tagged w/ Iran Election
Caspian Makan, a 38 year old Iranian photographer, has had a terrible few months. Amid massive street protests against Iran's government his girlfriend, Neda Agha Soltan, died a bloody and disturbing death. And the whole watched it on YouTube. Things only got worse for Makan from there. He spent months in the dreaded Evin Prison and upon release, decided to flee the country for his own safety.
The Guardian has a long interview with Caspian Makan, now having had smugglers help him escape Iran. A short excerpt:
"On the day of her death, Caspian was out with his camera in another part of the city. "I was taking pictures of the protests and the protesters that day. It was hard to take pictures as the security guards were beating up protesters. I used my mobile's camera when I couldn't use my big camera. It was six to seven in the evening when I started seeing people get shot and injured. I thought of Neda a lot. I was very worried for her. I wanted to call her but the mobile phone system had been disconnected and I couldn't contact her at all. I didn't sleep that night. The terrible scenes were going through my head. I was sitting in front of my computer, looking at the photos I had taken. Around six in the morning my mobile rang. It was Neda's number. But it wasn't her. It was her sister. She said, 'Caspian, Neda is gone!' I didn't understand what she meant. I couldn't believe what she was telling me."
From the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/15/iran-neda-caspian-makan-interview
Covered on the News blog: http://blogs.current.com/news/2009/11/16/nedas-boyfriend-speaks-after-escaping-iran/Caspian Makan, a 38 year old Iranian photographer, has had a terrible few months. Amid... more
Boomgen TV is a new news service that reports the news from inside Iran in English on daily basis. Here is the report no. 25.Boomgen TV is a new news service that reports the news from inside Iran in English on... more
A court has sentenced three people to death over street unrest that erupted after Iran's disputed election in June and links to exiled opposition groups, an Iranian news agency reported Saturday.A court has sentenced three people to death over street unrest that erupted after... more
FROM THE BLOG:
What is happening in Geneva?? I just can’t stand the waiting! Are they finally going to work it out?
Hah. No. Probably not. It’s helpful to remember that in the world of foreign policy things can move glacially slow. The question for the P5+1 talks with Iran happening in Geneva is what direction is that icy relationship moving?
America and the West are focused on using these talks to eventually convince Iran to suspend its nuclear enrichment program. The NY Times suggests Iran will want to focus on other issues:
"For its part, officials and experts said, Iran is likely to turn up with a narrow agenda on its nuclear program, but a host of other issues, including overhauling the United Nations; giving greater voice to non-Western countries; and universal nuclear disarmament. It laid these out in a five-page proposal last month, which was met with derision by Obama administration officials."
FP Passport has the State Department’s take on the meetings in this morning’s “Briefing Skipper” (a distillation of the State Department press briefing):
"Crowley sought to manage expectations about the new talks with Iranian officials. “I wouldn’t expect a call for sanctions tomorrow night at the end of this meeting. I think we’re looking for a process,” he said. He acknowledged that Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was in Washington and that the State Department granted his visa request on the basis he wanted to visit the Iranian Interest section at the Pakistani embassy. There were no plans for him to meet administration officials, Crowley said. “I wouldn’t read too much into this,” Crowley cautioned the reporters. Right…"
So we’ll see what officials (from both sides) emerge with. But really the most notable thing happening in Switzerland today is the fact that the US and Iran are meeting at allFROM THE BLOG: What is happening in Geneva?? I just can’t stand the waiting!... more
When demonstrators took to the streets after Iran’s disputed Presidential election, many of them were students. That’s why, as Iran’s universities opened back up to students this week, many expected widespread student demonstrations.
The NY Times Lede Blog links to this great first-person video walking along with protests at Tehran University.
As for the other big Iran story: potential threats to the regime’s reputation from abroad. As news from the US is that Obama is preparing to set up a new round of sanctions, Tehran announced today that it will allow inspectors from the IAEA to come in and take a look around the Qom facility revealed last week. What will they find? A facility for purely civilian use? More roadblocks? We’ll see…When demonstrators took to the streets after Iran’s disputed Presidential... more
New York may see a taste of Tehran this week as Iranians from around the world descend on the city to protest Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This isn’t the first time Ahmadinejad has attracted protests in New York, but it will be the first opportunity for the world’s #iranelection protestors to confront him outside of the Islamic Republic.
The Wall St Journal has a story about Iranians preparing for a big showdown:
"The New York protests are expected to be the largest gathering of Iranians in exile since the early days of the Islamic Revolution. In 1977, nearly ten thousand people gathered in Washington to oppose Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s visit to the White House. That rally became a turning point in the revolution, showing that the Shah was on shaky ground at home."
Anybody out there in NY? Outside of how bad the traffic is with the General Assembly in town, any specific encounters with Iranian protests?New York may see a taste of Tehran this week as Iranians from around the world descend... more
LONDON — Courting renewed international criticism, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran on Friday called the Holocaust a myth as large crowds marked an annual pro-Palestinian demonstration, and clashes were reported between his supporters and opposition protester
The Associated Press, citing an opposition Web site, said that hard-liners attacked former President Mohammad Khatami, a reformist, and pushed him to the ground. Reuters quoted an unidentified witness as saying 10 supporters of Mir Hussein Moussavi, the leading opposition candidate in the June election, were arrested after thousands of people wearing the opposition’s hallmark green wristbands and shawls joined crowds marching to mark Quds Day.LONDON — Courting renewed international criticism, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad... more
The first Iranian female cabinet minister to be appointed since the foundation of the Islamic Republic 30 years ago said today that her selection was a watershed moment and called for Iranian women to be given a greater role in national affairs.
"I think today women reached their long-standing dream of having a woman in the cabinet to pursue their demands," said Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi after the Majlis (parliament) approved her nomination as health minister. "This is an important step for women and I hold my head high."
Dastjerdi was confirmed in the cabinet post despite opposition from hardline MPs and clerics who successfully blocked the nomination of two other women to the education ministry and the welfare and social security ministry.The first Iranian female cabinet minister to be appointed since the foundation of the... more
Know how to thrive through the changes? Special Import to the Gulf Coast, Afsaneh Noori, shares with us how she and those from her native land of Iran are thriving through change.
Her website is www.changethrivers.comKnow how to thrive through the changes? Special Import to the Gulf Coast, Afsaneh... more
Iranian police blocked opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi from attending a graveside memorial for victims of post-election unrest after he defied a government ban on the gathering.
Mousavi, surrounded by hundreds of supporters, was trying to reach the graveside of Neda Agha Soltan, a young woman whose shooting death at an anti-government rally on June 20 was caught on video that became one of the iconic images of the upheaval. Witnesses said hundreds of police surrounded Mousavi and forced him to leave Behesht-e Zahra cemetery on Tehran's southern outskirts.
About a thousand opposition supporters gathered at the cemetery, some of them chanting Mousavi's name and "Death to the dictator." About 500 policemen stood by but did not use force to break up the gathering, said the witnesses who asked not to be identified out of security concerns.
Press TV, Iran's English-language state television, later reported that police dispersed the demonstrators.
Earlier on Thursday, police arrested two prominent Iranian filmmakers when they tried to lay flowers at Soltan's grave. One of them was Jafar Panahi, best known for his film "The Circle" which was critical of the treatment of women under the Islamist government and was banned in Iran. A female associate and documentary maker, Mahnaz Mohammadi, was arrested with him.
The memorial service marked the end of the 40-day mourning period under Islam for 10 people killed in protests and clashes on June 20, including Soltan.
The deaths of protesters during the 1979 Islamic Revolution fueled a 40-day cycle of mourning marches, and shootings of mourners, that contributed to the overthrow of the U.S.-backed dictator, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.Iranian police blocked opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi from attending a... more
TEHRAN, Iran – Around 20 protesters will be put on trial starting Saturday in the first prosecutions from Iran's crackdown on the opposition following disputed presidential elections last month, the state news agency reported.
The announcement comes as anger is growing over allegations of abuse against detainees from the crackdown. Reports have emerged in recent days of several young protesters who died in prison, and the opposition says authorities are torturing detainees to force confessions that can be used in trials.
Hundreds were arrested in the crackdown against protests by hundreds of thousands of Iranians, claiming fraud in the June 12 presidential vote. Among those detained were young protesters, but also senior pro-reform politicians and prominent rights activists.
The state news agency IRNA said Wednesday that indictments had been issued against "around 20" detainees involved in "planning and carrying out sabotage" and that trials will begin on Saturday. The report said this was the "first phase" of trials, and that in later phases the defendants would be "those who ordered the post election unrest," an apparent reference to opposition politicians.
The first group of defendants face charges including connections to terrorist groups, planting bombs, carrying weapons and grenades, intentional attack on the police and Basij, attacking security and university facilities, "sending images to the media of the enemy" ... and damaging public property, IRNA said.
in an update to yesterday's article:
CAIRO – Iran's leadership faced sharp criticism Wednesday from top clerics and even conservative supporters over prison abuses, including detainee deaths and the brutal beatings of protesters arrested in the post-election crackdown
In a move likely to anger the opposition, officials announced the first trials will begin Saturday, with the prosecution of around 20 protesters. They include some accused of sending images of the unrest to the media.
The bodies of several young protesters have been turned over to their families in recent weeks, all showing signs of beatings or other abuse while in custody, according to pro-opposition Web sites, citing accounts from relatives. Among them was the son of a prominent conservative, which has brought a wave of criticism from the camp that generally backs the government.
Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi and his allies were planning a ceremony Thursday in the sprawling Behesht-e Zahra cemetery outside Tehran to honor those who died in the fierce suppression of the protests. Supporters also plan rallies in various parts of the capital — raising the likelihood of new clashes with security forces.
One of them, outspoken dissident Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, derided an order by the supreme leader this week to close Kahrizak prison, where at least one detainee was killed. "Can the government deceive people by closing a detention center and blaming all the faults on a building?" he said in a statement Wednesday.
"What benefit does the government gain from the crisis, except angering the majority of the people and weakening the Islamic republic?" he asked, demanding the prosecution of those responsible for abuses.
Another senior cleric, Ayatollah Asadollah Bayat Zanjani, said: "We are witnessing sorrowful acts committed in the name of the regime and under the banner of God that bring pain to the heart of all supporters of the Islamic republic."
more......TEHRAN, Iran – Around 20 protesters will be put on trial starting Saturday in... more
A young relative of Oscar-nominated Iranian-born actress Shohreh Aghdashloo was severely wounded in the midst of the Iranian protests.A young relative of Oscar-nominated Iranian-born actress Shohreh Aghdashloo was... more
By MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles | 24 July 2009
[TEHRAN BUREAU] comment Iran’s rigged presidential election of June 12, 2009, has given rise to a very odd phenomenon. Some supposedly leftists and progressives in America have adopted the view that the Iranian election was not rigged. They believe that the Iranian reformists have not been honest about the election (they say the reformists knew they would lose). They allege that the demonstrations in Iran against the rigged election are mostly the work of Western intelligence agencies stirring up trouble. In taking such a position, these so-called leftists and progressives have firmly sided with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
As someone on the left side of the political spectrum, who believes in a progressive and enlightened interpretation of Islamic and Shia teachings, the author feels deeply embarrassed by such proclamations from so-called leftists, some of whom do not know the first thing about Iran and Iranians, yet speak about developments there with such absolute certainty. There are those who believe that with Ahmadinejad, Iranians have gotten exactly what they deserve. And there are others still who subscribe to odd and far-fetched conspiracy theories. They see a plot hatched by Western intelligence agencies (and now even the reformists), behind everything that happens. While such intrigues do exist in some cases, the present situation in Iran does not appear to be one of them. At the very least, there is no concrete evidence for it.
Let us also get another fact straight: the massive demonstrations that broke out in Tehran and other Iranian cities after the results of the rigged election were announced did not represent a pro-West reform movement, but a genuinely Iranian one. They did not, and still do not, represent a so-called colored revolution, akin to what happened in the Ukraine or Georgia, even though the movement has adopted the color green as its symbol.
In fact, what is happening in Iran is not even a revolution, but a democratic movement. Since long before the 1979 Revolution, green has been one of the three colors in Iran’s flag. Also, as Mir Hossein Mousavi, the main reformist candidate, has pointed out, green has a deep association with Islam and its teachings. So the color green and shouts of Allah-o Akbar (God is Great) are tactics are reminiscent of the 1979 Revolution — certainly not a pro-West revolution.
Let us then look at up some of the reasons invoked by some “leftist-progressives” to argue that Ahmadinejad actually won the election without any significant and game-changing fraud:
Ahmadinejad won because he represents the proud tradition of Iranians’ deeply-rooted nationalism, standing up for the country’s political independence from Western powers.
Ahmadinejad is an Islamic fundamentalist. The fundamentalists do not even believe in nationalism, but only in an Islamic nation, composed of all the present Islamic countries.
Moreover, a true nationalist does not sacrifice his country’s national interests for the sake of others. By his senseless barrage of belligerent rhetoric against Israel, and denying the Holocaust, Ahmadinejad offered the United States and other powers the perfect excuse to convince the world of the (non-existent) dangers posed by Iran’s nuclear program. This has enabled these powers to send Iran’s nuclear dossier to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), through a totally illegal process, and to force the UNSC to impose sanctions against Iran. Anyone with even the slightest familiarity with how the UNSC works knows that once the case of a certain country, which the West perceives as a danger, goes before the UNSC, it will never leave the UNSC unless it satisfies the conditions that the Western powers want to impose on that country. Ahmadinejad has put Iran in such a situation.
ContinuedBy MUHAMMAD SAHIMI in Los Angeles | 24 July 2009 [TEHRAN BUREAU] comment... more
unexpectedly effective technologies Iran is now employing to thwart their citizens' access to the Net.
"While the government's initial efforts to censor the Internet were blunt and often ineffective, it has started employing more sophisticated tools to thwart dissidents' attempts to communicate with each other and the outside world. Iranian dissidents are not alone in their struggle, however, as several sympathetic hacker groups have been working to keep them online. One such group is NedaNet, whose mission is to 'help the Iranian people by setting up networks of proxy severs, anonymizers, and any other appropriate technologies that can enable them to communicate and organize.' NedaNet project coordinator Morgan Sennhauser, who has just written a paper detailing the Iranian government's latest efforts to thwart hackers (PDF), says that the government's actions have been surprisingly robust and have challenged hackers in ways that the Chinese government's efforts at censorship have not."unexpectedly effective technologies Iran is now employing to thwart their... more
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned senior officials on Monday not to help Tehran’s enemies after two former presidents expressed defiant opposition to the result of June’s disputed presidential poll.Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned senior officials on Monday... more
This story has legs.
Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is a former President of Iran, and is considered a "reformer" because he would like to be polite enough to the US to get sanctions lifted, liberalize economic rules, and then be an authoritarian. This makes him one of the most liberal leading politicians in Iran. Of course, he is first and foremost a politician, so he may swing to whatever faction has coattails, and the democracy movement has them.
Being an Ayatollah (which is kinda like being a federal judge: except that their legal system is Islamic law, so more like a religious/legal expert), he gave an influential speech today at Tehran University where he argued (according to al Jazeera) media censorship must end, and political prisoners must be released, and that everyone lost with this election.
Of course, giving such a speech at a University means students are going to go nuts, and this is carefully choreographed political theater. Braveheart-esque cries of "Freedom!" during the speech quickly turned into "Death to the dictator!" on the streets. And just as naturally, Basij hopped on their bikes with their chains and pipes to go give the college kids a beat down as police shot tear gas and whipped out their handy batons to give more beat downs. No word yet on how many died and were arrested.This story has legs. Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is a former President... more
In the absence of much mass media exposure, Web 2.0 once again rode in to save the day for the people struggling for freedom in Iran. Thursday July 9th marked the 10th anniversary of the 18th of Tir protests, an anti-government demonstration that ended in violence and many casualties. What was to be a day of remembrance was used as a reason for protestors to take back to the streets and express their opposition to the June 12th election. (read more)In the absence of much mass media exposure, Web 2.0 once again rode in to save the day... more
During the Iranian protests GlobalPost's correspondent on the ground was arrested and jailed for over 3 weeks on suspicion of "collecting information for enemies" by the ever paranoid Iranian government.
Iran is now reported to be one of the most dangerous destinations for journalists.
Iason Athanasiadis who reports from Iran is now speaking out as he writes of those friends and colleagues who are still incarceratedDuring the Iranian protests GlobalPost's correspondent on the ground was arrested... more