• 14 October 2009
  • Posted By Matt Sugrue
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Enduring America has reported that five men have been sentenced to death for participating in the post-election protests. The five men are listed as: Mohammad Reza Ali-Zamani, Arash Rahmanipour, Hamed Rouhinejad, Naser Abdolhosseini and Davoud Mir Ardebili. The conviction of the first four men, and the fact that Mr. Ardebili is a defendant in the same trial, has been reported on other websites. However, it has been difficult to find confirmation of Mr. Ardebili’s conviction outside of the Enduring America article and some Twitter feeds.

The first four men were accused by the Iranian judiciary of “being involved in post-election violence…they had effective membership in banned opposition groups.” Contrary to the government’s position, one report suggests that,

essentially none of the aforementioned individuals had any ties with the violent incidents and post-election events or had any effective membership in the mentioned organizations.

Mr. Zamani and Mr. Rouhinejad and Ahmad Karimi, who has not yet been convicted, apparently attempted to emigrate to the West by traveling into Iraq in mid-2006. The three men were unable to gain visas to continue onto any western countries, and in 2008, after a seventeen-month stay in Iraq, they returned to Iran. It was during their stay in Iraq that Mr. Zamani apparently made contact with Anjoman Padeshahi Iran (API); however, API has denied ever having contact with Mr. Zamani.

It has been reported that the men, along with six others, were arrested in May 2009, and taken to the infamous Ward 209 of Evin Prison. It is unclear what charges the government leveled at the nine men. Security forces ended their interrogations of the prisoners around the time that the post-election protests were beginning. Apparently Mr. Rahmanipour, one of the six other people arrested, and Mr. Zamani agreed to make “false confessions in return for their freedom,” but were tricked by the government and sentenced to death.

Unlike the previous three men, Naser Abdolhosseini was arrested after the start of the election protests. He was charged with being associated with the banned group Mojahedin-e-Khalgh, but his family denies that Mr. Abdolhosseini was ever associated with the organization. There are reports that Mr. Abdolhosseini was not actually in Tehran when the protests were occurring, and was arrested after returning home. A man identified as his brother, Mojtaba, has stated that,

My brother was told that if he made televised confessions, his sentence would be reduced. They told him televised confessions would reduce his prison term and he would be released before the end of his term. They deceived him into making televised confessions, but contrary to what he was promised, they sentenced him to death. They took advantage of Naser and played with his life.

While the above information is subject to further verification, it does provide a tentative view of the behind the scenes machinations of the Islamic Republic. If true, then these reports raise the question of how many other prisoners currently on trial not only confessed under duress, but were never actually associated with the election protests and are simply political prisoners of opportunity.

Posted By Matt Sugrue

    One Response to “Tentative Information about Those Sentenced to Death in Iran”

  1. Megan says:

    Davoud Mir Ardabili has allegedly called a radio station outside Iran to report labor unrest and protest. Like others he had not had a lawyer and had been denied the right to present a defense. Here is the link: http://www.peykeiran.com/Content.aspx?ID=7830

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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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