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Entries in Open Society Institute (2)


UPDATED Iran: The 60 Forbidden Foreign Organisations

BANNEDUPDATE 0905 GMT: The Open Society Institute, Number 1 on the list, has offered a concise response setting out its priorities: "The Open Society Institute is deeply troubled by the Iranian government's recent decision prohibiting cooperation with international organizations. Although the Open Society Institute does not have any activities whatsoever in Iran we remain extremely concerned about the fate of Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh [the Iranian-American scholar imprisoned for 15 years in October for subversion]."

UPDATE 7 January 0900 GMT: EA readers have given us a couple of additions to the list. Their comments are also echoed by the Iranian Ham-mihan, which asks if President Ahmadinejad and Foreign Minister Mottaki should be prosecuted for appearing at the "blacklisted" Council on Foreign Relations during their visits to New York.

And here's testimony to the wonders of the list. Flynt Leverett, who co-wrote this morning's loud defence of the Ahmadinejad Government in The New York Times (see our updates), is a prominent member of the New American Foundation, which makes the list twice.

The 60 foreign organisations "blacklisted", after an interview by the Deputy Minister for International Affairs at the Ministry of Intelligence, as reported in the Iranian press. Iranians with any contact with these organisations will be considered to have committed a criminal offense.

The list is drawn from English translations by Neo-Resistance and Laura Rozen at Politico:

1. Soros Foundation — Open Society
2. Woodrow Wilson Center
3. Freedom House
4. National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
5. National Democratic Institute (NDI)

6. International Republican Institute (IRI)
7. Institute for Democracy in East Europe (EEDI)
8. Democracy Center in East Europe (CDEE)
9. Ford Foundation
10. Rockefeller Brothers Foundation
11. Hoover Institute at Stanford University
12. Hivos Foundation, Netherlands
13. Menas, U.K.
14. United Nations Association (USA)
15. Carnegie Foundation
16. Wilton Park, U.K.
17. Search for Common Ground (SFCG)
18. Population Council
19. Washington Institute for Near East Policy
20. Aspen Institute
21. American Enterprise Institute
22. New America Foundation
23. Smith Richardson Foundation
24. German Marshall Fund (US, Germany and Belgium)
25. International Center on Nonviolent Conflict
26. Abdolrahman Boroumand Foundation
27. Yale University
28. Meridian Center
29. Foundation for Democracy in Iran
30. International Republican Institute [again --- see 6]
31. National Democratic Institute [again --- see 5]
32. American Initiative Institute (?)
33. Institute of Democracy in Eastern Europe
34. American Aid Center (?)
35. International Trade Center
36. American Center for International Labor Solidarity
37. International Center for Democracy Transfer
38. Association for Union Democracy
39. Albert Einstein Institute
40. Global Movement for Democracy
41. The Democratic Youth Network
42. Democracy Information and Communication Technology Group
43. International Movement of Parliamentarians for Democracy
44. Network of Democracy Research Institutes
45. RIGA Institute
46. The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School
47. Council on Foreign Relations
48. Foreign Policy Committee, Germany
49. Middle East Media Research Institute (described as an Israeli institute)
50. Centre for Democracy Studies, U.K.
51. Meridian Institute [again --- see 28]
52. Yale University and all its affiliates [again --- see 27]
53. National Defense University, U.S.
54. Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
55. American Center FLENA (active in Central Asia)
56. Committee on the Present Danger
57. Brookings Institution
58. Saban Center, Brookings Institution
59. Human Rights Watch
60. New America Foundation [again --- see 22]

The Latest from Iran (4 January): Watching and Debating

IRAN GREEN2330 GMT: Mahmoud Down. Signing off tonight with this news --- looks like the latest victim in the cyber-war is President Ahmadinejad's blog.

2320 GMT: Another Rights-First Shot from the Obama Administration. Despite (possibly because of) the recent sanctions-related rush of spin in US newspapers, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took a moment to focus on Iran's political conflict today, criticising the regime's “ruthless repression” of protesters: “We have deep concerns about their behavior, we have concerns about their intentions and we are deeply disturbed by the mounting signs of ruthless repression that they are exercising against those who assemble and express viewpoints that are at variance with what the leadership of Iran wants to hear.”

2220 GMT: Have You Made "The List"? Fars News has published the names of the 60 organisations and media outlets "outed" by Iran's Ministry of Intelligence as unacceptable for contact by Iranians.

There are a lot of familiar faces, given that many of these dangerous groups were listed in indictments in the Tehran trials in August: Georges Soros' Open Society Institute is here, as is the Carnegie Foundation, Ford Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson Center, whose scholar Haleh Esfandiari was detained by the Iranians in 2007. Both the National Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute get a mention. So doe the Council on Foreign Relations, the Hoover Institute in California, Freedom House, and of course the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The National Endowment for Democracy, funded but not run by the US Government, also gets a citation, and Human Rights Watch is a definite no-go area.

Looks like we've missed out --- in the United Kingdom, the conference centre at Wilton Park, where foreign agents must gather to plan regime change, is mentioned as is the "Centre for Democracy Studies".

Just one question, if anyone at the Ministry of Intelligence is on Overnight Foreigner Watch: why does Yale get to be the one university to receive the Great Satan's Helper prize? (And, yes, we're already getting furious e-mails from our Harvard friends.)

2200 GMT: Have just arrived in Beirut, where I will be learning from the best specialists on the Middle East and Iran this week. Thanks to EA staff for finding journalist Maziar Bahari's interview with Britain's Channel 4. We've now posted the video of Bahari, who was detained for four months after the Presidential election.

2000 GMT: Britain's Channel 4 News has just broadcast a moving interview with journalist Maziar Bahari who was held in Evin prison for 119 days. We'll post a link when it becomes available. Chief political correspondent Jon Snow also referred back to his exclusive interview with President Ahmadinejad which took place in Shiraz just before  Christmas. Ahmadinejad denied troops were intimidating opponents and warned the West not to assume his country was weak.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Maziar Bahari on Britain’s Channel 4
NEW Iran: Five Expatriate Intellectuals Issue “The Demands of the Green Movement”
NEW Latest Iran Video: Interview with Committee of Human Rights Reporters (3 January)
NEW Iran: In Defence of Mousavi’s “5 Proposals”
NEW Iran: The Genius of Washington’s “Strategic Leaking” on Nukes & Sanctions
Iran: Authority and Challenge — Bring Out the (Multi-Sided) Chessboard
The Latest from Iran (3 January): Re-positioning

1540 GMT: I'm en route to a conference in the Middle East (more news tomorrow) so updates may be limited today. The EA team is minding the shop so keep sending in information and analysis.

1500 GMT: The Foreign Menace (see if you are on the list). The Islamic Republic News Agency has just published a long interview with the Deputy Minister for International Affairs in the Ministry of Intelligence ministry. He lists 62 foreign research centres and media outlets, with which all contact by Iranians is considered forbidden. The list includes Yale University, Brookings Institute, Saban Centre, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, New American Foundation, various Iran human rights groups, BBC, Voice of America, and

1415 GMT: Regime Spokesman of Day. Hats off to Kaveh Afrasiabi, who at no point lets analysis get in the way of his re-presentation of the Mousavi statement, "Iran: From Confrontation to Reconciliation" in Asia Times.

Afrasiabi, who has been a loud proclaimer of President Ahmadinejad's legitimacy since 12 June, wears the shoes of Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei in announcing a Mousavi "retreat" (perhaps needless to say, he does not consider the actual statement). He is pleased to report that many figures, including former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, are now behind "unity" So expect "a qualitative turn-around from the tumult of the past seven months".

And those who haven't read Afrasiabi's script? No worries, for the Green movement, given "an opportunity to drum up its democratization demands" with the death of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri", has been stopped by "a serious miscalculation" with its resort to violence on Ashura

1340 GMT: Engagement Revised. A delegation from the European Parliament has postponed its trip to Iran.

1330 GMT: Reuters is reporting from Iran state television the assertion of Minister of Intelligence Heydar Moslehi: "Several foreigners are among those who were arrested on the day of Ashura....They were leading a psychological war against the system....They entered Iran two days before Ashura."

1020 GMT: Irony Defined. Press TV's website features this headline, "Iran deplores French crackdown on protesters".

Still not convinced of our definition? Here is the opening sentence: "Iran's Foreign Ministry has lashed out at France over resorting to violence in dealing with protesters in the country, describing it as violation of human rights."

0930 GMT: A Platform for the Green Movement? Five Iranian intellectuals abroad --- Abdolkarim Soroush, Akbar Ganji, Mohsen Kadivar, Abdolali Bazargan, Ataollah Mohajerani --- have put out a statement of objectives. We are summarising in a separate entry.

0920 GMT: Where's Mahmoud? President Ahmadinejad is focusing on Iran's regional ties, especially in areas like energy and transportation. He is in Tajikistan before moving to Turkmenistan.

0910 GMT: We've posted the video of an interview with Saeed Habibi, a senior member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters who is in hiding in Iran.

0720 GMT: The Clerical Opposition? We are looking for further information on the tantalising report, offered late Sunday, that Ayatollah Bayat-Zanjani has met separately with Ayatollah Mousavi-Ardebili and with Ayatollah Sanei in Qom.

0710 GMT: Another low-key start to the political day in Iran, as it appears that the regime ponders --- amidst its threats --- how to deal with the persistence of protests, the Green opposition gathers itself --- amidst arrests --- for the next big show of resistance, Mir Hossein Mousavi watches the response to his 5-proposal statement, and conservative/principlist politicians and clerics look for support for their alternative approach.

We have two guest analyses. Babak Siavoshy puts forth a defence of Mousavi's statement, while Gary Sick praises the "strategic leaking" of Barack Obama amidst domestic pressure for US sanctions against Iran and its nuclear programme.

Meanwhile, a Sunday testimony both to Iran's ascent up the US news agenda and the problems, as well as the possibilities, that this brings. One of the showpiece Sunday talk shows, ABC's This Week, turned over part of its Roundtable to a discussion of recent protests in Iran.

Unfortunately, after paying token attention to the internal developments --- "Every time this cycle happens, the Iranian opposition seems to come back stronger and stronger" --- David Sanger of The New York Times promoted his Sunday article (see yesterday's updates) and declared, "The first priority is the nuclear programme." Cue another round of chit-chat among the talking heads on sanctions and the reduction of Iran's political battle to "Is it more or less likely for the Iranian regime to want a deal with the West?"