IWD Events: 8 March Seminar on Sharia Law and 6 March solidarity action

Hello

We would like to invite you to a One Law for All seminar on Sharia Law in Britain for International Women’s Day. The seminar will be held on Monday 8 March 2010 at Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, Holborn, London WC1R 4RL from 1830-2030hours.

The seminar aims to bring together campaigners, lawyers, and experts to discuss ways in which Sharia courts can be prohibited in Britain. It will make recommendations and lay out the legislative and legal avenues available to help bring about equal rights for all. Speakers at the event include: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (British Muslims for Secular Democracy); Yassi Atasheen (Lawyer); Rony Miah (Lawyers’ Secular Society); Maryam Namazie (One Law for All); Pragna Patel (Southall Black Sisters); and Yasmin Rahman (Women Against Fundamentalism).

Tickets for the seminar are £10; £3 students/low income.

To register for the seminar, please send in a completed booking form by post or email before March 1. You can download the booking form here.

We would also like to invite you to join an event organised by Equal Rights Now and Iran Solidarity on Saturday 6 March 2010 at the Northern Terrace of London’s Trafalgar Square from 1200-1400hours to show solidarity with the women’s rights movement in Iran. You can find out more about the event here.

For more information on any of the above events, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Warm wishes

Maryam

Maryam Namazie
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
onelawforall@gmail.com
www.onelawforall.org.uk

11 February protests against the Islamic regime of Iran

On 11 February 2010 (22 Bahman) there were large protests in several cities across Iran despite the Islamic regime of Iran’s brutal crackdown.

In weeks prior to the day, the regime arrested and threatened political activists, women’s rights campaigners and students. Former political prisoners were summoned and threatened with prosecution for the ‘crime’ of ‘enmity against God’ if they were caught participating in the protests. On 11 February, too, the regime’s forces came out en masse and brutally attacked protestors and arrested around 1,000 people in Tehran alone.

Despite its repression, video footage shows protestors pulling down posters of Khamenei and trampling on them and clashing with the regime’s security forces. Slogans of ‘Down with Khamenei’ were even heard during Ahmadinejad’s speech and had to be censored when being broadcast on state television. Protestors even managed to entirely take control of some neighbourhoods for a while and there were reports of women unveiling and trampling on their veils. Groups of protestors also tried to march on to Evin prison to demand the release of political prisoners but were brutally pushed back. There were a number of reports of shots being fired in the crowds and video footage of at least one protestor killed. Security forces also shot paint pellets in the crowd for identification purposes.

There were also huge protests in cities across the world in solidarity with the people of Iran and against the Islamic regime. Some protests were met with arrests and police brutality. In London, Iran Solidarity UK activist Bahar Milani was arrested along with a number of others though she and the others were subsequently released without charge.

Iran Solidarity’s actions were broadcast via various media outlets, including in interviews with Patty Debonitas on CNN and Maryam Namazie on ITN.

Once again, protests showed the resolve of the Iranian people for freedom despite the all-out repression of a regime fighting for its very survival.

Iran Solidarity calls on people everywhere to continue their unequivocal support of the revolutionary movement in Iran to rid Iran and the world of a medieval theocracy. We also call for the isolation of the regime and the shutting down of its embassies.

Notes:

1. To see some key video footage of February 11 protests in Iran, see below:

* Footage of ‘Government Supporters’:

Below you can see a video of crowds bussed in to hear Ahmadinejad’s speech. Whilst some were obviously the regime’s rent-a-mob and mercenaries, many were also forced to attend for a variety of reasons, including keeping their government jobs. This video shows at least a section of the crowd more interested in sleeping, sightseeing, playing football and chatting then listening to Ahmadinejad’s speech. Also close to the end of the video, there is a flag on the ground with the ‘Allah’ in the centre torn out…

* Security forces out on the streets en masse:

* Footage of attacks on protestors:

Here is footage of a protestor who has been shot in the face:

Here is footage of police brutally beating a protestor:

Here is footage of a protestor with a bloody head:

Here is footage of teargas being used on protestors:

* Despite the crackdown, below is footage of protests, including of clashes with the regime’s security forces:

You can see protestors trampling on Khamenei’s poster:

Protestors and baseejis clashing:

* The slogans often heard included:

Political prisoners must be released

Death to dictator

Guns, tanks and baseeji are no longer effective

We didn’t give lives for reconciliation

2. Video footage of protests in London:

* Maryam Namazie speech at London rally:

* Shiva Mahbobi, Maryam Namazie, Sohaila Sharifi, Bahram Soroush and block traffic at London rally; Shiva is arrested and later released.

* Bahar Milani is arrested for trying to throw red paint on the embassy:

* To see photos of protests in London and other cities, visit Iran Solidarity blog.

3. Support Iran Solidarity and its demands by signing up to our petition.

4. Sign up to the Manifesto of Liberation of Women in Iran.

5. Join our daily acts of solidarity with the people of Iran. Since Monday July 27, we have organised acts of solidarity EVERY SINGLE DAY. It is easy to join in – just videotape or photograph yourself doing something and send it to us to upload to our blog. You can see other acts on our blog.

6. Join rallies and events in various cities against the executions and the Islamic regime of Iran, including every Saturday. You can find out about such protests on our blog.

7. Set up Iran Solidarity groups in your neighbourhoods, workplaces, universities and cities. So far we have groups in Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the UK. Like the solidarity committees during the anti-apartheid era, these committees can be instrumental but we need many more in every city in the world for that to happen.

8. For more information or to send in your daily acts of solidarity, contact:
Maryam Namazie
Iran Solidarity
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
iransolidaritynow@gmail.com
www.iransolidarity.org.uk

February 11 demos in London and elsewhere.

In support of the people in Iran protesting against the Islamic Republic’s regime, the following solidarity protests will be held on 22 Bahman, Thursday 11 February 2010 (in Australia and New Zeland on Friday, 12 February) by Iran Solidarity groups:

UK
Thursday 11 February 2010
Time: 2-8pm
Iranian embassy in London at 16 Prince’s Gate, SW7 1PT
(between Knightsbridge and High Street Kensington tube stations)
Email: iransolidarityuk@gmail.com
Mobile: 07507978745

Canada
Vancouver
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Time: 5:30 PM
Place: Vancouver Art Gallery, Howe & Robson
e-mail: iransolidarityvancouver@gmail.com

Deutschland
Frankfurt
Donnerstag, 11 Februar
Mahnwache vor dem iranischen Konsulat in Frankfurt am Main, Raimundstr. 90
11:00 bis 17:00 Uhr
E-Mail:shahnaz1@t-online.de
Tel: 004915781688732

Österreich
Wien
Donnerstag, 11. Februar 2010 ab 17 Uhr
Ort: vor der Filiale der Fluglinie “Iran Air”, Wien 1., Kärntnerring 1
Email: iransolidarityaustria@gmail.com

Sweden
Gotenborg
Thursday, 11 February
iransolidarity.swe@gmail.com
Tel:0704469483

Australia
Friday, 12 February
Time: 11am – 1pm
Place: Iranian embassy, Canberra

Other events:
South Australia
Email: dariush2000@yahoo.com
Phone: 0431713128

NSW State
Sydney
Email: ifirsydoffice@optusnet.com.au email
Phone: 0411553152

Victoria County
Email: free.pars@yahoo.com
Phone: 0413405545

Melbourne
Email: iran.solidarity.melbourne@gmail.com
Phone 0413405545 or 0402 360 442
Facebook: Iran Solidarity (Melbourne)

New Zeland

Demo is on Friday 12th Feb 2010.
The address is:
151 Te Anau Road
Hataitai 6021, Wellington, New Zealand

There is a bus leaving Auckland on Thursday 11th Feb at 10pm going to Wellington for the protest.
For further info please contact
Babak Badie:
006427382063

Also see WPI protests taking place here.

Long live the revolution in Iran

Currently there is a vast revolution taking place in Iran. Today there are demonstrations across Iran and in many countries around the world. The aim of this movement is to overthrow 31 years of the Islamic regime which represents 31 years of executions, stoning, sexual apartheid, inequality for women, barbaric and backward religious laws, lack of fundamental rights for working people, lack of freedom of expression, lack of the right to protest, strike and organise, imposition of utmost poverty on 70 million people in Iran and spread of terror in the Middle East and the world. This is a regime that has created one of the most brutal and corrupt systems in the world.

The people of Iran, who have fought for 31 years against this regime, by bringing an end to the Islamic nightmare, want to establish a human society, a society that is secular, where the death penalty and all brutal Islamic punishments have been abolished and religious government ended; where all the misogynist laws have been revoked; where unconditional freedom of expression, organisation and strike has been established.

The Islamic regime’s end is here, and the people of Iran aim to smash the entire machinery of suppression of this regime. The end of the Islamic regime will also deal a death blow to the political Islamic movement in the Middle East, as well as to its offshoots in the rest of the world. It will put an end to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions and adventures.

The revolution of the people of Iran deserves your enthusiastic support. We call on you to turn every opportunity and every day into a day of solidarity with the revolution in Iran for freedom and for getting rid of one of the most murderous regimes of contemporary history.

Join us to say that the Islamic regime of Iran must go!

Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI)
11 February 2010

We will show them whose day 11 February (22 Bahman) is… It is ours!

Dear friend

February 11 or 22 Bahman is the anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution – a left-leaning revolution against the Shah and for freedom and prosperity, which was crushed by the Islamic movement.

But since history is written by the victors, this failed revolution is often called an ‘Islamic’ one. And every year, on this day, the Islamic regime of Iran holds commemorative rallies to mark ‘its’ day.

But not this time.

This time, the tide has turned and on Thursday 11 February 2010 the people in Iran and those standing in solidarity with them across the globe will come out in their millions to reclaim history and push forward the present-day revolutionary movement that aims to end 30 years of Islamic medievalism and drag Iran into the 21st century.

‘…If history is the story of change, then real history is the history of the undefeated – the history of the movement and people who still want and are struggling for change, the history of those who are not willing to bury their ideals and hopes of a human society, the history of people and movements that are not at liberty of choosing their principles and aims and have no choice but to strive for improvements…’ (Mansoor Hekmat, The History of the Undefeated, http://hekmat.public-archive.net/en/0910en.html).

On 11 February and everyday until we are rid of this vile regime, join us and be part of real human history in the making…

Warm wishes,

Maryam

Maryam Namazie
Coordinator
Iran Solidarity

Notes:

1. Join us on 11 February in front of the embassies of the Islamic regime. You can find out more about some of the many events being held here.

2. Send a letter of protest to the Islamic regime of Iran over recent and impending executions. As you know, two young men Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour were executed at dawn Thursday, January 28 for the ‘crime’ of ‘enmity against god’. For details, click here.

3. Support Iran Solidarity and its demands by signing up to our petition.

4. Sign up to the Manifesto of Liberation of Women in Iran.

5. Join our daily acts of solidarity with the people of Iran. Since Monday July 27, we have organised acts of solidarity EVERY SINGLE DAY. It is easy to join in – just videotape or photograph yourself doing something and send it to us to upload to our blog. You can see other acts here.

6. Join rallies and events in various cities against the executions and the Islamic regime of Iran, including every Saturday. You can find out about such protests on our blog.

7. Set up Iran Solidarity groups in your neighbourhoods, workplaces, universities and cities. So far we have groups in Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the UK. Like the solidarity committees during the anti-apartheid era, these committees can be instrumental but we need many more in every city in the world for that to happen.

8. For more information or to send in your daily acts of solidarity, contact:
Maryam Namazie
Iran Solidarity
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
iransolidaritynow@gmail.com
www.iransolidarity.org.uk

On Sharia law, banning the burqa, and One Law for All 100 Club

Hello

Nearly 70 people gathered at a fundraising dinner on January 27 at a gastropub in West London to support One Law for All and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. A C Grayling was the event’s keynote speaker. Guests also heard from comedian Nick Doody, Magician Neil Edwards, Singer/Songwriter David Fisher, campaign organiser Maryam Namazie and MC Fariborz Pooya.

You can see AC Grayling’s speech on the concept of one law for all here:


Part 1


Part 2

You can see Maryam Namazie’s brief speech below:

One Law for All 100 Club was announced at the dinner. The Club aims to secure 100 donors willing to donate £10 or more a month towards the campaign.

The steady donations will be instrumental in allowing us to organise our activities for the coming year, including a March 8, 2010 seminar on Sharia law in Britain (see booking form below), an art gallery show in Spring, a June 20 rally, a concert in the Fall, a December 11 conference on apostasy and Sharia laws as well as a survey of women who have been to Sharia councils and tribunals and a ‘know your rights’ legal campaign.

We will also continue raising awareness via the media and various speaking engagements. To hear a recent discussion we had in support of banning the burka on Ireland’s Newstalk radio and read articles about a recent debate on women’s rights trumping religious laws at the UCD Law Society in Dublin, click here.

We will also continue writing about the issue whenever possible. You can read a recent article on Sharia law in the Independent World Report here.

If you are able to join the One Law for All 100 Club, please click here for further information and a standing order mandate form.

We rely solely on your support to push forward our campaign against Sharia and religious laws and in support of secularism and universal rights so please do take the time to help if you can. No amount is too little or too big for that matter.

Thanks again.

Best wishes

Maryam

Maryam Namazie
Spokesperson
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
onelawforall@gmail.com
www.onelawforall.org.uk

P.S. To register for the upcoming March 8 seminar on Sharia law in Britain at Conway Hall from 1830-2030hours, please fill registration form available here.

Support Gita Sahgal

Amnesty International and Cageprisoners
Statement by Gita Sahgal
7 February 2010

Gita Sahgal writes:

This morning the Sunday Times published an article about Amnesty International’s association with groups that support the Taliban and promote Islamic Right ideas. In that article, I was quoted as raising concerns about Amnesty’s very high profile associations with Guantanamo-detainee Moazzam Begg. I felt that Amnesty International was risking its reputation by associating itself with Begg, who heads an organization, Cageprisoners, that actively promotes Islamic Right ideas and individuals.

Within a few hours of the article being published, Amnesty had suspended me from my job.

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when a great organisation must ask: if it lies to itself, can it demand the truth of others? For in defending the torture standard, one of the strongest and most embedded in international human rights law, Amnesty International has sanitized the history and politics of the ex-Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg and completely failed to recognize the nature of his organisation Cageprisoners.

The tragedy here is that the necessary defence of the torture standard has been inexcusably allied to the political legitimization of individuals and organisations belonging to the Islamic Right.

I have always opposed the illegal detention and torture of Muslim men at Guantanamo Bay and during the so-called War on Terror. I have been horrified and appalled by the treatment of people like Moazzam Begg and I have personally told him so. I have vocally opposed attempts by governments to justify ‘torture lite’.

The issue is not about Moazzam Begg’s freedom of opinion, nor about his right to propound his views: he already exercises these rights fully as he should. The issue is a fundamental one about the importance of the human rights movement maintaining an objective distance from groups and ideas that are committed to systematic discrimination and fundamentally undermine the universality of human rights. I have raised this issue because of my firm belief in human rights for all.

I sent two memos to my management asking a series of questions about what considerations were given to the nature of the relationship with Moazzam Begg and his organisation, Cageprisoners. I have received no answer to my questions. There has been a history of warnings within Amnesty that it is inadvisable to partner with Begg. Amnesty has created the impression that Begg is not only a victim of human rights violations but a defender of human rights. Many of my highly respected colleagues, each well-regarded in their area of expertise has said so. Each has been set aside.

As a result of my speaking to the Sunday Times, Amnesty International has announced that it has launched an internal inquiry. This is the moment to press for public answers, and to demonstrate that there is already a public demand including from Amnesty International members, to restore the integrity of the organisation and remind it of its fundamental principles.

I have been a human rights campaigner for over three decades, defending the rights of women and ethnic minorities, defending religious freedom and the rights of victims of torture, and campaigning against illegal detention and state repression. I have raised the issue of the association of Amnesty International with groups such as Begg’s consistently within the organisation. I have now been suspended for trying to do my job and staying faithful to Amnesty’s mission to protect and defend human rights universally and impartially.

Her campaign website will be available by Monday.

All out on Feb 11 in support of the people of Iran!

To people of the world
To all labour unions and rights’ organisations and individuals

All out on Feb 11 in support of the people of Iran!

The end of the Islamic regime of Iran is near. A regime that has kept itself in power for 31 years by execution, torture and repression is about to go. We call on you to support the struggle of the people of Iran for toppling this regime and for bringing freedom, equality, welfare, secularism, an end to gender apartheid, free speech, freedom to organise and strike, and an end to the death penalty, torture and stoning and all brutal Islamic punishments.

On Thursday Feb 11 people of Iran will be preparing themselves for massive demonstrations across Iran. Simultaneously, around the world in front of the Islamic Republic’s embassies and consulates people will be holding demonstrations in support of the people of Iran. We call on you to show your solidarity by joining these demonstrations.

For international solidarity with the people of Iran!
A human revolution for a human rule!

Khalil Keyvan
Secretary,
Worker-communist Party of Iran – Organisation Abroad
5 February 2010

Your solidarity will be recorded in the history of the Iranian people’s struggle for freedom

A Message to workers and Labor Syndicates and honored Italian people

To active members and authorities of CGIL, CISL and UIL in Italy

Dear Friends

Accept our regards from the beating warm heart of one of the most important centers of people’s struggle for freedom and equality. From the International Committee Against Execution. Your solidarity with the fights of young workers of Iran and people of Iran for liberty and for the crack-down, jail, torture and execution’s state is warmly welcome. Your solidarity and protest against the Islamic regime of executioners has excited us and all Iranian people. This solidarity has to be an important symbol of solidarity with the struggle of Iranian people and must be exported worldwide. You’re considered as a pattern and symbol for all workers’ syndicate in different parts of the world. Your fight these days in defense of Iranian people’s life, and respect and the initial rights of Iranian workers and those who object to the Islamic Republic is an important mandate.

Your objection, is actually an echo of Iranian people fallen to their blood in the streets of Tehran. You are by the side of Iranian families and people who are spending their fifth day of protest in front of Evin Prison (one of the most frightening prisons of Iran across the Middle East) the objections which are encountered by different types of presses, detentions and hurts and insults. In front of high and thick walls of Evin Prison people chant for release of political prisoners and stop the executions. You are the echo of these chants in the capital of Italy. Your solidarity will be recorded in the history of Iranian people’s fights for liberty. Your name will be recorded in the list of those who crack the Bastille’s Prison of Islamic Republic of Iran, who break down the execution machine of Islamic Republic, and Terrorism Exportation of Islamic Government. The fore coming generation will hail all of you who helped in overthrowing of Fascism government of Islamic Republic.

Islamic Republic is the government of torture and execution. This government has been continuing the path of torture & massive execution. With using these tools and methods, they could deny to pay the workers’ wages, they could bans the Labor’s organization, they could deny the right of organize and the right of stick, with these tools they could arrests and tortures the representatives of workers, cracks the labor gatherings down and has put the society and seventy million people of Iran away from their rights. But today a revolution is in progress in the Iranian society which is definite to overthrow this terrifying system forever. There is a dark future for the Islamic Republic. This government has to depart so is trying in full potential to continue the tortures and executions and each day of this system means more executions and more tortures.

If all the Labor organizations all workers trade unions and Syndicates worldwide set together, if all the workers across the world want it, the wildest government of Iran can be overthrown. If the workers syndicates unite with the people of Iran, and all make an international solidarity action, the people of Iran will quickly overthrow the Islamic Government and the world will get rid of this dirty spot. With all our potentials we will try to overthrow this system and make Tehran the absolute capital to protect the labor and Workers’ right worldwide.

Wishing for That Day
Long Live international solidarity with Iranian struggle
Long Live Workers and Labor Syndicates of Italy

Farshad Hosseini
International Committee Against Executions
farshadhoseini@gmail.com
Phone Number: 0031681285184
February 4th 2010

In defence of Iranian asylum seekers

Letter of the Federation of Iranian Refugees to the European Union and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees about the situation in Iran and the condition of the Iranian asylum seeker

Copy: human rights organizations

I am writing to put to you a few points about Iran and the condition of the Iranian asylum seekers.

When turning down the applications of the Iranian asylum seekers, as well as in reply to us, the International Federation of Iranian Refugees (IFIR), departments of refugee affairs of the governments have often state things to the effect that the cases submitted by the Iranian applicants are all fake and one cannot, therefore, believe what they say. In reviewing the cases the said offices accept many of the reasons the applicants offer to explain their escape, and yet respond to them by saying: our ministries have the condition of human rights in Iran under careful watch and so, as far as those ministries are concerned, should you return to Iran, you will not face any trouble. So, let us review the condition of human rights in Iran and see whether the country is safe and free as has been claimed by the refugee offices of the Western governments.

Khatami came to the office of the President in 1997. He had been advertised, inside and outside Iran, as a novel Islamist president. “His Excellency” too advertised himself as the representative of a smiling, perfumed-with-rose-water Islam seeking “the dialog of the civilizations” and, together the whole farcical, state-made Reformist Movement he was the figurehead thereof, made lots of empty promises for both domestic and foreign markets. Thus, simultaneously with Khatami’s taking over with such deceptive razzmatazz, incomparably more effective in the West than in Iran itself, the Western governments basically adopted a hard-line policy towards Iranian asylum seekers. They adopted this policy with the carefully calculated aim of actively supporting the rosy-depicted “reformist movement” made of “harbingers of change” from within the state machinery in Iran. That policy has remained the official policy of the Western governments for over 12 years now. It is with deep regret that we maintain that as far as the welfare of the Iranian refugee applicants is concerned, such harsh policies have caused, in a cumulative manner, the spread of physical and emotional ailments, notably depression, among a great majority of them.

Even the current mass protests in the country, that is, even witnessing the whole catalogue of obvious, horrific crimes being committed by the Islamic Republic against the people during just the past seven months, has not caused the European countries to implement a more indulgent, humane policy towards the Iranian refugees. This is happening against the backdrop of an ongoing, systematic political persecution and prosecution in Iran. Extensive individual, group and mass arrests, not only in the street but through raiding people’s homes and work locations, have been occurring on an hourly basis. Journalists’ offices, photographers’ offices, and student dormitories are raided. Student activists are persecuted and/or prosecuted on trumped up charges and sentence to the most ridiculously harsh sentences. The protesting youth are marked and, consequently, persecuted, e.g., kidnapped in the street, jailed, tortured, raped, and then even prosecuted on fabricated charges based on confessions extracted under torture. The arrests have, in quite a few cases by now, led to the slaying of the detainees. In one known case the detainee’s corps was set on fire after being tortured and raped, namely, the case of a young girl by the name of Tarane Moosavi (not related to Moosavi the political figure) whose burnt corps was found in the desert areas near Tehran. In yet another terrorist spirit a group of pro-Khamenei murderous Mullahs have declared on December 29, 2009: ‘we consider the rioting mob on the day of Ashura (December 27, 2009) concrete examples of counter-revolutionaries, the enemies of God, and [therefore] “corrupting elements on the face of the Earth”.’ They have thus demanded that the pertaining organs of the regime sentence them to the maximum punishment under the barbaric Islamic code, that is, execution. Reported news clearly state that the detainees are put through the most anti-human physical and psychological forms of torture. Raping the detainee boys and girls is being used systematically, that is, as a general official policy that consciously utilizes the “shame”, the “pain” and, in this case, the horror and therefore the silence that is supposedly associated with rape. But, incredibly enough, even this regime’s conspiracy has been defeated by its very victims. Intelligent, brave young boys and girls have stepped forward, told their stories, and exposed the tyrannical character of the regime to the whole world.

Particularly since December 27, all authorities of the regime, from Khamenei to the Minister of Intelligence, from the commanders of the thuggish militia, Basij, and the so-called Revolutionary Guards to the Imams of Friday Prayer of every city, town and village, they have all been issuing orders and Fatvas (religious decrees) threatening the people with their divine code of punishment. In a word, no objector has remained safe from, and the whole world has been shocked by, the unfathomable cruelty of this regime. As Amnesty International reports, “at least five demonstrators arrested during protests on Ashoura, 27 December, have been charged with moharebeh (enmity against God), which carries the death penalty.” Also, today, Tuesday, January 26, Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR) reported that Koohyar Goodarzi and Mehrdad Rahimi, two of its seven imprisoned members who had been arrested on December 20, 2009, were charged with moharebe.

Now, I would like to ask you, the authorities of the European Union, how do you assess the prevalent political atmosphere in Iran? On the basis of what positive changes brought about by the Islamist regime towards the observation of human rights are the Iranian asylum seekers in the EU countries treated so inhumanely? Has it ever occurred to you that helping the Iranian people and Iranian refugees may actually prove to be a policy incomparably more efficient than the naïve policy of expanding relations with their enemy, that is, the policy you have followed so far hoping to somewhat “appease” the regime in Teheran? Have you ever cared about the depth and the extent of the terror that the Iranian people have suffered on a daily basis for the past 30 years in the clutches of a world-class terrorist regime, a few of whose authorities are, as you very well know, internationally wanted criminals? Do we still need to produce further evidence, that is, in addition to what you and the rest of the world have seen on television screens, on the internet, on the websites of European Foreign Ministries, the EU, the United Nations Human Rights Council, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and so on, and so forth, in order to convince you that human rights are not violated as such in Iran but simply non-existent? Is it not enough evidence that Human Rights Watch wrote in its news release of January 9, 2010, subtitled Accusations and Official Charges Place Activists at Risk of Death Penalty: ‘”The authorities should be working to ensure the rights and safety of citizens exercising their rights to gather peacefully,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Instead, they are preparing the groundwork to impose the harshest of punishments.”’ The International Federation of Iranian Refugees has always emphasized these naked facts about Iran. Now the events of the recent months have only born them out beyond the faintest shadow of a doubt.

Prior to Ahmadinejad becoming President in August 2005, the Western governments had been willingly beguiled by Khatami, his so-called “reform movement” and “dialogue of civilizations”. But it was not even a year after he had taken the helm to save the regime with his hollow promises that the people’s protest, headed by the student movement, against the suppression of a “reformist” paper was brutally crushed, and Khatami himself called the defenders of the freedom of his own faction’s press “thugs”! From then on every single move by the people for any improvement in their condition was branded as “the Western cultural invasion” and nipped in the bud. The confrontation between the two factions over the degree or the form of oppression quickly came to an end with Khatami’s affirming his allegiance to “His Holiness the Supreme Leader” and Khamenei’s reciprocating by stating the obvious: “the two factions are the two wings of the system”, stressing the mutual necessity up until then of the stick faction and the carrot faction for the protection of the regime as a whole.

The setback inflicted by the people on the prior-to-Khatami crumbling regime was finally reversed by coming to power of Ahmadinejad and his military-security cabinet. An unprecedented degree of terrorist oppression was imposed – from suppression of the remnants of the so-called reformist press to the closure of NGO’s to the bloodiest attacks on labor, student and women’s rights activists across the political spectrum; from murdering detainees under torture such as Zahra Kazemi, the Iranian-Canadian photo journalist, and Zahra Baniyaghoob, a physician who had been arrested for holding her fiancé hand at a park, to group public hangings on cranes intended to terrorize the society at large; from extensive street attacks by the “moral police” on young boys who dared to style their hair and young women who ventured wearing colors other than black and dark brown to the most barbaric sweeping of thousands of addicts off the streets, labeled “operation combating thuggery”.

Now, the Western governments reject the Iranian asylum seekers and force them to return to Iran claiming that the condition in their country is “safe and free”, I presume? But may I ask you, the highest ranking authorities of those governments, what exactly do you consider to be the criteria for measuring safety and freedom when it comes to a country such as Iran? May I ask what changes, however small, have you observed with regard to the condition of human rights in Iran throughout the past 30 years? Do you consider a country safe and free where, as the only country in the world now, under age youth are kept in jail only to be hanged before the astounded eyes of the whole world as soon as they turn eighteen for “crimes” such as homosexuality? Do you consider Iran safe and free while, as Amnesty International sums up its report on child execution, “Mosleh Zamani’s death [on December 17, 2009] brings the number of alleged juvenile offenders executed in Iran since 1990 to at least 46.”? Do you consider a country safe and free where the state has, from the get go, denied the people, especially the women and the youth, the right to choose even the color of their clothes, and has harassed them around the clock to force its dress code on them? May I request that you search “women in Iran” on YouTube to see first hand a few gory instances of terrorism the Islamist regime has subjected the women to since day 1? There is currently a clip on YouTube in which a general of the so-called Revolutionary Guards by the name of Ghasemi explicitly, mockingly and intimidatingly talks about raping the detainees of the recent events in the usual depraved Islamic fashion, calling it “going into the Jacuzzi”. So far the names of four young detainees of the recent events killed as a result of torture in the concealed Kahrizak prison General Ghasemi is mocking about have been revealed: Mohamad Kaviyani, Mohsen Rooholamini, Amir Javadifar, and Raamin aghazade-Ghahramani. Further, I presume you have seen the video clip of the police pickup truck that ran over the protesting people at December 27, 2009 demonstration in Teheran? Now, I ask you before the people of the world who have seen only the recent episode of the terrorism of the Islamist regime against its own people, is Iran a country to be called safe and free?

As far as women are concerned, we, at IFIR, maintain that the women who escape a country in which they are deprived even of the right to attend stadiums to watch sports matches, a country in which they are legally defined as second-class citizens, a country in which gender apartheid rules in all social, cultural, political and economic aspects of life, in a word, the women who escape a land that is nothing but a large prison for them should be treated with the highest degree of respect and compassion and be granted asylum with no questions asked and solely on the basis of the fact that they are women and that they have fled the hellish atmosphere created by a barbaric, misogynist theocracy. Likewise, we insist that the youth who flee a country in which hundreds are flogged on a daily basis for having dared to hold the hand of their boy friend or girl friend, the youth who, as the world has witnessed during the past seven months, are the veritable children of the twenty-first century, flee a country ruled by pre-medieval norms and standards should be embraced by much more humane refugee policies in the EU countries. By the same token, when labor activists, journalists, authors, intellectuals, students, reporters, and so on, are arrested or even kidnapped and subjected to the most cruel forms of torture, their peers who succeed in braking out should meet with much more generous, humane refugee policies in Europe.

There are thousands of other cases of the violation of human rights that cannot, of course, be cited in this letter. I just sum up by saying that what have been violated in Iran during the past 30 years are, indeed, humans themselves rather than their rights as such. What I would like to highlight here, however, is that the Iranian regime, as the standard bearer of political Islam in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and the Horn of Africa, is not only seeking access to nuclear weapons in order to further expand its sphere of influence but is also busy creating an atmosphere of terror in the Western countries through its sidekicks in those countries by means of terrorist as well as non-terrorist acts, such as striving to put in place Islamic law, or Shari’a, on both sides of the Atlantic. From this perspective the Iranian regime has been under the spotlight as an infinitely dangerous regime for the whole global community. And the Iranian asylum seekers are the people who have fled exactly from the heart of such terrorist hell. Turning a blind eye on this simple fact by the Western governments stems from another, simpler fact, that is, not to understand, or pretend not to understand, rather, that the terrorism of the Islamist regime throughout the past 30 years has been, naturally, first and foremost against the Iranian people themselves. Yet they are not only not accepted as refugees when they escape for the fear of all the above-mentioned forms of suppression but are pressurized to return to their previous hellish conditions as they are deemed free and safe by the Western governments!

We, at IFIR, are well aware of the arguments of the used by the Western governments’ refugee departments that are based on the Geneva Convention on Refugees. Nevertheless, we insist that the said departments take account especially of the intensification of suppression under Ahmadinejad during the past five years, not be so strict and rigorous when it comes to demanding document and evidence, and adopt a policy leaning more towards respecting their human rights. What I tried to do in this letter was to establish the fact that the regime of Islamic Republic, as the source of all terrorism inside and outside Iran, is itself the most significant evidence of suppression and persecution of the Iranian people.

In conclusion, we, on behalf of thousands of Iranian refugees, request that the Western governments adopt a much more open, accommodating policy towards them. Further, we request that these governments break all diplomatic ties with the Islamist regime in Iran so that it will be completely isolated from the international community as a terrorist, oppressive, and gender-apartheid regime.

Sincerely,
Abdollah Asadi

Secretary,
International Federation of Iranian Refugees
February 03, 2010

Remember Them!

Dear friend

I want you to remember two names – Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour.

They were two young men who were executed by the Islamic regime of Iran at dawn this past Thursday, January 28 for the ‘crime’ of ‘enmity against god’.

Yet another two beloved, murdered for protesting medievalism and theocracy …

And whilst this act of barbarity will leave many of us outraged and ‘speechless’(see writer Jim Herrick’s act of solidarity against the executions), we can only do them justice if we keep the pressure on.

The Islamic regime of Iran is on its last legs and will do anything it can to maintain power just a while longer. It is flexing its muscles to intimidate and threaten and we need to flex ours.

It plans to execute at least another 66 people that we know of in the coming weeks.

But we just cannot – no, we will not – let them.

Those on death row, languishing in prisons and who dare to come out onto the streets of Iran every opportunity they can represent the undefeated even after thirty years of Islamic rule. We must come out in full force to stop the executions and support the people of Iran in their struggle to get rid of this regime.

We mustn’t let up until we win. The future is ours.

In solidarity,

Maryam

Maryam Namazie
Coordinator
Iran Solidarity

Notes:

Things you can do:

1. Send a letter of protest to the Islamic regime of Iran over recent and impending executions. For details, click here.

2. Support Iran Solidarity and its demands by signing up to our petition.

3. Sign up to the Manifesto of Liberation of Women in Iran.

4. Join our daily acts of solidarity with the people of Iran. Since Monday July 27, we have organised acts of solidarity EVERY SINGLE DAY. It is easy to join in – just videotape or photograph yourself doing something and send it to us to upload to our blog. You can see other acts here.

5. Join rallies and events in various cities against the executions and the Islamic regime of Iran, including every Saturday. You can find out about such protests on our blog.

6. Set up Iran Solidarity groups in your neighbourhoods, workplaces, universities and cities. So far we have groups in Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the UK. Like the solidarity committees during the anti-apartheid era, these committees can be instrumental but we need many more in every city in the world for that to happen.

For more information or to send in your daily acts of solidarity, contact:
Maryam Namazie
Iran Solidarity
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
iransolidaritynow@gmail.com
www.iransolidarity.org.uk