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Entries in Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati (4)


The Latest from Iran (22 May): Karroubi's Letter, University Protests

1810 GMT: University Protest. Video has emerged claiming to be of a protest on Thursday at Bani Akram University in Tabriz.


1530 GMT: University Protest. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, from an unnamed student source, "Basij forces at the university attacked protesting students and injured several of them....Students were chanting 'Death to the Dictator' and 'Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein'."

NEW Iran Nuke Analysis: Reading the US-Turkey Discussions
Iran Analysis: Four Perspectives on the Uranium-Sanctions Dance
The Latest from Iran (21 May): Friday Rest?

1515 GMT: University Protest. Reports are coming through of a demonstration at Azad University in Tehran today, with "several hundred" chanting against the continued detention of fellow students. Human Rights Activists News Agency claims there was a heavy security presence, with possible arrests. The claimed video:


1110 GMT: Karroubi's Letter. The Associated Press has picked up on Mehdi Karroubi's latest intervention, in a letter to Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili (see 0645 GMT):

The judiciary, required under the constitution to defend constitutional freedoms of the citizens, has become an instrument in the hands of the ruling system and security and military agencies. Instead of providing security to the people, the judiciary has turned to intimidation and imprisonment....

The present head of government [Mahmoud Ahmadinejad], with his strange behavior, has humiliated the Iranian nation.

0855 GMT: Sanctions Deals? In a separate entry, Ali Yenidunya looks at the tension in US-Turkish relations around this week's Iran-Turkey-Brazil agreement on the process for uranium enrichment talks.

Looks like Washington may have avoided such tensions with Moscow, however, over the path to sanctions on Tehran: on Friday, the US Government lifted any punishment of three Russian entities implicated in efforts to aid Iran's nuclear weapons and missile programmes.

0845 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch (cont.). The "hardline" journalist Fatemeh Rajabi has pronounced that Hashemi Rafsanjani's interpretation of Islamic rule is like "the time of the Shah".

0810 GMT: Economy Watch. This may be the most revealing statement in some time on the challenges to Iran's government. General Hassan Firouzabadi, who is a well-known economic expert as the head of Iran's armed forces, issued this declaration when he introduced Tehran Friday Prayers: "Reformists are responsible for the people's economic problems."

0750 GMT: Noticing. A burst of attention in the US media to internal affairs in Iran. William Yon and Michael Slackman write in The New York Times, "As Iran approaches the first anniversary of a contested presidential election that touched off a deep political crisis, opposition supporters remain under intense pressure, with student leaders [Bahareh Hedayat and  Milan Asadi] receiving long prison terms and a prominent opposition politician [Mohammad Ali Abtahi] and a filmmaker being attacked."

(I leave it for readers to consider whether the recent attack by the authors of Race for Iran on Nazila Fathi of the Times has actually spurred the newspaper to maintain its focus on the Government pressure before the 12 June anniversary.)

The Los Angeles Times picks up on the "bad hijab" campaign. It adds to our review of Ayatollah Jannati's Friday Prayer sermon in Tehran and then turns to Ayatollah Ahmad Alam-al-Hoda in Mashhad:
Badly veiled women and girls are like foot soldiers of the United States. Our enemies intend to pull the rug of religion from under the feet of our youth by spreading bad veil in the society. Anytime badly veiled women and girls sport strong makeup to deviate a young man from the right path, the enemy will be pleased with victory.

0745 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist and filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad has been relocated to Evin Prison's general ward, but he says he will continue his hunger strike until a verdict is issued and he is freed.

0740 GMT: The Students Fast. Azad University students, despite pressure from intelligence agents, observed a one-day political fast on Wednesday to mark the 100th day of student Ali Malihi’s detention. The fast was broken on Thursday in an Iftar ceremony outside Evin Prison.

0735 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Mohammad Hashemi, a member of the Expediency Council and brother of Hashemi Rafsanjani, has again declared --- citing Ayatollah Khomeini --- "If people are not satisfied by a Government, the nezam [Iranian system] lacks acceptance."

0725 GMT: Rahnavard Speaks. Le Monde publishes an interview with Zahra Rahnavard, activist and wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, who declares, "Victory will come one day to the Iranian people," and links the Green and women's movements:
[This] is a movement that has echoes claims of the Iranian people that actually date back to over a hundred years, the Constitutional Revolution of 1906. And the presidential election was an opportunity to remember: freedom, rule of law, democracy. The Green Movement does not want the regime to fall; what it wants is reform. It comes from civil society and peaceful means. I repeat, peaceful, even if the regime has no shortage of weapons and uses violence.

This movement is expressed in various ways through meetings, rallies, civil society, and  literary and artistic expressions. All components of society are represented: teachers, workers, athletes, artists, representatives of ethnic minorities....Women, who represent half of the population, and students have played a special role and have an important place within the movement.

My message to Iranian women is, "Move on, raise your level of knowledge and studies to be eventually accepted as full citizens." I campaign for it and against polygamy, violence, and decades of discrimination. Iranian women have no choice; they must continue the fight.

0645 GMT: Karroubi Intervenes. The morning starts with news of a long letter from Mehdi Karroubi to Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili.

Much of the letter is Karroubi's well-known call for justice and responsibilty. He harshly condemns the violation of the Islamic Republic's Constitution and wonders who will defend it: the Parliament is not serving as a representative of the public and the judiciary is not defending people's rights. Karroubi also complains about the "destruction of revolutionary personalities", economic decline, and the President's lack of diplomacy, "which has led to the humiliation of the Iranian people".

There is a twist, however. Karroubi defends the late Ayatollah Khomeini and Mir Hossein Mousavi against recent accusations that they accepted executions in the 1980s.

An EA correspondent evaluates, "."With Mousavi and Khomeini being accused of accepting executions during their rule, criticism has reached the core of this Iranian system. Although Karroubi defends him and Khomeini, he also complains that those incidents were never investigated. Clever tactics, declaring himself as the most acceptable Green candidate. In any case the genie is out of the bottle."

The Latest from Iran (14 May): The Meaning of the Strike?

2035 GMT: Film Corner (cont.). Earlier we reported on the unclaimed chair for the Grand Jury at the opening of the Cannes Film Festival (see 0615 GMT)

The seat was to be filled by Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who had to send this message:
I salute you from my narrow and dark cell in Evin Prison. Unfortunately it is only today that I heard of your valuable efforts [to release me] during the Festival of Cannes....I greet you from here and would like to express my gratitude to all festival organisers for their humanity and decency.

NEW Iran Analysis: The Economic Squeeze and the Real Sanctions Story (Colvin)
UPDATED Iran Video: Strike in Kurdistan (13 May)
Iran Special: Executions, Politics, and the Attack on Nazila Fathi and The New York Times
Iran Transcript: Mousavi “Do Iranian Mothers Have Rights?” (12 May)
Iran Document: A Letter from Majid Tavakoli About the Executed (11 May)
The Latest from Iran (13 May): Justice, Legitimacy, and a Strike in Kurdistan

2030 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. RAHANA reports that Bahman Khodadadi has been missing since Saturday, when he was summoned to the Ministry of Intelligence in Isfahan. The website also claims Azeri civil rights activists Reza Abdi and Alireza Hosseinzadeh were arrested Tuesday in Tabriz.

1945 GMT: The Executions and After. RAHANA offers a useful summary of "The Week in Kurdistan".

1820 GMT: The Oil Squeeze. Rah-e-Sabz reports that because of sanctions, lack of investment, and government mismanagement, oil production dropped by 750,000 barrels (almost 20%) to less than 35. million barrels per day. Sales fell by 450,000 barrels daily, as Saudi Arabia took up more of China's demand for imports.

1812 GMT: The Writing on the Wall. EA's German Bureau brings me this picture of graffiti in Iran. It is from January, but it has a current resonance, I think.

"Execution = End of Islamic Rule".

1750 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. RAHANA reports that Arash Saboonchi, a student activist and member of Mehdi Karroubi’s presidential campaign in Arak in northwest Iran, has been arrested and taken to an unknown location by plainclothes agents.

1725 GMT: Larijani, Nuclear Dealmaker? A whiff of a most important story in Khabar Online, the website connected with Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani. It uses purported remarks from Kazem Jalali of Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission to play up Larijani's role as broker in talks on Iran's nuclear programme:
According to Khabar Online correspondent, [in] the hallway of the Majlis, Kazem Jalali commented on diplomatic positions expressed by Larijani and f negotiations at international summits: "A collective body monitored by the Supreme Council of National Security decides and authorizes the Parliament Speaker to take such measures, given that as a body corporate and senior member of the council, he has a mastery of the standards of the Islamic Republic's diplomacy....

In many instances the international negotiations conducted by the Parliament Speaker are more productive in breaking the impasses

Jalali supposedly added, "We have never excluded the issue of nuclear fuel exchange from our agenda. We are ready to receive fair proposals on the issue and it has been underlined by Iranian officials several times. But I believe that through their mediations Brazil and Turkey can play an important role to resolve the problem. Obviously we will welcome their contribution."

The significance, however, is not just the international dimension, with the further signal that a deal mediated by Brazil or Turkey is a possibility for Tehran. It is also internal: last October the uranium enrichment talks broke down in part because of opposition within Iran.

Larijani, speaking on his behalf or representing the Supreme Leader, was part of that opposition to the President's aspirations. If he is now portraying himself as a factor for a deal, it not only shifts the international equation but also the power equation vs. Ahmadinejad.

1500 GMT: Keep the Children at Home? Khabar Online claims that the children of administration officials are being stopped from studying abroad.

1450 GMT: The Executions and Pressure on Kurdish Teachers. RAHANA reports that Heydar Zaman, Mostafa Sarbazan and Ramin Zandnia, three activists of the Teachers Trade Union in Kurdistan, were summoned to Intelligence Headquarters in Sanandaj. The questioning took place a day after the execution of teacher Farzad Kamangar.

Four other activists of the union were arrested on Sunday and released after long interrogations.

1440 GMT: Friday Prayers Amended (No Sinful Earthquakes But Lots of Bad Hijab). Seems I judged today's Friday Prayer Speaker, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, too quickly (1300 GMT).

He did have a whip-'em-up line, much better than the G-15 summit and the Tehran Book Fair, for the audience. Apparently a "soft war" against hijab has started in the name of "freedom". Western officials of Satan, who once Reza Shah to get rid of the hijab, are carrying out their subversion by bringing women with "bad hijab" to Qom.

Seddiqi did have to backtrack on his previous big hit of breasts=earthquakes, announcing that sin is not the only reason for natural disasters in the West.

No matter. Looks like Seddiqi's "bad hijab" routine is going down well with the critics: Ayatollah Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, has given it a round of applause.

1430 GMT: Where's Mahmoud? President Ahmadinejad has delivered a speech in which he announced that God has chosen the Iranian people to promote justice and monotheism on Earth.

1300 GMT: Your Friday Prayer Summary. Last time Hojatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi took the podium for Tehran Friday Prayers, he became a global religious star with his warning that women's breasts can cause earthquakes.

He didn't shake things up as much today. His hook-line of Iran's prominence at the G-15 summit of non-aligned countries just didn't have the same appeal, and he had to fall back on a shout-out for five million people at the Tehran Book Fair showing the culture, civilization and ideals of Iran and its youth.

1155 GMT: The Executions. Nine expatriate and domestic parties and political organisations have called for rallies abroad this Sunday to protest recent executions. Those involved in the call are Republicans, Democratic Party of Kurdistan, Komeleh, Democratic Party of Iran's People, National Front Europe, Feddayin-e Khalq (majority and minority), Provisional Council of Leftist Socialists, and Movement of Democratic and Secular Republicans.

1145 GMT: Cultural Vaccination. Mahmoud Salari, the director of the Tehran Book Fair, has declared that books by famous authors such as Forugh Farrokhzad, Hushang Golshiri, and Sadegh Hedayat are like palm-reading (faal va kafbini). He declared that all books published before 2005 will be removed as a vaccination against "cultural disease", and he said that only religious thinking should be promoted to maintain the honour of the Iranian system (nezam).

It looks like Salari and the Book Fair organisers may have more serious worries than palm-reading, however. Khabar Online publishes a photograph of the state of the booths as the Fair formally opened.

1130 GMT: Interrogation. Kalemeh reports that reformists in Tabriz in East Azerbaijan have been summoned by authorities and questioned for up to four hours on subjects such as the alleged involvement of the "terrorist" Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) in the opposition movement.

1005 GMT: Cultural Jeremiad. Grand Ayatollah Makarem-Shirazi has pronounced that, with satellites, the vice of the Internet and its websites swashes from west to east and back. He declared that those moral vices have become political and social, and politicians of the world promote them for their goals.

1000 GMT: Karroubi Watch. Speaking with student activists and the family of the detained Majid Tavakoli, Mehdi Karroubi has declared, "Rest assured that the situation won't remain like this.

0950 GMT: The Executions and the Strike. Nazila Fathi reports in The New York Times:
Iranian Kurds staged one of their largest strikes in recent years, closing shops and bazaars in nearly all Sunni Kurdish cities and towns in eastern Iran to protest the executions of five people, including four Kurdish activists, on Sunday, according to opposition Web sites and witnesses....

Many analysts and opposition figures interpreted the executions on Sunday as a warning that the government would not tolerate protests next month on the election’s first anniversary.

Rah-e-Sabz has a lengthy account of the day in Kurdistan, with a heavy security presence and Kurdistan's largest city Sanandaj and many other towns mostly deserted.

0940 GMT: The Executions and the Opposition. Reporting from Tehran, Thomas Erdbrink of The Washington Post picks up on the political context of last Sunday's execution of five Iranians. He quotes Ali Shakorirad, a leader of the reformist Islamic Participation Front, "The government is trying to create a security atmosphere as a crucial month approaches," and gives the pro-Government counterpoint from "Amir Mohebbian, "Their [opposition] movement has lost steam, and its leaders are disillusioned and hopeless. Those executed were terrorists. They who sympathize with terrorists are terrorists themselves."

Erdbrink also quotes an office clerk, "Fahrzad", who says, "We have all tried to return to normal, but there are killings and arrests. Maybe some are smiling on the outside, but inside we are all still upset."

0745 GMT: Economy Watch. We've posted an analysis from Ross Colvin, "The Economic Squeeze and the Real Sanctions Story".

0625 GMT: The Executions and the Opposition. EA readers may have noted the recent attempt by to deride coverage of Sunday's executions, with the claim that The New York Times showed "pro-Green" bias with the analysis that the hangings might have occurred to deter the opposition from protests on 12 June, the anniversary of the election.

A follow-up to the executions from Kayhan, the "hardline" Iranian newspaper (hat-tip to an EA reader):
The leaders of the recent plots have supported the five terrorists whose hands were stained with the blood of innocent people, and who were executed in Evin prison on May 10th. This shows that these people cannot be expected to retreat, and it would be very naive to believe that they would repent. It is all over now, and no phrase can better describe the plotters’ situation than "some people have joined the anti-Revolution and terrorists camp".

0620 GMT: Subsidy Cuts. President Ahmadinejad has said that his subsidy reduction plan will begin in the second half of the Iranian year, i.e., from late September 2010.

Previous reports said some reductions would be implemented from 21 May.

0615 GMT: Film News. As the 63rd Cannes Film Festival opened, one of the nine chairs for jury members was unclaimed.

Iranian director Jafar Panahi, detained in March, remains in Evin Prison.

0600 GMT: Kurdistan Funeral. A copy of a flyer has been posted which indicates that the service for Farzad Kamangar, executed on Sunday, will be in Mohammad Rasoolollah Mosque tomorrow from 9 to 11 a.m.

0555 GMT: Thursday's Top Comment. "Dissected News" on Twitter: "Only the ghosts of Iran's martyrs seem to be on the (Kurdish) streets."

0545 GMT: The Executions...Aftermath. RAHANA reports that the house of Shirin Alamhouli is surrounded by security forces, who are denying entry to relatives. Iranian authorities reportedly are refusing to let the family bury Alamhouli n a Muslim cemetery because she was a "mohareb" (warrior against God).

0530 GMT: Beyond a doubt, the major story yesterday was the stoppage in Kurdistan, a response to Sunday's execution  of five Iranians, four of them Kurdish. The logistics meant that confirmed news was slow to come out, but the reports, the pictures, and even the videos emerged.

We had asked earlier this week whether the anger and  dismay expressed outside Iran over the executions would be matched by public reactions within the country. We now have an answer --- we will watch how far that answer extends with responses beyond Kurdistan.

Persian2English features a further report, with photos, on yesterday's events.

UPDATED Iran Special: Executions, Politics, and the Attack on Nazila Fathi and The New York Times

UPDATE 14 MAY, 0640 GMT: The authors of Race for Iran have posted an attempted rebuttal of this column. As it is largely a misrepresentation of my analysis and a continuing assault on Nazila Fathi, I will not post a detailed response. There is no value in continued conversation with or even recognition of those who are void of information and deaf on ethics and morality.

I will note, however, how the authors met this challenge that I set on Wednesday: "1. Make their own critique of the material surrounding this case of the 5 executed Iranians and present that critique; 2. Alternatively, acknowledge that they have no concern with human rights, justice, and fairness within the Iranian system; 3. If they do so, disclaim any ability to assess the legitimacy of the Iranian Government since they are not concerned with issues — human rights, justice, fairness — which may affect the legitimacy of that Government in the eyes of the Iranian people."

The authors make no attempt to meet the first test, but they do tacitly accwept the second and third challenges: "[Race for Iran] is not focused on human rights; it is focused on Iran and its geopolitics."

UPDATE 14 MAY, 0630 GMT: The Iranian newspaper Kayhan has portrayed Sunday’s executions of “terrorists” as a test of “leaders of recent plots”. However, it regrets that those leaders refuse to “retreat” and “repent”.” (see today's updates).

I look forward to Race for Iran's denunciation of Kayhan, given its linkage of the executions and Government pressure on opposition leaders, for its "pro-Green bias".

The Latest from Iran (14 May): The Meaning of the Strike?

Let us assume, as their defenders claim, that the recent attack by the authors of Race on Iran on the reporting of Nazila Fathi was motivated solely by a concern over misleading journalism, with unsubstantiated links and unsupported claims. Let us assume that there was no wider motive of wiping away objections so "official justifications" for the execution of five Iranians could remain standing or of discrediting any attempt --- by labelling any critique as "pro-Green" --- to consider the legal and political context of the executions.

Let us assume that --- in contrast to the authors' claim of The New York Times' "agenda-driven, threat-hyping approach" and Fathi's "misleading reporting driven by an inflammatory agenda" --- Race for Iran has no agenda and no wish to hype any Government or institution.

Let us consider Race for Iran's narrow allegations:

1. Fathi has no basis for the link in the following paragraph:

"The Iranian government hanged five Kurdish activists, including a woman, on Sunday morning in the Evin prison in Tehran in what appeared to be an effort to intimidate protesters from marking the anniversary of last year’s huge anti-government rallies after the June 12 election."

The background to Fathi's story is that, two weeks before anticipated demonstrations on 22 Bahman (11 February), Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour were executed. Many activists at the time saw this as an effort to intimidate the opposition, for Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, the head of the Guardian Council, had stated in Friday Prayers:
God ordered the prophet Muhammad to brutally slay hypocrites and ill-intentioned people who stuck to their convictions. Koran insistently orders such deaths. May God not forgive anyone showing leniency toward the corrupt on earth.

Fathi does not cite this background. Instead, she cites Hadi Ghaemi of the International Committee for Human Rights in Iran, who no doubt is aware of this background when he stated, “The executions show that this government resorts to any kind of terror and violence to put down any challenge to its authority.”

Now Race for Iran could have done its own research. They could have considered the background, they could have checked out not only ICHRI's release on the executions but their significant collection of material on cases leading up to those executing and considering Ghaemi's claim of numerous sources amongst "Iranian civil society analysts and activists", they could have even taken a look at the case, dating back to detentions in 2006.

They do none of this. They have no sources beyond the reference to "official justifications" (without actually considering those justifications). They have no context --- political or legal --- for their case.

(Consider how this failure to provide any information beyond the attack on Fathi undermines Race for Iran's limited analysis: "The New York-based human rights activist opines that [the hangings] could lay the ground for the execution of post-election protesters'. But, Ms. Fathi herself reports that the five people executed on Sunday were sentenced in 2008—well before the June 12, 2009 presidential election."

The salient point is that, having been detained for 2-4 years, the five prisoners were suddenly rushed on Saturday night towards execution with no legal process and no notice to lawyers or families. Thus, the question, "Why Now?" The possible --- possible, not confirmed --- answer is that there was a political motive, in the context of current and forthcoming events and developments, for public executions.)

However, that is immaterial for the authors, for they have a wider aim beyond any detailed examination of the case: "Ms. Fathi seems to have been intent on using the story of Sunday’s executions to 'keep hope alive' for a revival of the moribund Green Movement".

Now the authors, who have loudly criticised Fathi's unsubstantiated claims, have no evidence for their own. They have no confirmation of Fathi's political views. They have no evidence of her connections to the Green Movement. They have no proof that the story is being disseminated amongst Iranian activists, inside and outside the country, to whip up demonstrations on 12 June.

But proof, let alone journalistic enquiry or analytic rigour, is not their aim. Instead, they wish to establish guilt by assertion: Fathi and The New York Times have a "pro-Green political agenda".

Which means, of course, that the authors can dismiss any article in The New York Times which they do not like --- without having to resort to evidence or context or analysis --- as politically biased.

(Declaration: I write this wearing the badge, when I have been named by Race for Iran, not of professor, academic, or journalist but of "Green Movement partisan".)

2. Fathi is guilty of significant omission when she calls the Kurdish separatist movement PJAK an "armed Kurdish rebel group" and does not mention that it was designated as a terrorist organisation by the US Government in 2009.

Point taken. But if we are going to talk journalism and omissions, consider this omission from Race for Iran's critique.

Here is how the authors deal with the perhaps significant point that the four defendants accused of PJAK membership (the fifth was accused of connections with a monarchist group): "Ms. Fathi...notes that all five denied the charges of which they were convicted “in public letters posted on Web sites'. (She links to the website of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran to document this claim, but the link takes a reader to a page briefly describing such a letter from only one of the five prisoners.)"

Now the authors could have examined this. They could easily have found letters from at least three of the defendants. They could have cited the testimony of the lawyer for three of the defendants because it was in the ICHRI document that they mention. They could have considered reports on the case by Fereshteh Ghazi, Rooz Online, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Activists News Agency, Rah-e-Sabz, Kalemeh, and other outlets.

They did not none of this because, in my opinion, the fundamental issue of whether the defendants were actually members of PJAK was at best tangential to them. Instead, they want to dismantle the (pro-Green) "preferred narrative" with the possibility that "individuals convicted of terrorist crimes in Iran are members of a group that the U.S. government has designated as a terrorist organization".

So, yes, Fathi could have mentioned that PJAK is proscribed as "terrorist" by the US Government. What Race for Iran wants, however, is much more: they want that to be the dominant statement, not just part of the context. The real question here is not of omission but of priority --- does one, in reporting and analysis, privilege the political issue raised by Race for Iran or the legal and human rights issue raised by the PJAK claim in the trials and executions?


Nazila Fathi is not immune from criticism. No journalist should be. On occasion EA has challenged her reporting in these post-election months.

Nor should an author, simply because he/she takes a political position, be denied the legitimacy of critiquing a report. Race for Iran has its opinions;I have mine.

However, when that criticism is made, it should be done fairly, not only through a judicious reading of the journalism but by bringing other evidence and context to the table. In this case, Fathi's original article and analysis is based on two named sources, citation of an opposition website, and background material based on a range of unnamed sources.

Race for Iran's response is based on "official justifications" and precisely 0 sources, named or unnamed.

(Race for Iran has offered no comment on Fathi's follow-up article this week, considering the treatment of the families of the executed and the refusal to release the bodies of the prisoners, and its analysis, "The government’s refusal to hand over the bodies to the families appears to stem from a fear of antigovernment demonstrations during burial ceremonies in Kurdish areas.")

And when that criticism is made, it is not enough to deride the supposed "agenda" of one's target. One's own agenda and sources should be declared. If the authors of Race for Iran wish to turn Fathi's sources into her supposed membership of the Green Movement, then let us know the sources behind Race for Iran's commentary.  If the authors want to dismiss Fathi and The New York Times as "pro-Green", then --- in the context of this attack --- let us see the declaration that the authors are "pro-Iran Government", having defended the legitimacy of that Government since the June 2009 elections. Let us see the authors' declaration that, by tearing down Fathi and The New York Times, they may be bolstering the supposed legitimacy --- which has been questioned on issues such as justice, human rights, and fairness --- of that Government.

A final point: Race for Iran's last assault is to link Fathi to The New York Times' reporting, notably by Michael Gordon and Judith Miller, in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq War. I presume that is to make the connection that, as The Times prepared a false rationale for the invasion of Iraq, so its reporters with their "pro-Green" agenda are preparing a false rationale for the attempt to topple the Iranian Government.

Nazila Fathi is not Judith Miller. She did not report from Washington or New York in 2009; she reported from Tehran. She did so, even as journalists were being monitored, pressured, and in many cases detained (coincidentally, Maziar Bahari, detained from June to October 2009, wrote a powerful comment on the executions this week; Race for Iran seems to have missed this further example of "pro-Green" journalism). Fathi, as the post-election conflict, violence, and arrests escalated, continued to put out her reports. Finally, in summer 2009, she had to leave Iran.

This week, as other major "Western" outlets ignored the executions, simply repeated the account given by the Islamic Republic News Agency, or made glaring errors ("five demonstrators were killed"), Fathi considered the story in two articles.

Nazila Fathi is not Judith Miller. Her sources are not Ahmad Chalabi. And Iran 2009-2010, contrary to Race for Iran's attempted link, is not Iraq 2001-2003.

Iran 2009-2010 is Iran 2009-2010. And, rather than attacking any journalist who reports on Iran 2009-2010, simply because they do not like the news or the interpretation, it is high time that the authors of Race for Iran pursued journalism in addition to their political mission.

UPDATED Iran: Tehran, Defender of Rights (Don't Mention Boobquake), Joins UN Commission on Status of Women

UPDATED 1 MAY: There have been numerous public statements denouncing the vote for Iran's membership of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Two examples:

Mission Free Iran
: "While hundreds of our sisters suffer in prison because they stood up for their own rights, the UN Commission on the Status of Women dares to stand against them by allowing the Islamic regime a seat at the table."

How Iran News is Made: Adultery, Earthquakes, and the BBC
The Latest from Iran (30 April): The Heaviness of the Atmosphere

Iran Human Rights Documentation Center: "The women of Iran and the rest of the world deserve better. The United Nations and the
world must not let Mr. Ahmadinejad and the government he leads continue to violate the human rights of Iranians.

UPDATED 30 APRIL: The incomparable Tom Lehrer said that, when Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, "It was the day satire died."

Well, satire may have been slain again. From Wednesday's report of the United Nations Economic and Social Council:

The Council elected 11 new members to fill an equal number of vacancies on the Commission on the Status of Women for four-year terms beginning at the first meeting of the Commission’s fifty-sixth session in 2011 and expiring at the close of its fifty-ninth session in 2015. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and Zimbabwe were elected from the Group of African States; Iran and Thailand were elected from the Group of Asian States; Estonia and Georgia were elected from the Group of Eastern European States; Jamaica was elected from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States; and Belgium, Netherlands and Spain were elected from the Group of Western European and Other States.

In the category of You Really Couldn't Make This Up:

Iranian authorities have confirmed reports of their withdrawal from membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council and announced their candidacy for the International Commission for Protection of Women's Rights. [This is probably a reference to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.]

Beyond the implication of "Well, if we're not allowed to represent humans, we'll take the second-best of representing women", Iranian officials might ponder the juxtaposition of applying for the ICPWR when dozens of women's rights activists are being protected through detention in Iran's prisons.

In making their application, they might consult Shirin Ebadi (living in exile, threatened with confiscation of her Nobel Peace Prize and closure of her Centre for the Defence of Human Rights), Shadi Sadr (defense lawyer of Shiva Nazar Ahari, human rights activists and member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters,who has been detained since 14 June), or Zahra Rahnavard (surrounded and attacked by plainclothes forces on 11 February), or Bahareh Hedayat (nominated for the 2010 Students Peace Prize but sitting in Evin Prison).

Still, this is far from the first proclamation of the Iranian regime that it is the true protector of women. When Tehran realised that activists and groups inside and outside Iran were making statements for International Women's Day (8 March) that inconveniently mentioned not only equality but also justice and rights, the Supreme Leader belatedly brought out a Valentine card, recycling his statement of 14 February on "women's rights and role in society".

So perhaps Iran can offer bona fides for its new campaign with an endorsement of Boobquake. The humourous Facebook response to the messages by Hojatoleslam Seddiqi and Ayatollah Jannati at Tehran Friday Prayers --- immorality causes earthquakes; what immorality? why, wearing inappropriate dresses, leading on young men, encouraging sinful thoughts --- has now escalated into rallies on Monday from New York City to Washington DC to West Lafayette, Indiana.

That's a long way for the Supreme Leader to travel, and I've heard it's a bit difficult getting a permit to march in Tehran these days. But perhaps Ayatollah Khamenei might put on a fetching "Boobquake 2010: Who Says Science Has to Be Boring?" T-shirt (50% of profits to the International Red Cross; 50% to the James Randi Educational Foundation). Or maybe noted wordsmith President Ahmadinejad can offer a quip about "weapons of mass destruction".

But at least, the Iranian officials who are sharpening up that application for the UN might add this to their dossier: how many "immoral" women do you think will be detained and held without charge on Monday?