Iran Election Guide

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Entries in Bahman Dorri (3)


Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- From Political Prisoners in Danger to Pepsi's Logo on the Moon (Arseh Sevom)

A Pepsi Logo on the Moon?Pepsi Logo on the Moon: Hoax or PSYOPs?

Most eyes were fixed on the sky in Iran last week. First, of course, there was the transit of Venus, with Iranians joining millions all over the world to observe the once-in-a-lifetime event. Then Shargh newspaper published reports of sightings of “strange lights” and “luminous objects” in the sky over a number of towns, which in the past have turned out to be drone sightings.

Last but not least, an Internet hoax was taken seriously by many, including official news agencies, in Iran. An unfounded report posted by the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) was the source of a rumor that Pepsi had managed to launch its latest promotional craze by beaming its logo onto the moon. Reports from Iran confirmed that thousands showed up on rooftops to watch the launch of the project for themselves.

The hoax started a conversation within the Iranian blogosphere with many finding the incident reminiscent of 1979 when people all over Iran were convinced they saw Ayatollah Khomeini’s face in the moon.

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Iran Special: The Week in Civil Society, from Arresting Mountain Climbers to Strangling the Internet (Arseh Sevom)

Police display confiscated satellite dishes

Arseh Sevom, the non-government organisation promoting civil society in Iran, has started a weekly review of developments in the country --- this inaugural article covers 19-25 February. Read the full entry or jump to an individual item:

Hunger Strikes and Heresy: Prisoners of Conscience in Danger
Opposition Calls for Voters to Stay Home
The Call for Free and Fair Elections
Jammin’ and Jammin’ and Jammin’… Jam No More
Coming to Your TV: Iran’s Outrageous Confession Videos
Strangling the Internet
More Pressure on the Baha’i
Sixty Percent of Workers Under the Poverty Line
More Limitations on Who Can Stand for Office: If Brazil’s former president Lula da Silva were Iranian he Wouldn’t be Allowed to Run
Publishers Come Under Scrutiny: “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself”


How can we not start with a great big congratulations to Asghar Farhadi, the director of A Separation, for his historic Oscar win? Congratulations!

Arseh Sevom also notes that Sunday, February 26, marked Lawyer’s Day in Iran. With dozens arrested, persecuted, and imprisoned for their work defending the rights of others, being a lawyer in Iran can be hazardous. Arseh Sevom salutes those lawyers who have so bravely stood up for the rights of others. (Details of the harassment of lawyers can be found here.)

In the lead up to parliamentary elections in Iran, there is increased pressure on civil society. Mountain climbers have been arrested in Sanandaj, publishers are being scrutinized, and prisoners of conscience challenge their detention.

With less than a week left before the elections, the mood domestically and internationally is becoming more hawkish and militaristic. On election day, March 2nd, 85,000 members of the Basij militia will be dispatched to the streets. This is all being played out amidst worldwide speculations of an imminent attack on Iran.

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The Latest from Iran (6 August): Enemies Everywhere (and Beware of the Books)

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami2120 GMT: About Those Water Fights.... In our separate feature, we have been following the story of the regime's crackdown on the crime of public water fights, first in Tehran and now in other Iranian cities. Well, Ayande News is not so certain about the approach....

The website asks, "Which sin is bigger? Water games or slander, lies and corruption?" Considering the behaviour of "senior Iranian officials", it considers where there are "great sins" of misuse of public funds, embezzlement, and fraud. Without naming names, it describes situations of alleged corruption involving 1st Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Vice President Hamid Baghaei.

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