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The dagger that tears at ill-fated Iranians year after year

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Bam Azadi

Translated and edited by: Banafsheh zand

A message from Mr. Hussein Boroujerdi, prisoner of conscience, who writes from his cell in Evin prison, to emphasize that the anniversary march, is not proof of the regime adequacy.

Full Text below:

Once again, the month of Bahman is upon us and the shame and scandal that tainted the pages of human history; for over thirty-five years, the obscenity and illicitness of an irrational revolution, blackened the entire area and gutted Iran from border to border.

The Decade of Fajr is the record of a inculpable nation who are punished for their devotion to God, for being true to their morality and faith’s canons; but they were so badly burned by the red hot brand of religion, that for generations to come, there will be no sign of Islam. The Shah’s rule saturated society with faith and ignited the passion for the ‘Shia family’ (Ahl al-Bayt) among people, that they gambled everything they had on the Shia authority. Keeping one’s faith became the price of the whims and perversities of the power-grabbing clergy who were and are the main reason for the downfall of religious values. And now the religion of the rulers has emptied the hearts of the people from any will to be bamboozling clerics and has filled them with hatred, revenge, contempt for anything and everything that smacks of Islam. As a result of the monarchic Mullahs ceaseless lies and the teflon accusations of the regime-run media, we have a country whose problems and troubles are unprecedented and non-existent anywhere in the world.

Today, the gangs of authoritarian regime insiders celebrate their anniversary; they gather around a sumptuous table with full and brimming pockets and then kick up their heels and dancing on the corpses of innocent peasants and a crushed nation. Expenses for the coronation ceremonies held for the supreme leader and plans for the celebrations of the revolution, along with the marching herds, is a dagger which tears at ill-fated Iranian year after year. Now I ask the world, does march somehow prove this regime adequacy? Do all those who are out on the streets of Tehran and other cities, comprise the collective voices of seventy seven million population of Iran?

The Evil murdering rulers claim that every citizen of our country is a follower and fan of their revolution! And we say that the overwhelming majority of the children of this land, systematically oppose political Islam. As proof, the December 30th, 2013 (9th of the month of Dey, 1392) rally which cost large sums of money was a show of force by the regime’s own supporters; however when the regime forces turned up in Palestine Square in Tehran and saw the embarrassingly thin turn out and real lack of support, the Basiji commander Mohammad-Reza Naghdi walked out for fear of being discredited. The fact is that if the God-hating and blasphemous regime elite do not act violently, those who oppose them and their revolution, and their so-called Republic, would pour out into the streets, so that the people of the world could get a good look at the hidden realities inside this ravaged country.

Seyyed Hossein Kazemeini-Boroujerdi

Evin Prison, Tehran, Iran

January 2014

Stuck on Death Row in Iran? Memorize the Quran and Earn Your Freedom

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Four Iranian criminals are hanged in public in the southern city of Shiraz, 950 kms (590 miles) south of Tehran, 05 September 2007. Iran executed today 21 criminals in a single day, the latest of a growing number of executions in a crackdown which officials say is aimed at improving security in society. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

vocativ.com

AUTHOR: Eric Eyges

POSTED:Feb 17, 2014 11:04 EST

Iran just let 15 death row prisoners go free because they were able to memorize the Quran.

If ever there were a time to find your way off death row in Iran, it’s right now. Judicial executions have sped up dramatically under President Hassan Rouhani. Despite his outwardly friendly appearance, he seems particularly fond of sending his citizens to the gallows. But if you’re a death row convict in the Islamic Republic, a little rote learning could be your path to freedom, because Iranian prisoners are seeing their sentences commuted, or even earning their release, by memorizing and reciting holy text.

According to Reza Sadeghi, head of Isfahan Province Endowments and Charities, 16 death row prisoners held in Central Isfahan Prison—five women and 11 men—were pardoned after they successfully memorized the Quran. Of those pardoned, 15 were released entirely, and one prisoner had his death sentence reduced to 15 years imprisonment.

Effectively, this is time off for good behavior, and entirely discretionary. At present, the policy of Quranic reprieve is more de facto than de jure; there is no law on the books in Iran specifying sentence reduction for memorizing the Quran. In reality, the decision on who among the hufaaz(a term used by modern Muslims for those who’ve memorized the entire Quran) receives a pardon may depend on a variety of factors, namely the nature of the crime and the political will of the authorities. For example, convicted rapists and political saboteurs probably have less chance of gaining their freedom than burglars or even murderers whose crimes involved no distinct political motive. According to the International Federation for Human Rights, the following crimes are punishable by death in Iran: murder, rape, child molestation, sodomy, drug trafficking, armed robbery, kidnapping, terrorism and treason…

Read full article: Stuck on Death Row in Iran? Memorize the Quran and Earn Your Freedom

Iranian Democratic Activist: I am going back to the prison tomorrow

Monday, January 6th, 2014

I am going back to the prison tomorrow By Heshmat Tabarzadi</p><br />
<p>I am going back to the prison tomorrow. A year has passed since my prison recess. Based on my calculations, of the eight years prison verdict, still 4 years are remaining. I have already been 7 years of my life in prison and Every year since 1999, I have spent some time in prison. Today, the prosecutor office called and ordered me to report back to the Rajai-Shahr prison. As I have repeatedly mentioned, because of my mother’s situation, I had agreed to be freed with the condition of remaining silent, and I maintained my silence until a few days ago.</p><br />
<p>However, the situation of the people and my country is such that I could no longer keep quiet and therefore I broke my silence. During the one year that I was out of jail, I acquired a more accurate understanding of the conditions of the Iranian society. Unfortunately, the regime has brought the nation and the country to regression as the power struggle (within the regime) continues, and the regime is responsible for the current situation.</p><br />
<p>Some of the Iranian opposition has become attached to the president Rouhani’s government, claiming that they are worried about Iran and want to avoid Iran falling in the same paths as Syria and Libya. By doing so, they have tied their own fate to the fate of the Islamic Republic. The western powers hope to bring the regime to the international community and to force it to adhere to the international principals, including human rights. The economic situation of the regime is such that it has no choice but to enter in such direction. I do not consider it impossible for the regime to be forced to follow this path. Although the ruling oligarchy shows tenacity and will not easily give up, but with the Geneva talks, it has already taken the first step. A government that does not give in to the demands of its own people has no other option but to oblige to the will of foreign powers. That is why the ruling regime subscribes to no logic but force and oppression.</p><br />
<p>Meanwhile the primary task of us Iranians is to free ourselves from the current situation and to establish human rights and secular democracy in our country. However, the ruling oligarchy with all its power is trying to avoid this path, yet it has no choice but to consent to the internationally recognized rules of law.</p><br />
<p>I also have noticed that the secular democracy movement in Iran is rapidly growing. Despite the enforced limitations on me, many secular democrat organization and individuals have contacted me, which is a sign of the growth of this movement and their kind attention to this small soldier of freedom. I believe recalling me to the prison in because of the regime’s understanding of this growth, attention and perseverance.</p><br />
<p>I am deeply committed to this cause and ask the movement to step in the direction of the staged demands such as “No to Executions and Freedom of the political prisoners”. Naturally, avoiding conflicts with one another and agreeing on common demands are necessary pre-requisites for the staged and final victories. In order to rid ourselves…, this is a serious alternative for the Iranians. Join this movement.</p><br />
<p>I understand my presence outside the prison is to the advantage of the democracy seeking movement and also would have liked to be with my family, especially next to my elderly mother, a kind and courageous lioness, but being detained along with my comrades, in another trench of struggle is also comforting. Especially that after this new imprisonment, some hypocrites can no longer claim to the international community that after the emergence of President Hassan Rouhani, Iran's human rights situation has improved. Obviously, this is my wish and I know that the present pressures has forced the regime to a step-by-step retreat, But that time is yet to come.</p><br />
<p>Presently I am in perfect health, and as long as certain conditions are not imposed on me, I am not intending to resort to hunger strike. However, if anything happens to me, be aware that its responsibility directly lies with Khamenei himself and the rulers. Once again, I ask the respected lawyers to seriously consider and follow up with the complaint against Seyed Ali Khamenei that I filed in 2011 while in prison.</p><br />
<p>I understand that with the situation facing us, and the role that this soldier of freedom has assumed, I may face serious dangers and that my well-being will depend on the efforts of all the human rights defenders.</p><br />
<p>May the chains of tyranny break , Long Live Freedom and democracy</p><br />
<p>Heshmat Tabarzadi</p><br />
<p>Chairperson of the Iranian Democratic Front</p><br />
<p>Spokesperson for the Solidarity Movement for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran</p><br />
<p>January 5, 2014 http://iroon.com/irtn/blog/3439/

Iroon.Com

Published: January 05, 2014 – 12:39 PST
Last Edited: January 05, 2014 – 12:39 PST

By Heshmat Tabarzadi
I am going back to the prison tomorrow. A year has passed since my prison recess. Based on my calculations, of the eight years prison verdict, still 4 years are remaining. I have already been 7 years of my life in prison and Every year since 1999, I have spent some time in prison. Today, the prosecutor office called and ordered me to report back to the Rajai-Shahr prison. As I have repeatedly mentioned, because of my mother’s situation, I had agreed to be freed with the condition of remaining silent, and I maintained my silence until a few days ago.However, the situation of the people and my country is such that I could no longer keep quiet and therefore I broke my silence. During the one year that I was out of jail, I acquired a more accurate understanding of the conditions of the Iranian society. Unfortunately, the regime has brought the nation and the country to regression as the power struggle (within the regime) continues, and the regime is responsible for the current situation.

Some of the Iranian opposition has become attached to the president Rouhani’s government, claiming that they are worried about Iran and want to avoid Iran falling in the same paths as Syria and Libya. By doing so, they have tied their own fate to the fate of the Islamic Republic. The western powers hope to bring the regime to the international community and to force it to adhere to the international principals, including human rights. The economic situation of the regime is such that it has no choice but to enter in such direction. I do not consider it impossible for the regime to be forced to follow this path. Although the ruling oligarchy shows tenacity and will not easily give up, but with the Geneva talks, it has already taken the first step. A government that does not give in to the demands of its own people has no other option but to oblige to the will of foreign powers. That is why the ruling regime subscribes to no logic but force and oppression.

Meanwhile the primary task of us Iranians is to free ourselves from the current situation and to establish human rights and secular democracy in our country. However, the ruling oligarchy with all its power is trying to avoid this path, yet it has no choice but to consent to the internationally recognized rules of law.

I also have noticed that the secular democracy movement in Iran is rapidly growing. Despite the enforced limitations on me, many secular democrat organization and individuals have contacted me, which is a sign of the growth of this movement and their kind attention to this small soldier of freedom. I believe recalling me to the prison in because of the regime’s understanding of this growth, attention and perseverance.

I am deeply committed to this cause and ask the movement to step in the direction of the staged demands such as “No to Executions and Freedom of the political prisoners”. Naturally, avoiding conflicts with one another and agreeing on common demands are necessary pre-requisites for the staged and final victories. In order to rid ourselves…, this is a serious alternative for the Iranians. Join this movement.

I understand my presence outside the prison is to the advantage of the democracy seeking movement and also would have liked to be with my family, especially next to my elderly mother, a kind and courageous lioness, but being detained along with my comrades, in another trench of struggle is also comforting. Especially that after this new imprisonment, some hypocrites can no longer claim to the international community that after the emergence of President Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s human rights situation has improved. Obviously, this is my wish and I know that the present pressures has forced the regime to a step-by-step retreat, But that time is yet to come.

Presently I am in perfect health, and as long as certain conditions are not imposed on me, I am not intending to resort to hunger strike. However, if anything happens to me, be aware that its responsibility directly lies with Khamenei himself and the rulers. Once again, I ask the respected lawyers to seriously consider and follow up with the complaint against Seyed Ali Khamenei that I filed in 2011 while in prison.

I understand that with the situation facing us, and the role that this soldier of freedom has assumed, I may face serious dangers and that my well-being will depend on the efforts of all the human rights defenders.

May the chains of tyranny break , Long Live Freedom and democracy

Heshmat Tabarzadi

Chairperson of the Iranian Democratic Front

Spokesperson for the Solidarity Movement for Democracy and Human Rights in Iran

Spying from the belly of the beast!

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

      

A touching review on my book ‘A Time to Betray‘:

By: Helen E. Faria

www.haciendapub.com

This is one of the most heartrending, and at the same time, enthralling accounts I have ever read of courage, dissimulation and personal suffering in the genre of espionage memoirs. This is the story of a courageous man, who justly betrays and risks his life (and that of his family) to fight surreptitiously against the cruelties and injustices of the ruling government of his native country — Iran. This book struck a personal cord with me because it reminded me of painful and regretful similarities that beset my own family in my native country, Cuba, just before and after of the Revolution that brought to power the dictator Fidel Castro and his brother Raul in 1959.

As a very young child, I remember various members of my family arguing passionately but amicably for and against the dictatorial government of Cuban President, Fulgencio Batista, his coup and dictatorship, his trampling on the legendary Constitution of 1940, the lack of political rights, the cruel imprisonment and even systematic torture of rebels captured while fighting against his regime (an opposition in which my own parents played a clandestine part), etc. I remember one my great uncles arguing and warning us about the malevolent changes the triumph of the revolutionary “barbudos” could bring about — but my parents did not listen, and came to regret it! After the triumph of the Revolution in 1959 and the establishment of communism in Cuba, there was indeed drastic “change,” but this militated change was for the worse — the inception of a culture of deception, oppression, and horror, and there would no longer be friendly political discussions among families, but only mistrust, dissimulation, and fear.

Eerily, the same thing happened in far away Iran in 1979 with the fall of the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the takeover of Iran by the mullahs and Ayatollah Khomeini, and the inception of a brutal Islamic Republic. Our hero, young Reza Kahlili (a pseudonym) was brought up in a close, prosperous family in Teheran. He remembers the “good old days” of traditional festivities, gatherings, his loving grandfather patriarch defending the ruling Shah of Iran, his ruling dynasty, and the old Persian mores in amicable and engaging conversations among family members. Living in such a warm and jovial atmosphere, Reza, could not have imagine the horrific changes that would be brought about so rapidly in Iranian society with the advent of the “Islamic Republic,” which he joined with excitement after returning to Iran from studying abroad in California.

Nor could he have ventured to guess that most of his family and closest childhood friends would so soon be devoured by the Revolution and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, in which he compliantly served the tyranny. The proverb says “be careful what you wish for; you might just get it.” Alas, that is what happened for those who wanted change in Cuba and Iran, deriding and helping to overthrow Batista in Cuba and the Shah in Iran by revolution. Many of those citizens would end up crushed by Castro and the Ayatollah — who were significantly worse tyrannical figures than their predecessors. And the tragic concatenations that followed in both countries in their wake have not yet ended!

But let us now part from the comparison and focus on Iran and our hero, the subjects of this book. This is an excellent tome, expertly written, personal, passionate, and although it reads fast, like a suspense thriller, it also has interspersed background material recounting brief episodes in the history of Iran that are necessary to the narrative. For example, we learn the Iranians had mixed feelings about (and many resented) the British and Americans, among other reasons, because of interference in their nation’s affair. For example, in 1953 those governments, using the CIA as a vehicle, helped overthrow the democratically elected president of Iran, a (militant) nationalist, Muhammad Mussadegh, who had nationalized the oil industry, and had forced the Shah (a friend of the West) to flee the country.

It is also of historic interest that, as I remember a few years back in 2007, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, defending his country’s right to a nuclear program, stated, “the country of Iran was heir to a great empire and home to a 2,500-year civilization.” I was surprised at the statement, as I always thought the conquests of Mohammed and the religious and cultural revolution of the 7th century, imposed by the victorious Arabs on the conquered Sassanid Persians, had resulted in a new and distinct Islamic nation. Moreover, with the fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty, the last Persian monarchy, the drastic changes brought about by the revolution of 1979, and the inception of an Islamic Republic (a virtual theocracy), had brought about yet another distinct nation. Iranians have a long history as Persians and speak Farsi. Arabs have a more recent civilization, attaining historical distinction with the conquests of Mohammed and speak Arabic. I was gratified that Reza’s loving grandfather and many other more secular Iranians, cognizant of their heritage, agree with my cultural interpretation. These Iranian nationalist and traditionalists think of themselves heir to a distinct but vanishing Persian civilization that had been suppressed culturally by Arab Islamism, and more recently politically with the tyranny of the mullahs and the ayatollahs.

I will not reveal the heartrending stories of cruelty and betrayal, as well as dissimulation and courage, that revolve precariously around our hero Reza, who, as a member of the feared Iranian Revolutionary Guard, courageously spied against the cruel regime he ostensibly served. Suffice to say, the brutality of the regime against his friends and the Iranian people changed him into leading a double life, spying for the CIA for over a decade. Among the information Reza provided to the CIA was vital intelligence that probably prevented the collapse of the Saudi government. The Iranians had planned to use the hajj, the religious pilgrimage that Moslems must make to Mecca, to stage a coup d’etat. Armaments were sent for the hajj, but most of these were intercepted and many of the militants arrested beforehand, foiling the insurrection. Other information was communicated to the U.S. at great peril, but not necessarily used properly by the American government, which was bent on placating the mullahs through various administrations.

The double life took its toll, but Reza persisted in his clandestine espionage with the thought of bringing about genuinely real change for the betterment, the attainment of freedom, and improving the life of his countrymen. How he did his self-appointed mission, and how he survived spying at great personal risk from within the belly of the infernal beast are the enthralling subjects of this book.

Without reservations, this heartrending thriller is highly recommended for those who enjoy non-fiction thrillers, recent history, and passionate espionage accounts. Be ready to stay anxiously at the edge of your seat and hold back irrepressible tears of commiseration, sorrow and outrage! I assign it a 5-star rating.

Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D. is the author of Cuba in Revolution — Escape from a Lost Paradise (2002) and of other books and numerous articles on politics, espionage, and history, including “Stalin’s Mysterious Death” (2011), “The Political Spectrum — From the Extreme Right and Anarchism to the Extreme Left and Communism” (2011); “America, Guns and Freedom” (2012);”Violence, Mental Illness, and the Brain — A Brief History of Psychosurgery” (2013), etc., all posted at his website haciendapublishingdotcom

***

Also Read:

CIA
The Intelligence Officer’s Bookshelf
Compiled and Reviewed by Hayden B. Peake

Los Angeles Times
Former CIA spy advocates overthrow of Iranian regime
By: David Zucchino / July 6, 2012

CNN
Ex-soldier in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard writes of life as CIA spy
By: Elise Labott, CNN Senior State Department Producer
July 10, 2010

Forbes
Q&A With Reza Kahlili, Iranian Double Agent.
By: Hannah Elliott / May 20, 2010

Washington Post
David Ignatius reviews ‘A Time to Betray,’ the memoir of an Iranian double agent
By: David Ignatius / April 11, 2010

For all reviews on A Time to Betray, please visit: Praise & reviews

Iranian Actress Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Iranian actress Pegah Ahangarani is the daughter of actress and director Manijeh Hekmat and movie director Jamshid Ahangarani.

Iranian actress Pegah Ahangarani is the daughter of actress and director Manijeh Hekmat and movie director Jamshid Ahangarani.

RFE/RL

October 29, 2013

An Iranian actress and filmmaker has reportedly been sentenced to 18 months in prison on security charges.

According to the state news agency IRNA, the sentence against 24-year-old Pegah Ahangarani was issued because of her social activities and political comments, as well as interviews she gave to foreign media.

Ahangarani’s mother, Manijeh Hekmat, who is also a director, said her daughter’s sentence will be appealed.

Ahangarani was twice detained in the past, although she was released without charge — once during opposition protests over the 2009 reelection of former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, and the second time in 2011.

She has been banned from traveling abroad.

She has professed her support for new Iranian President Hassan Rohani, a relative moderate who has expressed more tolerant views on social and cultural issues.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

Iran: Four Christians sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking communion wine

Friday, October 25th, 2013

wine communion

thegatewaypundit.com

Posted by Jim Hoft on Thursday, October 24, 2013, 9:06 PM

Four Iranian Christians were sentenced to 80 lashes for drinking wine during a Communion service.
NCR-Iran reported:

A court in the Iranian city of Rasht has sentenced four members of the Church of Iran denomination to 80 lashes each for drinking wine during a communion service.

The verdict, dated 6 October, charges Behzad Taalipasand, Mehdi Reza Omidi (Youhan), Mehdi Dadkhah (Danial) and Amir Hatemi (Youhanna) with drinking alcohol and possession of a receiver and satellite antenna. They received the verdict on 20 October and have ten days to appeal the sentence.

Behzad Taalipasand and Mehdi Reza Omidi (Youhan) were detained on 31 December 2012 during a crackdown on house churches by the Iranian government.

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said: “The sentences handed down to these members of the Church of Iran effectively criminalise the Christian sacrament of sharing in the Lord’s Supper and constitute an unacceptable infringement on the right to practice faith freely and peaceably. We urge the Iranian authorities to ensure that the nation’s legal practices and procedures do not contradict its international obligation under the International Convent on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to guarantee the full enjoyment of freedom of religion or belief by all of its religious communities.”

Hat Tip Banafsheh Zand

Iran turns on the charm for international audience, as its bloody clampdown continues at home

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

By Lisa Daftari

FoxNews.com
rouhani.jpg

Sept. 24, 2013: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in this file photo. (AP)

While the new Iranian regime is busy trying to convince the outside world it is moderate, Tehran has clamped down even harder on human rights and stepped up public executions in recent weeks.

An estimated 560 people have been executed in Iran this year, including as many as 250 since President Hasan Rouhani took office in August, according to human rights advocates. In the two weeks between Sept. 11 and Sept. 25, Iranian officials hanged a record 50 people, mostly for drug offenses, according to International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

“While Rouhani was promoting a softer image of Iran internationally during his visit to New York two weeks ago, it was business as usual on the domestic front with scores of prisoners put to death following unfair trials,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “Since Rouhani’s inauguration, the increasing number of prisoners being sent to the gallows is indefensible.”

One man who was hanged last month for a drug offense — but survived his first encounter with the rope — was nursed back to health only to be hanged again, this time until he was dead.

“We found him alive again, which made his two daughters very happy,” family members of 37-year-old Alireza M. told state-run Iranian media before the man was executed on the second attempt.

The brutality continues even as the Iranian regime continues its quest to appease the west and to make concessions on its nuclear program to six world powers in Geneva this week. Rouhani ran his campaign as a moderate and vowed to divert his course from the abusive and harsh government of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

This week, Iranian officials met with the P5+1 nations in Geneva to come to a resolution regarding Tehran’s ongoing nuclear program, which the nation still insists is for peaceful purposes.

During the two-day conference, Iran put forth a plan offering concessions over its nuclear program in exchange for economic relief from sanctions imposed by the West. No immediate resolutions were reached, according to diplomats, but follow-up talks have been scheduled for early November.

Last month, Rouhani made his first trip to the U.S., traveling with his envoy to New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly.  Even before landing on U.S. soil, Rouhani had begun a charm offensive, suggesting one-on-one negotiations with the U.S. would be a possibility after three decades. His trip to New York ended with an unprecedented phone call between him and President Obama.

But the phone conversation is not believed to have touched on human rights violations, despite the fact that Iran’s prisons are filled with journalists, bloggers, political activists, Christians and Bahai’s who have been arrested and are being held for compromising national security or going against the teachings of Islam.

Iran currently has the highest rate of executions per capita, putting more people to death annually than any nation except China. Prisoners are routinely denied medical treatment, proper nutrition, and even family visits, according to reports from inside the regime.

This week, many were expecting the prisoners who were held for their involvement in the so-called Green Revolution of 2009 to be released out of clemency for the Eid holiday. However, Iran’s judiciary spokesperson, Mohsen Ejei, announced that prisoners would not be released.

Although some 80 prisoners were released with fanfare just before Rouhani’s trip to the UN last month, cynics now believe that, too, was merely part of the charm offensive of Rouhani, who may not even be in a position to change the nation’s hardline approach. Most of the vital political and religious decisions made by the Iranian regime are ultimately the say of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Also this week, Maryam Naqash Zargaran was sentenced to four years for practicing her Christian faith. She has been accused of “activities and propaganda” against the regime and provoking the public to create unrest by establishing church houses.

Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini is still being held in Iran for practicing his Christian faith. He has been sentenced to eight years and has consistently been denied proper medical treatment for his injuries sustained by regular prison beatings, according to his family and attorneys. Amir Hekmati, a former U.S. Marine, has been sentenced to death for ‘spying for the US’ when he was visiting his family in Iran.

The two Americans are among thousands who human rights advocates say are languishing in prisons for nothing more than their beliefs.

 

Lisa Daftari is an Iranian journalist and Fox News contributor.

 

Students suspicious of young woman’s alleged suicide

Monday, October 14th, 2013

RadioZamaneh

Sun, 10/13/2013 – 17:41

The death of a female student at Bouali Hamadani University has led to a student sit-in at the university, with students demanding accurate information about the incident.

The Kordpa website reports that on Sunday October 13, hundreds of students gathered at the university to call on officials to provide a true account of what happened to their peer.

The university administration has so far reported that Sahar Choveini, a 19-year-old student from Marivan, committed suicide. Kordpa reports that the coroner has not yet released an official report.

One of the students reportedly told a Kordpa reporter that they do not believe the victim committed suicide. The victim reportedly died at the dorm when all other residents were away for the weekend. The student claimed that the facts surrounding the death “remain suspicious.”

Kordpa reports that the victim’s body was discovered by her friends on Friday morning, the day after her death.

Top cleric slams conditions on opposition leaders’ release

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

RadioZamaneh

Sat, 10/12/2013
Karroubi, Mousavi & Rahnavard

Iranian senior cleric Ayatollah Ali Mohammad Dastgheib has criticized placing conditions on the release of Iran’s Green Movement leaders and other political prisoners.

The Masjed Ghoba website, run by supporters of Ayatollah Dastgheib in Shiraz, reports that the senior cleric has heard of the imminent release of MirHosein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi and other political prisoners on Eid Ghadir next week but he also has heard that conditions have been put on their release.

Ayatollah Dastgheib has been quoted as saying: “Apparently they have promises that on Eid Ghadir, Mr. Mousavi and his wife and Hojjatoleslam Karroubi and other political prisoners, who have been jailed and put under house arrest for years for no reason, will be released. But they have also apparently put some conditions such as people are not to create disturbances and the country should not fall into chaos.” The senior cleric goes on to add: “What have our people done but to pray for this release, and now that their prayers have been answered, the youth, as they should, may want to celebrate and be joyful. This is not throwing the country into chaos.”

Ayatollah Dastgheib is one of the top clergy that, despite his position in the Assembly of Experts, has been very critical of the government’s crackdown on protesters following the 2009 election and he has repeatedly called for the release of Mousavi, Karroubi and Rahnavard, who have been under house arrest since February 2011.

Since Hassan Rohani won the presidential election this year, there has been great hope that the opposition leaders and other political prisoners will be released.

Officials recently announced that the file of the three detained leaders had been forwarded to the Supreme National Security Council, and a pro-reformist figure has been appointed to head the Council.

Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lawyer and Nobel Peace laureate, has said, however, that this is not a positive development and it will continue to keep these cases beyond the reach of law. She stresses that these leaders should be given the chance to face the charges against them in an open and impartial court.

The leaders have not been formally charged and have been simply cut off from the public and their families by being put under house arrest.

Five Iranian Revolutionary Guards Reported Killed In Kurdish Area

Friday, October 11th, 2013

RFE/RL

October 11, 2013

Areport from an Iranian news agency says five members of the elite Revolutionary Guards have been killed by an armed group.

The Fars news agency said the deaths occurred on October 10 in the Kurdish Baneh region, in the northwest of Iran.

It said that in addition to the five killed, two soldiers were wounded.

No group was named as being responsible for the fighting. No other confirmation of the report was available.

In April 2012, rebel Kurd militants in the same region were blamed for killing four Revolutionary Guards.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

EU calls for release of Christian pastor in Iran

Friday, October 11th, 2013

RadioZamaneh

Fri, 10/11/2013 – 15:32

The European Union Parliament issued a statement on Thursday October 10, urging the Iranian government to release Saeed Abedini, the Iranian Christian pastor now in jail.

The statement calls for the immediate release of Abedini and all other prisoners who are jailed for their religious beliefs.

The statement also expressed concerns about Abedini’s possible “physical and psychological abuse” in jail.

Abedini holds both Iranian and U.S. citizenship and was arrested when he travelled to Iran last year “to visit his family and follow up on the establishment of an orphanage.” He has been given an eight-year prison sentence for security charges.

“Homosexuals and devil worshippers” arrested in Iran

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

RadioZamaneh

Thu, 10/10/2013
Kermanshah Prison

The Kermanshah Revolutionary Guards have reported on their website the arrest of a group of “homosexuals and devil worshipers.”

The report from the Revolutionary Guards in the northwestern Iranian province indicates that the target group also consisted of a number of foreign nationals including citizens of Iraq and other regional nationalities.

The Kermanshah Revolutionary Guards website adds that “the group was gathered at one of the city’s halls, pretending to be celebrating a birthday, and was dancing … when they were arrested and handed over to the appropriate authorities.”

The report also indicates that “the group consisted of eight homosexual individuals that had been married.”

The Mehr News Agency published a similar report about the arrest of a “homosexual and devil worshipping gang.”

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