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The Latest from Iran (24 April): Speaking of Rights

1850 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. A relative of an Evin Prison detainee has confirmed that a group of political prisoners began their "election anniversary" hunger strike on Friday. The strikers intend to fast every Thursday and then increase the days as they approach the 12 June anniversary of the election.

1840 GMT: Ahmadinejad's Media Strategy --- Get Rid of It.Iranian journalist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, noting the ban of 20 publications since 2005, contends that the President seeks to exclude critics and concentrate on pro-government voices.

1835 GMT: Corruption Watch. Amin Hossein Rahimi of the Majlis Judiciary and Legal Commission has said the necessary laws exist to confront corruption, but Iran's government and judiciary do not implement them.

NEW Iran: The List of 101 Journalists Who Have Been Jailed
NEW Iran Document: Mousavi on the Green Movement's Strategy and Goals (22 April)
Iran’s Nuclear Programme: The US Strategy
The Latest from Iran (23 April): Rounding Up the News

1830 GMT: Countdown to 12 June. We began this morning by noting the build-up in Mir Hossein Mousavi's statement to a show of opposition on the anniversary of the Presidential election.

Count Mehdi Karroubi in. The cleric has told the German magazine Der Spiegel that he will be seeking a permit to march on 12 June.

1825 GMT: The Teachers Protest. The Coordinating Council of Iranian Teacher Trade Associations has issued a statement to announce that a group of its members will go on hunger strike on 2 May, National Teacher's day, to protest the “illegal execution [of] and imprisonment sentences” handed down to a number of teachers.

The Council's statement says that the executive members of the Teachers Association and associated labour activists will start the hunger strike and called on all Iranian teachers to join the effort throughout 2 May.

The Council called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of all teachers from prison, a withdrawal of all legal and official action against “critical educators”, and an end to the “security atmosphere” in the Ministry of Education. It also demanded job security, better provisions for public schools through oil and gas revenues and the avoidance of all partiality and political manoeuvring in development of school curricula.

1740 GMT: A Serious Look at "Boobquake". As the Facebook comic protest grows against the declaration by Iranian clerics that immorality causes earthquakes --- rallies are now planned in New York City and Washington --- Rah-e-Sabz makes some important points.

The website notes that the Friday Prayers by Hojatoleslam Seddiqi and Ayatollah Jannati are part of the regime's theme of fighting the "soft war" of opposition and that the statements point to more suppression of Iran's youth.

1730 GMT: Labour Watch. After Iranian authorities rejected the request by the "House of Workers" for demonstrations on 1 May, a group of Green supporters in the organisation has invited the people to celebrate the day in support of workers. The gathering is planned for 4 p.m. local time in front of the Vezarate Kar (Ministry of Work). If this is prohibited, there will be a march to the Ministry of Interior.

1450 GMT: Journalists as Political Prisoners. With deepest thanks to our German Bureau, we post their list of more than 100 journalists who have been detained during the post-election crisis.

1445 GMT: A Very Different Video. In contrast to the video below of the apparent boasting of a  Revolutionary Guard commander about torture and rape, a clip from the Nowruz meeting of Green Movement women with publisher Shahla Lahiji (the first speaker in the video), Zahra Rahnavard, lawyer Nasrin Sotudeh, and many other important activists.


1430 GMT: In Praise of Abuse? This video of a speech by Revolutionary Guard Commander Sardar Saeed Ghasemi is racing around the Internet. Critics claim that Ghasemi is endorsing the abuse and rape of detainees (see translated passage below the video). Readers' feedback is welcomed:

If they want to oppose the regime intellectually, there isn't a problem, we pray for them, but if they dare to come on the streets and challenge the establishment, be it if they are my own child or even if they are a martyr's son, the establishment is duty bound to deal with them, so be aware..and you lot [the audience] tell them not to be obstinate; otherwise they will be taken to a place with sauna and jacuzzi [laughter by the audience] or those things that Karroubi has claimed [laughter again --- Note: Mehdi Karroubi claimed in July 2009 that detainees had been abused and raped], which haven't happened of course, but you never know things can happen,

Of course one can't play with convictions, you see a lot of them are still putting up a resistance, but those who have broken down have really broken down, so tell them they will be taken to those kind of places and then they will confess to everything in less than twenty days [laughter].

1330 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Another purported letter from detainees to senior clerics --- in this case, Ayatollahs Mousavi Ardebili, Makarem Shirazi, Safi Golpayegani, Vahid Khorasani, Sane'i, Bayat Zanjani, and Dastgheib --- is published today in Kalemeh:

We know and also heard that you are also against these behaviours and actions, but we expect from you to act and defend the oppressed and to show your beliefs to the people. Don’t let some individuals who call themselves the unknown soldiers of the hidden Imam (the agents and interrogators of Intelligence Ministry) and who have caused us all these sufferings damage you, your religious teachings and our hope. Is there anyone who would answer to the cry for help of us, the oppressed?

1325 GMT: Today's Revolutionary Guard Chest-Puffery. Another day, another declaration by the IRGC of how tough it is and will be against the threat of the "West". Brigadier General Amir Ali Jazideh, "The super advanced bomber drone, manufactured by the Revolutionary Guards, will be operational in the second half of this [Iranian] year," which ends 20 March 2001.

1315 GMT: IRGC "We'll Take Care of the Oil". Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Yadollah Javani has told the Iranian Labor News Agency, ''Today the Revolutionary Guards are proud to have the ability and know-how to easily replace large international firms; for example, we can replace Total and Shell in Assalouyeh big projects''

Shell has recently pulled out of development of a natural gas field in Iran, but Javani, the head of the IRGC's Political Bureau, said western sanctions were ''baseless''.

1300 GMT: Prominent reformist and former Deputy Minister of Interior Mostafa Tajzadeh has been ordered to return to prison to serve his six-year sentence, after his request for an extension of temporary release was denied.

The order came soon after Tajzadeh was contacted by Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili, who wished him good health after the recent surgery on his back. Mehdi Karroubi visited the recuperating Tajzadeh yesterday.

Tajzadeh agreed to report to the prison Sunday morning after consultations with his doctors.

0715 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Foad Shams, arrested by Intelligence Ministry agents in front of Tehran University on 2 December and subsequently detained for 97 days in Evin Prison's Ward 209, has been sentenced to 6 months imprisonment and 6 months suspended detention on the charge of propaganda against the Islamic Republic.

As journalist Emaduddin Baghi enters his fifth month in detention, RAHANA reports that a new charge has been filed against him, relating to his book --- written 21 years ago --- Of Realities and Judgements.

0640 GMT: A fairly busy Friday gives way to a quieter start to Saturday. In the lull, two stories continue to ripple.

Mir Hossein Mousavi has now established a pattern of speaking to reformist parties and activists, and his latest statement, presented to the National Religious Front, re-asserts his general vision of the Green Movement: “What happened in the 25th of Khordaad [15 June] last year in Tehran with that heavy and kind presence of people together accompanied by an environment of peace, endurance, perseverance and kinship along with their reaction as civil dissidents is a perfect example of a desired civil society.”

We have a full summary, courtesy of Khordaad 88, in a separate entry, but mark this down: it is now seven weeks until the 1st anniversary of the Presidential election, and both the rhetoric and substance of Mousavi's words are pointing towards a renewed show of the opposition challenge on and around that date. Whether 12 June will see mass action and whether Mousavi will back his statements with participation, well, that's a matter for specualtion rather than certainty right now....

On the international front, the ripples are over Tehran's reported withdrawal of its candidacy for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. It's important here, I think, to separate the global political spin from the significance within Iran.

The non-Iranian media will make great play today of a "Western victory" over Iran, as the core issue of rights is entangled with the manoeuvring over Iran's nuclear programme and the discussion of sanctions. I am far more interested in how this news is received, or even if it is known, inside Iran. Will the regime acknowledge a setback for its self-presentation as a defender of rights and will the opposition use the development as a marker of the shallowness, and even hypocrisy, of that claim?

Reader Comments (16)

I wonder what would happen if Iranian Kurds tried the same thing?

TEHRAN, April 24 (Reuters) - Iran is granting amnesty to more than 100 "outlaws and terrorists" in its volatile southeast after the arrest of a Sunni Muslim rebel leader two months ago, a senior official said in comments published on Saturday.

Ali-Mohammad Azad, governor of Sistan-Baluchestan province bordering Pakistan, said security and economic activity had increased in the area after Iran captured Abdolmalek Rigi in February, the official IRNA news agency said.

He said 300 criminals and militants, some of whom belonged to Rigi's Jundollah (God's Soldiers) group, had sought amnesty "to return to the nation's embrace."

"So far letters of protection (amnesty) have been issued for 110 such outlaws and terrorists, and a number of them are turning in weapons and completing the legal procedure," Azad said in the provincial capital Zahedan.

April 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

I'm confused about the upcoming congressional bill sanctioning US and foreign companies that export refined oil products to Iran. If, as this editorial by the CSM says, "The only way to really enforce such a crippling sanction against the Iranian economy would be through an American-led naval blockade which, by international law, is an act of war", how does the US really plan to enforce it? And if it can only be enforced by naval confrontation, which doesn't seem to be anything the Obama administration is prepared to do, what's the real reason for passing it? So both parties can say to their potential voters next November that they "got tough on Iran"? Who will believe that if the sanctions are not enforced?

CSM Op-ed:
Sanctions on Iran's gasoline imports? That's war talk.

April 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Iranian tractors for Zanu PF votes

The trade and cooperation agreements signed with Harare during AN's visit to Zimbabwe include opening a multi-million dollar tractor factory which will assemble Iran's models of tractors for sale in Zimbabwe and for export to the region. But what about the 2 million dollars worth of tractors that Iran already exported to Zimbabwe last year.? Where did they end up?!

According to the MDC, these tractors disappear into Zanu PF hands all the time. Damn good products, those Iranian tractors! :-)

April 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

RE 13.30 Here's a bit more on their letter:
Iranian clergy urged to probe "torture" in Evin Prison

April 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Iranian journalists win Henri Nannen press award
The Henri Nannen Prize of Gruner and Jahr publishing house for special services rendered to press freedom has been awarded to Iranian journalists who are subject to violent reprisals in Iran for their journalistic activities.

Reportedly, on May 7, Maziar Bahari will accept the award in Hamburg on behalf of his imprisoned and oppressed colleagues in Iran.

April 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Iran announces its candidacy for Women's Rights Commission
Iranian authorities have confirmed reports of their withdrawal from membership in United Nation’s Human Rights Council and announced their candidacy for the International Commission for Protection of Women's Rights.

April 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Catherine, I think by now you deserve a blog spot on Enduring America!

And Scott, goes without saying, we're all very appreciative of you keeping the Latest from Iran going. Us expat Iranian-American reverse-migrants in Iran need it.

April 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPirooz

I just found this on twitter, if true it will make it the second defection of the Iranian scientist to west.

April 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkamran


Interesting - but I wonder what exactly is a "nuclear scientist"? . This type of project would have many hundreds/thousands of people involved - technicians, engineers, theoretical and applied scientists (all with different levels of experience, abilities and ranking). In other words, even if true, to what effect would this be? - apart from the obvious PR and propaganda purposes.


April 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarry

[...] The Latest from Iran (24 April): Speaking of Rights | Enduring America [...]

April 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterArshama

I'm always looking for news myself anyway - why not share? :-)
It's also great to have a professor and his team to answer your questions and all the interested readers to engage with.

Just curious, are you the "other Pirooz" at Tehran Bureau, sometimes also known as the "Pirooz who is not Pirouz"? :-) I read over there regularly and once I saw a clarification just like that and it made me smile.

April 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Thanks for your links to the interview and "accessories". I'm still trying to recover from the fit of laughter the T shirts provoked. Man, people are sooo clever. At first I thought this boobquake thing was just a silly Facebook joke, but now I see it's a serious one! :-)

April 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Here's an Iranian perspective on the Adultery and Earthquakes story by Hamid Farokhnia, a staff writer at Iran Labor Report, translated by Tehran Bureau:

Of Adultery and Earthquakes
24 Apr 2010
Hardliners put a sinful spin even on geoscience

April 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

RE 1830 GMT: Countdown to 12 June. Count Mehdi Karroubi in. The cleric has told the German magazine Der Spiegel that he will be seeking a permit to march on 12 June.

And now in English:
Karroubi: Protests to be held on anniversary of 12 June election

April 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine


May 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterinfant car seat

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