Saturday, June 11, 2011

Iran 360: Week 1

Translation by Elham Sabetiyan

1 – Highlights of week’s statuses

  • Hossein Derakhshan’s relatives have announced the approval of this blogger’s 19.5-year imprisonment sentence in the appeals court.
  • According to posts published by some websites and student blogs, towards the end of previous week witnesses have found the tortured and naked body of a female student, which had signs of severe torture and rape.
  • Isa Saharkhiz, Keyvan Samimi, Rasool Badaghi, and Mehdi Mahmoudian, four political prisoners of Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj have requested US to haste the deployment of a Human Rights reporter to Iran
  • Following crack of Foreign Ministry of Iran’s servers, anonymous hackers were able to access more than 10 thousand emails of this ministry.
  • Mansour Osanloo, a labor activist and president of the Vahed Syndicate has been temporarily released on bail.
  • Hale Sahabi, passed away during her father’s funeral
  • Ezatollah Sahabi, a well-known critic of the regime and President of the National Iranian Religious committee passes away at the age of 81 at a Modarres hospital of Tehran.
  • Women's football team was unable to compete against Jordan in London’s Olympics due to conflict between FIFA and the Islamic Republic’s dress code.
  • Esmail Ahmadi Moghadam, Iran’s chief of police announced the intensification of plan to deal with men and women’s inappropriate clothing.

2 - Momentary commentaries

  • Organ transplant to Afghans is illegal

An Organ Transplant Institute in Isfahan has stated, organ transplant between Iranians is a possible procedure, however transplant between an Iranian and an Afghan patient is illegal.

The Islamic regime has also previously imposed their discriminatory and racist law against Afghans in schools and factories, but the organ transplant issue is not only far more racist, but is also inhumane especially for a country with Iranian’s culture that deeply believes in “Human society being parts of one whole body.” (Poem by Saadi, an Iranian poet).

In the past employers have abused Afghan workers that did not have work permits and reported them to the police to be deported back to Afghanistan with the slightest conflict of interest. This modern slavery that has been justified by the Islamic Republic’s regime has exceeded to school as well, to a point that many Afghan children are not accepted at Iran’s schools which forces Afghans to create home school environment for their children.

  • Differences between the Leader and Ahmadinejad prevented his trip to Armenia

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's two-day visit to Armenia, which was to take place in recent days, has suddenly been cancelled. Iran’s Foreign Ministry has announced the cause of this cancellation to be “need of more time for gathering documents”, however sources state the cause of this cancellation was flight-ban on two of his accompanying traveler.

This trip was to take place for negotiation followed by signing contracts between the two countries. The authorities of the current government have been limited due to conflict between two main governmental segments of the country. Previously a well-known Clergyman has stated Iranian Revolutionary Guard is to arrest Esfandiar Rahim Mashai, head of presidential office and several other close affiliations of Mahmood Ahmadinejad.

Experts believe the conflict between the Leader and Ahmadinejad is over power, but what is apparent is that the government is not at total coherent and consists of segmentations that each want to have a part in oil revenues. Ahmadinejad’s team is determined to keep the same sector around and has even used oil revenues for this campaign, which has been faced with the parliament’s opposition.

On the other hand, the Leader and his team have dismissed many reformists over the past two years in the name of Ahmadinejad’s empowerment and now the time has come to keep Ahmadinejad’s authorities under control to keep the Leader as the main axis of power.

Evidences and Iranian official’s words indicate the Islamic Republic is in need of reformist’s presence for the next election and as reformists are not to be brought back to power, Ahmadinejad and his team are to be considerably limited in their authorities. By accomplishing this plan, the state is to keep all factions and internal political claimants below the Leader.

I will write more in this regard over next weeks…

  • Bare aggression and terror due to government’s failed policies

An extremely shocking report was published during last week’s news. A group of dangerous individuals raided an evening party, which was held at a garden in Isfahan and preceded to beat and mass rape a group of the guests.

During this event the police arrived with one-hour delay and live witnesses report this genocide was to an extent that many women present at this party had severe bleeding and one of the guests whom was pregnant at the time has miscarried as the result of the rape. Police and authorities have not published any reports in regards to this genocide, however this incident has clearly become the main conversation subject of many families in Isfahan.

Police of Isfahan has previously announced men and women are t be separated by at least a curtain at parties and no music and alcoholic beverages are allowed during these events. Although the flop of these medieval policies is predictable, but it seems like the Iranian regime wants to prevent parties and people’s happiness by causing panic and a fearful atmosphere.

Not only in this event but also in the event of Haleh Sahabi’s death this bare violence was t it’s most over the past week. Also followed by Rajai Shahr’s prison authorities beating of Masoud Bastani, imprisoned reporter, which took place in front of his family’s eyes.

In any event it seems like the government is unable to contain people’s freedom whether it be social or political and has resorted to direct and indirect use of mobs to create a fearful atmosphere.

  • Facebook users say carrying out daily rallies is the best way of presence in the street

Poll results of the Persian Facebook page “Bahman 25” has showed a majority of participants in this poll believe “daily protests in the form of rallies” is the best way of continued presence in for the month of June (Khordad). This poll, which has been one of the most important polls of recent years, invited Iranians with all backgrounds to participate and vote.

In this poll, which nearly 140,000 individuals participated three fourth of the participants were from inside the country. In this poll, participant’s motives for participation in possible events taking place during the first weeks of June (second half of Khordad) was evaluated and 2 out of 5 participants mentioned “overthrown of the current regime” as their main motive.

Participants were leaning towards “national strike and civil disobedience” as the main weapon of choice, however this topic was picked by less than half of the participants. The other two choices were, “following movement awareness by considering current disputes” and “street protests” which took second and third place by a slight difference in votes.

As mentioned above 3 out of every 5 participants picked daily rallies which put this choice at first place. This choice has been three times more popular than other picks such as “holding protests in a particular day” and “weekly protests”. “Daily protests in the form of rallies” has been the most popular pick of participants inside Iran meaning 3 of every 4 individuals were inside the country.

However, one point must be kept in mind the results of this pole is limited to a certain group of people and is not in compliant with the reasonable vote of the public as a whole. First of all, this pole was limited to Facebook and at most has been done by email which is a proof to its limitation to the group in Iran that were able to bypass filtering using a VPN. Secondly, members of this page are mainly followers of reformists at the Green Movement’s main body.

A clear point in this regard is that whether such polls are taken by phone or via the web, they are non-compliant with the entire society’s reality. The unreliable result of a telephone poll will be caused by extreme security measures taken by Iranian police, and via Internet, the result is limited to mid to upper class citizens majority of whom (nearly 6 million) have migrated abroad.

Therefore the participants can be considered a small group that have extreme ties with activists abroad and current developments of the country. In any case, these polls are to an extent the demands of this group of the society. During the Green Movement we were faced with many diverse and colorful slogans that bring the matter into perspective.

3 - Weekly analysis to start as of the second week of “Iran 360” publication.


4- News

Alleged Iranian Agent Who Infiltrated Opposition Claims He Met With Hillary Clinton

Syrian refugees say Iranian forces involved in crackdown

U.S. sanctions Iranian police for rights abuses

Activist concerned for Canadian journalist in Iran after failed appeal

Iran’s president admits rift with country’s senior Islamic figures

Iran to send caretaker oil minister to OPEC

Mourners At Iranian Dissident Funeral ‘Detained’

Israel Cancels Hearing on Company Ties With Iran

Iran’s supreme leader backs Ahmadinejad

13 ships owned by Israel’s Ofer Brothers have docked in Iran over past decade

Released hiker describes friends’ abuse in Iranian prison

Secret mass executions in Iranian prison

Actors go to UN demanding Iran release jailed director

Sexual assault on campus triggers student protests

Nuclear proliferation: Engaging Iran

Iranian police to tighten security over public dress code

Iran Submarines in Red Sea to Spot Naval Vessels

Obama: New sanctions against Iran may be coming

Iran to establish its own national internet

IAEA Board To Discuss Syria, Iran

Iran Protests Hijab Ban

Iran says Baha’i university illegal

Anonymous says it hacked Iranian government email server

Iran protest dispersed by force: witnesses

Khamenei calls for unity among conservatives

Forces intimidate banned Iranian students

Freed hiker fasts for two men still in Iran

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Iran 360: the rebirth of citizen journalism"

Nearly two years ago scores of Iranian citizens used the obviously rigged 2009 Presidential election and the Iranian government forces’ constant manipulation tactics as an excuse to heavily protest on the streets and question their fate and the events that took place in their daily lives. This mass social movement spread throughout Iran in a short period of time; it was the beginning of an end and Iranians impatiently and loudly sang their government's farewell song. Although leading Iranian social movements and more aware sectors of Iran had foreseen the Iranian government's end for a long time, the Green Movement was the collaborating point between liberated thoughts of the last decade and the daily lives of citizens.

Although Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s appointment as Iran's President was an excuse to trigger this remarkable social and political movement, it also allowed many complexities to be addressed that had accumulated over the years.

This movement was not limited to street protests and occasional clashes between people and the militia. This political/social phenomenon had a such a massive influence on the media and communication world that many analysts labelled it a “media revolution”. However, this definition has its own discrepancies: it limits the Iranian movement to the media and the definition of revolution is aside from the people’s libertarian intentions.

The reliable point in the defining media goes back to the demand of a group of Iranians for communication with one another and the world without having to go through intermediaries. Citizens that with slight changes in their ways and reasoning bring passion and epic to the streets of their cities

Aligned with the mass social request, a group of aware citizens, activists, and journalists have launched a new approach based on today’s media standards for reporting on the developments taking place in the streets and political/social events in Iran. Although this community was initially limited to a group of social activists that had gathered through our cooperation in various fields, we gradually spread across the world.

Many friends from Italy, France, Spain, and the Arabic countries came to our help in the field of translation. In the absence of free and reliable Internet in Iran, many friends from Brazil came to the rescue and began uploading videos and footages on sites such as YouTube and Facebook. We received footages from several different countries such as Japan, Sweden, and the United States; footages that were recorded in defense of Iranian citizens against the dictatorship rule in Iran. These unique collaborations have a long list that stretches beyond the capacity of this text.

In the past 18 months we have used all our efforts to focus on an independent and ongoing media by expanding our citizen network and deepening our ways of safely communicating and identifying reliable sources in Iran. So far we have overlooked all forms of financial help from any government. We also have not benefited from the support of any specific sector or political party. Our efforts depend on volunteer citizen journalists who have experienced first hand beatings by Iranian government forces and their ensuing actions of threats, arrests, imprisonment, and exile.

"Iran 360" aims to launch a new media movement that focuses on Iran and the Middle East. The news on the "Iran 360" will be published in the English language every Friday. The content on the website will be used in efforts to close the gap between Iranian citizens and the world.

The content on the "Iran 360" is supported by various sources inside Iran and gathered and edited by Saeed Valadbaygi. We are using our full efforts to present readers with a different perspective on what is happening in Iran; a perspective often overlooked by mass media and not highlighted by political organizations.

We understand that the English translations posted on the "Iran 360" may not be free of grammatical errors. For this reason, we depend on volunteers along the way to help strengthen the quality of the site's content. "Iran 360" eagerly awaits your help in the field of translation and publishing.

Keep an eye out for the first issue of "Iran 360" on June 10, 2011.

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