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Posts Tagged ‘ Shirin Ebadi ’

  • 22 March 2012
  • Posted By Richard Abott
  • 0 Comments
  • Human Rights in Iran, Sanctions, US-Iran War

Iranian human rights and democracy defenders on sanctions and war

Below is a compendium of public statements by notable Iranian human rights and democracy defenders regarding the impact that sanctions and threats of war have on Iran:

Iran sanctions strengthen Ahmadinejad regime – Karroubi, The Guardian, August 11, 2010:

  • “These sanctions have given an excuse to the Iranian government to suppress the opposition by blaming them for the unstable situation of the country,”
  • “Look at Cuba and North Korea,” he said. “Have sanctions brought democracy to their people? They have just made them more isolated and given them the opportunity to crack down on their opposition without bothering themselves about the international attention.”
  • “On the one hand, the government’s mishandling of the economy has resulted in deep recession and rising inflation inside the country, which has crippled the people of Iran and resulted in the closure of numerous factories. On the other hand, we have sanctions which are strengthening the illegitimate government.”
  • In relation to how the current Iranian regime treats its opponents more harshly than the shah, who was sensitive to international criticism, did: “But because Iran is getting more isolated, more and more they [Ahmadinejad’s government] are becoming indifferent to what the world is thinking about them,” he said.
  • Mir Hossein Mousavi co-authored a public letter with Karroubi: “Sanctions have targeted the most vulnerable social classes of Iran including workers and farmers,” the letter said.

Why Do We Need to Stand Up to the MEK?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttVUXDF717U]

The push to remove the MEK from the U.S. list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations is intensifying in Congress and in pro-war circles in Washington.

A vote is coming before the House Foreign Affairs Committee this week on whether to endorse removing the Iranian Mujahedin from the U.S. foreign terrorist organizations lists.  This would enable it to operate freely and even receive U.S. funding for renewed attacks in Iran.

And John Bolton and Daniel Pipes, who have openly called for the U.S. to bomb Iran, have recently ratcheted up their calls for the MEK to be taken off the terrorist list.

Supporters of the Mujahedin don’t care that the group has no support in Iran. They favor the Mujahedin because it uses violence and terror.

We are standing up to the Mujahedin for three reasons:

1) Delisting the Mujahedin and unleashing its violence would be a major blow to the non-violent, pro-democracy movement.

As Iranian-Americans, we more than anyone else should know from experience that violence can defeat a dictator, but it cannot give us democracy. We have to break the cycle of violence, not perpetuate it.

2) Delisting the Mujahedin would unleash a major force for war.

For years, the Mujahedin have lobbied for the US to attack Iran and to help install MEK leader Maryam Rajavi into power.  We’ve seen how effective they have lobbied for war even while they are a designated terrorist organization.  De-listing them will be a major boost to their lobbying campaign to start a US-Iran war.

3) Delisting the Mujahedin threatens the free, peaceful voices of the Iranian-American community

For years, the Mujahedin have smeared and defamed anyone and any group who differed with them, including Iranian-American organizations and even individuals like Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi.

As Iranian Americans, we have the ability and responsibility to help break the cycle of violence that has engulfed Iran.  NIAC is the only organization standing up to prevent this from happening.

But we need your help.

Join us in taking a stance for non-violence, democracy and human rights.

Donate $100 today for our efforts to prevent war, protect the pro-democracy movement and break the cycle of violence.

  • 20 June 2011
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 2 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iranian American activism

Each Iranian: One Voice Campaign

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjo4MHA2VuA]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B88yLjz3zVs]

On Friday, June 19, twelve political prisoners in Iran started an indefinite hunger strike in protest over the killing of two fellow political prisoners, Haleh Sahabi and Hoda Saber, Green Voice of Freedom reported.

One day after that, Kaleme, the opposition website close to Mir Hossein Mousavi, called on all Iranians around the world to join the Each Iranian: One Voice Campaign by creating a 2-3 minute video statement in solidarity and support.

Shirin Ebadi, Maziar Bahari, Hamid Dabashi, Mohsen Kadivar, and other prominent Iranians have joined this campaign, raising their concerns about the life of these twelve prisoners and calling on the Iranian regime to release them and all other political prisoners in Iran.

One of the twelve political prisoners, human rights activist Emadeddin Baghi, has reportedly been granted release from prison–winning an appeal to have his sentence reduced to time served.  In his place, Mehdi Eghbal has joined the hunger strike.  The others participating are Bahman Ahmadi Amooei, Hasan Asadi Zeidabadi, Emad Bahavar, Ghorban Behzadian-Nejad, Mohammad Davari, Amir-Khosro Dalir-Sani, Feizollah Arabsorkhi, Abolfazl Ghadyani, Mohammad Javad Mozaffar, Mohammad Reza Moghisseh, and Abdollah Momeni.

Hoda Saber and Haleh Sahabi are the most recent political prisoners that lost their live under the brutal pressure of the regime on imprisoned activists. Haleh Sahabi was killed at her father’s funeral while she was temporary released from prison to attend the ceremony. In protest of Haleh’s death, Hoda Saber started a hunger strike and, three days later, he died after being brutally beaten by officers of the security force.

Many of the videos can be found at Green Voice of Freedom and are included after the jump.

  • 1 June 2011
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 0 Comments
  • Congress, Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, UN

Haleh Sahabi killed at father’s funeral

Haleh Sahabi, a human rights activist and women rights champion, died today in a scuffle that broke out with Iranian government security forces at her father’s funeral, Reuters reported.

Haleh was arrested for participating in protests following the 2009 election, and temporary released to attend the ceremony. Her father, Ezzatollah Sahabi (1930-2011) was a politician and former parliament member who spent about 15 years in prison before and after the Islamic revolution, and also was a member of the interim government installed after the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran.  He resigned in protest over the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran.

Iran state news agencies and Iranian officials denied that Haleh died at the hands of security forces and instead have said she died as a result of a heart attack due to the high temperatures. However, eyewitnesses, including Ayatollah Montazeri’s son and Haleh’s uncle, indicate that she was killed after being hit and punched by regime militia and they hold the regime responsible for her death.

Shirin Ebadi, in her interview with Deutsche Welle Persian, pointed out that Haleh’s death is considered a murder and can be investigated by the UN Human Rights Council.

In addition, the U.S. State Department called for an investigation into Haleh’s death.

NIAC issued a statement condemning the killing:

Haleh Sahabi’s death at the hands of Iranian government security forces marks the tragic closing of yet another chapter in Iran’s long struggle for democracy, human rights and the rule of law.  Just as her father dedicated his entire life to achieving a democratic Iran, Haleh ultimately lost her life in pursuit of this cause and, like him, died as a political prisoner.  Iran’s government must release all prisoners of conscience and end the systematic repression that has led to so much suffering in Iran but failed to diminish the Iranian people’s aspirations for a brighter future.

  • 28 April 2011
  • Posted By David Elliott
  • 0 Comments
  • Human Rights in Iran

NIAC Interview with Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi

At an event hosted by NIAC on Saturday, Nobel Laureate and human rights lawyer Dr. Shirin Ebadi called for international attention on the human rights situation in Iran and warned that war, or threats of an attack on Iran, would be devastating for the country’s indigenous human rights and democracy movement.  But before speaking at the NIAC event in Virginia, Dr. Ebadi gave an exclusive interview with NIAC President Dr. Trita Parsi and Dr. Hazhir Rahmandad, a NIAC member and assistant professor at Virginia Tech.

The interview (in Persian) is below, while our English-only audience can read highlights on NIAC’s website, here.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zIPCn6dDaU]

  • 6 October 2010
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • 0 Comments
  • Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Nokia Feels the Heat

Nokia Siemens Networks has been under fire lately. Anyone who watched what happened in the aftermath of Iran’s 2009 election knows how hard it was for Iranians to get information out to the rest of the world without being caught by Iranian officials. And, as it was widely reported, Nokia’s technology played a major role in enabling the Iranian government to crack down on protesters by monitoring their cell phone devices, emails, and internet activities. But now, Nokia is being hit hard for their involvement.

In June 2010, Nokia released a carefully worded statement about the role of their technology in Iran and the human rights violations there.  A Nokia spokesperson, Barry French, told the European Parliament’s Human Rights Subcommittee that the company has been exiting out of the monitoring center business since March 2009 (before the June 2009 election) and they halted all service and support with Iran in 2009 after the elections. It seems Nokia wanted to make it clear that they condemn the human rights violations that Iranian officials have committed using  their technology, however they were not willing to take any blame for it.

In mid August 2010, two Iranians – Isa Saharkhiz and his son Mehdi Saharkhiz – filed suit in the United States against Nokia Siemens based on the Alien Torte Statute. This statute allows cases, especially human rights cases, to be brought to court in the United States even if they been committed on foreign soil, so long as they involve a potential violation of American treaty law. The Saharkhizes are suing Nokia for selling monitoring devices to the Iranian government that led to Isa’s arrest, torture, and 3 year conviction. Isa Saharkhiz is a reformist journalist and former head of the press department at the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Education under President Khatami. He is just one of the many examples of people that have been arrested and abused by Iranian officials who found them through Nokia’s monitoring system.

  • 16 June 2010
  • Posted By Shawn Amoei
  • 1 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

One Year Later: Are We Missing the Real Story?

Much attention has been given to the absence of large street protests on the anniversary of Iran’s disputed elections. This focus on street protests however, largely misses the point of the opposition movement today.

“A government that is scared of a corpse is a weak government,” Shirin Ebadi said, referring to the government’s decision to bar families of killed protesters from holding public funerals. Attacks on Mehdi Karroubi and  raids on the offices of Grand Ayatollahs Saane’i and Montazeri show the increasing desperation of Iran’s rulers. Every website managed by WordPress (the most popular blog hosting platform on the web) has been filtered since this past weekend in Iran (including this blog), and the Revolutionary Guards have even set up a “Facebook Espionage Division.”

All of this indicates that the Islamic Republic is a regime that has become afraid of its own shadow.  And this is the real story of the past year.

Pundits in the West have been quick to write obituaries for the Green Movement because it’s been unable to maintain the mass protests we last saw on Ashura. They ignore the fact that the regime has now become permanently on edge, and every crackdown against the opposition is a testimony to this.

One year on, the real story is that a pro-democracy movement that had long been simmering under the surface has finally been thrust into the spotlight.

Those who expected to see the toppling of the mullahs within a year failed to grasp the difficulty of such a task in an authoritarian state. Ayatollah Khamenei understands better than anyone the fragility of his authority, and his actions in recent weeks are the best indication of this.

Movements in pursuit of democracy and independence are long, protracted struggles. At times, the efforts of the people manifest themselves in public displays of strength. But even more important are the times in between where ordinary citizens retreat to their homes and places of worship to discuss the future of their country, and to engage in a spirited discourse about the future of their political system. And this has been the most fundamental achievement of the Green Movement: to craft an alternative narrative for Iran’s future that abandons the status quo.

Once that idea catches on in the minds of the people, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a reality.

Opposition leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi points out in the Green Movement charter issued on the anniversary:

“By rejecting the ruling establishment, by going back to their own homes and developing and expanding their social networks, strong and reliable relations between the various strata of the nation have been established. The social networks have created miracles in the area of informing [the nation] of political-social and cultural [developments]. All we need to do to understand this is to glance at their artistic productions, the amount of news and information that is exchanged, and the analyses that are going on in a completely democratic way. The Green Movement has created a powerful wave of debate and discussion concerning the critical problems among the people that is unique in our recent history.”

This debate — more than the number of people out on the streets or in the jails — is the true measure of the movement. Those who ignore this are missing the biggest story of the past year. “Just because there are less people on the streets does not mean that the movement has weakened, but that the criticism has taken a different form,” Shirin Ebadi said on Tuesday.

Joe Klein of Time Magazine said in reference to Iran on Sunday that “this is the greatest mismatch between a people and a government of any country in the world.” Very true. And that mismatch — not displays of strength on the street — is what will ultimately bring about the change Iranians have long been waiting for.

  • 29 December 2009
  • Posted By NIAC
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran

ICHRI Calls for Release of ‘All Arbitrarily Arrested’

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran called for the release of Emaddedin Baghi and “All Arbitrarily Arrested” by security forces over the weekend during the Ashura protests. Baghi is a prominent Iranian human rights activist with a heart and nerve condition resulting from his previous incarcerations. The campaign also called for the release of Dr. Nooshin Ebadi, sister of human rights defender and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi. Here’s more:

“Emad Baghi’s arrest, as well as that of Dr. Ebadi, constitutes a blatant assault on the principled human rights community and a challenge to the growing civil rights movement in Iran,” stated Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for the Campaign.

“There is no reason to arrest Dr. Ebadi other than to intimidate Shirin Ebadi; the arrest is existentially a kidnapping consistent with the tactics of criminal gangs,” he said.

Many other prominent journalists and activists have been arrested during the past two days, including: Ebrahim Yazdi, former Foreign Minister and head of the Liberation Front; Mash’allah Shamsalvaezin, spokesman for the Association in Defense of the Press; Shapour Kazemi, brother in law of Mir-Hussein Mousavi; Badralsadat Mofidi,  head of the Journalists’ Association; prominent journalists: Reza Tajik, Nasrin Vaziri, Keyvan Mehrgan, and Mohammad Javad Saberi; Mansoureh Shojaii, women’s rights activist; and political activists: Alireza Beheshti, Morteza Haji, Ghorban Behzadian-nejad, Mostafa Ezedi, Mohammad Taheri, and Heshmatollah Tabari.

Little information is available about the whereabouts and condition of the recently detained citizens who are held incommunicado. Under such conditions, the Campaign believes they may be tortured to produce false confessions confirming official claims that Ashura protests were instigated by foreign governments. Members of the ruling political elite have called for harsh penalties.

The Campaign calls upon the Islamic Republic authorities to release to their families the bodies of  those killed by militias and security forces during the demonstrations, so that they may be buried—insofar as still possible–in accordance with religious law.

Dr. Shirin Ebadi released a statement yesterday on her sister’s detainment:

I hereby declare that my sister Dr. Noushin Ebadi who is a Medical lecturer at Azad University of Tehran was detained by four officers from the counter-intelligence agency of Islamic Republic of Iran.

She was arrested at 9 pm today (28/12/2009) at her home in Tehran. At present, we have no information of her whereabouts.

During the past two months, my sister had been contacted by the elements within the government and told in no uncertain terms to contact me and persuade me to cease my activities as a human rights advocate. It was strongly suggested that she should leave her apartment which is within the same block as my apartment in Tehran. She was told that her failure to cooperate with them will result in her arrest. I initially did not take this seriously, but I’m sad and upset to see that this was not an empty threat.

It is important to note that my sister is not politically active nor is she a member of any human right organisation. Her only crime seems to be that she is my sister and her arrest is nothing less than a political blackmail and attempted pressure. This is another method employed by the authorities in Iran to stop my activities.

I hereby draw the attention of the Iranian judiciary to this unlawful and wrongful arrest of a member of my family for political gain by the government of Iran and I call for immediate release of my sister.

Iran is currently in turmoil and these unlawful and illegal actions will only have negative effect. What is needed in Iran is peaceful dialogue and tolerance.

Shirin Ebadi

  • 27 November 2009
  • Posted By Darioush Azizi
  • 0 Comments
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran

Norway: Nobel Peace Prize Seized from Shirin Ebadi’s Bank Box

The Norwegian government said today that Shirin Ebadi’s 2003 Nobel Peace Prize medal and diploma have been removed from her bank box by Iranian authorities. More from CNN:

“The medal and the diploma have been removed from Dr. Ebadi’s bank box, together with other personal items. Such an act leaves us feeling shock and disbelief,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store said in a written statement.

Norway did not explain how it had learned of the alleged confiscation, and there was no immediate reaction from Iran.

“Such an act leaves us feeling shock and disbelief,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store said in a written statement.

Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a written statement that it “has reacted strongly” and summoned the Iranian charge d’affaires on Wednesday afternoon to protest the move.

During the meeting with the Iranian charge d’affaires, State Secretary Gry Larsen also expressed “grave concern” about how Ebadi’s husband has allegedly been treated.

“Earlier this autumn, he [Ebadi’s husband] was arrested in Tehran and severely beaten. His pension has been stopped and his bank account has been frozen,” the statement from Norway said.

Store said in the statement that it marked the “first time a Nobel Peace Prize has been confiscated by national authorities.”

Ebadi received the prize for her focus on human rights, especially on the struggle to improve the status of women and children.

  • 15 October 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 2 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Friendly advice on how to engage Iran

From Nobel Peace laureate to Nobel Peace laureate.

Shirin Ebadi talked to the Washington Post, offering some advice to President Obama.  Although it’s not a mistake to be engaging with the government, she said, “paying so much more attention to Iran’s nuclear ambitions than to its trampling of democracy and freedom is a mistake both tactical and moral.”

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “is at the lowest level of popularity one can imagine,” Ms. Ebadi said. “If the West focuses exclusively on the nuclear issue, Ahmadinejad can tell his people that the West is against Iran’s national interest and rally people to his cause. But if the West presses also on its human rights record, he will find himself in a position where his popular base is getting weaker and weaker by the day.”

To anyone familiar with internal Iranian politics, this should sound very familiar.  For years, NIAC has told policymakers that the nuclear issue is the strongest card in Ahmadinejad’s hand, precisely because he can paint it as a black and white issue in which the world is trying to deprive Iran of its rights.

Human rights, on the other hand, has long been the government’s weakest pressure point. Now that Ahmadinejad faces an unprecedented legitimacy crisis, that vulnerability grows larger every single day.

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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
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.

Sincerely,

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