Friday, November 20, 2009

Lead Article:KURDISTAN WILL NOT BE EXECUTED

Saeed Valadbaygi

The most difficult moment of last week that was heartfelt by everyone was the execution of a hardworking activist. The Islamic Republic executed Ehsan Fattahian, one of Kurdistan’s tall and proud youth. Ehsan was of a working class family in the province of Kermanshah in western Iran, who was arrested and sentenced to death for his political struggle as member of a Marxist group in Kurdistan. His execution made people worldwide protest once again against organized crime in the name of killing political prisoners.
The execution of political and civil prisoners in the Islamic Republic has a 30 year history. But in recent days the wave of concern provoked among the people and human rights activists has reached an international level. The executions and death sentences issued against the detainees have prompted the question: Is another wave of executions imminent? How far can the government continue in this path and what is the purpose of these executions and what does the Islamic Republic hope to gain from this?

Ehsan Fattahian, a poltical activist in Kurdistan was executed on Wednesday last week. Shirko Moarefi and Habib-Allah Latifi, two other political activists are in danger of execution now. One woman and 11 more men, also in Kurdistan languish in prison with the burden of a death sentence. These executions are designed to create an atmosphere of terror in society and hold back the people from the streets in an effort to stabilize the system after the electoral coup d’etat. The Islamic Republic that today faces a big challenge by the name of the people’s revolution against their rulers, has no choice but such encounters. This way of suppressing for us who remember as a lesson for the current revolution, the first years of the 1357 (1979) revolution, is very familiar. In those years too, the Islamic Republic went to war with people with the same vast wave of imprisonment and execution of political prisoners in order to take control of social and political conditions in Iran.

Each day and each month a list of political executions in the prisons of Iran was announced on the radio and in newspapers. Their crime was warring with God. But today after 30 years of the Islamic Republic many men and women throughout Iran are strung by the same title and sent to the gallows. But these days the executed and those who have in effect fought God and his representatives on earth are the people’s heroes and symbols of political and religious tyranny in Iran. Just as we saw with Ehsan Fattahian , who for the crime of membership of a Marxist-Leninist group, they imprisoned and in the end killed. A few days later at Tehran University, a gathering of people in their hundreds took place in commemoration of him. People attacked the government and all its factions with all their might and fitting to the political balance in society and in recent months they have shown that this movement will not die even if people like Moussavi and Karroubi stay silent in the face of such proceedings. Recent executions have posed a very clear question to reformist leaders in Iran and that was their stance on the death sentences. In another respect the recent executions showed that people like Moussavi, Karroubi, Khatami and…not only have no clear answer regarding the execution of political prisoners and the death penalty overall, but in defending the integrity of the Islamic Republic, have been and are accomplices in these killings. That these men don’t have actual power is a much debated subject of recent months, but silence when the people on the streets and even bazaars in groups and various organizations have expressed their condemnation of this murder conviction, showed their apparent complicity in the face of such a crime.

This movement is a vibrant and human flow against the mass execution of people, for the freedom of women, and the welfare of workers. A flow that has seen two revolutions and a few blatant hidden coups against it. Our people have been the victims of the political and military games of political powers in the region and the world, from the Constitutional Revolution to the 28 Mordad coup (1953) and finally the ’57 revolution (1979) and the 30 year protests against the Islamic Republic. But the recent protests have been unique in several aspects. This movement is very aware and gripping in the sense that you can simultaneously be a female university student who for her own livelihood needs a worker for long hours, and takes a stand against the integrity of discriminatory norm and have tasted prison for her crime, and the latent representative of the women’s movement, the student, the worker, the political prisoners or one of thousands of the Islamic Republic’s unique phenomena. It’s enough to be on the streets of Iran to hear the most profound political and social language of the masses. You should be among the people to hear the depth of hostility in the movement for a secular and equal society. It’s enough to take a few steps in the surge of the crowd to see the depth of solidarity and unity for change in the political governance of Iran. Even if the executions continue, they will not only fail to succeed in keeping the people back, but rather will drive stronger nails into the Islamic Republic’s coffin. The people of Kurdistan have in recent months been less present in the scene of protests. The reasons for this must be explored in another discussion. But that which is clear to all is that Kurdistan is the hub of the radical revolutionary movement and has long been at the centre of political upheaval in Iran. As long as this trend against the honourable people of this immense part of Iran continues, a great force will hit the streets and this ultimately is not to the benefit of the Islamic Republic.

Homophobia and Islamic Fundamentalism in Iran

Sepehr Masakeni
From Khiaban #52

In this article I want to ask: What is the sexual regime in Iran? and What is the link between homophobia and fundamentalists in Iran? If I were to describe this matter in the abstract, in my opinion Iranian fundamentalists’ homophobia is based on the relationship between religion and technology. The nature of a prevailing sexual ideology, like its reproductive idea suppresses the very idea of homosexuality

First let's take a look at Islamic fundamentalism and raise areas and look into the roots of it. You may suspect that homosexual behavior by Iranians would come from their homosexuality tendencies. This would be a rational thought, that homosexual desire is free in Iran rather than modern Western societies. This behavior can be easily seen in a part of the religious class of Iran's religious government. However with these homoerotic behaviors, what place is there for homosexuality in Iran, repression and denial of its very existence? This confusion stands out when the three punishments are taken into consideration; burning at the stake, throwing from a cliff and destroying a long wall over the accused to homosexuality.

The separation of emotional and sexual actions (sodomy) alone would not be efficient in solving this problem. Action by Islamic fundamentalists in Iran is not just the prosecution and punishment of those who are active. Islamic fundamentalism uses modern tools and knowledge for monitoring and controlling the community rather than its traditional function which was only focused on sodomy and the pursuit this matter in more subtle ways. A police project entitled "Combating social corruption" calling patrols "Guidance police" - the equivalent of the moral police in fascist societies are examples of the conflict with Islamic fundamentalism and cultural signs, gay connection with the sexual interaction as homosexual or to quote them “deviated” acts. The unfortunate link between Islamic fundamentalism as a sequence of industrial society techniques has brought a difficult situation upon homosexuals sexual which has created a particular basis and must be indigenous to a new understanding. Modern perspectives provide a way for understanding this issue, and more importantly the understanding the situation inside Iran. This article attempts to better that understanding based on pre-knowledge of the situation described above whereby they techniques and values of capitalist society to religious hatred is linked homosexual tendencies and has created multiple hatred.

Here we will consider two questions: The nature of Islamic fundamentalism in Iran as a regime's sexual nature and according to what the regime in Iran is based, sexuality and other problem is that what political solution can be offered to deal with this regime?

Religious fundamentalism and Islamic fundamentalism especially the Shi’ite kind has evangelic trends regenerating religious point of views. But unlike other religious fundamentalists’ emphasis on sacred experience, the emphasis here is the literal interpretation of religious text and religious command according to religious writings. Running such commands will resort to power, so this close relationship with fundamentalism calls for close relationship with politics. In order to achieve this holy idea, Shiite fundamentalist have no second though on resorting to the unholy. Political Islam is a model of relationship between religion and modernity in which part of modernity obtained and another part is neglected; meaning the focus on power and technique will be obtained and focused on individual freedom is the set aside and neglected.

If we accept modernity the two forces and rationality are hand in hand meaning the flexibility that modern moral values such as freedom and rationality, is related to the disciplinary tool and controlling nature, modern contribution to the Shiite religious fundamentalists would be disciplinary rationality meaning full force can be focused on monitoring the implementation of his holy orders. Therefore must not be surprised if the Taliban uses modern technologies and the Islamic Republic following nuclear technology, nanotechnology and other technologies to control public opinion and the media, and filtering technologies and to provide this type of development competition, but has no regards to the civil rights and freedom, and even ridicules democracy. This contradiction is not in conflict behavior of fundamentalists but is in modernity that leads to this dichotomy in developing countries. But the nature of fundamentalism has no dichotomy. It's nature can have a form of fundamentalism automation called holy orders. Meaning an automatic force that without internal deepening goes after enforcement of the sacred texts and tools.

Part of the rules that must be ran by fundamentalist in the field of sentences is about gender. Shiite fundamentalists carefully run all that ends up to sexualization. Gender separation plan in public environments, such as public transportation, recreational and creating a separate tracks and sport environments, separation of academic environment such as college campuses, even, and many other resort to legal idea which is based on privacy of the two sexes and the intensity of it help rule out sexual tensions outside of marriage. Therefore, the mentioned sexualized environment bring s about homoerotic tendencies in men and women. In such environment the lack of space may be marked with the traditional sexual behavior in some traditional matters can be seen as homosexual tendencies. It seems possible that the environment over homosexual contact is seen more than modern societies and might surprise passengers from the west.

But such tendencies can be seen more often in more growing traditional atmosphere of before the revolution. Such ignorance of environmental aspects, will loos it's color after the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in order to monitor social conduct. Homophobia is the traditional Islamic fundamentalism and is also the ultimate goal of growth automation fundamentalists. To obtain a tool for monitoring social rationality is now time for round two which is homophobia awareness. That is seen in it's first goal of the following divine orders. Homosexual desire for sexual theology is one of the highest ranked crimes after manslaughter, and the only crime that is worthy of burning in fire is sodomy. On the other hand this fundamentalism with it's modern equipments goes after minimal signs of homosexuality. Part of a project called "social security" which police official formally followe any signs homosexuality.

A transsexual friend was forced to change his appearance after several arrests and harassments to rescue himself from moral police's tracking and prosecution. My homosexual friend was arrested for having long hair. He was undressed at the time of interrogation, to identify the signs of homosexuality on his body. His shaved body was identified as a problem and brought up more investigation upon him that a so-called male-oriented being can not have such physical appearances. Another homosexual was tortured in the most deceitful way, he hes and hair was urinated o before he was freed from prison.

Sexual characteristics is of the fundamentalist Muslim regime of sexual role differentiation and is identified based on physical appearances. Often thought to leading technology in the field of sex-exchange iran would be pro as for their rights. Closer analysis of the sexual behavior of the Islamic Republic regime is clear is that the issue is not their rights, but the damage that trans-sexualism brings upon a person's ideology. In the film, “be like the rest” the director describes this situation so that this sex-change is a way of maintaining the boundary of sexual identity, re-established the male and female androgyny. Otherwise, all the foundations of Islamic jurisprudence that defines rights and gender assignments will fall apart and from this respect homosexuality tear apart their standards and beliefs. A gay woman or man is pleased with hers/his sexuality and des not see the solution in sex-change, nor do they see any scientific or medical problems with their behavior, they only desire their same sexes body and company which itself disrupts the Islamic jurisprudence. For example, about a woman or a man is clear is that much blood money, inheritance is how much, What are the prayer, job rights and other issues. In fact, most sentences read jurisprudence must first ask if the subject is a woman or man. This is the default question. If it is a medical based gender deficiency and to find based on Islamic jurisprudence and what is the topic of constraint and is not subject to involuntary circumstances what is their right? In homosexual's case it seems like the jurisprudence seems to undergo crisis if the gender cannot be identified. But medical came to rescue Shiite jurisprudence and introduces technology to the Shiite fundamentalists which defines the gender can be changed with an operation. So this could be a misunderstanding the rational regime of Iran to the Shiite fundamentalists has been transformed to a paradise for homosexuals. But this has caused by conflict with the jurisprudence has faces and political Islam has tried to solve with the use of modern technology.

In this example the need for supervision and discipline can also be seen in the sexual regime of fundamentalists against their traditional self is not only sodomy, though is any indication that the Islamic regime can suffer damages. Be it the brand of clothing, the makeup and eyebrows or the shaved skin of some boys. homophobia in today's Iran has created the most difficult form of repression to provide sexual tendencies.

Movement for a Solution

In Iran speaking of the rights of sexual minorities is harder than being gay. Indeed, if homosexuality itself has consequences, defending sexual actions particularly is considered corruption on earth and its sentence categorically execution. With regards to pornography websites such as Avizoon the police are responsible for the prosecution and detention of web authors - writing about sex in addition to torture and filmed confessions, being accused of corruption on earth, guarantees severe punishment for them. "Homosexuality" is also cited in their charges. In this climate homosexual rights activists’ task is clear. To those who have been active in this field in Iran it is also clear that the smallest mistake could be your last mistake and with no time for resistance. So activity for the overthrowal of such a regime in Iran may seem impossible.

All activities in the field of homosexual rights and minorities campaigns are to be underground. So the main activities in this are in virtual spaces where they can be written about. The Internet is where new forms of gay identity have grown and alongside them activist gay writers provide other norms to the reader which affects the harvest of traditional homophobia. Although this effect is limited today, homophobia awareness begins with the Internet.

The Iranian regime's fear of sexual libido and resorting to the most modern tools of repression has meant that even

this last trench of resistance is not to be expected. The Whirlpool Corps project which was created to suppress and stop such sexual websites is an example of gender planning of modern Islamic fundamentalism which does anything to not only undermine indications of sexual interactions, can also be seen in the indictment of other porn sites and blogs recently presented to the court. At the moment the only safe form of resistance that has remained with the link to external forces knowledgeable about the regime of sexual activity as well as linking to other streams of radical acts. Today such activity continues in spite of all the difficulties and bureaucracy, and however gradual, this path is being pursued by Iranian sexual minorities’ rights activists.

Iran artists in tug of war with government


Scheherezade Faramarzi

Iran's greatest master of traditional music, Mohammad Reza Shajarian, always avoided open clashes with his country's ruling hard-line clerics.

So it was a bombshell when Shajarian — so revered that his audiences pelt him with roses — demanded state radio and TV stop broadcasting his music as a protest against the government. The state broadcaster complied.

What pushed Shajarian into action was the government's brutal crackdown on protests over the June 12 election that Shajarian and millions of other Iranians believe fraudulently gave a second term to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"After what happened, I said 'no way' and threatened to file a complaint against them if they continued to use my music," Shajarian told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

Iran's political turmoil has raised a culture clash as hundreds of musicians, actors, filmmakers, poets and writers have spoken out against the government for its suppression of dissent and arrest of thousands. In a particular embarrassment to the government, the filmmaker daughter of Ahmadinejad's own culture adviser sought asylum in Germany in October, citing the crackdown at home.

The government has responded by accusing artists of falling prey to foreign "enemies" and by stepping up pressure for their work to toe its ideological line. More than 100 artists have had their works banned or have been prevented from traveling abroad. Others have been detained.

Ahmadinejad's art adviser, Javad Shamaqdari, last summer threatened to ban artists from film festivals. "The enemy, which has been thwarted in its plans for a velvet coup, is trying to keep up the fever of their subversive activities at foreign art and cinematic events," he said in Tehran.

One TV producer says that since the election, authorities have unofficially barred actors who are considered unacceptable from appearing on shows.

"They tell us 'give us a list of artists you want to use.' When we give them the list, they say 'this and this person are not suitable,'" said the producer, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

State TV chiefs even seek to prevent anyone in a program from wearing green — the color of the opposition movement — and they've gone so far as to cut scenes of actors wearing green clothes in films made before the election, the producer said.

In Iran, dissent by artists is more than just a matter of celebrities mouthing off about politics: It has a powerful resonance among the public. Arts and culture hold a special place for Iranians. At family parties they read poetry aloud or bring out a santour, a dulcimer-like instrument, and sing songs of their favorite composers.

The shrines of poets Hafez and Saadi in the central city of Shiraz are among the most frequented sites in the country. When faced with a tough decision, Iranians will sometimes pick a verse of Hafez' poetry at random and try to divine their fate from it.

Since its creation in 1979, the Islamic Republic has always kept a tight grip on artists' work, but artists say the suppression in the post-election period has been among the toughest.

"It's much greater now because of the stand most of the artists have taken against them," said Shajarian. "For now, they're moving very calmly. But in the future, I know there will be a confrontation between the artists and this government."

Since the election, Shajarian and others have been making pointed messages with their art. In September, Shajarian sang "Zaban e Atash o Ahan" (The language of Fire and Iron), based on a well-known poem in which he pleads: "Lay down your gun. Come, sit down, talk, hear. Perhaps the light of humanity will get through to your heart too."

During his last tour of Europe in September, he sang "Brotherhood in Arms," calling on Iranians to unite.

"It's a message that I always had for the Iranian people: how to love each other, how to be good and kind to each other, to be united," Shajarian said. "But now it's taken on a more important meaning."

One of Iran's most prominent poets, Simin Behbahani, put out her own plea. "Stop the screaming, mayhem and bloodshed," she lamented in her latest work. "Stop making God's creatures mourn with tears. Stop recklessly throwing my country to the wind."

More than 100 Iranian poets have boycotted government-sponsored literary awards and contests, saying since the June election works of many poets have been censored, while others have been threatened or imprisoned. Dozens of cartoonists and documentary filmmakers stayed away from state festivals in Tehran in recent months.

Directors and actors from Iran's acclaimed cinema industry, which has a strong international following, have also provoked authorities' anger by showing up at international film festivals in the opposition's green.

Filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who was briefly detained during a July demonstration in Tehran, wore a green scarf at a Montreal festival over the summer. In apparent retaliation, authorities barred him from traveling abroad for another festival in October, along with several others planning to attend.

When filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf won a lifetime achievement award at the Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival in October, he dedicated it to Mehdi Karoubi, one of the two defeated opposition presidential candidates.

But what made news at the Nuremberg festival was the defection of the daughter of Ahmadinejad's cultural adviser.

Narges Kalhor, 25, filed for asylum after the screening of her short film, "Rake," which is based on the Franz Kafka short story "In the Penal Colony," describing a torture chamber in which the crimes of prisoners are tattooed on their bodies. Although she made the film a year ago, before the uprising, Kalhor said it was influenced by human rights violations that routinely occur in Iran.

"Certainly, I think an Iranian has to be in a certain condition to want to make such a film. I could have instead made a love story, which would have been much easier and happier. One must ask why I took on making such a film," said Kalhor in a telephone interview from Germany.

Angered — and likely embarrassed — by his daughter's defection, Mehdi Kalhor accused the Iranian opposition of supporting her attempts to challenge the government. He has not had contact with her for a year and a half.

"This issue is one of the symbols of a media and soft war that opposition has launched," he said, according to the official IRNA news agency.

Narges Kalhor said her estranged father's accusations were laughable. "For 25 years, I've been wondering who these enemies are," she said.

lATEST REPORTS FROM The Bridge Journal #7


  • Four Year Sentence for Hassan Salamat
Branch 26 of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court has sentenced Hassan Salamat, a sociology PhD student at Tehran University, to four years’ imprisonment. Salamat was among the large group of activists arrested after the presidential election.

Student’s rights group HRA reports that at a hearing held last week the prosecutor’s representative agreed to the objections made to the indictment by defense lawyer Mohammad Oliyai-fard. Nervertheless, Judge Pour-Abbas found Salamat guilty of the charges of this indictment and sentenced him to four years in prison. The charges against Salamat include propagating aganist the regime and conspiracy to disrupt national security.

Hassan Salamat was under the watch of security forces before the elections for activities during his bachelor degree studies. During the election-related crisis, he was arrested because he was suspected of having contact with two other activists, Zia Nabavi and Majid Dori.
Although Hessam Salamat was the top student in the PhD entrance exam for studying sociology at Tehran University, he was banned from pursuing his studies after interference by the Faculty of Sociology chair as well as external security elements. Since than he had been active in a committee formed to advocate the education rights of banned star students.

During the 10th presidential electoral campaign when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the existence of any banned star students, this committee made considerable protest by compiling a list of students deprived from continuing their studies and assembling in front of the Ministry of Higher Education. This action led to the arrest of a number of committee members, including Ziaeddin Nabavi, Majid Dori, Shiva Nazarahari and Hassan Salamat. Salamat was detained in Ward 209 of Evin prison for two months and had been released on $200,000 bail.

His lawyer, Mohammad Oliaei-Fard has announced that he will definitely be presenting a formal objection to the court's latest verdict.

  • Guards Threaten to Punish Activists Outside Iran
In a speech, published in pro-government Kayhan newspaper, Massoud Jazaeri said that protesters who questioned the June presidential elections and held another rally on November 4, are acting in a “plot” and “American-British coup” and that “a large number of individuals involved in the plot have been identified and will be confronted in time.”

Jazaeri also stressed that, “despite being patient, the Islamic Republic of Iran could not allow agents of regime change and the soft coup to plot against it, and that if forced, will create “serious challenges for agents of the coup outside the country.” He did not elaborate as to what these “serious challenges” may entail.

It should be noted that in the first two decades of its foundation, the Islamic Republic of Iran was accused of numerous assassinations of prominent opposition figures outside Iran.

Jazaeri also warned against what he called “negative propaganda” and interference by Western media on the anniversary of the take over of the American embassy in Tehran, and accusing them of “creating a forged atmosphere”, instigating and encouraging “dissident” behaviour by Iranian citizens.

This threat of “creating a serious challenge for the supporters of Iran’s green movement outside Iran” takes place after similar remarks on November 4 by Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam, commander of Iran’s law enforcement forces, stressing that law enforcement forces would “confront seriously any steps taken to overthrow the regime,” and warned those outside Iran against ignoring the laws of the Islamic Republic. Moghadam had said: “Some political movements are trying to create problems for the police because of the force’s confrontation with saboteurs to establish peace and order. These individuals, inside and outside the country, are not mindful of the law and want to hold rallies without legal permits while the police carries out its legal duties.”

Basirat, a website belonging to the political office of the Pasdaran Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) named five movements and a number of Iranians outside the country as “leaders of the green coup outside Iran.” According to this website, parallel to the psychological war headquarters of the coup group inside Iran, a command center for foreign based activists “has begun its propaganda and destructive activities with double intensity.”

The five groups supporting the green movement outside the country named on the website are “secular intellectuals”, “journalists,” “student activists,” “artists” - as the four movements since the June 2009 elections. The fifth group are “pro-monarchists, infidels, veteran counter-revolutionaries, members of the Mojahedin Khalq organization and other counter-revolutionary groups. The IRGC classifies each group. The first comprises “secular intellectuals who are fundamentally against religious rule and the Islamic governance and view the Islamic republic to be a paradoxical phenomenon”, the second group, in its view, is made up of “reformist media journalists who controlled the media during Khatami’s administration.” Student activists who emigrated to the West in the last decade, “pro-monarchists” and other counter-revolutionary groups are also identified.

The report on the website stresses the “support that these groups have provided to the main opposition leaders Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi before and after the contested June 12 presidential elections and claims that the “announced anti-revolutionary stances of these groups have never been repudiated by Moussavi, Karoubi and Khatami. One may conclude that the positions of these groups are the positions of the domestic perpetrators of the green coup, including Mousavi, Karroubi and Khatami.”

The political office of the IRGC claims that “because the laws of the Islamic republic do not allow these groups [protesting candidates and the leaders of the Green movement] to openly express their views,” the foreign branches of these groups express their views under the secure protection provided to them by Western countries. This report names Shirin Ebadi, Mohsen Kadivar, Ataollah Mohajerani, Abdol-Karim Soroosh, Mohsen Sazegara and Mohsen Makhmalbaf as the key leaders of the Green movement outside Iran. It also says there are a large number of Iranians who because of their beliefs and activities have not only supported the protest movement after the elections but also engaged in activities against the Islamic Republic. Personal weblogs, political websites and Internet social networks are claimed to be the media that is “directed from outside the country.”

  • Combat Enemy’s “Psychological Operations”
The Deputy of the Supreme Command of the IRGC forces announced two days ago the creation of two “central” and “supreme” commands to combat what it calls “psychological operations of the enemy.” Massoud Jazaeri who is among the hardline military commanders supporting the coup administration that came to office in June 12 of 2009, did not reveal details on the nature and organization of these two commands but said that they would be operational soon.

Jazaeri has in the past been criticized by supporters of the green movement for his remarks on what he called the “green coup” and his advocacy of confronting the “leaders of the conspiracy” (a reference to Mir-Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi) made this announcement just a month after the organization under his command held a seminar titled “Seminar on Psychological and Media Operations” in the auditorium of the state-run national radio and television organization. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad participated in the inauguration of this seminar and spoke of the need to “confront the leaders of the soft war).

The seminar was held on October 11 2009 but did not receive much domestic or international media coverage at the time because of the exceptional political and social conditions in the country. Political experts have said that the presence of key media personalities that support the coup administration, including the head of Fars and IRNA news agencies, demonstrated the collaboration that was taking place during the seminar proceedings.

During the seminar, Ahmadinejad spoke of the need for media readiness to deal with the “soft war” adding that “psychological operations focused exclusively on ears and eyes”. In his remarks two days ago, Jazaeri said “The cause for the enemy’s rise in soft operations is the planning for the big coup the foundation for which was laid years ago and which emerged during (the last) presidential elections. The media are viewed as the key tools in the psychological operations of the enemy against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Jazaeri’s reference to “some media outlets” comes at a time when the reformist news website Jonbeshe Rah Sabz (green movement) reported that the government planned to launch some 100 media outlets to confront the green movement. According to this website among 100 websites and news agencies, five principal media outlets support the coup administration, namely Kayhan newspaper, Javan newspaper, Raja news agency, IRNA news agency, and Fars news agency, providing primary information while other sites engage in developing and distributing the analysis and instructions of these five coup organs.

According to this news report, the following agencies are are among those supporting the coup administration, created to fight the “soft war” and “the enemy’s psychological operations”:

Fars, Raja, Jahan news agency, IRNA, Vahed Markazi Khabar (Central News Unit), Iranian student news bulletin (created to wrestle with the news bulletin of students from Polytechnic University), Hayat, Ansar News, Borna News (news agency for the youth of Islamic Iran), Tavana (news club for young journalists of Fars news agency), Markaz Asnade Engelab Eslami (News Site of the Center of Islamic Revolution Documents), Deylam News, Tribune, Shii News, Sepah News, Kanoon Andishe, Resane News Center, Plak News, Sajed site, Bulletin News, Jam news, Mowood News Center, Rasad News, Shabake Khabar Daneshjoo (Student Network News), Paygahe Khabari Amaliyat Ravani (Psychological Operations News Center), Paygahe Khabari Nezamabad (Nezamabad News Center), Paygahe Khabari Zalin (Zalin News Center), Dowlat News (Government News), Saye News, Gerdab, Ghalam Press (Pen Press), Ravayat News, Dana News, Khadem News, Kowsar News, Rahe Raja, Mardomyar, Paygahe Khabari Game Sevom (Third Step News Center), Sahar News, Jana News Center etc

Experts believe that despite the repeated calls by media supporters of the coup administration to confront the “psychological soft war and psychological operations of the enemy”, which was followed up with the launching of a slew of news sites and news agencies and the organization of numerous seminars with the same message and statements, it appears that the imminent launching of the commands that Jazaeri has mentioned this week, these operations which bring much economic and security benefits to their operators, will grow further in volume.
  • Iran’s Head of Broadcasting Reinstated for Five More Years
The Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader has reinstated Ezzatollah Zarghami as head of Iran’s state radio and television broadcasting IRIB for another five years. In his meeting with Zarghami three weeks ago, Ayatollah Khamenei had criticized his performance and last week he again openly criticized the state radio and television broadcasting for their “inadequate” propaganda in support of Ahmadinejad’s administration.

The Supreme Leader’s directive reads: “The current strengths of radio-television, along with its weaknesses must continuously be scrutinized by yourself and other managers of the organization, never weakening in your resolve to improve performance and remove obstacles.” The Supreme Leader’s reinstatement order of Zarghami ends with this sentence: “It is expected for signs of change to be visible during your first year in charge.”

This order is issued one month after Jam-e Jam daily quoted an “informed source” who had claimed in an interview with the conservative Jahan website that Zarghami will be reinstated in his post. Noting “some issues related to recent controversies and their implications,” the source claimed that Zarghami’s reinstatement was certain and announced that it would soon be publicized. A four week delay before public notice led some to speculate about the head of IRIB’s restatement.

Following the delay, Jam-e Jam daily, IRIB’s mouthpiece, published a report on 14 October entitled “The head of IRIB’s Meeting with the Supreme Leader,” quoting the website Alef: “Zarghami’s reinstatement is finalized. Following yesterday’s meeting of seyyed Ezatollah Zarghami with the revolutionary leader, and the leader’s remarks regarding the strengths and weaknesses of IRIB under Zarghami’s management, his reinstatement for another five year term was finalized.
Jam-e Jam added, “Zarghami agreed with the Supreme Leader’s evaluation of the IRIB’s performance as precise and noted the implementation of his proposals to be in the best interests of the organization.”

Three days later, on 17 October Jam-e Jam published a front-page editorial under the title, “Zarghami’s account of meeting with Supreme Leader” quoting Zarghami as saying: “This meeting was…warm, intimate and full of father-and-son type love and affection, and afforded an opportunity to reveal the hidden nature of some weaknesses to pave the way for the continuation of our path.”

Despite all the groundwork, Zarghami’s reinstatement was still not published until a further three weeks when Ayatollah Khamenei officially reinstated him. Although the nature of Supreme Leader’s “criticisms” are not yet revealed, some analysts speculate that the Khamnei expects the IRIB to be more in line with the Ahmadinejad administration.
  • “We Will Control the Internet Even More”
In the post election turmoil Iranian government agencies made every effort to prevent access to information from the worldwide Web. As if this was not enough, security and military officials have now entered the scene and are formally threatening Internet providers.

Ahmadi-Moghadam, Iran’s police chief, told ISNA student news agency at a seminar on drug control yesterday that one of the duties of law enforcement agencies was to strictly control cyber and virtual space.

In his interview the police chief mentioned the battle against what he called the “infected” cyber space and Web: “In addition to a shortage of state laws on this subject, many individuals, including those who wish to portray themselves as intellectuals, are against the control of cyber media and the cyber space while this sphere can be the area for many crimes. Because of this, this sphere the control of cyberspace must be pursued more rigorously and it appears that stronger steps are envisioned for this in the fifth development plan.”

The chief of police did not explain in his interview what the crimes in this sphere are and confined his remarks to threatening Internet operators, while introducing greater access restrictions to them. This is taking place despite the fact that after the election coup, in addition to working professionals at newspapers, some 10 journalists working for domestic virtual media have been arrested and sent to prison.

Information coming from Tehran indicates that security agencies have sent threatening emails and text messages, and asked Internet carriers to refrain from exchanging information that is detrimental to the government. In recent weeks numerous emails have been sent to Internet operators with this message: “Dear operator, you are currently operating illegally and against national interest in cyberspace and should you continue these activities you will be identified as a criminal according to computer criminal laws and will be dealt with accordingly.”

In addition, according to news reports, some Internet operators have been threatened through text messaging and warned that they would be legally confronted. One such text message that has been obtained by Rooz Online goes like this: “Dear citizen, according to information we have received, you are the victim of anti state propaganda of media affiliated with foreigners; should you participate in any illegal gathering or be in contact with foreign media, you will be dealt with in accordance with articles 489, 499, 500, 508, 514, 609, 610, and 698, of Islamic Punishment Law."
  • Ahmadinejad’s Reprisal Continues
The arrest of foreigner nationals picked up unprecedented momentum in Iran after the electoral coup in Iran, parallel with the arrest of Iranian citizens by security agencies. Now Tehran’s general and revolutionary prosecutor has charged the three American’s detained in Iran near the Iraqi border with espionage.

Abbas Jaafari Dowlatabadi told state run IRNA news agency: “The charges against the three American detainees is espionage. The investigation is of course still continuing and more information will be provided soon.” Following the arrest of three Americans in August 2009, Allaedin Borujerdi, the head of the Majlis national security committee told an Iranian Arab language television station Al-Alam, affiliated to IRIB, that the arrest of these Americans was in response to the arrest of a number of Iranian officials in Iraq by the US. He added “I don’tt believe Americans expect that the case of these three individuals will be resolved soon.”

Prior to the statements by the Majlis representative, Iran’s disputed president Ahmadinejad had also told the BBC when he was in New York, that, “The release of three American climbers may be tied to the release of a number of Iranian citizens that have been arrested by the US in Iraq.” These remarks come when the Iranians that had been detained by US forces in Iraq have been released, therefore it was expected that the Americans would also be released. But on 7 October 2009 Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki announced that Iran had in its possession documents that showed the US to have a hand in the disappearance of an Iranian in Saudi Arabia. Raising such issues has further delayed a decision on the Americans. In this regard, Mottaki said, “These documents show that the US is responsible for the arrest and detention of Shahram Amiri .
  • Protest against execution of Kurdish political activist
Tens of people in Sanadaj joined a street demonstration to protest the hanging of Ehsan Fattahian, the young Iranian political activist. According to reports the march was suppressed by security forces and the crowd was dispersed.

Ehsan Fatahian was hanged on Wednesday morning and according to Kurdistan Human Rights Watch, his remains were buried in his birthplace of Kermanshah without his family’s knowledge. He was reportedly buried in the “farthest corner” of the cemetery in an unidentified plot.

While Ehsan Fattahian was primarily convicted of “activities against national security” for his collaboration with a Kurdish Party and sentenced to ten years imprisonment in exile, in an appeals court he was also accused of "moharebeh" (armed combat) and thus given a sentence of execution.

In a letter written by Fattahian prior to his execution, he writes that before increasing his sentence from ten years’ imprisonment, security officials had put him under pressure to do a video interview to “confess to deeds which he had not committed” and “renounce his own beliefs.” According to this letter (see The Bridge no.5), Ehsan Fattahian was told that if he refused to do the interview, he would be hanged.

Numerous activists as well as the Fattahian family had called on the judiciary to stop his execution, maintaining that a glance at the file would have changed the fate of their son by revealing the unjust circumstances of his conviction, but the judiciary remained silent on the issue. Amnesty International condemned the execution of Ehsan Fattahian. The human rights group had urged Iranian judiciary to stop the execution of Fattahian and two other individuals in the Kurdistan region of Iran.

Since the start of the post-election protests in June, 150 people have been executed in Iran. Ehsan Fattahian is the first person to be executed in the post-election events for political crimes. 12 other Kurdish political prisoners are currently on death row. Amnesty International reports that 346 people were executed in Iran last year placing Iran in the second place for the highest number of state executions in the world.

  • Iran Protests Oxford’s Neda Agha-Soltan Bursary
The Iranian Embassy in Britain criticized Oxford University’s establishment of a scholarship in the name of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman who was shot to death in the post-election events in Iran.

Neda Agha-Soltan who became a symbol of the Iranian people’s protests against the alleged injustice in the elections and their general demand for reform in their country, was shot on the streets of Tehran during the government’s crackdown on mass demonstrations. The last moments of the young philosophy student that were captured on a cell phone camera and posted on YouTube, were viewed by people all across the world.

Oxford University's Queen’s College announced that “two generous” gifts have allowed it to establish the Neda Agha-Soltan graduate scholarship in the philosophy department. The scholarship is open to all, but Iranians Head of Iran National Broadcasting Targets Opposition Leaders

Ezzatollah Zarghami, Head of Iran's national television and radio broadcasting, Seda va Sima, charged Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the disputing candidates of the June presidential elections of trying to secure a television spot to incite people to join street protest.

  • Iran Protests Oxford’s Neda Agha-Soltan Bursary

The Iranian Embassy in Britain criticized Oxford University’s establishment of a scholarship in the name of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman who was shot to death in the post-election events in Iran.

Neda Agha-Soltan who became a symbol of the Iranian people’s protests against the alleged injustice in the elections and their general demand for reform in their country, was shot on the streets of Tehran during the government’s crackdown on mass demonstrations. The last moments of the young philosophy student that were captured on a cell phone camera and posted on YouTube, were viewed by people all across the world.

Oxford University's Queen’s College announced that “two generous” gifts have allowed it to establish the Neda Agha-Soltan graduate scholarship in the philosophy department. The scholarship is open to all, but Iranians Head of Iran National Broadcasting Targets Opposition Leaders

Ezzatollah Zarghami, Head of Iran's national television and radio broadcasting, Seda va Sima, charged Mir Hossein Moussavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the disputing candidates of the June presidential elections of trying to secure a television spot to incite people to join street protests against the outcome of the elections. Zarghami maintained that such a message would have been contrary to Seda va Sima's objective which is to "establish a stable social atmosphere and help society out of its instability." Seda va Sima has been functioning as a powerful tool for the Islamic Republic especially in the past five months, by portraying election protesters as "a bunch of rioters". It has made every effort in its programming to paint Moussavi and Karroubi along with their supporters as a group of foreign-backed conspirators. Zarghami claims that the "riots" which Mir Hossein Moussavi “lost control of”, caused the death of some people and if the television network had announced these deaths at the time, it would have caused "instability". The opposition has accused Seda va Sima of biased coverage of the post-election events and repeated slandering of reformists.
candidates will be given priority.

AFP reports that a letter from the Iranian Embassy states that Oxford University’s actions are “politically motivated”. “They maintain that giving a scholarship in the name of “a murdered Iranian woman” who was killed in “a complicated pre-planned scenario” is established to attract Iranian students. It seems University of Oxford has involved itself in a criminal file the dimensions of which remain under investigation by the security forces of the Islamic Republic. The involvement of Oxford University in Iran’s internal affairs, especially in the post-election events that British media had a major role in, has tarnished the academic reputation and educational objectives of the University.”

The Iranian establishment has tried to deny responsibility for the death of Neda Agha-Soltan that moved people all across the world. Her death has been called “suspicious” by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and hardliner Ahmad Khatami has claimed that protesters were the perpetrators of her death.
  • Iran's Haft Tappeh Union Members Imprisoned
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reports the imprisonment of four members of the Syndicate of Workers of Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane Company .

Fereydoon Nikofard, Jalil Ahmadi, Gorban Alipour and Mohammad Heidarimehr have been transferred to Dezfool prison to serve their sentence, according to International Campaign for Human Rights reports.

Spokesman for the Campaign, Hadi Ghaemi declared that the arrest of these union members confirms that Iran as a member of the International Labour Organization is in violation of the Organization's rules and does not provide workers with their labour rights.

The Haft Tappeh Workers Union was established in 2008 with 5000 members and became affiliated with the international worker's union, IUF.

In a letter in October, the members of Haft Tappeh Union called on the International Labour Organization to pressure the Islamic Republic into living up to its committments as an ILO member by recognizing their right to form an independent union and stopping the persecution of their members and leaders.

Hadi Ghaemi maintains that prosecution of union members for the mere charge of establishing a union could result in “an increase in dissatisfaction, social unrest and the isolation of Iran from the international community”.

The Islamic Republic has a history of persecuting labour union members. Mansour Osanloo and Ebrahim Madadi of Tehran’s Transit Union and Hashem Khawstar, Rasoul Bedaghi and Jafar Ebrahimi from the Teacher’s Union are amongst people who have been arrested and imprisoned by Iranian authorities for labour activism.

International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran urges Islamic Republic officials to drop the charges against labour union members and release them.

  • Kahrizak Continues to Take Victims As Prison Physician Commits Suicide

Dr Ramin Pourarzjani, who spent his military service as a physician at Kahrizak prison, committed suicide following events after the Kahrizak scandals were recently revealed.

While accusations of brutal beatings of prisoners by the police force remain unquestioned and Judge Mortazavi is delaying reports of the parliament’s investigation committee by pressurizing MPs, Ramin Pourarzjani, a 26 year old physician, was charged with medical negligence regarding those who died at Kahrizak and threatened with annulment of his medical license and a five year jail sentence.

Following the disclosure of the atrocities that happened at Kahrizak detention center (known as the Iranian Guantanamo Bay), a case was brought up in the judges’ military court against the former Tehran prosecutor general and deputy chief of police–who was directly responsible for the incidents at this detention center—and the judiciary officials vowed to process this case as soon as possible. But similar to most other law suits against the judiciary and police officials in recent years, the accused were not questioned or tried. Instead other charges were presented against newly accused people, believed to have been fabricated to mislead the case. New victims were found and the doctor on duty at Kahrizak was one of them.

Before this, during the events at Tehran University’s dormitories and the events that put the country into crisis for a week, only one police officer was impeached for the theft of a razor blade. All other officials whose alleged involvement was mentioned in the security council’s report, were acquitted.

The same goes in the cases of those accused of serial killings. But Mohammad Khatami’s insistence on “detaching this infected tumor of the [intelligence] ministry” ultimately led to the detention of Saeed Emami; needless to say, that he, too, due to the so-called suicide with cleansing drug, was prevented from thoroughly revealing his accomplices.

Meanwhile, although the suicide of a doctor and serviceman is a suspicious point in the case of the accused in the events at Kahrizak, the suicide of a person who has witnessed firsthand the atrocities inflicted on the detainees and is able to identify the culprits to the public at any moment, is all the more suspect.

A serious question remains:
While people like Behzad Nabavi are charged with acting against national security by disrupting traffic in Tehran in participating in demonstrations and are locked in solitary confinement and multiple indictments are read against them in the court, how is it possible that those directly responsible for the martyrdom of Iranian youth to have so much power that not only do they preclude the reading of the fact-finding committee’s report in the parliament, but discharge themselves of any allegations and by influence hinder the publication of reports pertinent to this case?

The public will not forget that the political detainees of recent events were mostly incarcerated one or two days after the election, and up until the election day, all their activities were legal, even according to the then incumbent administration. Then, within two days, a multipage indictment is read for these individuals, and state-run radio and television does not hold back from hailing any charges at them at all. Yet, those responsible for killing our youth are capable of distract from a case to such an extent that in the end, the court claims that there is not enough evidence for convicting the accused.

This is a process that has recurred time and again in our country’s judiciary system, and it seems that there is no determination whatsoever to change this unjust, illegal and illegitimate activity.

Norouz website reports that Pourarzjani was an outstanding student admitted to university with a two digit rank in the national entrance exam. He is the first victim of the closed courts who was interrogated and accused of the incidents that took place in the detention center.

  • Municipality Workers of Khoramshahr On Strike
Municipality workers in Khoramshahr went on strike in objection to the city’s state of poor health. Ayandeh news site reported that the strike related to the non-collection of garbage in the city of Khorramshahr. Based on Herana news agency reports quoting from Mardomak , the garbage issue and the disastrous health consequences of this crisis have occured in Khorramshahr though Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared himself the city’s governor.

During his tour of the provinces Ahmadinejad at a gathering of protestors in Khoramshahr on 24 May declared: “I am among you and have personally decided to be at your service as a governor and therefore will be able to follow up on this matter as soon as possible."

The citizens of Khoramshahr face health problems while propaganda for the prevention of increasing microbes and the development of warnings and health measures for diseases and illnesses in the country have intensified especially with regard to influenza type A(N1H1). Last year on 11 December staff and workers of Khoramshahr went on strike for non payment of salaries overdue by more than four months. This year drivers of the city’s transportation system went on strike on 27 October in protest of four months’ of overdue salaries. Around 350 workers of the ship-building company Bahrakan have also voiced their demands, gathering in front of the governor’s office following the closure of the company’s industrial units, demanding that something be done about their unemployment.

In Khoramshahr people live in a city where they must buy drinking water in barrels, tolerate open sewers and the threat of disease carrying dogs. Ahmadinejad’s visit in May was greeted with a cold welcome from people. They carried "Only Lies" placards, while he announced that a project for transferring clean water from the Karkhe basin to Khoramshahr is making good progress.
  • More Executions as Government Tool for Silencing Opposition
Under the title "Iran Executes Kurdish Activist Who Was Accused of ‘Armed Struggle’” the New York Times explained how Ehsan Fattahian was executed on Wednesday in Sanandaj prison, quoting his lawyer Nasrollah Nasseri and commenting that the execution appears to be part of government efforts to “extinguish” the opposition’s protest to the results of the presidential election.
This article published on 11 November, reported that ethnic groups have also intensified their protests since the beginning of protests and that at least four senior officials – the Friday Imam of the city of Sanandaj, Sanandaj’s representative in the Assembly of Experts, a judge and a member of the city association, had been assassinated.

In a letter before his execution, Ehsan Fattahian wrote that opposition in Kurdistan province would not end with his death, and that his death and thousands others like him, does not solve the Kurdish problem, but intensifies the flames of fire. The New York Times wrote that many Iranians and human rights groups are concerned that the government would put into action more executions to silence the opposition that despite the government's harshness remains active.
  • Jannati: “The problem has gone beyond the elections and is now the Islamic Regime
Tehran’s Friday [prayers] Imam on Friday thanked people for participating in 4 November (Student Day) demonstrations in greater numbers than ever:: "If the regime and revolution are to remain, the fight with the enemy is always there and flag of this fight with the US should always be flown.”

Ayatollah Jannati said: "We cannot simply stop and show America the green light. America is the enemy of the regime and that’s exactly what she wants. I am amazed that some people do not understand the facts or pretend that they don’t. When US Congress allocates $ 55 million to undermining the Islamic Republic, what does that mean? The Islamic Republic system symbolizes people and a spiritual system and allocating this budget means war with God and people. Some people think they can separate people from the foundations of the Islamic Republic’s position. They are mistaken and those who undertake this should be punished to understand what they are doing.”

Jannati added: “The problem has gone beyond the elections and is now the regime and it does not have the power to get along with its own enemy. Americans, enemies of the regime, the foolish elements and planners of this intrigue, just as you increase the intrigue, the ranks of people will increase and that’s the reason that people participated in Student Day on 4 November in greater numbers than ever. According to the Quran the existence of the enemy brings stability, strength and unity. In history all God's messengers had enemies and their friends were there for them and faced the enemies. This is a spiritual tradition that exists now.”
  • Funeral Ceremony for Ehsan Fattahian Banned
Human Rights Watch’s reported news from Kurdistan:
Ehsan Fattahian’s funeral was cancelled following pressure from security agents of Kermanshah. A day after the execution of political activist Ehsan Fattahian at Sanandaj Central Prison and the secret burial of his body in Kermanshah Cemetery, his family announced that Ehsan's funeral would be on Friday afternoon at Baqiyatallah mosque of the “employee town of Kermanshah” but security forces made his family cancel the ceremony.

News of the cancellation of the ceremony came just one hour before it was due to start, not allowing time for Ehsan’s family to re-locate the ceremony and inform people. Security forces even prevented any notice from being posted at the mosque entrance.

Groups of Kermanshahi citizens who arrived at the mosque to participate in the ceremony faced closed doors and police threats and were forced to leave. But some student and civic activists of Kermanshah as well as the families of Kianoush Asa (Kurdish student who lost his life in post election events) and Farzad Kamangar (Kurdish political prisoner who has been sentenced to death) visited the home of one of the Ehsan's relatives and gave his family flowers and a photo of Ehsan with a Kurdish phrase in the middle of it. Photos of Kianoush and Farzad were carried by their mothers in sympathy with Ehsan's family. The presence of plainclothes agents around the house was evident and they even asked Ehsan's family to remove a card in the bunch of flowers that addressed Ehsan as a "martyr".

Iran’s Economic Climate and the Post-Election Crisis

Nader Habibi

Even before the current political crisis began in June 2009, Iran’s economy was confronted with many daunting challenges. Investors were already feeling the pressures of inconsistent economic policies and intensifying international sanctions on their shoulders. The street protests and political unrest that have follwd the disputed election have led to further deterioration in the economic climate. Now the economic players must deal with a new level of political uncertainty unprecedented since the early years of the Islamic revolution.
The election dispute has evolved into a deep division in the highest ranks of the Islamic regime. So far the ruling faction of Ayatollah Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard has been unable to neutralize the protest movement led by former candidates Mir Hossein Moussavi, and Mehdi Karroubi. These two opposition leaders also enjoy the support of former President Khatami and several high ranking Shi'ite clerics such as Ayatollah Montazeri. At the same time it appears that the protest movement is also unable to defeat the ruling faction or force it into a compromise anytime soon. Nearly five months have past since the initial street demonstrations and yet the total number of people who join the periodic street protests in Tehran does not exceed two or three hundred thousand.

Hence private investors and business owners are gradually arriving at the conclusion that unlike the 1979 Islamic revolution which reached a climax in a relatively short period of time, (period of intense street protests lasted no more than 9 months), the current power struggle can drag on for a significantly longer interval. There is also much uncertainty about how it might end and which faction will win. The worst possible outcome for Iran's economy is the escalation of current protests into large scale political violence or a civil war similar to the Algerian experience in 1990s. Although the likelihood of such a scenario is small, it is a cause for concern among businessmen and investors and can discourage long-term investments.

Post-election protests have also increased the involvement of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRG), in economic activities and economic policy-making. President Ahmadinejad has appointed a large number of former IRG members to key positions in government ministries and government-owned enterprises. He has also sold a number of strategic privatized firms to the IRG or its affiliated enterprises. The latest example of such transfer was the sale of a government-owned telecommunications firm to a group of IRG-affiliated firms in September. As a result of these steps the government has reinforced its control over the economy and IRG has emerged as a major economic player in Iranian economy. Firms affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards Corp now enjoy an advantage over private firms in government contract awards and access to government resources.

In addition to expanding the economic reach of the IRG, the ruling faction is also trying to increase its ability to distribute economic resources by enhancing its discretionary control over the proposed income support program. During recent parliamentary debates about replacement of current price subsidies with direct income subsidies, President Ahmadinejad has campaigned hard to make sure that the Presidents office will have discretionary control over the additional incomes of public enterprises after the removal of price subsidies on goods and services that they sell to the public. Critics are concerned that the President will use this privilege to distribute the cash and income subsidies in a fashion to enhance his political base and deny benefits to households that might be sympathetic to the post-election protest movement.

The post-election protests have also had an impact on Western nations' approach to the nuclear dispute and might have an indirect effect on the course of economic sanctions against Iran. Initially the prospects for political reform and victory of the Green Movement led to a more flexible attitude toward nuclear negotiations in first few weeks of the protests. However, as it became clear that the protest movement did not have enough strength to bring about substantial political change in the short-run, the United States and European powers tried to speed up the negotiations and intensified the threat of sanctions. Continuation of the protests in the coming months and the Islamic regime's violent reactions can lead to further isolation of Iran and give Western nations an excuse to further intensify the economic sanctions.

Yet at the same time, the domestic rift might weaken the bargaining power of Iranian government and force it to accept a compromise over its nuclear program in order to avoid further hostility from the international community. Hence the net impact of the protest movement on intensity of economic sanctions in the future is not clear. It could either force the Iranian government to compromise, which will help ease the sanctions, or can be used as an excuse by the Western nations to intensify the sanctions if the Iranian government does not compromise. For now the added uncertainty about economic sanctions will be viewed as an additional risk factor for Iranian economy. This risk factor will be of more concern to international investors than domestic ones.

The Student Movement in this New Era!



Reza Moghadam

The Student’s movement has become even more extensive than previous years and shows no sign of ebbing. Instead, it quickly spreads to universities that haven’tt been as active or involved in student protests in recent years. This wide spread is due to changes in the student movement’s dynamism compared to previous years. Currently the dynamism and slogans come directly from the anti dictator movement on the streets that has been going on prior to universities re-opening.

In fact, those students involved in mass street protests towards the end of the previous academic year or prior to universities re-opening; are now continuing with their protests as university students and within the walls of campus. The roots of this dynamism and slogans of student and anti dictatorship movements are in a new era. The current student protests are pursuant of people’s freedom-seeking movement against dictatorship and tyranny. They were able to introduce themselves to the world by marching to the streets in millions. This annulled the analysis of those who would not recognize the basis of this movement in protest against the bloody and malevolent regime during the past 30 years.

Student protests from the aspect of universities involved and the sheer number of participants is so vast it cannot fit within the capacity of any student organization to be directed or influenced positively. Entire student organizations (be they leftist, liberal or Islamic) compared to the number of students involved in the movement are few and best suited to a time time when student movements did not consist of a large mass of students. Today, the situation has changed and student movement is in need of organizations that can respond to the issues of mass protest against dictatorship.

With the mass presence of university students at the frontline of the protests the student movement is in need of organization. The huge student mass must be organized at various levels; colleges, universities and throughout cities. They must connect with one another to discuss and decide their demands and ways to continue with the movement. The Iranian Revolutionary guard believes that by creating more and more restrictions against the current student movement, or by arresting, torturing and deporting student activists, they can stop the student movement. This movement and its its activists used to play an effective and central role in organizing student protests in previous years; however, they no longer have the active role of leadership in current protests and despite all the repressions the student movement is moving along with more energy and intensity.

By creating organizations that can coordinate the mass student’s movement; students will be able to plan and organize their social and political demands and ways to continue in their fight. Only in such circumstances can students influence the current situation and by standing next to other social movements and especially the worker and women movements, influence the current anti dictatorship movement. Previously, elite-oriented organizations were able to organize smaller groups of student movements; however, these organizations are no longer able to answer the immediate demands of the current movement.

The current mass movement demands an organization to organize the movement. This is the only route to enabling students to take control of their situation while actively participating in the anti-dictatorship movement and will not only follow the flow but will have the power to plan and determine their effective roles. The government’s reformists, particularly Moussavi want the students and generally all participants in public freedom seekers, unaligned. Moussavi and reformists goals are the people’s unorganized participation in the movement within friends and family relations only. This shapeless movement obviously doesn’t have the power to determine the future of the student movement. And structure-wise it follows their goal of an “Islamic Republic” nothing more! Reformists don’t even deny that whenever they reach a point of agreement point with the Supreme Leader and Revolutionary Guard, they have achieved their goal. Their declared purpose is to use the Islamic regime’s constitutions that according to reformists, in substance relate to people’s rights are currently not being followed and the modifying cycle of power among the regime’s factions are not being considered by the executive and legislative branches of the government. Reformists and Moussavi are expecting the current anti-dictatorship movement to pressure the coup d’├ętat into increasing the right wing’s criticism of Ahmadinejad and his supporters to create a stream of mixed of characters from both reformists and conservatives to compromise. Until the day when they achieve their goal, for self preservation and the security of their families, Moussavi and other reformists are in need of the anti dictatorship movement.

Therefore, Moussavi and other reformist officials in fearing for their future are not directly criticizing other groups and parties who are following different goals and are clearly asking for the removal of the dictator regime in their slogans. Instead, they are insisting on their demand for an “Islamic Republic” nothing more. With the serious rise of compromising reformist politics and their direct criticism of the so called “extreme indulgence” of the anti dictatorship movement, it is becoming more obvious that they are preparing for reconciliation with the Supreme Leader and Revolutionary Guard. The compromise between the reformists and Moussavi with the dictators depends on lots of factors including the power of the anti dictatorship movement.

Reformists and Moussavi don’t want consistent social and student movements and instead ask for a movement confined to family and friends such that no groups would be out there to resist in case of compromise with Khamenei and Revolutionary Guard. The unorganized mass of people who are fighting to overthrow the dictators, Islamic regime and the Supreme Leader hold no value for them and will be disillusioned if the reformists, Khamenei and others reach a agreement; simply because these unorganized groups don’t have the tools to continue with the anti dictatorship movement. An organized social and especially student movement in such critical times and when the compromise between the two parties is not yet strong, can play an important role. And if the two parties reach an agreement, these movements will be organized enough to lead the anti dictatorship movement to the final step to overthrow the Islamic regime. To achieve its objectives, every movement requires suitable organization. The type of organization that Moussavi calls social networks and includes family and friend relations only fulfills his goal to compromise and reconcile with Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard. The type of movement reformists and Moussavi are aiming for has to be strong enough to bring about Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard’s retreat, but not organized to stand against this reconciliation and continue the anti dictatorship movement. However, considering the liberal interest of people, organized movements are the only way to guarantee victory.


Lefties and the Student Movement

With the rise of the anti dictatorship movement and student activities, leftist students are put in a different situation. In less than two months since the start of the academic year, students protests are more extensive (the number of students and university participation) than the past few years. The movement’s quality has also advanced; Death to the Dictator slogans have targeted Khamenei who is the main pillar of the Islamic regime and is almost the same as the death to Shah during the 1979 revolution in Iran. Unlike the previous era, it is essential for the leftie student movement to adjust its objectives and methods according to the demands of the anti dictatorship movement. Growth and rapid expansion of leftie students is a response to the issues of the current movement. The entire student movement must be aware that the leftie student movement also wants to fulfill the goal of Death to the Dictator that they have chanted as one of its slogans and goals.

The student movement is now part of the broader people’s movement against the dictatorship that has been clearly addressed through their slogans and campaigns. This student movement must become aware of the leftist student movement’s slogans and methods to achieve the common goals of all students and be able to compare their objectives and methods with other student movements for the same reason. The leftist student movement too must compare its methods with the methods of other movements to end dictatorship and be able to explain and analyze various political platforms related to each movement. What can the source and focus of a student movement be if it is to prove the disability of Moussavi and reformists in fulfilling the goal of overthrowing the dictatorship. By explaining political reasons it can be proven that Moussavi and reformists are able to overthrow dictators - one of one the main goals of the student movement - and be the path to adopting socialism in the student movement.

A delay in the reconciliation of reformists and Moussavi with dictators will result in awareness and radicalism of the student movement. To achieve its goal of overthrowing the dictator, the student movement must be organized in millions to first fight with more power; second, not be harmed if such reconciliation with the dictatorship takes place and third, to be able to continue with its movement along with other social movements. The Leftist student movement is capable of playing the most important role in creating true mass student organization and overcome the inability of reformists and Moussavi to stand with the student movement until the dictator is overthrown. This can be the strategic plan of the leftist student movement in participating in the anti dictatorship movement.

Finally, ending the dictatorship and fulfilling the slogan of Death to Khamenei, is one of the student movement’s goals that has been expressed openly. Death to Khamenei has the same political function of Death to the Shah in the 1979 revolution that ended the monarchy regime. The student movement must be aware that Moussavi and the reformists will not remain by their side in achieving their goals. The minute Moussavi and the reformists achieve their own goals of compromise and reconciliation with the dictator, they will attempt to tame and impoverish the movement in favour of the dictator regime.

The student movement must prepare for the day when reformists and Moussavi leave the anti dictatorship movement, so they’re unaffected negatively by it. They must therefore be alert to the reformists and Moussavi’s inability to stand with the movement to overthrow dictator. They must be organized via organizations to become powerful enough to stand against any reconciliation lead other social movements until the Islamic regime is overthrown. The Leftist student movement can play an important role in achieving this goal by placing this goal as its top objective now.

20 years of Falling Down



Nasser Asghary

9 November this year marked the 20th anniversary and celebration of a democratic free market atop the destroyed walls of Berlin. 20 years of people living in two east and west sides and the middle is destroyed. Up to this day, we still see effects of this collapse in our everyday lives. An increase in racism and theocracy are two major aspects of the effect of this collapse. We will discuss other aspects of this collapse elsewhere another time. During the celebration of the “winner” party, I see it necessary to point out few facts.


Heads of USA, UK, France, Germany, Russia etc gave their speeches at the 20th anniversary of the collapse of the Berlin wall – a “symbol of oppression” and “the communists, who built the wall to keep the eastern citizen from freedom”. It has been at least 20 years of them feeding us with such lies. It has been 20 years of displaying history inverted before the open and surprised eyes of its witnesses. For the few who don’t know the purpose of the Berlin wall, I will add that after Hitler’s army was overthrown, Berlin the capital of Germany was placed in the middle of eastern Germany and other parts of Germany were divided into four parts between the forces of the US, UK, France and Soviet Union, to prevent the possible rise of Nazism.

East and West not getting along; the US, UK, and France against the united East and therefore three US, UK, and French parts of Germany became West Germany standing against East Germany. They spied and threatened one other, started a physiological war against one another, and the Berlin wall was the result of this same game.

Now that the Berlin wall is gone, the world operates as one with America as its leader. Those who led the revolution against are now wearing Democratic Party, liberal, conservative and social democrat clothing and by democratic and parliamentary elections are ruling over the same revolutionists. They make contracts and are members of European Union, NATO and the common market. They even feed the rulers with democracy!

Human beings are entitled to both, new world order and the orderly world after the collapse of the east block. It is a bloody order which is stained with communities’ hunger and poverty. Millions of people are unemployed overnight. The stock market celebrates the unemployment and hunger of humans and they become hundreds of pounds wealthier overnight. In countries such as Canada, Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands where absolute poverty was abolished, poverty has now returned worse than ever.

The year after the eastern block’s fall, unemployment which was about to be abolished in the country of Poland reached above 20 percent. However, the democratic people would eat and the democratic leaders were happy with this victory. Some simple-minded people, astonished by Hollywood movies were disappointed since no dollar bills were grown from the democratic tree. Many years back I had heard the story of Victor Andreevich Kravchenko, recently coming across it again in the New York Times. An interesting story for this column’s readers...Kravchenko was one of the high officials of the Soviet Union who gained asylum in the United States during a mission in 1944. He wrote a controversial book about the situation in the Soviet Union and the force labour camps with the title “I choose freedom” which gave him a name and also caused attack by the opposition. After a few years of living in this “free world” a disillusioned Kravchenko wrote another book, this time criticizing capitalism and the false propaganda around it with the title of “I choose justice”.

In 1966, while depressed by both these worlds, he committed suicide. You will easily find his first book at any local library, but it isn’t so easy to find his second book. Human beings entitlement to freedom in Kravchenko’s view is both freedom of speech and social justice. Social justice in eastern and freedom of speech in western democracy are nothing but lies. The 20 year celebration of the Berlin wall’s collapse would make a fair human to think whether this is worthy of human beings? Is this what a human is entitled to from this world and life?

Friday, November 13, 2009

URGENT: a call to save a life... Save Bahman(shirko) Maarefi from Execution

Bahman Moaarefi known as Shirko, Kurd activist was recognized as Mohareb (god’s enemy) by the Iranian judicial system! Shirko Moaarefi 30 year old from Banneh (in Kurdistan province) has been charged with propaganda against the regime and fight against the god and is sentenced to death . He was arrested on November 1st, 2007 and has been in detention at Saghez’s intelligence office. Currently he is prohibited from having visitors in detention.
In preparation for his execution, Shirko Moaarefi was transferred to solitary confinement at Saghez central prison. He is one of the Kurd civil activist who was arrested in Saghez last year and after being interrogated and severely tortured was sentenced to death.

Khalil Bahramian, Shirko Moaarefi’s lawyer in an interview with campaign of civil and political prisoners rights by confirming the news of Shirko’s transfer to solitary confinement to execute his death sentence announced: “this verdict is contrary to all legal standard laws and he will not stop until the day he save’s Shirko”.

Bahramian has also asked all the media and human rights activists to not remain indifference during these critical days and by informing and illuminating public take action against this injustice verdict.

This attorney has published his personal phone number to work and keep the media informed.

Dr. Khalil Bahramian, Justice Lawyer 00989121463518


List of Kurdish Political Prisoners Awaiting Exectuion

1. Ehsan Fatahiyan (Executed)
2. Shirkoh Moarefi
3. Habibollah Latifi
4. Ms. Zeynab Jalaliyan
5. Farhad Chalesh
6. Ramezan Ahmad
7. Rostam Arkiya
8. Fasih Yasamini
9. Rashid Akhkandi
10. Hossein Khaziri
11. Farzad Kamangar
12. Ali Heydariyan
13. Farhad Vakili

Last news on Facebook :
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&gid=182030936681

petition:
http://www.gopetition.com/online/32085.html

Urgent: Please everyone does everything can do to Save Shirko Maarefi!

1) Sign and Spread the PETITION @
http://www.gopetition.com/online/32085.html

2) SEND APPEALS as SOON as POSSIBLE, TIME IS RUNNING OUT!
LETTER /APPEAL:

Your Excellency,
I’m concerned about the fate of Shirko Moarefi a 30 year old member of Iran’s Kurdish minority sentenced to death. In preparation for his pending execution, he's been taken to the quarantine of the Saghez prison, where he has been prison since last November and he has suffered various ill-treatments and abuse. He's also said to be in a bad general condition, suffering from physical and psychological trauma.
Shirko Moarefi has been sentenced to death for what is described as
“crimes against the security of the state” and “enmity against God” .
I’m concerned that these scheduled executions could be a reprisal for a spate of assassinations and attempted assassinations of officials which took place during September 2009, in the northwestern province of Kordestan. With these crimes Shirko Moarefi have nothing to do.
That’s why I respectfully ask you to immediately stop his execution and to commute his death sentence.
I also ask you to consider the opportunity to impose an immediate and comprehensive moratorium on all executions, as a first step towards ending the use of this punishment: the international image of the Islamic Republic of Iran could remarkably take advantage of this choice.
Sincerely,


COPY/ PAST and SEND TO:

a) Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Sadeqh Larijani, Office of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave. south of Serah-e Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: Via WEB SITE, http://www.dadiran.ir/tabid/75/Default.aspx

1st starred box: your given name;
2sd starred box: your family name;
3rd starred box: your email address

b) Governor of Kordestan Province
Esmail Najjar

Email: In Persian and Kurdish, send via feedback form on the website:
http://www.ostan-kd.ir/Default.aspx?tabId=150&cv=4@0_1

In English, French or other languages, use the feedback form on the website:
http://en.ostan-kd.ir/Default.aspx?TabID=59

Salutation: Dear Governor

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Street journalists and Barbaric regime!

By Mojtaba Samienejad

Mr Zarqami, Head of Media and Broadcasting in Iran, with your permission citizens have also made their reports; of their massive protests, of the violence of the security forces and baton wielding Basij militia at the hands of the government. Of course they don’t have the facilities of your vast organization and they‘re not allowed to film. And yet you filmed the people who were brought in front of the “den of espionage” (the Islamic Republic’s description of the American Embassy) with astonishing organization, from every possible angle. Our people can’t show the faces of the 16 and 17 year old kufiya wearing Basiji children who don’t even know their left from their right, and say that they took to the streets “by order of their leader” on the day of struggle against global arrogance, later broadcasting the “America America…”(anti U.S. ) anthem.

But, with the permission of your anti-people media, the people have also reported from the streets of Iran, reporting that on the official day of struggle against global arrogance, the arrogant inside our own country were beating our sisters and mothers at the approaches to Hafte Tir Square. The people also reported that the batons of “your leader’s” soldiers inflicted a great deal of pain. If you don’t believe this ask the boy whose head was smashed, he knows that pain well. The people reported tear gas, they reported how enthusiastically they greeted Karoubi, and people reported how the leader’s anonymous, violence seeking soldiers who are sympathizers of Ahmadinejad’s government have put Moussavi under house arrest.

With Mr Zarqami’s permission, the people have also reported, that child Basij were planted in front of the American Embassy and other loutish Basij at the entrances to Hafte Tir Square so that they may attack people with unprecedented violence. With the permission of Mr Zarqami and other lying media of the Islamic Reublic’s government including IRNA and Fars who placed the Basiji among the people to pummel and beat them, the people have also made their reports, a fragment of which we present for your observation.

  • Today in most cities showed scenes of discord with the government of “Seyed Ali Khamenei” and there are reports that students of Esfahan University had a very bountiful gathering, all the time singing the revolutionary anthem “Yare Dabestani”. We draw your attention to it now
  • According to reports from the city of Rasht, the people marched against your conditioning government and raised your attention to this with the “Yare Dabestani” anthem
  • 1000s of people in Tehran with conclusive judgement of him as a murderer, declared the authority of your conditioning leader - whom you recognize in your media broadcasts as the “substance of the muslim world” – void. The protestors in these images available to the public in Iran and the world, they chanted: “Khamenei is a murderer, his jurisdiction is void!”. Rather than the American flag, it was his image that was torn down and trampled on. The images are broadcast here for you. Experts have attributed this behaviour to the continuation of the dictatorship and the excessive practice of murder by government forces.
  • According to the people’s reports and images posted of each person who made up millions, members of the Ahmadinejad’s government and its supporters, the level of violence by the baton wielding Basij was unprecedented. The level of violence was such that many women were left with fractured heads and many women fell unconscious after the blows they suffered in punishment. The level of violence of the arrogant within Iran on the official day of struggle against arrogance is clearly evident in these images that have reached the public of the people and the world.
  • The posted images that have not been broadcast in the anti-people media and never will be unless we show them, speaks of the people’s desire for the formation of a “people’s government”. Thousands who are clearly visible in these images, were shouting “Independence, Freedom, a People’s Government!”
  • Special forces who swarmed the streets to create violence and beat people were in the end not able to stop the sea of people, and in the end people were able to embitter the taste of the coup government and stand in hope of future days. The presence of the guards generating violence is evident in these images.
  • Although US controversy was one of the aims of the Islamic Republic and the leadership, pronounced day and night even at football matches where stadium billboards are covered with “America, depraved substance of the century”, people pay more attention to the government and people of America than to your propaganda. People in this clip are expressing this in the simplest way with “Obama, Obama, It’s them or us!
  • In contrast to people’s view that the government wants to introduce America as the enemy of the Iranian people gathering a load of people outside the American Embassy, equipping them with flags and spending a sizeable sum on their anti-people ceremony, people all over Iran went for simple hand clapping and sloganslike “The Russian Embassy is a den of espionage”. Word on the street suggests that the government and leadership are extremely angered on hearing such slogans. One government member in a historic speech, forgetting that Ayatollah Khomeini has been dead for years, quoted on his behalf, saying “With the intention of misleading people, they’re chanting Death to Russia”.
  • Protest against domestic arrogance took place in different points of the country. With this direction, the people of Shiraz did not deny domestic arrogance, shouting “Death to the Dictator!
  • The people of Esfahan in unison with the country’s other cities sang “Yare Dabestani” against the coup d’etat government.
  • The people of Kerman too want Ahmadinejad’s coup d’etat government to step aside, and called “Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein” lobbing kicks at the abusive government.


It’s exactly five months that the Islamic Republic has resorted to “open violence” showing this in the worst possible way, by even killing its protestors and opponents. As to which forces and which people, and how, they have been reared and trained such that what we have seen on 13 Aban (4 November) and witnessed before that is an example that must be pursued and a proper reaction shown to it.


On 13 Aban, savage forces of the coup d’etat government proceeded to the extreme of fracturing heads and rendering others unconscious and the women who stood at the front of the queue to try and save people were treated in the most ruthless and cold-hearted way. That which has been published in photographs and footage and that which has been conveyed by objective witnesses describes a violence that one must question the angry and confused state of the government.
Although the coup d’etat government has assigned another game to the people and sees it as an occasion for propaganda against the waves of protest of thousands of lost citizens and the media and governments and people of the world have been witness to an absolute objection to the government, the anger and promotion of violence is astonishing after two days of talks and statements. Such that anyone would think that the coup d’etat forces remain only for the massacre of the people.
But how can this “open violence” be stopped? The Islamic Republic according to the country’s current constitution and with attention to international covenants that it has signed and must commit to, does not have the right to subject the citizens of Iran to such savage beatings and injury.

Firing tear gas such that the heads of Karoubi’s caretakers are injured, firing plastic bullets such that several people ended up in hospital, bleeding on Qods Day, beating people’s heads and faces with batons such that people are fractured and rendered unconscious, are indications of extreme violence that Ayatollah Khamenei and Ahmadinejad and the heads of the three branches must be accountable for.
In Iran today because of corruption in the daily workings of the judiciary imposed by institutions affliated to the government and the leadership, the citizens of Iran are not permitted to question their rights in respect to this open violence. The representatives of the Islamic Council do everything in parliament except defend the rights of the people they claim to represent. Public and independent institutions with supervisory roles that have the power to perform are non-existent. In such circumstances there is little that can be done against this dirty violence and forcing the government to put an end to it. The soldiers reared by the government have the power to carry out any act with iron immunity and newspapers like Keyhan promote this.

The only solution against this violence is pressure on the Islamic Republic in every possible way (to the extent of this open violence) on behalf of foreign governments, international institutions, the United Nations and international groups defending human rights.. This mission that must be undertaken very quickly and forces outside the country must put all their efforts into it. Supporting the people of Iran isn’t simultaneous gatherings outside embassies. They must do all they can, using every possible resource to put the maximum pressure on the Islamic Republic to stop this inhuman behaviour.

The bodies of our mothers should not be subjected to batons that descend and strike to silence the rights of the people. Our mothers and sisters suffered the most brutal treatment from the government trained security forces on 13 Aban and the days preceding it. We must show severe disgust towards this savage treatment and security forces outside Iran must view this problem as their fundamental responsibility. This behaviour by the government can only be compared to barbarism. Dealing with such a government in this age is the responsibility of each and every noble and democratic human being whose heart beats for humanity

 
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