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  • 16 October 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Events in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Karroubi Still Not Backing Down

Translation via Mousavi’s facebook page:

Mehdi Karoubi welcomed the recent remarks made by Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, the General Prosecutor, in which he promised to “take Mousavi and Karoubi to court when the time is right”.

Karoubi said: “I very much welcome this event so that if during… these years due to some considerations I have not raised some issues, I could do so in details then”.

According to the office of Mehdi Karoubi, while Karoubi was attending a ceremony for the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Sadegh (Sia’s sixth Imam) and the day that the Seminary School of Qom was attacked by Shah’s forces, in response to the question regarding this matter said: “Unfortunately in these years the authorities that according to the quote by Imam Khomeini should be the servants of the nation, not only have not paid any attention to this advice but also instead of being responsible and taking fair positions, have confirmed the positions of extremists’ media; so that by doing so, they could hide their unjust behaviour and also insult and falsely accuse others who don’t have any media [to defend themselves].

Karoubi added: “This time not only I am not concerned about the “trial” but also I very much welcome it so that by this mean I can emphasise on my concerns that are raised from national and religious beliefs of the Iranians and Imam Khomeini’s ideas, and clearly reveal those who are oppose to these concerns.”

  • 15 October 2009
  • Posted By Bardia Mehrabian
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Karroubi: “I Look Forward to My Day in Court”

Mir Hossein Mousavi’s Facebook page is reporting:

Mehdi Karoubi welcomed the recent remarks made by Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, the General Prosecutor, in which he promised to “take Mousavi and karoubi to court when the time is right.”

Karoubi said: “I very much welcome this event so that if…I have not raised some issues, I could do so in details then.”

Karoubi added: “This time not only I am not concerned about the “trial” but also I very much welcome it so that by this means I can emphasize my concerns that are raised from national and religious beliefs of the Iranians and Imam Khomeini’s ideas, and clearly reveal those who are opposed to these concerns.”

  • 19 August 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Uncategorized

Rights of detainees under Iran’s legal system

The Iranian American Bar Association released a white paper this week outlining the rights of detainees and accused persons in the legal system of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  The paper is a valuable resource for those unfamiliar with the inner workings of Iran’s judicial system.

Authored by Navid Sato, an Iranian S.JD candidate at the American University in Washington, D.C, the paper is intended “to educate the non-legal community outside of Iran about the legal rights enjoyed by detained persons in Iran.”

  • 19 August 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Second indictment of those accused in ‘Project for a Velvet Coup’

The indispensable Evan Siegel has painstakingly translated the second indictment in all its tedium.  Key points:

During yesterday’s session, in the first introduction to the Tehran court’s charges, the indications that these riots had been planned in advance and the documents proving the recent organized and planned crimes were presented to the court. During this session, the planning, including planning by foreign countries opposed to the Islamic Republic of Iran, with the intention of collapsing [the system] and staging a soft coup in Iran and intervening in the post-presidential election events [and] operations by the counter-revolutionary and terrorist grouplets and their role in the events after the elections and the recent riots will be presented.A) Planning by foreign countries opposed to the Islamic Republic of Iran with the intention of staging a soft coup in Iran and their intervention in the events after the elections to the presidency.

Along these lines, the new policies of the West, particularly the United States and Britain, to confront the Islamic Republic of Iran are based on three principles:

  1. Democratization (democracy for Western aims and interests);
  2. Keeping the [Islamic Republican] system preoccupied domestically by creating domestic insecurity and intensifying conflicts;
  3. Reining in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regional power;

It has been confirmed that in order to achieve these goals, utilizing the media, public diplomacy, create populist [mardomnahad] organizations and networks and oppositional organizations with the goal of inciting civil disobedience and rolling out a project of non-violent struggle will play the most important roles and enormous budgets and new means of communication have been set aside for this. On the other hand, Western spy agencies were not negligent in taking advantage of all domestic opportunities and resources afforded by the opposition, which is considered to be their operational and executive arms, and the above-mentioned groups, including the illegal group the Freedom Movement, are playing the role of perpetuating insecurity and embroiling the system in strife and playing the role of pawns and the enemy’s fifth column.

Methods to destroy the Islamic Republic:
In order to advance these policies, the enemies of the system (of the sacred Islamic Republic of Iran—comment in the original) put the planning, sketching, and execution axes of the methods of destroying the Islamic Republic of Iran’s in the hands of spy agencies and dependent institutions, some of which are:

  1. Propaganda about and spreading word of the necessity for political regime change;
  2. International support from labor unions, craftsmen, groups which so-called defended human rights and civil organizations which opposed the Islamic Republic;
  3. Actions for economic boycotts against the Islamic Republic of Iran;
  4. Secret financial support to oppositional forces in the system;
  5. Identifying, attracting, and strengthening effective centers and individuals and layers in society such as women, youth, NGOs, etc., to achieve specific ends;

Interestingly, the indictment quotes passages from the 2002 National Security Strategy of President George W Bush in order to demonstrate the West’s plans for a soft coup under the guise of democracy promotion.

  • 16 August 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Uncategorized

Sunday News Roundup

Mousavi Forms “Green Way of Hope” (NYT)

The Iranian opposition leader Mir Hussein Moussavi announced the formation of a new social and political movement on his Web site on Saturday, following through on a promise made last month and defying a renewed government campaign of intimidation aimed at him and his supporters.

The movement is not a political party — which would require a government permit — but a “grass-roots and social network” that will promote democracy and adherence to the law, Mr. Moussavi wrote in a statement on his site. It is to be known as the Green Way of Hope, in deference to the signature bright green color of his campaign for the June 12 presidential election, which he maintains was rigged in favor of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The announcement was Mr. Moussavi’s first major public statement since the Iranian authorities stepped up their pressure on the opposition by opening a mass trial two weeks ago.

Ahmadinejad Appoints Six Ministers (Press TV)

Speaking on state television on Sunday, President Ahmadinejad nominated Ali-Akbar Mehrabian as the Minister of Industry and Mines, Seyyed Shamseddin Hosseini as the Minister of Economy, Hojjatoleslam Heidar Moslehi as the country’s Intelligence Minister and Mohammad Abbasi as Iran’s Minister of Cooperatives.

President Ahmadinejad went on to announce that he will make use of at least three women ministers in the new government.

He named Fatemeh Ajorlou as the Minister of Welfare and Social Security and Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi as the Iranian Health Minister.

Grad student imprisoned in Iran returns to US (AP)

A graduate student imprisoned for a month in Iran and barred from leaving the country for nearly a year has returned to Los Angeles.

Esha Momeni, 29, was charged with acting against Iran’s national security and held mainly in solitary confinement after conducting research on the Iranian women’s rights movement for her thesis at California State University, Northridge.

Clinton calls on Iran to free detained Americans (AFP)

In a statement Clinton pointed to five cases: the three Americans who hiked into Iran from Iraq in late July; a US-Iranian scholar; and a private detective and former FBI agent who went missing in Iran in 2007.

Washington “is deeply concerned about the welfare of our American citizens who have been detained or are missing in Iran,” Clinton said.

Iran Begins Trial of 25 more people (AP)

Iran on Sunday put on trial 25 more activists and opposition supporters, including a Jewish teenager, for their alleged involvement in the turmoil following the recent presidential election.

The prosecutor opened Sunday’s trial with a general indictment of all 25 defendants, accusing them of plotting t he post-election turmoil years ahead of time, said the state news agency.

During the trial, authorities played a film showing attacks on public property, cars and a mosque by protesters.

One of the people who went on trial Sunday belongs to Iran’s tiny Jewish community.

Yaghoghil Shaolian, 19, was quoted by Fars news agency as saying he wasn’t an activist and didn’t even vote, but just got carried away and threw some stones at a bank branch in central Tehran, resulting in his arrest.

Iran’s sole Jewish parliamentarian, Siamak Mereh Sedq, confirmed the detention of Shaolian and his Jewish identity to The Associated Press. He said Shaolian’s detention was not related to his religion.

”He is innocent. We hope to see his release soon based on Islamic mercy,” he said.

Shaolian’s trial is the first time a Jew has been tried in Iran since 2000 when 13 Jews were charged with spying for Israel. Iran is home to 25,000 Jews, the largest such community in the Middle East outside Israel.

Ahmadinejad’s new judiciary chief, Sadeq Larijani, will take responsibility for the controversial trials after his inauguration Monday.

  • 9 August 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Diplomacy, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

L.A. Times: Mass Trial Backfiring

The L.A. Times examines the significance of Iran’s mass trials:

Not only have they [the trails] failed to silence the opposition or quell protests, including one that erupted outside the court building as the proceedings were underway Saturday, analysts said, but they appear to be badly damaging the international credibility of the Iranian judiciary and political systems.

Even among five supporters of Ahmadinejad approached in Tehran on Saturday, all but one said they believed the stilted confessions being read by the defendants were forced, especially those of prominent figures such as former reformist Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi.

The trial, observers said, may be the symptom of fierce fighting within the country’s institutions, an attempt to build a case against the opposition by hard-line political novices loyal to Ahmadinejad.

By provocatively showcasing confessions by the French citizen, Iranian American scholar Kian Tajbakhsh and Iranian Canadian Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari, as well as by British and French embassy staff, the trials will almost certainly further Iran’s diplomatic isolation, highlight its sometimes erratic political system and lower its leverage just as the West and Tehran are considering diplomatic talks as a way to resolve differences over the Iranian nuclear program.

Many wonder about the ultimate goal of the trial. Some analysts suspect that the proceedings, which even some Iranian conservatives have criticized, highlighted a hurried and botched attempt by hard-liners to build a legal case against Mousavi and his powerful allies, former President Mohammad Khatami and Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

“It could be that they’re trying to frame one specific person, potentially Rafsanjani, which could explain why he’s been so quiet lately,” said one analyst in Tehran, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “He’s probably lobbying and working to ensure that they don’t succeed. But failing that, which appears to be the case, they’ll go for another scenario.”

Factional battles have long shaken the country’s political establishment, foiling its attempts at achieving consensus on big issues, such as relations with the West.

In the past, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was able to impose such consensus. But it appears this time he is unable to paper over the differences between various camps. Analysts fear the trial is symptomatic of a far deeper fissure that could make it difficult for the Obama administration to engage with Iran diplomatically, as it has vowed to do.

The last point reinforces the notion that the U.S. government should consider a tactical pause before engaging in high-level diplomacy with Iran.

  • 8 August 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iran’s State Media

As the LA Times story below makes clear, the Iranian government is trying to portray the massive demonstrations in Tehran and other cities across Iran as part of a foreign conspiracy against Iran and a threat to the nation. A quick look at the article titles at the semi-official Fars News Agency confirms this:

This is the way the trial’s defendants are being portrayed in Iran:

The 100 culprits that are put to trail at these series of hearing sessions are categorized in three groups, namely the “plotters, intriguers, and planners of the riots”, “the antagonists and those affiliated to foreign services”, and “the opportunists, hooligans, and hoodlums who set ablaze, or destroyed private and public properties, and those that have had hands in disturbing public security.”

The first hearing session of this kind was held on Saturday August 1st, in which big shot culprits, including the head of former President Seyed Mohammad Khatami’s Presidential Office Hojjatoleslam Mohammad Ali Abtahi and renowned reformist journalist Mohammad Atrianfar presented their defense.

  • 8 August 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Uncategorized

Iran’s Mass Trial Resumes

The LA Times has the latest on Iran’s mass trial:

Twitter, Facebook and Google’s newly introduced Persian-to-English translation software were part of a vast foreign conspiracy against Iran, said a prosecutor today at the second session of an extraordinary trial against alleged ringleaders of weeks of unrest unfolding in Iran.

Government critics and international observers have slammed the proceedings in Tehran as grotesque “show trials” meant to silence the opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose disputed reelection triggered popular protests partially quelled in a violent official crackdown.

As the trial unfolded, a reformist website reported that security forces disrupted a small protest by relatives of the accused and demonstrators chanting, “God is great,” outside the court building.

Among those in the defendants’ gallery was Clotilde Reiss, 24, a French student and researcher who was teaching language classes at a university in the city of Esfahan. She appeared pale but calm as she sat in the front row before the judge, according to photographs distributed by the Fars news agency, among the few government-affiliated news organizations allowed to cover the proceedings.

Reiss, speaking to the court, admitted to sending a one-page account of unrest in Esfahan to the head of the French research center in Tehran and to marching with demonstrators, for which she apologized, according to Fars.

Other defendants included Hossein Rassam, lead analyst at the British Embassy’s political section, and Nazak Afshar, a low-ranking official at the cultural mission at the French Embassy. Both were detained and later released on bail during the unrest.

In a statement read to the courtroom, Rassam described the humdrum details of his embassy job, including efforts to gather information about the political sensibilities of ordinary Iranians and politicians during the unrest, and rejected the accusation that what he was doing was espionage, according to an account by Fars.

He said a British Embassy employee took part in the rallies wearing the green colors that are the signature of the opposition movement.

British officials were stunned by Rassam’s appearance at the mass trial and have demanded clarification for what they described as an “outrage.”

“This is completely unacceptable and directly contradicts assurances we had been given repeatedly by senior Iranian officials,” an unnamed British Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement released to the news media. “We deplore these trials and the so-called confessions of prisoners who have been denied their basic human rights.”

Read the rest of the article at the LA Times.
  • 2 August 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Hardliners Raise the Stakes

Charges of Treason Against Mousavi and Khatami Grow Louder (AFP):

[A] group of Iranian MPs have filed a complaint to the judiciary against Mousavi over the post-election violence, the Fars news agency reported.

“Those who issued statements and directed recent riots should be accountable for the bloodshed and go on trial,” said Mohammad Taghi Rahbar, a hardline member of parliament’s judicial commission.

Rahbar said Mousavi and Khatami were the main culprits behind the unrest.

The rival declarations underscore the scale of the political infighting in Iran, which has also seen Ahmadinejad come under fire even from own hardline supporters and triggered warnings of further radicalisation.

“Evidence of Khatami and Mousavi’s treason unveiled,” thundered the headline in the hardline Kayhan newspaper.

Kayhan called for Khatami and Mousavi to be charged with “acting against God,” an offense that carries the death penalty.

Mousavi Says Sham Trial an Attempt to Validate Fraudulent Election (AFP):

“The scenes that we saw were a clumsy preparation for the launch of the 10th government,” Mousavi said on his website of Saturday’s trial, held just days before Ahmadinejad is to be sworn in on Wednesday.

“They expect a court, which itself is fraudulent, to prove that there was no fraud committed in the election,” said Mousavi, a former post-revolution premier who lost to Ahmadinejad in what he said was a rigged election.

“What are they trying to convince people of… by relying on reports from reporters nobody has heard of and relying on confessions which obviously bore the hallmarks medieval-era torture?”

Khatami Condemns “Show Trial” (LA Times):

In comments published today on his website, Khatami, onetime leader of the nation’s reformist movement, warned that the confessions aired during Saturday’s mass trial for those allegedly behind Iran’s weeks of unrest would backfire by further dividing the people from the establishment.

“Such confessions expressed under special circumstances lack any legal standing,” he said in a meeting late Saturday, according to the, the website of a charity he oversees. “The regime and nation were insulted and what we heard in the show trial were repetitions of what we had already heard from special tribunes in violation of legal and religious norms.”

The trial opening aired on television as the nation braces for another possible outbreak of violence during events this week marking the launch of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s second term. Many prominent political figures, including Khatami, plan to boycott the ceremonies.

Mohammad Ali Abtahi, who served as vice-president to Khatami during his presidency, was among those who appeared at the trial and read a confession recanting his previous allegation that Ahmadinejad’s June 12 election victory was a blatant fraud.

Former IRGC Commander Rezaei Calls for Trial of Security Forces (Press TV):

One day after Iran opened a mass trial of more than 100 opposition figures, defeated presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei questions the fairness of the move, calling for a trial of the security forces who broke the law. […]

“Recent events which brought severe damage upon the nation and the Islamic Republic were caused by two groups; one group were rioters and the second group comprised of self-driven individuals and security forces who violated the law,” Rezaei said in a letter to Iran’s Judiciary Chief, Ayatollah Seyyed Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi, on Sunday.

Rezaei, who challenged Ahmadinejad in the June 12 election, argued that with two types of defendants, the authorities should move to hold two types of court proceedings.

“Otherwise justice and fairness will not be administered and it is even possible that insecurity does not come to an end and calm is not restored to the society,” Rezaei warned.

He said while Saturday’s trial only dealt with the first group of the accused, the question remains as to when the second trial is set to begin and why it was not held at the same time with the first court session.

Rezaei called on the country’s judiciary chief to put to trial “the security forces who attacked Tehran University’s dormitory and classes in Isfahan University”, “those responsible for battering the prisoners including Mohsen Ruholamini”, and “those responsible for assaulting peaceful protestors in the street”.

  • 1 August 2009
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Saturday News Roundup

Iran Begins Trial of Protesters (AP):

More than 100 opposition political activists and protesters stood trial in Tehran Saturday on charges of rioting and conspiring to topple the ruling system in the country’s first trial since the disputed presidential election, Iran’s state media reported.


The defendants faced charges that include attacking military and government buildings, having links with armed opposition groups and conspiring against the ruling system, Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, reported.

During the session, prosecutors read out an indictment outlining what they said was a yearslong plot by the top pro-reform political parties to carry out a ”velvet revolution,” a popular, non-violent uprising to overthrow the Islamic Republic similar to ones that have occurred in Eastern Europe.

Three Americans being held (LA Times):

Iran confirmed today that it is holding three Americans who apparently strayed across the Iranian border while on a hiking trip in the northern Iraqi region of Kurdistan, according to Kurdish officials.

Sign the Petition


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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