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Entries in Reza Khandan (19)


Iran Letter: Nasrin Sotoudeh from Prison "Why I Went on Hunger Strike"

Nasrin Sotoudeh & Reza Khandan

Previously, I have had the honor of defending the children of my country. Punishing the children is absolutely prohibited, much less for political charges on account of their parents.

But of course, this sort of punishment has not been only limited to my family. To explain the wide scope of this unjust treatment, it is enough to remember that among the 36 female prisoners incarcerated in the political prisoner’s ward, the immediate family of 13 of them are either imprisoned or are under judicial pursuit.

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The Latest from Iran (3 December): Medicine and Sanctions

See also The Latest from Iran (2 December): Ahmadinejad Puts His Right-Hand Man in a New Post

2055 GMT: Foreign Affairs (Egyptian Front). After a period of uncertainty over how to play its relationship with Egypt --- given President Morsi's slapdown of Iran over Syria this summer, his key role in ending the Gaza War, and then his sudden grab of powers --- it looks like Tehran is back to the promotion of an Iran-Egypt alliance to reshape the Middle East.

Kazem Jalali, a leading MP with role at the Parliamentary Research Center and the National Security Committee, puts out the line, “Egypt and Iran can play an important and effective role in the Middle East region for promoting peace and security, and providing proper grounds for unity of the Muslim world."

Jalali hailed Egypt’s 2011 revolution as a “great achievement for the regional nations,” adding, “Every revolution is usually followed by a transition period which has to be passed and the Egyptian revolution is no exception to this rule. We hope to see stability and calm in this country very soon.”

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- Hunger Strikes, Hungry Families, and Ending Violence Against Women (Arseh Sevom)

More than seven million students of all ages have dropped out of school due to economic hardships. Anasthesia is no longer readily available. Family, friends, and supporters call on the human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh to end her hunger strike. “Let the silent observers take over,” they urge. Families go without needed nutrients, even more workers lose their jobs, and factories shut down. Civil society organizations call for an end to violence against women in Iran, pointing out that much of the violence is part of society. Labour organizations call on the government to fully investigate the suspicious death of the blogger Sattar Beheshti.

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- A Health Crisis, A Hunger Strike, and Keeping Women at Home (Arseh Sevom)

Nasrin SotoudehQuestions remain unresolved concerning the death of blogger Sattar Beheshti, while authorities deny that any hunger strikes have taken place among women in prison. Iran’s Health Minister faces parliamentary scrutiny for the depletion of medical supplies, public executions continue, and international airfares double. A single exchange rate is announced and Parliament considers a bill that would require single women under 40 to get permission in order to obtain a passport.

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The Latest from Iran (22 November): Ahmadinejad Benefits from Tehran's Problems Abroad

See also Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- A Health Crisis, A Hunger Strike, and Keeping Women at Home
The Latest from Iran (21 November): The Economy? "All Is Well"

1740 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Doulatabi has stopped all in-person visits in the women’s section of Evin Prison, according to opposition websites.

Kalemeh wrote that female inmates who had children were allowed to meet with them in person on Wednesday, but yesterday the prisoners were told that these visits are cancelled until further notice.

Prison authorities have informed detainees that the decision has been handed down from the prosecutor’s office and prison officials have no authority to alter it.

Up to nine women political prisoners recently went on hunger strike over their treatment, including denial of visits, and seven of them signed a statement of condolence to the family of Sattar Beheshti, a blogger killed earlier this month during interrogation in prison. The women have also expressed sympathy with detained lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is in the fifth week of her hunger strike.

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- From Death in Detention to Economic Suffering (Arseh Sevom)

"Tracking the Murderers" by Maya Neyestani

It was a tragic week for the families of blogger Sattar Beheshti and Manouchehr Esmaili Liousi. The first died under suspicious circumstances after being arrested for his writings. The second when his family could not get access to life saving medications. Imprisoned lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh received a long-awaited visit from her family. Workers and retirees bear the brunt of the sanctions and the poor economy, while airline fares shoot up 65%Iran’s censors work overtime to cancel permitted performances, and state-sponsored workers’ rights activists meet while the real activists languish in prison.

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The Latest from Iran (11 November): Preparing for Renewed Nuclear Talks?

See also Iran 1st-Hand: As Sanctions Bite, Life-Saving Drugs Disappear
The Latest from Iran (10 November): Noticing the US-Iran Nuclear Talks

2034 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. The young children of detained lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh have reportedly been denied a visit, as the attorney enters the fourth week of a hunger strike over prison restrictions.

Sotoudeh's husband Reza Khandan wrote:

At the visitation area, despite the fact that prisoners are normally granted face to face visits if they present a letter, we were told that we need to go to the prison’s main gate in order to visit with Nasrin.

At the main gate, after presenting them with the letter allowing us to see Nasrin in person, we were forced to wait 3 hours. Nima who suffers from asthma started having a cough attack as a result of his cold and the poor air condition.

The prison’s administration office eventually closed and an hour after the official prison visitation hours and after such a long wait, we returned home extremely disappointed, never being able to see Nasrin.

The children were starring at that prison gate for 3 1/2 hours. Every time that gate opened and closed they waited patiently to hear their names so that they could see their mother.

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The Latest from Iran (4 November): A False "Breakthrough" on the Nuclear Issue

The Latest from Iran (3 November): Will the Political Fighting Stop? (Probably Not.)

1740 GMT: Tough Talk of the Day. The head of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, has said Iran will increase its naval presence in the Persian Gulf, near three islands claimed by the United Arab Emirates.

"The security of the Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf is part of the various strategies of the naval force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps," Jafari said at a ceremony inaugurating a fifth "naval defense zone" at the port of Bandar Lengeh.

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Iran Feature: The Week in Civil Society --- From #SaveMaleki to the "Shoot the Apostate" Video Games (Arseh Sevom)

Hossein Ronaghi MalekiArseh Sevom, the NGO promoting civil society in Iran, posts its latest review of events inside the country:

In a week dominated by reports of cyber-warfare waged against Iran, families of prisoners of conscience managed to celebrate the birthdays of loved ones stuck behind bars. Rapper Shahin Najafi remains in the spotlight, as he becomes the target of virtual assassination in on-line games. A Twitter campaign highlights the plight of detained blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki. Seventeen NGOs call on the Islamic Republic to recognise and uphold academic freedom, and the sisters Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat provide a twinkling of hope.


Concerns over the health of Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, a blogger and human rights activist imprisoned in Tehran, were expressed in a Tweet storm, as #SaveMaleki became a trending topic on Twitter.

Maleki suffers from kidney failure and has been denied proper care in prison. Amnesty International has asking people to write to Iranian officials to call for his release:

His father, Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, has said that the government Medical Examiner and the physicians have ordered special post-operation medical care for Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, including medical leave – provided for under the Prison Regulations – though the prison authorities have not approved this request. His parents have told journalists that their son has told them he is under pressure to "confess” in order for his request for medical leave to be approved.

On the basis of the evidence available to Amnesty International, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki appears to be a prisoner of conscience, held solely on account of his peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and the organization is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

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The Latest from Iran (6 October): Go On, Fear Our Navy....

2000 GMT: The Green Voice of Freedom website reports that it has been under sustained attack for two days and has been blocked in Iran.

1950 GMT: Deviant Current Watch. Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, has told a seminary in Qom that clerics must oppose the "current" that wants to deviate elections from the concept set by the Supreme Leader.

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