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Entries in Ashgar Farhadi (13)


Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Criticising the Supreme Leader and Much More (Arseh Sevom)

Mohammad Maleki and Nasrin SotoudehAll over the world, people who care about the fate of detained lawyerNasrin Sotoudeh breathed a collective sigh of relief as word came in that her demands had been met and that she had ended her 49-day hunger strike.

Dr. Mohammad Maleki wrote a powerful letter criticizing Iran’s Supreme Leader. The chief of the cybercrimes unit was sacked in the fallout of the investigation of the death of blogger Sattar Beheshti, and the Cyrus Cylinder travels to the US. HIV seems to be on the rise in Iran while nurses flee the country seeking better working conditions elsewhere. The UN has condemned Iran’s human rights abuses, demonstrators in Paris call attention to Iranian women who have been denied their rights, and German banks move to make transactions for humanitarian items such as medicine possible.

Forced hijab comes with instruction now, there are reports that the death sentence against web programmer Saeed Malekpour has been lifted, and Asghar Farhadi is named as one of Foreign Policy’s Global Thinkers.

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Celebrating Despite Economic Decline and the Crackdown (Arseh Sevom)

Photo: and BBC PersianLast year was disheartening for many civil society actors in Iran, as the regime shut down organizations, arrested many, and harassed even more. As bloggers are noting, this was a year of stagnation for Iranian activists and civil society groups, such as women and students, due to the excessive suppression and brutality of the Islamic Republic.

Yet, despite the political climate and the deteriorating economic situation, there were still moments of celebration, such as Chahar Shanbeh Suri (sometimes called Fireworks Wednesday), celebrated last week under the heavy presence of security forces in Iran.

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society, from Women's Activism to Harsh Sentences to Cyberspace (Arseh Sevom)

One of the video testimonies in "Women Speak Out Against War"

See also Iran Video Document: Tehran's Larijani to UN "We Are a Benchmark for Human Rights"

Arseh Sevom, the non-government organisation promoting civil society in Iran, presents its weekly review of developments in the country:

A New Year Greeted with Empty Pockets, Joy, and Trepidation

The celebration of Iranian New Year (Norooz), which falls at the moment of the Spring Equinox (5:14 am UTC or GMT, March 20), has managed to survive every political regime and every change of religion. It remains autonomous of state control and an example of “the configuration in which society stands apart from the state.” Its continuing celebration in Iran represents a requisite of a civil society.

The fast approaching new year is causing a mixture of apprehension and excitement. This will be a difficult Norooz for many suffering from the bad economic situation in Iran where a combination of run-away inflation, poor economic management, and sanctions are really taking their toll.

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The Latest from Iran (12 March): Ahmadinejad Escapes Interrogation?

See also Iran 1st-Hand: "People Here Are Boiling, But Don't Make A Sound"
Iran Snap Analysis: Walking Back from War?
The Latest from Iran (11 March): Changing the Drumbeats of War

1904 GMT: Oil Watch. I am sorry but --- amidst uncertainties over Iran's oil exports --- I have no clue what the Supreme Leader means in his statement today: “Based on the development plan, oil must stop being used as source of income and for funding the country’s budget and instead become a source for the progress and economic might of the country and authorities must pursue this policy ...with determination....It is necessary that we act in a manner that any decision making about our oil production and sales is up to us and based on our interests and of course we have taken good steps in this regard.”

Meanwhile, an Iranian oil official has denied a report by Reuters that 350,000 tonnes of gasoline had recently been shipped from China to Iran's southern port city of Bandar Abbas: “Iran is currently a major exporter of [various kinds of] oil products and does not need to import gasoline from any country."

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The Latest from Iran (8 March): Let the Political In-Fighting Resume

See also Iran Document Special: The UN Report on "Violations of Fundamental Human Rights"
The Latest from Iran (7 March): "The People Are Not Happy"

2150 GMT: At the Movies. Pro-regime filmmaker Farajollah Salahshour has expressed his anger about his daughter's congratulations to Oscar-winning director Ashgar Farhadi "for depicting social problems".

2145 GMT: Hunger Strike Watch. Al Jazeera English notices the hunger strike of blogger, physician, and dissident Mehdi Khazali, now in its 60th day.

1915 GMT: A Special Day. A belated note that today is International Women's Day. Google marks the occasion:

But the distinctly Iranian presentation comes from Kanoon Nevisandegan (Writers Assocation):

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The Latest from Iran (6 March): Is Ahmadinejad in Trouble?

See also Iran Opinion: The Hunger Strike of Mehdi Khazali
Israel Video, Transcript, & Snap Analysis: Netanyahu's Speech to AIPAC
Iran-Israel-US Video Special: "It's War!"
The Latest from Iran (5 March): The Election? So Far, It's a Muddle

1805 GMT: Drumbeats of War Watch. Dave Siavashi of Iran News Now picks up a crucial alteration in a report by CNN's Jessica Yellin about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit on Monday to the White House. First, Yellin's report:

"Three Republican presidential candidates will be addressing the AIPAC [American Israel Public Affairs Committee] conference on Tuesday. All three have accused President Obama of appeasing Iran. The president has said that that kind of language and other quote 'loose talk of war' only helps Iran by driving up oil prices which Iran relies on to fund its nuclear weapons program".

Now, Obama's actual quote:

Already there is too much loose talk of war. For the last few weeks such talk has only benefited the Iranian government by driving up the price of oil, which they depend on to fund their nuclear program.

Siavashi comments:

The President said nuclear program.

Not nuclear weapons program.

Now, some people may be inclined to ask, "what's the big deal?"

It's a big deal.

It has not been proven that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. But it is virtually being touted as absolute fact by these mainstream outlets that Iran's nuclear program --- one that the Iranian government claims is for civilian purposes only, and that has been under the protocols and monitoring of the International Atomic Energy Agency for years --- is a nuclear weapons program.

Whether one believes what the Iranian government says is not the issue at hand though. It is irrelevant to the point I'm making. It is also irrelevant whether Jessica Yellin was even aware of the fact that she so badly misquoted President Obama.

What's relevant is that she said it without the slightest hesitation, as if intrinsically, she.just knows that it is a nuclear weapons program. It was as if she felt she needed to fill in an assumed blank between the words "nuclear" and "program" when the President uttered them. Like she was doing him a favor.

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The Latest from Iran (27 February): Has Khamenei Met Mousavi?

Director Ashgar Farhadi holds the Oscar for his "A Separation", winner of Best Foreign-Language Film

See also Iran Video and Pictures: "A Separation" Wins Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film
The Latest from Iran (26 February): Bashing the BBC, Jailing the Journalists

1737 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist Marzieh Rasouli has been released from prison on bail.

The release of Rasouli, a cultural reporter for several reformist publications, comes days after she was named as an "agent" of BBC Persian swept up in mid-January in the "Eye of the Fox" operation of the Revolutionary Guards. Blogger/journalist Parastou Doroukhaki, also named over the operation, was freed on Sunday.

Blogger Nama Jafari, detained on 14 February, has been freed on a bail on 80 million toman (about $42,000). The editor of the 35anj website, Jafari had compiled a series of protest poems and other writings about the post-election protests of 2009 under the title "Gathering at the Solitary Cell".


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Iran Video and Pictures: "A Separation" Wins Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film

UPDATE 2015 GMT: Director Ashgar Farhadi's interview after the Oscars ceremony, including his assessment of the regime's reaction to his film's award:

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Iran Feature: How Do You Cope with Award-Winning Director Farhadi?

Maya Neyestani: "Asghar, take your award and run before Madonna kisses you!"

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi has been on a roll lately, winning the Best Foreign Language Film awards at the BFCA [Broadcast Film Critics Association] and the Golden Globe. He is on his way to the Oscars. But while many in Iran are congratulating Farhadi and celebrating his success, this has infuriated the hardliners....

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The Latest from Iran (16 January): Economic Jitters

Ashgar Farhadi's Nader and Simin: A Separation wins Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globe Awards last night --- in his acceptance speech, Farhadi says simply, "Iran is truly a loving people"

2103 GMT: All-Is-Well Alert. Mohsen Qamsari, the head of international affairs at the National Iranian Oil Company, has insisted that Iran is maintaining the sale of oil to Asian countries despite US pressure for tightened sanctions.

Qamsari said, "The one-year contract with Korean companies to buy our oil has been renewed since the last two months."

Earlier this month, officials said refiners in South Korea --- which buys about 10% of its crude from Iran --- were looking for alternatives.

Asked whether Japan had reduced its oil imports from Iran, Qamsari said, "It is not true. The time for renewal of contracts with the Japanese is around March and they are buying 240,000 barrels from us per day."

The official also denied any problems doing business with India, even though there have been problems over payment arrangements for more than a year.

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