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Iran’s Brutality toward Women should Shock West into seeking Regime Change

March 8, 2011 Leave a comment
Reza Jahlili – March 8, 2011
In Iran, young women are jailed for specious reasons, then raped before being executed in a barbaric effort to keep them out of heaven. The people of Iran are desperate for a show of support from the West. On International Women’s Day, will the West finally stand up for women in Iran?
On June 20 2009, a beautiful young woman was standing alongside the road in Tehran, watching her fellow Iranians taking to the streets demanding freedom and protesting the most recent fraudulent presidential election. Neda Agha-Soltan looked on, perhaps in disbelief that, once again, the fanatic leaders of the Islamic Regime had stolen the hope of her generation for democracy, human dignity, and equality. Then, a shocking event took place that riveted the world’s attention on the cruelty of the Iranian leaders against their people.

A member of the Basij forces shot Neda. As she fell to the ground and her beautiful eyes took a last look at the sky, Neda (which means “divine message” in Farsi) became the unforgettable face of the Iranian people. Her death became the iconic symbol of a nation, which, in its quest for justice and freedom, has suffered tens of thousands of casualties.

Today, while the world is celebrating International Women’s Day, honoring the women who have made the world a better place, it is essential that we remember the innocent women of Iran and what they’ve lost at the hands of a vicious regime.

Cruelest of punishments

Ever since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, women have been subjected to the cruelest of punishments.
Despite Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini’s promise that he would allow women freedom of choice in clothing, activities, and lifestyle, one of the first orders of the Islamic government was to force all women to wear the Islamic hijab, covering their hair and their body. No makeup was allowed, and they could not be seen with anyone other than their husbands or relatives. Anyone caught disobeying the law was subjected to lashing and imprisonment.
The ruling clerics called themselves God’s representatives on earth, and anyone opposing them was deemed a mohareb, an enemy of God. The Quran authorizes torture and death for enemies of God.
The Islamic regime has taken this authority to its most heinous extreme.
Thousands of innocent young girls have been brought to prison for the most specious of reasons. They’re thrown into small cells, designed for just a few, along with sometimes 30 of their fellow victims. As a CIA spy in Iran, I was a witness to this. 
Every few days, guards call out names over a loudspeaker. These women know what it means to have their names called, and they hold hands, praying that this will not be the day they are dragged out of their cell and executed. Those whose names are not called for execution are lined up and lashed. Many of them faint from the lashing, never knowing what the guards do with their unconscious bodies.
If they are called, they are raped before execution so they are no longer virgins and therefore, according to hardline Islamic beliefs, can no longer go to heaven. None of these girls would ever know the joys of romantic love. None of them would ever hold her own baby in her arms. Their final days have been filled with a level of abuse few can imagine.
Women who abide completely by the rules of the clerics are not immune to their cruelty. Many women – sometimes as young as 15 – have been stoned to death on bogus charges of adultery. The Islamic leaders of Iran proudly state that this horrific and inhumane punishment is part of their constitution and consistent with the implementation of the holy sharia laws of Islam.

The West must decide

In spite of these atrocities, Iran recently joined the UN Commission on the Status of Women! Meanwhile, the West has done little to support women’s rights in Iran – or support those bravely calling for freedom.
In 2009, the Green Movement rattled the regime with calls for democracy, but the West gave no real help – and the movement faded amid a brutal crackdown. Today, inspired by uprisings across the Middle East, Iranians – including many women who’ve planned to protest today – are again trying to stand up to their Islamic rulers.
How the West responds will be one of the most important decisions of our time. Will we aid the return of democracy and freedom in Iran, or will we succumb to Tehran’s murderous government in the name of hedging our bets? The people of Iran are desperate for a show of support from the West. By standing with them, we can uphold our duty to take a stand for the security of the free world.
Today, hundreds of courageous female political and human rights activists and thousands of brave Iranian girls who joined their fellow men to reject brutality and demand freedom sit in jail helpless – but with a hope that change is possible. Let’s not allow the death of Neda and other victims be in vain. Let’s join together on International Women’s Day to demand justice, equality, and freedom for all Iranians.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for an ex-CIA spy who requires anonymity for safety reasons. He is the author of “A Time to Betray,” a book about his double life as a CIA agent in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

UN, a Hypocrite and a Protector of the Human Rights Violators

March 6, 2011 Leave a comment
On March 4, 2011, Iran became a full-member of the UN’s top women’s rights body, the UN Commission on the Status of Women.  It was elected by the UN General Assembly – by consensus, meaning with the approval of the United States.

It has been consistently proven that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) are responsible for the worst human rights record in the world per capita; there are no other ‘countries’ that can rival the IRI on this basis. 


Iranian judges can, and do, sentence women to death by stoning for alleged adultery.  Under the IRI judicial system spousal rape is not illegal, according to its penal code, four male witnesses or three men and two women are required for rape conviction. IRI government allows a man to escape punishment for killing a wife caught in the act of adultery if he is certain she was a consenting partner.  In 2008, 50 honor killings were reported

during a seven-month period in Iran, the punishment for perpetrators was often a short prison sentence. Under the Sharia law in Iran a woman has the right to divorce only if her husband: signs a contract granting that right, cannot provide for his family, or is a drug addict, insane, or impotent; while a husband is not required to cite a reason for divorcing his wife. To IRI courts the testimony of two women is equal to that of one man.

The UN Commission on the Status of Women is supposed to dedicate exclusively to gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.
How are the legionnaires of gender equality going to feel when they realize that UN General Assembly have foolishly appointed the oppressive, antifeminist government of the IRI a seat on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). No one can undermine the fact that this issue may have critical insinuations on the moral exertion for gender equality.
Realizing that the oppressive IRI government has repeatedly refused to ratify the key international instrument of law on women’s rights such appointment of theirs for a seat on CSW is regarded as a disgrace to United Nations for being hypocrite and the protector of the human rights violators.   

On behalf of Genuine Iranians  
Mansur Rastani, PhD
3, 6, 2011

The People’s Mojahedin of Iran is not who the Iranian people have been waiting for

March 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Sheda Vasseghi
“President Clinton and Secretary of State Christopher are to be congratulated on their insight and forsightedness [sic] in presenting a report to congress rejecting the (PMOI) as an alternative to the present regime.”[Full page Public Announcement by The Azadegan Foundation endorsed by 71 high ranking retired U.S. generals and admirals, Washington Times, Feb. 17, 1995.]
Not only has the U.S. Administration ignored the national uprising of the Iranian people against the theocracy in Tehran during the past 18 months, but some U.S. politicians including former Mayer of New York City Rudy Giuliani, former White House advisor to Bush Administration Frances Townsend, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge have been tangoing with high ranking members of the PMOI (also known as MKO or MEK) as an alternative solution to the regime in Tehran. For decades Iranian nationalists for a free and secular Iran have struggled with Western media and politicians to show the true nature of a dangerous communist Islamist cult, the PMOI. 
Among PMOI’s endless historical achievements are:  the May 1972 assassination of U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Harold Price; June 1973 assassination of U.S. Army Lt. Col. Lewis Hawkins; May 1975 assassination of U.S. Air Force Col. Paul Schaeffer and Lt. Col. Jack Turner; August 1976 assassination of three American civilian employees of Rockwell International; December 1970 abortive attempt to kidnap U.S. Ambassador Douglas MacArthur; and implementation and support for the 1979-1981 American embassy hostage crisis in Tehran (Focus on Iran, Vol. II, No. 7, July 1995).

Further, the official organ of the PMOI declares in its October 1980 issue:  “Ever since its foundation in 1965, the thrust of the battle against the U.S. advisors fell to the Mojahedin, who targeted and claimed the lives of a number for the first time, while it was the PMOI bombs planted in imperialist and Zionist institutions and destroying them which first caused the imperialists and their domestic mercenaries to be alarmed.”  In a May 1981 Open Letter to Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the PMOI wrote: “In the dark era of the Shah, the Mojahedin had taken up arms and never missed an opportunity to gun down the imperialist American advisors” (Focus on Iran, Vol. II, No. 7, July 1995).
The PMOI is a cult rather than a political party based on Islamo-Marxist doctrines.  Group members must give full obedience to the leaders of the party, who contrary to their alleged desire and respect for democracy, are not elected by any democratic means.  The PMOI political philosophy plans to nationalize all industries, transportation and communication.  It makes clear without any ambiguity that it will do away with “vestiges’ of capitalism” including collectivizing agriculture (Focus on Iran, Vol. II, No. 7, July 1995).
As a matter of fact, in adherence to its form of “democracy,” the PMOI has already chosen the next president of Iran from its leadership should it come to power.  Since its inception in 1965, the PMOI has committed horrific terrorist acts against the Iranian people including fighting on the Iraqi side during the bloody eight-year war between Iraq and Iran.  Hence, the PMOI has no real legitimacy or following in Iran.  The Iranian people, who have now lived with 32 years of an Islamic Constitution and its consequences, will never accept another invasion by an Islamic Army with a revised Islamic Constitution! 
In 1979, the PMOI was an ally and co-conspirator of Khomeini and his followers during the domestic and foreign agitations that brought about the downfall of a secular, modern regime in Iran and replacing it with the inhumane and anti-cultural Islamic Republic.  But shortly thereafter, the PMOI was taken by surprise with a brutal crackdown by the Khomeinist group, who wanted to insure that the new regime in Tehran was to be based on pure Sharia laws in accordance with political Islam rather than elements of Marxism.  The PMOI members, who fled Iran, were given a safe haven in Saddam’s Iraq.  The leaders of the PMOI cult and its members have since become sworn enemies of the regime in Tehran.
The PMOI’s philosophy is based on the classic tactic of “my enemy is your enemy, therefore, we are friends, you must support us against our common enemy” (Focus on Iran, Vol. II, No. 7, July 1995).  Given the PMOI’s ability to raise massive funds from enemies of the Islamic Republic in exchange for mercenary manpower and acts of terrorism, its organization is able to fund major lobbying campaigns in the West as well as media infiltration.  Even though the PMOI was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Canada in 1997 (maintained during the Bush Administration) and European Union (EU) in 2002, after years of expensive court proceedings and lobbying the EU removed the group from its list of terrorist organization back in January 2009.
The American politicians, who are now following the wrong political and moral path in acknowledging the PMOI, should recall their own country’s history.  The Founding Fathers Thomas Jefferson and James Madison correctly opined that freedom and democracy cannot prevail without a wall between church and state.  Similarly, the Iranian nation was founded over 2500 years ago by Cyrus the Great, who declared that no religion reigns supreme in the Persian Empire to insure freedom and peace. 
So how is it that former Mayor Giuliani with first hand knowledge and experience of the effects of terrorism, two former CIA directors, and two former generals of Central Command would now support a cult with a 45-year-old terrorist record as an alternative regime for a country that serves as a key to balance of power in a volatile region?
The Age of Islamic Republics is over; not only for Iran, but other countries across the Middle East.  The Iranian national revolt which started in June 2009 has paved the way for the 2011 ongoing Arab revolts against their oppressive regimes.  All these nations have one thing in common:  A political faction (Islam) is supreme to others and plays a significant role in the laws of their nations.  Since Islamic laws are divine, they take no consideration of women and minorities.  Further, they are not open for discussion or debate.  That is, under these regimes divine laws trump natural laws and human civil rights.
 “There is no doubt that the people of Iran will topple the archaic/despotic regime of the clerics” said Azadegan Foundation President,  Dr. Assad Homayoun. ” The alternative to the Islamic Republic will be decided only by the Iranian people, not the U.S. or those in the West, who support PMOI and the like.  Justice will prevail.” 
It is hoped that the U.S. policymakers and politicians, who are toying with a deadly idea come to their senses soon, and follow the path and vision of their own Founding Fathers, the authors of one of the best Constitutions the world has yet to see.  Only a national, secular government in a key country such as Iran can forge a new era of global peace and prosperity. 
Sheda Vasseghi is on the Board of The Azadegan Foundation, and is a regular contributor to Freepressers.com and WorldTribune.com on Iran’s Affairs.

What About Iran?

March 4, 2011 Leave a comment
The West should show the same moral clarity against Tehran’s human-rights abuses as it has against Gadhafi’s.


EMANUELE OTTOLENGHI

While the world focuses on Libya’s popular uprising and Moammar Gadhafi’s murderous response, Iran has also—far from the international spotlight—been ratcheting up its repression. In the last few days, Tehran has moved to arrest the two leading figures of Iran’s opposition, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, and has reportedly transferred them from house arrest to a political prison run by the Revolutionary Guard Corps. Mass protests have erupted again, in open defiance of the regime, and are spreading far beyond Tehran. But Iran’s rulers already showed in 2009 that they take no chances and no prisoners when it comes to shielding themselves from their people’s wrath. Another bloodbath now is not hard to imagine. Western democracies have been quick to condemn Gadhafi, and have passed a number of measures against him and his regime since Tripoli’s crackdown began. By contrast, Iran’s violent political repression is only part of the latest, gory wave that has been ongoing for more than a year and a half, and yet there appears no urgency in the West to adopt human-rights sanctions against Tehran.

 There are compelling reasons to rectify this policy discrepancy. Like Libya, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a place where dissent has been put down, with varying degrees of brutality, for decades—since the early days of the 1979 Revolution. There, torture is rife and the family members of dissidents are intimidated, kidnapped and sometimes raped; hundreds of political prisoners, minorities, homosexuals and women die at the hangman’s hands every year, following hasty trials held in utter disregard for the most elementary rules of fairness and justice; and cruelty is dispensed regularly for the sole purpose of instilling fear in the population. Until Iranians openly challenged their regime following the June 2009 fraudulent elections, Western democracies did little to question Iran’s treatment of its own people. But then, Iran erupted. Its people, chanting “death to the dictator,” made it clear even to the most obtuse observers that their rulers kept power by force, not consent. Western leaders offered words of condemnation, but little else. Now is their second chance to show they’re not indifferent to Iranian people’s suffering, by hitting Tehran with similar measures to the ones they’re imposing on Gadhafi. Last week U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, gave a decent start, sponsoring a resolution calling for human rights to become a key tool of U.S. foreign policy toward Iran—a call the Obama Administration should now heed. The European Union, meanwhile, still has Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi on its travel-ban list, on account of his recent role as the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. Since his appointment as Iranian Foreign Minister, there has been talk of lifting the travel ban to allow Salehi to fulfill his stately functions. But at a time when Iran’s entire state apparatus is intent on silencing the opposition and crushing peaceful street protests, Salehi should not be given the gift of travel. The same travel ban, along with asset freezes, should immediately be slapped on other Iranian officials, starting with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and all the other figures who bear command responsibility for human-rights violations. Obvious candidates include Iranian “Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei; Saeed Jalili, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council; and their gaggle of policy advisors. The EU should not stop at the top brass—for every order given at the top to fire on protesters, torture prisoners, coerce confessions, issue harsh sentences and otherwise intimidate, violate and abuse innocents, an army of enforcers carries out the deed. So the EU should next name hundreds of Iranian officials at various levels of authority: Basij and Revolutionary Guards local commanders, judges in political trials, prison wardens, and their mid-level bosses in Iran’s ministries of Intelligence, Interior and Justice, for a start. These officials should also be barred from travelling, and their assets frozen. International arrest warrants should be contemplated against them for crimes against their own people. And diplomatic immunity—which the U.K. has now lifted for Gadhafi—should be similarly denied to all top Iranian officials. The EU should immediately recall all its member states’ ambassadors who are still in Tehran, and refuse to return them until Messrs. Mousavi and Karroubi are released. The same applies to other Western countries, such as Australia, Canada, Japan, Norway, South Korea and Switzerland, who enjoy full diplomatic relations with Iran. The EU, along with other Western democracies, should also move to undermine Iran’s standing in international forums. The farce of Libya sitting as a full member of the U.N.’s Human Rights Council finally came to an end this week, but an equally absurd spectacle continues with Iran’s membership in the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. May it come to an abrupt end. Beyond that, the West needs to invest in helping the Iranian opposition. The country’s battered democrats desperately need free information, which the West can provide through boosting its Farsi-language radio and television broadcasts inside Iran. They also need the communication technology to bypass government strictures and keep them safe from Tehran’s digital monitors, which the West could help provide with licenses to export the relevant machinery and transfer it to the right people inside Iran. Finally, Iran’s dissidents need a safety net in the West for those who manage to escape; political asylum should be offered to those who flee Iran. International sanctions are no substitute for the courage the Iranian people need to confront their tyrants. But sanctions would offer them some succor, and would finally extract a price for the drunken orgy of violence that has gone on in Iran for far too long. In a rare moment of moral clarity, last week Western policy makers adopted punitive measures against Gadhafi. Here’s hoping that same clarity now informs their policy with the Iranian regime.

Mr. Ottolenghi is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the author of “Iran: The Looming Crisis” (Profile Books, 2010).

Iran Don’t Cry

March 4, 2011 Leave a comment

nouriarmand 

Urgent Action: Iran Call to save the life of Sakineh Ashtiani’s lawyer Houtan Kian

March 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Int. Com. Against Stoning – 2 March 2011
The Islamic Republic of Iran has sentenced Houtan Kian, the lawyer of Iran stoning case Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, to death by hanging. He had received four consecutive death sentences. Three were revoked; the fourth has been upheld. Reliable reports received by the International Committee against Stoning confirm this fact. Houtan Kian was arrested in October 2010 along with Sajjad Ghaderzadeh, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s son, and two German journalists during an interview. Whilst the latter three have been released, Houtan Kian faces imminent execution. Moreover Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s death sentence has been confirmed. Upon hearing the news, it is reported that Sakineh attempted suicide but survived. We are outraged at these heinous sentences of death and are calling for urgent action to stop their executions and secure their immediate and unconditional release. They have done nothing wrong. Houtan Kian’s only crime has been to defend a woman facing death by stoning.
Sakineh’s only crime has been to be a woman in the Islamic Republic of Iran and under Sharia law. Only strong international pressure will and must save them and the many others awaiting their death in the execution capital of the world.


Mina Ahadi, Coordinator of the International Committees against Stoning and Execution
Patty Debonitas, Spokesperson of Iran Solidarity
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of One Law for All


ACT NOW!

Write, call, fax, and email officials demanding an end to the executions and the immediate and unconditional release of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and her lawyer, Houtan Kian. You can contact the embassies of the Islamic Republic of Iran, foreign ministries in your country of residence, MPs and MEPs, the Islamic regime’s judiciary, the UN, EU and others. You can also do an act of solidarity in a town centre to highlight their case, take action via social networking sites and raise the banner of ‘Free Houtan Kian and Sakineh’ and ‘End Executions and Stoning Now’ at upcoming International Women’s Day events. 

Please send copies of any protest letters, actions and emails, and acts of solidarity toiransolidaritynow@gmail.com.


For more information contact: Mina Ahadi, minaahadi@aol.com, Tel: +49 (0) 1775692413 or Patty Debonitas, iransolidaritynow@gmail.com, Tel: +44 (0) 7507978745.


Below are some of contact details that may be useful:


UN
npillay@ohchr.org, urgent-action@ohchr.org, sg@un.org
Working group on arbitrary detention: wgad@ohchr.org
Human rights & international solidarity iesolidarity@ohchr.org


EU
EU Foreign Affairs High Representative
Catherine Ashton: COMM-SPP-HRVP-ASHTON@ec.europa.eu

Iran Executions Under Scrutiny

March 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Selah Hennessy – March 02, 2011

Iran is coming under increased scrutiny for the number of executions it carries out. Media reports from Iran on Wednesday reported the punishment for 10 drug traffickers. Human rights groups say Iran executes more people per capita than any other country in the world. The United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay said last month that there has recently been a dramatic increase in the number of executions carried out in Iran. She said the rate was three times higher than that of last year. In the latest instances of capital punishment, Iran’s Arman newspaper reports seven people were hanged on Tuesday in Kerman Province in southern Iran. A judiciary website reported another three executions in Fars Province, also in the south. It didn’t say when the executions took place. All ten were convicted on drug charges.According to international law, the death penalty should be limited to the “most serious crimes,” which the U.N. says applies to crimes that are lethal or have extremely grave consequences. Drewery Dyke is an Iran researcher at Britain-based Amnesty International. “Therefore the application, as is the case in Iran, of the death penalty to forms of drug trafficking, drug related crimes, to extremely vaguely-worded charges such as ‘Moharebeh’ or enmity against God, for which we have seen both this year and last,” Dyke said. “These are really beyond what is provided for in international law.” Amnesty says Iran is second only to China in the number of people it executes.
In 2009, Amnesty says Iranian authorities put 388 people to death. Iranian media reported 179 hangings last year and 89 executions so far this year. According to New York-based Human Rights Watch, Iran is one of only three countries that, since 2009, have put someone to death for a crime they committed before turning 18. The other two countries are Saudi Arabia and Sudan. Iran says the death penalty is needed to maintain law and order. Amnesty’s Dyke says Iran also has historically used the death penalty in part as a political tool. “The Iranian authorities have used the implementation of the death penalty – and mass use of the death penalty – to convey a message to would-be opponents of the regime to get in line,” Dyke added. Iranian authorities have cracked down in recent weeks on political unrest that was revived by successful uprisings against authoritarian leaders in Tunisia and Egypt. Iranians who oppose the leadership of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have gathered under the Green Movement that sprang up after Ahmadinejad was re-elected in a disputed poll back in 2009. Anthony Skinner is a Middle East expert with the London-based risk analysis group Maplecroft. He says Iran’s administration may use the death penalty as a way to intimidate potential opponents. “The government obviously wants to put a lid on the Green Movement, it wants to deter the Green Movement from gaining any kind of momentum from Libya and elsewhere in the broader (Middle East/North Africa) region,” said Skinner. “And it’s trying to intimidate and trying to intercept communications and trying to use whatever mechanisms it has in its power in order to basically defuse the thrust of the Green Movement. Some hard-line politicians in Iran have called for the trial and execution of two Green Movement leaders, Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. Opposition sources say both are being held in a Tehran prison although Iranian authorities have denied this.


VOANews

Clinton Outraged at Libya, Iran

March 2, 2011 Leave a comment
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discusses her concerns with Libya and Iran at a U.N. meeting in Geneva.
At the U.N. meeting in Geneva, Hillary Clinton Speak to the members: “Every member of this council should ask him or herself: why do the people have the right to live free from fear in Tripoli but not Tehran? The denial of human dignity in Iran is an outrage that deserves the condemnation of all who speak out for freedom and justice.”

 Is this another of those empty gesture of Western Powers to just please the world public or something genuine is really happening for the benefits of the oppressed people in Iran?  

A short documentary film on human rights in Iran (Flashback)

March 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Muslim brotherhood & other religious leaders flatter Khamenei, praise Ahmadinejad

March 1, 2011 Leave a comment

1Esfand1389 – Feb 25, 2011