• 7 October 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Photos of Kahrizak’s prisoner overflow facility

Mowjcamp has published photos of the infamous Kahrizak prison’s overflow facility, which a truth committee has claimed was the site of torture and mistreatment of detainees.




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Posted By Patrick Disney

    7 Responses to “Photos of Kahrizak’s prisoner overflow facility”

  1. Mark Pyruz says:

    The third photo is really curious. Is that a camera in the foreground? The military/police official appears to be a Lt. Colonel (Sarhang dovom سرهنگ دوم).

    Not much of an overflow facility. It appears very small, in comparison to even average-sized American municipal jails. It doesn’t even look very secure. One thing is for sure, Iran certainly does not have the immense prison infrastructure that currently exists in the US.

    This facility compares more to an average American city’s juvenile hall, in size and security. Certainly no gulag.

  2. Alireza says:

    Questions for Mark Pyruz: when was the last time a protestor was killed by police or other security forces during demonstrations in the U.S.? When was the last time dozens of protestors were killed by police or other security forces during demonstrations in the U.S.?

  3. Someone says:


    “Four dead in Ohio”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings

    The civil rights movement was not free from bloodshed either. Not sure if protesters have been killed more recently.

    Of course, the situation in Iran is on a whole other level of brutality..

  4. Alireza says:

    My point exactly: this happened nearly 40 years ago, and it has become an iconic event (including the CSNY song). I can’t help but think that Mark Pyruz was seeking to dowplay the brutality of the IRI by implying that conditions in Iran are not that bad compared to the U.S.

  5. Mark Pyruz says:

    Sorry if I gave you that impression. I simply made a few observations from the studying the photos, and made a comparison of facilities. There was no downplaying.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a medium-sized American state prison or even a medium-sized municipal jail. If you had, then you’ll fail to be impressed by this “overflow” facility.

    I should point out that it’s not the incarceration structure that’s really the big issue here. I think the focus should be centered on Iran’s weak judiciary system. The Iranian constitution is filled with basic rights, but unfortunately its weak judiciary system has been found unreliable, and wanting.

    There is plenty of bad politics to go around in the US, but what ultimately protects American citizens from much of it is our reasonably reliable and independent judicial system. Apparently not so in Iran.

    I’d just like to add, however, that 40 years is an eyeblink in human history. And I very much remember the police beatings, massive demonstrations, arrests and incidents of shootings by security forces in the US during the 1960’s, early ’70s. I also remember that there was an American “silent majority” that opposed the demonstrators. The recent WPO opinion poll taken in Iran suggests the possibility of a “silent majority” in Iran today.

  6. Alireza says:


    In the 40 years since Kent State (or since 1979 to be more precise), the IRI has killed well over 15,000 of its own citizens. In his book “Tortured Confessions”, the historian Ervand Abrahamian cites a Mojahedin “martyrs’ list” that includes 12,028 killed between June 1981 and June 1985 (74% through executions, 22% in armed confrontations, and 4% under torture). The list does not include the 128 Bahais, 9 Jews, and 32 Tudeh and Majority Fadayis executed during that period. Nor does it include the thousands executed from 1979 to June 1981 or from June 1985 till the present day (particularly the several thousand executed in 1988)!!! Are you comparing that Reign of Terror in scale and scope to “the police beatings, massive demonstrations, arrests and incidents of shootings by security forces in the US during the 1960’s, early ’70s”?

    With all due respect, anyone who takes a public opinion poll conducted in Iran at face value either knows nothing about the murderous IRI regime (see preceding paragraph) or is being disingenuous. Any poll taken in Iran (which certain quarters in the U.S. love to quote) shows that a substantial number of people simply refuse to answer the question. Do you think fear could be playing a role? Let me enlighten you with a few examples (you may say these are mere anecdotes, but they give you a sense of how Iranians have to get by living inside Iran; moreover, the brutality of the IRI is well-documented and not merely anecdotal): a family friend called her daughter in Iran. On the phone, the daughter felt compelled to denounce the demonstrators as “troublemakers”–exactly the line taken by the IRI’s media. The mother, who obviously knows her daughter well, was certain that she spoke in this way out of fear that phone calls are being monitored. My own cousin in Esfahan happened to mention that the Basijis had gone around smashing people’s windows because they had left their front doors open so demonstrators could run inside and find safe haven from the security forces. When I visited Iran myself in 2004, I decided to visit Khomeini’s tomb (call it morbid curiosity). When asking for directions to the mausoleum, I always made sure to use the respectful term for Khomeini “Emam” (and this for one of the worst Iranians in Iran’s long history).

    The “silent majority” in Iran is the one cowed into silence by the ruthless repression of the lousy IRI regime. Do you really think it is otherwise?

  7. Alireza says:

    BTW, the 15,000 figure is a conservative estimate.

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Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
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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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