Archive for July, 2009

In Iran, Concerns Emerge Amid Fresh Protesting

Monday, July 13th, 2009


Iran to execute top Sunni rebel, 11 others: report

Monday, July 13th, 2009


TEHRAN (AFP) — Iran will execute 12 members of a Sunni rebel group, including one of its senior militants, by the end of this week, the Fars news agency reported on Saturday.

Abdolhamid Rigi, brother of Abdolmalik Rigi who heads the shadowy Sunni group Jundallah (Soldiers of God), will be hanged along with 11 others, the agency said quoting Hojateslam Ebrahim Hamidi, head of the judiciary in the restive southeast province of Sistan-Baluchestan.

“They will be hanged, inshallah, by the end of the week,” said Hamidi, adding that the 12 have all been accused of being “mohareb” — enemies of God.

Iran’s state-run English language television station Press TV quoted Rigi as saying that his brother Abdolmalik was on the payroll of the American military.

“My brother Abdolmalik met several times with US forces in Pakistan,” it quoted Rigi as telling a group of tribal leaders in the town of Iranshahr in Sistan-Baluchistan.

“I myself took part in one of those meetings, where we discussed recruitment, training, infiltrating Iran and methods of inflaming Sunni-Shiite sectarianism for three hours. In that meeting, the Americans gave my brother 100,000 dollars,” he said, according to Press TV.

Iran accuses Jundallah of launching regular attacks in Sistan-Baluchestan province which borders both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The province is home to a sizeable Baluch minority which adheres to Sunni Islam. Jundallah strongly opposes to the government of predominantly Shiite Iran.

Threat Against Students and Faculty of BIHE

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Iran Press Watch has received through the kindness of faculties of the Baha’i Institute for High Education (BIHE – a copy of an email sent to a number students and others associated with BIHE. Iran Press Watch was asked to share this document for the benefit of international media, governmental institutions and human rights activists. It is also alarming that a threat against the group of Yaran, former leaders of the Baha’i community of Iran, is stated in this document. A translation by Iran Press Watch follows:

With peace upon all of you followers of the wayward Baha’i sect, who are affiliated with the illegal and immoral BIHE University:

Following the teachings of Muhammadan Islam, the Unknown Soldiers of the Imam Zaman [Lord of the Age] have learned of unlawful and unethical activities of this outwardly-seeming university, which has direct association with foreign governments, including the Zionist [regime] and England. Should students, professors and officials of this so-called university wish to preserve their own safety, they must sever their association, whatever it may be, with this university. Otherwise, possible consequences of this association will fall upon yourselves, and you will have to expect the revolutionary hanging of a group affiliated with this university and that of your dear Yaran [friends] presently incarcerated.

Peace and blessings be upon the spirits of Islamic Revolution martyrs,

Unknown soldiers of the Imam Zaman

Iran Press Watch has previously published a number of statements by the group known as Unknown Soldiers of Imam Zaman, which appears to be an underground movement organized to attack and harass the Baha’is of Iran.

Norway summons Iran diplomat over human rights concerns

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Washington, 7 July (WashingtonTV)—Norway’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoned Iran’s charge d’affaires in Oslo, Mohsen Bavafa, to express its concern for the human rights situation in Iran.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere also called on Iran to release protesters arrested after the disputed 12 June presidential election, the ministry said in a statement.

“The authorities in Iran do not respect basic human rights,” Stoere said.

“Norway objects to the politically-motivated arrests, and reacts in particular to the fact that local employees at the British embassy in Tehran have been imprisoned,” he added.

Iran arrested nine Iranian employees at the British embassy in Tehran, and accused them of fomenting post-election unrest. All but one of the nine have been released.

Oslo also condemned the arrests of opposition members, journalists, human rights activists and peaceful demonstrators.

“Iranian authorities are urged to immediately stop political arrests and release those unjustly imprisoned,” said the foreign minister.

Norway also condemned the 4 July execution of 20 Iranians convicted of drug trafficking.

In addition, Stoere raised his concern over the situation of the Baha’i community in Iran, in particular the upcoming trial against seven Baha’i leaders in Tehran.

“I urge the Iranian authorities to respect the religious beliefs of all minorities in Iran,” he said.

Iran’s Bahá’ís mentioned in Prime Minister’s questions

Sunday, July 5th, 2009


The Prime Minister has promised to continue raising Britain’s concerns with Iran, over the issue of the seven Bahá’ís being detained in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison.

Gordon Brown’s comments came during Prime Minister’s questions in the House of Commons, in response to the MP for Montgomeryshire, Lembit Opik.

“I have become deeply concerned about the seven Baha’i leaders in Iran facing trial by the revolutionary court on 11 July on serious but unsubstantiated charges, with no evidence being offered against them,” said Mr Opik, who is Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Friends of the Bahá’ís group.

Describing current circumstances in Iran as “very difficult issues”, Mr Brown expressed his “disappointment at the restrictions that (Mr Opik) has mentioned on the freedoms of the Iranian people, with people due to stand before a closed court on 11 July.”

According to information conveyed by the authorities at Evin to the family members of the seven Bahá’ís who have been imprisoned for more than a year, a trial date has been set for 11 July. The seven were arrested in the spring of 2008 and have been held without any formal charges or access to their attorneys. Official Iranian news reports have said the Baha’is will be accused of “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic Republic.”

“Some people in Iran are seeking to use Britain as an explanation for the legitimate Iranian voices calling for greater openness and democracy. However, we will continue, with our international partners, to raise our concerns with Iran, including on the issue that the honorable Gentleman raised,” Mr Brown said.

Nobel winner seeks U.N. human rights envoy for Iran

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

By Daniel Bases

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Iranian Nobel Peace Prize recipient Shirin Ebadi called on U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Thursday to appoint a personal envoy to investigate human rights abuses in Iran.

In a letter also signed by the rights groups International Federation for Human Rights and the Iranian League for the Defense of Human Rights, Ebadi asked Ban to appoint the envoy to look into abuses in Iran following June’s disputed presidential election.

A spokesman for Ban said the letter had been received by his office. Ban currently is on a trip to Myanmar in a bid to get the military junta there to release all political prisoners and prepare for credible elections next year.

The letter said Ebadi, a human rights lawyer, had made the request to Ban directly in a telephone conversation on June 23, eleven days after Iran’s election. The United Nations at the time disclosed the conversation but did not mention the request for a human rights envoy.

Ebadi was given the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 for her efforts to promote democracy and human rights, in particular the rights of women and children.

Action by Iranian security forces against demonstrators who charged that the election had been rigged in favor of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad drew condemnation from Western countries and from Ban. Iranian authorities said the vote was fair.

“We would like … to reiterate our call upon you to name a Personal Envoy for Iran,” the letter said.

“Such an envoy would benefit from your authority in the relations with the Iranian authorities, an authority which is denied to human rights groups from Iran or from abroad in the context of this active repression,” the letter said.

The June 12 election pitted hard-liner Ahmadinejad against Mirhossein Mousavi. In the aftermath of the vote, which drew the most vigorous organized protests since the 1979 Islamic revolution, state media said 20 people died in violence.

Ebadi has called on Ahmadinejad to prosecute those who shot protesters and pay compensation to their families while also calling for fresh elections held with U.N. observers.

(Additional reporting by Patrick Worsnip; Editing by Will Dunham)

Six people were hanged in Tehran’s Evin prison today

Sunday, July 5th, 2009


Iran Human Rights, July 1: Six people were hanged in Tehran’s Evin prison early this morning July 1. reported the state run Iranian news agency ISNA.

None of those who were executed today were identified by name, age or details around what they were convicted of.

The state run news site “young journalist’s club” also reported that one man identified as Alireza (28) was hanged in Tehran’s Evin prison convicted of murdering his friend.

Jerusalem Post , quoting a source in Iran, reported that six poeple were hanged in Tehran in relation with the recent pro-democracy demonstrations in Iran.

Iran Human Rights can not verify this report.

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, spokesperson of “Iran Human Rights” said:”We are concerned that none of those executed today were identified by name. Regardless of what they are charged with, we condemn today’s executions, and repeat our concerns about the fact that many of the arrested under the pro-democracy demonstrations in Iran are in danger of torture, forced confession and execution”.

The ISNA report also said: The six people who were hanged today were convicted of murder. The report added that execution of three others that was scheduled to take place today, was postponed. One of them, identified as “Hossein R.” was a minor offender convicted of a murder at the age of 16.


Sunday, July 5th, 2009


IRAN’S hardline leadership has begun a merciless purge of its opponents that could end with children hanging from gallows.

Students are likely to feel the worst excesses of the vengeance being exacted by the country’s religious rulers in the wake of pro-democracy demonstrations.

Anyone who dared to protest over the disputed presidential election result two weeks ago has been warned that their defiance will result in the harshest punishments.

Under Iran’s medieval legal system that could mean children – in theory, girls as young as nine – facing execution.

A damning report of Iran’s flagrant contempt for international laws on capital punishment will next week expose the appalling extent of child executions in the strict Islamic state.

Although UN decrees state that no person under 18 should be executed or sentenced to death, Iran’s prisons echo with the cries of youngsters facing the noose.

Today, 160 young people await their fate on death row for crimes including homosexuality, having sex outside marriage or turning their backs on Islam.

Their chances of reprieve are slim. Over the past five years, 33 children have faced the noose.

By comparison, the other Middle East countries still executing children – Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen – have a combined total of 19 on Death Row.

The report, From Cradle to Coffin, is produced by the London-based Foreign Policy Centre and Stop Child Executions. It reveals many of the cases, including the most recent hanging of a young woman in May.

Delara Darabi spent five years behind bars for a murder she was alleged to have carried out at the age of 17.

She strenuously denied the crime and went to her death sobbing: “Mum, they want to execute me. I see the gallows. Mother, save me.”

Download: The foreign Policy Center’s latest report on Child Executions in Iran

Listen to Podcast from Women’s Hour which contains a section on Juvenile excecutions

Arrest of Iranian Academics Condemned

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009


The UK’s University and College Union (UCU) has formally condemned the Iranian government after 70 university professors were arrested as part of the state’s crackdown on opposition protestors. The academics were held on the 25 June after meeting the pro-reformist candidate Mr Mousavi, who has accused President Ahmadinejad of rigging this month’s national elections.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “The actions of the Iranian government are completely deplorable and must be condemned by the international community. It is deeply disturbing that academics are being targeted by the state for meeting with opposition leaders. It is criminal that their rights to free speech and assembly are being violated in this way.” Subsequent reports indicate that most of the academics have been released, but that two are still being held.


Hundreds of protesters and activists are believed to have been taken into custody since the vote on 12 June, which saw Iran’s ruling clerics declare President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the winner by a landslide margin. Ali Ansari, director of the Iranian Institute at the University of St Andrews, told Times Higher Education that it was almost inevitable that universities and academics would be in the firing line during the crackdown.

The Scholars at Risk (SAR) Network in New York has also expressed deep concern at the reports of violence on university campuses and towards members of university communities in Iran. SAR has pledged to help any Iranian scholars in need of assistance, with the possibility of temporary opportunities at network universities.


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Your contributions to our Search for Iran’s Dead and Detained

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Simon Jeffery on the response to our call for help in naming those who have died or been jailed since the Iran elections

Hundreds – maybe thousands – of people have been jailed in Iran for their part in the protests that followed the presidential election, and we are trying to find out who they are.

Yesterday we asked readers and a wider community on Twitter for help in filling in the missing details on our list and sending in photographs of the dead or detained.

So far we have received hundreds of pieces of information, many new names and several photographs. Below is Mohammadreza Jalaeipour, 27, an Oxford PhD student and spokesman for a grassroots campaign group for the reformist presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. He was arrested at Tehran airport on 17 June as he attempted to leave the country.

Others have pointed us to Facebook profiles and photographs for those involved in the protests. If you know of these people or have them in your networks please let us know. This is an attempt to break through the crackdown on dissent and reporting in Iran since the election. Many of the names would be unknown were it not the for the work of groups such as the New York-based Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Reporters Without Borders/Reporters Sans Frontieres and Human Rights Watch who we owe a great debt to.

All the information and photographs now coming in will be assessed and added to our database as appropriate and the main graphic will be updated. We are also sharing information with the above-mentioned Human Rights Watch and making a spreadsheet available at Datablog.

Ayatollah Taheri of Esfahan Issues a Statement Denouncing the Election

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

آیت الله طاهری: تصدی مجدد رئیس دولت نامشروع و غاصبانه است

آیت الله سید جلال الدین طاهری اصفهانی، از روحانیون اصلاح طلب ساکن اصفهان از وقایع پس از انتخابات ریاست جمهوری ایران انتقاد کرده و گفته “همصدا با اکثریت مردمِ رای باخته، این انتخابات را مخدوش و آن را باطل و تصدی مجدد رئیس دولت را برای دور بعد نامشروع و غاصبانه” می داند.

آقای طاهری با انتشار بیانیه ای آنچه را که “استفاده ابزاری” از سخنان آیت الله خمینی، بنیانگذار جمهوری اسلامی خوانده “تقبیح” کرده و گفته من با دیده گریان و قلبی اندوه بار به عینه می‌بینم که کهنه دشمنان و مخالفان امام راحل که او را برای مبارزه و تاسیس جمهوری اسلامی تخطئه می‌کردند، امروز با تمام قوت و با همان دشمنی، تئوری پردازان قدرتمندان شده و از درون به هدم و نابودی عقاید حکومتی مرحوم امام و به موزه فرستادن عملی آن، فعالانه مشغول هستند.

آقای طاهری از امامان جمعه منصوب آیت الله خمینی بود اما تابستان سال ۱۳۸۱ در اعتراض به “شرایط کشور” با انتشار بیانیه شدید الحنی که حکومت را به “فساد و بی لیاقتی” متهم می کرد، از سمت خود استعفا داد. او در بیانه تازه خود نیز از شرایط حاکم بر ایران انتقاد کرده است.

آقای طاهری در بیانیه خود نوشته است: ” آیا امام معتقد بود کسانی که باید در انتخابات بی طرف باشند، رسما وارد حمایت علنی از کاندیدای خاصی بشوند؟ آیا امام اجازه می‌داد امکانات عمومی و بیت المال مسلمین برای یک کاندیدا بدون هیچ محدودیتی استفاده شود؟ آیا امام اجازه می‌داد حیثیت و آبروی افراد این گونه در معرض و منظر مردم ملعبه بازیگران قدرت قرار گیرد؟ و آیا دین چنین اجازه‌ای به شما داده است؟ چرا چتر حمایت قانون فقط برای شما و دوستان شما است؟”

آیت الله طاهری، پس از استعفا از امامت جمعه اصفهان نیز به مناسبت های مختلف درباره وقایع ایران اظهار نظر کرده است.

او در جریان دهمین دوره انتخابات ریاست جمهوری نیز از نامزدی میرحسین موسوی حمایت کرد.

آیت الله طاهری در بیاینه اخیرش نیز بار دیگر از میر حسین موسوی حمایت کرده و گفته است: ” آیا این از مصادیق عدالت است که سید شریف و مظلومی چون میرحسین موسوی که در سخت‌ترین دوران‌های این کشور مسئولیت اداره دولت را با وجود جنگ هشت ساله و محاصره اقتصادی و گروه‌های محارب و تثبیت انقلاب با موفقیت تمام طی نمود، اکنون عامل استکبار، اغتشاشگر و مستوجب کیفر باشد و باید حقوقش پایمال گردد؟

IMHRO strongly condemning the arrest of Abdul Zahra Washahi

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Source: Iranian Minorities’ Human Rights Organisation (IMHRO)



The Iranian security services have just arrested Abdul Zahra Washahi, a retired 62 year old Ahwazi Arab from Bandar Mahshahr (south-west Iran), who is the father of Reza Washahi – currently working as a researcher with IMHRO.

After a number of threats over the phone, the Iranian government finally arrested Abdul Zahra Washahi on 14th of May 2009. A few months ago Abdul Zahra was told that unless his son stopped his human-rights activities, he would be arrested instead.

This case and similar cases clearly show the tyrannical nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

IMHRO condemns putting pressure on dissident human-rights activists through their families still in Iran. To use the families of human-rights activists as a ransom is clearly an inhumane policy and practice of the Iranian government.

This policy of silencing through intimidation has never worked in the past and is not going to work now. IMHRO requests the international community to act swiftly for the release of Abdul Zahra Washahi, who also suffers with a heart condition.

Anti-Baha’i slogans on Baha’i Home.

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009


شعارنویسی های شبانه بر دیوار منازل بهائیان سمنان