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Entries in Shadi Sadr (2)


The Latest from Iran (16 May): Intimidation After the Executions

2115 GMT: Nuclear Twist (cont.). According to Reuters, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is saying Iran, Turkey, and Brazil have reached agreement on procedure for a uranium swap deal. Details will follow on Monday.

1930 GMT: Nuclear Twist. Reuters is following Turkish television in reporting that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who on Friday had cancelled his trip to Tehran, has reversed his decision and is now in Iran.

The move is a signal that the Iranian talks with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have put a deal on the table which involves Turkish mediation. Could there also be a role for Turkey as a broker in a uranium swap outside Iran?

NEW Iran Blackout: Shutting Down the Movies
Iran: Last Words of Executed Alamhouli “For God’s Sake, Let Me Hear My Mother’s Voice” (Ghazi)
The Latest from Iran (15 May): Executions, Detentions and a Cancellation

1835 GMT: Intimidation (cont.). In a letter to Sadegh Larijani, the head of Iran's judiciary, 175 members of Parliament have called for immediate action against opposition figures as "heads of sedition”.

In the letter, read out by conservative MP Hassan Ghafouri Fard in the Majlis, the legislators called for “accelerating” the investigation of complaints against Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi.

The MPs also state that the “heads of the sedition” have no regard for the judicial system in Iran and have attacked Karroubi and Mousavi for their recent remarks against the sudden and unjust execution of five political activists on charges of terrorism.

1630 GMT: The Brazil Dimension (cont.). The Associated Press has a different take on the Lula-Ahmadinejad talks from other reports (see `1600 GMT). While there was no reference to any discussions on uranium enrichment, there was a defense of Iran's nuclear programme:
Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva met with Iranian leaders on Sunday, and called the relationship between the two countries “strategic.”

Speaking in defense of Iran’s right to “independently navigate its course” to seek development and improvement, Silva stressed that a peaceful nuclear research program was within Iran’s sovereign rights.

1600 GMT: The Brazil Dimension. Iranian state media's presentation of today's meetings between President Ahmadinejad and Brazi's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has featured the two leaders' talk of economic co-operation but said nothing about the nuclear issue. mbitions, an initial joint statement from the two leaders was silent on the subject.A joint statement focused on an increase of two-way trade.

Lula also said Brazil will finance 1 billion Euros of food exports to Iran over the next five years to make trade between the two countries less dependent on foreign banks.

1540 GMT: Sentencing Human Rights Activists (In Absentia). Iran has sentenced award-winning women's rights activist Shadi Sadr and fellow activist Mahbubeh Abbas-Gholizadeh to jail and lashes over a protest in 2007.

The lawyer for the two women, Mohammad Mostafai, said Sadr was sentenced to six years in jail and 74 lashes for acting against national security and harming public order. Abbas-Gholizadeh received two-and-a-half years in jail and 30 lashes on similar charges.

(Read Sadr's article, "Getting to the Point on Detentions and Human Rights", her speech at the UN on abuse, justice, and human rights, or her acceptance of the 2009 Human Rights Defenders Tulip award.)

Both women, who are now abroad, were arrested with 30 other protestors at a rally in March 2007 outside a Revolutionary Court where four fellow feminists were on trial.

1325 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. More on the arrest of Mohsen Armin, spokesman and senior member of the Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution party....

Armin's daughter said security officers, with a search warrant and arrest warrant, took away her father and confiscated his laptop, some documents, and identification cards. Iranian authorities tried to arrest Armin justafter the election and after the Ashura demonstration (27 December), but he was away from home on both occasions.

1200 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Hashemi Rafsanjani, former President and current head of the Expediency Council, has condemned censorship and fabrication of facts, describing policies behind these actions as "futile."

Rafsanjani said that, in today’s world, “[We must] coordinate actions with human principles....We must create an open space and fall into step with the rest of the world.”

1110 GMT: Spin of the Week? A reader kindly alerts us to a reference in the Iranian media to the claimed strike in Kurdistan.

Tabnak insists that any news and pictures of empty streets in Kurdistan's cities were just foreign propaganda and claims that thousands of Kurds marched in support of the "Kurdish Leadership Conference".

1100 GMT: No Connection. Move Along. Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has denied any link between Iran's released of French graduate student Clotilde Reiss, arrested last July, and a French court's acquittal of Iranian businessman Majid Kakavand on charges that he exported US military technology to Iran: "The two cases have absolutely no relation with each other."

1010 GMT:  Political Prisoner Watch. Mohsen Armin, spokesman and senior member of the Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution party, has been arrested.

0930 GMT: In the Universities. Rah-e-Sabz carries a report claiming that professors are now being appointed for their willingness to support the Government line rather than for their academic qualifications.

0900 GMT: Conservatives Defend the System (Against Hardliners). The interesting conflict between "Green Movement v. Government" continues with two statements within the establishment warning of "hardliner" challenges.

Mohammad Nabi Habibi, head of the Motalefeh Party has said, "Our discord is like a red carpet for reformists." Majid Ansari of the Combatant Clergy Association argues that the cooperation of "moderate hardliners" and reformists is not a current outside acceptable Iranian politics.

0855 GMT: Beating the Oil Squeeze? Whatever the outcome of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's visit to Tehran on the nuclear front, it looks like Iran can claim a success over oil.

The head of Brazil's energy regulator, Haroldo Lima, has said that Lula and Iranian leaders are likely to sign a memorandum opening the way for Brazilian companies to participate in the modernization of Iran's oil sector: "We have equipment, the engineering and the parts for the oil sector that can help in their modernization."

Lima said that, in exchange, Iran could provide Brazil with drills to help in the exploration of deep-water oil: "In Brazil we have a great shortage of companies that have the capacity to do this exploration. They are making drills available."

0845 GMT: Intimidation (cont.). The Resalat newspaper has continued the threat against Mousavi, fed by regime officials like Gholam-Hossein-Elham of the Guardian Council and Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi: the leaders of "fitna" (sedition) need to feel the iron fist of the law.

0800 GMT: Challenge. Mohammad Hashemi, a member of the Expediency Council and brother of Hashemi Rafsanjani, has declared that if the people do not want it, the Iranian system cannot exist.

0740 GMT: Film Corner. As director Jafar Panahi continues to sit in Evin Prison, we've posted a feature on the latest warning by Iranian authorities to actors and filmmakers: don't cooperate with foreigners without permission.

0730 GMT: Economy Watch. Minister of Welfare and Social Security Sadegh Mahsouli has said that the subsidy reduction plan will start this week in three Iranian provinces.

0715 GMT: That Dangerous Foreign Education. Mohammad Shahryari, a member of Parliament's National Security Committee, has confirmed that the committee is reviewing the situation of 400 Iranian students at British universities.

The 400 are the children of Iranian officials. Karim Abedi, another committee member, had said on Friday, "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed Iranian ambassadors abroad to take the actions necessary to prevent the children of Iranian officials from studying at foreign universities."

Shahryari said, "Though no final decision has been made on the return of these children to the country so far, it deems advisable for these people not to study at British universities."

0710 GMT: Speaking of Intimidation.... Member of Parliament Moussa Ghorbani, speaking with Fars News, claims that Sadegh Larijani, the head of Iran's judiciary, has said authorities will pursue those who create “anxiety” in society through text messages.

Ghorbani, who met Larijani on Saturday, said he was told that the judiciary will track down “destructive” text messages which lead to the “anxiety of public opinion”.

0640 GMT: And the Future? Dowlatabadi also gave a lengthy statement about the supposed resolution of 217 post-election cases, and there was further news from his office. Amongst the decisions were the confirmation of six death sentences and the commutation of four to jail terms (see yesterday's updates).

Defenders of the Iranian regime will argue that this establishes the due process and fairness of the judicial system. Those who are more critical may see a carrot-and-stick approach. While giving way on some of the "mohareb" (warriors against God) sentenced to hang, in part because of the reaction to last week's executions and claims that they are linked to political intimidation before 12 June, Tehran is also showing its determination that some protestors will sit on Death Row and could on short notice face the noose.

0620 GMT: A week ago, we were just getting the news of the sudden early-morning executions of 5 Iranians --- Farzad Kamangar, Mehdi Eslamian, Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili, and Shirin Alamhouli --- at Evin Prison. Today we begin with the latest attempt to defend the executions, the statement of Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi as reported by Press TV:
[Dowlatabadi] said that three of the five people were arrested in 2006 for carrying five kilograms of explosives, adding that other weapons including 57 rockets and 600 shells were later confiscated from the terrorists.

He revealed that the five began their terrorist activities shortly after the formation of the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) and bombed the governor's office and a state building in the western province of Kermanshah.

“Fortunately they were arrested before carrying out a planned bombing in Tehran.”

Dolatabadi said that the five had been indicted in 2007 and were tried and found guilty in 2008. “They appealed the verdict but the Supreme Court upheld their convictions.”

The prosecutor said that four of the five terrorists were PJAK members and had been directly involved in the terrorist attacks carried out by the group. He added that the four had been convicted of moharebe (waging war on God) and acting against national security.

According to Dolatabadi, the only woman among the four terrorists was arrested in 2008 for an attempted bombing in an IRGC base. “She was tried and found guilty in 2008 and her conviction was upheld in 2010.”

The last of the five was a member of the counterrevolutionary Tondar group and was convicted for complicity in a deadly bombing in the city of Shiraz in 2008, the prosecutor added.

None of Dowlatabadi's assertions above, or in a longer version of the interview in Fars News, are backed up by evidence, thus leaving open the queries that remain over the case (see Thursday's updates).

Just as interesting, however, as Press TV still refuses to name the five executed is the timing of Dowlatabadi's high-profile interview. If the Iranian regime is so secure that these executions were acceptable, in law or in public opinion, why is it continuing to plead the case several days later?

Latest from Iran (10 May): Will the Executions Matter?

1920 GMT: Protest Videos. We've now posted three videos of today's anti-Ahmadinejad protest at Shahid Beheshti University and a video of a student walkout at Elm-o-Sanat University over the speech of a Government official.

1910 GMT: Executions --- A Correction. An Iranian activist puts out an important note: Mehdi Islamian, one of the five Iranians hung on Sunday, was not a Kurd. Islamian's brother and three other people were convicted of a bombing in Shiraz and accused of connections with monarchists. The activist claims that Islamian's "crime" was money given to his brother.

NEW Latest Iran Video: Protest Against Ahmadinejad at Shahid Beheshti University (10 May)
NEW Iran Background Video: Protest in Kurdistan Over Political Prisoners
Iran: Farzad Kamangar’s Last Letter “Is It Possible to Teach and Be Silent?
Iran First-Hand: Assessing Life and Opinions in Tehran (Majd)
Iran, Meet Kafka: The Web of Internet Censorship Catches All (Farokhnia)
The Latest from Iran (9 May): 5 Iranian Kurds Executed

1900 GMT: Mousavi on the Executions. Mir Hossein Mousavi has issued a statement on Sunday's execution of five Iranian Kurds (English translation):

The sudden execution of five of the citizens of this country without giving any clear explanations regarding their charges, prosecution procedure and trials to the people, is just similar to the unjust trend that in the recent months have led to the surprising sentences for a lot of caring women, men and citizens of our country.

When the Judiciary shifts its position from supporting the oppressed toward supporting authorities and those in power, it is hard to stop people from judging that the judiciary sentences are unjust. How is it that today the courts pass on those who ordered and committed the crimes of Kahrizak Prison, [the attacks on Tehran] University dormitories, Sobhan residence [3], the days of 15th and 20th of June, and Bloody Ashura [27 December], and closed the massive corruption cases before opening them and then suddenly on the eve of the month of Khordaad [June], the month of consciousness and seeking justice, hangs these five individuals with so many unanswered questions? Is this the Alavi [those who follow the first Imam of Shi'a, Imam Ali] justice that you were after?

1625 GMT: Rafsanjani Watch. Former President Hashemi Rafsanjani has declared that he still believes the solutions he presented in his Friday Prayer address last July --- the last time he spoke from the Tehran podium --- still provide an exit from the current post-election conflict.

Meeting former governors, Rafsanjani said adherence to the Constitution was the most important basis for "moving forces" towards a resolution.

A reminder of Rafsanjani's 17 July speech, which was accompanied by mass protests against the handling of the post-election conflict by the Government:

The most important thing that has happened is that the trust that brought the people
to vote in such large number is not there anymore.
We need to return this trust.

We all need to follow the law. And I’m talking about the government, the parliament, the Islamic Courts and the security forces.
We need to follow the laws.
All problems can be solved if we only follow the framework of the laws.
We need to create an environment where all sides could come together and discuss their issues.
We need to be able to sit down like brothers and sisters and talk about our differences.
The chance that was given to the Guardian Council of five days to get people together and regain their trust was not used.
That is not there anymore.
But we still have time to unite.

We shouldn’t imprison our own people,
We should let these people return to their homes,
We shouldn’t let our enemies laugh at us because we’ve imprisoned our own people.
We should sit together with mourners,
And we should console them,
And bring them back closer to the system.
We should not be impatient now.

Please do not censor media outlets that have legally obtained permits.
Let them do what they want to do legally.
Allow a peaceful and friendly environment to prosper.
We are all together in the Islamic Revolution,
We’ve all spent years in suffering,
We’ve all given martyrs for the cause of the revolution,
This unity needs to fostered.

I’m hopeful that we will be able to achieve this unity in the future,
And I’m hopeful we will get out of this situation,
Based on the wishes of the people,
And consensus among the leaders.

1500 GMT: The Executions. Education International has issued a statement that it is "deeply troubled to hear reports that Iranian teacher trade unionist Farzad Kamangar was among five people who were summarily executed in secret on 9 May". The International Trade Union Confederation has also condemned the hanging.

1430 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Sixty professors from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences have written to the university's president, calling for the release of medical student Maryam Abbasinejad from prison.

Abbasinejad was arrested a day after Ahmadinejad’s sudden appearance at the university on 1 May. There is no information on her physical condition or the reason behind the arrest.

1420 GMT: Getting Rid of Bad Books. The Supreme Leader, meeting officials of the Islamic Ideology Dissemination Organization, has urged authorities to prevent the publication of books which contradict Iran's religious and cultural values: "The country's cultural atmosphere, especially in the field of book publishing, should be protected as there are some who seek to distort history and spread issues which are against our values."

Ayatollah Khamenei's remarks come after reports that the Tehran Book Fair barred works by figures such as Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, a hero of the Islamic Revolution, Grand Ayatollah Sane’i, and Grand Ayatollah Montazeri. (Press TV notes simply, "The meeting [with the IIDO] comes as the Iranian capital of Tehran is hosting an international book fair which runs until May 15.")

1415 GMT: "Hardline" Editor Acquitted. Hossein Shariatmardari, the editor of the "hardline" Kayhanhas been acquitted by a Tehran court of all charges of libel, brought by, amongst others, activists such as Shirin Ebadi and Shadi Sadr and journalist Emaduddin Baghi.

1410 GMT: Maziar Bahari, Master Criminal. An EA correspondent reports that Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari was today, in absentia, has been given a sentence of 13 years imprisonment and 74 lashes by the Revolutionary Court of Tehran. This is the longest jail term imposed on a journalist in the post-election conflict.

Bahari was detained in Iran for four months after the election but was released in October. He returned to the United States, although he still has family in Iran.

1345 GMT: Kicking Out the Oil Companies (This Time We Mean It). Iran has issued a new two-week ultimatum to Royal Dutch Shell and the Spanish company Repsol after the expiry of a previous ultimatum last month.

Referring to long-standing contracts for development of natural gas fields, Reza Kasaiezadeh, director of the National Iranian Gas Export Company, said, "The oil ministry has now issued an ultimatum to Shell and Repsol, holding them responsible to determine the situation surrounding contracts on South Pars phases 13 and 14 over a period of two weeks."

On Saturday, Minister of Oil Masoud Mirkazemi had threatened that Iran will expel foreign firms for delaying development, but he did not a specific company. Shell, citing the prospect of Western sanctions, suspended operations in South Pars earlier this year.

1210 GMT: What Demonstrations? Islamic Republic News Agency has posted an article on President Ahmadinejad's speech at Shahid Beheshti University praising Iran's "astonishing speed of scientific progress". Nothing, however, on the student demonstration that greeted news of the visit.

1155 GMT: MediaWatch. Non-Iranian media are gradually picking up on the significance of Sunday's executions. The BBC has now posted a short article, and The Guardian of London goes further with references to demonstrations (although the newspaper's story, "Kurds to protest after Iran executions", misses the fundamental point that many Iranians who are not Kurdish may be demonstrating and linking the hangings to wider post-election issues of injustices and abuses).

1150 GMT: Silent Demonstrations at Universities? Rah-e-Sabz writes that silent protests against the executions of the Iranian Kurds are planned for Wednesday and Thursday at Tehran University.

1140 GMT: We've posted two claimed videos of a protest against President Ahmadinejad's visit to Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran.

1000 GMT: Add Toronto to the list of cities where protests took place against Sunday's executions.

0810 GMT: Mousavi "An Enemy of God". Gholam-Hossein Elham, a member of the Guardian Council, has reportedly said that Mir Hossein Musavi is a "mohareb" (enemy of God).

Elham, quoted by Fars News from a speech at a university, would be the most significant Government official so far to make the allegation --- which carries the death penalty under Iranian law --- against Mousavi.

0800 GMT:  Diversion? Amidst the uproar over the execution of five Iranian Kurds as enemies of the state, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has tried to hammer home the themes of Iran's defence against foreign-supported "terrorism". Speaking at the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Turkey, Larijani claimed direct US backing and involvement of groups operating out of Pakistan.

Larijani's comments are made in the context of the recent capture of Abdolmalek Rigi, the leader of the Baluch insurgent group Jundullah.

0700 GMT: MediaWatch. Nazila Fathi writes in both the print and versions of The New York Times this morning about the execution of the five Iranians, taking the line: "Although the authorities announced that the five people executed Sunday had been found guilty of carrying out fatal bomb attacks, the executions were widely seen as intended to discourage people from rallying against the government on June 12 [the anniversary of the Presidential election."

The Washington Post has a shorter, muddled Web-only piece by Thomas Erdbrink. For some reason, the article distinguishes between the hangings of four of the Kurds and the execution of Mahdi Islamian, leading to the distorted headline, "Reported executions of four Kurds could increase tensions in Iran". The report is largely drawn from the account of Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency, so there is no consideration of wider political issues.

0630 GMT: Nuclear Front. In advance of the visit by Brazilian and Turkish leaders to Iran which may signal a brokering of an uranium enrichment deal, Tehran has restated its willingness to reach an arrangement.

The head of Iran'a atomic energy organisation, Ali Akbar Salehi, told reporters, "Some countries have been seeking to impose a series of conditions on Iran, but our condition is receiving concrete assurances."

Salehi continued, "Our stance toward the nuclear fuel swap has not changed. We will give 3.5 percent enriched uranium and receive 20 percent enriched fuel. Our purpose (of continuing negotiations with the West) is to give the Western countries an opportunity to save face and find a way out of the current situation."

0515 GMT: Crackdown on Kurdish Teachers. An Iranian activist reports that four leading members of the Kurdestan Teachers Union were arrested by Iranian intelligence on Sunday.

0500 GMT: It has been a long time since a single story from Iran galvanised reaction outside the country. Iranians and activists throughout the world responded with sadness and fury to the Sunday morning news that five Iranians --- Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili, Shirin Alamhouli, and Mehdi Eslamian --- had been executed for alleged bombings and/or membership of the Kurdish organisation PEJAK. Demonstrations took place in London, Berlin, Paris, Milan and Hamburg, with dozens arrested at the French rally.

But what will the response be inside Iran? Will the hangings provoke public anger or will any display be muted? We have posted video of a demonstration in Sanandaj in Kurdistan in July 2008 over detentions, including that of Farzad Kamangar, who was hung on Sunday. Families of the executed reportedly called for a protest in front of Tehran University at 11 a.m. local time (0600 GMT).