Category Archives: Iran News

A week after a violent raid by prison officials at Iran’s notorious Evin Prison led to the beating, injury, and solitary confinement of many political prisoners, Iranian Judiciary officials continue to deny any use of violence while vivid testimonies from the families of the prisoners indicate otherwise.

Independent investigations by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran confirm that dozens of security and intelligence agents used excessive force at Evin Prison’s Ward 350 on April 17, 2014, allegedly to search the cells and confiscate illegal items and devices that prisoners might have kept against regulations.

“The security forces used extreme violence against the prisoners,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the Campaign’s executive director. “The courageous testimonies of family members of the prisoners leave no room for doubt. Iranian officials must stop their denials and immediately establish an independent investigation to hold those involved responsible,” he added.

Although searching prison cells is a routine procedure, normally conducted by prison staff in the presence of prisoners in their cells, on April 17 security and intelligence agents who were armed with batons conducted the search and forced prisoners to leave their cells and gather in an open space. Some of the prisoners resisted, as they were concerned that their belongings might be stolen or feared that agents might place illegal items in their cells that did not belong to them, according to the prisoners’ family members.

However, in response to the prisoners’ requests to be allowed to stay in their cells during the search, the security agents forced them out, violently beating them as they exited the ward and causing serious injuries to several of them.

Despite the consistent reports and testimonies provided by the families of the prisoners to the media about the raid, Iranian officials have denied the excessive use of force against the prisoners, insisting that the security forces only “carried out a routine inspection of the prisoner belongings.”

Mass arrest of trade unionists in Karaj

Yesterday, Friday 15th of June at 12 noon 60 members of the Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers’ organizations and a number of labor activists were arrested in the city of Karaj.

According to the latest news, Mitra Homayooni, Vafa Ghaderi, Reyhaneh Ansari, Khaled Hosseini, Mahmoud Salehi, Saeed Moghaddam, Cyrus Fathi, Ghaleb Hoss are amongst those arrested.

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

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/

 

Stop press: Majid Tamjidi to speak at Hopi school

Majid Tamjidi

The veteran labour activist and political analyst Majid Tamjidi, who now lives in exile, will be joining our weekend school on Saturday April 21 at 2.30pm.

He will address the vital issue of ‘How sanctions and the Islamic regime destroy the Iranian working class’.

His intervention comes at a time when thousands of jobs are being lost. Many people have returned from the New Year holidays on April 1 to be told that their jobs have gone. Others haven’t been paid for many months. We know of  many people who now have to move out of their homes, because they cannot pay the rent anymore.

The Iranian theocracy has played a big part in destroying the once so mighty Iranian working class – but the sanctions are doing the rest. Some believe that sanctions are an alternative to war. But in reality, they are a form of wardesigned to soften up a country for regime change from above. But the ruling elites in the US, the UK and Israel have no interest in establishing genuine democracy in Iran – or their own countries, actually. The interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan brutally underlined this.

The official rate of unemployment in Iran stands at 12% (although most commentators estimate it is at least double that) and the pressure on the Iranian car industry perfectly illustrates how sanctions impoverish the working class:

  • Iran Khodro (one of the country’s three major car manufacturers) employs 150,000 workers and most of these are now at risk. At the end of the Iranian new year holidays (April 1), large numbers of workers in the industrial/manufacturing sector who returned to work were sent home. Sanctions impact on the economy, but Iranian bosses also use them to discipline their workforces.
  • Workers from Shahab Khodro car manufacturers, some with 20 years experience, were told their jobs had simply disappeared when they came back from the holidays.
  • In Iran Khodro, 30% of contracts have not been renewed (the overwhelming majority of Iranian workers are now contracted labourers thanks to the theocracy’s willingness to follow the dictates of the IMF/World Bank).
  • Iran’s car manufacturing industry is also facing a serious crisis after Peugeot Citroen, fearing the enforcement of US-led financial sanctions, stopped its trade in February. Iran was Peugeot Citroen’s second-biggest market in 2011 in terms of trade volume. However it came under increasing pressure after a US lobby group, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), called on the US Congress to investigate the French car company’s transactions with the Islamic Republic.
  • At the same time, the theocracy increases the pressure on labour activists and oppositionists. For example, Vahed bus drivers’ union executive member Reza Shahabi has been sentenced to 6 years in prison and a further five year ban from trade union activism. He has also been ordered to return around secen million Toman’s which had been raised in solidarity to help imprisoned trade union activists. This is after two and a half years in prison for being arrested on charges of  “propaganda activities against the regime” and another five years for “collusion to act against national security.” These are the typical charges activists face for standing up against oppression and fighting for the working class.