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Entries in Nasrine Sotoudeh (39)


The Latest from Iran (23 November): More Arrests --- With a Twist?

1930 GMT: Close to Impeachment? Really? This morning (see 0609 GMT) we noted a Wall Street Journal story about the growing dispute between Parliament and President, commending it for noting the conflict but calling it "exaggerated". Here are the dramatic paragraphs:

Iran's parliament revealed it planned to impeach President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but refrained under orders from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, exposing a deepening division within the regime....

Conservative newspapers reported on Monday that lawmakers have started a motion to collect the 74 signatures needed to openly debate impeachment. Mousa Reza Servati, the head of the parliament's budgetary committee, was quoted as saying 40 lawmakers, including Mr. Servati, have signed the motion.

The move to remove the president from office marks the first time in the history of the Islamic Republic that parliament has discussed impeachment of a president. Though the legislature is backed by the Iranian constitution, lawmakers can't drive Mr. Ahmadinejad from office without the supreme leader's agreement.

Here is how EA reported the story on Monday: "About 40 lawmakers have signed a petition, sponsored by Ali Motahari, Alireza Zakani, Tavakoli, and Elyas Naderan to summon Ahmadinejad to the Majlis. At least 74 signatures are necessary for the President to be commanded to appear."

Note the important difference in emphasis. Summoning the President to answer questions in Parliament is not debate of impeachment. Instead, if Ahmadinejad's answers are not satisfactory, then the Parliament can take further action, asking him for better responses. If those are still not suitable, then impeachment may be an option.

That is a long way from the showdown portrayed in the Wall Street Journal. And it certainly does not mean that the Supreme Leader has intervened to block the President's removal.

We are now checking our interpretation, as the Journal story is being repeated as gospel truth by sources such as the BBC and Joe Klein of Time magazine.

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The Latest from Iran (21 November): Human Rights and Missing Constitutions

2025 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Tehran Azad University student activist Amir Ahmad Monazemi has been sentenced to one year in prison and 74 lashes. Monazemi was arrested last December at the mourning ceremonies for Grand Ayatollah Montazeri and was held for one month before being freed on bail.

1950 GMT: Human Rights and the Hikers. So is this the other half of an Iranian strategy? Yesterday Mohammad Javad Larijani, the high-ranking Iranian judiciary official, was on American television with his assertion that he would like to see a resolution of the cases of detained US hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer before a trial.

Today the lawyer for Fattal and Bauer, Masoud Shafiee, was told that they and the third US hiker Sarah Shourd --- released in September on a guarantee that she would return for trial --- would be in court on 6 February.

Possible translation? Tehran just gave the Americans a 2 1/2-month window for a negotiated release of Fattal and Bauer.

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Iran Videos: Judiciary's Larijani on Detained Sotoudeh and on US Hikers

In his public-relations tour in New York, Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of the human rights section of the Iranian judiciary, explains to NBC television that attorney Nasrine Sotoudeh was detained in early September as "a threat to national security". The threat? "She indulged in propaganda against Islam."

In the second video, Larijani sets out a careful position on the three US hikers detained in July 2009.

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Iran Video: US TV's June 2009 Interview with Attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh

An Internet-based resurrection yesterday....

In June 2009, the US network NBC carried a 99-second profile of and interview with defence attorney Nasrine Sotoudeh as part of a feature from Iran, "Behind the Veil". 

Until yesterday, I never knew of the programme --- which aired days before the Presidential election --- let alone the interview. But then, possibly because Iran's top official for human rights, Mohammad Javad Larijani, spoke with NBC as part of his PR campaign in New York, someone decided to bring the clip to everyone's attention.

So Nasrine Sotoudeh, who sits in a Tehran prison for no apparent reason other than defending the accused, makes an appearance of freedom:


The Latest from Iran (17 November): TV Justice

1820 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has more on the case of Parvin Tajik (see 1140 GMT), given a 1 1/2-year sentence for speaking to foreign media about her brother, detained journalist Abdolreza Tajik.

The Tajik family had written in July that Abdolreza had been "dishonoured" in prison.

1740 GMT: Lost in Translation. Press TV clarifies confusion over the Iranian presentation of its war-crime exercises (see 1118 GMT):

Spokesman for the "Modafean Aseman Velayat 3," (Defenders of Velayat Skies) drill General Hamid Arjangi said earlier on Wednesday that Iranian forces have identified the mock (emphasis added) intrusion of six "unknown planes" into the country's airspace.

As part of the drill, we had six reports about the intrusion of six unknown planes into the country's space [on Tuesday], Arjangi said, adding that in every six cases the planes were forced to lift off and interception operations were carried out, Fars News Agency reported.

However, The Washington Post, Associated Press and AFP among other Western media outles, reported that Iran's armed forces intercepted six "unknown planes" that intruded into the country's airspace during aerial defense maneuvers, citing Fars News Agency as the source.

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The Latest from Iran (15 November): Watching Rafsanjani, Listening to Karroubi

2045 GMT: Dropping the Sword. Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi publicly confirmed the regime's handling of post-election detainees who are allowed out of jail: "If political prisoners hold meetings, issue statements and pursue activities within their political parties, their right to temporary leave of absence from prison will be removed."

2025 GMT: Execution Watch (Prime-Time TV Edition). Looks like the Iranian regime is feeling a bit of pressure on the "human rights" front.....

How else to explain yet another "confession" on national television by Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, condemned to death for adultery and complicity in her husband's murder.

The blurred face of a woman, claimed to be Ashtiani, said, "I am a sinner". (The "confession" was voiced over, as Ashtiani speaks only Azeri.)

The report also contained purported statements by Ashtiani's son, Sajad Ghaderzadeh, and her lawyer, Houtan Kian, both of whom were arrested last month, and of the two German journalists who were trying to interview them.

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The Latest from Iran (11 November): "The Safest Country in the World"

1440 GMT: Cartoon of Day. Nikahang Kowsar portrays the rejection of Iran's candidacy for the Execution Board of a new UN agency on women's rights --- the UN says to a disguised Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, "Sister! You Don't Look Much Like A Woman."

1435 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Tabriz student activists have protested the ongoing immunity of Iranian officials from prosecution over the post-election abuses and killings at the Kahrizak detention centre.

The demonstration took place on the anniversary of the death, in mysterious circumstances, of Ramin Pourandarjani, a physician at Kahrizak.

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Iran Video: Attorney Sotoudeh's Family Talk About The Grief over Her Detention

Prominent defence lawyer Nasrine Sotoudeh, after a summer of harassment and raids by Iranian authorities, was detained on 4 September. The charges against her are still far from clear, but she is to appear in court next Monday.

Meanwhile, Iranian officials have limited or denied visits to Sotoudeh, the mother of two children by her family and lawyer. She has gone on hunger strike twice, with her current dry fast lasting more than a week.


The Latest from Iran (8 November): Talks, Threats, and Sanctions

2050 GMT: Talking Tough (US Edition). The chest-puffing of loud but tangential Senator Lindsay Graham that the US should act against Tehran "not to just neutralize their nuclear program, but to sink their navy, destroy their air force, and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard" has not only prompted a torrent of Chicken Little sky-is-falling chatter in Washington circles. It has, equally predictably, brought counter-chest-puffing from the Iranian regime.

Revolutionary Guard Commander Masoud Jazayeri has announced that the US does not know that it is Iran's hostage in the region, while Iran Prosecutor General Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei differs: Washington does know about Tehran's clout.

2045 GMT: Talking Tough. Brigadier-General Ahmad Reza Radan, the Deputy Commander of Iran's police, has said violators must be dealt with before start of subsidy cuts.

Radan's declaration is in sharp contrast to the assurance by the Minister of Interior last week that subsidy cuts are a "popular issue and we don't need security measures".

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The Latest from Iran (5 November): A Disappointment?

1740 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Student activist Ali Gholizadeh has been arrested in Mashhad.

1640 GMT: The Medical University. Claimed video of a Thursday protest at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences, closed last week by Government order. The students chant, "We will not go to class until we've reclaimed Iran."

1635 GMT: Clerical Intervention. Ayatollahs Bayat Zanjani, Dastgheib & Sadeghi Tehrani have condemned attacks on Gonabadi dervishes.

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