seite. Strahlender Sonnenschein begrüßte die rund 80 engagierten Läufer, die sich am Sonntag am Beueler Rheinufer zum “Lauf für die Menschenrechte” versammelten. Mit dem von Amnesty International (AI) organisierten Lauf, der bereits zum 16. Mal in Bonn stattfand, wollten die Teilnehmer ein Zeichen setzen.
Zoom
Rund 80 Läufer nahmen am Friedenslauf teil. Foto: Max Malsch
Sie joggten für die Rechte von Journalisten im Iran. Um den Körper trugen sie Schilder mit der Aufschrift “Freiheit für Abedini Nasr”. Der iranische Journalist wurde 2010 im Zuge einer Verhaftungswelle gegen Menschenrechtsaktivisten im Iran verhaftet und befindet sich seitdem in Gefangenschaft, wo er Berichten zufolge auch misshandelt wurde.

In Briefen an den iranischen Botschafter appelliert AI regelmäßig für die Freilassung des Journalisten. Durch den “Lauf für die Menschenrechte” sollte die Öffentlichkeit für das Thema sensibilisiert werden. “Solche Aktionen sind für uns enorm wichtig. Denn die Öffentlichkeit ist unsere wichtigste Waffe”, erklärte Jamil Balga, der Gruppensprecher der AI-Bezirksgruppe Bonn-Mitte. “Und in 30 bis 40 Prozent der Fälle führen unsere Protestaktionen auch zum Erfolg.”

Vollständiger Artikel

Freedom of the Press? Not Under Rouhani.

jason

Imagine a group of people. They look just like you. They have families, lives, interests, hobbies, everything you know from your own life. The only thing that is different in their lives than those of yours is the job they chose to do: They elected to be journalists in the Islamic Republic of Iran. So now they’re in jail, and no one knows when they will be set free again.

It wasn’t supposed to be like that. Upon his election, Hassan Rouhani was perceived as being a great hope in that aspect. In fact, as early as his first speech in office, Rouhani said “The government that takes its legitimacy from its people does not fear the free media; we will seek help from their constructive criticism.”

Well, apparently that’s over with; Washington post’s Tehran’s correspondent Jason Rezaian (along with his wife Yeganeh Salehi), has been arrested in July. Since then, there have been numerous calls for his release, but the president has remained silent, and has done nothing to aid in that cause, nor has his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Rezaian’s story is a sign of the perils of trying to become a reporter in today’s Iran: “The two have been held for more than eight weeks without explanation or charges. They have not been permitted to meet with their lawyer”, says Douglas Jehl, the Washington post’s foreign editor.

Rezaian is the face of an alarmingly growing epidemic in Iran, reports the committee to protect journalists, in an article that states that journalists have been arrested by the dozen in the country.

This raises the question about the connections between the Iranian president and those kidnaps, but Mr. Zarif’s recent admission, about not even knowing all of the charges that Rezaian was tagged with, brings to mind the question of control in Iran – and it seems that no one in the government really knows what’s going on inside those Journalists’ prisons cell.

Source: Iran2407.wordpress.com

Amnesty kritisiert Lage der Journalisten im Iran

Die Menschenrechtsorganisation Amnesty International hat einen deutlichen Anstieg von Festnahmen und Inhaftierungen unabhängiger Journalisten im Iran kritisiert. Die Behörden machten damit Hoffnungen zunichte, die der Amtsantritt des iranischen Präsidenten Hassan Rohani am 3. August 2013 geweckt habe, erklärte die Organisation.

Nach Angaben von Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, der stellvertretenden Direktorin der Amnesty-Abteilung für den Mittleren Osten und Nordafrika, gibt es zunehmend ein Klima der Einschüchterung und Furcht. Was der offiziellen Staatsideologie zuwiderlaufe, drohe mit Gefängnis bestraft zu werden.

In den vergangenen Monaten habe die Repression gegen die Medienschaffenden noch zugenommen. Betroffen seien unter anderen iranische Journalisten, ausländische Korrespondenten und Filmemacher. Festnahmen erfolgten vielfach gemäß der islamischen Strafgesetzgebung. Darin würden “Verbreitung von Lügen oder Propaganda” sowie “Erzeugung von Unruhe in der öffentlichen Meinung” als Verbrechen definiert. In Wirklichkeit werde damit eine große Zahl friedlicher Aktivitäten kriminalisiert. Kritische Journalisten würden mit verschiedenen Methoden drangsaliert und zur Selbstzensur gezwungen.

Der Verbleib des Korrespondenten der “Washington Post” im Iran und dessen ebenfalls als Journalistin arbeitende Ehefrau sei nach wie vor nicht bekannt. Jason Rezaian und Yeganeh Salehi wurden am 22. Juli in Teheran festgenommen. Ebenfalls an einem unbekannten Ort festgehalten wurde die am 28. Mai festgenommene Saba Azarpeik. Erst am vergangenen Sonntag wurde der Journalist Serajeddin Mirdamadi wegen “regierungsfeindlicher Propaganda” und “Verstoßes gegen die nationale Sicherheit” zu sechs Jahren Haft verurteilt – laut Amnesty ein Beispiel von vielen.

Vollständiger Artikel

WP| Iran confirms arrest of Post correspondent


The Washington Post Iranian-American journalist Jason Rezaian, right, and his Iranian wife Yeganeh Salehi, who works for the UAE newspaper National, during a foreign ministry spokeswoman weekly press conference in Tehran, Iran, 10 September 2013. (Stringer/EPA)
Iran confirmed Friday that The Washington Post’s correspondent in Tehran has been arrested on unspecified charges.

Gholam-Hossein Esmaili, director general of the Tehran Province Justice Department, told reporters that the “Washington Post journalist has been detained for some questions and after technical investigations, the judiciary will provide details on the issue,” the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

“Iranian security forces are vigilant towards all kind of enemies’ activities, the official added,” IRNA said without elaborating. The brief report did not mention The Post’s correspondent, Jason Rezaian, by name.

Rezaian, 38, a U.S.-Iranian dual national; his Iranian wife, Yeganeh Salehi; and two other U.S. citizens whose identities have not been disclosed appeared to have been detained this week in Tehran, U.S. officials and The Post said Thursday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of annual “Quds Day” rallies, held to express solidarity with Palestinians and oppose Israeli control of Jerusalem, Esmaili shed no light on what prompted the arrests. He went on to denounce”the Zionist regime’s recent crimes in Gaza,” called for the trial of Israeli leaders in international courts and said that “the silence of certain international bodies and states towards Zionist crimes against Palestinians is shameful,” IRNA reported. It was unclear whether those grievances had anything to do with the arrests.

Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter, at the newspaper in Washington. (Zoeann Murphy/AP)

Washington Post foreign editor Douglas Jehl said the newspaper received “credible reports” that Rezaian and Salehi were detained Tuesday evening. It was unclear who detained them.

“We are deeply troubled by this news and are concerned for the welfare of Jason, Yeganeh and two others said to have been detained with them,” Jehl said in a statement.

Jehl said that Rezaian, who has been The Post’s correspondent in Tehran since 2012, “is an experienced, knowledgeable reporter who deserves protection and whose work merits respect.”

Article

A Baluchi woman killed by police forces

Seyed Bibi Rasoulizadeh

HRANA News Agency – Seyed Bibi Rasoulizadeh (Moradkhatoon), in Sarbaz town, was taken over by police when she was resisting against seizure of her nephew’s car and died in the way to hospital.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), police seized a Toyota car, in a checkpoint on Sarbaz town, the suburb of Ashar in Afshan village, which was carrying diesel fuel and belonged to the nephew of Seyed Bibi Rasoulizadeh, on Friday, July 18th at 12am.

When this 40 years old woman tried to prevent seizure of the car she was taken over by the police officer who was driving and died on the way to hospital due to the injuries.

An informed source told HRANA’s reporter, “when police officers were trying to transfer the car to station, they confronted with her. Moradkhatoon insisted that they should not seize her nephew’s car. But, the officer who was driving had taken over her”.

This source also said that officer was a conscript and he even did not stop for transferring her to hospital.

This incident caused anger of the community and some had attacked the station and broken the door.

Poverty and unemployment have caused the young people tending to smuggling the fuel to neighbor countries.

Source: HRA-NEWS.org

News from Iran – Week 26 – 2014

by lissnup

Prisoners’ News

A-Transfers

  • Hamed Ahmadi, death row prisoner on hunger strike, transferred to hospital for stomach bleeding.
  • Mansour Arvand, death row prisoner, transferred from Urmiah prison to an unknown location.
  • Dr. Kamran Ayazi transferred from Evin to Rejaei Shahr.
  • Shahram Chinian-Miandoab transferred to solitary in Rejaei Shahr.
  • Dr. Latif Hasani, on hunger strike since May 10th, transferred to hospital and then to Evin.
  • Behnam Irani, Christian priest recently converted, transferred from Alborz Intelligence detention center to Rejaei Shahr.
  • Mehdi Khazali moved from Evin to Rejaei Shahr.
  • Kasra Nouri transferred back from Adel Abad prison to Nezam prison.

B-Arrests-Detentions

  • Sivan Hosseinpour, Kurdish photographer and cartoonist, arrested at home in Mahabad.
  • Bahman Khaleghi, Azeri activist, begins serving his 6 months sentence in Tabriz.
  • Majid Moghadam arrested during 5th memorial at Neda Agha-Soltan grave and released the day after.
  • Hojatoleslam Seyed Hamid Mahdavi-Eghdam begins serving his sentence in Tabriz prison.
  • Mamousta Abdol-Salam Golnavaz, Kurdish cleric, summoned to clerical court in Tabriz and arrested ; released the day after because of protests
  • Behnam Mousivand arrested during 5th memorial at Neda Agha-Soltan’s grave and released the day after.
  • Afshin Nadimi, Kurdish rights activist, begins serving his 6 years sentence in Sanandaj prison.
  • Reyhaneh Tabatabaei, journalist, begins serving her 6 months sentence in Evin.
  • Female football fans arrested and released after president’s intervention.

C-Liberations

  • Leva Khanjani freed at the end of her sentence.
  • Amir Khorram released on furlough.

D-Other News

  • Reza Akbari-Monfared on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to support Reza Shahabi.
  • Mohammad Banazadeh-Amirkhizi on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to supportReza Shahabi.
  • Dr. Asghar Ghotan on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to support Reza Shahabi.
  • Afshin Heiratian on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to support Reza Shahabi.
  • Khaled Herdani on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to support Reza Shahabi.
  • Saleh Kohandel on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to support Reza Shahabi.
  • Mohammad-Ali (Pirouz) Mansouri on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to supportReza Shahabi.
  • Ali Moezi banned from all visits.
  • Ali Salanpour on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to support Reza Shahabi.
  • Shahrokh Zamani on hunger strike in Rejaei Shahr to support Reza Shahabi.

News of injustice in Iran

  • Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, journalist, banned from leaving the country.
  • 5 hangings in Birjand prison.
  • 8 hangings in Rasht on Monday.
  • 2 hangings Rejaei Shahr on Wednesday.
  • 11 hangings in Ghezel-Hesar on Thursday.

University – Culture

  • Shahr e Sokhteh inscribed in Unesco World Heritage list.
  • Two paintings by Iranian poet Sohrab Sepehri sold for over $1 million in Tehran auction.
  • Iranian students blocked from UK Stem courses by Kaplan due to US sanctions.
  • Islamic Association of Shiraz University of Technology reopens after 4 years

Protests

  • Tehranis celebrate great match of Team Melli against Argentina on the street.
  • Retired steel workers protest withheld pension payments.
  • Reporters strike at national broadcaster in Ardebil for unpaid wages.
  • Miners protest to keep company private and they stop privatisation.

Iran abroad

  • Zarif meets Sudanese minister of development in Tehran.
  • French parliamentary delegation visits Iranian Majlis.
  • Iran operates drones from former American base in Iraq.

Iran Economics

  • Turkey sells 200 tons of secret gold to Iran.
  • India makes $550m oil payment to Iran.

Iran Politics

  • Iranian police launches new campaign to seize satellite dishes.
  • Gholamali Jafarzadeh, a member of Iran’s planning and Budget Commission calls for Ahmadinejad’s prosecution.
  • 75% of provincial governors replaced last year.
  • Vasectomy punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison.
  • Health Minister challenges law against birth control.

Miscellaneous

  • Iran is getting ready for its best year of tourism in a generation.
  • Iranian pilgrims captured by ISIS released, back to country.
  • Iran has the highest cancer rate because of contaminated gasoline.

 

Iran student protests, July 1999

Iranian Student Protests of July, 1999 (Also known as 18th of Tir and Kuye Daneshgah Disaster (Persian: فاجعه کوی دانشگاه‎) in Iran) (7–13 July)[1] were, before the 2009 Iranian election protests, the most widespread and violent public protests to occur inIran since the early years of the Iranian Revolution.[2]

The protests began on 8 July with peaceful demonstrations in Tehran against the closure of the reformist newspaper, Salam. Following the demonstrations, a student dormitory was raided by riot police that night during which a student was killed. The raid sparked six days of demonstrations and rioting throughout the country, during which at least three other people were killed and more than 200 injured.[1]

In the aftermath of these incidents, more than seventy students disappeared. In addition to an estimated 1,200–1,400 detainees, the “whereabouts and condition” of five students named by Human Rights Watch who are believed to be detained by Islamic authorities remain unknown.[3]

Overview

The evening of the protests “about 400 plainclothes paramilitaries descended on a university dormitory, whispering into short-wave radios and wielding green sticks.” The paramilitaries, thought to be Ansar-e-Hezbollah and possibly Basij began attacking students, kicking down doors and smashing through halls, grabbing female students by the hair and setting fire to rooms. Several students were thrown off of third story balconies “onto pavement below, their bones crushed,” and one student paralyzed. According to students’ accounts, uniformed police stood by and did nothing.[4] “Witnesses reported that at least one student was killed, 300 wounded, and thousands detained in the days that followed.”[5]The protests began on the eve of 9 July 1999 after a peaceful demonstration by a group of students of Tehran University against the closure of the reformist newspaper, Salam, by the press court. Salam newspaper (Persian: روزنامه سلام) was operated by the Association of Combatant Clerics, the reformist political party to which the then President,Mohammad Khatami belonged. The student groups, which at the time were considered one of the major supporters of Khatami and his reform programs, were protesting in support of Khatami against the closure of the newspaper by the judiciary, which was controlled by the hardline opponents of President Khatami.

The next day unrest began in earnest, spreading through Tehran and to other cities and continuing for almost a week, with unemployed youths joining the students. Basijis are reported to have disguised themselves as students (wearing jeans, T-shirts, and shaving their faces) and thrown bricks into shop windows to discredit the student demonstrators.[6] The five days of rioting “turned Tehran into a battlefield,” and was “inarguably the worst mass disturbance” the Islamic Republican system had seen in its 20-years of existence. Running street battles left downtown Tehran “gutted,” with burned-out buses, and smashed storefronts.[7]

There were many arrests and injuries, and at least one confirmed fatal shooting, namely that of Ezzat Ebrahim-Nejad. The death of Ebrahim-Nejad was the only one acknowledged by the state-controlled Iranian television, however, major student groups and the foreign media have claimed more than 17 dead during the week of violent protests. Another student Saeed Zeinali has been disappeared after his arrest by security forces.

Major Iranian cities such as Tabriz, Mashhad, Shiraz and Esfahan were scenes of violent and widespread demonstrations as well. The protests continued at Tabriz University on 11 July 1999 (20th of Tir) and police and hardliners responded similarly in Tabriz universities and schools, entering the universities and brutally attacked students. Four students died in the unrest and many were beaten while in custody.[8]

According to the Economist magazine, the demonstrations “took a more violent turn on 13 July, when some of the students, deeply dissatisfied with the official response, tried to storm the Ministry of the Interior, the perceived seat of their troubles.”[9] On July 13 President Khatami issued a statement “disowning” the demonstrators, stating that continued defiance of the ban on demonstrations was “an attack on the foundations of the régime.”[10]

The next day, 14 July, “Tens of thousands of supporters” of Supreme Leader Khamenei rallied in Tehran in a demonstration called by the Organization for Islamic Propagation (Keesing’s July 1999). “Reports characterize the demonstration as the régime’s counterattack, claiming that the demonstrators include tens of thousands government employees who have been brought to Tehran by bus.”[11]

Student Protest: July 1999

The Iranian student protest that took place on July 1999, demonstrate the struggle for basic freedoms during Iran’s path toward democratization. The underlying cause of the protest was the desire to possess freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and association with society.

Election of 1997

The presidential election of Mohammad Khatami on 23 May 1997 is symbolic of Iran’s desire for reform. The elections resulted in higher voter turnout as a result of Khatami’s liberalist views that attracted large number of youth and women specifically. In fact, “Iran’s youth…reportedly made up a large part of the 20 million who gave Khatami his victory. They were joined by large numbers of women.” The election of Khatami brought hope of economic, political and societal reform to Iranian citizens. One of the ways that Khatami appealed to woman what by stating his belief that, “women should be active in all social, political and economic activities, and said he would welcome qualified women in his cabinet if he should win the presidency. Efforts should be made to do away with male supremacy”. By holding such liberal ideas, Khatami sets himself up for battle against conservative ideology within the judicial sector of the government. In addition, “the Islamic Republic in 1997 was still an oligarchy, controlled by a network of Shi’ite clerics who were disciples of Ayatollah Khomeini” and loyal followers of Islam. Therefore, the liberalistic views of Khatami did not coincide with those of the clerics. Still, it seems as if Khatami strategically attracts votes from youth and women through his liberalistic views. In fact he “distanced himself from the faltering and unpopular campaign to ‘Islamize’ the universities, a goal of the conservative faction”. This quote indicates that Khatami noticed the dissatisfaction with the conservative’s agenda and consequently used this to his advantage. As a result the election of Khatami publicizes the Iranian citizens need for reform, especially in regards to freedoms of the press.

Government and the Press

The control of the press that the Iranian government had was a result of the “dysfunctional dualism of political and ideological institutions”. The struggle between conservative and moderate reform administration resulted in restriction the press. During this time period, Iran experienced an apparent struggle of power between reformist president Muhammad Khatami and the conservative leader of the Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In efforts to decrease support for the president’s liberalization agenda, the judiciary closed down newspapers that expressed reformative views. The judiciary justified the closure of several publications on the basis of “factional issues …The hardline judiciary close[d] reformist publications, while hardline ones that commit[ed] similar violations [were] rarely punished”. The judiciary used press policies as a tool to promote conservative views. The judiciary was able to do this because press policies were vague and used to their benefit. Consequently, on 7 July 1999 the Salam daily was closed. The basis of the closure was because of a report revealing plans by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security to restrict the press. The editor of the newspaper faced “charges of spreading fabrications, disturbing public opinion, and publishing classified documents”. The judicial sector of the Iranian government had clear objectives to eradicate the spread of reformative views by closing down publications that spread truth to the public however the judiciary distorted the information to enable their control of the press. The press in Iran, within the boundaries of the established order which consist of the president and the clerics has reflected throughout history intergovernmental debates. These debates are dictated by the structure of governance in the Islamic Republic and who holds power. The press under the Islamic Republic in Iran has never been free. The basis of the Islamic Republic ipso facto was established upon the forceful closure of nearly all the existing free press, in the mid-summer of 1980. The only period that the press was free was from February through July 1980. In addition, since the establishment of the Islamic Republic, the many publications have been connected ideologically to the political sectors that exist in the regime. Still publications that are considered to be pro-reform have been endured consequences of closure. Although liberal publications face opposition by law, “they have remained resilient beneath the political undercurrents of the society, as the advocates of freedom of the press, freedom of speech, etc”. Nevertheless liberal independent publications were under the risk of extinction due to the marginalization inflicted by the Islamic Republic in Iran.

Press and the July 1999 Protest

In Iran, there has been a history of ideological and governmental conflicts that are revealed in the sphere of politics. Since the election of Khatami this issue where belief and government come into contact has become more and more apparent. The internal struggle and basic factional disputes within the state is reflected by the management of the press in general and the control of those publications that spoke on behalf of the controlled sects within the government.

The student protest of July 1999 occurred as a result of these restrictions of freedom of the press. Prior to the protest, the publisher of the Daily Saleem was “arrested, put on trial, and convicted for printing” false information. In the Daily Saleem, communication between Saeed Emami, former Deputy Minister of Intelligence of the Islamic Republic to his boss, Intelligence Ministry Chief Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi was revealed to the public. The Daily Saleem published information about governmental plans to further restrict and control freedom of the press.

In response to the closure of the newspaper, hundreds of students from Tehran University participated in a demonstration on 8 July. This demonstration has been deemed to be peaceful. The day following the demonstration, security force this included police and the Ansar-e-Hezbollah invaded student dormitories and resulted in injuries, arrest and extensive damages to the student dormitories. Following the invasion of student dormitories, intense pro-democracy demonstrations took place on 12 and 13 July. In response to the pro-democratic protest, Ali Khamenei and his conservative supporters organized a counter-demonstration rally which occurred on 14 July. Consequently, it is estimated that over 1500 student protesters were arrested. Some scholars recognize the regimes “overreaction to both its own reform counterparts and the opposition forces reveal[s], how weak and insecure the ruling conservatives are”. The reasoning behind this idea is that if the government was confident in it laws and policies, it would not demonstrate fear. In the Journal of Iranian Research and Analysis, Cyrus Bina indicates that fear is demonstrated when: “two dozen high-ranking Pasdar commanders President Khatarni an official letter of ultimatum, telling him that they have no choice except to seize power if he fails to crush the student rebellion soon…commanders, who are under direct authority of Khamenei, threatened the President that their patience is running thin and that they can no longer stand on the sideline”. The fact that the clerics and judicial sector felt the urgency to immediately stop the student’s protests is an indication of the fear they had and the amount of influence the protestors could have on Iranian society if their voices were not silenced. Therefore, it is clear that the initial student protest was prompted by the closure of the daily Saleem which occurred on 7 July. The protesters expressed strong objection to the restriction of freedom of the press by the judicial sector. The protest reflects the collective resentment of the public against the suppression of the press and restriction of basic freedoms and universal rights.

Student demands during protest

The end results that the students were expecting from the protest are reflected in the slogans that they chanted during the protest. After researching the popular slogans used during the protest, it is evident that the student had multitude of demands as a result of the six-day demonstrations in Tehran. Still, it is important that the slogans are analyzed in relation the objective of the overall protest. From all the slogans used throughout the protest there is one common theme that ties all of them together, opposition to Ali Khamenei, the “Supreme Leader” as referenced in the slogans, his Ansar-e Hezbollah, and the state-supported terrorism. In nearly one-third of the slogans used during the protest in 1999, students demonstrated opposition to Khamenei directly. For example the slogan “Khamenei! Shame on You, Leadership Is Not for You” is one a very daring statement and is considered one of the “boldest yet to be found in any demonstration in the last decade in Iran”. These straight forward criticisms toward Khamenei, combined with slogans against the cleric rule and the “20-year” repression under the Islamic order, reflect the failed velayat-e faghih as a model of government in Iran.

In addition students involved in the protest revealed resentment toward the Ansar-e Hezbollah. This resentment deriving from violent intervention, disruption of political meetings, peaceful demonstrations and university lectures in support of the cleric and the supreme leader. According to Cyrus Bina, these type of “pressure groups are kept on the government’s payroll and that their violence is often coordinated with the uniformed law enforcement forces against the public”. Consequently it is evident that during this time period conservatives constantly made efforts against liberals even through infliction of violence. The Iranian student demonstrations of July 1999 reveal the desperate need for reform. From research it is evident that the protest against the closure of the Daily Saleem resulted in a 6 day protest. That was motivated by a limited group. The demonstrations of July 1999 engaged students in politics, protesting against government corruption, political repression, the clerical rule and Khamenei. In the bigger picture, the students were protesting against the system of the Islamic Republic in Iran. In the end the protest was an act upon their needs for reform that was fueled during the election on May 23, 1997 in Iran.

Aftermath

A crackdown on reformists and reform policies followed the riots.

  • A “long-negotiated compromise” that would have weakened the Council of Guardians to screening candidates for parliament and president was vetoed, giving the guardians “absolute vetting power”.
  • A “thought crime” law was passed prohibiting “any violent or peaceful act by a person or group against the regime” including speech, and punishing such criticism with stiff sentences.
  • Another law prohibited “any contact or exchange of information, interviews or collusion with foreign embassies, organization, parties or media at whatever level which could be judged harmful to Iran’s independence, national unity or the interests of the Islamic republic.”[12]

As of 31 July 2006, several students involved in the demonstration such as Manouchehr Mohammadi, Ahmad Batebi, Farokh Shafiei, Hassan Zarezadeh Ardeshir, were still in jail. Of those students, Akbar Mohammadi died during a hunger strike while protesting against his prison sentence;[13] Human Rights Watch called his death “suspicious” and demanded an investigation.[14] Heshmat Tabarzadi, viewed by the Iranian government as one of the leaders of the protests, was arrested and spent nine years in Evin Prison, including two in solitary confinement.[15]

2009 anniversary protests

July 9, 2009 protest march inTehran.

On 9 July 2009, “18 Tir” anniversary protests were scheduled for many cities in Iran and other cities worldwide.[16][17][18][19] Time reported that thousands marched through the central districts of Tehran to commemorate the July 1999 student protests, and to protest the June 2009 presidential election.[20]

Early on during the protest, Amnesty International reported: “At least 200 demonstrators are reported to have gathered along Enghlab Avenue, around the gates of Tehran University, only to be confronted by a large presence of anti-riot police and plain-clothed security officials, possibly including members of the notorious Basij militia, who used baton charges and tear gas to disperse them.”[21]

After dark clashes continued, and rubbish was set ablaze.[22]

“The demonstrators made a moral point. They told the government in no uncertain terms they are still there and not going away,” said an Iranian analyst who witnessed the mayhem.[22]

The Australian reported: “The millions of Iranians who no longer dare to demonstrate have not gone away either. They are channelling their anger into a campaign of civil disobedience. Apart from shouting ‘God is great’ from their rooftops every night, they have started writing Mr Mousavi’s name on banknotes,boycotting government banks and goods advertised on state television and turning on all their electrical appliances at the same time to try to overload the electricity grid.”[22]

References and notes

    1.  Six days that shook Iran BBC News 11 July 2000
    2. Ebadi, Shirin, Iran Awakening, by Shirin Ebadi with Azadeh Moaveni, Random House New York, 2006, p. 149
    3. “New Arrests and “Disappearances” of Iranian Students”. Human Rights Watch. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
    4. The armed forces, (including the police force), in Iran, is not controlled by the president or his cabinet, but by the hardline faction of the Iranian political establishment, (SeePolitics of Iran).
    5. Ebadi, Iran Awakening, (2006), p. 149
    6.  Molavi, Afshin, The Soul of Iran, Norton, 2005, p. 202
    7.  Ebadi, Iran Awakening, (2006), p. 149
    8.  Molavi, The Soul of Iran, (2005), p. 203
    9.  quoting the Economist 17 July 1999
    10.  quoting Keesings July 1999 and AFP 13 July 1999)
    11.  quoting The Iran Brief 8 September 1999; JIRA November 1999
    12. Wright, Robin, The Last Great Revolution, c2000, pp. 268–72
    13. Robert Tait (1 August 2006). “Outcry after dissident dies in Iranian jail”The Guardian. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
    14.  “Iran: Imprisoned Dissident Dies in Custody; Investigate Mohammadi’s Suspicious Death” Human Rights Watch 3 August 2006
    15.  “Dissident Iran Rises”The Wall Street Journal. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
    16.  Iran Protest Schedule (Worldwide). YekIran.com. Below the map pick July 2009, and then click on the arrows and/or scroll within the agenda tab to get to July 9, 2009 to see the full list of cities holding events that day.
  1. Jason Rezian (5 July 2009). “The significance of 18 Tir”Tehran Bureau. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
  2. David S. Morgan (8 July 2009). “Widespread Protests Anticipated in Iran”CBS News. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
  3.  “On Scene: Tehran’s Protests Surge — and the Basij Respond”Time. 9 July 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
  4.  “Amnesty International Charges That Iran Used Tear Gas Against Demonstrators Marking 18 Tir Anniversary.” (Press release). Amnesty International. 9 July 2009. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
  5. “Britain offers N-deal as Tehran burns”The Australian. 11 July 2009.

External links

%d Bloggern gefällt das: