Sunday, September 30, 2007

Different views from "The Real News net Work":

Mixed reviews from Iran on President's visitBabak Yektafar on Ahmadinejad’s charm offensive (1 of 4) (more) view

Is the Iranian nuclear issue really closed?Babak Yektafar on Ahmadinejad’s charm offensive (2 of 4) (more) view

Iran's military thinks U.S. attack likelyAhmadinejad’s charm offensive? (3 of 4) (more) view

Is Iran an "extra-regional" power?Ahmadinejad’s charm offensive (4 of 4) (more) view

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Iran: Charge or Release Iranian-American Still in Detention
(Washington, DC, September 22, 2007) – The Iranian government should immediately release Ali Shakeri, an Iranian-American held in detention for more than four months without charge, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch also expressed concern that the Iranian authorities have denied basic due process rights to Shakeri and to four Iranian student journalists.
On May 8, 2007, Iranian security officials arrested Ali Shakeri as he was about to depart from Mehrabad airport and transferred him to Tehran’s Evin prison, holding him in solitary confinement without charging him with any offense or giving him access to counsel. Ali Shakeri’s son, Kaveh Shakeri, told Human Rights Watch that the authorities have not responded to his family’s numerous inquiries as to why Ali Shakeri is being held or when he may be released.
“It’s outrageous that the Iranian government has held Ali Shakeri in solitary confinement for over four months,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should order his release immediately.”
Shakeri, 59, a mortgage broker and founder of the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding at UC Irvine, traveled to Iran on March 14 to see his hospitalized mother and, after she passed away, stayed to take care of her funeral arrangements.
On the same day as Shakeri’s detention, agents of the Ministry of Information detained another Iranian-American, Haleh Esfandiari. On May 11, authorities arrested a third Iranian-American, Kian Tajbakhsh. The government eventually accused Esfandiari and Tajbakhsh of “spying,” “planning the soft overthrow of the government,” and “acting against national security,” but released them on bail on August 21 and September 20, respectively (
Human Rights Watch is also concerned that the government has denied basic due process rights to at least four Iranian student journalists currently detained in Evin Prison without access to lawyers: Soheil Assefi; Majid Tavakoli; Ahmad Ghassaban; and Ehsan Mansouri.
On July 31, police and security forces arrived at the home of Soheil Assefi with a warrant to search his home, and seized his computer, notebooks, and personal items. On August 4, Assefi responded to a summons to appear at Branch 2 of the Special Security Investigation Unit of Tehran’s Office of the Public Prosecutor, where authorities arrested him and transferred him to Evin 209 without charging him with any offense.
Assefi, 24, is a journalism and film student and blogger who has worked with the online newspaper Roozonline. Persons in Iran who have been in touch with Assefi’s family told Human Rights Watch that authorities have held Assefi in solitary confinement in Evin 209, where they have interrogated him and denied him access to lawyers or family visits.
Majid Tavakoli, Ahmad Ghassaban, and Ehsan Mansouri have been in Evin 209 since May, when agents from the Ministry of Information arrested them on charges of “insulting state leaders,” “inciting public opinion,” and “printing inflammatory and derogatory materials” in student publications. The students have consistently maintained that the publications were forged and that they had no role in producing them.
The Tavakoli, Ghassaban, and Mansouri families stated in a July 24 open letter to the head of Iran’s Judiciary, Ayatollah Shahrudi, that their sons had been subject to physical and psychological abuse in Evin 209 (
“The government should not be putting people in jail for what they write, period,” Stork said. “The four students should be released immediately.”
For more information, please contact:
In Washington, DC, Joe Stork (English): +1-202-299-4925 (mobile)
In New York, Sarah Leah Whitson (English): +1-718-362-0172 (mobile)

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Iran Frees One Detainee as Another Family Waits in Hope
Published: September 20, 2007
Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian-American urban planner with ties to the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation, was released from prison in Tehran overnight, said Laura Silber, a spokeswoman for the institute.

Paul R. Kennedy
There were no immediate details of any conditions linked to his release but he was reunited with his wife at home in Tehran, Ms. Silber said.
Mr. Tajbakhsh was one of four Iranian-Americans who had been detained in recent months but an Iranian judge had promised his wife, Bahar Malek, who is nine months’ pregnant, that he would be home in time for her delivery.
Two women, Haleh Esfandiari, an academic, and Parnaz Azima, a reporter for Radio Farda, the Persian-language arm of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, had already been released from prison and allowed to leave the country.
But yesterday was the 134th day since Ali Shakeri, a 59-year-old real estate and mortgage broker in Orange County, Calif., was seized by Iranian security agents just as he was boarding a flight for home.
His son, Kaveh Shakeri, said yesterday that every time he asked his mother whether there had been any word about his father, she reminded him of the number of days his father had been held in solitary confinement in Iran’s infamous Evin Prison.
“She always knows exactly,” Mr. Shakeri said in a telephone interview from his parents’ home in Lake Forest, Calif. “She worries on an hourly basis.”
Under Iranian law, the family’s lawyer in Tehran told them, he should have been either charged or let go after four months in jail, which passed Tuesday, said the younger Mr. Shakeri, 27.
But there has been no word from the Iranian judiciary, which has released far less information about Mr. Shakeri than it did about three others.
The Shakeri family has stayed mostly silent at the request of Mr. Shakeri himself. But the lack of any movement by Iran is now prompting Kaveh Shakeri, a lawyer, to speak out.
Tehran accused Mrs. Esfandiari and Mr. Tajbakhsh of trying to undermine national security by encouraging a “velvet revolution” against the government. But a judiciary spokesman has said that although Mr. Shakeri was arrested at the same time, his case is different.
The arrests ratcheted up tensions between Washington and Tehran, already strained by Iran’s pursuit of nuclear technology and by American accusations of Iranian efforts to fan violence inside Iraq. That has prompted some calls for the United States to bar President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from the General Assembly meeting in New York next week. But the younger Mr. Shakeri said he hoped the Iranian leader would attend so he could be confronted about the fate of the imprisoned Americans.
The elder Mr. Shakeri is a founding member of the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding at the University of California, Irvine, and his biography on its Web page identifies him as a democracy advocate. But he was not seeking government change in Iran, his son said. Rather, he pushed the idea “that there should be no violent aggression between the two countries, there should be channels of communication,” Kaveh Shakeri said.
Mr. Shakeri attended the University of Texas and has lived in the United States since 1981. He left for Iran on March 14 to visit his ailing mother, who died while he was there. The family’s only contact has been four brief phone calls, as well as two prison visits by a relative in Tehran.
During the first call, on May 10, a week after his arrest, Mr. Shakeri “was extremely hyper and scatterbrained,” his son said. “All he said was that he had been detained and not to tell anyone he was being questioned, to tell people he was in France and he would be home in a couple weeks.”
One of his brothers was allowed to visit him on May 15 and again on July 2. During the second visit, prison officials told the brother to collect bail of about $110,000 by putting up a property deed. He did, but after that the case slipped onto a frustrating bureaucratic treadmill. The family’s last contact was a brief telephone call on Aug. 27.
“He was extremely tired and very weak and depressed,” Kaveh Shakeri said. His father seemed shaken to have been held in solitary confinement for so long, he said.
“You had this hope this whole time that it was a mistake, that they will do the investigation and they will realize that my dad was not a national security threat at all,” Kaveh Shakeri said. “We really know nothing.”

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Open Letter from Akbar Ganji to the UN Secretary-General

September 18, 2007

To His Excellency Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations,

The people of Iran are experiencing difficult times both internationally and domestically. Internationally, they face the threat of a military attack from the US and the imposition of extensive sanctions by the UN Security Council. Domestically, a despotic state has – through constant and organized repression – imprisoned them in a life and death situation.

Far from helping the development of democracy, US policy over the past 50 years has consistently been to the detriment of the proponents of freedom and democracy in Iran. The 1953 coup against the nationalist government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq and the unwavering support for the despotic regime of the Shah, who acted as America’s gendarme in the Persian Gulf, are just two examples of these flawed policies. More recently the confrontation between various US Administrations and the Iranian state over the past three decades has made internal conditions very difficult for the proponents of freedom and human rights in Iran. Exploiting the danger posed by the US, the Iranian regime has put military-security forces in charge of the government, shut down all independent domestic media, and is imprisoning human rights activists on the pretext that they are all agents of a foreign enemy. The Bush Administration, for its part, by approving a fund for democracy assistance in Iran, which has in fact being largely spent on official institutions and media affiliated with the US government, has made it easy for the Iranian regime to describe its opponents as mercenaries of the US and to crush them with impunity. At the same time, even speaking about “the possibility” of a military attack on Iran makes things extremely difficult for human rights and pro-democracy activists in Iran. No Iranian wants to see what happened to Iraq or Afghanistan repeated in Iran. Iranian democrats also watch with deep concern the support in some American circles for separatist movements in Iran. Preserving Iran’s territorial integrity is important to all those who struggle for democracy and human rights in Iran. We want democracy for Iran and for all Iranians. We also believe that the dismemberment of Middle Eastern countries will fuel widespread and prolonged conflict in the region. In order to help the process of democratization in the Middle East, the US can best help by promoting a just peace between the Palestinians and Israelis, and pave the way for the creation of a truly independent Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel. A just resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the establishment of a Palestinian state would inflict the heaviest blow on the forces of fundamentalism and terrorism in the Middle East.

Your Excellency,
Iran’s dangerous international situation and the consequences of Iran’s dispute with the West have totally deflected the world’s attention and especially the attention of the United Nations from the intolerable conditions that the Iranian regime has created for the Iranian people. The dispute over the enrichment of uranium should not make the world forget that, although the 1979 revolution of Iran was a popular revolution, it did not lead to the formation of a democratic system that protects human rights. The Islamic Republic is a fundamentalist state that does not afford official recognition to the private sphere. It represses civil society and violates human rights. Thousands of political prisoners were executed during the first decade after the revolution without fair trials or due process of the law, and dozens of dissidents and activists were assassinated during the second decade. Independent newspapers are constantly being banned and journalists are sent to prison. All news websites are filtered and books are either refused publication permits or are slashed with the blade of censorship before publication. Women are totally deprived of equality with men and, when they demand equal rights, they are accused of acting against national security, subjected to various types of intimidation and have to endure various penalties, including long prison terms. In the first decade of the 21st century, stoning (the worst form of torture leading to death) is one of the sentences that Iranians face on the basis of existing laws. A number of Iranian teachers, who took part in peaceful civil protests over their pay and conditions, have been dismissed from their jobs and some have even been sent into internal exile in far-flung regions or jailed. Iranian workers are deprived of the right to establish independent unions. Workers who ask to be allowed to form unions in order to struggle for their corporate rights are beaten and imprisoned. Iranian university students have paid the highest costs in recent years in defence of liberty, human rights and democracy. Security organizations prevent young people who are critical of the official state orthodoxy from gaining admission into university, and those who do make it through the rigorous ideological and political vetting process have no right to engage in peaceful protest against government policies.
If students' activities displease the governing elites, they are summarily expelled from university and in many instances jailed. The Islamic Republic has also been expelling dissident professors from universities for about a quarter of a century. In the meantime, in the Islamic Republic's prisons, opponents are forced to confess to crimes that they have not committed and to express remorse. These confessions, which have been extracted by force, are then broadcast on the state media in a manner reminiscent of Stalinist show-trials. There are no fair, competitive elections in Iran; instead, elections are stage managed and rigged. And even people who find their way into parliament and into the executive branch of government have no powers or resources to alter the status quo. All the legal and extra-legal powers are in the hands of the Iran’s top leader, who rules like a despotic sultan.

Your Excellency,
Are you aware that in Iran political dissidents, human rights activists and pro-democracy campaigners are legally deprived of "the right to life"? On the basis of Article 226 of the Islamic Penal Law and Note 2 of Paragraph E of Section B of Article 295 of the same law any person can unilaterally decide that another human being has forfeited the right to life and kill them in the name of performing one’s religious duty to rid society of vice.[1] Over the past few decades, many dissidents and activists have been killed on the basis of this article and the killers have been acquitted in court. In such circumstances, no dissident or activist has a right to life in Iran, because, on the basis of Islamic jurisprudence and the laws of the Islamic Republic, the definition of those who have forfeited the right to life (mahduroldam) is very broad.

Are you aware that, in Iran, writers are lawfully banned from writing? On the basis of Note 2 of Paragraph 8 of Article 9 of the Press Law, writers who are convicted of "propaganda against the ruling system" are deprived for life of "the right to all press activity". In recent years, many writers and journalists have been convicted of propaganda against the ruling system. The court’s verdicts make it clear that any criticism of state bodies is deemed to be propaganda against the ruling system.

Your Excellency,
The people of Iran and Iranian advocates for freedom and democracy are experiencing difficult days. They need the moral support of the proponents of freedom throughout the world and effective intervention by the United Nations. We categorically reject a military attack on Iran. At the same time, we ask you and all of the world's intellectuals and proponents of liberty and democracy to condemn the human rights violations of the Iranian state. We expect from Your Excellency, in your capacity as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, to reprimand the Iranian government – in keeping with your legal duties – for its extensive violation of the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights covenants and treaties.
Above all, we hope that with Your Excellency's immediate intervention, all of Iran's political prisoners, who are facing more deplorable conditions with every passing day, will soon be released. The people of Iran are asking themselves whether the UN Security Council is only decisive and effective when it comes to the suspension of the enrichment of uranium, and whether the lives of the Iranian people are unimportant as far as the Security Council is concerned. The people of Iran are entitled to freedom, democracy and human rights. We Iranians hope that the United Nations and all the forums that defend democracy and human rights will be unflinching in their support for Iran’s quest for freedom and democracy.

Yours Sincerely,
Akbar Ganji

Endorsed by:

Jürgen Habermas (J.W.Goethe Universitaet, Frankfurt)
Charles Taylor (McGill University)
Noam Chomsky (MIT)
Ronald Dworkin (New York University)
Robert Bellah (University of California, Berkeley)
Alasdair MacIntyre (University of Notre Dame)
Orhan Pamuk (Recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature)
J.M. Coetzee (Recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature)
Seamus Heaney (Recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature)
Nadine Gordimer (Recipient of 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature)
Mairead Corrigan-Maguire (Recipient of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize)
Umberto Eco (novelist, Italy)
Mario Vargas Llosa (novelist, Peru)
Isabel Allende (novelist, Chile)
Robert Dahl (Yale University)
Michael Walzer (Princeton University)
Seyla Benhabib (Yale University)
Cornel West (Princeton University)
Michael Sandel (Harvard University)
Eric Hobsbawm (Birbeck College, University of London)
Stanley Hoffman (Harvard University)
Nancy Fraser (New School for Social Research)
Philip Pettit (Princeton University)
Slavoj Žižek (University of Ljubljana)
Daniel A. Bell (Tsinghua University)
Nikki Keddie (UCLA)
Marshall Berman (City College of New York)
Hilary Putnam (Harvard University)
Robert Putnam (Harvard University)
Alan Ryan (Oxford University)
Zygmunt Bauman (University of Leeds)
Richard J. Bernstein (New School University)
Nicholas Wolterstorff (Yale University)
Talal Asad (City University of New York Graduate Center)
Joshua Cohen (Stanford University and Boston Review Magazine)
Fred Dallmayr (University of Notre Dame)
Richard Falk (Princeton University)
Harvey Cox (Harvard University)
Stephen Holmes (New York University)
Andrew Arato (New School for Social Research and University of Frankfurt)
Jose Casanova (New School for Social Research)
Charles Tilly (Columbia University)
David Held (London School of Economics)
Joseph Raz (Oxford and Columbia University)
Steven Lukes (New York University)
Claus Offe (Humboldt University, Berlin)
Axel Honneth (J.W.Goethe Universitaet, Frankfurt)
Khaled Abou El Fadl (UCLA)
Nasr Hamed Abu Zayd (University of Humanistics)
Abdullahi An Na’im (Emory University)
Saad Eddin Ibrahim (American University of Cairo)
Abdulkader Tayob (University of Capetown)
Zakia Salime (Michigan State University)
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Harvard University)
Charles S. Maier (Harvard University)
Sara Roy (Harvard University)
William A. Graham (Harvard University)
Elaine Bernard (Harvard University)
Alexander Keyssar (Harvard University)
Farid Esack (Harvard University)
Kwame Anthony Appiah (Princeton University)
Alexander Nehamas (Princeton University)
Anne-Marie Slaughter (Princeton University)
Jeffrey Stout (Princeton University)
Mirjam Kunkler (Princeton University)
Partha Chatterjee (Columbia University)
Todd Gitlin (Columbia University)
Akeel Bilgrami (Columbia University)
Saskia Sassen (Columbia University)
Nadia Urbinati (Columbia University)
Arthur Danto (Columbia University)
Claudio Lomnitz (Columbia University)
Lila Abu-Lughod (Columbia University)
Gauri Viswanathan (Columbia University)
William R. Roff (Columbia University & University of Edinburgh)
Alfred Stepan (Columbia University)
77. Timothy Mitchell (New York University)
Tony Judt (New York University)
Zachary Lockman (New York University)
Adam Przeworski(New York University)
Dipesh Chakrabarty (University of Chicago)
Fred Donner (University of Chicago)
Manuela Carneiro da Cunha (University of Chicago)
Avi Shlaim (Oxford University)
Richard Caplan (Oxford University)
Alan Macfarlane (University of Cambridge)
Mary Kaldor (London School of Economics)
Paul Gilroy (London School of Economics)
Richard Sennett (London School of Economics)
Leslie Sklair (London School of Economics and Political Science)
Sami Zubaida (Birbeck College, University of London)
Veena Das (Johns Hopkins University)
William Connolly (Johns Hopkins University)
Richard Wolin (City University of New York Graduate Center)
Stanley Aronowitz (City University of New York Graduate Center)
Adam Hochschild (writer, USA)
Rabbi Michael Lerner (Editor, Tikkun Magazine)
Cherif Bassiouni (DePaul University)
Benjamin Barber (University of Maryland)
Ashis Nandy (Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi)
Ariel Dorfman (Duke University)
Ziauddin Sardar (City University, London)
W. J. T. Mitchell (Editor, Critical Inquiry)
Howard Zinn (Boston University)
Stephen Lewis (McMaster University)
Michael Bérubé (Penn State University)
Steven Nadler (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Ernesto Laclau (University of Essex)
Chantal Mouffe (University of Westminster)
Eduardo Galeano (Writer, Uruguay)
Achille Mbembe (University of the Witwatersrand)
Robert Boyers (Editor, Salmagundi)
Joe Sacco (Graphic Novelist)
Adam Shatz (The Nation Magazine)
Arjun Appadurai (New School for Social Research)
Dick Howard (Stony Brook University)
John Esposito (Georgetown University)
Ian Williams (The Guardian, online columnist)
Ronald Aronson (Wayne State University)
Mark Kingwell (University of Toronto)
Azyumardi Azra (Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, Jakarta)
Norman Finkelstein (American Jewish Dissident Intellectual)
David Schweickart (Loyola University)
Marcus Raskin (Institute for Policy Studies)
Juan Cole (University of Michigan)
Carlos Forment(Centro de Investigación y Documentación de la Vida Pública)
Ronald Beiner (University of Toronto)
David E. Stannard (University of Hawaii)
Jonathan Rosenbaum (Film Critic, Chicago Reader)
Stephen Eric Bronner (Rutgers University)
Katha Pollitt (The Nation Magazine)
Charles Glass (freelance writer, Paris)
John Keane (University of Westminster)
Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive)
Anthony Barnett (openDemocracy Magazine)
Murat Belge (Bilgi University, Istanbul)
Michael Tomasky (Editor, Guardian America)
Thomas McCarthy (Yale University)
Daniel Born (Editor, The Common Review)
Dušan Veličković (Editor, Biblioteka Alexandria, Belgrade)
Chris Toensing (Middle East Research and Information Project)
Frank Barnaby (Editor, The International Journal of Human Rights)
Douglass Cassel (University of Notre Dame)
Nelofer Pazira (President, PEN Canada)
Martín Espada (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Douglas Kellner (UCLA)
William Shepard (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)
David Ingram (Loyola University Chicago)
Enrique Krauze (Editor, Letras Libres Magazine, Mexico City)
Gavin Kitching (University of New South Wales, Australia)
Joel Rogers (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Martin Shaw (University of Sussex)
Carl Boggs (National University, Los Angeles)
Ahmed Rashid (Journalist, Lahore)
Thomas Keenan (Bard College)
Rafia Zakaria (Indiana University)
Michael Thompson (Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture)
Shadia Drury (University of Regina)
Courtney Jung (New School for Social Research)
Simon Critchley (New School for Social Research)
Hussein Ibish (Hala Salaam Maksoud Foundation)
Christopher Norris (Cardiff University)
Vinay Lal (UCLA)
Chris Hedges (The Nation Institute)
Simon Tormey (University of Nottingham)
Melissa Williams (University of Toronto)
Sandra Bartky (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Thomas Sheehan (Stanford University)
James Tully (University of Victoria)
Asma Afsaruddin (University of Notre Dame)
Pankaj Mishra (writer, India)
Martin Beck Matuštík (Purdue University)
Stephen Zunes (University of San Francisco)
Stephen Kinzer (Northwestern University)
Rick Salutin (Columnist, The Globe and Mail)
James Reilly (University of Toronto)
Ayesha Jalal (Tufts University)
Ismail Poonawala (UCLA)
Elizabeth Hurd (Northwestern University)
Michael Mann (UCLA)
Patricia Springborg (Free University of Bolzano, Italy)
Henry Munson (University of Maine)
Charles Kurzman (University of North Carolina)
Rohan Jayasekera (Associate Editor, Index on Censorship)
Stathis N. Kalyvas (Yale University)
Mary Ann Tetreault (Trinity University)
Robert Jensen (University of Texas at Austin)
Rashid Begg (University of Stellenbosch, South Africa)
Roxanne L. Euben (Wellesley College)
Peter Mandaville (George Mason University)
Edward Friedman (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Ingrid Mattson (Hartford Seminary)
Muqtedar Khan (University of Delaware)
Duncan Ivison (University of Sydney)
Danny Postel (author, USA)
Mariam C. Said
Michaelle Browers (Wake Forest University)
Tariq Modood (University of Bristol)
Ronald J. Hill (University of Dublin)
Gregory Baum (McGill University)
Tamara Sonn (College of William and Mary)
Saba Mahmood (University of California, Berkeley)
Mark Juergensmeyer (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Lucas Swaine (Dartmouth College)
Charles Butterworth (University of Maryland)
Carole Pateman (Cardiff University)
Amrita Basu (Amherst College)
Fawaz Gerges (Sarah Lawrence College)
Yong-Bock Kim (Asia Pacific Graduate School for Integral Study of Life)
Ann Norton (University of Pennsylvania)
Cecelia Lynch (University of California, Irvine)
Susan Buck-Morss (Cornell University)
Aristide Zolberg (New School University)
Craig Calhoun (President, Social Science Research Council)
Hagit Borer (University of Southern California)
Dennis J. Schmidt (Penn State University)
John Ralston Saul (author, Canada)
Corey Brettschneider (Brown University)
Timur Kuran (Duke University)
Paul Chambers (University of Glamgoran)
Robert R. Williams (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Nicholas Xenos (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
W. D. Hart (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Louise Antony (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Rama Mantena (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Judith Tucker (Georgetown University)
Sam Black (Simon Fraser University)
Genevieve Fuji Johnson (Simon Fraser University)
Shelley Deane (Bowdoin College)
Craig Campbell (St. Edward’s University)
Samer Shehata (Georgetown University)
Mona El-Ghobashy (Barnard College)
Jacque Steubbel (University of the South School of Theology)
David Mednicoff (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Zeynep Arikanli (Institute of Political Studies, Aix-en-Provence, France)
R. E. Jennings (Simon Fraser University)
Walid Moubarak (Lebanese American University)
Nicola Pratt (University of East Anglia, UK)
Ulrika Mårtensson (The Norwegian University of Science & Technology)
Jillian Schwedler (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Robert D. Lee (Colorado College)
Alice Amsden (MIT)
Stephen Van Evera (MIT)
Joanne Rappaport (Georgetown University)
Douglas Allen (University of Maine)
Sharon Stanton Russell (MIT)
Matthew Gutmann (Brown University)
Louis Cantori (University of Maryland)
Catherine Lutz (Brown University)
Azzedine Layachi (St. John’s University)
Katarzyna Jarecka (Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland)
H. C. Erik Midelfort (University of Virginia)
Edmund Burke, III (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Michael Urban (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Susan Moeller (University of Maryland)
Laurie J. Sears (University of Washington)
Margaret Levi (University of Washington)
Ebrahim Moosa (Duke University)
Robert Ware (University of Calgary)
John Entelis (Fordham University)
Juan Linz (Yale University)
Malise Ruthven (writer, Scotland)
Charles Derber (Boston College)
Matthew Evangelista (Cornell University)
Adam Michnik (writer, Poland)
Norman Birbaum (Georgetown University)
Hamza Yusuf (Zaytuna Institute)
Carol Gould (Temple University)
Nubar Hovsepian (Chapman University)
Colin Rowat (University of Birmingham)
Bettina Aotheker (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Jan Nederveen Pieterse (University of Illinois)
Udo Schuklenk (Queen’s University)
Alistair M. Macleod (Queen’s University)
Nancy Gallagher (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Jamie Mayerfeld (University of Washington)
William A. Gamson (Boston College)
Michael Goldman (University of Minnesota)
Jan Aart Scholte (University of Warwick)
Koen Koch (Leiden University, The Netherlands)
Morton Winston (College of New Jersey)
Michael Perry (Emory University)
Tony Smith (Tuft University)
W. Richard Bond (Brock University)
Adrie Kusserow (St. Michael’s College)
Nissim Mannathukkaren (Dalhousie University)
Justin Tiwald (San Francisco State University)
Ásta Sveinsdóttir (San Francisco State University)
Feyzi Baban (Trent University)
Elzbieta Matynia (New School University)
Beverley Milton-Edwards (Queens University Belfast)
Awad Halabi (Wright State University)
Arthur Goldschmidt (Penn State University)
Peter Railton (University of Michigan)
Naomi Klein (author, Canada)
Paul Aarts (University of Amsterdam)
Thomas Mertes (UCLA)
Samuel C. Rickless (University of California, San Diego)
Emran Qureshi (Harvard University)
John Trumpbour (Harvard University)

[1] The relevant note of Article 295: "If a person kills someone in the belief that they are implementing the law of talion or that it is a question of someone who has forfeited the right to life [mahduroldam] and if the court is convinced that they were acting on this belief, if it subsequently becomes clear that the victim was not liable to talon or had not forfeited the right to life, the killing will be deemed to have been a mistake or involuntary murder. And if the claim that the victim had forfeited the right to life is confirmed, the law of talion and blood money will not apply." The office of the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic has conveyed his ruling in this respect to the judiciary as follows: "In cases in which the death sentence has been issued for state agents and members of the Basij [militia] who killed someone in the context of performing their religious duty or in the belief that the victim had forfeited the right to life or that they were striving to impede vice, the eminent leader, while expressing his gratitude for the sensitivity that they have shown on these issues, has stated that the death sentence should be commuted, by any suitable means, to the payment of blood money and that His Eminence be informed about the case" (Yas-e Now [Tehran daily], 19 October 2003).

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

News in brief-
Wed. September 19,2007
According to "Mehr " news :
Akbar Ganji the Iranian investigative journalist has been summoned to the court!
He has been summoned to Tehran's court-general division because of the book " The prison type Archipelago " which he has written.He has been summoned to the division number 1083.
The publisher of the book together with the past official in charge in the Ministry of Guidance for permiting the book to be published were also summoned to the court.
All of these people have to attened the court and hear what judge Hoseinian ( a coleague of Judge Said Mortazavi) is going to address to the court.
Akbar Ganji at present lives outside Iran and in USA . If Ganji won't be able to attened Judge Hoseinian will deliver his verdict in his absence.

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News in brief-
Parnaz(Nazi) Azima the reporter of Radio Farda has left Iran !
After eight months the reporter of Radio Farda has left Iran. She left Iran on Tuesday September 18,2007. Eight months ago when Ms. Azima enterd Iran to visit her sick mother, her passport was confiscated by the authorities in the airport and she was banned to leave Iran.Her passport was returned to her two weeks ago on Tuesday September 4,2007.Earlier a bail of 510 million Tuman was issued for her.
Ms. Azima is an Iranian -American journalist and in the past she worked for Radi Farda in Czech Republic.
Link to this news in Farsi:

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News in brief-
Student Committee of Human Rights Reporters
September 13,2007
Widespread arrest of Human rights and political activists!
On last Sunday September 16,2007 , the security agents in the city of "Karaj" attacked to the house of Ms. Sepideh Aghaei , a human rights advocate and arrested her. The agent entered in the house without any search warrant and introduced themselves as " NAJA " agents. In this attack the agents took away Ms. Aghaei's personal belonging including computer , several books and her writings.
In the same day the house of Mr. Ghasem Shirzadian , a blogger came under security agents attack and was searched. In this attack Mr. Shirzadian was arrested.The agents also threaten to arrest his sister who was protesting the arrest.
There was further arrest on Sunday and Monday. There are news that Mr. Maysam Rudaki , Mr. Bahram Rasekhi-far , Mr. Abas Khorsandi and Mr. Mansur Faraji were also arrested.
Some reports indicate that the number of people arrested on last Sunday reach to 12 people. At this time there are no information about the rest of the people arrested.
There Ministry of Information upto now did not provide any information about the prisoners situation and their whereabout to their families.
Link to this news in Farsi:

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Mr. Farzad Kamangar , the teacher from the city of Kamiaran has been one year under intense interrogation and torture and his situation and health is worrying his family !
Mr. Kamangar was born on 1975 and he is a resident of Kamiaran.He is a teacher and he has been teaching in the villages around the city of Kamiaran for five years. He is married with childeren. It is a year that his family live in a very difficult and worrying situation.
He was arrested on Aug.19, 2006 in the city of Sanandaj by the agents of the Ministry of Information and there was no news about him for four months and whenever his family attended to the Ministry of Information office in the city of Kamiaran and Sanandaj the officials denied of knowing anything.Later it became clear that he was transfered to the cell # 209 in Evin prison and he was interrogated and tortured.
During these time he was transfered three time to Kermanshah and Sanandaj for interrogation. He was under intense interrogation and torture on February and March of 2007 in the city of Kermanshah.
After seven months of no information about him his mother and brother was allowed for the first time to visit him for a very short time and with the presence of agents from the Ministry of Information and the agents forced them to speak in the official Farsi language and not Kurdish.
It has been a year since Farzad Kamangar's arrest and imprisonment and until now no one has told him what is his charges and up to now his lawyer was unable to meet him and no disclosure was given to his lawyer.
Farzad is now in cell# 209 in Evin prison and is under alot of interrogation, torture and stress and upto now he has been in several hunger strike which resulted him to attend to hospital.Farzad is suffering from foot and eye pain due to torture.

Reported by : Hirsh from the city of Kamiaran
Committee defending political and human rights
September 2007
Link to this news in Farsi:

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Today The Real News Network examines the implications of the Bush/Petraeus strategy in Iraq and Iran.
Watch the interview with Phyllis Bennis, a senior analyst at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington D.C.
During a 4-part interview via webcam, Bennis discusses the establishment of permanent U.S. bases in Iraq. "The existence of the permanent bases has been something constructed under the radar, without any attention being paid by the press."
Part 2 continues with an analysis of the Production Sharing Agreements between the U.S. government and Iraq.
Bennis examines the case being built against Iran by the White House in Part 3 of the interview. "Iran remains the sole potential independent regional power with the capacity to challenge U.S. domination in the region."
Part 4, Bennis concludes the interview by stating that the Iraqi people are owed war reparations. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer denies this, saying, "we must first and foremost look out for safety here in America."
Phyllis Bennis is the author of Before and After: U.S. Foreign Policy and the September 11th Crisis, and Challenging Empire: How People, Governments, and the UN Defy U.S. Power.

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News in brief-
The wave of new execution in the city of " Ahwaz" !
"Ahwaz" is a city in the southern part of Iran and its population are predominantly Iranian Arab. It is close to the port city of Abadan which is near Kuwait in the Persian Gulf .
The human rights organization of Ahwaz in an urgent letter to UN and all human rights organizations requested to send their protest letters to Islamic Republic to stop the wave of public executions which has reached to 15 .
Recently three Arabs from the city of Ahwaz were executed and for the record their names are :
1- Mr. Abdolreza navaseri - 34 years old fro the city of Ahwaz
2- Mr. Mohammad Ali Savari - 38 years old and a teacher - he is married with four childeren
3- Mr. Jafar Savari - 23 years old and student
With this three execution the number of Iranian Arab political and human rights activists executed by The regime in the last 12 months reached to 15 people.
The allegation and charges against them were : Changing their religion from Shiite to Sunni , propagating the "Wahabi religion" and placing bombs in the oil industries .Their trial took only one day without defense lawyer.
After the arrest in year 2000 , Mr. Abdolreza Navaseri was sentenced to 35 years in prison and he was serving his term when the regime executed him.
Ms. Sarah Leah Whitson. the ED of the HRW for Middle East and North Africa said: "One of the surprises of the judiciary system in Iran is that, a person who is serving his sentence in the prison is being charged for the bombing outside the prison and this clearly shows the arbiterary sentencing."
The people of Ahwaz protested to the execution of this three Iranian -Arabs in the city of Ahwaz .
The 20 years old Mehdi Navaseri the brother of Mr. Abdolreza Navaseri was also executed together with 17 years old Mr. Ali Audeh Afravi on March 2006 .
Past public execution in the city of Ahwaz:
On February 14, 2007
1- Mr. Ghasem Salami 41 years old, married with 6 childeren
2- Mr. Majed Albughabish , 30 years old and single
On December 19, 2006
1- Mr. Malek Bani- tamim
2- Mr. Abdolah Soleymani
3- Mr. Ali Motavarizadeh
On November 13, 2006
The forced video confessions of the 11 Iranian -Arabs of Ahwaz was aired from the national television. The execution of these people was delayed due to the protests by International human rights organizations and European Parliament.But according to prosecutor of the city of Ahwaz Mr. Pirani these people will also be executed.
On June 8, 2006
Ahwaz court of revolution anounced , 35 Arabs from the city of Ahwaz including three brothers
were sentenced to death and according to Ahwaz prosecutor these people will also be executed in the future.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

News break-
Google has been filtered in Iran !
Gmail and blogfa are no longer can be used in Iran.
More detailed news will follow.

Link to This news in Farsi:

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News in brief-

The fate of three social activist from the city of "Khoram Abad" who were arrested because of campaigning for "one million signature " against the discriminative laws is not known!
They were beaten and arrested last Friday together with 22 others when police attacked to a peaceful workshop of " Campaign for one million signature" in the city of Khoram Abad. except these three the rest were released yesterday ( Sunday) September 16 . The "campaign for one million signature " is worried about the safety and situation of these three activists .

For the record the name of these three activists are :
Mr. Bahman Azadi, Mr. Reza Dolatshahi and Mr. Khosro Nasim-pour

The family members of the three social activist attended in the office of the prosecutor and demanded for any news about their loved one but the prosecutor said that he is unaware of these individuals which made the family members to worry even more.

Never mind the arrest, imprisonment and torture , but just not knowing where these three activists are is the basic violation of human rights . In this regard the prison officials knowingly denying information to the family members and by doing so hurting peoples which is the most inhuman bahavior of this regime.

At 6:00am On Thursday September 13 , 2007 Ms. Mansureh Shojaei , Ms. Jelveh Javaheri , Ms. Zara Amjadian and Ms. Nafiseh Azad members of the " campaign for one million signature" arrived in the city of Khoram- Abad from Tehran for a workshop on women's human rights and stayed in their host house ( Reza and Mahtab Dolatshahi) who are also social activists in the city and are interested in the campaign .
The first day was spent more on preparation of the workshop and knowing the city. On Friday the workshop started with a little delay. At around 11:40 when the workshop was in the middle of reviewing the history of the Iranian women's movement, noises was heard from the door and when Mr. Bahman Azadi husband of one of the participants in the workshop opened the door, he saw 10 armed uniformed and plain cloths police together with three women police entered into the house forcefully and started beating and insulting him and the others. All the 25 participants to the workshope were pushed to two different rooms one for women and the other for men . Both group of men and women were asked to take off their dress and were searched and their personal belonging were taken away.
After an hour of insulting and beating the participants , the police hand cuffed the men which then was protested by Zara Amjadian and other women. The women however resisted to the hand cuffs.
Due to the protest, people were gathered outside the house and police were telling them that these people are arrested because of having an " immoral pleasure party" .
The police then transfered them by a bus to a detention centre in the city of Khoram -Abad. They separated the men from the women. There were 14 women in one cell. The judge attended to the women and told them: " You are those women who wanted to have four husband instead of one.....and poor the women of the city of Khoram-Abad that you wanted to teach them."
.... The women were transfered to another location and video clip was taken from them. Then they brought Mr. Reza Dolatshahi with a blindfold . He was shaking and around his eyes were red.The agents forced him to say; who he is and what is his belief . Reza then introuduced himself and said that he is a union activist.

Link to this news in Farsi:

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US-Iranian tensions have mounted significantly in the past few days. The Guardian reports that the U.S. has decided to establish a military base in Iraq less than five miles from the Iranian border.
Watch our latest interviews with Aijaz Ahmed from New Delhi and Pepe Escobar from Paris. Ahmed is a Senior Editorial Consultant for The Real News and political commentator for the Indian newsmagazine, Frontline. Aijaz Ahmed has taught Political Science and written widely on South Asia and the Middle East.
During Part 1 of his interview, Ahmed talks to Senior Editor Paul Jay, about the White House threats towards Iran. Ahmed declares, "This administration is determined to attack Iran before it leaves office."
Ahmed then explores in Part 2, Iran's commitments to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, "They must commit themselves to not producing the weapon, which they have. They must commit themselves to inspections, which they have. They have a sovereign right to create, to pursue enrichment for peaceful purposes."
In his latest interview, Pepe Escobar, Real News correspondent and writer for The Asia Times Online, answers the question, can the White House intimidate Iran? "Persian society has been around for thousands of years and they don't scare easily."
The second segment of this two-part interview examines the possible confrontation between the U.S. and Iran. "The original plan is to dismantle, to provoke regime change in Iran and to appropriate Iran's oil and gas."
Watch the interviews with Aijaz Ahmed and Pepe Escobar at
Today, The Guardian carries a report: Proxy War Could Soon Turn to Direct Conflict, Analysts Warn by Julian Borger and Ian Black. US strikes on Iran predicted as tension rises over arms smuggling and nuclear fears.The growing US focus on confronting Iran in a proxy war inside Iraq risks triggering a direct conflict in the next few months, regional analysts are warning.US-Iranian tensions have mounted significantly in the past few days, with heightened rhetoric on both sides and the US decision to establish a military base in Iraq less than five miles from the Iranian border to block the smuggling of Iranian arms to Shia militias.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

News in brief-
TEHRAN TIMES - September 13,2007

TEHRAN TIMES online on its front page wrote :" Vibrations caused by passing trains are likely to broaden existing cracks in the tomb of Xerxes I and result in its collapse if a nearby railway route becomes operational, archaeologist Mohammad-Taqi Ataii said during a seminar at the University Of Tehran (UT) on September 11."

And it continued :
Entitled "Naqsh-e Rustam in Danger", the one-day colloquium was held to survey the threats from the railway route to the tomb of Xerxes I at the Naqsh-e Rustam site in southern Iran’s Fars Province.
The builders of the tomb were aware of the natural cracks in the mountainside and built a canal to divert rainwater to a large pool thus preventing it from flowing into the gaps," Ataii explained. "The cracks in the rock are already widening as the pool has become full."
"This is happening as the result of a natural process and so far people have not made any effort to preserve the huge cliff. The situation will worsen if the railway route becomes operational."
Attaii’s remarks met with protest from an unidentified man defending the railway project. The man, who declined to introduce himself, said that according to seismographic studies, vibrations from trains using the railway route would not cause damage to the monuments in the Naqsh-e Rustam region. It has been rumored that a number of the project’s officials attending the ceremony denied that the man had any relationship with the railway project. Moreover, the Ministry of Roads and Transportation has not published the results of the seismographic studies. Experts have previously said that if the railroad, the embankment of which has been constructed at a distance of about 350 meters from Naqsh-e Rustam, were to become operational, train vibrations would eventually damage the monument and cause the destruction of Zoroaster’s Kaba within less than ten years. In December 2006, the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) and cultural heritage enthusiasts finally convinced the Ministry of Road and Transportation to alter the railway route. However the extent of the modification has not satisfied the CHTHO or the cultural heritage enthusiasts. The modification would place the route at a distance of 500 meters from the Naqsh-e Rustam site.

Naqsh-e Rustam is an extremely important historical site since the tombs of Achaemenid kings including Darius I and Xerxes I have been carved into the solid rock of Mt. Hossein in that region. The site also contains remnants dating back to the Elamite and Sassanid eras.


Now, does the Islamic Republic have any concern about these historical sites in Iran ? Because, these sites does not belong to any political party , parties or ideologies who gain control of the country , quiet contrary , these historical site belong to the country and to its people. These sites survived for more than 2500 years. People of not only Iran but around the world are concern about these sites and call upon Islamic Republic : Hands off of these historical sites.

You have any concern , please write to UN.

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Short commententary : IRAN WATCH CANADA
Mr. Ahmadinejad in a meeting with his cabinet have said : "Government officials, make public meeting with people in the holy month of Ramadan." - - Setember 13, 2007
When this president speaks like this , the people think the opposit is going to happen and feel more arrest , imprisonment and public hanging is underway.
One must ask Mr. Ahmadinejad that, No , thank you, just leave us alone. Whether how much Iranian people believe him or not is left to a referendum , if his government dare to do that.
"An official from the Ministry of Education reported on the distribution of 80,000 Tuman bonus to the teachers." -reported - September 13, 2007

Short commentary :

Teachers Power !
Teachers Union in Iran showed their power. After months of protest the regime has decided to give to the 1,100,000 teacher a matterial bonus worth of 80,000 Tuman . A 600,000 Tuman loan has been also given to the 20% of teachers. This means teachers power .

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

News in brief-
Several prisoners were transfered to Sanandaj prison!
Human rights activists in Iran:
According to a report, last night, Mr. Ali Heidarian and Mr.Farhad Vakili were transfered to the prison in Sanandaj.
Mr. Ali Heidarian, Mr. Farhad Vakili and Mr. Farzad Kamangar are sympatizars of an opposition group .They were arrested by the agents of the Ministry of Information in Tehran.
There is a possibility that Mr. Farzad Kamangar who was in the security cell number 209 in Evin prison was also transfered together with other two to the prison in Sanandaj.

In the meantime based on a news, Mr. Abdolreza Rajabi a political prisoner and a member of the MKO's situation is very critical and he must be allowed to be hospitalized outside the prison. He was arrested six years ago on the border by a military personnel and was wounded from the waist area by a grenade thrown by the Iranian forces.As a result of that six of his vertebral was smashed. Apparently the doctors repaired the vertebral and placed it back to his back. He is now suffering from the pain and the prison officials won't allow him to buy the painkiller.

Link to this news in Farsi:

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News in brief-
Release the Iranian youth from prison !

A statement by 720 personalities

While warning the officials for puting alot of pressure on Iranian youth and students , and are worried about the destiny and future of the Iranian society , they are as well worried about the situation of Soheil Asefi ( journalist) and imprisoned students particularly Ehsan Mansuri, Ahmad Ghasaban, Majid Tavakoli, Keivan Ansari, Ali Derakhshandeh and Puya Behandar.

The statement -
Freedom loving people of Iran:
It is now 40 days that Soheil Asefi the young freedom loving journalist is spending time in solitary confinement.Legally he is not guilty of the charges, but what has been going on is violation of his basic human rights by the Islamic Republic.His crime is his aricles he has written in online websites and there is no insult or lie about Islamic Republic. Soheil was arrested together with Farshd Ghorbanpour and Masud Bastani on Saturday August 4,2007 for writing article on an online website.Mr. Bastani and Ghorbanpour were released on heavy bail but Soheil who infact is younger than the other two was put into the solitary confinement.
The signatories are demanding from the officials in the Islamic Republic to immediately release these young Iranians.

Signatures of 720 Iranian personalities.

Link to this news in Farsi:

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What's happening-
Last Friday Ahmadinejad's government added four physically healthy people to the lists of disabled in Iran. One must be really mentally retarded to have a government to carry this barbaric law by chopping peoples arm for stealing. "ISNA" news has reported that four thievs who had past criminal records were punished by the "Sharia Law " in the city of Mash-had and condemned to be punished by cutting their hands.

The name of these people for the record were announced as: A-K,H-F,M-D,Gh-R .......

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News in brief-
Public execution continues as Ahmadinejad's Government decided to eradicate ??????.....what he calls the drug dealers and murderers.....perhaps among them armed political opponent.......and who knows who at this time of terror and the government of Imam Zaman ( the absent 12th imam ). Ahmadinejad and his cabinet ministers are in believe that in the worse situation Imam Zaman will appear and will save the world. Power brings ignorance and blindness until they feel the erosion of power under their feet and roof by the people power like the one in Philippines and in Iran in 1978-79.
According to "Fars" news seven people for different charges were hanged in public in the city of "Mahan".
For the record the following is the name of those seven people who have been hanged : Ali Orang, Dawood Talebi , Majid Barzkar, Majid Manami, Mohammad Bameri, Omar Bameri, Mehdi Poursheikhali.
The regime's chief of police in the city of Mahan was guned down a few days earliear.

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News in brief-

Mr. Hadi Ghabel a central council member of the "Mosharekat" party has been arrested !
Azar Mansuri another central council member of the Mosharekat party in speaking with "Mehr" newspaper have said that , This morning several agents from the court which look into the matters of clergies attended to Mr. Hadi Ghabel's home and after arresting him, they have taken his personal documents . They also took away his computer case. There are news that Mr. Ghabel after arrest was transfered to the court in the city of "Ghom".

Link to this news in Farsi:

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tehran's Bus Drivers Union leader "Mansur Osanlo". In these video clips he speaks on human rights of the workers,bus drivers right to have union. He speaks on how he was almost killed when islamic thugs armed with razor cut his tongue while he was speaking to bus drivers.He speaks on human rights.
Watch these video lips:
Mr.Osanlo is still in prison and must be released.Any attempt to his life will lead to Islamic Republic as the suspect. Islamic Republic is responsible for the security of its citizens.

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News in brief-
Tuesday September 11, 2007

Based on the news we have received from " Gohar Dasht " prison in the city of Karaj , on Monday September 10,2007 Mr. Afshin Baimani and Mr. Behruz Javid Tehrani attended to prison's clinic due to injuries they have received as a result of torture from the agents of the Ministry of Information. While in the clinic, they have been attacked again by the clinic's supervisor and his crew and because of this bloody attack Mr. Afshin Baimani was seriousely injured from both hands which required 50 stitches. Eight hours after bleeding, the clinic staff still refused to put stitches on his wounds and returned him to the prison cell. When his situation got worse and because of the protest by other prisoners the clinic staff decided to do the stitches.They then brought him with this condition to his cell in the prison. The prison council ( Haj Ali Kazem, Ali Mohammadi, Khadem, Mohammad Moghnian and a few others ) did not end there and in an inhuman action decided to transfer him to a solitary confinement which ended to more protest by the political prisoners.
It is needed to say that, This plan was prepared for sometime ago by judge Said Mortazavi and Hassan Zare Dehnavi which then put on action by Haj Ali Kazem the chief of the prison , Ali Mohammadi his deputy , Khadem the chief security of the prison, Mohammad Moghnian the chief of the cell and Rajabali Ajir the cultural deputy. Yesterday this inhuman act was carried out in prison's clinic .
The activists of "The Human Rights and Democracy in Iran "condemns this crime and barbaric act against political prisoners in " Gohar Dasht " prison and asks all human rights organizations to respond quickly to end these type of criminal act against political prisoners in Iran and aknowledges them about the danger which threatens the lives of political prisoners in Iran and call these acts against political prisoners as a crime against humanity.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

News update-
Kian Tajbakhsh will be released soon!
Today September 11, 2007 a group of internal and external journalists visited the Evin prison. After the visit Mr. Alireza Jamshidi the spoksperson for the Judiciary Power said that , the detention sentence of Kian Tajbakhsh will change to bail and he will be released soon.
Kian Tajbakhsh was charged on attempting to orange revolution and upto now has spent 120 days in Evin prison.

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News brief-
Tuesday September 11/2007
Statement by "The Association Defending the Democratic Rights of the Political Prisoners" :

Based on the news received , the situation of several Azarbayjan political activists including Amir-abbas Banaei Kazemi and Soleyman Mohammadi is very distuebing. Both of these gentlemen have been tortured in a detention run by " Sepah Pasdaran" or Guardian Corps and as a result of torture, Mr. Abbas Banaei's teeth has been broken and his face had been swollen and Mr. Soleyman Mohammadi also was beaten in a way that he has got internal and external ( jaw, ear , chest ) injuries and because of swelling he became unconscious and was transfered to the hospital.

Meanwhile, 20 days after the arrest of Ms. Shahnaz Gholami an Azari political and women's rights activist in the city of Tabriz, she is still in prison without any trial and no news has been given to her or to her family about the charges.
While condemning the widespread arrest and torture of the political prisoners in Azarbayjan, The Associacition Defending the Democratic Rights of the Political Prisoners" requests from the human rights organization to pay more attention to political prisoners in Azarbayjan.

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Site of "The Campaign" Blocked for the Seventh Time!
Saturday 8 September 2007

Change for Equality: The site of the One Million Signatures Campaign, Change for Equality, has been blocked for the seventh time. Since the start of the Campaign, the site has been blocked on average approximately every six weeks. The team at Change for Equality has become accustomed to this continuous censorship and it seems so have our readers! As such, after each attempt to silence us we resist, move forward by securing a new domain and we continue publishing and reporting on the activities and successes of the Campaign. We hope that our readers will continue to stay tuned and read about our efforts. .
We kindly ask those who have placed our logo on their website to update the address, allowing readers based inside Iran to have access to Change for Equality.
The new address of the site is:
For sites with traffic mostly from outside of Iran, the following address is updated and will continue to be updated along with all new domains:

The most recent address blocked is:
Sites previously blocked include:

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News allert-

Amirkabir newsletter:

Arbiterary arrest and kidnaping of teachers and storming to their homes in "Shahreza" !
While there has been report about Mr. Hamid Rahmati member of the teachers union in the city of "Shahreza" and the attack on his home by the agents, it has also been announced that Mr. Mohammad Khaksar the managing editor of the banned weekly " Teachers Pen" is been disappeared too.
Mr. Mohammad Khaksar who has attended in the International Teachers Congress in Berlin, when returned and joined his colleagues in Shahreza was disappeared and there is no news about him. He has been diappeared from the morning of last Friday September 7.
It is believed that Mr. Khaksar has been kidnapped by the agents of the Ministry of Information and has been transfered to an unknown location.

Link to this news in Farsi:

Today Friday September 7, 2007 at around 8:00am a group of 20 uniformed and plaincloths Shahreza's security agents armed with gun and handcuff has entered in Mr. Hamid Rahmati's home and after interrogation arrested Ms. Khatoon Badpar a guest and a member of teachers union and brought her to an unknown location.

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News allert:

Human Rights advocates in Iran:

On the situation of Mr. Khalil Shalchi a senior Iranian detained in Evin prison!

According to the news from Evin prison , Mr. Khalil Shalchi who has been kept in Evin prison on accusation of being sympatizer of the Organization of Mojahedin Khalgh is seriousely ill due to his old age and illnesses which he encountered while in detention . his situation is seriouse and needs immediate attention to hospitalization.
He sufferes from the feet. His feet has been swollen in a way that he is unable to walk and do his personal tasks, he also suffer from skin deseases. The medical commission has recomended him to be transfered to an outside prison facility, but up to now nothing has been done on his situation.
The political prisoners in cell # 350 of Evin prison are worried about his situation and are demanding for his immediate release.
The human rights advocate in Iran believe that keeping Mr. Shalchi in prison is an inhuman act and it is against human right conventions and demanding for his immediate and unconditional release.
Link to this news in Farsi:

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News allert-
September 7, 2007
Ministry of information's agents have arrested five families including Mr. Ali Sarami and their situation and whereabout is unknown !
According to the news, in recent days the agents from the Ministry of Information have stormed to the houses of the families who's childeren were killed during the mass killing of political prisoners by the Islamic Republic in 1988, and up to now five families have been arrested and were transfered to an unknown location.The reason behind these family's arrest was because they have participated in the recent 19th anniversary of the mass killing of political prisoners . One of these arrestee is Mr. Ali Sarami who was also arrested and imprisoned in horrendous cell # 209 of Evin prison before and was released a few months ago on bail. Mr. Sarami has been arrested again and has been transfered to an unknown location.It has been reported that, at the time of arrest the agents behaved savagely.
It is needed to say that, there are no information about the arrestee's and their whereabout .

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7 September 2007
Two Kurdish-Iranian journalists on death row call off hunger strike
SOURCE: Reporters sans frontières (RSF), Paris
**Updates IFEX alerts on the Hassanpour case of 14 and 1 August, 23 July,
15 March and 30 January 2007; updates Botimar (Butimar) alerts of 14 and 1
August and 23 July 2007**
(RSF/IFEX) - RSF is relieved to learn that imprisoned journalists Adnan
Hassanpour and Abdolvahed Hiva Botimar have ended the hunger strike they
began on 14 July 2007. When he received a visit from relatives on 4
September, Botimar announced that he and Hassanpour had resumed eating
after more than 50 days of consuming nothing but sweetened water.
"We now call on the judicial authorities to keep their promises and improve
the conditions in which these two journalists are being held," the press
freedom organisation said. "This includes approving their request to be
transferred to Marivan prison and giving them unrestricted access to their

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Friday, September 07, 2007

What is in the news in Iran?
Mr. Emad Baghi in a letter to political and reformist parties requested about their position on 41 execution in last month !
The letter was sent to the following personalities:
Ex-reformist president and head of the " Assembly of combattant clergies" honorable Mohammad Khatami
Mr. Mehdi Karubi , general secretary of the " National Trust Party"
Mr. Mohsen Mirdamadi , general secretary of the " Participation Party"
Mr. Mohammad Salamati, general secretary of the" Organization of the Mojahedin Islamic Revolution"
Mr. Gholam-hosain Karbaschi, general secretary of the " Constructive Forces Party "
Mr. Ebrahim Yazdi , general secretary of the " Freedom Movement Party "
Mr. Habibolah Payman, general secretary of the " Movement of Combatent Moslems"
Ms. Azam Taleghani , general secretary of the " The Society of Islamic Revolution Women"
Ms. Fatemeh Karubi , general secretary of the " Assembly of Islamic Women"
....... In the past days and weeks, we have witnessed horrendous tragic events which the reformists and political parties were silent about it . The tragic event is about 41 continous execution in the last month alone, including few who were saved at the execution scene. Statistics shows that the execution compare to the last years has grown one hundered per cent . Statistics based on media report shows at least 171 execution in seven months were carried on which is horrendous.This is horrendous becuse if we look at; out of 198 countries of the world , 130 country have banned the capital punishment and 90 per cent of the world execution has happened only in Iran, China , Saudi Arabia and America.However Iran is on top of the list. Isn't this a human calamity? .............
The letter has requested from these parties to pay more attention to these executions.
IRAN WATCH CANADA: It is needed to add that , These are only islamist parties that are active inside Iran and the other secular, liberal , socialists , communists , democratic and nationalists parties are banned in Iran and therefore they are only active in exile.
Link to this news in Farsi:

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Pic- Akbar Ganji with Louise Arbour

Madame Louise Arbour has visited Iran on an invitation by Iranian Government to participate on "Non Aligned Nation " session taking place in Tehran. She will be participating in a conference called " Human Rights and Multiculturalism".

Although her visit was not reported in official main stream media but her visit to UN office in Tehran attaracted many Iranian human rights advocates , families of political prisoners, families of detained students and Mr. Osanlou were trying to visit her when the security agents did not allow this to happen and the agents were trying to arrest them when Madam Shirin Ebadi the Iranian Noble Peace Prize Winner joined them and prevented the agents to take them away. Although they were unable to see her but they have sent their complaint to her.

Ministry of information , Tehrans prosecutor and security agents had and have busy day ahead arresting and releasing those who dared to visit UN high commisioner for Human Rights at UN office in Tehran.

The busiest are the prison officials . They are busy to show how clean and empty their prison is by transfering the prisoners to other location. This happens if the regime wants to show the prison to Madam Louise Arbour.

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Mr. Ali Shakeri the Iranian -American businessman is still in prison !
Haleh Esfandiary the Iranian -American researcher last year left America for Iran to visit her 93 years old mother and her passport was confiscated when she was leaving Iran by three masked -armed with knife agents and on May 8, 2007 she was arrested and spent 105 days in Evin prison. Ms. Esfandiary was the head of the Middle Eastern studies in Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington. The Iranian television in two separate documentary which was aired on last summer tried to connect her activities with George Bush's $75M orange revolution project in Iran to overthrow the Islamic Republic. Ms. Esfandiary was also chrged with " action against national security ". Ms. Esfandiary was released on bail and the bail which was decided by the court was more than $300 , 000 . She left the deed of her moms home to the court as the bail .Ms. Esfandiary after the release , early Monday morning September three left Iran for Austria.
The 2nd Iranian - American who was arrested in the airport when visited Iran was Ms. Parnaz (Nazy) Azima, a reporter for the Radio Voice of America ( VOA) - Farsi division in czech Republic. Ms. Azima was also visiting her mom when arrested by the agents in the airport.
Last Monday night the judiciary officials returned her passport to her and now she wants to leave Iran. But she has to return for the trial day. She is chrged with " propaganda against the system" . She was released on bail and the amount ordered by the judge is 510 Million Tuman ( more than $510 , 000 ). Same as Ms. Haleh ,she also handed the deed of her mom's home to the court as the amount for the bail.
The third Iranian - American researcher working for " Open Society " was the 45 years old Mr. Yahya Kian Tajbakhsh who was arrested in Iran around four months ago. He is charged with "propaganda and espionage for foreign countries". Mr. Tajbakhsh is a social researcher. It was on May 29 this year when Mr. Alireza Jamshidi the spoksperson from judiciary power in Tehran announced that Mr. Tajbakhsh is infact arrested. Tehran's security crime prosecutor Mr. Hadad announced that Mr. Tajbakhsh's file is on the review and his temporary arrest will end with a bail.
The 4th person who also ended being arrested visiting Iran is an Iranian - French by the name of Ms. Mehrnoush Seluki. She has been detained by the security-judiciary agents in Iran.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

IRAN WATCH CANADA: Stop deportation of Pejman Piran to Iran !

To: Turkish Internal Ministry
3 September 2007
We have been informed that Mr.Pejman Piran(case no. 05C00794)has been arrested by Turkish police authorities in the city of Van for unknown reasons. According to a report we have received from Turkey, Mr.Piran is about to be deported to Iran.

Mr. Piran is a well-known activist in Iran and for the International Human Right organisations as well as for NGO organisations in Iran. Mr.Piran has been protected by UNHCR office in Turkey for his well-founded fear that has been external to the refugee statuts.
We, the undersigned Associations and oraganisations, urge Rerfugee section of the Turkish Internal Ministry as well as Turkish police authorities take necessary action fo the relaese of Mr Pejman Piran and privent him to be deported to Iran. Due to his risky situation, he will face prosecution if he returns to Iran.

NGO Organsiation of Kanoon Emrooz, Brnch office in Mashad http://www.emroozngo.comNGO
Organsiation of Kanoon Emrooz, Brnch office in Tehran
NGOOrgansiation of Eshterak NGO
IranAssociation of Iranian Poltical prisonersin(in Exile)

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News in brief-
Last night, Haleh Esfandiary has left Iran for Austria !
The deputy to Tehran's court of revolution, judge Hadad has announced that Ms. Haleh Esfandiary who was released on bail and had requested the court allowing her to travel, that request was agreed by the judge responsible in her file. The judge said :there is no reason for her not to travel until her trial date.

Link to the news in Farsi:

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