Fartashphoto's Blog

Frost Over the World – Has US politics become too vitriolic?

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 15, 2011
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Marietje Schaake on Eu priority towards Iran

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 14, 2011

Iran urged to drop prison sentences against human rights activists

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 13, 2011

Amnesty International has denounced the prison sentences imposed on two leading Iranian human rights defenders and urged the authorities to drop all charges against them.

Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been jailed for 11 years on charges of “acts against national security”, “anti-regime propaganda” and belonging to the Centre for Human Rights Defenders.

The charges relate to her human rights work after the country’s disputed 2009 presidential elections. It appears that Sotoudeh may not yet have been told the verdict and sentence imposed on her.

Journalist Shiva Nazar Ahari had her four-year prison sentence imposed for “acts against national security” and other charges, confirmed by an appeal court on Sunday. She may also face flogging; it remains unclear whether this part of her original sentence, subsequently converted to a cash fine, has been reinstated.

“The sentences imposed on Nasrin Sotoudeh and Shiva Nazar Ahari are outrageous and make a mockery of justice,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Both women have been sentenced on account of their courageous defence of human rights and the very standards and values which the Iranian government is bound by international treaties to uphold,” said Malcolm Smart. “It is truly a sorry state of affairs when such actions can be branded a threat to national security or the peddling of propaganda.”

“Nasrin Sotoudeh is a prisoner of conscience and must be released immediately and unconditionally. Shiva Nazar Ahari should not be made to serve her sentence – it should be immediately withdrawn.”

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Mousavi defiant in face of government attacks

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 11, 2011

MirHossein Mousavi, Iranian opposition leader expressed defiance in the face of recent threats from Islamic republic government figures and warned the establishment that such propaganda would only backfire.

In a report on Kaleme website, Mousavi, the chief challenger of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s victory in the 2009 elections, condemned the recent government statements and described them as worn out tactics used by totalitarian regimes such as Soviet Union in the Stalin era.

In recent months, Iranian senior officials including top judicial authorities have repeatedly attacked the opposition leaders, MirHossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, insisting that they will soon to be prosecuted for their role in the post-election protests as “leaders of sedition.”

Mousavi maintained that the “unfair content” of such attacks makes them “ineffective” and will make them backfire. He went on to add that such attacks merely attest to the “legitimacy and vitality” of the Green Movement.

The protest movement against the alleged vote fraud in the 2009 elections in Iran has been referred to as the “Green Movement.”

Mousavi goes on to tell the authorities: “As I indicated in my 17th announcement you should ignore people like me and without any attention to us, release the prisoners and announce that you are committed to the constitution. Give freedom to the media and set up free and non-selective elections. You will then realize, the horizons have lightened up. Otherwise more oppression will only result in heavier demands.”

Mousavi also added that this kind of publicity along with continued crack down and arrests will eventually make people lose faith in reform in the framework of the current constitution.

The opposition leader maintained that in the current atmosphere, power mongers are creating deep rifts in society but the forces of the Green Movement according to Mousavi, “are trying to overcome these rifts by keeping alive the space for debate and national dialogue and by practicing tolerance.”

He added: “Being Green does not mean that we want everyone to assume our color…Being Green is living side by side with understanding for differences and variety in votes, ideas and tastes.”

Mehdi Karroubi also responded to the recent government attacks earlier saying he is more than ready to stand in an open and public trial so that people would get a chance to hear both sides and judge for themselves.

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Iranian lawyer sentenced to 11 years in prison

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 10, 2011

Jailed Iranian lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to 11 years in prison as well as 20 years ban from travel abroad and from legal practice.

Her husband, Reza Khandan informed the Human Rights Reporters Committee that they now have 20 days to appeal the sentence.

Reza Khandan also added that Sotoudeh was given one year in prison for “propaganda against the regime while for the two other charges of “activities against national security and failing to adhere to Islamic hijab (head covering) in a filmed speech” she was given five years each.

Khandan reported that her wife was very distressed over the heavy sentence that she has received.

Nasrin Sotoudeh, whose practice mainly focused on human rights violation cases, was arrested on September 4 and has been in Evin Prison since.

She has gone on hunger strike twice to protest against her inappropriate treatment in jail and the legal proceedings of her case.

Her arrest has been protested by several human rights activists and organizations both in Iran and abroad.

The most recent protest was a three-day sit-in organized by seven Iranian women activists including Nobel Peace laureate, Shirin Ebadi in front of the United Nations Office at Geneva on December 19.

On the third day, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay issued a letter addressed to Ebadi stating that she will follow up on Sotoudeh’s case and other Iranian political prisoners through all legal channels open to her and her office. 

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Iranian-Dutch citizen sentenced to death in Iran

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 7, 2011

Iran has issued a death sentence on drug-related charges for Zahra Bahrami, the Iranian-Dutch citizen who was arrested in the protests of December 2009. The court sentence also includes “confiscation of her possessions, car and house.”

Jinoose Sharif Razi, Bahrami’s lawyer told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that her client is charged for two separate cases. The first is connected with her arrest during Ashura Day anti-government protests and the second is a charge of keeping drugs in her home.

Sharif Razi reports that they have currently only processed the file on drug charges and adds: “Since the amount of drugs discovered at her home is over a certain limit, she has been issued the death penalty.”

Bahrami’s lawyer also indicated that her client denies having any drugs at her home. Her sentence has not been confirmed yet and has been sent to the Chief Prosecutor of Iran for further deliberation.

According to this report, 400g of cocaine and 400g of opium were found in Bahrami’s home and according to Iranian law, carrying over 30g of heroine can carry the death penalty. In terms of opium, however, over 20 kg is the limit that can justify the death sentence.

According to Bahrami’s lawyer, drug charges are usually processed with greater urgency. The court sentence on drug charges cannot be appealed but are instead sent to the Chief Prosecutor for more deliberation and finalization.

Zahra Bahrami is also facing the charge of “enmity with God” in connection with her arrest on Ashura Day in December 2009.

Uri Rosenthal, Dutch foreign minister has called on the Iranian embassy to clarify Zahra Bahrami’s situation. He declared grave concern regarding the death sentence which was announced in Dutch media yesterday.

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Wikileaks: Ali Jafari slapped Ahmadinejad in early 2010

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 1, 2011

Iran has denied a WikiLeaks report that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was slapped by the chief of the country’s Revolutionary Guards, the Tehran press reported Saturday.

According to a leaked US diplomatic cable, General Mohammad-Ali Jafari slapped Ahmadinejad in early 2010, as Tehran was still dealing with the fallout from a disputed election.

A Revolutionary Guards spokesman told Fars news agency that “those behind WikiLeaks have availed themselves of the fame they gained through their insider information and invent false stories.”

Spokesman Ramezan Sharif said that some of the WikiLeaks disclosures about the United States might have been true but there had also been several fabricated pieces of information.

President Ahmadinejad last year dismissed the WikiLeaks documents as worthless. He said they followed certain political aims and had no impact on Iran’s relations with any other states.

Iran was especially upset about the leaked documents saying that Saudi Arabia and Bahrain urged the US to halt Iran’s nuclear programme by any means, including a military attack.

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Iran To Go Nuclear Within 3 Years

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on January 1, 2011

Iran threatens trial for opposition leaders

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on December 31, 2010

Tehran’s chief prosecutor said Friday it was only a matter of time before opposition leaders are put on trial for the unrest following the disputed 2009 presidential election, the latest sign that Iranian authorities may make a potentially explosive escalation of their crackdown.

Hundreds of opposition supporters have been arrested and tried in the fierce crackdown that crushed opposition protests in the wake of the election, which the opposition claimed hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won by fraud.

So far, authorities have stopped short of trying to jail the reform movement’s top leaders — Mir Hossein Mousavi, who claims to have been the real victor in the election, fellow candidate Mahdi Karroubi and former President Mohammad Khatami — apparently out of concern it could spark a new wave of protests and fuel the opposition.

But a series of recent public warnings by hard-liners that they could be tried may be a sign that Iran’s Islamic clerical leadership believes the opposition has been sufficiently suppressed that their arrest would not bring a significant backlash.

On Friday, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi told worshippers at Tehran University that the opposition leaders are criminals who sought to topple the ruling Islamic system through street protests.

“We’ve said many times … that leaders of sedition are criminals and charges against them will be investigated. That they will stand trial is definite,” Dowlatabadi said in his address, broadcast live on state radio.

Mousavi and Karroubi said earlier this month that they are already living in a “big prison” and didn’t care if they were put behind bars in a “small prison” for defending the trampled rights of the Iranian nation. Mousavi recently likened Iran’s ruling system to a North Korean style dictatorship with a few cosmetic democratic gestures and criticized the disputed June 2009 election as a coup against democracy.

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Iran refuses Berlin festival invitation to Iranian filmmaker, Panahi

Posted in Uncategorized by fartashphoto on December 27, 2010

Iranian ministry of culture has told the Berlin Film Festival instead of Jafar Panahi, Iranian filmmaker recently sentenced to six years in prison, they can invite other Iranian filmmakers to serve in their jury panel.

The film and audiovisual department of the ministry of culture reported that Iranian embassy in Germany has forwarded a copy of Dieter Kosslick’s invitation to Iranian foreign ministry which has been duly forwarded to the ministry of culture.

The director of the Berlin Film Festival, Dieter Kosslick has invited Jafar Panahi to serve as a member of the festival’s jury in the 61st Berlin Film Festival.

The ministry has responded to the invitation saying that in view of the legal proceedings against Panahi, he will not be able to serve in their jury. They have however suggested a list of filmmakers with names such as Kiarostami, Jozani, Hatamikia and a number of other Iranian filmmakers which the festival can invite to their event in February.

Jafar Panahi was arrested in the post-election protests to the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He was released on bail in May and the court has recently sentenced him to six years in jail and 20 years ban from filmmaking and travel abroad.

The Berlin Festival has officially spoken out against Panahi’s sentence and expressed complete support for the persecuted filmmaker.

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