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Entries in Roger Gale (1)


The Latest from Iran (3 March): Love and Hate

2015 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch: The family of journalist Emaddedin Baghi have visited him in prison. Baghi's wife Fatemeh Kamali  said, "Although he became weak, his spirit is very strong."

1920 GMT: P.S. Fatemeh Karroubi has said that she will file a lawsuit against the Iranian Press Supervisory Board for shutting down Iran Dokht magazine.

NEW Iran: Today’s Rafsanjani Watch — Clarity or Confusion?
NEW Iran Interview: The State of Tehran’s Nuclear Programme (Cirincione)
Iran Document: Women Activists Write Mousavi & Karroubi

Iran Analysis: The Mousavi Strategy “We Are Still Standing”
The Latest from Iran (2 March): Can The Regime Defuse the Crisis?

1900 GMT: Karroubi Watch. Fatemeh Karroubi, Mehdi Karroubi’s wife, has written an open letter to the Iranian nation after the closure of the magazine Iran Dokht and an attack on her home by plainclothesmen who threw eggs and tomatoes: "I should feel sorry for the country when its Government can’t even tolerate the only press that will critique it."

Karroubi declared, "It’s very disappointing that the Government pays a bunch of bullies to insult the family of the revolutionaries and the family of martyrs." She warned that the fundamentalist totalitarian movement, whose infiltration of the Government worried Imam Khomeini, was now trying to use any opportunity to slaughter the progressive principles of the Constitution.

Fatemeh Karroubi singled out Deputy Minister of Culture Mo-Amin Ramin, whom she claims called the Karroubi home and "threatened them with offensive language", including references to the execution of Mehdi Karroubi. She warned Ramin and his "like-minded allies" that they could never slaughter an idea and that their illegal and unusual behaviours are doomed.

1855 GMT: Defending the Journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists and other organisations have started "Our Society will be a Free Society" to campaign for detained reporters.

1820 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch (cont.). Journalist Noushin Jafari and student Sina Shokouhi have been released.

1640 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Green Voices of Freedom reports that journalist Morteza Kazemian has been released.

An Iranian activist writes that journalist Reza Nourbakh, arrested on 4 August, has also been released on bail.

1600 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Today's statement of clarification from Hashemi Rafsanjani is so ambiguous that we had to give it a separate entry.

1150 GMT: Economy Watch. Hassan Rohani, a member of the Expediency Council and ally of Hashemi Rafsanjani, has warned that Iran could become an oil importer if its current policies and state of production continue.

1145 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Green Voices for Freedom reports that women’s rights activist Mahboubeh Karami was arrested at her home last night.

0935 GMT: MP Hajsheikh Alikhani has warned that, if necessary, the Iranian Parlaiment will impeach the Deputy Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Mo-Amin Ramin, to ensure his removal.

0930 GMT: Today's Top Tip. United Press International hands over space to Roger Gale, a British member of Parliament former vice chairman of the Conservative Party, to offer this suggestion:
Lifting the ban on the MeK (Mujahedin-e-Khalq, designated by the State Department as a "foreign terrorist organization") would allow the United States and its partners to negotiate with the regime from a position of strength if ever an opportunity did arise. And it would be a cost-free opportunity for the Obama administration to show some teeth to a pariah regime that understands only the language of force.

0915 GMT: Rah-e-Sabz posts that a French satellite provider is threatening to cut off Iranian state channels if Iran does not cease its "jamming" of broadcasts such as BBC Persian.

0825 GMT: RAHANA reports that Sharif University student Mehdi Kalari, detained on 7 December, has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.

0800 GMT: In the 1955 film Night of the Hunter, there is an iconic moment where the villain, played by Robert Mitchum, displays the tattoos on his hands to the camera. On one, "Love". On the other, "Hate".

I am not sure if "Love" and "Hate" are the appropriate words for the regime's efforts, but it is definitely showing two sides to its people. On Tuesday, there was news of more releases of detainees, but there were also the continuing crackdown on the press and the arrest of other activists and public figures. Latest news is of the arrest of another member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters, Navid Khanjani.

The detention which attracted the most attention outside Iran was that of prominent film director Jafar Panahi after a Monday night raid on his house. It is unclear how many of the other 17 people in the house, including Panahi's daughter and wife and guests such as documentary maker Mohammad Rasoulof are also in custody.

Tehran chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Doulatabadi was vague in explaining why Panahi, who was also briefly detained during 30 July demonstrations and has been barred from leaving Iran, is being held apart from declaring, "His arrest is neither related to his profession as an artist nor linked to political motivations." He did indicate,however, that this detention would not be brief, as the director's interrogation "has just begun".

Amongst Iranian activists, however, the display of regime force that is causing the most comment this morning is the alleged death sentence handed down on a post-election detainee, Mohammad Reza Valian. The 20-year-old university student appeared in court on 3 February, accused of crimes such as appearing at the 17 July Friday Prayer service led by Hashemi Rafsanjani, participating in Qods Day protests in September, and throwing stones on Ashura (27 December).

The report is still based on a single Green Movement source and the death sentence has not been announced by Iranian authorities.