News from Iran – Week 20 – 2013


Prisoners’ News


  • Ayoub Asadi, Kurdish political activist, transferred to Kashmar to serve his 20 year sentence.
  • Emergency transfer of Dervish lawyer Amir Eslami to hospital after heart attack.
  • Fakhroldin Faraji, Kurdish political activist, transferred to Tabas to serve his 30 year sentence.
  • Chengiz Ghadem-Kheiri , Kurdish political activist, transferred to Masjede-Soleiman to serve his 40 year sentence.
  • Kurdish activist on death row, Habibollah Golparipour, transferred to Urmiah prison from Semnan.
  • Namegh Mahmoudi, 62 years old political prisoner of Rejaei Shahr, transferred to hospital.
  • Mohammad-Hossein Rezaei, Kurdish political activist, transferred to Minoab to serve his 30 year sentence.



  • Javad Abou-Ali and Mohammad Danaei arrested in Behbahan.
  • Civil activist Behnam Bagheri arrested in a raid of his toy store in Maku.
  • Gonabadi dervish, Seyed Ebrahim Bahrami, arrested in Kavar.
  • Hamid-Reza Rezaei, vice-admiral in charge of special marine commandos in Sirjan arrested.
  • Abdollah Sadoughi, environmentalist, arrested at home in Tabriz.
  • Masoud Shamsnejad, law professor at Payam-e-Noor and Azad Universities of Urmia, and lawyer of death row prisoner Habibillah Golparipour, arrested.
  • Activist/poet, law student Jahanbakhsh Soltanzadeh (Salour) arrested in a raid of his home
  • Temporary detention order for Human Rights activists/journalists Masoud and Khosro Kordpour has been extended another 2 months – At the urging of his family Khosro Kurdpour ended his hunger strike after 25 days.



  • Ali Azad, workers’ rights activist, released on bail.
  • Shohreh Azami-Kassaei freed after serving her sentence.
  • Mahmoud Dordkeshan freed after serving 1 year in prison.
  • Political prisoner Pouria Ebrahimi released from Evin after completing 1 year sentence.
  • Workers’ Rights activist, Ghaleb Hosseini, arrested 19 March, released on 150 million toman bail.
  • Zhinous Nourani freed after serving her sentence.

D-Other News

  • Shirin Ebadi accepts Golden Lily of Florence on behalf of Nasrin Sotoudeh.
  • Imprisoned journalist, Rahman Ghahremanpour, denied transfer to hospital for refusing to wear prison uniform.
  • Mostafa Nili, political prisoner of Rejaei Shahr, not allowed furlough to attend his father’s funeral.
  • Prominent Iranian union leader, Mansour Osanlou, says he left country after death threats.
  • Political prisoners in Zahedan central prison launched a hunger strike to protest their continued illegal imprisonment and prevention of their basic rights.
  • Mohammad-Reza Ahmadi-Nia, member of Pen club, sentenced to 3 years in prison + 1 year suspended.
  • Court overturns the exile sentence of Mokhtar Asadi, member of Teacher’s Union.
  • Mohsen Ghashghaeizadeh sentenced to 2 years.
  • Sirwan and Shirzad Hossein Panahi, Kurdish civil activists sentenced to 6 months each.


News of injustice in Iran

  • One hanging in Kermanshah on Sunday.
  • Three hangings in Rajaei-Shahr on Wednesday.
  • One public hanging in Noshahr.
  • Seven hangings in Rasht prison.


University – Culture

  • 8 booths closed and 883 books withdrawn at Tehran International Book Fair.
  • Mohammad-Rezā Lotfi’s concert canceled by ministry of Culture and Guidance.



  • Khatoon Abad Copper strikers attacked by the guards.
  • “Bouazizi of Ahwaz”, Mehdi Hadi Mojadam, dies of burns injuries.
  • 400 building workers protest in Seyyed Alshohada mosque in Shariati Street of Tehranpars.
  • Taxi drivers are on strike in Sanandaj
  • Journalists of Shahrvand go on strike.
  • 150 bus drivers of Tehran protest in front of Tehran Town Hall.


Iran abroad

  • Afghanistan says nine migrants killed by Iranian border guards.
  • Lotfollah Forouzandeh, Iranian Vice President, meets Head of Turkish Parliament in Ankara.
  • Iranian convicted over Nigeria arms.
  • US to block sales of gold to Iran in sanctions pressure.
  • First group of 14 Iraqi members of MKO moved to Albania.
  • Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade leaves for Vietnam.
  • Two Iranian diplomats declared “personae non grata” by Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Security Ministry.


Iran Economics

  • Akhshan seat-belt factory closure in Shiraz leaves 500 unemployed.
  • Iran banned luxury car imports (Benz + Porsche).
  • South Korea cut crude imports from Iran by half in April.
  • Sharp decline in IRI Shipping Lines revenues.


Iran Politics

  • A total of 686 hopefuls have registered for Iran’s presidential election.
  • 35 reformist candidates disqualified in municipal elections.
  • Guardian Council extends deadline to announce final list of Iran presidential candidates to May 21.
  • 100 Majlis deputies ask Gardians Council not to approve candidacy of Rafsanjani and Mashaei.
  • 2 sites close to candidate Rahim Mashaei filtered.
  • Vice President Rahimi withdraws presidential candidacy.
  • Foreign Minister Spokesman resigns amid presidential bid.
  • Ayatollah Sistani deems that being a candidate at the presidential election is a duty for Rafsanjani.
  • The Reformists Advisory Council and The Participation Front have officially endorsed Hashemi Rafsanjani.
  • The manager of Keyhan newspaper threatens Rafsanjani of clashes with Hezbollah and Supreme Guide support.
  • Young Reformists supporters of Rafsanjani were prevented from holding a pre-approved meeting in Rasht.



  • Earthquake of magnitude 6.2 hits Southern Iran near Minab.
  • Ban on the Reuters bureau in Tehran lifted.

Political Punch-ups


If you’re not fighting, you’re not trying

“In a democracy, people usually get the kind of government they deserve, and they deserve what they get.” ~ Hunter Thompson

I am allergic to politics and politicians. I can never understand why some people like to fuss and fawn over them. At times it’s almost like hero worship, yet they are supposed to be servants of the public. All the scandals about politicians lying and cheating their way through life only reinforce my negative feelings. To further prove my point, here – in no particular order because there is no point trying to choose between them – are some examples of politicians behaving badly.

2013 – Venezuela

Opposition lawmaker Julio Borges arrives with a bruised face to his political party’s headquarters


2011 – Italy

Political fights: political fisticuffs

Claudio Barbato, left, a member of the opposition FLI party, fights with Fabio Ranieri, right, from the Northern League in Italy’s parliament in Rome. Photograph: Ansa/Reuters

2005 – Russia

Political fights: political fisticuffs

Members of the Rodina (Motherland) faction fight with deputies of the Russian Liberal-Democratic party during the State Duma session in Moscow in 2005. The Liberal-Democrats protested what they described as violations in the course of elections to the legislature of the Yamal-Nenets autonomous area and staged a walkout. As they made for the doors, some of them clashed with members of the Rodina party. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

2006 – Czech Republic

Political fights: political fisticuffs

The then Czech health minister, David Rath, in a punch-up with his right-wing rival, Miroslav Macek, during a meeting of disgruntled dentists in Prague. Macek, a presidential adviser and former deputy PM who is also a dentist, broke off an address to slap Rath hard on the back of the head. Rath responded by calling him a coward and the two men traded blows

2009 – Bolivia

Political fights: political fisticuffs

Bolivian opposition congressman Fernando Rodriguez, right, battles with an unidentified indigenous deputy of President Evo Morales’s party during a congress session in La Paz in 2009 Photograph: David Mercado/Reuters

2012 – Macedonia

In Macedonia, violent brawling broke out in parliament over the 2013 budget. Police in riot gear had to be called in to break up the fight.

Macedonian deputies and members of opposition Social-Democratic Alliance of Macedonia (SDSM) rescue fellow party member Vesna Bendevska (C) during a clash with Parliament security as they try to protect parliament speaker Trajko Veljanovski in Skopje December 24, 2012. REUTERS/Viktor Popovski

2011 – Kuwait

Kuwaiti Shiite and Sunni MPs fight during a heated parliament debate over inmates in the US Guantanamo detention centre. Yasser al Zayyat / AFP Photo

Kuwaiti Shiite and Sunni MPs fight during a heated parliament debate over inmates in the US Guantanamo detention centre. Yasser al Zayyat / AFP Photo

2010 – Ukraine

Political fights: political fisticuffs

Ukrainian opposition and pro-presidential lawmakers fight against each other during ratification of the Black Sea fleet deal with Russia, in parliament in Kiev, in 2010. Ukraine’s parliament voted to extend Russia’s lease of a Crimean naval port for the Black Sea fleet in a chaotic session during which eggs and smoke bombs were thrown Photograph: Efrem Lukatsky/AP


2010 – Mauritania

MPs Jamil Ould Mansour and Slama Ould Abdellahi manhandling each other after exchanging insults and profanities during a parliamentary session on the civil status law.

MPs Jamil Ould Mansour and Slama Ould Abdellahi manhandling each other after exchanging insults and profanities during a parliamentary session on the civil status law.

2009 – South Korea

Lawmakers of the main opposition Democratic Party react as they fall down during scuffles with parliament security guards in Seoul

Lawmakers of the main opposition Democratic Party react as they fall down during scuffles with parliament security guards in Seoul

See also: Brawling Legislators in South Korea – Photo Essay – TIME

2007 – 2010 – Taiwan

Taipei reform bill

Taipei, Taiwan: Parliament dissolved into chaos over an electoral reform bill.

Taipei reform bill

Taipei, Taiwan 2007: Rival legislators exchanged punches and jostled violently for position around the speaker’s dais.

Political fights: political fisticuffs

Taiwanese ruling and opposition lawmakers brawl as discussions start on the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement planned with China in 2010, in Taipei. Pro-and anti-government lawmakers exchanged punches and threw garbage bins at each other in a raucous session in Taiwan’s legislature, after the speaker rejected an opposition bid to conduct a detailed debate on the contentious trade pact with China Photograph: Wally Santana/AP

News from Iran – Week 19 – 2013


Prisoners’ News


  • Saeed Abedini stops hunger strike after his return to 350. – Transferred to Modarres hospital for stomach bleeding then back to Evin.
  • Abolfazl Abedini Nasr, Kamran Ayazi, Mohammad and Pouria Ebrahimi, Siamak Ghaderi, Amir Khosro Dalirsani, Saeed Madani, Abdollah Momeni and Mohamad-Hassan Yousefpour-Seifi stopped hunger strike after return to 350.


  • Mohammad Ehiaee workers’ rights activist, arrested at his work place
  • Fardin Ghaderi, Hamed Mahmoudinejad, Shahpour Hosseini, Jalil Mohammadi and Aram Zandi workers’ rights activists arrested in Sanandaj.
  • Mohammad Ghasem-Khani Bahram Saeedi, all workers at Iran Khodro, arrested at work.
  • Baztab news site managing director Ali Ghazali has been reported arrested.
  • Idris Karimi, Adel Moradi and Naaman Manouchehri arrested in Ravansar.
  • Eilghar Moazzenzadeh Azeri poet arrested with his brother Ehsan at their home in Meshkin-Shahr and transferred to Ardebil Intelligence detention center.
  • Baha’i Parisa Shahidi was arrested in a raid of her home. Her husband is imprisoned in Rajaei Shahr.


  • Ali Azad, workers’ rights activist, released on bail.
  • Shohreh Azami-Kasaei was freed at the end of her 8 month sentence.
  • Zhinoos Nourani was freed at the end of her 1 year sentence.

Other News

  • Saeed Abedini, Abolfazl Abedini Nasr, Kamran Ayazi, Mohammad Ebrahimi, Pouria Ebrahimi, Siamak Ghaderi, Amir Khosro Dalirsani, Saeed Madani, Abdollah Momeni and Mohamad-Hassan Yousefpour-Seifi launched a hunger strike to protest detention in Evin prison solitary after they protested against repressive conditions in Ward 350.

News of injustice in Iran

  • Davoud Alijani, Ahvaz pastor Farhad Sabok-Rouh and Naser Zamen-Dezfouli summoned to serve 1 year sentences in Sepidar prison.
  • Akbar Amini has been sentenced to 5 years in prison and 5 year ban from any political activity.
  • Mohammad Parsi and Pejman Zafarmand both sentenced to 3 years in prison and 5 years ban from any political activity.
  • Ayat Mehrali-Biglou, Shahram Radmehr, Mahmoud Fazli, Behboud Gholizadeh and Latif Hassani, Azeri political activists, sentenced to 9 years in prison.
  • Shahnaz Jayzan, wife of Pastor Sabok-Rouh, summoned to serve her 1 year sentence.
  • Gonabadi Dervish, Mehran Rahbari sentenced to 2 years in prison.
  • 3 public executions in Kermanshah on Monday.
  • 3 executions in Isfahan prison.
  • Flogging sentence carried out in public in Abiek.
  • 3 hangings in Shahroud on Thursday.
  • One hanging in Semnan on Thursday.

University – Culture

  • Internet proxies no longer effective in Iran.
  • Book of former President Rafsanjani banned at Tehran Book Fair.


  • The protest movement started by Kurdish men posting photographs of themselves dressed in women’s clothing in a Facebook campaignBeingawomanisnothumiliatingandshouldnotbeconsideredpunishment – started after police paraded a convicted criminal through the city of Marivan dressed in traditional Kurdish women’s clothing – continues to gain international media attention.

Iran abroad

  • Kenya jails two Iranians for life for plotting attacks.
  • Kuwait upheld a life sentence against 2 Iranians for their role in a pro-Iran espionage network.
  • Houtan Kian receives Dutch Lawyers for Lawyers’ award.
  • FM Salehi meets Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
  • Yusuf Bin Alawi, Omani foreign minister arrives in Tehran.

Iran Economics

  • Iran cuts bread subsidies.
  • Statistical center reports show record inflation in March/April at 38.7%, and inflation over past 12 months at 29.8%.
  • Osve Iran factory closes; 24 workers fired.

Iran Politics

  • Head of the Pharmaceutical Division in the Food and Drug Organization resigns due to shortage of vital drugs, accuses Ahmadinejad government of managerial failure.
  • Raziyeh Omidvar is the first woman in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran to stand as a candidate in the 11th presidential elections..


  • Islamic Dress Code: Compulsory staff uniforms for female employees of Tehran University.
  • Ali Parvin receives AFC Distinguished Service Award.
  • Earthquake strikes port in Hormozgan province.
  • Iran plunges 62 places in quality of life ranking in comparison with other countries over the past five years.

Gulf states sideline Arab League in Syria talks


The meeting of Arab foreign ministers scheduled to be held in the Saudi city of Jeddah over the Syrian crisis has been postponed indefinitely without explanation by the Arab League. This “emergency meeting” was to discuss the conflict and the replacement of the UN and international mediator Kofi Annan, who resigned last week after the failure of his peace efforts. The Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi was tipped to succeed him .

However, the foreign ministers of the six Gulf monarchies (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain) held last night in Jeddah a meeting about the Syrian crisis. Now, this session is expected to take place Tuesday during an Islamic summit in the kingdom following the initiative of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia who seeks to mobilize the Muslim world in favor of the uprising in Syria.

Syria, a member of the OIC, “will not be represented at this summit,” according to Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization Islamic Cooperation (OIC), adding that a preparatory meeting of Foreign Ministers would be held Monday and should “decide on a suspension of Syria, recommended by representatives of member countries. ” The organization of this summit, which promises very sharp clashes between Iran, unwavering supporter of Syria, and the GCC, including Saudi Arabia, comes as the UN could not take a firm stand on this issue after the differences arising among members of the Security Council.

It would seem that those parties who declined Iran’s invitation to last Thursday’s “Friends of Syria” summit in Tehran have been forced by that event to step up their own efforts.

Leaders of the Gulf Arab States pose for a photo before the opening session of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Riyadh May 10, 2011. (Ho New/Courtesy Reuters)

Four days after launching its ground offensive to cleanse the rebels from Aleppo, tanks and warplanes of the regime of Bashar al-Assad continue to pound several districts of this metropolis in the North of the country. According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR), the neighborhoods Shaar, Tariq al-Bab, Hanano, Bustan al-Qasr and Salaheddin are the target of violent firing of artillery by the army.

Shots were also heard in Damascus while the nearby towns of Al-Tal and Harsata were bombed, according to the SOHR.

In Homs, soldiers assisted by militiamen “executed” ten young people in the Shams neighborhood, according to the Syrian National Council, the main opposition coalition. The victims were selected from a crowd of 350 people gathered in one place, said SNC.

Clashes took place elsewhere in the province of Deraa (south), birthplace of the insurgency launched in March 2011 against the Assad regime.

In Beirut, a judicial source said that the Syrian security chief, General Ali Mamluk, is suspected of plotting attacks in Lebanon. Last week, the former Lebanese minister Michel Samaha was arrested . Samaha is a pro-Syrian figure.

Some content via Al Bawaba

Denied! Yet These Refugees Exist


At this moment, there are thousands of Mauritanian refugees waiting to return to their country. These innocents appear to have been marginalised because their existence is inconvenient for the political agenda of the illegitimate Mauritanian regime, which clings to power under the protection of president Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz, with the full support of major international governments and agencies.

Marginalised in Mali

In October 2011, a group of 15 Mauritanian NGOs, called for a tripartite agreement between the governments of Mauritania and Mali and the UNHCR for the repatriation of Mauritanian refugees in Mali. Their demand was provoked by the Interior Minister Mohamed Ould Boilil, who had denied the existence of this group a few days previously in the National Assembly. It is to be expected that the UNHCR census in Mali might have been perturbed by recent instability, but in its 2012 Operations Report for North Africa, UNHCR states that there are more than 12,000 Mauritanian refugees registered in Mali, of whom some 9,000 have expressed the wish to return. The report adds that voluntary repatriation from Mali would be considered once repatriation from Senegal was completed. Since then: nothing.

Aziz has surrounded himself with tribal and family loyalists. One such is Colonel Ely Ould Mohamed Vall, who is currently stirring the racial division pot for his cousin the president with some media spin. First, he allegedly denied that black Africans who were expelled were citizens, later claimed to have been misquoted (on the radio!) and now he’s trying to whitewash his involvement in the historic events. Anti-slavery and anti-racist movements are predictably outraged. Aziz and his cousin know exactly what buttons to press to ensure the disharmony that was sown last year prevents any united opposition movement gaining momentum.

Frustrated in Senegal

19 June 2012 – Mauritanian refugees in Senegal [photo:]

On the eve of World Refugees Day 2012 in Senegal, Mauritanian refugees staged a peaceful marchto draw attention to their situation, which they say is being neglected by the National Commission for Refugee Protection. On the sidelines of the mass protest, a group of refugees began an indefinite hunger strike outside the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office.

Sy Abdourahmane, spokesman for over 20,000 Mauritanian refugees in Senegal, told reporters that people have reached the end of their patience, the situation is too much to bear any longer, and the hunger strike is their last resort. He explained that the group face legal and social problems and are unable to establish their national identity.

In January 2012, a hundred former Mauritanian refugees, repatriated from Senegal, staged a protest outside the National Assembly, demanding that their agricultural land, confiscated after their expulsion in 1989, be returned to them.

In March, the UNHCR and Mauritanian authorities declared that the voluntary repatriation process for Mauritanian refugees was complete, and held a ceremony in Rosso to mark the occasion. This was followed by a flying visit on Monday 26 March by UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres to Mbere camp in the remote eastern basin.


Reports at the time gave the impression that everyone who wished to return to Mauritania was now back in their homeland and being cared for, while all others had chosen to remain in Senegal and were being given financial assistance and plots of land. If the protests and other reports of returnees citizens in Mauritania being stuck in limbo are any indication, the repatriation process remains woefully incomplete.

Not all Nomads

CityMag June 2012

Stories of Malian refugees flooding into isolated border camps like Fassala and Mbere get much publicity and attention. Yet in the capital of Mauritania, Nouakchott, an estimated 3,000 unregistered Malian refugees exist in difficult circumstances, according to the June 2012 edition of independent magazine CityMag. This situation began with Tuareg who fled when civil unrest erupted in Mali at the end of January, making their escape by car. Members of the first groups to arrive, crossing via Nioro and Ayoun, told cridem reporters in February that they fled in fear of their lives after attacks against “light skinned” people in Bamako. Many left everything behind, their flight fuelled by memories of previous periods of brutal unrest as much as by current events.

They also explained how, on presenting themselves at the Nouakchott office, they were told UNHCR was not aware of any “urban refugees” and the new arrivals must ask the host country to transport them to the border camps. The alternative is to remain unregistered – a non-status equivalent to being classed as vagrants or even illegal immigrants. Even so, many chose this option rather than surrender to the terrible conditions of the isolated and overcrowded camps, where 1500 – 2000 were reportedly arriving almost daily in May. What is the meaning of such banality? That Tuareg can’t be urbanised, or that refugees are not welcome in Mauritania unless they are hidden away in the furthest recesses of the desert? Is the price of “refuge” to be half-starved and subject to extremes of every condition, ready to be photographed at their worst by the swarm of “freelance” photographers and reporters being flown in from far afield? On that point, I feel obliged to point out that there is no shortage of  highly skilled and capable freelance photographers and journalists available for work in Mauritania.

These “urban Tuareg” in Nouakchott do not receive any support or recognition from Mauritanian authorities or international aid agencies. They live on their wits and whatever the local community can provide, perhaps supplemented by donations from compatriots in town for recent MNLA discussions. Mauritania’s famed culture of offering hospitality to visitors goes far beyond the polite offer of a cup of mint tea: one might almost call it a national obsession.  True to tradition, the community tries to rally round, but there are signs that even their best efforts are falling short. Times are hard in Mauritania, with spiralling food and fuel prices, high unemployment, and low wages pushing more people towards the poverty trap. A reporter for Latest Network News, who went to investigate current conditions on 17 June, told how he found some of the Tuareg reduced to begging on the street. He said they live in fear of being arrested by the police, and were too scared to talk on camera or allow their photograph to be taken.

An Invisible Population

The Tuareg are not the only refugee community in Nouakchott; for example, there is a group of Ivorians who have been campaigning for assistance for months. A cursory search will reveal similar stories worldwide – Iranian refugees trapped in Turkey, Burmese marooned in Thailand, Africans stuck on the Italian island of Lampedusa, and thousands of stateless in Kuwait and other gulf states. Al Jazeera reports more than 120,000 Syrians fleeing the violence in their homeland have taken refuge in Jordan, according to the Amman government. The United Nations has registered 20,000 of them. International aid agencies seem ill-equipped to cater for these “niche” groups, yet together they represent the population of a small country.


Note: Following ethnic clashes in late April 1989, hundreds of victims on both sides of the Senegal River and tens of thousands of Mauritanians were forced to leave their country and take refuge in neighbouring states. All countries of North Africa have ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, with the exception of Libya, which is, however, party to the Organisation of African Unity’s 1969 Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa.