News of the Prisoners
- On day 56 of hunger strike Human Rights activist Mohammad Sedigh Kaboudvand was admitted to hospital for 2 hours then returned to Evin.
- Narges Mohammadi is back in prison.
- Vahid Rastgoo transferred to methadone ward in Tabriz prison.
- Mitra Aali was transferred to Evin 350 to start serving her 1 year prison term.
- Ashkan Alhayari begins serving his 1 year sentence in Evin.
- Goudarz Beidaghi Baha’i from Semnan begins serving his 1 year sentence
- Human Rights activist, Dr Ehsam Firouzi started his 18 Month prison sentence in Evin.
- Habib Halefi, political Arab activist, arrested at home.
- Abtin Jahanian, begins serving his 3 year sentence in Evin.
- Adibeh Kalantari, Kurdish student, arrested.
- Ali Mola Haji, student in Ghazvine University, begins serving his 3 year sentence in Evin.
- Shamim Naeemi, Baha’i, arrested after summon in Tehran.
- Mansour Naghipour, human rights activist, begins serving his 7 year sentence in Evin.
- Zohreh Nikaeen, mother of a five month-old baby, begins serving her 23 month sentence.
- Baha’i Aziz Samandari jailed in Iran for 5 years.
- Ahmad Shariat the regime supporter blogger arrested.
- Taraneh Torabi, mother of a one month baby, summoned to serve her 23 month sentence .
- Nahid Zahraei, Baha’i, arrested at home in Tehran.
- Hasan Asadi-Zeidabadi, Advar member, released on bail on furlough.
- Mojtaba Karimi, Esfahan University student activist, released on bail.
- Ali Malihi, Advar member, released on bail on furlough.
- Civil activist Hashem Mirzaei has been released on bail from Tabriz prison.
- Erfan Mohammadi, Esfahan University student activist, released on bail.
- Farahnaz Naeemi, Baha’i, released on bail.
- Bakhtiar and Farin Rasekhi, Baha’is, released on bail.
- Amin Zargarnezhad freed on bail.
- Syrian-born Kurdish political prisoner Ramezan Ahmad Kamal serving 10-year sentence, on hunger strike.
- Kurdish journalist/Human Rights activist Mohammad Sedigh Kaboudvand has ended his hunger strike.
News of injustice in Iran
- Naser Behjati sentenced to 1.5 years in prison in Mahabad.
- Ali Borna sentenced to 3 years in prison in Mahabad.
- Soleiman Cheragh-Manan sentenced to 4 years in prison in Mahabad.
- Mohammad Ebrahimzadeh sentenced to 1 year in prison in Mahabad.
- Baha’i Ehsan Erfani has been sentenced to 1 year in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Semnan.
- Akbar Gavili, Kurdish environmentalist, sentenced to 2 years in Sanandaj.
- Osman Ghadernezhad sentenced to 4 years in prison in Mahabad.
- Mohammad-Amin Ghaderzadehsentenced to 5 years in prison in Mahabad.
- Zanyar Ghaderzadeh sentenced to 3 years in prison in Mahabad.
- Esmail Hamzehpour sentenced to 5 years in prison in Mahabad.
- Morad Hasanzadeh sentenced to 1 year in prison in Mahabad.
- Political/civil activist Roozbeh Khanpayeh has been sentenced to 4,5 years in prison + 8 months suspended sentence.
- Gholamreza Khosravi Savadjani to be executed August 11.
- Veria Khosravi, Kurdish environmentalist, sentenced to 4 years in Sanandaj.
- Former MP and Participation Front member Rajabali Mazrouie has been sentenced to 18 months in prison + 5 year ban on journalism.
- Ali and Chia Molanezhad sentenced to 5 years in prison each in Mahabad.
- Osman Molanezhad sentenced to 10 years in prison in Mahabad.
- Samkoo Osmani sentenced to 18 months in prison in Mahabad.
- Human Rights activist Dr.Yousef Pourseifi sentenced to 5 years and 6 months in prison.
- Ghasem Rahimi sentenced to 1 year in prison in Mahabad.
- Kamran Rahimi, Kurdish environmentalist, sentenced to 3 years in Sanandaj.
- Soleiman Rahimzadeh, and brothers Kaveh and Loghman Saleki sentenced to 4 years in prison in Mahabad.
- Davoud Shiri, environmentalist, sentenced to 4 months in Tabriz.
- Naser Tarighi sentenced to 5 years in prison in Mahabad.
- Anwar and Mohammad Yazid-Doost sentenced to 2 years in prison each in Mahabad.
- 22 years old man convicted of cutting off a finger of another man during a fight is sentenced to hand amputation as retribution.
- Siyasat Rooz magazine was exonerated of charges of publishing lies.
- 17 years old receives the death penalty for committing murder when 15.
- A man was hanged in Ilam on Tuesday.
University – Culture
- Police continue with raiding the homes and collecting satellite dishes, this time in Bukan.
- Ershad Ministry has banned billboards for foreign travel, except for pilgrimage.
- Parviz Piran, prominent professor of Sociology expelled from Allameh Tabatabaie University.
- First protest during 2012 against economic conditions in Nishapur, north-eastern Iran.
Economy in Iran
- Iran introduces 3-tiered foreign exchange rate: USD at 1226, 1500, and 1910 tomans.
- Iran to import 20,000 tons of frozen chicken from Brazil.
- Food prices in Iran up 37% since last year’s Ramadan.
- Workers owed 4 month wages at Ziviea Dam project.
- Iran to import wheat from Pakistan in exchange for chemical fertilizers
- Iran Khodro says it can live without PSA.
- Ahvaz Pipe Factory workers have not been paid for 20 months.
- Iran stops selling subsidized foreign currency to Iranians traveling abroad.
- New diplomatic crisis: Yemen officials have threatened to expel all Iran embassy diplomats.
- India bars 3 Iranian banks on security fears.
- Iran denies news reports of death in Damascus, Syria, of IRGC’s Ghassem Soleimani, a commander of the Ghods Force.
- Inaugural Elizabeth Taylor Award given to Arash and Kamran Alaei for their work on HIV/AIDS in Iran.
- Iran builds 1st tanker for Venezuela.
- Ali Saeedlou, vice president for foreign affairs, received Syria‘s deputy prime minister in Tehran, and called for expansion of trade between the two countries.
- Student bassiji protest against Bahrain presence in non-aligned meeting to be held in Tehran.
Politics in Iran
- Iran began leasing agricultural land to Qatar as of 8 months ago.
- Mojtaba Vahedi breaks ties to Karroubi, so he can pursue overthrow of regime.
- Brother of Quds Force commander Ghassem Soleimani, Sohrab Soleimani – Director General of Tehran Province prisons – dismissed on charges of embezzlement and corruption and arrested; he was stealing prisoners’ and guards’ food rations.
- Illegal residents being processed by the thousands: official.
- Iran province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad bans transport of chicken across state lines.
- 65% of Lake Urmia has dried up.
- Iran nuclear energy facility hit with malware that plays AC/DC at full volume.
- 143 traditional tea and coffee houses closed in Karaj.
Useful summary from Just the Facts following Ahmadinejad’s visit to Latin America last week helps to provide some of the detail for this post. His trip to attend the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil and solidify relationships in the region was a chance to assess how Iranian foreign policy is evolving in response to the changing political scene in Latin America. During his visit, Ahmadinejad made stops in Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela.
In his 2011 Worldwide Threat Assessment (PDF), Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper noted that Iran continues to reach out to Latin America as a way to diminish its international isolation and bypass international sanctions. So far, Iranian relations with Latin America have only developed significantly with leftists governments that oppose U.S. leadership in the world, particularly Venezuela, Bolivia, and other ALBA members, as well as with Brazil.
Touching reunion – Ahmadinejad with Chavez in Caracas
The U.S. State Department reacted to the recent trip with characteristic rhetoric, saying Ahmadinejad was “looking for friends in wrong places.”
- The relationship between Bolivia and Iran has been increasingly friendly over the past few years. In 2007, trade and energy agreements were signed between the two countries and then extended in 2010. Bolivian President Evo Morales was also publicly reported praising Iranian investment by FARS news agency in 2007 and stated that his country “relies very much on Iran’s aids.”
- On this trip, Ahmadinejad was keen to highlight the similarities between the two countries. According to Ahmadinejad, both Iran and Bolivia have a colonial past and will progress by “work[ing] together against greedy governments, and states that want to stop others from developing, and from exercising freedom.” President Morales responded: “There is a permanent aggression against you, your government and the Iranian people, but I want to tell you that you are not alone because we are with you in your fight against imperialism.”
- An agreement was reached between Ahmadinejad and Bolivian President Evo Morales for the Iranian military to train ten counter-narcotics intelligence officers as per a new Memorandum of Understanding (PDF) between the two countries.
- The trip has also renewed multiple economic and agricultural agreements between the countries, including the construction of a cement factory and housing projects, among others, according to the Argentina Independent.
- The head of Iran’s Red Crescent Society, Abolhasan Faqih, said that Iran’s Red Crescent Society recently inaugurated a new medical center in Bolivia.
- Under President Lula da Silva, the relationship between Iran and Brazil became cordial, as Time reports, with Ahmadinejad visiting the country in 2009 and Lula returning the visit in 2010, to facilitate nuclear talks without US or EU powers, according to the BBC.
- This relationship has changed with President Dilma Rousseff’s election in Brazil, as she has distanced her country from Iran as CNN noted earlier this year. Rousseff has cited Iran’s poor human rights record as a reason for her distance, which runs contrary to her priorities for her own country.
- President Ahmadinejad was in Brazil for two days to take part in the Rio+20 Summit, though he also hoped to use the opportunity to reinvigorate ties with the Brazilian government. However, after a series of snubs by the Brazilian government, the success of the trip has been deemed a failure back at home in Iran. According to the Daily Telegraph, many Iranians are angry with the way in which President Ahmadinejad was treated and one Iranian MP criticized him “for failing to abandon the trip when he saw that he, and by extension, Iran, was being treated disrespectfully.”
- The Islamic Republic News Agency reported that Ahmadinejad’s time in Brazil was instead spent in meetings with Brazilian elites, a meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and another with the former Brazilian President Lula da Silva, as well as addressing the Rio+20 Summit.
- Venezuela has probably had the closest ties with Iran of any country in the region in recent years. Since 1999, President Hugo Chavez has visited Tehran 13 times.
- This relationship seems stable; Ahmadinejad’s visit occurred one week after President Chavez confirmed that Venezuela was building unmanned drones with Iran’s help, as Reuters recently reported. Venezuelan-Iranian relations have most recently been demonstrated through reports that Iran has unrestricted access to a Venezuelan port, where Venezuelan workers are denied access. This has been reported in El Nuevo Herald, Die Welt and the Miami Herald, all citing confidential sources that allege the goal is to ultimately build a missile base, although at the moment it remains under a veil of secrecy.
- Although the meeting does not appear to have produced any new agreements, in his opening remarks at the presidential palace in Venezuela, Ahmadinejad offered to “always stand by the Venezuelan nation and their brave president Hugo Chavez”. In addition, the two presidents focused their meeting on reviewing current agreements including their “mutual investment of about $5 billion in factories to make cement, satellites, food, tractors and bicycles.”
- The relationship between Venezuela and Cuba is such that Iran seeming benefits by association. The Associated Press reported that Venezuela’s state-owned oil company will join efforts to look for oil in deep waters off Cuba’s coast:
- State-run Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA, is next in line to drill after Malaysia’s Petronas completes its work, according to Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela’s oil minister and president of the company. He said Venezuela has budgeted an estimated $40 million for the project. Spanish oil company Repsol said last month that it would stop searching for oil off Cuba after hitting a dry well drilled at a cost of more than $100 million. “Repsol unfortunately didn’t have success in its well,” Ramirez said, “but that same platform is being used among all the companies that are participating there.”
- ING bank has recently been forced to pay $619m as part of the deferred prosecution agreements reached with the Justice Department and the New York County District Attorney’s Office, for conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Trading with the Enemy Act (TWEA), and for violating New York state laws by illegally moving billions of dollars through the U.S. financial system on behalf of sanctioned Cuban and Iranian entities.
- Another country with close ties to Venezuela, and the smallest member of OPEC, Ecuador said on 23 May that it planned to buy about $400m in oil from Iran, despite US pressing for tighter sanctions.
- Although not on Ahmadinejad’s itinerary – he visited in January, Ecuador received a visit from his deputy for international affairs, Vice-President Ali Saeedlou, at the end of May, reportedly to deliver a presidential invitation to the Non-Aligned Movement’s August summit in Tehran. Agence France Press says Saeedlou told reporters, after meeting with President Rafael Correa, that the two has also talked about increasing trade and technology exchanges.
- In addition to the usual grandstanding we see whenever IAEA talks are in progress, Iran was perhaps attempting to exploit the relationship difficulties between Ecuador and the US following a diplomatic spat last year, in which ambassadors from both countries were expelled: Saeedlou arrived on the same day the new US Ambassador resumed his post in Quito.
News of the Prisoners
- Javad Alikhani ends his hunger strike after return to general ward.
- Imprisoned Mahabad Payame Nour University student Jamal Ghadernejad was taken to hospital.
- Farshad Ghorbanpour ends his hunger strike after return to general ward.
- Death row Kurdish prisoner Samkoo Khorshidi was moved from Saghez prison to Sanandaj prison.
- Saeed Jalalifar ends his hunger strike after return to general ward.
- Reza Joshan exiled to Damghan.
- Saeed Matinpour ends his hunger strike after return to general ward.
- One week after kidney surgery, blogger/HR activist Hossein Ronaghi Maleki is back in Evin prison.
- Arash Saghar ends his hunger strike after return to general ward.
- Massive arrests in Karaj, 59 workers’ rights activists, all transferred to Rejaei Shahr prison. Among them: Mitra Homayooni, Vafa Ghaderi, Reyhaneh Ansari, Khaled Hosseini, Mahmoud Salehi, Saeed Moghaddam, Cyrus Fathi, Ghaleb Hosseini, Mohammad Abdipour, Jalal Hosseini, Alireza Asgari, Masoud Salimpour, Abbas Andriyany, Sediq Amjadi, Fattah Soleimani, Maziar Mehrpour, Mohmmad Molanai, Vahed Seyyedeh, Jalil Sharifian, Sediq Khosravi, Yusuf Ab Kharabad, Faramarz Fetrat Nejad, Jalil Mohammadi, Nezam Sadeghi, Afshin Nadimi, Hussein Pilooti, Rahman Ebrahim Zadeh, Abbas Hashem Poor
- Amin Abolhasani, Abadeh Manouchehr Zare and Ali Shafiee, Gonabadi dervishes, arrested in Kovar.
- Implementation of 2 years prison for Michael Azimi, student of late Hoda Saber.
- Omid Ghaderi-Eghdam, Yaghoub Khezri and Jamal Ghaderinezhad from Miandoab, arrested and sent to prison.
- Kurdish Tehran University post-grad student Diako Khayat arrested in Mahabad
- Amir Sheibanizadeh arrested and sent to Vakilabad prison to serve his sentence.
- Vahid Zardi, an actor newly converted to Christianity arrested in Mashhad.
- Tehran police declare: 170 thugs and hoodlums arrested, they will be displayed in various parts of the city as a lesson to others.
- Imprisoned journalist Bahman Ahmadi Amouie denied family visits.
- Political prisoner Mohamadreza Motamednia has been released at the end of his sentence.
- French Trade Unions CFDT, CGT, FSU, Solidaires and UNSA condemned on Tuesday “the suppressive wave” in Iran against workers’ rights activists, and called on Iranian authorities to “respect workers’ rights”.
- Mansour Mohammadi, Kurdish prisoner, is on hunger strike in Bandar Abbas prison
- Nasrin Sotoudeh vows to launch hunger strike next week if denied visitation with family.
News of injustice in Iran
- Foad Ahmadnejad sentenced to 6 months.
- Shohreh Azami-Kasaei sentenced by appeals to 8 months.
- Ali Naami Sharifi, Abbas, Abdolrahman and Jamshid Heydarian, Arab political prisoners were hanged in Karoon prison.
- Zahra Nik-Aein’s 7-year sentence reduced to 23 months by appeal court.
- Keyvan Rahimian sentenced to 5 years in prison.
- 4 year sentence for Alireza Rajaee.
- Journalist Isa Saharkhiz has been sentenced to 1.5 additional years on an 11 year-old case.
- As part of their sentence, 2 men convicted of theft were lashed 74 times each in public in Vaneshan village (Central Iran).
- 4 public executions in Tehran on Wednesday.
- 1 execution in Ahar on Thursday.
University – Culture
- In past two months 621 domestic and foreign sites under surveillance by cyber police.
- Students of Naft University in Ahvaz were attacked, beaten, and their exams were canceled.
- Iranian Ney virtuoso Hassan Kasaii dies at 84.
- Tehran University Chemical Engineering master’s degree student Shaghayegh Aghah has been expelled due to being a Baha’i.
- Press TV is back on the Astra staellite.
- The Iranian Cultural Center and the branch of Iranian Studies Foundation in Moscow were opened.
- Truck drivers of Iran’s largest cement factory continue their strike.
Economy in Iran
- 10,000 workers write a letter to Minister of Labour.
- The unemployment rate reaches 65% in Iranian Kurdistan.
- $1 = 1810 Tomans Monday, 1825 Tomans Tuesday.
- Bank Tejarat sues the European Union over an asset freeze imposed on the state-owned Iranian bank.
- Rise in food prices compared to one year ago: dairy 44% – vegetables 55% – fruit 41% – herbs 94% – red meat 37% – chicken 73%
- Iranian and British foreign ministers meet.
- The Japanese parliament approved insuring ships carrying Iranian oil.
- Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi, Vice President of Executive Affairs Hamid Baghaei and Vice President for International Affairs Ali Saeedlou will be accompanying Ahmadinejad, scheduled to arrive in Bolivia on June 19 to meet with his Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales before attending the Rio+20 Summit on sustainable development in Brazil.
- China asks Iran to pay for shipping costs of the oil it wants to export.
- Ahmadinejad met with both the UN Secretary General and former Brazilian President Lula da Silva on the sidelines of the Rio+20 Summit.
- 3 Iranian banks, including Pasargad and Bank Tejarat, have applied to the Turkish banking regulator for a banking license.
Politics in Iran
- Ahmadinejad will quit political scene in 2013.
- MP calls for expulsion of Saudi ambassador.
- Larijani brothers accused of embezzling over 342 hectares of land in best locations around Tehran.
- According to official records, within the last year 75 boys/girls under the age of 10, 3929 boys/girls aged 10-14, were married in Tehran
- 500 suicides in one year in Hamedan alone.
- Iran says Flame virus is contained.
- The Central Bank of Iran site has been under cyber attack.
Provisional Timetable for the Universal Periodic Review Working Group 13th Session:
[Image: UN HRC]
Monday, 21 May09h00 – 12h30 Review of Bahrain14h30 – 18h00 Review of EcuadorTuesday, 22 May09h00 – 12h30 Review of Tunisia14h30 – 18h00 Review of MoroccoWednesday, 23 May09h00 – 12h30 Review of Indonesia14h30 – 18h00 Review of FinlandThursday, 24 May09h00 – 12h30 Review of United Kingdom14h30 – 18h00 Review of IndiaFriday, 25 May09h00 – 12h30 Review of Brazil15h00 – 18h00 Adoption of reports on Bahrain, Ecuador, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia and FinlandTuesday, 29 May
09h00 – 12h30 Review of Philippines14h30 – 18h00 Review of AlgeriaWednesday, 30 May10h00 – 11h30 Adoption of reports on United Kingdom, India and Brazil14h00 – 18h00 Review of Poland
Thursday, 31 May09h00 – 12h30 Review of the Netherlands14h30 – 18h00 Review of South AfricaFriday, 1 June15h00 – 16h30 Adoption of reports on Philippines, Algeria and PolandMonday, 4 June15h00 – 16h00 Adoption of reports on the Netherlands and South AfricaAdditional information on the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, including the reports for each country review can be located at the Universal Periodic Review webpage on the OHCHR website: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/UPRMain.aspx
Media contact: Rolando Gomez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, firstname.lastname@example.org
- March 5, 2008: Mahvash Sabet, one of the Baha’i leaders, was arrested in Mashhad.
- May 14, 2008: The remaining six Baha’i leaders – Behrouz Tavakkoli, Saeid Rezaie, Fariba Kamalabadi, Vahid Tizfahm, Jamaloddin Khanjani, and Afif Naeimi – were arrested at their homes in Tehran. They were charged with “espionage on behalf of Israel”, “insulting the sacredness of Islam”, and “propaganda against the regime.”
- June 2008: Prominent Indians issued an open letter calling for the release of the Yaran.
- September 2008: After being held in solitary confinement for about 4 months, the Yaran were relocated to standard prison cells in Tehran’s Evin Prison, where they remain.
- October 2008: The Yaran were separated from other prisoners, where the five men have been kept in one cell and the two women in another, isolated from others.
- February 11, 2009: The legal reporter of ISNA, Judge Hassan Haddad stated that the Yaran would be tried within the coming week, but the trial did not happen.
- February 25, 2009: The Yaran were allowed to meet with their families. Their trial was also said to be postponed for another two weeks, but again, the trial did not take place.
- February 27, 2009: Iran’s Attorney-General, Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi, declared that the Yaran have confessed to the charges leveled against them, which no one considered credible.
- March 2009: The Yaran decided that as a measure of goodwill to disband all Baha’i organizations in Iran. This decision was ratified by the Universal House of Justice.
- April 27, 2009: A fourth charge was leveled against the Yaran: “Aiding, teaching and propagating the Baha‘i religion in Iran.” This is tantamount to “mufsed fel-arz” [corrupt on earth] which has historically carried harsh consequences, including the death penalty.
- January 12, 2010: After several postponements, their trial officially began, and the seven were arraigned in Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran.
- February 8, 2010: The second court session was held in Iran behind closed doors.
- April 12, 2010: The third court session was held in Iran. The hearing was again closed, and no details made available.
- June 14, 2010: The trial of the seven most prominent Baha’i in Iran came to a conclusion after three days of successive court hearings. Despite being imprisoned for more than two years, no bail was issued.
- August 9, 2010: French and US members of the faith told AFP Iran sentenced the seven leading members of its Bahai religious minority to 20-year jail terms, adding that the group was awaiting confirmation of the terms.
- August 11, 2010: Statements of international support were issued by the governments of Canada, France, Australia, the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany, the European Parliament and the European Union.
- September 16, 2012: The Baha’i International Community learned that the lawyers representing the seven were informed orally that the 20-year jail terms were reduced to 10 years
- October 9, 2010: British newspaper The Guardian published a letter decrying the lack of due process leading up to the sentencing of seven Iranian Baha’i in August.
- April 28, 2011: the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2011 Annual Report . The report describes - beginning on page 78 – the “severe” persecution of the Baha’i community in Iran from April 2010 to March 2011.
- April 1, 2012: International Baha’i groups commemorate 10,000 days of imprisonment of the seven spiritual leaders with a mobile billboard campaign (for which I produced the artwork!) in Amsterdam, Netherlands; Berlin, Germany; Brasilia, Brazil; Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg in South Africa; London, England; Paris, France; Sydney, Australia; Washington, D.C., United States; Wellington, New Zealand; and New Delhi, India.
Germany Mobile Protest Artwork