Arash Sadeghi and Hossein Ronaghi on Hunger Strike – Solidarity needed

Free all political prisoners!

Below is an article which appeared on the Iranian website Eshterak reporting on the barbaric treatment of two political prisoners.

On Thursday May 24th, Arash Sadeghi, Iranian student and political prisoner finally was allowed to receive a visit from his grandfather after 130 days of detention. This visit took place in section 209 of Evin prison in Tehran and lasted less than 5 minutes in presence of the interrogator.

According to Arash’s grandfather, they had shaved all his head. He seemed so slim and weak, that he first couldn’t recognize Arash. During his short visit Arash told his grandfather that all this time he had been kept in solitary confinement and in order to slow the process of his case have limited his interrogations take place only every 20 days. During the visit Arash announced that he had launched a hunger strike on May 24th to support Hossein Ronaghi until his rightful demands are not met.

Hossein Ronaghi is an Iranian political prisoner and blogger who suffers from severe kidney disease and according to doctors needs immediate surgical attention. Despite this, the Iranian authorities have refused to allow him to receive medical treatment. To protest against such inhumane situation Hossein Ronaghi has gone on hunger strike. Doctors say a hunger strike would seriously endanger his life and could be fatal to Hossein.

Hossein Ronaghi-Maleki (Babak Khorramdin) Iranian blogger, human rights activists and one the members of Iran Proxy, was arrested on December 13, 2009, but under pressure exerted by intelligence agents, his family and his friends had been forced to keep the news of his arrest secret.

Throughout his detention, Ronaghi-Maleki has been subjected to excruciating physical and psychological torture techniques by his interrogators who want him to participate in televised confessions. He has gone on hunger strike to protest the harsh conditions of his detention and unlawful actions of the intelligence and judicial authorities. On May 24 he was placed in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin Priosn, 3 days after he started a hunger strike.

Please sign the petition here: http://www.gopetition.com/petition/36771.html

Clandestine gay rights rally in Tehran

‘It’s not easy to be gay in the Islamic Republic of Iran. A recent United Nations report decried “harassment, persecution, cruel punishment and even the death penalty.” Because Islamic law requires four adult male witnesses to prosecute sodomy, Iranian police typically seek confessions, often through torture. Women, easier to convict, are given 100 lashes for each case. Outside of the legal system, LGBT Iranians face widespread and socially accepted discrimination, bullying, and an elevated risk of suicide, according to a UK-based study. “Loneliness is killing me,” a 27-year-old man from Qazvin told researchers.’

More photos and comment from the Atlantic magazine:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/05/photos-of-a-clandestine-gay-rights-rally-in-tehran/257500/#slide1

Threat of war increases after 5+1 talks collapse

As  Hopi predicted, the so-called “5+1 talks” in Baghdad have not been able to resolve the stand-off between Iran and western imperialism. Both sides cannot afford to “lose face” and are pushing towards war for their own reasons. For some background on this, see this article by Yassamine Mather: ‘Imperialism finds new pretext for threats’.

Worryingly, even before the talks had started, UK ministers were already discussing how to get involved in an attack on Iran.

Hopi condemns the drive towards war and supports all those who are fighting against the theocratic regime. We campaign for the empowerment of the women, students, workers and unemployed in Iran – the only ones who can bring real democracy, from below.

 

Here a news report from the Press Association:

Iran rejects nuclear curb proposals

Iranian negotiators have rejected proposals by six world powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear programme. Instead they demanded answers to their own counter-offer meant to alleviate concerns about the Islamic Republic’s ability to build atomic weapons.

The stance underscored the difficulties facing the nuclear talks as both sides stake out their terms and agendas for a second day in the Iraqi capital. Still, the negotiations did not appear in danger of collapse. Envoys added extra hours to their meetings as a sandstorm closed Baghdad airport.

Proposals for another round next month in Geneva also met with resistance from Iran, which is pushing for a venue not considered supportive of Western sanctions. Talks were expected to wrap up within hours.

The open channels between Iran and the six-nation bloc – the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany – are seen as the most hopeful chances of restoring relations between Washington and Tehran in years. They also could push back threats of military action that have shaken oil markets and brought worries of triggering a wider Middle East conflict.

Saeed Jalili, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, demanded an overhaul to the plan put forward by the world powers after the Baghdad talks began. An Iranian diplomat involved in the discussions said the package falls far short of a compromise.

Iran went into the talks seeking that the West scale back on its sanctions, which have targeted Iran’s critical oil exports and have effectively blackballed the country from international banking networks.

Mr Jalili conveyed his concerns in a private meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who is formally leading the talks. Mrs Ashton’s spokesman, Mike Mann, called the negotiations “tough,” but said that “some progress was made.”

At the heart of the issue are two different proposals. On one side is an incentive package by the six-nation group – the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – that seeks to halt the most sensitive part of Iran’s nuclear fuel production.

Iran, in turn, wants the US and Europe to ease harsh economic sanctions on its oil exports in return for pledges to give wider access to UN inspectors and other concessions

We demand the immediate release of Dr. Fariborz Raisdana!

Fariborz Raisdana

We demand the immediate release of Dr. Fariborz Raisdana!

On Monday the 20th of May, Dr Raisdana – academic, leftwing economist and writer – was arrested and sent to the notorious Evin prison. He is a well known intellectual, economist, social activist and member of the Iranian writers’ association. He has published several books and articles on political economy and sociology. He is well known as a leftist socio-economic expert who always considers the plight of the Iranian working class in his economic analysis. Dr. Raisdana’s field of expertise is econometrics. He has tried hard to disclose how workers and wage earners have been affected by the relations of political economy in the turbulent Iranian society and how they have been increasingly suffering.

He has consistently criticised the Iranian government socio-economic programmes and often points out how social and political oppression is implemented to impose policies such as the unfair plan to abolish/reduce the allocation of national subsidies. There is no doubt that military economic planning has reduced social welfare and added  pressure on the poorer classes. Dr. Raisdana has always been their voice in the society and it is his stance against unfair economic policies that has landed him in jail.

HOPI condemns Dr. Raisdana’s arrest and demands his immediate and unconditional release.

A letter by death row prisoners Zanyar and Loghman Moradi for May 9

“They need sacrificial lambs and they have chosen us” - Loghman Moradi

Execution is a weapon of choice for the Iranian regime when dealing with trade unionists, leftists, and  Iran’s ethnic minorities. Below we link to a letter by death row prisoners Zanyar and Loghman Moradi, of Iran’s Kurdish minority. After a trial lasting 20 minutes,  the pair were convicted for allegedly assassinating the son of a senior cleric. False confessions were procured by torture during a 30-month imprisonment.  Zanyar and Loghman maintain their innonence, and Amnesty International has highlighted their case.

While fighting the threat of war on Iran, the left in this country should give no succour to such a regime, which uses those threats to clamp down on internal dissent. HOPI demands the immediate release of all political prisoners and the abolition of the death penalty in Iran.

Read the letter below (English & Farsi)

http://persian2english.com/?p=23852

Audio interview with Yassamine Mather

In-depth interview with Yassamine Mather, chair of the Hands Off the People of Iran (HOPI) with the American ‘Stop Imperialism’. They discuss the geopolilitical issues surrounding Iran ranging from the controversy regarding the nuclear program to Iran’s relations with the West and the SCO. In addition, they examine some of the internal politics of Iran, including the competing factions of the ruling establishment and the role of the working class in that country. Also, they address some of the pressing economic concerns including inflation, the effect of sanctions, and the future of Iranian economic development.

http://ericdraitser.podbean.com/interviews/interview-yassamine-mather-05-03-12/