Tag Archives: human rights abuses in Iran

Through its brutality, #Iran regime shows fear

23 Apr

A week after a major brutal crackdown against Iranian prisoners in Tehran’s Evin prison, Gholamhossein Esmaili, the head of Iran’s prisons service is moved to another position. His new position is “prosecutor and head of the appeals court in Tehran”.

Hangings have increased after the election of Rouhani

Some believe that this was a quiet dismissal for Mr Esmaili. I disagree. Before this, he was in charge of prisons. Now he is one level higher where he can send people to prisons. If anything, this looks like a promotion.

There is no question that Esmaili should be placed under arrest. But this is Iran after all.

The reaction of the regime shows that brutality still rules.

More importantly, it shows fear. The regime is sending a message that anyone who rises against the regime will be violently put down, and anyone who helps the regime do this will be rewarded. That it will not back down.

The question we have to ask ourselves is: why now?

What is it about recent developments inside and outside of Iran which has made the regime so nervous? After all, the 2009 Green uprising is over. Its leaders are under house arrest. Iran has a new president who is a former insider and popular with the people. So what is making the regime so nervous and fearful these days?

Internet and the European Parliament’s recent visit to Iran

26 Mar

The European parliament recently made a trip to Iran. It was the first such trip in seven years.

One of the issues which was looked at was internet in Iran.

This an interesting issue as it touches other important topics, such as freedom of speech as well as the power struggles between the different factions.

The Dutch European member of parliament  Marietje Schaake

For example, we see recently saw that Rouhani’s government is trying to liberalize access to internet sites in Iran. Iran’s Minister of Culture (son of the powerful Ayatollah Jannati) publicly lambasted filtering of sites such as Facebook in Iran by likening it to “attempts to make videos and fax machines illegal immediately after the 1979 revolution.” He is right, that move did not work, nor does trying to block access to Facebook as the site apparently has 4 million users in Iran. People get around government filters by using Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

But will the minister for Culture succeed in officially liberalizing internet access in Iran? That depends, on the higher powers such as the security apparatus within the system and whether he can win the power struggle against them.

The Dutch European MP Marietje Schaake was  part of the European delegation which visited Iran recently. We are friends on Twitter and I must say that when it comes to Iran, she is one of the most inquisitive and articulate European politicians on Twitter. She talks about this issue and the issue of human right in Iran.

On the 24th of March she spoke at the Atlantic Council in Washington DC about her visit. My friend Barbara Slavin moderated the session. I highly recommend it.

You can watch the presentation below


Not starry eyed about Rouhani

27 Oct

Rouhani is not well known for being a defender of human rights in Iran.

In fact he:

spoke in support of the harsh crackdown on student protesters at Tehran University in 1999″.

Please remember these were unarmed students.

And even if Rouhani were a champion of human rights, he would not have much power to change things.

This is because it is “Deep State” which consists of the un-elected group of the intelligence services, the Revolutionary Guards and the supreme leader at the top is in charge of such matters.

Khatami wanted to improve human rights, the Deep State did not let him. And Rouhani is no Khatami (although he is no Ahmadinejad either).

Yes, the Iranian regime seems more moderate in terms of its approach to the nuclear program. But when it comes to human rights, things are unlikely to change much. The life of an Iranian is still worth almost nothing to this group. $20 seems to be the value to the regime.   

Today’s reports of hangings (in retaliation to an attack) and the lashing of Christians are very much part and parcel of the regime which is only moderating its nuclear stance mostly because of sanctions. It’s a shame that the nuclear talks are diverting attention from the brutal way it treats the very same people who it claims its representing in the nuclear talks.

To Iran regime, the life of an Iranian is worth $20 (approximately)

3 Jul

To the Iranian regime, the life of Iranians is not worth much. It has proven it time and again.

$60 USD for killing three innocent Iranians, thats what you have to pay as fine if you are a former regime official.

This is the amount which Saeed Mortazavi, the former prosecutor of Tehran was charged as punishment for his crimes.

According to Al Monitor:

Mortazavi, who was prosecutor-general of Tehran in 2009, was charged along with two other deputies in February with “filing a false report” and “unlawful arrest” in connection to the transfer of street protesters to Kahrizak prison.

The same report then goes on to say that:

According to various reports, Mortazavi and two others were suspended for life from judicial duties and banned for five years from government work.

This is a cruel joke. Mortazavi is well connected to Ahmadinejad and his followers. He is not going to be short of money. There was no way he was going to be allowed into Rouhani’s government anyway, so not being able to hold government jobs for five years will almost be meaningless to him.

The same for being suspended for life from judicial duties. One of the main factors which helped Mortazavi to have his job was Ahmadinejad and his closeness with Khamenei. Thats now over. So there was little chance that Mortazavi was going to keep his job in the judiciary anyway. So being barred from judicial duties will also have very little impact on him.

Khamenei has not changed. He is still the same man. Today he proved that. The only reason Rouhani is there which is why he was allowed to win, was due to the dire economic situation in Iran, brought about by mismanagement and sanctions. He is expected to fix that. To the regime, the average life of an Iranian is unlikely to be worth more after or even during his term, no matter how moderate he may sound.