• 8 September 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Ali Reza Behshti reportedly arrested

Breaking, from Mousavi’s Facebook page:

URGENT: Ali Reza Beheshti, Mousavi’s top advisor, has been arrested!

Beheshti was son of martyred Ayatollah Beheshti and Mousavi’s top advisor and his representative in the special committee investigating prisoners’ abuse cases. Morteza Alviri, Karou…bi’s representative in the special committee was also arrests earlier.

Ali Reza Beheshti has been in the news constantly, speaking as one of–if not the–central figure in Mousavi’s tight inner circle.  Most recently, Beheshti released a revised figure yesterday of the number of protesters killed in the aftermath of Iran’s election in June.  According to Beheshti, that number is at least 72.

According to the blog Enduring America (not one to sensationalize):

The only step up from this action is the arrest of leaders such as Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

Posted By Patrick Disney

    One Response to “Ali Reza Behshti reportedly arrested”

  1. Ali says:

    Karroubi gave an interview with the times recently, is against sanctions.


    Iranian cleric stands his ground against authorities

    Under threat of arrest, Mehdi Karroubi continues to lead the charge against the state’s crackdown on dissent after the disputed presidential election. ‘I won’t go underground,’ he says.

    By Ramin Mostaghim and Borzou Daragahi
    September 9, 2009
    Reporting from Tehran and Beirut
    The white-turbaned cleric is an unlikely enemy of the Iranian state. He was a confidant of the Islamic Republic’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and served seven years as speaker of parliament.

    But at 72, in the wake of Iran’s disputed presidential election, Mehdi Karroubi has become the fiery heart of a protest movement that has shaken the republic’s foundations.

    “I feel I am obliged to defend the rights of people,” Karroubi said Monday during a rare interview with a Western news organization at his sparse north Tehran office. “I want it to be remembered in the future by coming generations that somebody someday from the clerical establishment stood up for his stances and principles to defend the people.”

    On Tuesday, authorities stormed his party’s headquarters in west Tehran. They seized documents, computers and photographs and arrested Mohammad Davari, editor of his website, a party spokesman said. They also arrested Ali-Reza Beheshti, the top aide to Karroubi’s ally Mir-Hossein Mousavi, reformist websites reported.

    Karroubi’s popular daily newspaper was shut down weeks ago. Hard-line commanders of the Revolutionary Guard and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have repeatedly called for his arrest.

    But Karroubi has continued to defy authorities, calling for opposition supporters to join in street rallies Sept. 18 during Quds Day celebrations, an annual march in support of Palestinians and against Israel.

    Karroubi, along with Mousavi, lost to Ahmadinejad in a June 12 presidential election marred by opposition claims of widespread vote fraud. He has been an outspoken critic of the ensuing crackdown on dissent. He shattered taboos by collecting and publicizing explosive allegations that prison guards raped detained protesters.

    In the interview with The Times, he offered a rare inside view of a nascent Iranian protest movement, which remains under heavy surveillance by security forces.

    “Political changes can come in two forms,” he said. “The change we are calling for is change within the system and constitution, the observation of citizenship rights.”

    He was not specific about the opposition’s strategy, but sketched out goals for the coming months: loosened news media restrictions, freedom of assembly, an end to trials of opposition figures and revised laws to prevent the hard-line Guardian Council from having the final say on elections.

    The movement has few material or financial resources but morale is high. Karroubi said he didn’t fear arrest or bodily injury. He has the same team of bodyguards he’s had for years.

    “I won’t go underground,” he said. “I act publicly and openly. Even if I am arrested and jailed and released, I will go back to open activities.”

    The protests that rocked the nation after the election were essential, he said, pressuring the government to act and demonstrating the extent of discontent.

    “I know all the political factions, the left and right ones,” he said. “Even if they muster up all their followers, they cannot bring out one-fifth of the people we have seen in the streets.”

    He ruled out as unwise more extreme actions such as general strikes.

    “Common people would suffer at the end of the day,” he said. “Our disputes are not so deep. It is a dispute between members of a family. So we do not need that scale of protest.”

    The large-scale demonstrations have subsided largely because of club-wielding, plainclothes Basiji militiamen unleashed against protesters. Karroubi decried what he described as abuses committed by the force, which fought during Iran’s eight-year war against Iraq in the 1980s.

    “Today’s Basiji are different,” he said. “They are not those who defended the country. Young kids are recruited into today’s Basiji and are doing partisan political activities.”

    Still, he said that the organization, now under the command of the Revolutionary Guard, should not be demonized. “We should try to put the Basiji back on its original track.”

    Though he welcomed Iranian expatriates’ involvement in their homeland’s affairs, he said foreign governments should not interfere. But he said Iranian authorities had only themselves to blame for creating a situation that the West could exploit.

    “Ordinary people want their votes to be counted,” he said. “Certainly the world heeded their protests and tried to fan the fire. Honestly, if the U.S. administration does something wrong, do we not highlight it and make a hue and cry? Our enemy does the same to us.”

    But he also said he did not believe international sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program will help its reform movement. Nor will loud, widespread foreign condemnation of Ahmadinejad.

    “Generally, I do not agree with any outside pressure on any government, as at the end of the day the ordinary people will suffer,” he said.

    “If foreign governments want to help, they must just stop being hostile toward us.”

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7,350 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.



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