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Women’s Rights Activists’ Sentence Upheld at Trial


  • Women’s Rights Activists’ Sentence Upheld at Trial

    By Pooya Stone

    Three women’s rights activists in Iran have had their sentences for protesting the compulsory hijab upheld by an Appeals Court, which is unsurprising considering the defendants’ lawyers were not allowed in the courtroom during either trial and the court refused to receive a defence bill from the activists.

    The sentence for the women was reduced from a total of 55 years and six months to 31 years and seven months, although that is still 31 years and seven months too long.

    The verdict said that Monireh Arabshahi and her daughter Yasamin Ariany were both sentenced to nine years and seven months, while Mojgan Keshvarz was sentenced to 12 years and seven months imprisonment.

    Amir Raeesian, the defence lawyer for Arabshahi and Ariany tweeted Wednesday that his clients would challenge the verdict and demand a retrial.

    Their initial trial was held on July 31. At this time they were each sentenced to

    Five years in prison for “assembly and collusion to act against national security”
    One year for “disseminating propaganda against the state”
    Ten years for “encouraging and preparing the grounds for corruption and prostitution”
    Keshavarz was further charged with “insulting the sanctities” and sentenced to an additional 7.5 years in prison.

    They were informed of their charges on June 26, and reported that the judge had told them that he would “make [them] suffer”.

    Their ‘crime’
    The three women were arrested in April 2019, sparking international condemnation of the Iranian government, for appearing in a video that went viral online, which showed them distributing flowers to female passengers on a metro train on International Women’s Day (March 8) without wearing the compulsory hijab.

    The trio discussed their hopes for a future Iran where all women would have the freedom to choose their own clothing, as well as other freedoms already granted to men.

    For this, they were sent to Qarchak prison and charged with the various offences above. Aryani was arrested at home on April 10, while Arabshahi was arrested the next day when she went to the Vozara detention centre in Tehran to ask about her daughter.

    Aryani was held in solitary confinement in Vozara for nine days under interrogation, to pressure her into making forced confessions about her civil activities.

    Keshavarz was arrested and beaten on April 25 by the state security forces in front of her nine-year-old daughter. Amnesty International sent a letter to Iran’s top judicial official demanding the release of the women’s rights defenders.

  • Special Report: Iran’s leader ordered crackdown on unrest – ‘Do whatever it takes to end it’

    (Reuters) – After days of protests across Iran last month, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared impatient. Gathering his top security and government officials together, he issued an order: Do whatever it takes to stop them.

    That order, confirmed by three sources close to the supreme leader’s inner circle and a fourth official, set in motion the bloodiest crackdown on protesters since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

    About 1,500 people were killed during less than two weeks of unrest that started on Nov. 15. The toll, provided to Reuters by three Iranian interior ministry officials, included at least 17 teenagers and about 400 women as well as some members of the security forces and police.

    The toll of 1,500 is significantly higher than figures from international human rights groups and the United States. A Dec. 16 report by Amnesty International said the death toll was at least 304. The U.S. State Department, in a statement to Reuters, said it estimates that many hundreds of Iranians were killed, and has seen reports that number could be over 1,000.

    The figures provided to Reuters, said two of the Iranian officials who provided them, are based on information gathered from security forces, morgues, hospitals and coroner’s offices.

    The government spokesman’s office declined to comment on whether the orders came from Khamenei and on the Nov. 17 meeting. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

    In a statement Monday following publication of this article, a spokesman for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council described the death toll figure as “fake news,” according to semi-official Tasnim news agency.

    What began as scattered protests over a surprise increase in gasoline prices quickly spread into one of the biggest challenges to Iran’s clerical rulers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

    By Nov. 17, the second day, the unrest had reached the capital Tehran, with people calling for an end to the Islamic Republic and the downfall of its leaders. Protesters burned pictures of Khamenei and called for the return of Reza Pahlavi, the exiled son of the toppled Shah of Iran, according to videos posted on social media and eye witnesses.

    At the meeting, described to Reuters by the three sources close to his inner circle, the 80-year-old leader, who has final say over all state matters in the country, raised his voice and expressed criticism of the handling of the unrest. He was also angered by the burning of his image and the destruction of a statue of the republic’s late founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

    “The Islamic Republic is in danger. Do whatever it takes to end it. You have my order,” the supreme leader told the group, one of the sources said.

    Khamenei said he would hold the assembled officials responsible for the consequences of the protests if they didn’t immediately stop them. Those who attended the meeting agreed the protesters aimed to bring down the regime.

    “The enemies wanted to topple the Islamic Republic and immediate reaction was needed,” one of the sources said.

    The fourth official, who was briefed on the Nov. 17 meeting, added that Khamenei made clear the demonstrations required a forceful response.

    “Our Imam,” said the official, referring to Khamenei, “only answers to God. He cares about people and the Revolution. He was very firm and said those rioters should be crushed.”

    Tehran’s clerical rulers have blamed “thugs” linked to the regime’s opponents in exile and the country’s main foreign foes, namely the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, for stirring up unrest. Khamenei has described the unrest as the work of a “very dangerous conspiracy.”

    A Dec. 3 report on Iran’s state television confirmed that security forces had fatally shot citizens, saying “some rioters were killed in clashes.” Iran has given no official death toll and has rejected figures as “speculative.”

    FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2017. TIMA via REUTERS

    “The aim of our enemies was to endanger the existence of the Islamic Republic by igniting riots in Iran,” said the commander-in-chief of the elite Revolutionary Guards Corps, Hossein Salami, last month, according to Iranian media.

    The Revolutionary Guards declined to comment for this report.

    Iran’s interior minister said on Nov. 27 more than 140 government sites had been set on fire along with hundreds of banks and dozens of petrol stations, while 50 bases used by security forces were also attacked, according to remarks reported by Iran’s state news agency IRNA. The minister said up to 200,000 people took part in the unrest nationwide.


    For decades, Islamic Iran has tried to expand its influence across the Middle East, from Syria to Iraq and Lebanon, by investing Tehran’s political and economic capital and backing militias. But now it faces pressure at home and abroad.

    In recent months, from the streets of Baghdad to Beirut, protesters have been voicing anger at Tehran, burning its flag and chanting anti-Iranian regime slogans. At home, the daily struggle to make ends meet has worsened since the United States reimposed sanctions after withdrawing last year from the nuclear deal that Iran negotiated with world powers in 2015.

    The protests erupted after a Nov. 15 announcement on state media that gas prices would rise by as much as 200% and the revenue would be used to help needy families.

    Within hours, hundreds of people poured into the streets in places including the northeastern city of Mashhad, the southeastern province of Kerman and the southwestern province of Khuzestan bordering Iraq, according to state media. That night, a resident of the city Ahvaz in Khuzestan described the scene by telephone to Reuters.

    “Riot police are out in force and blocking main streets,” the source said. “I heard shooting.” Videos later emerged on social media and state television showing footage of clashes in Ahvaz and elsewhere between citizens and security forces.

    The protests reached more than 100 cities and towns and turned political. Young and working-class demonstrators demanded clerical leaders step down. In many cities, a similar chant rang out: “They live like kings, people get poorer,” according to videos on social media and witnesses.

    By Nov. 18 in Tehran, riot police appeared to be randomly shooting at protesters in the street “with the smell of gunfire and smoke everywhere,” said a female Tehran resident reached by telephone. People were falling down and shouting, she added, while others sought refuge in houses and shops.

    The mother of a 16-year-old boy described holding his body, drenched in blood, after he was shot during protests in a western Iranian town on Nov. 19. Speaking on condition of anonymity, she described the scene in a telephone interview.

    “I heard people saying: ‘He is shot, he is shot,’” said the mother. “I ran toward the crowd and saw my son, but half of his head was shot off.” She said she urged her son, whose first name was Amirhossein, not to join the protests, but he didn’t listen.

    Iranian authorities deployed lethal force at a far quicker pace from the start than in other protests in recent years, according to activists and details revealed by authorities. In 2009, when millions protested against the disputed re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an estimated 72 people were killed. And when Iran faced waves of protests over economic hardships in 2017 and 2018, the death toll was about 20 people, officials said.

    Khamenei, who has ruled Iran for three decades, turned to his elite forces to put down the recent unrest — the Revolutionary Guards and its affiliated Basij religious militia.

    A senior member of the Revolutionary Guards in western Kermanshah province said the provincial governor handed down instructions at a late-night emergency meeting at his office on Nov. 18.

    “We had orders from top officials in Tehran to end the protests, the Guards member said, recounting the governor’s talk. “No more mercy. They are aiming to topple the Islamic Republic. But we will eradicate them.” The governor’s office declined to comment.

    As security forces fanned out across the country, security advisors briefed Khamenei on the scale of the unrest, according to the three sources familiar with the talks at his compound.

    The interior minister presented the number of casualties and arrests. The intelligence minister and head of the Revolutionary Guards focused on the role of opposition groups. When asked about the interior and intelligence minister’s role in the meeting, the government spokesman’s office declined to comment.

    Khamenei, the three sources said, was especially concerned with anger in small working-class towns, whose lower-income voters have been a pillar of support for the Islamic Republic. Their votes will count in February parliamentary elections, a litmus test of the clerical rulers’ popularity since U.S. President Donald Trump exited Iran’s nuclear deal — a step that has led to an 80% collapse in Iran’s oil exports since last year.

    Slideshow (8 Images)

    Squeezed by sanctions, Khamenei has few resources to tackle high inflation and unemployment. According to official figures, the unemployment rate is around 12.5% overall. But it is about double that for Iran’s millions of young people, who accuse the establishment of economic mismanagement and corruption. Khamenei and other officials have called on the judiciary to step up its fight against corruption.


    Officials in four provinces said the message was clear — failure to stamp out the unrest would encourage people to protest in the future.

    A local official in Karaj, a working-class city near the capital, said there were orders to use whatever force was necessary to end the protests immediately. “Orders came from Tehran,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Push them back to their homes, even by shooting them.” Local government officials declined to comment.

    Residents of Karaj said they came under fire from rooftops as Revolutionary Guards and police on motorcycles brandished machine guns. “There was blood everywhere. Blood on the streets,” said one resident by telephone. Reuters could not independently verify that account.

    In Mahshahr county, in the strategically important Khuzestan province in southwest Iran, Revolutionary Guards in armored vehicles and tanks sought to contain the demonstrations. State TV said security forces opened fire on “rioters” hiding in the marshes. Rights groups said they believe Mahshahr had one of the highest protest death tolls in Iran, based on what they heard from locals.

    “The next day when we went there, the area was full of bodies of protesters, mainly young people. The Guards did not let us take the bodies,” the local official said, estimating that “dozens” were killed.

    The U.S. State Department has said it has received videos of the Revolutionary Guards opening fire without warning on protesters in Mahshahr. And that when protesters fled to nearby marshlands, the Guards pursued them and surrounded them with machine guns mounted on trucks, spraying the protesters with bullets and killing at least 100 Iranians.

    Iran’s authorities dispute the U.S. account. Iranian officials have said security forces in Mahshahr confronted “rioters” who they described as a security threat to petrochemical complexes and to a key energy route that, if blocked, would have created a crisis in the country.

    A security official told Reuters that the reports about Mahshahr are “exaggerated and not true” and that security forces were defending “people and the country’s energy facilities in the city from sabotage by enemies and rioters.”

  • With Brutal Crackdown, Iran Convulsed by Worst Unrest in 40 Years

    The New York Times – By Carlos Christian

    December 3, 2019

    Iran is experiencing its deadliest political unrest for the reason that Islamic Revolution 40 years in the past, with no less than 180 individuals killed — and presumably a whole lot extra — as indignant protests have been smothered in a authorities crackdown of unbridled pressure.

    It started two weeks in the past with an abrupt enhance of no less than 50% in gasoline costs. Inside 72 hours, outraged demonstrators in cities giant and small have been calling for an finish to the Islamic Republic’s authorities and the downfall of its leaders.

    In lots of locations, safety forces responded by opening fireplace on unarmed protesters, largely unemployed or low-income younger males between the ages of 19 and 26, in response to witness accounts and movies. Within the southwest metropolis of Mahshahr alone, witnesses and medical personnel mentioned, Revolutionary Guard members surrounded, shot and killed 40 to 100 demonstrators — principally unarmed younger males — in a marsh the place they’d sought refuge.

    “The current use of deadly pressure in opposition to individuals all through the nation is unprecedented, even for the Islamic Republic and its document of violence,” mentioned Omid Memarian, deputy director on the Middle for Human Rights in Iran, a New York-based group.

    Altogether, between 180 to 450 individuals — presumably extra — have been killed in 4 days of intense violence after the gasoline value enhance was introduced Nov. 15, with no less than 2,000 wounded and seven,000 detained, in response to worldwide rights organizations, opposition teams and native journalists.

    The final huge wave of protests in Iran — in 2009, after a contested election, which was additionally met with a lethal crackdown — left 72 individuals lifeless over a for much longer interval of about 10 months.

    Solely now, almost two weeks after the protests have been crushed — and largely obscured by an web blackout within the nation that was lifted lately — have particulars corroborating the scope of killings and destruction began to dribble out.

    The newest outbursts not solely revealed staggering ranges of frustration with Iran’s leaders but additionally underscored the intense financial and political challenges dealing with them, from the Trump administration’s onerous sanctions on the nation to the rising resentment towards Iran by neighbors in an more and more unstable Center East.

    The gasoline value enhance, which was introduced as most Iranians had gone to mattress, got here as Iran struggles to fill a yawning finances hole. The Trump administration sanctions, most notably their tight restrictions on exports of Iran’s oil, are an enormous cause for the shortfall. The sanctions are supposed to stress Iran into renegotiating the 2015 nuclear settlement between Iran and main world powers, which President Donald Trump deserted, calling it too weak.

    Story continues

    A lot of the nationwide unrest appeared concentrated in neighborhoods and cities populated by low-income and working-class households, suggesting this was an rebellion born within the traditionally loyal energy base of Iran’s post-revolutionary hierarchy.

    Many Iranians, stupefied and embittered, have directed their hostility immediately on the supreme chief, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who known as the crackdown a justified response to a plot by Iran’s enemies at house and overseas.

    The killings prompted a provocative warning from Mir Hossein Mousavi, an opposition chief and former presidential candidate whose 2009 election loss set off peaceable demonstrations that Khamenei additionally suppressed by pressure.

    In a press release posted Saturday on an opposition web site, Mousavi, who has been below home arrest since 2011 and rarely speaks publicly, blamed the supreme chief for the killings. He in contrast them to an notorious 1978 bloodbath by authorities forces that led to the downfall of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi a yr later by the hands of Islamic revolutionaries who now rule the nation.

    “The killers of the yr 1978 have been the representatives of a nonreligious regime, and the brokers and shooters of November 2019 are the representatives of a spiritual authorities,” he mentioned. “Then the commander in chief was the shah and at the moment, right here, the supreme chief with absolute authority.”

    Authorities have declined to specify casualties and arrests and have denounced unofficial figures on the nationwide dying toll as speculative. However the nation’s inside minister, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, has cited widespread unrest across the nation.

    On state media, he mentioned that protests had erupted in 29 out of 31 provinces and 50 navy bases had been attacked — which, if true, suggests a stage of coordination absent within the earlier protests. The property injury additionally included 731 banks, 140 public areas, 9 spiritual facilities, 70 gasoline stations, 307 automobiles, 183 police vehicles, 1,076 bikes and 34 ambulances, the inside minister mentioned. Iran’s official media have reported that a number of members of the safety forces have been killed and injured throughout the clashes.

    The worst violence documented to date occurred within the metropolis of Mahshahr and its suburbs, with a inhabitants of 120,000 individuals in Iran’s southwest Khuzestan province — a area with an ethnic Arab majority that has a protracted historical past of unrest and opposition to the central authorities. Mahshahr is adjoining to the nation’s largest industrial petrochemical complicated and serves as a gateway to Bandar Imam, a significant port.

    The New York Occasions interviewed six residents of the town, together with a protest chief who had witnessed the violence; a reporter based mostly within the metropolis who works for Iranian media and had investigated the violence however was banned from reporting it; and a nurse on the hospital the place casualties have been handled.

    They every offered comparable accounts of how the Revolutionary Guard deployed a big pressure to Mahshahr on Monday, Nov. 18, to crush the protests. All spoke on situation of anonymity for worry of retribution by the Guard.

    For 3 days, in response to these residents, protesters had efficiently gained management of most of Mahshahr and its suburbs, blocking the principle street to the town and the adjoining industrial petrochemical complicated. Iran’s inside minister confirmed that protesters had gained management over Mahshahr and its roads in a televised interview final week, however the Iranian authorities didn’t reply to particular questions in current days concerning the mass killings within the metropolis.

    Native safety forces and riot cops had tried to disperse the group and open the roads however failed, residents mentioned. A number of clashes between protesters and safety forces erupted between Saturday night and Monday morning earlier than Guard members have been dispatched there.

    When the Guard arrived close to the doorway to a suburb, Shahrak Chamran, populated by low-income members of Iran’s ethnic Arab minority, they instantly shot with out warning at dozens of males blocking the intersection, killing a number of on the spot, in response to the residents interviewed by cellphone.

    The residents mentioned the opposite protesters scrambled to a close-by marsh and that certainly one of them, apparently armed with an AK-47, fired again. The Guard instantly encircled the lads and responded with machine-gun fireplace, killing as many as 100 individuals, the residents mentioned.

    The Guard piled the lifeless onto the again of a truck and departed, the residents mentioned, and kinfolk of the wounded then transported them to Memko Hospital.

    One of many residents, a 24-year-old unemployed school graduate in chemistry who had helped arrange the protests blocking the roads, mentioned he had been lower than 1 mile away from the mass capturing and that his greatest buddy, additionally 24, and a 32-year-old cousin have been among the many lifeless.

    He mentioned they each had been shot within the chest and their our bodies have been returned to the households 5 days later, solely after they’d signed paperwork promising to not maintain funerals or memorial companies and to not give interviews to media.

    The younger protest organizer mentioned he, too, was shot within the ribs Nov. 19, the day after the mass capturing, when the Guard stormed with tanks into his neighborhood, Shahrak Taleghani, among the many poorest suburbs of Mahshahr.

    He mentioned a gunbattle erupted for hours between the Guard and ethnic Arab residents, who historically hold weapons for searching at house. Iranian state media and witnesses reported {that a} senior Guard commander had been killed in a Mahshahr conflict. Video on Twitter suggests tanks had been deployed there.

    A 32-year-old nurse in Mahshahr reached by cellphone mentioned she had tended to the wounded on the hospital and that the majority had sustained gunshot wounds to the pinnacle and chest.

    She described chaotic scenes on the hospital, with households speeding to usher in the casualties, together with a 21-year-old who was to be married however couldn’t be saved. “‘Give me again my son!’” the nurse quoted his sobbing mom as saying. “‘It’s his marriage ceremony in two weeks!’”

    The nurse mentioned safety forces stationed on the hospital arrested among the wounded protesters after their situations had stabilized. She mentioned some kinfolk, fearing arrest themselves, dropped wounded family members on the hospital and fled, overlaying their faces.

    On Nov. 25, per week after it occurred, the town’s consultant in parliament, Mohamad Golmordai, vented outrage in a blunt second of searing anti-government criticism that was broadcast on Iranian state tv and captured in images and movies uploaded to the web.

    “What have you ever performed that the undignified Shah didn’t do?” Golmordai screamed from the parliament ground as a scuffle broke out between him and different lawmakers, together with one who grabbed him by the throat.

    The native reporter in Mahshahr mentioned the full variety of individuals killed in three days of unrest within the space had reached 130, together with these killed within the marsh.

    In different cities corresponding to Shiraz and Shahriar, dozens have been reported killed within the unrest by safety forces who fired on unarmed protesters, in response to rights teams and movies posted by witnesses.

    “This regime has pushed individuals towards violence,” mentioned Yousef Alsarkhi, 29, a political activist from Khuzestan who migrated to the Netherlands 4 years in the past. “The extra they repress, the extra aggressive and indignant individuals get.”

    Political analysts mentioned the protests appeared to have delivered a extreme blow to President Hassan Rouhani, a relative average in Iran’s political spectrum, all however guaranteeing that hard-liners would win upcoming parliamentary elections and the presidency in two years.

    The robust response to the protests additionally appeared to sign a hardening rift between Iran’s leaders and sizable segments of the inhabitants of 83 million.

    “The federal government’s response was uncompromising, brutal and speedy,” mentioned Henry Rome, an Iran analyst on the Eurasia Group, a political danger consultancy in Washington. Nonetheless, he mentioned, the protests additionally had “demonstrated that many Iranians usually are not afraid to take to the streets.”


  • US House of Reps Passes Resolution Condemning Iranian Government

    By Pooya Stone

    On Monday, the US House of Representatives passed a resolution to condemn the Iranian government for its crackdown on peaceful protests and support the rights of the Iranian people to freedom of expression.

    The resolution, sponsored by Theodore Deutch (D-Fl), noted that the recent Iran uprising began over a sudden hike in the price of fuel and quickly became a call for regime change. This was “the most significant anti government protests in Iran since June 2009” and the authorities cracked down violently on the protesters arresting 12,000 and killing 1,000, even shutting down the internet to prevent news of the protests and the crackdown from spreading.

    The resolution said: “Reports indicate that Iranian Government authorities have, in many instances, refused to return victims’ bodies to their families and that security forces have removed bodies from morgues and transferred them to unknown locations.”

    It quoted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had said on November 18: “The United States is monitoring the ongoing protests in Iran closely. We condemn strongly any acts of violence committed by this regime against the Iranian people and are deeply concerned about reports of several fatalities… The Islamic Republic must cease violence against its own people and should immediately restore the ability of all Iranians to access the free and open internet.”

    It was resolved that the House of Representatives stands with the Iranian people, who are engaged in legitimate and peaceful protests against an oppressive and corrupt government. It further said that the House condemns the Iranian government’s human rights abuses against the Iranian people, as well as significant corruption, and destabilizing activities abroad.

    The resolution commended the executive branch and key allies for their statements in support of the protesters and called on all democratic governments and institutions to support the Iranian people. It also urged the Administration to:

    • convene emergency sessions of the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn the ongoing human rights violations perpetrated by the Iranian authorities
    • establish a mechanism by which the Security Council can monitor such violations
    • expedite the license of communications technology to Iran to improve the ability of the Iranian people to speak freely
    • work with the international community to ensure that violations of human rights are part of all formal and informal multilateral or bilateral discussions with and regarding Iran

    The resolution said the House “respects the proud history and rich culture of the Iranian nation and fully supports efforts by the people of Iran to promote the establishment of basic freedoms that build the foundation for the emergence of a freely elected, open, and democratic political system”.

  • Iran: Nationwide Protests to Gas Prices Draws Reaction from Officials

    For the past two days, and after the abrupt announcement of increasing gas prices hikes by the government, the Iranian people poured into the streets in more than 100 cities. However, while the protests began against the government’s approval for rising fuel prices, they immediately targeted the ruling system in its entirety. Notably, after the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei defended the rising of fuel prices, protests intensified.

    “When the heads of state adopt a decision, one must look at it favorably. I’m not an expert in this field. I said this to the officials. Experts have different opinions on the issue of gasoline. Some see it as vital, and others think it’s harmful. I said I’m not an expert, but if the heads of the three branches decide on it, I will support them. That’s what I said, and I will support them.” Khamenei announced in his primary lecture on November 17.

    The nationwide protests severely terrify the Iranian rulers. In recent demonstrations in Iraq and Lebanon, they called their surrogates to crack down with showing no mercy. “We have experienced such protests in Iran, and it should be quelled forcefully,” an Iraqi security official quoted the commander of Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force Qasem Soleimani as saying.

    In this regard, the Iran-dominated government in Iraq started a brutal suppression using snipers and black masked-men against Iraqi protesters. In Lebanon, the most prominent Iran-backed group in the region, Hezbollah, attacked peaceful protesters’ rally in Beirut and torched their tents. However, the Iranian government’s plan failed to stifle widespread protests in both countries. Insofar as despite a militant suppression in Iran and the murderer of dozens of youths, protests are still going on.

    The Iranian authorities resorted to cutting off the internet to prevent the news from reaching the world. They also pursue to quell the rightful Iranian demonstrations in silence. In this context, Ali Khamenei frankly ordered his thugs to slaughter protesters justifying, “No wise person who loves his country, who loves his suitable life, mustn’t help these [protesters]. These are ‘hooligans’!” He also admitted, “Some people are worried or angry over this decision [gasoline prices hike], or it’s to a detriment, or they think it is, and they are unhappy.”

    However, the question is, despite the authorities anticipating the society’s reaction, why did they adopt this approval? Notably, the gas prices hike is taking place while discussions over this plan have been lengthened over a year in Majlis sessions. The reality is the Iranian government’s situation has never been as “difficult and complicated” as it is today. “Iran is experiencing one of its hardest years since the 1979 Islamic revolution,” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said in the city of Kerman, November 12.

    Rouhani admitted the impact of the U.S. sanctions ruined the Iranian government sponsorship of terrorism and pursuit the nuclear bomb-making program. “When the country faces problems selling oil, how are we supposed to manage the country?” Rouhani raised in the same speech in Kerman. He also stressed that his government needs oil revenue to run the country in denial of Khamenei’s remarks about the “resistance economy” and the growth of “non-petrol industries.”

    He also promised to compensate the budget deficit at the expense of the people instead of declining the wages of Iran-backed militias in neighboring countries. “Our annual budget is 450 trillion tomans (around $41 billion). We have two necessities; first, we need rials (Iran’s currency). These 450 trillion tomans… where is this money supposed to come from? Thirty percent of our country’s revenue is provided through taxes and customs. The main revenue that runs the country is oil money,” Rouhani said in Kerman.

    However, the recent nationwide protests in Iran have proven that the Iranian people will not allow the government to waste the national capital on its adventurism. While the protests started against the petrol prices hike, they followed by rejecting the state’s expansionist policies in other countries. The slogans, “Get rid of Syria, think about us,” and “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my life for Iran,” showed this truth.

    In these circumstances, given the horrible economic condition that results from government mismanagement and the squandering of national resources, more protests can be expected. Unless the authorities revoke gas prices hikes, which paves the way for grievances further than economic sectors.

  • UN Must Hold Iran Regime Accountable for 1988 Massacre, Other Human Rights Abuses – Amnesty International

    The international community must publicly condemn the deterioration in the Iranian regime’s human rights record during Iran’s upcoming review session at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on November 8, Amnesty International said on Wednesday, November 6.

    The organization urged states taking part in Iran’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to denounce the widespread human rights violations and make concrete recommendations for the Iranian authorities to address them. 

    “From horrific execution rates, to the relentless persecution of human rights defenders, rampant discrimination against women and minorities, and ongoing crimes against humanity, the catalogue of appalling violations recorded in Iran reveals a sharp deterioration in its human rights record,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. 

    “Iran’s upcoming UN human rights review session offers a crucial opportunity for the international community to send a strong and clear message to the Iranian authorities that its shocking disregard for human rights will not be tolerated 

    “It is also an opportunity for states to place increased attention on the ongoing enforced disappearance of thousands of political dissidents over the past three decades, a crime against humanity which has been overlooked for far too long by the international community.” 

    Since Iran’s human rights record was last reviewed in 2014, the level of repression by the authorities has risen significantly, Amnesty International pointed out. 

    Thousands of people have been rounded up for expressing their views or taking part in peaceful demonstrations and a vindictive crackdown has been launched against human rights defenders, including activists campaigning against forced veiling laws, in order to destroy the last vestiges of Iran’s civil society. 

    The authorities have further eroded fair trial rights and have executed more than 2,500 people, including juvenile offenders, in blatant violation of international law, Amnesty International said. 

    In a submission to the UN Human Rights Council ahead of the session, Amnesty International concluded that Iran’s regime is “failing on all fronts” when it comes to human rights. 

    The organization said Iran’s regime must lift restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, end discrimination against women and minorities, impose an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty, and end torture and other ill-treatment, unfair trials and ongoing crimes against humanity. 

    During its last review session, Iran accepted just 130 out of the 291 recommendations it received from other states. Amnesty International’s analysis indicates that the Iranian authorities have failed to deliver on the majority of those promises.   

    Iran rejected calls during its last UPR to protect the rights of human rights defenders, stop their harassment and release those imprisoned for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, Amnesty International pointed out. 

    “Instead of strengthening co-operation with civil society and human rights organizations, as Iran had pledged to do, the authorities have instead further undermined these rights, intensifying their crackdown on dissent,” said Philip Luther.   

    Those unjustly imprisoned include journalists, artists and human rights defenders including lawyers, women’s rights defenders, minority rights activists, labour rights activists, environmental activists and those seeking truth, justice and reparations for the 1988 prison massacre. 

    Some of those jailed have been given shockingly harsh prison sentences, in some cases lasting several decades. 

    Amnesty International pointed out that the authorities in Iran have a dreadful record of flouting prisoners’ right to health, deliberately denying medical care to prisoners of conscience, often as punishment, amounting to torture and other ill-treatment. Human rights defender Arash Sadeghi continues to be tortured through the denial of cancer treatment. 

    Meanwhile, in a relentless execution spree, more than 2,500 people have been put to death since Iran’s last UPR session, including at least 17 who were under 18 at the time of the crime, in flagrant violation of international law, the human rights group added. 

    The Iranian authorities also continue to commit the ongoing crime against humanity of enforced disappearance by systematically concealing the fate or whereabouts of several thousand imprisoned political dissidents who were forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in secret between July and September 1988, Amnesty International pointed out.   

  • 94th woman executed in Iran under Rouhani

    <img src=”https://www.usflhr.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/List_of_women_executed.jpg” alt=”” width=”745″ height=”309″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-3409″ />

    August 26, 2019

    in Women’s News – NCRI Women Committee

    On Sunday morning, August 25, 2019, a woman was executed in Mashhad Central Prison. This is the 94th woman executed during six years of Hassan Rouhani’s presidency.

    The Iranian regime has executed at least four women in July, alone. Including Maliheh Salehian from Miandoab who was hanged on July 16, 2019, on charges of murder in the central prison of Mahabad.

    On July 17, 2019, another female prisoner, Zahra Safari Moghadam, 43, was hanged in the Prison of Nowshahr, in northern Iran.

    Two women identified as Arasteh Ranjbar and Nazdar Vatankhah who had already spent 15 years in prison on the charge of murder and complicity in murder, were hanged at the Central Prison of Urmia at dawn on Tuesday, July 23, 2019.

    More than 3,700 people have been executed in Iran in the past six years under Rouhani’s presidency. The woman executed in Mashhad Central Prison is the 94th victim of the clerical regime’s death penalties.

    The Iranian regime is the world’s top record holder of per capita executions. It deploys the death penalty as a tool for maintaining its grab on power and for silencing a disgruntled populace the majority of whom live under the poverty line, while unemployment is rampant in the country and there is no freedom of speech.

    Rule 61 of the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules) reads, “When sentencing women offenders, courts shall have the power to consider mitigating factors such as lack of criminal history and relative non-severity and nature of the criminal conduct, in the light of women’s caretaking responsibilities and typical backgrounds.”

  • Iran Journalist Claims Asylum in Sweden After Fleeing FM’s Delegation

    By Pooya Stone

    8 AUGUST 2019- An Iranian journalist covering the Nordic trip of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif fled the delegation and applied for asylum in Sweden, according to Swedish officials on Tuesday.

    The Swedish Migration Agency reported that Amir-Tohid Fazel, an editor at Iran’s ultra-conservative news agency Moj, “applied for a residence permit in Sweden on 21 August 2019”, but didn’t provide any more details.

    In an interview with Swedish television SVT, Fazel said that one of his colleagues in Tehran had contacted him online on August 20, when he was in Sweden, and told him that “four plainclothes [agents] came to the news agency with a warrant for [his] arrest”. The colleague wanted him to tell his family so that they could leave the house.

    Why do the Iranian authorities want to arrest him? Probably because he recently published a list of Iranian officials who allegedly hold dual citizenship in nations that the Iranian government views as “hostile states”, which is a strange occurrence because Tehran doesn’t recognise dual citizenship and refuses to provide consular aid to Iranian dual nationals.

    Fazel managed to slip away from the delegation the day after he was alerted before they left Sweden, but he explained that it was difficult because the “48 bodyguards” are there to provide security for Zarif and “keep an eye on the reporters”.

    He left the hotel for a smoke just after breakfast, before Zarif was due to speak at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, and ran for blocks, before changing his clothes, ditching his SIM card and hailing a car to the nearest police station.

    He said the Iranian government has announced it will file a complaint and he doesn’t know what will happen to his family, but his wife, a teacher, has already lost her job.

    Fazel is also under fire from all sides. He is often linked to powerful hard-liners, including those in the security services. On a Facebook page bearing his name, you can see photos of him interviewing senior figures in Iran’s government, including ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and senior Iranian commanders. Indeed, the list he leaked was of officials from supposed moderate President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet, intended to portray them as potential traitors
    But his asylum claim has been described as to a “betrayal” by hard-line Kayhan newspaper, which is linked to Iran’s powerful supreme leader, who also accused him of having ties to Iran’s pro-reform journalists and political figures. Fazel does not want to talk about his political beliefs.

  • Iran Hangs 94th Woman During Rouhani Presidency

    By Pooya Stone

    27 AUGUST 2019-Iran executed a woman on Sunday in Mashhad, according to the state-run ROKNA news agency.

    The unnamed woman, who was supposedly found guilty of murder, was hanged at dawn on August 25 in the Central Prison of Mashhad.

    She was the 94th woman executed in Iran since alleged moderate Hassan Rouhani became President in 2013.

    The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) has condemned this execution, saying that the woman was the victim of the Iranian regime’s misogynist laws and policies, as well as their destruction of the economy.

    The NCRI Women’s Committee called on international human rights and women’s rights organizations to intervene to end the death penalty in Iran.

    They cited Rule 61 of the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules), which reads: “When sentencing women offenders, courts shall have the power to consider mitigating factors such as lack of criminal history and relative non-severity and nature of the criminal conduct, in the light of women’s caretaking responsibilities and typical backgrounds.”

    Iran executed at least four women in a period of eight days in July including:

    • Maliheh Salehian from Miandoab who was hanged on charges of murder in the Central Prison of Mahabad, Kurdistan on July 16

    • Zahra Safari Moghaddam, 43, who was hanged in the Prison of Nowshahr, northern Iran, on July 17

    • Arasteh Ranjbar and Nazdar Vatankhah, relatives who had already spent 15 years in prison on the charge of murder and complicity in murder, who were hanged in the Central Prison of Urmia, northwestern Iran, on July 23

    The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran Javaid Rehman said, in a report circulated to the UN General Assembly on August 16, that 2018 saw continuing violations of the Iranian people’s right to life, liberty and fair trial, with at least 253 executions of adults and children. He said that Iran’s execution rate “remains one of the highest in the world”.

    Over 3,700 people have been executed in Iran during Rouhani’s presidency. Iran is the world leader in executions per capita, deploying the death penalty as a tool to keep its shaky grasp on power and to silence a disgruntled population. Why the need to silence them? Because most of them live under the poverty line, unemployment is rampant, and there is no freedom of speech.

  • Iran Admits Christianity Is Growing Despite Repression

    By Pooya Stone

    The Iranian Intelligence Minister has publically admitted for the first time that Christianity is spreading throughout Iran.

    During a speech to several Shia Muslim clerics, Mahmoud Alavi said that “Christianity is spreading in parts of Iran”, but tried to dismiss the converts because they were ordinary Iranians “whose jobs are selling sandwiches or similar things”.

    He then told the clerics to end their infighting if they wanted to stop Iranians from converting to Christianity, noting that several converts had listed that among their reasons for converting.

    He said: “We had no choice but to summon them to ask them why they were converting. Some of them said they were looking for a religion that gives them peace. We told them that Islam is the religion of brotherhood and peace. They responded by saying that: ‘All the time we see Muslim clerics and those who preach from the pulpit talk against each other. If Islam is the religion of cordiality, then before anything else, there must be cordiality and peace among the clerics themselves.”

    He added: “It is not the job of the intelligence community to find the roots of these conversions from Islam. But it’s happening right before our eyes.”


    Iran is widely listed as one of the worst countries on earth to be a Christian, with religious freedom group Open Doors USA listing Iran as the 9th worst country for persecution of Christians.

    In order to stop Christianity spreading in Iran, Christians are banned from sharing their faith with non-Christians and church services are not allowed to be conducted in Farsi (Iran’s national language).

    Many Christians are arrested, specifically in the run-up to Christmas, and charged with vague national security crimes. International Christian Concern described this as a “Terror Factory” targeting Christians.

    The ICC said: “In Iran, any practice that contradicts Islam is regarded as a national security threat, punished severely by the court system… Christians may be looking at large fines, detention, lengthy prison sentences, or even execution under Islamic Sharia law.”

    Amnesty International, the Assyrian Policy Institute, and the United Nations have all urged the Iranian government to “respect the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” and to “quash the convictions and sentences” of those arrested merely for practising their Christian faith.

    The UN said: “This shows a disturbing pattern of individuals being targeted because of their religion or beliefs, in this case, a religious minority in the country. Members of the Christian minority in Iran, particularly those who have converted to the faith, are facing severe discrimination and religious persecution.”