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Witness Testimony of Habib Farahzadi: a student activist and law graduate

In this witness statement, Habib Farahzadi–a student activist and law graduate now living in exile–discusses his membership in the leading student activist group, the Islamic Society of Democracy-Seeking Students, his involvement in the post June 2009 presidential election protests, and his eventual imprisonment and trial as a result of these activities. Farahzadi also discusses the increasing academic restrictions on students and professors at universities in Tehran during the Ahmadinejad presidency.

Name: Habib Farahzadi

Place of Birth:  Tehran, Iran 

Date of Birth:  30 December 1987

Occupation:  Law Graduate and Translator

Interviewing Organization: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC)

Date of Interview:  20 October 2012

Interviewer: IHRDC Staff Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Latest on the Race: Two Candidates Drop Out

Two candidates – one hardliner and one reformer  have quit Iran’s presidential race, leaving six competing in the June 14 poll. Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel, a “principlist” hardliner and ex-parliamentary speaker, dropped out on June 10. Mohammad Reza Aref, a reformist and former vice president, followed on June 11. He received a letter from former President Mohammad Khatami advising him to step down. 
One reformer, two independents and three conservatives now remain in the running. The only candidate to gain from the smaller slate of candidates is Hassan Rouhani, who is now the lone reformist candidate. Khatami and other reformist leaders have declared their support for Rouhani, a cleric and former secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. Haddad-Adel did not officially endorse any other candidate. The following are excerpts from their withdrawal statements.

Gholam Ali Haddad-Adel
       “I announce my withdrawal from the presidential race to help promote the conservative victory… I hope that the conservatives win in the first round, but if it goes to the second round, the competition will be between two conservatives.
      “With my withdrawal I ask the dear people to strictly observe the criteria of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) when they vote for candidates… I advise the dear people to make a correct decision so that either a principlist wins in the first round, or if the election runs to a second round, the competition be between two principlists.”
Mohammad Reza Aref
      “At dusk on Monday… I received a letter from Mohammad Khatami… He said it would not be wise for me to remain in the race…In consideration of Mr. Khatami’s explicit opinion, and the experiences of two past presidential elections, I declare my withdrawal from the election campaign.”

 

What the world will learn from Iran’s election

By Robin Wright

The field of candidates may be limited, but the outside world can still learn a lot from Iran’s 2013 presidential poll. The election will provide three pivotal metrics about the Islamic republic now that the Ahmadinejad era is ending.

      First, the (real) turnout at the polls will indicate how many Iranians still have an interest in the world’s only modern theocracy. The government is quite obsessed with the number of people who vote to prove it still has a public mandate. Voting has become almost an existential issue for the ruling clerics.
      “A vote for any of these eight candidates is a vote for the Islamic Republic and a vote of confidence in the system and our electoral process,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a public appeal on June 4. He charged that the outside world was plotting to ensure a low turnout. Leaders clearly hope at least 60 percent of the estimated 50 million voters will turn out.
            Second, reaction to the results will signal whether the public deems the election process itself legitimate. It’s no small issue. Many Iranians believed the 2009 presidential poll was fraught with fraud—and that Ahmadinejad was not really reelected. The reaction sparked the greatest challenge to the Iranian regime since the 1979 revolution. It gave birth to a new opposition movement.
            Over the next eight months, millions turned out in cities across Iran to challenge the results—and to demand “Where is my vote?” The regime used brutal force, arrested thousands, and held Stalinesque trials to quash the new Green Movement opposition.
            In 2013, the regime has already witnessed signs of discontent even before the vote. On June 4, thousands reportedly turned the funeral for Ayatollah Jalaluddin Taheri into an anti-government demonstration in Isfahan. Taheri had been the Friday Prayer Leader in Isfahan. He had earlier criticized the regime for corruption, eventually resigning from the post. He also called the 2009 election “invalid.”
            At his funeral, supporters chanted “death to the dictator,” a reference to the supreme leader and a rallying cry from 2009. Others shouted “Free Mousavi and Karroubi,” the two reformist presidential candidates in 2009 and co-leaders of the Green Movement. They have been under house arrest for more than two years. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

What the world will learn from Iran’s election

By Robin Wright

The field of candidates may be limited, but the outside world can still learn a lot from Iran’s 2013 presidential poll. The election will provide three pivotal metrics about the Islamic republic now that the Ahmadinejad era is ending.

      First, the (real) turnout at the polls will indicate how many Iranians still have an interest in the world’s only modern theocracy. The government is quite obsessed with the number of people who vote to prove it still has a public mandate. Voting has become almost an existential issue for the ruling clerics.
      “A vote for any of these eight candidates is a vote for the Islamic Republic and a vote of confidence in the system and our electoral process,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a public appeal on June 4. He charged that the outside world was plotting to ensure a low turnout. Leaders clearly hope at least 60 percent of the estimated 50 million voters will turn out.
            Second, reaction to the results will signal whether the public deems the election process itself legitimate. It’s no small issue. Many Iranians believed the 2009 presidential poll was fraught with fraud—and that Ahmadinejad was not really reelected. The reaction sparked the greatest challenge to the Iranian regime since the 1979 revolution. It gave birth to a new opposition movement. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Irans Ex-Atomverhandler Rohani will Präsident werden

Moderater „Kronprinz“ von Ex-Präsident Rafsanjani als erster Kandidat der Reformer

Wien/Teheran – Wochenlang wurde darüber spekuliert, wen und wie viele Kandidaten die Reformer im Iran für die Präsidentschaftswahl am 14. Juni ins Rennen schicken, seit Donnerstag ist zumindest ein Kandidat fix: Hassan Rohani. Der ehemalige iranische Atomchefunterhändler ist im Westen kein unbeschriebenes Blatt.

Rohani auf einem Archivbild von 2006.

Er hatte sich unter Mohammad Khatami, dem Vorgänger des scheidenden Präsidenten Mahmoud Ahmadinejad einen Namen gemacht. Als moderater Pragmatiker wurde die Urananreicherung unter Khatami kurzfristig gestoppt. Rohanis von westeuropäischen Diplomaten als „versierte und behutsame Art“ wurde von vielen sehr positiv gelobt.

Im Iran selbst gilt der Zeitpunkt der Bekanntgabe der Kandidatur Rohanis als bezeichnend, da sie nur sehr kurze Zeit nach einer langen Unterredung zwischen Irans Oberstem Geistlichem Führer Ayatollah Ali Khamenei und dem Chef des Schlichtungsrates, Expräsident Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, zu den kommenden Wahlen erfolgte. Politbeobachter in der iranischen Hauptstadt sehen Rohani als Kronprinzen Rafsanjanis. Beide sind große Kritiker Ahmadinejads. Rohani hatte kurz nach Ahmadinejads Amtsantritt im August 2005 wegen diverser Meinungsverschiedenheiten mit dem Präsidenten seinen Rücktritt als Atomchefunterhändler bekanntgegeben und leitet seither das Zentrum für strategische Forschung.

Kritik an Ahmadinejad

Bei seiner ersten Rede am Donnerstag schlug der 64-jährige Politiker in dieselbe Kerbe wie Tags zuvor schon Rafsanjani und kritisierte die Atompolitik von Ahmadinejad. „Diplomatische Verhandlung ist eine Kunst und nicht jedermanns Sache“, mahnte er. Die Nuklearverhandlungen dürften nicht so geführt werden, dass das Land in eine politische und wirtschaftliche Krise gerate.

Vollständiger Artikel

 

History of Modern Iran: Rogue State | BBC Documentary

Iran and the West is the name of a three part British documentary series shown in February 2009 on BBC Two to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution. The documentary looks at the relationship between Iran and the countries of the west and features interviews with politicians who have played significant roles in events involving Iran, Europe and the United States since 1979. The series is produced by Norma Percy, whose previous series include The Death of Yugoslavia and Israel and the Arabs: Elusive Peace.

Militant Islam enjoyed its first modern triumph with the arrival in power of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran in 1979. In this series of three programmes, key figures tell the inside story.

Former US president Jimmy Carter talks on television for the first time about the episode that, more than any other, led American voters to eject him from the presidency. Iran’s seizure of the US embassy in Tehran and the holding of its staff for 444 days took more and more of Carter’s time and energy. His final days in office were dominated by desperate attempts to secure the release of the embassy hostages. Those who sat in the White House with him, planning how to rescue the hostages, how to negotiate their release and, finally, wondering whether anything could be rescued from the disaster, all tell their part in the story.

Other contributors include former vice president Walter Mondale, ex-deputy secretary of state Warren Christopher and former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. The other side of the story is told by top Iranians: Ayatollah Khomeini’s close adviser, Grand Ayatollah Montazeri; his first foreign minister, Ebrahim Yazdi; his negotiator with the US, Sadeq Tabatabai; and the founder of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Mohsen Rafiqdoust

Second episode in the documentary series marking the 30th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. Inside stories are told by two ex-presidents of Iran, Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, by two founders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and by leading westerners including Secretaries of State George Shultz, Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright.

In part three of this landmark series from Norma Percy and the team that made the multi-award winning documentaries The Death of Yugoslavia and Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, contributors including Iran’s President Khatami tell the inside story of the West’s continuing nuclear confrontation with Iran. The film also shows a rare moment when they worked together.

US State Department insiders tell how, after 9/11, Iran played a key role in helping America to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan – only for President Bush to put Iran into his ‚axis of evil‘ immediately afterwards. Jack Straw, then foreign secretary, and President Khatami describe how Iran offered to help the US and its allies in their war against Saddam Hussein – help that, given Iran’s powerful contacts in Iraq and the West’s subsequent difficulties there, might have made a crucial difference.

Jack Straw, his successor Margaret Beckett, and Joschka Fischer of Germany describe how they struggled to find a compromise between Iran and President Bush’s hardliners over Iran’s nuclear programme. John Sawers at the UN reveals an extraordinary secret deal that Iran proposed a few years later.

 

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