Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Iran's mullahs come out fighting

Iran's mullahs come out fighting

The storming of the British embassy in Tehran and William Hague’s closure of the Iranian mission in London brings to an end the fruitless diplomatic reconciliation instigated by the last Labour government.

Iranian protesters outside the British Embassy in Tehran. The compound was stormed and damaged - and the staff  were evacuated  - Iran's mullahs come out fighting
Iranian protesters outside the British Embassy in Tehran. The compound was stormed and damaged - and the staff were evacuated Photo: AFP/GETTY
For the beleaguered group of diplomats holed up in the British Embassy compound in Tehran and surrounded by a baying mob of Iranian protesters, it was, as one of their colleagues phlegmatically remarked yesterday, “a very hairy few hours”.
The embassy staff had been forewarned that trouble was brewing. All Tuesday morning, pro-government Farsi websites had posted comments calling for protesters to gather in Bobby Sands Street. This is the name that the road leading to the British Embassy was given by the ayatollahs when they last squared up to Britain, over the Salman Rushdie affair in 1989.
The original aim of the protest was to commemorate the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist, one of three killed in the past two years on the streets of Tehran. But with relations between Britain and Iran entering one of their periodic crises, the bloggers argued that there was no better way to mark the scientist’s death than to focus their ire on the embassy compound in central Tehran.
Britain has a long and undistinguished history of intrigue in Iranian affairs, dating from the 19th century when British gunboats regularly shelled Persian ports to persuade the Shah to toe the line. More recently, in 1953, British intelligence masterminded the plot to overthrow Mohammed Mossadegh – arguably Iran’s last democratically elected prime minister – after he sought to nationalise the British-owned Anglo-Iranian oil company.
Given this history of skulduggery, it is hardly surprising that most Iranians believe Britain is involved in the carefully coordinated campaign of assassinations, bombings and acts of computer sabotage that are clearly designed to disrupt Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. In the most recent incident, a mysterious explosion appears to have caused significant damage to the uranium enrichment complex at Isfahan, a vital feature of Iran’s nuclear programme.
If, as seems likely, this was the result of sabotage, then the finger of suspicion will inevitably point towards Israel’s Mossad intelligence service. As Mossad works closely with its British and American counterparts, the Iranians, not surprisingly, will conclude that British agents are also engaged in targeting its nuclear facilities.
Only last month, a senior Iranian military officer claimed the British Embassy was a centre of “conspiracy and espionage” that should be dealt with by the Iranian people. The likelihood that the embassy was about to be attacked by a hostile mob was so strong that the Foreign Office took the unusual step of releasing a statement calling on the Iranian authorities to ensure that it was adequately protected. The request fell on deaf ears.
At just after 2pm on Tuesday, a mob, which included members of the Basij paramilitary brigades, surged through the lines of riot police that had been stationed in Bobby Sands Street and broke into the embassy grounds. At around the same time, another crowd broke into the residential compound at Qolhak Gardens in northern Tehran, a 50-acre parcel of land granted to the British by the Persian Qajar dynasty in the 19th century. In recent times Iranian officials have disputed Britain’s ownership of the Qolhak complex, claiming it was stolen from Iran. They have even suggested that Britain should hand over Hyde Park by way of recompense.
The mob hurled stones and petrol bombs, broke into the ambassador’s residence, tore down the Union flag, destroyed portraits of the Queen, ransacked offices and burnt at least one embassy vehicle. While the staff, as part of a well-rehearsed contingency plan, sought refuge in a secure room, the rampaging crowd set fire to the British, American and Israeli flags in the compound.
It seemed that the clock had been turned back to the early days of the Islamic revolution in 1979, when a group of student protesters – said to have included Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s current president – stormed the American Embassy and took 50 diplomatic staff hostage in a stand-off that lasted for 444 days.
In the event, the security precautions prevailed, and all the staff have now been safely evacuated. Yesterday William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, was able to inform the Commons that, by way of retaliation, he was ordering the closure of Iran’s diplomatic mission to London, thereby officially bringing to a close Britain’s short-lived diplomatic reconciliation with the mullahs.
With hindsight, it is a minor miracle that our diplomatic mission to Tehran lasted so long, given the dramatic decline that has taken place in recent years in relations between the two countries. Today’s atmosphere of mutual antagonism contrasts sharply with the period that followed the decision by the former foreign secretary Robin Cook to restore relations with Tehran as part of New Labour’s ethical foreign policy.
Both Mr Cook and Jack Straw, his successor, believed the best way to persuade Iran to freeze its nuclear programme was to establish a constructive dialogue with the mullahs. Mr Straw’s enthusiasm for the enterprise even led him to become the first British foreign secretary to visit Tehran since the Islamic Revolution.
But their goodwill was misplaced. Rather than negotiate, the Iranians continued with the development of their nuclear programme, to the extent that the most recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concludes unequivocally that Iran has conducted work on projects normally associated with the production of nuclear weapons.
Throughout this period, British diplomats based in Tehran have had the unenviable task of trying to maintain a dialogue with their Iranian counterparts while nurturing deep reservations about the ultimate objective of their nuclear activities. This difficult balancing act was possible, to an extent, so long as Iran’s moderate president, Mohammad Khatami, remained in power. But after the more hard-line Mr Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005, relations quickly became strained, to the point where contact between British diplomats and Iranian officials became non-existent.
“It was a very frustrating experience,” says a diplomat who recently served at the embassy in Tehran. “We tried very hard to maintain some kind of dialogue, but the Iranians just didn’t want to listen to what we had to say.”
Normal diplomatic relations were effectively frozen after Britain backed the Green Movement that emerged in Iran following the disputed presidential election in 2009. The Revolutionary Guards responded by harassing Iranian members of the embassy staff, with one of them receiving a jail term on trumped-up treason charges.
In many respects, Britain’s continued diplomatic presence in Tehran was an accident waiting to happen, particularly after William Hague, following his appointment as Foreign Secretary, determined on a more robust approach to dealing with the ayatollahs.
This culminated last week in Britain announcing the most wide-ranging banking restrictions it had ever imposed on a foreign power, thereby denying Iran’s banks access to London’s financial institutions.
It is to be hoped that the British authorities gave due attention to the likely impact this would have on the security of our small diplomatic presence in Tehran, as Iran’s exclusion from London’s financial hub has added to the mood of paranoia that has swept the country following publication of the IAEA’s report.
The recent attempt by Revolutionary Guards to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington is evidence that Iran is adopting a more offensive posture in its dealings with the West and its allies. There are also indications that Iran has placed itself on a war footing since publication of the IAEA report. The Iranian Air Force has set up a number of “Rapid Reaction Units” to intercept any attacks, while Mohammad Ali Jaafari, the head of the Revolutionary Guards, has ordered all military units to be in a state of operational readiness.
After Mr Hague’s announcement, diplomatic relations between the UK and Iran have been reduced to a bare minimum: for the moment, any contact will be through international institutions such as the UN’s nuclear negotiating team. As a new mood of anti-Western hostility descends on Iran, it is difficult to envisage British diplomats returning to Tehran soon.
Con Coughlin is the author of 'Khomeini’s Ghost’ (Pan Books)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tensions rise in Iran - President's top advisor arrested - Crippling sanctions on the way

Tensions rise in Iran - President's top advisor arrested - Crippling sanctions on the way


iReport — “The 2012 Presidential elections will be the scene of a tough and unprecedented battle between the Supreme Leader and elements of opposition - who are already “involved in the government,”” warns Heydar Moslehi, Iran’s Minister of Intelligence.

     The height of tensions between opposing factions of the leadership was clearly demonstrated just days ago, when authorities raided the office of Iran News [President Ahmadinejad’s press aide].  Each group has been threatening to unravel certain secrets that will incriminate the other side.  The United States and allies, on the other hand, are preparing to unleash the biggest blow to Iran’s economy: crippling sanctions on the Central Bank and the Energy sector.

     We will explore the issue with our panel of experts: Ali Mazrouie, former member of the Parliament; Mehrdad Emadi, Economic Advisor to the European Union and Ali-Asgar Ramezanpour, independent Iran Analyst.  First let us take a look at this report.

     Video Narrator:   We have an election coming up.  More than one hundred days to go, yet tensions are building up already.  The reformists whose candidacy was once the subject of much controversy, have now turned into mere witnesses to the process.  This time, the fight is between the two parties of the government.  The incident at Iran Newspaper was highly symbolic of the power play taking place at the highest level of our government lead by President Ahmadinejad and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

     Security forces showed up at the main office of the Newspaper to arrest Aliakbar Javanfekr, President Ahmadinejad’s close advisor.  The attempt was met with resistance by staff members, creating an unprecedented scene of conflict at a media headquarter, involving shouts, threats, physical confrontation, battery, tear gas and eventual arrests.  Mr. Javanfekr had harshly criticized Ahmadinejad’s critics in a recent interview with E’temad – an opposition Newspaper which was immediately closed down as a result.

     Tensions in the country are on the rise.  Heider Moslehi, Minister of Intelligence publicly predicts the upcoming elections turning into a “battle against Ayatollah Khamenei”.   Moslehi himself is one of the cogs in the wheel of the tensions.  His removal from his position as Minister of Intelligence by the orders of Ahmadinejad and his subsequent reappointment to the job on orders of the Ayatollah clearly marked the tensions between the two bosses. The internal conflicts are further complicated by external elements.  In the course of only four days, two resolutions were issued against Iran’s nuclear program and one against its human rights violations.  The sanctioning of Iran’s Central Bank by Britain, added a new dimension to all the existing sanctions, the sum total of which casts a cloud of mystery over the country’s future.  What are the solutions for this puzzle and who holds the key?

     Back in Studio]  Host:  Mr. Ramezanpour, it seems the political tensions began with the arrest of Aliakbar Javanfekr.  Do you think it was a premeditated move or that things simply got out of hand?
     Ramezanpour:  Well, the fact that the agents were armed and the reported shooting at the scene obviously indicate that they were prepared for possible conflict.  As for the resistance by Javanfrkr and his staff, I think that is an effort on the part of Ahmadinejad to separate his camp from that of the Ayatollah’s in a marked way, so yes the tensions are somewhat calculated it seems.

     Mr. Mazrouie, for a while things appeared to be moving along in a cohesive manner even with the changing of the Minister of Finance.  What do you think is behind the current tensions?
     Mazrouie:  Well, I think the attitude of the Majlis toward the Minister of Finance was in line with the wishes of Ayatollah Khamenei, as is the case with all Ministers in general.  Ahmadinejad does not have a lot of influence on the country’s Ministries.  He is only reacting to the events and developments, even at the cost of creating tensions.

     Mr. Ramezanpour:  Some of the opposing factions are threatening to reveal incriminating secrets.  Your thoughts?
     Remezanpour:  Well, now that the reformists are out of the picture, the competition has to then shift to the current players who are the heads of the government and they create undue tensions hoping to gain control of the elections process and the poles and voting booths and so on.

     Mr. Mazrouie, on one hand there are all these claims about evidence and documents involving the billion-dollar banking fraud and the players involved.  On the other hand, Mr. Ahmadinejad and his people claim innocence.  What is your take on this issue?
     Mazrouie:  Well, until all facts and evidence are revealed, we can not honestly judge the situation, but it is possible for the so called evidence to be presented at some point.

     Mr. Emadi, why do you think the U.S. is acting so quickly on the new round of sanctions even of the Central Bank, given that the claims about assassination plot are still under investigation and not fully proven?
     Emadi:  Part of the reason is the IAEA report and the fact that Iran has built continent-range ballistic missiles.  The question has come up as to the motivation behind building long-range missiles.  Another issue that has received less attention – or coverage – is that over the past six months, Iran has purchased many parts, tools and certain software in particular, for the express purpose of using in the ballistic missile project.  The purchases were made by the Revolutionary Guards and related companies.  This has caused serious concern.  Another issue is the large-scale money laundering that has been taking place on both national and international level, throughout Iran’s banking system including the Central Bank.  The multi-layered scheme included not only illegal purchases but also highly questionable sources of funding for the purchases.  So, all these strung together led to a conclusion that Iran has now become a serious threat to global economy and global security, as well as becoming a vessel for widespread corruption.

     Mr. Ramezanpour, What is your take on this?
     Ramezanpour:  A demand was made a while back, for transparency in Iran’s financial activities which has significantly declined over the past few years.  Iran’s Central Bank that has a given role of observing all financial activities, banking transactions and economic decisions, has essentially crossed over the boundaries of its designated function, instead having turned into an instrument of illicit political activity such as money laundering on international scale, serving both terrorism and the nuclear program.  The country’s leadership – Ayatollah Khamenei – has practically and completely eliminated the last vestiges of hope held by Iran’s civil society and the international community for any semblance of supervision on the country’s banking and financial activity.  Part of the reason for the pressures applied by the West is precisely because of the vulnerable and out of control conditions inside Iran, as demonstrated by the recent deadly explosion at the Missile base in [city of] Mallard for which there has been absolutely no explanation thus far.

     Mr. Emadi, Given all of Iran’s trading partners, neighbors, those countries in the Persian Gulf region that still deal with Iran, how do you see the West’s plan for complete sanctioning of Iran’s Central Bank, Energy sector, Petrochemicals and so on, play out in an effective way?
     Emadi:  Yes indeed these are the questions on the table for the West as well.  However, there have been notable developments in recent weeks in this regard.  First of all, the importance previously placed on the Straight of Hormuz has now paled - due in part to alternative oil contracts and means of delivery.  Secondly and more importantly, special delegates from the European Union and the United States were sent to the region asking for those countries’ cooperation with the West by providing transparency in their dealings with Iran.  And above all, lays a crucial point that Iran is now known as a proven destructive force – a definite threat to global security, and banking system.

     But that point may be debatable.  Some may argue that if this was true, then countries such as China and Russia would have joined the sanctions and not resisted as they have been.  So, the fact that it is still a unilateral move, has caused disappointment for many observers.
     Emadi:  Yes that is true, however, history shows that anytime the Western powers have proposed diplomatic action against a certain country – Iraq for example – they had had to make it a unilateral move -- independent of the United Nations -- until their case gained enough traction and credibility, then countries such as France and Russia who were reluctant to join the efforts because of their vast dealings with Iraq at the time, would finally consent.
     To that end, your point is extremely important in this case.  The fact that again these are unilateral sanctions without the support of United Nations, they are at risk.  If they prove to be reasonable, then maybe other countries would join hands, but still the absence of UN’s observing presence will be cause for concern.

     Mr. Ramezanpour, your view?
     Ramezanpour:  The trouble is that Iranian regime is so self-indulgent, even [delusional] that they can not face the reality.  The sanctions have indeed had adverse effects on Iran’s economy, on every Iranian citizen’s life, be it inside the country or abroad, on many small, medium and large Iranian corporations both inside the country and abroad.  They have had crushing effects on Iran’s already collapsing economy, yet the regime obstinately hangs on to the old and tired rhetoric that China will rescue the country – totally oblivious to the fact that today, both China and Russia are part of the global capitalism and for as long as they can use Iran to their own benefit they will keep their ties, but the moment Iran outlives its usefulness, China and Russia will dump Iran, acting as the final straw that breaks Iran’s back.  Alas, Iranian regime is too delusional to comprehend or to feel the real dangers surrounding it – inside or across the border.

     Mr. Emadi, given that the sanctions don’t seem to have a specific target, they can and they will affect a large majority of Iranian population.  How do you think the ordinary people are viewing the sanctions?  Will they blame the West or their own leaders?
     Emadi:  Well, I’m not sure of their reaction.  But in the first place, I would hold the Revolutionary Guards responsible for their take-over of the country’s business matters, which they failed in anyway.  They simply created bunch of virtual corporations and basically handed over the entire country’s business affairs to these companies.  Their Western counterparts who kept dealing with these firms are equally to blame though, because it was ultimately the ordinary populace who has paid a price so far.  However, if you asked the Westerners even up until six months ago, they would’ve said they had no intention of hurting the citizens.

     Regardless, THAT is what has happened anyway…
     Emadi:  Yes, it has.  But at any rate, Tehran can continue to deny and dismiss the impact of the sanctions but the fact is that Iran’s economy is at a near-collapse state.  Statistical numbers speak for themselves.  The factories that are still operative are producing below 50% capacity.  The cost of trade that used to cost us $1 as recently as two years prior; today costs us $3.5.  The cost of everything has tripled.  It is the ordinary people who bear the brunt of these costs, not the government.  For as long the regime refuses to understand and acknowledge the depth of the crisis, and insists on justifying its own position instead of seeking viable solutions, there is no hope for a real change.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Deplorable conditions and secret executions in Langeroud Prison in Qom

Deplorable conditions and secret executions in Langeroud Prison in Qom


Freedom Messenger - According to human rights activists in Qom, the Central Qom Prison known as Langeroud Prison which is situated 10 kilometers from the old Qom- Kashan Road, has very bad conditions because of the large numbers of prisoners with limited facilities and the insulting treatment of prisoners by prison guards
According to this report, more than 4,000 prisoners are jailed here which is three times more than its actual capacity. This issue has led to immoral and unhygienic conditions in this prison. The low food quality in addition to the existence of lice and ticks in the sleeping area has made conditions in this prison very hard. Prisoners infected with HIV and hepatitis are kept in one place with other prisoners and they do not receive any kind of medical attention. Existing immoral deeds which has reportedly turned into a source of income for some prisoners also increases prison problems. This issue takes place more in the Youth Cellblock where prisoners under 18 are kept.

Prison officials’ arbitrary and illegal treatment of prisoners who commit wrongs has doubled the inhuman conditions. There were reports that in some cases, prison guards tied prisoners to light poles in the prison yard and kept them in the freezing cold weather after splashing them with cold water.

Silent executions
According to reports, in the past few months about 15 prisoners convicted with drug related and other charges were executed in the Langeroud Prison. In addition to these prisoners, there are reportedly 80 to 120 prisoners on death row. The latest executions occurred in November when two prisoners were executed in the prison courtyard after their drug related death sentences were upheld by the Supreme Court.
According to this report, prison officials have started building a new area for execution in this prison to carry out executions in a more ‘mechanized’ way. A number of prisoners, who were reportedly forced to work as construction workers for this new execution ward, have refused to help build this area.

Degrading and immoral body searches
According to Qom human rights activists, all prisoners are improperly searched on arrival under the pretext of preventing narcotics from coming into prison. Prisoners are all searched regardless of their [so-called] ‘crimes’. In these searches, instead of using sniffer dogs and electronic devices, they violate the prisoners’ dignity by conducting [immoral] body searches. Political prisoners are insulted and degraded under this pretext and those who protest these conditions are dealt with by officials.

The Suite or Guantanamo
According to this report, in some parts of Langeroud Prison in Qom, there are 2 by 3 meter rooms called suites which are used for death row prisoners and dangerous criminals. It is also used as a punishment for those deemed to deserve more pressure. In these rooms which are known as Guantanamo by prisoners, prisoners are denied fresh air time and light. Sometimes, up to 15 prisoners are put in one room and they are forced to sleep on their sides packed next to each other. Each prisoner is given half of the food portion of other prisoners and less blankets. There is an open toilet in the corner of each room, separated from the room with a 30 cm wall. This toilet is also used for bathing. This has made conditions very unsanitary in the suites. (Iran Press News, Neday Sabze Azadi – Nov. 23, 2011)

UN religious freedom expert: Iran is systematically persecuting Baha'is

UN religious freedom expert: Iran is systematically persecuting Baha'is
UNITED NATIONS, 23 October 11
Iran's persecution of Baha'is is among the most "extreme manifestations of religious intolerance and persecution" in the world today, according to a UN expert. The remarks of Heiner Bielefeldt – Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief – came during a press conference here in response to a question about a new report that documents the Iranian government's media campaign to demonize Baha'is. "The Iranian government has a policy of systematic persecution..." said Dr

Javid Houtan Kiyan

Javid Houtan Kiyan
Javid Houtan Kiyan is held in Tabriz Prison in connection with his defence of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a client facing a sentence of stoning to death for “adultery while married”.  He was arrested in October 2010 along with Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s son and two German journalists, who have all been released.  He has been tortured in prison and is believed to have been sentenced to a prison term of up to 11 years.

Mohammad Seyfzadeh

Mohammad Seyfzadeh
Mohammad Seyfzadeh is serving a two-year prison sentence, reduced from nine years on appeal, for his role in establishing the Centre for Human Rights Defenders, which he co-founded with Shirin Ebadi and others.  He was also banned from practising law for ten years.

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Nasrin Sotoudeh
Nasrin Sotoudeh is serving a six-year sentence, reduced from 11 years on appeal, in Evin Prison, Tehran, after conviction of vaguely-worded “national security” charges. 

She was sentenced to five years in prison for “acting against national security, including membership of the Centre for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD)” and to one year for "propaganda against the system.” 

Nasrin Sotoudeh has denied that she has ever been a member of the CHRD. These charges stem solely from her work as a human rights lawyer. 

Before her arrest, Nasrin Sotoudeh had been warned to stop representing Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi, or face reprisals.

Iranian official's statement at UN cannot conceal persecution of defence lawyers

Amnesty International deplores the statement at a UN press conference on 16 November 2011 by Mohammad Javad Larijani, the Secretary General of the Judiciary’s High Council for Human Rights, that “[n]o lawyer is in prison because he is a lawyer or he is a defender of human rights.”

Refugees in VAN

How to survive after the quake in VAN

UN resolution on the Human rights violations in Iran
Sponsored by the Government of Canada and forty-one other states, the UN General Assembly finally adopted a resolution calling on Iran to release all arbitrarily detained individuals held for exercising their right to peaceful assembly and expression. The resolution drew the highest number of votes since 1992 with 86 countries in favor, 32 against, and 59 abstentions!
These 32 Countries shamelessly Voted NO to the UN resolution on the Human rights violations in Iran:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bolivia, Brunel Darussalam, North Korea, Comoros, China, Cuba, Ecuador, India, (Iran), Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Niger, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zimbabwe

Jafar Panahi

Panahi was born in Mianeh, Iran. He was ten years old when he wrote his first book, which subsequently won the first prize in a literary competition.[3] At the same age, he became familiar with film making. He shot films on 8mm film, acting in one and assisting in the making of another. Later, he took up photography. During his military service, Panahi served in the Iran–Iraq War (1980–88) and made a documentary about the war during this period.

Panahi studied film directing at Iran Broadcasting College in Tehran, graduating in 1988.[4][5] After graduating, Panahi made several films for Iranian television and was the assistant director of Abbas Kiarostami's film Through the Olive Trees (1994). Since that time, he has directed several films and won numerous awards in international film festivals.

France pushes for Iranian oil embargo -

France is pushing for a European oil embargo on Iran, breaking a diplomatic taboo that could have significant ramifications for the energy market and global economic growth. Paris has made the proposal to European Union members preparing a new round


Thursday 24 November 2011

Iran Human Rights, November 24:

Eleven prisoners were hanged in the prison of Shiraz (southern Iran) early Thursday morning November 24.

According to the official web site of the Iranian judiciary in Fars province, all the elleven prisoners were convicted of drug trafficking.  

None of the prisoners were identified by name and they were all sentenced to death behind the closed doors by the revolutionary court.
The charges have not been confirmed by independent sources
At least 27 people have been executed in the month of November according to the official sources in Iran.

Majid Tavakoli

Uholdbart av Lønseth

Det er Regjeringen som må ta ansvaret for at ­­utlendingsforvaltningen ikke har ivaretatt barns grunnleggende ­­rettigheter.

Ja, Norge er strengere mot barn!

Ja, Norge er strengere mot barn!

Når UNE behandler saker der de skal vurdere barns tilknytning til Norge, viser praksis at innvandringsregulerende hensyn veier tyngre.

Iran Human Rights

On May 14, 2011 Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois hosted this press conference to raise awareness of the 7 Baha'i leaders imprisoned in Iran. 
Actress Eva LaRue is among the notable figures offering their support.

Alle skal med, unntatt...

Alle skal med, unntatt...

"Det er ingen menneskerett å få asyl" sa tidligere justisminister Knut Storberget. Men det er en menneskerett å behandles med likeverd. Vil Grete Faremo ha en bredere tilnærming til menneskerettighetene?

Baha’i Citizen Farhood Eshtiyagh Incarcerated for the Past 5 Months

Baha’i Citizen Farhood Eshtiyagh Incarcerated for the Past 5 Months

24 , November , 2011
In his 5th month of detention, Baha’i citizen Farhood Eshtiyagh is still suffering from heart problems.

Farhood Eshtiyagh has been in prison since June without an arrest warrant. According to the Human Rights House of Iran, he is held in Mashahd prison after 4.5 months of detention.

he is suffering from heart problems and Guuillain-Barre Syndrome. The judicial authorities prevent his release.
In October, his arrest warrant was extended twice. He was granted prison visits twice during this time and his children are awaiting his release. His family has traveled to Mashhad several times in order to follow up on him.    

Women in Iran

Women in Iran must prove to "morality" thugs they are wearing a bra - or go to jail. 
It is not a coincidence that these are the same tactics used by AlShabab to terrorize in Somalia.
Here’s an interview with Elham who was recently stopped by the security forces in Iran on her dress code. This time, however, she wasn’t stopped for improper veiling but because she wasn’t ...

Iran bans membership of foreign networking sites

internet-iranThe Iranian government has declared that foreign social networking sites are 'potentially fertile soil for criminality and espionage'. Anyone found to be a member of such a site will in future be liable to prosecution.

Shahrzad News) - According to the Borna news agency, the deputy commander of the police cyber department Colonel Sayed Mohsen Mir Behrisi says the country's young people are particularly vulnerable to 'falling into foreigners' traps and laying themselves open to abuse by social networking sites'. He added:
"Most of these sites allow exchanges of information that can later be manipulated for criminal purposes. We shall take action against those who use cyberspace to provoke malice and criminality amongst their fellow citizens."

Asked about national social networks Mir Behrisi replied: "as long as users respect the rules there should be no problem."

Azerbaijani journalist's death requires investigation


Azerbaijani journalist's death requires investigation

New York, November 23, 2011-- The demise of freelance journalist Rafiq Tagi in a Baku hospital today following his stabbing four days ago by unknown assailants, must be fully investigated, said the Committee to Protect Journalists.

"We mourn the death of Rafiq Tagi and our hearts go out to his family and friends," CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. "Azerbaijani authorities must thoroughly investigate the stabbing attack that led to Tagi's demise and bring all responsible to justice."

Tagi was known for his criticism of Azerbaijani authorities, the government's policy on Iran, and what he viewed as the negative impact of the popularization of Islam on his country's development. CPJ research shows that journalists in Azerbaijan regularly face reprisals for their reporting.

UK says considering fresh sanctions on Iran

UK says considering fresh sanctions on Iran

LONDON Nov 24 (Reuters) – Britain expects to announce sanctions on further Iranian “entities and individuals” at a European Union foreign ministers’ meeting on Dec. 1, the Foreign Office said.
“We are discussing wide-ranging sanctions (on) Iran with partners in the EU,” a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.
France said earlier it had proposed to EU partners a halt to oil imports from Iran, which is at odds with the West over its nuclear programme.
(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Mohammed Abbas)

Her Voice Silenced: Demand the Release of an Imprisoned Human Rights Defender in Iran!

Her Voice Silenced: Demand the Release of an Imprisoned Human Rights Defender in Iran!

EU to urge member states to accept Iranian exiles

EU to urge member states to accept Iranian exiles

The Associated Press

By SLOBODAN LEKIC, Associated Press

(AP) — An official says the EU’s foreign policy chief will urge the member countries to accept some of the Iranians living in a refugee settlement in Iraq.

Iraq’s government has said it will close Camp Ashraf, where more than 3,000 Iranian exiles are living, by the end of the year. The U.N. says at least 34 people were killed when Iraqi security forces raided the camp in April.

The refugees, many of whom seek to overthrow Iran’s clerical rulers, were taken in at the camp by Saddam Hussein’s regime decades ago.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will appeal to all 27 members of the bloc next week, asking countries to take in Ashraf residents with ties to them, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Thursday.

Others may return to Iran.

Mohammad Mostafaei will receive Norwegian award for outstanding achievements

Mohammad Mostafaei will receive Norwegian award for outstanding achievements

November 11, 2011

Persian2EnglishOn Tuesday November 15th, prominent human rights lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei will be awarded the Norwegian PEN’s Ossietzky prize for outstanding achievements in the field of free expression. The ceremony will take place in the evening at the House of Literature in Oslo. Mostafaei has saved more than 50 clients, mainly women and children, from execution in Iran
In July 2010, a few days after being summoned to Evin prison’s Court Branch, Mostafaei visited the Evin prison Intelligence Prosecutor’s office and was interrogated for four hours. Later that afternoon, security forces went to Mostafaei’s office with an arrest warrant, but he was not there.

Mostafaei had fled to Norway to seek protection from regime authorities after his wife and brother-in-law were taken hostage and held for ransom. In September 2010, the human rights lawyer’s wife and young daughter were able to also join him in Norway to begin their new life in exile.

In November 2010, Mostafaei was sentenced in absentia by the Tehran Revolutionary Court to six years prison exile in the town of Izeh. He was charged with “Acting against national security by giving interviews to Persian-language media” and “Propaganda against the regime”.

Mohammad Mostafaei gained international attention when he defended Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two who had been sentenced to death by stoning on the charge of “Adultery”. Due to the massive international attention surrounding the Ashtiani case, the Iranian regime authorities have since cancelled the stoning sentence.

Wife of political prisoner: When I told authorities about the tortures, they laughed at me.

Wife of political prisoner: When I told authorities about the tortures, they laughed at me.

November 16, 2011


Translation by Persian Banoo | Text has been edited by Persian2English

KalemeJournalist Siyamak Ghaderi has been incarcerated in Evin prison for over a year and a half without furlough. He was arrested in August 2009 and tried and convicted in branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court, presided by Judge Moghiseh. Ghaderi was convicted on the charges of “Propaganda against the regime”, “Publishing and spreading lies”, and “Disturbing the public”
One of Ghaderi’s main charges was writing on his blog “Irnaye ma” (our IRNA), where he criticized the officials at the IRNA news agency (the official state-run Iranian news agency). He also wrote about the Green Movement and its leaders.

His wife Farzaneh Mirvand recently spoke to Kaleme about Ghaderi’s latest situation, and the problems she faces as the wife of a political prisoner wife and raising their only child.

Mirvand stressed that her husband was tortured in ward 209 of Evin prison but authorities have paid no attention to the complaints.


Kaleme: Tell us about your husband’s physical and mental status.
Farzaneh Mirvand: Thank God he is fine now. He just misses being at home with his family
Kaleme: Tell us about the time he was in ward 209. Apparently you had no news on him for a long period of time?
Farzaneh Mirvand: Even thinking about the days that my husband was held in ward 209 is very difficult for me. He was held in solitary confinement for 34 days under harsh interrogations. He was blindfolded, beaten with a baton, and threatened for the purpose of extracting false confessions.
During one of his interrogation sessions, an interrogator slapped his face so hard that he and the chair he was sitting on hit the ground. My husband is still suffering from an injury to his neck from the fall.

Kaleme: Have you filed a complaint with the judicial authorities about this incident?
Farzaneh Mirvand: Yes, about these pressures and other violations. I have gone to every place I could and have told the authorities about the [incidents], but they just laughed at me.
Even during his trial, my husband told the Judge about the tortures, but he, without paying any attention to my husband’s remarks, issued a verdict based on my husband’s false confessions.
I even wrote to the Islamic Human Rights Council, informing them about my husband’s tortures, but the only reply I received from them was that they had received the letter and my request was logged.
My husband was in ward 209 for nine months and the interrogators told him that if he does not provide them with false confessions they would not transfer him to the public ward 350.

Kaleme: Like most of the political prisoners and detained journalists, Mr. Ghaderi’s main charge was “Propaganda against the regime”. Is that the reason why they fired him from IRNA?
Farzaneh Mirvand: Yes, they fired him from his job [that he had for] 18 years, while his case was still pending in court. However, given the fact that the plaintiff in this case is Mr. Javanfekr (the head of IRNA), one of Ahmadinejad’s senior advisers, the action was not very surprising.

Kaleme: Was your husband’s sentence finally confirmed? In your previous interviews you said your husband is incarcerated without a final verdict and is imprisoned without being sentenced.
Farzaneh Mirvand: Yes, about two weeks ago, the Appeals Court upheld his four-year prison sentence and my husband was informed of the verdict. He immediately requested a hearing, but we already know what the results will be.

Kaleme: Mr. Ghaderi has been incarcerated for a year-and-a-half without furlough. Has he, like other political prisoners, been denied furlough for no reason at all?
Farzaneh Mirvand: I have no idea, but the Public Prosecutor’s recent denial of furlough for my husband makes us believe that all these decisions and the unjust sentence of three years on the charge of “Assembly and colluding”, and one year for “Propaganda and publishing lies” goes back to the animosity and the differing view points between my husband and Mr. Dolatabadi (the Public Prosecutor) from the time they worked together.
Eight months ago, I informed Mr. Dolatabadi of my husband’s condition without mentioning his name. His reply was that my husband has the right to furlough and he told the soldier present to provide me with the furlough request form. However, when I started filling out the form, he asked my husband’s name, and as soon as he heard “Siyamak Ghaderi”, he became outraged and exclaimed, “No, no, don’t write it. It’s too early for him to be released.”
The Prosecutor had requested the heavy sentence of 20 years ban from journalism and leaving the country, and exile to Iranshahr prison. This further strengthens the thought that the Prosecutor’s actions are based on a personal grudge against my husband.

Kaleme: So, Mr. Ghaderi, as part of his sentence, has been banned from his profession and is to be exiled for his prison term?
Farzaneh Mirvand: No, fortunately, despite the Prosecutor’s request, none of these were included in my husband’s verdict.

Kaleme: As a political prisoner’s wife, what is your condition and what kind of problems do you encounter?
Farzaneh Mirvand: I can only tell you that it is very hard. One of the smallest and least important problems that I face now is financial hardship. I struggle with this situation, and sometimes it becomes so difficult that I can only pray to God to give me strength to endure these problems- especially since my son misses his father very much.

Kaleme: How is your son doing?
Farzaneh Mirvand: My son, Ali is an introvert and also very patient. But, recently, especially since the start of the school year in September, he has been acting a little strange because he sees his father less.
One day he said something that really brought pain to my heart. He said, “I am starting to forget what my father looks like. Lately, when I have a dream about him, I don’t see his face anymore.” After hearing this I decided to put a picture of his father up on the refrigerator so he can see his face all the time.
After Ali heard that his father has requested furlough, he recited prayers every night. He was very optimistic that [his prayers would be answered]. He said that, even if his father is granted one day of furlough, he will have many plans [set up for his father on that day].
I didn’t tell him for days that the furlough request had been denied. When he heard the news, he locked himself up in his room for hours.
Overall it’s not a good situation. He is a teenager and has his own specific needs. I may be a very good mother, but I can not replace the role of his father.

Kaleme: We heard that the authorities have asked Mr. Ghaderi to write a letter requesting pardon so he can be released ahead of his full term sentence, but he has denied their request. Is this so, and if so, why?
Farzaneh Mirvand: Yes, when they informed my husband of his sentence they asked him to write a letter requesting pardon, but my husband refused saying he has not committed any crime to request a pardon.
Apart from this, in our religion, forgiveness is an admirable and beautiful act. In which Islamic text does it mention that a written request is required to be forgiven- unless the act of forgiveness is for propaganda purposes only and not an act to please God.

Kaleme: As a political prisoner’s wife you must have suffered a lot of hardships, however, even during times of hardship there can be good times as well. Can you tell us your best memory?
Farzaneh Mirvand: I cannot recall a specific memory, but I, like you, believe that in every hardship there also is a blessing. I could say that, perhaps all this has caused intellectual development and a change in my point of view- that is the best thing that has happened to me during this time.

Kaleme: What do you personally request from the Judicial authorities?
Farzaneh Mirvand: I have no request for them. Our lives are being steered by a much greater power.