Archive for December, 2008
Wednesday, December 31st, 2008
In Preparation for Confronting Israel
Following the strikes on the Gaza strip in Palestine, once again locations in Iran are witnessing volunteer registrations for suicide operations against Israel.
Jame Rohaniyate Mobarez (Association of Militant Clergy, AMC), the key forum of conservative clerics in Iran, announced yesterday through a long Internet message its readiness to fight with Israel, and referenced the message to a call from the supreme leader of the country. The reference is to ayatollah Khamenei’s strongest ever message on Sunday in which he said, in response to Israel’s strikes at Gaza, after announcing two days of morning, “All pious people of the Islamic world have a duty to defend the women, children and defenseless people of Gaza and anyone who dies in this justifiable and holly defense is proclaimed a martyr.”
In addition to the AMC, Ali-Reza Zahedi, a leadership member of student para-military group Basij also announced that it was registering students in its suicide stations at universities across the nation. Fars news agency too announced that 271 students from Amir Kabir University had already registered to engage in suicide operations against the Zionist regime. Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency (IRNA) too quoted yesterday a leadership member of the Student Islamic Association that some 7,000 of its students in Isfahan had registered themselves for suicide missions.
In a related news, Ali Motahari, the son of the MP in Tehran spoke on Sunday about a “direct war with Israel”, while other military and political officials of the Islamic Republic joined in the call. Speaking at a rally in Tehran in support of the people of Palestine yesterday, Abdullah Araghi, commander of the Mohammad Rasoolallah brigade of the Passdaran Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) of the greater Tehran area told Fars news agency that there was a large pool of Basij volunteers (to fight with Israel) “to fight along with the innocent people of Palestine and liberate Palestine”.
Also, General Mirfeisal Bagherzadeh, the head of the Foundation for the Preservation and Dissemination of the Values of the Holly Defense (a group advancing the ideals of the 8-year Iran-Iraq war) told Fars news agency, “The most important task is to provide military assistance to the defenseless people of Gaza and the time is now come for Islamic countries to put the military option on their agenda.”
The naval wing of the IRGC too issued a statement on the subject in which it condemned “the crimes of the usurper Zionist regime” and wrote, “Freedom loving people of the world and the innocent people of Palestine will not leave the crimes of Israel unanswered.”
In addition to the reactions of military authorities, some political personalities too joined those protesting Israel’s military strikes against Gaza. The secretary of Iran’s State Expediency Council, Mohsen Rezai said, “If there were no political considerations in place and my presence was in the interest of Palestinians, I would have resigned from all my government posts and I would have gone to Gaza in 48 hours and would have carried out jihad in the name of God.”
In addition to these, a number of other agencies and organizations announced their readiness to fight with Israel. According to Shahab News website, at the end of a joint session of a meeting of the provincial planning and deputy administrators from the Ministry of Islamic Guidance on Monday issued a statement in which they announced their readiness to give their life for “the holly defense of the innocent people of Gaza”.
Tuesday, December 30th, 2008
They Returned as Tax Agents
Yesterday, five government agents raided the law offices of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi from where they tried to confiscate two computers, but who succumbed to her defiance.
These agents who attacked Ebadi’s offices at five thirty pm on Monday, presented themselves to her as tax agents. Last week, government agents who also presented themselves as tax agents raided Ebadi’s Center for the Defense of Human Rights offices in Tehran and shut them, while disrupting a planned gathering to commemorate the 60 anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. According to the website of Kanoon Zanan Iran (Center for Iranian Women, CIW) government agents and Ms Ebadi together examined the computers at her offices and, after announcing and concluding that no income documents were recorded in the computers, left the premises after thanking her office for its cooperation.
After the incident, Mehr news agency published a report that claimed that Ms Ebadi had tax violations, something that she immediately denied.
When the government agents arrived at her law offices on Monday, Ms Ebadi reminded them that an attorney was responsible for the privacy of the documents of his clients and therefore could not part with any of the client documents that she possessed. She also warned about publishing any information that she possessed about her clients.
Ebadi’s warning comes at a time when in recent months there is evidence of unconventional ways that civil and political activists are being treated. For example, three months ago Aasha Momeni, an activist in the women’s movement, was arrested for a speeding traffic violation but eventually ended up in Iran’s top security prison at Evin.
While the CIW and Advar News both announced in their latest news bulletin’s that at six o’clock yesterday evening government agents were still present in Ebadi’s law offices, Tabnak news website announced at 8pm that documents were taken away from Ebadi’s offices.
Tabnak wrote, “After examining the financial and tax records of attorney Shirin Ebadi, all the documents in her office were removed and taken to Tehran tax bureau.”
While this site, which is close to Mohsen Rezai the current secretary of the State Expediency Council, did not attribute its news to any source, and only referred to a “knowledgeable source inside the Tehran Tax Bureau, and claimed that “this transfer of documents occurred because of discrepancies that were observed in her tax documents, the documents were transferred for further expert examination. Some of Ebadi’s tax files had been deleted and this led to discrepancy over her tax situation.”
The intrusion of government tax agents into Ebadi’s law offices comes ten days after the Center for the Defense of Human Rights that she ran was raided and shut by government agents. Ebadi told Rooz on Sunday that the closure of the center has not impeded the responsibilities that have been bestowed to the center by its members and should not be interpreted as a closure of its operations. She also spoke about the imminent publication of the latest report on the human rights situation in Iran which covers events of the last three months.
She also said that the roots of these events should be found in the fact that international human rights documents reference the reports of the Center for the Defense of Human Rights. Particularly, as the most recent report of the UN Secretary General about the human rights violations in Iran resulted in a UN resolution against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Saturday, December 27th, 2008
Kayhan: Center Should Have Been Confronted Earlier
The office for the Center for the Defense of Human Rights, which is headed by Shirin Ebadi, was shut down yesterday by security and police officers prior to holding a meeting to commemorate the international Human Rights Day.
The public relations office of the Center for the Defense of Human Rights noted in a statement issued an hour after it was shut by security agents, “In addition to the Center for the Defense of Human Rights, our offices also operated another non-governmental organization called ‘Center for Cooperation in Clearing Mines’ which was founded by Shirin Ebadi and a group of her colleagues. In effect, the offices of two non-governmental organizations were shut down with this illegal act.
The Center for the Defense of Human Rights is an internationally recognized organization and a formal member of the International Confederation of Human Rights Societies along with 190 other countries.
The Center has three main missions according to its bylaws: “pro bono representation of political and ideological defendants, support of families of political and ideological prisoners and sustained and orderly reports of human rights violations cases in Iran.” Since, in the past two years, none of the United Nations’ official human rights reporters have been issued visas to come to Iran, many international organizations relied on the Center’s reports, among them Bon Ki Moon, the United Nations Secretary General, who cited the report of the Center for the Defense of Human Rights in the report that he presented at the General Assembly’s December 2008 meeting.
An hour after issuing its first statement regarding the shutting down of the Center’s office, the public relations office of the Center issued a second statement. This statement notes, “In light of the fact that the office for the Center for the Defense of Human Rights has been shut down illegally and without due process therefore, as we have indicated before, any alleged document or evidence that is generated from raiding the office for the Center for the Defense of Human Rights, if it is to be used against human rights defenders to pressure them, is worthless and another sign of the illegal behavior of officers who attacked the Center’s office.”
Following the attack on the Center for the Defense of Human Rights, Kayhan newspaper referred to the group as a “little group” [a name used during the early days of the Islamic Republic to refer to armed groups fighting the regime]. Citing “some European newspapers” (without mentioning their names) Kayhan reported “the mission of the newly-founded little group Center for the Defense of Human Rights to undermine the Islamic Republic of Iran,” and claimed that “the aforementioned Center was established under the guidance and using a special budget of the U.S. Vice Preisdent Dick Cheney.”
Kayhan added, “Creating safe haven for those accused of inciting instability, partition and espionage for foreign intelligence services were among the little group’s missions.”
Noting that since the “interior ministry in 2007 had declared the Center for the Defense of Human Rights illegal and without a permit, the closing of the little group’s office is carried out with a 2-year delay,” Kayhan wrote, “The coordinated response of anti-revolutionary groups with foreign circles connected to foreign intelligence services, while justifying the necessity for shutting down this Center’s office, portrays the two-year delay in carrying out this act an indefensible and unjustifiable act.”
Wednesday, December 17th, 2008
Ayatollah Khamenei Comments at the Elm-va-San’at University
Ayatollah Khamenei’s presence at the Elm va San’at (Science and Industry) University, was announced earlier, was so unexpected that some conservative media outlets received news of the visit after the event. Iran’s supreme leader, who had cancelled his Saturday’s visit to the University, came to the school after an eight-day delay to once again declare his support for President Ahmadinejad among people who were brought to the forum since the morning and from outside the university.
Although in early December President Ahmadinejad’s Science Minister had announced that ayatollah Khamenei would be visiting the University on December 7 which is commemorated as Student’s Day in Iran as a step to “thwart conspiracies of certain anti-revolutionaries,” the meeting was cancelled and, contrary to the expectations of those who thought that Khamenei would instead visit the University of Tehran, he in fact did visit the Elm va Saanat University, where Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had studied thirty years ago and lectured for some time as well.
This issue became the pretext for the leader of Iran to dedicate a portion of his speech to supporting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Defending Ahmadinejad by calling him a “revolutionary, committed, effective, active and courageous” individual, ayatollah Khamenei said, “The revered and timeless symbol of the holy defense [referring to the 8-year Iran-Iraq war] Hajj Ahmad Motevasselian as well as our revolutionary, committed, effective, active and courageous President are among the prominent symbols of the Elm va Saanat University’s alumni.”
This follows a series of instances in which ayatollah Khemenei has expressed his support for Ahmadinejad’s administration. Three months ago, coinciding with Government Week, when some politicians pointed to the country’s tumultuous economic conditions and criticized Ahmadinejad and his administration’s policies, Khamenei publicly expressed his support for the administration during a meeting with cabinet members and accused critics of “opposing the Islamic Republic regime.”
Yesterday’s speech by Iran’s leader at the University was important in another respect as he introduced his desired next president during the speech.
In recent weeks, with increasing criticisms of the ninth administration’s performance surfacing, conservatives, who are the administration’s main proponents, have announced plans such as forming a national unity government to perhaps pass over Ahmadinejad in that way. Nevertheless, yesterday’s speech by the supreme leader in support of Ahmadinejad nullified any such plans.
In his speech yesterday, Khamenei also sent messages to reformists, especially figures such as Khatami who are considering whether to run for the presidency next year or step aside. According to the supreme leader’s office, without referring to any by name, the Khamenei called for courage and self-confidence among officials in “making clear the principles that constitute the regime’s identity,” adding, “If one day, among the country’s officials we find weak and impotent officials like Shah Sultan Hussein [an Iranian King under whose rule the Afghans invaded the country’s capital], the era of this country and the Islamic Republic is over, because weak and impotent officials turn courageous nations into weak nations.”
In a part of his speech, Khamenei apologized to students for being ill and having a weak voice, saying to them, “Although I have been feeling ill for a few days, I did not want to delay this meeting; I was eager to be present among you, students.”
The reaction of students present in the hall was obvious. According to Fars news agency, “Students prayed for the supreme leader’s health at this point.”
Source : Roozonline
Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
Armed Forces Joint Staff Chief Threatens “Colluders”
The armed forces Joint Chief of Staff criticized the “faction in Majlis and administration colluding with America” and accused those who support relations with America of being enemy “infiltrators.”
Major General Seyyed Hasan Firouzabadi, who was speaking to the Joint Staff Chief generals, reacted to recent remarks by Ali Larijani indicating “reviewing possible responses to members of American Congress” by saying, “The danger that threatens the revolution today and at this juncture in time is that the Americans send messages and some people say here that we are reviewing messages from Americans.”
This military official, who received a “medal of independence” from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad two weeks earlier, added, “People who say these things are American infiltrators. The reformists said the same things too.”
What Major General Firouzabadi is criticizing in his interview are seeming attempts in recent weeks by several government officials to establish relations with the United States.
Eighth Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, though he has likened the president-elect of the United States in recent days to a “cowboy,” in several occasions he has discussed the letter authored by several American senators seeking to negotiate with members of the Iranian Majlis. Larijani said last week to IRNA that he is reviewing the letter of American senators to Iranian lawmakers, adding, “We have not yet responded because it is necessary for us to know around what issues these negotiations would revolve.”
Major General Firouzabadi is a military figure close to the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and among the handful of military icons who have preserved their position since Khamenei’s appointment to supreme leadership. Firouzabadi has served as the Islamic Republic’s Joint Staff Chief since 1368 (1990). The institution is the highest armed forces institution in Iran which is in charge of strategizing and managing all of Iran’s armed forces, including the army, the Revolutionary Guards and the State Security Forces.
Source : Roozonline
Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
President George W. Bush meets with international bloggers and journalists on human rights Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.
White House photo by Chris Greenberg
Here is my speeches”
Today is December 10, and President of United state invited me and some Journalists and blogger from several country. Following text is my speech in With House:
It`s a pleasure to be here as an Iranian journalist and blogger.
As an Iranian person I want to tell you Mr. president, Thank you for always separating Iranian people from Iran`s government.
History is a good science because it tells us that 60 years ago Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, helped to create the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Also, history tells us Five Hundred years before Christ, there was a king in Persian that helped to develop Human rights. Cyrus the Great was a supporter of peace for other countries and he freed the Jews and repatriated them to their region following their Babylonian captivity.
Yes, history also tells us, Now there is a president in the Islamic republic of Iran that said “Israel must be wiped off the map.” You can compare these two act together.
I know you understand that Iranian people have problems with their government. Now I want to tell you about my experience on how I could promote reform despite the government and try to stop it.
I`ve been working as a journalist for over ten years. I started my blog seven years ago, when the Iranian ministry of intelligence pressured me to censor some news.
I wrote articles about Iran’s nuclear energy activity and asking it to stop but they forced me not to publish these articles. Censorship is the worst thing to journalists so I decided to challenge it.
Some other journalists and I use a new technology for the war against censorship. The Style of work was easy. Everything that was impossible to publish in newspapers, we published on weblogs.
After a short time, my blog became famous for reporting real, uncensored news.
Unfortunately, Iran`s government became sure that the Internet and blogging helps spread democracy and for this reason, they started the filtering and persecution of blogs.
They didn’t tell people that everything was being filtering. They told them we filter only immoral sites.
There is a lot of Persecution. They arrested me in 2005 and first sentenced me to 14 years of prison and then in the appeal court reduced it to 3 years. Also, around the same time, the Iranian government arrested more than 45 bloggers and journalists and held them in solitary confinement for a long time.
Now, More than five Millions sites and blogs are filtered in Iran.
In the meantime, Sepah Pasdaran (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) decided to start ten thousand new blogs. A special Magazine of IRGC announced that the US government wants regime change in Iran by using public policy tools like the Internet and blogs.
I want to tell you why blogging is important and why it help to the spread of democracy in Iran.
Iran is the fifth Classification in the world and we have half a million bloggers. They write, take pictures and publish their blogs daily or weekly.
Iran doesn’t like this because my colleagues publish important data. We write about “abuses of human rights in Iran”, “Iran`s nuclear activity”, “women rights” and other things. I want to tell you a fresh example:
President Ahmadinejad elected Mr. Ali Kordan as “interior ministry of Iran” four months ago. They told us, Ali kordan is “Honorary doctorate in law from Oxford University”. Iranian bloggers very soon discovered Ali Kordan doesn’t have this honorary degree. More than twenty thousand blogs wrote that the new minister lied. This wasn’t the end of his case. After a short time, we realized he doesn’t have any degree, either a Masters or a bachelor degree. He only had a simple diploma. Finally, the Iranian Parliament impeached him after ninety days only. That was Success for Iranian blogger community.
Blogging rose in Iran. Now, Iranian student use this technology to publish their activities. Also, most of all women use it. They are involved in the campaign for “one million signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws” and they write about their successes and experiences on blogs.
Before ending my talk, I want to give you some messages from Iranian bloggers. I asked them what they would like to ask the President of the United States. I asked about 45 people Inside Iran. More than 30 persons had the same request. They believe that Iran is buying filtering technology from American and Chinese company. They ask you, please don’t allow American companies to sell such technology to the Iranian government for extending ofg censorship and Filtering..
Another point raised was about supporting democracy in Iran. Iran has a Young population. 70 percent are under the age of 35. Also, 60 percent of Iranian bloggers are under this age. For this reason, they need a new media.
And Finally, They wish to tell you, although Iran’s government supports some terrorist groups, but the Iranian people are not the Axis of evil.
Thank you so much